#4 (tie)  Hardy Wraith  9 foot #5    $849.00

Hardy Wraith

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Hardy Wraith

George's Comments


We thought that the Zenith was the long distance King, but this Wraith is a killer rod at medium and long distances.  Nothing in our shootout comes close to matching this performance at mid and long range.  The action is slightly faster than the Zephrus, and although the overall weight is lighter than the Zephrus, the swing weight is quite a bit heavier.  This is a much more powerful rod than the NRX or Radian.  The price you pay in having a rod this strong is a decided lack of feel and accuracy at short distances.  So you really need to think about how you’ll use this rod.  If you want a nice delicate dry fly rod, forget this one!  But if you are fishing a lot at longer distances, with bigger more wind resistant flies like hoppers, or you are doing a lot of nymph fishing, or even chucking some streamers, this might be your rod.  


The Wraith is a good-looking rod, finished in a flat gray graphite color with darker gray wraps.  They use a Western style grip, with a nice looking burled wood skeleton, aluminum uplock seat.  The guides are similar to the Zephrus with one SiC stripper and the rest dark single foot nickel/titanium flexible guides, which are very light.  

With the Zephrus priced at $699, it doesn’t make sense why Hardy should charge an additional $150 for this rod, especially when it is made in Korea.   


George’s Casting Notes:   The perfect line: S. A.  MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Almost no feel and little accuracy compared to the best rods.  You can force it in there but without any confidence.

Performance at 45 feet:  20 points out of 20

Now the power brings this rod alive, and it really zings them in there.  Tracks perfectly with extremely good accuracy.

Performance at 70 feet:  20 points out of 20

This is the killer rod at long distance.  A rocket ship that throws nice tight loops with little effort.  I found I could carry 70 feet of line in the air – no other rod had the power to do this.



#2 (tie) - Hardy Wraith 9’#5   $849.00 – 58/60

Hardy Wraith

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James' Comments

If there was any rod in the shootout that I wanted to keep for myself, it was the Wraith.  Since I already have a great all around 9'#5 (the Hardy) Zenith, the Wraith would have a place in my arsenal as a lethal weapon on windy days, fishing lakes, or when fishing hoppers and streamers on the Yellowstone.

I simply was blown away by this rod’s ability to cast between 45-100 feet.  Enough that I can forgive it for having little to no feel at 25 feet.  If I was a competition caster there’s no question this would be my rod.  

When others are forced to give up due to the wind, this rod will keep you casting and in the game, and that alone is worth it’s steep price of admission.  

Jamie’s Casting Notes with a Scientific Angler MPX WF-5-F line.

Performance at 25 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Wow!  This rod feels so light!  Not much feel per say but boy is it accurate.  I can hit the plate nearly every time and while it’s not as fun as the softer tipped rods it still feels “doable.”  I have to score it high in terms of sheer accuracy.  Crisp tight loops off the wrist, even though the Loomis NRX LP and Radian, clearly give me more feedback.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.5 points out of 20

Again this rod feels exceptionally light in my hand.  I’m surprised the swing weight is higher than the Zephrus.  While the Wraith exhibited impeccable accuracy, it didn’t quite have the same level of refined feel for a perfect 20, (at least with a yarn indicator tied on the end of the leader).  I liked this rod the best of all the 5 weights in the test during gusts of heavy wind and suspect I’d like it best with streamers as well. This certainly seems like a rod you can depend on, even when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Performance at 70 feet:  20 points out of 20

Easiest 20 I’ve ever given.  I would call the wraith a cannon but that sounds too heavy.  Weightless laser is more like it.  With a slightly less stiff tip than my other favorite long distance rods (the Sage ONE 690) this rod has power, lightness, accuracy, and control. In my book the Hardy Wraith sets the bar for distance accuracy, all others shall bow down.

Cast the whole line? 

Whoa!  Did you see that?!?..... hahaha!

6.     Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

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Logan's Comments

The Wraith is another brand new rod from Hardy.  A much stiffer action rod than the Zephrus, the Wraith still performed well and was amazingly accurate.  I typically prefer a rod with a softer tip, but something about the Wraith made me want to cast it again, and again.  That being said, I liked the Hardy Wraith best at medium and longer distances, rather than in close.  This rod reminded me of the popular Sage One, but even nicer!!  It had just the right amount of tip flex without sacrificing its faster action.

Logan's casting notes: 56 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Hardy Wraith was not the best rod at 25 feet.  It needed a softer tip flex to be great at in close.  This rod is powerhouse, so a soft tip is not really its intention. 

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Hardy Wraith was performing much better with more line peeled out.  It was powerful and extremely accurate. 

Performance at 70 feet: 20 points out of 20

The Hardy Wraith was the absolute best at 70 feet.  I think I actually hit the plate!!!

4. (tie)    Hardy Wraith - 58

Hardy Wraith

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Josh's Comments

The Hardy Wraith is a new fast action edition to the Hardy line up.   Imagine the sage one meeting the tip flex Orivs with Zenith technology.  I really like the Wraith, it would be a great rod for Montana, especially on freestone rivers like the Yellowstone or Madison.  It can fish dries, handle nymphs, throw streamers and combat heavy winds.  If I could describe this rod in a few words it would be a “beefed up" fast-action Zenith. 


Performance at 25 feet:  18.5 points out of 20  

I had to dump the tip a little bit to hit the plate but the rod was accurate, just not as nice as the Hardy Zephurs or Scott Radian.                                                                                                                                              

Performance at 45 feet:  19 points out of 20  

A lot more feel at this distance, can really feel the tip and mid section come to life. Line seems to float effortlessly off the tip to the target area, very crisp tight loops at this distance.   

Performance at 70 feet: 20 points out of 20  

This is the rod you want for distance!  The Hardy Wraith is smooth and very powerful, one of the few rods that I could actually get close to 100’ accurately.  If you like fishing heavy nymphs or streamers this is the rod for you.  Light, stiff but retains a lot of feel at long range. 

#2.  Hardy Wraith   - 59.5 /60

Hardy Wraith

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JG's Comments

 This rod was an odd one for me, after the first cast I was ready to write a bad review on it.  However, after a few casts I got used to how light the rod is, (its extremely light) and it became a real performer.  Because of how light the rod is the feel is outstanding and gives the Wraith fantastic accuracy.  In terms of in hand feel, power, and accuracy this is an outstanding rod in every category I can think of. 

Performance at 25 feet:   19.5 points out of 20

At our shortest test distance my initial thought was to put this rod in the “left pile,” (the ones I didn’t like).   After a few casts I got used to it and it seemed like a light switch turned on.  At 25 feet it’s a little fast to be perfect but its darn close.  Tip casting is easy and accuracy is fantastic.

Performance at 45 feet:   20 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Wraith is a prefect rod.  Its concise, accurate, and tight, without a doubt my favorite rod at mid ranges.  The rod has enough flex to load deeply apply power and unload with lots of line speed without making you feel like you worked very hard to get it and because it’s so light you’ll be making those laser casts all day without wearing yourself out. 

Performance at 70 feet:   20 points out of 20

The Wraith really performs at 70 feet and beyond as well, it was one of the easiest rods in the test for me to pick up at 45 feet and lay down again at 70 with out false casting.  The Wraith has a lot of power.  Accuracy and feel are still great at long distance and the rod doesn’t get bogged down with having a lot of line out. 


Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

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