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Relapsed Speyaholic
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some months back I was PM'ed and asked for some input on Hardy click and pawl reels suitable for spey use. I put together a response and based on a couple recent PMs and posts, thought there was enough interest in these that it would be fun to get a draft out there for input by those far more knowledgable than I.

Let me start off by saying I’m by far not the biggest expert on Hardy click and pawl reels but I will share with you what I believe to be true. I'm sure there are probably several factual errors but I'm confident that given the knowledge base of members here, they will be identified and corrected.
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First off, old Hardy reels are nowhere near the fanciest or most intricately made reels out there. What they lack in engineering though, they more than make up for in both personality and functionality.

I know less about the Marquis Salmons than the Bougle or Perfect so will gloss over these in hopes others can fillin the blanks. It is my understanding that they came out in the late 50s or early 60’s as more of a base level reel. There were three sizes offered: the Salmon I, Salmon II and Salmon III. The III being the largest of the lot and capable of holding the largest of the long bellied lines. They are virtually bomb-proof and like the others, are loud. Years ago, I toyed with buying one but they never appealed to my eye. Of the three though they are closest to what we think of a “normal” fly reel. The handle is on the spool and they have a palming rim. They were discontinued in the mid-90s I believe but are readily available on auctions and elsewhere for between $200-350.

The Bougle was first released before World War I as a special request. There was a need for a tournament casting reel that weighed less than the Perfect’s that were Hardy’s bread and butter at the time. Built on roughly the same design as the Perfect, the Bougle had raised crossbars with a line roller instead of the oval line guide on many of the Perfects. Originals are extremely rare and fetch a high price. Around 1995, Hardy re-released the Bougle in limited numbers and designated them the Mark IV. These were nice reels and proved so popular, they soon put them into regular production. They had a silvery or “spitfire” finish and the double check of the post-1920 Perfects. The early models had problems with the wood handles swelling when wet but this was remedied by Hardy fairly quickly. Although I have heard many reports of this handle swelling, I had one of the limited early models and I never experienced this.

The Mark IV’s were discontinued last year and replaced with the Mark V’s. The newer models have a more radical spool porting and the spitfire finish is gone. Other than that and a sharp hike in price, I don’t think there is much changed. The Mark IV models are still available in some shops and on-line auctions. Expect to pay around $350 for a 4” Salmon model.

Now we are left with the Perfect. Some believe, myself included, these to be the finest mass-produced reel ever made. The earliest Perfect’s were turned out in the late 1890’s and were in production in one form or another until the early or mid 1970’s. They went from all brass to a leaded finish to finally a grey enamel finish. They can be broken into a number of models/eras but roughly can be grouped into:

The brass-faced models (pre-1900 or so) which are almost worth their price in gold. These are primarily all right hand wind and cannot be converted. They are heavy but the sound they produce cannot be duplicated and is truly musical. Expect to pay upwards of $1000-1200 for one in good condition.

Next come the early alloy models. These are fine reels and once again are primarily all right hand wind and cannot be converted. In addition the oval spring check they had was somewhat prone to breaking and was/is hard to replace. These were produced up until the early 1910’s. These can be had from time to time and depending on condition, can range from $400 - $800.

Next come the 1912 check models. These are rare and the design did not last long but they are some of the sweetest Perfect’s made. As with the earlier models, most were right hand wind and non-convertible. If you are lucky enough to find one in good shape it will go in excess of $700. If you can find one of the few left hand wind models in prime shape, you can almost double that. Note that Hardy did release a commemorative run of these two years ago. I believe that they made only 250 of a set of (3 ¾”., 4” and 4 ¼”) and a like number of individual reels in each size. A few of these were released as left hand wind. (One of the LHW 4 ¼” models rests on my T&T 10150-5. It cost me $650 but was worth every penny.)

Next comes the most available of the pre-war Perfects. These are the Duplicated Mark II’s and they featured a new more dependable double check system. These first appeared around 1918-1919. They were designed for right hand retrieve but as long as there was no revolving line guard, could be easily changed over by flipping the pawls. You could engage one pawl or two as well in case of a broken spring or if you needed more "drag". Drag of course being a loose term when referring to all Hardy click and pawl models. Compared to modern disc drags, they don’t come close but they do keep the spool from over-running and the rest can be handled by side pressure to the spool plate.

The Mark II’s had the long foot (of either allow, ribbed brass or smooth brass) of the earlier models and the fat stubby handle of either ebonite or Ivory. It is important to note that the long feet will not fit most modern reel seats so the seat will need to be rebuilt, the foot replaced with a shorter model or heaven forbid, filed down. Many of the Mark IIs available have an altered foot that in the collector’s eyes reduces the value. Luckily from a fishing standpoint, it doesn’t matter. I do know some friends though who refuse to modify or replace the feet so fish their Perfect’s held on with electrical tape. Before I had a foot built for my first 4”, I did this as well.

This era of Perfect is also characterized with curved lettering which parallels the edge of the plate. These reels can be found fairly often on auction and the price depends greatly on condition, finish and the foot. I have picked up a 4” with a filed foot for as little at $370 and paid almost twice that for an early 1920’s model with pristine foot.

Finally come the post-war models. These have straight line writing instead of the curved, a smaller ebonite handle and an appearance that they were mass produced. They retain the Mark II check and except for aesthetics, are the functional equal of the pre-war. They also sport an enamel finish to replace the hand leaded finish of the pre-war reels. These are easily found and most sport the shorter ribbed foot that will fit modern rods. Cost is largely dependent on condition and size. I sold a 4 ¼” models of this era recently for $500 but it was in pristine condition and came with the original box.

