Hardy Fishing Tackle
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Hardy is perhaps the oldest fishing tackle company in the country. Hardy began life as a gunsmith, based in Alnwick, Northumberland, in 1872. Two short years later, the first adverts appeared advertising the company as a supplier of premier river and sea fishing tackle, and the business really took off. To this day, Hardy has maintained its heritage of high quality, innovative tackle, and continues to produce outstanding big game and fly fishing tackle to this day. Its values are the same as its founders, and Hardy is constantly on a quest for improvement. This value means that Hardy has remained at the forefront of tackle development for almost 150 years.
Brothers William and John James (JJ) Hardy saw incredible success in the years that followed the business expansion and by 1882 had amassed enough money to prove William worthy of marrying the daughter of the head game keeper on a local estate. This marriage was not only wonderful for William, but profitable for the business, as his new wife’s father was an avid angler and produced a range of flies for the brothers, which remained on their product catalogue for years to follow. It is this kind of input from passionate anglers which has helped the business on its line to success since day one, and today Hardy works with a pro-team of anglers to help develop its product range. Including world class international anglers and champion casters, the Hardy pro-team can be found at every fishing event Hardy attends, all ready to sing the praises of the brand from their own success stories. Their behind the scenes input ensures that Hardy produces tackle that continually performs at the top end of angling. This team includes Hardy Business Manager Howard Croston, who, incidentally, is a fly fisher for Team England.
With William Hardy focussed on the financial side of the business, JJ Hardy could focus on coming up with product ideas for development, including an angler’s pipe. Initially the brothers were just a stockist for tackle produced by other companies, but by 1891 they had developed their first true piece of tackle: the Perfect reel. Perfect by name, perfect by nature, a version of the original reel is still being produced to this date – an incredible 130 years of almost interrupted production.
This was to be the first of a range of innovative reels and other tackle items, such as the industry’s first full bail arm. Many of the reels that are now no longer produced have become collectible items of angling history, and the Zane Grey multiplier (produced1928 – 1957) is one of the most highly sought after angling antiques in the country. The product range grew exponentially over the years and in 1929 the Hardy’s catalogue could be considered an encyclopaedia of angling knowledge – 374 pages of fishing tackle and guidance.
Although the first few decades of the business saw it confined to Alnwick and the surrounding areas, by the early twentieth century they were trading from London premises, as well as having warehouses in Edinburgh and Manchester. These warehouses enabled Hardy to trade around the world and its angling empire spread as far as China and Australia.
Hardy had a member of the Hardy family at the helm for 120 years of its life. After a brief spell under the Harris and Sheldon Group, which threatened to sink the company, Hardy rebranded as its own company and went by the name House of Hardy. House of Hardy operated from 1985 till 2004, when it underwent a final name change. It now operates as Hardy and Greys, in conjunction with former rival business Greys.
Hardy produces an EZine on the Hardy website, which is updated regularly to keep its customers up to date with all the latest news from the brand, as well as providing reports on angling championships that Hardy is involved with. Hardy also has a YouTube channel, hardyfishing. This channel gives tips and tricks from members of Hardy’s pro-team, as well as showcasing some of the latest product releases.