Sunday, 17 Jan 2021

review: Hardy Ultradisc UDLA fly reel

Hardy’s brand identify has lengthy been synonymous with best and craftsmanship. Their click-and-pawl reels are among the most sought-after collectibles in the sport, and it’s not infrequent to peer 50 or 60-12 months-historic Hardy reels sell on eBay for $500 or more.

while their vintage catalog is powerful, Hardy isn’t just resting on its laurels, either. They’ve put out probably the most finest dry fly and Euro nymphing rods I’ve fished in fresh years, together with some stellar reels.

Their most up-to-date disc-drag reel — the Ultradisc UDLA — is one Hardy is advertising as “every little thing you want and nothing you don’t in a disc drag fly reel.” And, it might simply be the company’s choicest due to the fact its well-cherished ASR changed into launched.

What Works


just a few years in the past, Hardy came out with their Ultralite MTX reel. It looks as snazzy as any high-end disc-drag reel, however didn’t rather function like one. When the drag became cranked down, the Ultralite MTX had a substantive hitch when a fish started to tug line—otherwise known as startup inertia. That wasn’t whatever you wanted to see in a reel that all started at $429.

luckily, that problem isn’t one the Ultradisc UDLA falls prey to. The UDLA’s drag is buttery-smooth, with undetectable startup inertia. For as mild and compact as it is, the UDLA also packs an amazing amount of fish-stopping power. Pair that with its lack of startup inertia, and you’re taking a look at a reel that’ll tackle both a bruising 20 pound bluefish on wire a wire chief and a 20-inch trout on 7x tippet.

The drag is additionally significantly extra adjustable than on other Hardy disc-drag reels. Hardy has included a colour-coded drag knob on all their reels for several years now—a device that segmented the drag into mild, medium, and heavy pressure (represented through eco-friendly, orange, and red dots, respectively). in case your drag knob was on the 2d orange dot, as an instance, your reel changed into putting medium pressure in your fly line. It’s a device that’s extremely good for quick changes, inexperienced anglers, and for letting you know exactly how tight your drag is earlier than you birth fishing, but it surely sacrifices some tuning potential, since your drag is locked into 12 predefined stopping aspects. The UDLA ditches that characteristic, deciding on a drag that the business says is “unregulated” and permits “for quality changes.” based on my journey, that’s not marketing hyperbole. The UDLA’s drag adjusts right down to tiny increments, allowing you to put simply the correct volume of power on a big fish.

Oh, and one final issue — for those who love the musical sound of a good click on-and-pawl reel, the UDLA comes closer than every other disc-drag reel I’ve fished to replicating the song of a click-and-pawl reel.


As outlined above, the UDLA is outrageously mild. It’s the lightest disc-drag reel that Hardy has ever made, and my review mannequin (rated for two/3/4wt strains) clocks in at three.eight oz.

frame Design

Hardy went with a totally new body design on the UDLA, to make it greater user-pleasant for Euro nymphing. The body is built in such a method that the line guard sits under the fringe of the spool. in response to Hardy, this design makes fishing chief-only or skinny running line rigs a great deal more straightforward. The conception turned into to eliminate the opportunity for leader, mono-best rigs, competitors and different skinny fly lines from getting stuck between the body and spool — an issue commonly experienced Euro-nymphing rigs but one I haven’t experienced with the UDLA.


are you able to locate a completely machined reel that offers related drag efficiency for only the UDLA’s $325 fee tag? doubtless. however, you’ll sacrifice the ultra mild weight and Euro-friendly frame design.

What Doesn’t

In all honesty, there’s not a lot wrong with the Ultradisc UDLA. It’s a huge-arbor reel that can provide on all its promises and lives up to the advertising and marketing hype.

remaining be aware

if you’re available in the market for a lightweight, fully CNC-machined reel with big fish stopping vigor and silky easy startup inertia, you may additionally find yourself looking at reels whose cost tags haven’t any situation cracking the $500 mark. while the ULDA is through no potential a finances reel, Hardy has packed in a function set that makes it a major value. In certainty, it’s rare to find a product these days it truly is price each penny of its asking expenditures. The Hardy Ultradisk UDLA reel really is.


Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing creator, ebook, and bamboo rod builder from Utah. He’s the news Editor for MidCurrent, and a contributor for Hatch magazine. connect with him on Instagram/Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.