The Hardy Princess first graced the market in 1953 and was the first fly reel made by Hardy Brothers with a Mark II check mechanism AND the very first reel to be set up for left or right-hand wind. The first Hardy Princess Reels were a mint green finish with brass details and came in three sizes~ 3 inches, 3 1/4 inches, and 3 1/2 inches. In a short time of use, it was noted that the green coating was not particularly durable, nor exceedingly popular thus Hardy discontinued the mint green and brought in the traditional lightweight colors we see today in gray with a silver spool.
The last year of production for the Princess was 1958 for all 3 sizes and she disappeared for a short time but was returned to the market in 1961, but ONLY in the 3 1/2” and in a more subdued coloration of that which we see today on all of the Lightweight Series of reels. 1989 through 1998 the Hardy Princess could be purchased in more of a brownish color with brass details, deemed “The Golden Princess”.
Princess was made in the United Kingdom until around 2003 and once again deleted, then made in Korea and now made back in England. There is a very rare, grayish-brown Princess ~100 samples only~ and it’s very difficult to find. The newer Princess Lightweights that we see today (1961-2003) are very common on the market, hard-working and a must-have reel for a 6/7 single hand rod or trout spey.
Make no mistake: this fine Princess is ready to rumble, a tough-as-nails type, trendsetter of her time who helped usher in the iconic Lightweight trout series. No frills and game-day ready to impress, I’ve named my Princess “Joan”, just to honor such an incredible angler way ahead of her time who inspires me still today.
Hardy’s 150th Anniversary Lightweight Series
When Hardy looked back into its history to select the best tackle to commemorate its 150th anniversary, it was quickly agreed that the Lightweight series in the 1970 edition was the correct choice to reissue. A series that is a true Hardy original, and also price accessible, ensures the broadest participation in the celebration of Hardy’s Anniversary.
The full Lightweight Series has been reissued with a nickel silver double screw line guide, raised spindle casing, three screw latch, the iconic reel-in-hand logo, and a collectible leather reel bag. Sure to be collector’s items, the brass line guards are all stamped with commemorative dating of 1872-2022 and will only be sold until December 2022.
Versatile and iconic, Hardy Princess is a must-have reel for any serious angler.