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December 07, 2016
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Summerfest and the Hardy Brothers Cup

Saturday, August 6 found the Tangler and friends wandering through the various stands of vendors exhibiting their wares at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center’s Summerfest weekend. Wow, bargains galore. I picked up a number of Mustad hooks at a price of $6 a hundred. They were the old-style Mustad hooks but at that price, a steal of a deal. There were excellent prices on fly-tying materials and hardcover books that are often hard to find. Dennis Menscer, the bamboo rod builder from Hancock, NY, delivered my new eight-foot, five-weight rod. A typical Menscer product that easily fulfills Hiram Leonard’s description of a bamboo fly rod, “a useful thing, beautifully made.”

Unfortunately, I did not win the Hardy Brothers Cup. Now, there is a surprise. It was nevertheless great fun to be able to compete against such great casters as Dave Brandt, Per Brandin, Takatoshi Kumakirri and Mike McFarland. As Ring Lardner once wrote, “The race is not always to the swift, nor the contest to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”

The winner of the Hardy Brothers Cup was Masaki Takemoto from Japan, with a score of 188.5, using a rod he had built himself for use in this competition. His longest cast was 101 feet. In second place was Jin Woo Lee from Canada. Mike McFarland of the United States took third place.

In 1911 one of the Hardy brothers won the C.C. de France casting contest with a cast of 75 feet using a seven-foot 2.75-ounce rod that had been built with radically different rod tapers from other bamboo rods of that period. When Hardy Brothers decided to celebrate their 100th anniversary of that victory, they determined to produce a modern replica of that rod. They selected Tom Moran to be the rod builder. It was to be the first prize for the Hardy Brothers Cup this year. The rod had been kept in the Hardy Brothers Museum and had not been out of its case since the 1970s. Princess Margaret had been allowed to examine it at that time. Moran tweaked the rod as little as possible, and the rod won by Takemoto weighed just a tiny bit less than the original.

Takemoto had made the trip to test his skills against the many fine casters residing in North America. He told us his 101-foot cast was the longest measured cast he had ever made. As a very modest man, he said the highlight of his trip was an opportunity to cast with Joan Wulff on Sunday, “from whom [he] learned many things.”

John Shaner, of Hardy USA, did not know what to expect when the Hardy Cup contest was originated. He was very pleased with the attendance at the event and the high level of competition.

Jim Krul, the director of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (CFFCM) always felt that the CFFCM was the perfect place to hold the competition. Over 650 people attended the event on Saturday.

According to Per Brandin, a rod maker of some renown, the quality of the current Hardy bamboo rods is outstanding. That is high praise indeed, coming from that fellow.

Tom Moran, who built the replica rod, considers himself to be “just a working bloke.” However, his bamboo rods sell for $3,900 apiece. Nice work if you can get it. Brandin says his work is worth every penny. Since Per’s rods sell for nearly that amount, I guess his judgment is correct.