Both the Bougle and the Perfect have no palming rim, instead a spool face that you can apply finger pressure to from the side. This is possible as the handle in not on the spool as on a modern conventional fly reel but rather on the back face. Both the spool and back face turn.

The Bougles top out at 4" and are limited for large weight and long bellied spey lines. The Salmon (wide-spooled) models on the Perfects come in 1/4" increments and for spey uses are available in 3 1/2", 3 3/4", 4", 4 1/4" and 4 1/2". The sizes at the extremes are rare and fairly pricey.

Well that about covers the main models. There are a few limited models out there as well that will command premium prices and I hope others can fill in the blanks there. One example of this is the Taupo Perfect of which I believe Riveraddict to be especially fond of.

sinktip
 

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Member FRSCA
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Age ?

Sink Tip,


I just took possesion of a Marquis 9/10/11 Disc #048, wondering if you have an estimate of the age of this reel. My idea is early to mid 90's.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Jamey,

A buddy of mine has that same reel and for a disk drag, it makes a nice growl. I fished it for a month or so with a 9/10 Long Delta and thought it a nice match. Regarding age, I don't know enough about the Marquis to say for sure but I belive that my buddies dates from around that date range.

I bet some of the reel Hardy-addicts here can fill in the dates on these.

'tip
 

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loco alto!
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tip, nice, but where's the copyright symbol? I'm going to steal your summary :eek:

just kidding. You can sell me the LHW Perfect now that your all Loopy :Eyecrazy:
 

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Junkyard Spey
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You can sell me the LHW Perfect now that your all Loopy
Oh my God! Say it's not true Mr tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Any rumors about me selling any of my Perfects are quite erroneous I assure you. :tsk_tsk:
 

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fly on little wing
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Hello Sinktip

Good information. Now you really got me going to buy my first Perfect! I'm in the market for a 4" to go on a 14' rod per Willie Gunn's size recommendation. Anybody wanting to part with a 4"? It will be in my family for at least 2 generations.

Gary
 

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I have a 4" surplus to requirements. How much cash have you?
 

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all i'm going to say is=

when these `grown up',,KIDS finally leave,i'm buying Hardy's!,i love the sound of a `clicker type' reel,spent the day with disc drag reels on my single handed rods, IT"S JUST NOT RIGHT!, :tsk_tsk: ,,in fact,any mention of a disc drag reel does nothing for me,i guess the seeds that were originally planted with a winter steelhead making a reel squeel with delight ruined me,,the reel HAS to make a noise . ,sure if i was fishing for chinook fresh from salt or tarpon or some huge salty creature that could and would take all your line away,but,steelheads; no!
 

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That Guy in PEI.....
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I may have been one of those who PM'd you Tip as i was unsure of what reel would work in LHW and thanks to you and i am a proud owner of a fine little 3 3/4" wide drum that makes me almost as happy as my little girls smile :)
I really appreciate your help in regards to the inner workings of the different "eras" of the Perfect. I second the motion for the Perfect to be the finest mass produced reel!!! It is THE reel to make a guy feel like he is REALLY fishing when its strapped between his fists!!!! Hard to describe but guys know you mean business when you run with a perfect on your rod :saevilw:
Thanks for the info once again and long live the Perfect!!!!
Salmon Chaser
><)))*>
 

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Hi Sinktip

I very much appreciated your summary on the Hardy Perfects, even if it did cost me some cash :chuckle: . Could you expand a bit further on the Duplicated Mark 11's? How do you tell an early ( eg 1920's) Mark 11 from a later pre WW2 one?

Thanks

Jim
 

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BULL DOG!!!!
Gaelforce
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Would anyone know the backing capacity for a 3 3/4 wide perfect?
Wanted to put a new xlt2 #8 which is slighty smaller than the old xlt 7/8.
Thanks in advance.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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They hold about the same as the 4" Bougle V, maybe a little more. Probably will be a tight fit but doable. I fit does not work out Willie has a 4 he will sell ya :)

-sean
 

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Discussion Starter #16
How do you tell an early ( eg 1920's) Mark 11 from a later pre WW2 one?


Jim,

The simple answer is I can't tell. There are some things I know to look for but my knowledge is limited. For what it is worth, it is my understanding that all things being equal, by this I mean curved lettering and leaded finish, accurately dating an early Mark II is somewhat difficult. It boils down to two things: the foot and internal stamping of the maker's initials.

The foots on the early Mark IIs were of three types: smooth brass, ribbed brass and alloy. It is my understanding that the smooth brass foot predates the ribbed brass. The alloy though, I believe to be somewhat a wild card although I have seen a Mark I (single pawl) with a smooth alloy foot.

The maker's initials are of course a better indicator of era but there are two problems with this approach. First, only some of the reels were stamped. Second, since Hardy didn't have a lot of staff turnover, the range of certain people was fairly broad. This of course limits your ability to pin down a year. For example, James Smith, a famous maker for Hardy worked for them from 1908-1960. Conversely Gordon Talbot, who also made some Perfects, had a range of 1929-1939.

Probably the easiest thing if you have a reel you want dated is to take some pics and post them up here. I'm sure those with more knowledge than I could roughly pin it down for you.
 

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Sinktip

Thanks for the information, it was more of a general question as in looking at Perfects on eBay, I was wondering how can you tell if the age is really as claimed.

The one I have is from Willie Gunn and I trust his judgement as to its age.
Now I just have to save enought to buy a new rod to go with it ;)

Jim
 

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Dana

You must have a secret way to fit the long foot of the Perfect on your Loop reel seats? It won't work on mine :)

Jim
 
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