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The Genius Behind SINTRIX by Andrew Herd
Advertising fishing rods must be a tough business - after all what can you say about a new range apart from the fact that it is long thin and a different colour to the old range? Oh and of course it must be made of a new type of carbon fibre though it differs so little from the previous formula that only a chemist could tell the two apart not that a teeny little consideration like that ever held a good marketing department back. You and I know this and yet we still go out and buy the nine foot six seven weight knowing that it won't be much different to the eight weight we already have that came from the range before the range that just got replaced. With trees you count rings to age ‘em with anglers you count rods - the more we have the older we are or something like that. Call me a skeptic.
Anyway once in a while something goes wrong and this well-established process breaks down; but this is so uncommon that it has happened only twice in my lifetime. The first time was when carbon fibre pioneered by Hardy came out making glass rods obsolete overnight. The second time was much more recent and it started with a trip to the Brae Water on the Spey.
Hardy had just released their double handed Zenith Rods and much though I was impressed with the stories of people tying knots in the tip sections and using them to strangle Great Whites with one hand behind their backs I could not see the point of dropping a shedload of cash on a Salmon rod when I had too many already. On the other hand I was very interested in the idea of a fourteen foot rod mainly because there are only so many places in the world where you need anything longer and none of them are in the UK. So north I went camera in hand and on the second day I handed the Zenith to Spey Ghillie Blair Banks who promptly cast into the future with it but then Blair would do that if you equipped him with a school ruler as long as it had a long enough line. I did like the fourteen footer - I hooked one of the liveliest Salmon I have ever caught with it and despite the fish being no particular size we ended up having to get in the boat and land it 200 yards below where we hooked it. It was a hard fight and to make matters worse I had run out of fifteen pound nylon so I spent most of the time trying to protect the tippet from a fish that did everything except dig a hole or fly. Still the penny did not drop.
I gave in to the advertising and bought a ten foot five weight Zenith. Why did I do that? To be honest I have no idea because I already have at least two ten foot five weights maybe three except I am not quite sure where the other one is right now. I went fishing with my new toy like you do and in the middle of the season I bought another - which means I now have four ten foot five weights possibly five except that the difference is that I don't care where the fifth one is any more and the other two are unlikely to leave the shelter of their tubes in a long while. Why? Because I finally got the genius that lies behind SINTRIX.
It is true that you can fight ridiculously large fish using rods built from this astonishing material but that is kind of missing the point because SINTRIX is chameleon-like stuff and its secret lies in is its sensitivity not its strength. Don't get me wrong when you need power there is plenty available and the one thing these rods do not do is to fail to deliver on distance but given that half my fish are caught with less than a couple of rod's length of line outside the tip ring I don't often find long casts essential. No the quality of the ten foot five weight that became more and more apparent everyday I fished with it was that I could really horse a fish in on a 6X tippet - and get away with it time after time when other fishermen using lesser rods were getting repeated break-offs. I now own several other rods from the range and all of them are excellent but the ten foot five weight is the sweet spot as far as I am concerned because it makes for such an excellent balance between ease of casting and line control along with that priceless ability to protect fine tippets. A few years ago I hooked an enormous wild Trout on the upper Test that disappeared around the first corner it could find upstream and I know I would have netted it had I had a Zenith. Well maybe I would still be playing it... it was that long. Longer even.
So should you happen to be thinking about buying another new rod that you don't need I would suggest that you take a serious look at the Zenith range. I have grown to like fast rods despite myself but it has to be said that the Zeniths do not feel particularly quick to me although that may well be because they have a remarkably progressive action. One caution is that all the rods in the range feel totally different without a line and although they are extremely light in the hand they do feel an order of magnitude stiffer when you are waggling them around in a shop than they will in action. When you are at the waterside you will forget that you have a Zenith in your hand. As simple as that.
Customers in the UK can purchase Hardy products mentioned in this article online on the Hardy website.
Andrew Herd is an official photographer for Hardy & Greys. Andrew is also an Angling Trust Ambassador angling researcher historian and writer.