Hardy Demon Switch Fly Rod Review

The Hardy Demon was the outright winner in the Trout and Salmon 15ft rod test last summer and the new 11ft Hardy Demon Switch is another impressive size in the Demon range.

The blank is marked "AWS 11’ #7/8 T". AWS stands for "All Water Series," and the T is used to indicate the idea behind the rod’s design. T stands for Tactical, and this translates into a standard double-handed rod action. Regarding action, the rod bends smoothly with a middle-to-tip flex and fast recovery. Other Hardy blanks are marked with an E, which stands for "Extreme" and denotes a rod designed on the edge of what might be considered normal, such as an ultrafast action single-handed rod designed for maximum distance and power.

Middle-to-tip Action
There is no Extreme option in the switch rod range. The rod is built on a redesigned Sintrix 330 blank. Hardy’s proprietary Sintrix technology uses a resin material that incorporates “silica nanospheres” that “improve strength and resist compression from all angles”. Sintrix 330 promises to deliver an improvement of 30 per cent in compressive strength over a conventional rod, which is to say that the blank is much stronger when it bends during casting.

The rod has a lovely metallic olive finish with high-quality dark metal Fuji rings and a smart down-locking aluminium reel seat – there are two nuts, which are easy to spin with a flick of the finger, and together they lock the reel securely in place.

The handle is slim and feels very comfortable in the hand. The bottom handle is shorter, as befits a switch rod, and the whole configuration encourages a lighter touch.

Demon Switch Bottom Handle
The rod has was tested by Trout & Salmon using the 7/8wt model, rated for 450-480 grain fly lines, with a Rio Scandi Short shooting-head and Gripshooter running line. The rod has been designed for modern salmon fishing: it’s accurate, loads easily and the tip recovery is fast. It feels incredibly light in hand, handles a decent amount of overhang and copes with a variety of spey-casts. It also casts well overhead, propelling the short shooting-head a long way. It’s forgiving if your timing is a little out, and will, therefore, suit most casters and casting styles.
Rio Scandi VersiTip
Switch rods are commonly associated with small rivers and summer runs of grilse, however, they can be beneficial anywhere space is tight – the shorter length means a smaller D-loop and so less room is required behind the caster. Matched to a short shooting-head, such as the 34ft Rio Scandi Short 7/8wt, it is possible to fish in places where longer rods simply cannot go.

There is also the benefit that a shorter, lighter rod is easier to use and less physically demanding over the course of a day. You may not be able to cast quite as far as with a 14ft rod, but when the right combination of shooting-head and running line is deployed you may find that the distances you can reach are pleasantly surprising.

This would be an excellent rod for fishing on smaller, wilder rivers or lower summer flows when the grilse are running and wee black flies are the order of the day.

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