Hardy Aydon 8'6" 4-Weight Fly Rod Review
Just released this fall, the Hardy Aydon is a new series of rods featuring versatile medium-fast actions. While I personally gravitate more towards fast-action rods overall, I don't mind a softer rod for smaller fish in more delicate situations. With this in mind, I had an 8'6" 4-weight Aydon sent out for chasing bass and panfish on local ponds.
Rated Action: Medium-fast
Line Weight: 4
Measured Weight: Approx 2.66 ounces
Guides: (1) Titanium-framed stripping guide / Chrome single-foot
Reel Seat: Aluminum w/ burled wood insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
Hardy Aydon rod blanks are designed with multi-modulus graphite using their Sintrix material. While you can click that link for a detailed description, Hardy summarizes it nicely with the following:
"All carbon rods utilise carbon fibres that are bonded together by an adhesive resin. The resin material used in SINTRIX® is produced by 3M®, it is a unique and patented material incorporating silica nano spheres which provides two distinct benefits.
Firstly the microscopic silica spheres are able to evenly surround every individual carbon fibre filament providing a matrix of strength throughout the rod. Secondly, being spherical, the silica particles are able to resist pressure and compression from any angle. This is particularly important because it is under compression forces, on the underside of a bent rod, rather than tension forces, on the outside of the curve, that carbon fibre is most likely to weaken and potentially break. So by resisting compression better, SINTRIX® rods are stronger."
Down at the grip, the cork handle is of great quality and feels comfortable in hand. I was initially surprised to see that the grip appeared a touch on the long side, and comparing side-by-side to another 4-weight and a couple of 5-weights confirms this. In addition to its length, there's a distinct bulge in the cork right where the casting hand goes. Thankfully, it's not too big and actually gives the grip some added comfort that I wasn't expecting.
Hardy designed the Aydon with a black aluminum reel seat and a burled wood spacer. The seat uses two up-locking rings for added security, both of which turn smoothly and tighten with a feel that tells you this is a quality seat. Like the grip, the end of the reel seat is also a bit elongated, as it sticks out just a little more than average.
The blank is a glossy olive green with light olive wraps. There's one titanium-framed stripping guide, while single-foot chrome running guides make up the remaining guide train. All the guides are on the smaller side. On a side note, you can read more about snake vs. single-foot guides here.
My test rod was crafted by careful hands, with no craftsmanship errors to speak of.
I tested my 4-weight Aydon with a Ross Evolution LTX 3/4 loaded with RIO Elite Gold fly line, which features a 30-foot head weight of 126 grains. This line's weight places it at the very upper end of AFFTA's 4-weight line rating.
At short range, the Aydon simply feels fantastic. It loads easily, is highly accurate, and is buttery smooth. The rated medium-fast action seems pretty much spot-on here, as the rod flexes well and gives excellent feedback. I can definitely see this rod being a go-to for some precise dry fly fishing for trout, but living here in Florida, pond bluegill act as fun substitutes!
When casting at modest distances of around 30–40 feet, the Aydon continues to offer above-average performance. As someone who mainly fishes fast rods, I'm able to easily adjust to the slightly softer action of this blank and find it extremely satisfying to cast. The RIO Elite Gold also makes a great match for these short to medium distances; this rod does not need an overweight line to perform.
It was no surprise that the Aydon doesn't quite have the necessary punch at really long distances. I was unable to shoot the entire line the few times I attempted to max the rod out, but this rod isn't intended to do that. For doing typical 4-weight things, it's pretty awesome.
This is one setup that truly feels feather-light in hand. The rod alone weighed about 2.66 ounces by itself on my scale and pairs up awesomely with a lightweight reel. I'm pretty sensitive to weight, especially when it comes to the lighter line weights, but the Aydon has a serious lack of heft.
The 8'6" 4-weight Aydon is truly impressive and is one of the best casting 4-weight fly rods I've thrown recently—at any price. Speaking of which, the modest $525 price tag makes it even more attractive, pricing it several hundred dollars under many premium offerings out there. While I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce the word Aydon, I am certain this is a rod that will satisfy any fan of 4 weights.
Besides single-handed rods, other offerings include trout spey, spey, and 6-piece travel rods. Models span from a 7'0" 3-weight to a 14'9" 10/11, and each rod comes with a square tube and sock. Prices range from $495-$950 depending on the model.
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