Today, buying your fishing equipment from a gunsmith may seem unsportsmanlike. But when all-steel reels were introduced in the late 19th century and became fly fishing’s first game changer, jewelers, clockmakers and what was then a maker of guns—England’s Hardy—stepped in to supply anglers. Hardy’s aptly named “Perfect” was an instant bestseller and the company has been the leader and technological innovator in precision fly-fishing gear ever since. Hardy’s followed up by perfecting the cassette reel system, which allows anglers to easily swap out different weight lines using small, lightweight, preloaded plastic cassettes. It makes packing for a trip and adjusting to quarries and conditions on the fly (pun intended) a snap. The Hardy Ultradisc Cassette Fly Reel is the most advanced—and gorgeous—model you can buy ($350 to $500).
Pair this with a top-of-the-line Helios 3D four-piece rod from Orvis. Orvis has made fly rods for over 175 years, and the Helios is the cream of the crop, designed to cast long distances with extreme accuracy. The anodized aluminum and carbon reel seat and titanium stripping guides cannot rust. The rod itself carries a 25-year guarantee. It comes in 10 weights: 4-6 weight for most freshwater river fish such as trout; 7-8 for larger fish like steelhead or lake fishing for bass; 9-10 for salmon and smaller saltwater fish; 11-12 for tarpon or bigger saltwater game. All run $1,000 (orvis.com). Don’t forget to take advantage of Orvis’ personalization to add your name—and avoid any ownership confusion on these coveted rods.
Pack up the rods, reels and extra cassettes in the recently updated classic Orvis Carry-It-All Bag ($229), which earns its name by handling the hardware, plus sunglasses, hats, flip-flops, sunscreen and fly cases. It comes in two sizes, two colors, is lockable and tough, with a separate zippered rod compartment, multiple adjustable dividers and an outside pocket. Both sizes meet airline carry-on requirements.
This is the corrected version of the story that appears in the March/April 2023 issue of Cigar Aficionado.