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The "Special Perfect" (1905-1939)
29 Mar 2022
Nearly every fly angler knows of the iconic Hardy flagship model “The Perfect” as a household name, yet the sleeper of the famed group is most certainly the unlabeled Special Perfect, only identifiable by the rim of the winding plate and the odd tension wheel. The same, highly desirable 3 1/4” Wide Perfect frame as the original Perfect, although only available in this frame size, the Special Perfect showed greatly reduced annual production totals over 34 years from a high of 62 to a low of 4; which on average equates to only about 30 reels per year rolling off the line.
Hardy lessened the aluminum reel's winding plate and housing, thus creating in The Special Perfects a reel that weighed 2 1/8th ounces lighter than the original cataloged weight of the standard 3 1/4” Wide Perfect. Early models were fitted with handles made of ivorine but were later changed to ebonite in 1923. Over the years, the Special was outfitted with three different check mechanisms and took on both pre and post-war enamels as well as the current style of line writing.
Another notable fact regarding the Special Perfect reel is that the faceplate on this Hardy model was never truly stamped as such. It takes a discerning eye to identify the subtle differences between the two same-sized Perfects and know full well which is which and that the Special ONLY came in the 3 1/4” wide.
With an original short foot of either ribbed aluminum or brass, and in a length to fit most of today's smaller seated rods, this click and pawl beauty is an ideal size reel for modern-day 5/6 wt Spey pairings. While the 3 1/4” wide Perfect~with or without a rotating line guard~ is very hard to find, the unique, Special Perfects are even more so a treasure to behold and this gem of a reel commands a high ticket selling price.
Special Perfect, indeed.
“We want to possess what they’re not making any more, what not many others can get, and what will distinguish us from others.”