Well it sounds new, nano, and it is. Sort of. For I was privileged to zoom up to Hardy’s Alnwick empire last June on a press assignment to discover SINTRIX (silica nano matrix which sounds a bit like a film starring Keanu Reeves). And it was good (really good).
I mean it, I cast on the lawns out in front of the factory with three of the Sintrix single-handed fly rods. The most impressive being a 10 ft 8/9 wt rod, the sort of configuration that normally is billed as a great grilse/sea-trout rod but in fact feels like one of those broomhandles Charles Jardine casts with at the Game Fair. The sort of thing I’d consign to the garage for a spot of light carping on our pond.
But not this one. Made from carbon fibre held together with resin impregnated with silica nano spheres, it was powerful, light and felt like the ultimate fishing tool. Oh and Sintrix rods – proven to be 60 per cent stronger than normal carbon fibre rods – are unbreakable, they really are. That said, as readers of this blog will know, I’m a lot of a Hardy fan.
Loved going to Hardy, BTW, on what was my first ever visit. I went up with stout fellow Jeff Prest, a colleague on Trout Fisherman mag, who drove really well when it was his turn on the way back down the A1 (honestly you did Jeff, apart from those two incidents with the ‘surprise’ slip road and associated traffic and the brake lights in the fast lane ten feet in front of us). They put us up in the plushest hotel on Alnwick high street and after a very good meal the evening before I even made it first down to breakfast, feeling incredibly smug because I knew all the other journos had been hammering the whisky in the bar till late but yours truly had gone to bed relatively early (midnight) with nothing more enebriating than a cup of tea and a plastic hotel room biscuit.
But now it’s Nano all the way. Hardy are doing it, a company beginning with L are doing it, others are trying it too, but none as well as Hardy, is my belief (they convinced me up there in Alnwick they had the secret formula of not only the right shaped nano particles but also the right resin to hold them in and they ‘cook’ them the right way in their ovens, so there). SINTRIX of course is unique and trademarked and belongs to Hardy.
And guess what? I can’t afford any of it – especially since the word is that all rod prices are going up about 30 per cent soon thanks to increased labour and production costs in China (a good thing for those who believe in being nice to your workforce and looking after their welfare).
I know I am a little luckier than many with a reasonable collection of gear I’ve built up faster than I can break it (he joked). I caught 30 Russian salmon last May on an ‘old-fashioned’ Hardy Swift 15-footer, and while that one was borrowed, I have their 14-footer, and a 15ft Ovis Shooting Star, both of which are brill rods and not a nano particle in sight (I know, invisible to the naked eye). I also have a very nice collection of RIO AFS shooting heads to go with the above so feel kitted out for salmon at least.
But make no mistake those Sintrix rods are sublime and will revolutionise game-fishing. I have never seen a group of grown men so excited in a board room as I did up at Hardy and my call is they have very good reason to be and time will prove it.
Anyway, any dosh I have this year is going towards a certain 2011 fishing trip(s) I am planning [“a certain”, “trips”, please explain!] so I will just have to make do with what I’ve got but I can’t deny I’m not looking forward to the day I have a Sintrix or three hanging in the fishing room or best of all in my hands as I wade into the head of a salmon pool.