Hardy Zenith Fly Rod Review

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The Hardy Zenith SINTRIX Fly Rod has been pleasing line slinging fly fishermen for the past two seasons. Hardy’s rod designers licensed SINTRIX technology from the material and chemistry wizards at 3M® to develop a line of fly fishing rods that have personality. In the 5 weight Zenith that personality is “a go getter.” Read on for my Hardy Zenith fly rod review including tips on choosing a line to really make this rod sing.

How Are Fly Rods Made?

The heart and soul of any fly rod is the blank. Micro thin sheets of graphite, carbon fiber, or fiberglass are formed together with resin, to make the raw rod. Once the resin has cured, the material is then milled or sanded back from the blank to achieve the desired action for a given weight class of fly line. Other components are then assembled; cork handle, reel seat, and line guides. The resin used in manufacturing the Zenith blanks is enhanced with SINTRIX, nano-sized glass-like beads, and cured according to specifications provided from 3M. The resulting blank is stronger, lighter, and more energetic.

How Does the Zenith Fish?

So the all-important question, “How does the Zenith SINTRIX fish?” Since  Hardy believes this line of fly rods have personality, consider the Zenith to be like a stock broker. It has bit of a Type A personality. It is ambitious and looks at the big picture without sweating all the details. Yet it also has some tricks up its sleeve to get the job done.  At the end of a day of fishing with the Zenith you won’t feel exhausted or defeated.

Like most premium fly fishing rods, the Zenith SINTRIX fly rod feels like an extension of the arm. Plenty light enough in hand to fish all day, but with enough substance to inspire the application of some strength. The blank really seems to come alive with powering up to strong casting hauls; indicative of a fast action rod. The Zenith comes with plenty of hook setting power, and retains a solid, but sensitive feel for fighting fish. Solid fish feel is sometimes lost on more powerful rods, but not with the Zenith. The skilled angler will need that fish feel to be successful at landing fish, as the rod tip, while sensitive, does not have a lot of cushion. This can cause small hooks to pull or bend.  Medium to long casts are the bread and butter of this rod. The Zenith allows the angler to competently and crisply mend those long casts for a great  presentation.

Our Final Take on the Zenith

Hardy has produced a powerful all-around fly rod in the Zenith SINTRIX. The angler looking for one rod to cover most fly fishing applications, and who can appreciate some "umph" will enjoy this rod. Casting indicator nymph rigs, streamers with a sink tip line, and larger sized dry flies on a Zenith is no problem.

However, small flies (under 20), especially at close range, can be tricky with this fly rod. The Zenith does not load up close without a crisp stroke and haul. In this case, the Zenith fly rod is not ideal  for the angler trying to softly lie their fly on the water while sight fishing in a stream.

Choosing the Right Fly Line for the Zenith

And if you’re going to fish with a high performance rod like the Zenith you want a high performance fly line to match. My favorite everyday application line would be Rio's Grand WF5F. This line offers an over weighted head, designed to help load fast action rods, giving you healthy feedback from the rod loading.

I also recommend the new Perception line from Rio when fishing the Zenith SINTRIX fly rod. Like, the Rio Grand, the Perception also has amazing line feedback, due to the new ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology. Rio’s unique tri-color line is a great tool for measuring out distances on casts to targets under 30 feet. Consider going up a size to get a little more line speed out of the Zenith at close range. Jans will carry the new Rio fly line starting next spring, so be sure to stop in and pick one up for yourself.

In the meantime, come on in to Jans on Park Avenue and take a closer look at the Hardy Zenith fly rod. Our fly fishing experts are happy to point out all the intricacies of this performance rod, so you can get out and enjoy fall fly fishing in the Wasatch.

Dan Bell, Jans Fly Fishing Expert