Saturday, February 23, 2008

So Much For Tradition

Sad news!
Hardy of Alnwick England, the maker of legendary fly reels and the major caretaker of fly fishing tradition has fallen to the riches of a global economy.
So hold on to those old Perfects, Bougles and St.Georges because they are now relics of a bygone day when tradition meant something in our sport.
Certainly the Hardy Brothers must be rolling over in their graves at this.
Here are the details from
World famous fishing tackle manufacturer Hardy & Greys aims to double in size within the next five years.
The plans come after dramatic restructuring saw the Alnwick-based company make 16 redundancies at the end of 2005 after moving reel production from its headquarters to Peterlee.
It has farmed out manufacturing abroad, upped its exports and moved out of solely producing its celebrated fly-fishing gear into coarse angling equipment and even making aerials for military vehicles.
And as the changes began to take effect, 2006 saw the 128-year-old company generate £9.1m worth of sales, 10% up on the previous year and £4.6m higher than 2003. In three years, Hardy's has reduced costs by moving 80% of its manufacturing to the Far East and by looking beyond its traditional fly-fishing market into sea, carp and coarse fishing.
As part of this strategy, Hardy & Greys took over European distribution for the US company Fishpond in 2006 and in 2005 bought Chub, an Essex-based carp fishing equipment firm.
It now employs 87 people, most of whom are located at its headquarters, with seven employed at a new 50,000sq ft warehouse in Cramlington. Hardy's managing director Richard Sanderson said: "Three years ago, 66% of our staff were employed in manufacturing our products. Now that figure is less than 20% [about 20 people], with a far greater emphasis placed on sales and marketing and research and development."
Now after driving through the changes and seeing the business double in size since his arrival in 2003, Mr Sanderson is bullish about the future. He said: "We are confident of achieving our objectives by continuing to incorporate three main thrusts to our strategy.
"The first is that our products are now largely manufactured in the Far East and, as a result, they have become price competitive in foreign markets like the US [because the pound is much stronger than the dollar]. Secondly, during the course of 2007 we anticipate producing around 350 new products with in excess of 500 anticipated for 2008, which will give us a tremendous sales boost.
"Thirdly, we are aiming to expand in all markets where we are currently under- performing. Despite enjoying a significant share of the fly-fishing market, we have now also entered the carp and course fishing business and they are the biggest parts of the UK market."


  1. I think Hardy's have lost the plot. I bought a Hardy reel last year and within 2 weeks I had to send it back as the pawl mechanism had broken.

  2. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Old Hardy workers of Alnwick and the Hardy family themselves must be turning in their graves at the prostitution of their good name and reputation.

  3. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Interesting re Hardys. I worked there 1975 to '83, toolroom and development. I am now making my own handmade reels. You can find me on
    also with a reelmaking blog on
    also you will find this interesting
    which is my page 'repairing reels for Jamie' (Maxtone Graham).

    Richard Kell