#3 (tie)  Hardy Zephrus  9 foot #5   $699

Hardy Zephrus

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Hardy Zephrus

Hardy gave us a whole new line up of rods this year.  Gone are the superb Zenith rods but the new Zephrus and Wraith are perhaps even better.  When we first cast the new rods last spring we were impressed and knew then that they would score well in the next shootout.  I’ve now had quite a few opportunities to compare the Zephrus heads up with the NRX LP and Radian; it was obvious that at short distances, both rods had more feel than the Zephrus at 25 feet. At mid-range it’s good, but then again at long range, it doesn’t have nearly the punch of the old Hardy Zenith.

The Zephrus is an attractive rod, with an olive finish and contrasting dark brown wraps.  A comfortable Western style grip is used with a

uplocking aluminum skeleton seat and an unusual green burled wood  insert to compliment the color of the rod.  The guide set up is great with one SiC stripper and the rest flexible and unbreakable dark colored nickel/titanium one-foot guides.  The action is fast, but this rod doesn’t flex as much in the tip as the NRX or Radian and perhaps this is why it isn’t quite as good at shorter distances.

Like the Zenith rods, The Zephrus and Wraith use the 3M nano-resin technology, so the rods are light and very strong.  Howard Croston, who gave us the Zenith rods, designed these new rods in England but they are manufactured in Korea.   


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

Performance at 25 feet:  19 points out of 20

Lighter in my hand than the NRX LP but had very little feel and was a lot more vague than the LP or Radian.  Accuracy was good, just not great.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.5 points out of 20

This rod feels light in my hand and forms nice tight loops at this distance with good accuracy.  The Radian, Morgan and Wraith are all slightly better though.

Performance at 70 feet:  19 points out of 20

Out long the loop control was not nearly as good as the Wraith or Radian, and the accuracy suffered.        


#2 (tie) - Hardy Zephrus 9’#5   $699.00   - 58/60

Hardy Zephrus

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James' Comments

The Hardy Zephrus is a fantastic casting rod.  It is softer than the Hardy Zenith, but with added feel comes a slight decrease in accuracy, at least for me.  For 90% of anglers the Zephrus is going to be the better Hardy rod (over the Wraith) as it is significantly less stiff with way more feel, something most trout anglers prefer over sheer power and accuracy.  And, although I prefer the Wraith, I have to admit the Zephrus is a better all-around rod and must be scored as such.

This year we had a few visitors swing by, (all good casters and anglers) and everyone who cast the Zephrus was impressed.  It’s a great rod that just about anyone can pick up and throw easily.


James' Casting Notes with a Scientific Angler MPX WF-5-F line.

Performance at 25 feet:  19 points out of 20

Before casting the Radian and LP I had given the Hardy Zephrus a perfect 20.  It delivers an amazingly smooth and delicate presentation at 25 feet.  Accuracy was right on the money with zero complaints, even in the wind.  There sure are a lot of great high end rods this year! 

Performance at 45 feet:  20 points out of 20

Benchmark performance here from the Hardy Zephrus.  This rod delivered a smooth, powerful, yet delicate presentation for me nearly every cast.  It brought such a joy for a while I could not put it down. 

Performance at 70 feet:  19.5 points out of 20

Dang! The Zephrus had impressive performance at 70 feet and even beyond!  If I noticed the wind had blown my cast off target I could continue to recast the whole line, even without a double haul.  I was very pleased with this rod to say the least.    

Cast the whole line? 

Yup.  9 times out of 10 with little thought or effort.



4.     Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

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Logan's Comments

The Hardy Zephrus is hot of the press!!  After casting a prototype of this rod a few months back I was excited to see how it performed in the shootout.  I was very impressed when I first cast the Zephrus, and I am again very impressed today.  I still prefer the Hardy Zenith, which is now discontinued, but the Zephrus comes close.  The one thing I did notice about the Zephrus was that the cork felt slightly oversized.

Logan's casting notes: 57 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 19 points out of 20

The Hardy Zephrus is really good in close.  Super accurate and smooth.  The Hardy Zephrus had a good tip flex which helped it in close, unlike the new Hardy Wraith which is much stiffer.

Performance at 45 feet: 19 points out of 20

The Hardy Zephrus is a solid all around rod.  It was very powerful with a nice soft tip.  I was very accurate with this rod casting it at 45 feet.  At this distance I give the edge to the Scott Radian however.

Performance at 70 feet: 19 points out of 20

The Zephrus was extremely consistent at all distances.  If you are an angler who finds yourself in all types of water the Zephrus will be a great all-around rod for you.

4. (tie)    Hardy Zephrus - 58

Hardy Zephrus

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Josh's Comments

The Hardy Zenith was near the top of my list last year and its no surprise the Zephrus has taken over as Hardy’s best all-around rod.  It’s a great rod at every distance and very easy to control. This seems to be a blind test favorite when we get customers on the lawn who are interested in a 5-weight rod.  I think the main reason this rod continues to be a favorite among new and average casters is its ability to track strait and present tight loops with a wide verity of casting strokes. 


Performance at 25 feet:  19.5 points out of 20  

Surprisingly, the Hardy Zephrus felt lighter in my hand than all the rods excluding the NRX LP.  It felt exceptionally controlled and accurate; almost every cast hit the 10-inch target.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.5 points out of 20  

Amazingly, it was just as easy to throw 45 feet as 25 feet, maybe even easier to hit the plate.  I personally think the Scott and Loomis are better rods but the Hardy Zephurs will work better for less attentive and more lackadaisical casters.   

Performance at 70 feet: 19 points out of 20  

At long distance the Zephurs was good, (not quite as good as its bigger brother the Wraith) but it had enough reserve power to hit the mark. I also noticed I threw fewer tailing loops with the Scott Radian and Hardy Wraith.  This is mainly because I have a tendency to slam the power in too quickly and the Hardy Zephurs is a little too soft in the tip to be accurate with this casting mistake. 


#6.  Hardy Zephrus  - 57/60

Hardy Zephrus

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JG's Comments

I liked the look of the Zephrus right off the bat.  It sports a nice green blank with dark olive accent wraps and a very attractive burled green hardwood reel seat that stands out.  Luckily its not only the looks of the Zephrus that Hardy got right.  The rod feels great in hand, balancing out well and giving me a great feel for where my fly was going to land. 

Performance at 25 feet:   19 points out of 20

In close the Zephrus has a soft enough action that the rod still flexes a little bit allowing for a natural casting stroke and really accurate casts.  I noticed that it was really easy to go from one target to another with this rod, its very "point and shootable." 

Performance at 45 feet:   20 points out of 20

At mid-range targets the same accuracy, feel, and ease of presentation is still part of the equation but with more of the rod working for the caster, you really get a feel for how much power the rod has.  It can drive through the wind with ease or delicately present a dry fly.  The Zephrus is a very versatile rod especially at this distance.

Performance at 70 feet:   18 points out of 20

At our longest test range (70 feet) the Zephrus continued to deliver the goods.  It retains a really nice feel at long range and keeps the angler feeling very connected, something that many rods lose at long ranges.  The power of the rod is smooth and easy to handle, there is plenty of it though, making long casts happen without too much trouble. 

Hardy Zephrus
Hardy Zephrus
Hardy Zephrus

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