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Thursday, 2 August 2018

Hardy Rocket Series Shooting Heads and Tips Review



For the Salmon angler, today’s vast choice of sinking fly lines can be bewildering. Some offer better sink rate, and others claim to increase distance; however, Hardy has developed a line system that can be configured to cover all water conditions.



Hardy’s new Rocket Head Series is described as a “Modular Density Head System”. It comprises of a Rocket Head (from single-density floating to dual-density S3/S4) sold with a matching 12ft Spey Tip (dual-density Float/Hover to S4/S5). The density at the end of the head matches that at the end of the tip. The heads are sold in five weights: 6/7+ up to 11+.

Hardy Rocket Head Series
The tips are interchangeable, and extra tips are very reasonably priced.  For example you can get a Standard Scandi Spey Tip or a Light Scandi Spey Tip.  Alternatively, you can get a set of six tips in a pocket-sized wallet. Fully equipped, the angler has a comprehensive range of density configurations to cover all water conditions. Potentially, you could carry a selection of different heads to fish on large rivers where long casts with big flies are required. Alternatively, if you encounter low water or smaller rivers, there is a configuration to suit.

Scandal Spey Tips
After extensive testing in early Spring, Trout & Salmon magazine's first impressions were excellent. They found the loops, sleeved and welded at both ends of bodies and tips, "are as neat as you'll see." The colour-coded lines are smooth and supple. Weight, sink rate and length are laser-printed on the bodies and tips, so there is no confusion. The combination of colour coding and printed information "makes setting up pretty straightforward."

How Do They Perform
Trout Fisherman Magazine tested the Hardy Rocket Series on the river Tummel in late April. The water was reportedly running high, and they evaluated the Int/S2/S2/S3 and S3/S4/S4/S5 lines. Using a spring set-up, 15ft rod, 6ft heavy leader and conehead or tube, "casts up to 30 yards went out satisfactorily with excellent loop formation." Any attempt to push for greater distance had a slight effect on the turnover, however, once the lines were out, they fished well, biting down into the current. Thanks to the phased densities, "rolling to the surface before recasting was easy."

In late May, with low water in the Tummel, T&S also tested the Rocket 8/9 full floating head with its Flt/Hov tip. With a working length of 37ft and weighing 36g, the set-up comprised of a 12ft 6in Guideline LPXe 8/9 rod with a long, tapered leader and a small double. The line lived up to its name and flew out to 30 yards-plus. As with most short Scandi lines, these results are achieved using a compact casting stroke with lots of bottom hand.

Hardy Floating Running Line
T&S also test two new Hardy floating running lines (Standard, and Tapered). The Standard is bright yellow, 0.37in diameter. Quality was reportedly excellent with a nice 6in loop at the line end. "It was supple, easy to handle and shot out well." The Tapered running line had the same yellow 0.37in material but with a tapered 10ft blue section towards the mainline end. Again, it "performed well."

Wallet of Tips
Overall, Trout & Salmon say that the Rocket Heads are excellent value. They did find them a little short, but if you are into Scandi casting in tight spots with shorter rods, they are well worth considering. The wallet of dual-density tips is especially good value.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout & Salmon Magazine.

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