It is has been said that fishing is the sport with the most equipment associated with it, and the Hardy company in Alnwick, U.K. has made a handsome living producing just about every imaginable fly fishing gadget and accessory.
A small band of collectors has been able to locate even the rarest and oddest examples of this craft, including some items that only appeared in a single Hardy’s catalog, possibly for good reason.
This assemblage of Hardy accessories belongs to John Shaner, Hardy’s top sales official in this country, who is both an avid collector and a talented fly fisherman and authority on soft hackle flies.
Besides the wonderful club fly boxes, this photo includes several gut cutters, micrometers, and gut gauges to measure and prepare leaders, a pocket watch-shaped dry fly drier, a Wardle Magnifier, and a wonderful device called “The Curate.”
The Hardy Brothers Curate (photo from Dean Smith’s Tackle Treasures collection) looks like an overgrown pair of tweezers, with a dry fly oil compartment in the screw-off handle, where there is also a pick—try using that all at once streamside!
The Hardy Fisherman’s Knife, the Wardle Magnifier, and the Hardy Unique Salmon Fly Reservoir are just elegant and beautifully designed examples of tackle mania.
Steve Woit is the author of “Fly Fishing Treasures: The World of Fly Fishers and Collecting”, a book featuring profiles of 30 experts and collectors and over 800 photographs of rare and collectible fly rods, reels, flies, books, and ephemera.