Hanak Superlight Rod Review

By Tom Jarman.

When selecting a rod for my competition and leisure fishing, there are three main things I like to consider. These are; how the rod performs, it’s durability, and how comfortable it is to fish with. For me, the Hanak Superlight rods certainly tick all of these boxes.

Having used these rods for more than two years now, I would describe their action as clean and crisp. It allows very accurate and delicate presentations with very little effort, while handling both large and small fish beautifully. While the butt of the rod does enable the angler to land large fish, the softer tip protects lighter tippets well but still seems to track straight during the cast even if I venture slightly off course. The tip of the rod recovers very quickly and there is basically no "side to side" wobble if you move the rod slightly off the straight line path.

This is little surprise I suppose seeing as though the development of these rods can be attributed to the multiple time world champion, Czech fly fishing team. Many of the best river rods in the world come from within Europe probably due to the diversity of rivers they posses, population and popularity of all styles of successful fly fishing.
The Hanak Superlight is well put together with single foot guides and a lovely, unique finish. There are small dots which enable you to line each piece of the rod up perfectly when putting them together and the tapered cigar shaped cork grip gives good feel on such a light blank.

Finally, this rod and is amazingly light! When you spend long hours on the river, making hundreds of casts, often keeping high rod angles to minimize drag and maximize control, this is invaluable. At the time of writing, this rod is in fact the lightest four piece, 9'6" #3 available on the market. In spite of the rigours of travel and guiding, I have not broken this rod yet. While to some people this may not seem like a big deal, for those who know me and the fishing here, it has clearly survived a few good hits with tungsten beads and it's fair share of bush bashing. 
In the recent World Fly Fishing Championships in Vail, Colorado, this was my river rod of choice. I fished with a 9’6" #3 Superlight when both nymphing and dry fly fishing. It handled the fish very well, and had no problem landing a 60cm rainbow trout on the Upper Eagle River on .10 (7X) tippet.
During the past guiding season in Tasmania, a few clients had the chance to fish with this rod. They were all amazed at how light the rod is and how well it was able to deliver the flies to the fish. I already know that a portion of these clients will be fishing with their own Superlights this season down in Tassie.
Of all the 3 weight 9 or 10 foot rods I have fished with, this is by far the lightest and most advanced. Whether you are on the water all of the time, or are only fishing here and there, owning gear that will last and maximize your chance to catch fish on the water, is a must. This is why I fish with a Hanak Superlight.

These rods also come in other weights and I am dying to test out the 9'6" #4 and #5. The #4 is former world fly champion, Martin Droz's favourite rod and I know I will find a place for it in my armoury before the next world championships. Each rod tube can actually fit three rods in them so why stop at one?

The extra six inches on these rods enables better line management when nymphing or fishing across currents. Although six inches may not seem like much, in practice, it equates to far better line control. Due to the action of the rod however, it remains as accurate as any nine foot rod I have cast. What a great combination!

Until recent times, these rods would only have been available in Europe but now they can be purchased from any good fly tackle store in Australia. Considering they are not as expensive as their top of the range counterparts from other companies, they are also brilliant value for money. You are basically getting a thousand dollar rod for far less.

The Superlight #2 is also now available in 3 models. The 290/296 can be used as a
9' or 9'6" rod. The 296 and 299 can be special ordered through your local tackle store in Australia.

The Hanak Superlight rods come in line weights from 2wt through to 7wt. Another comment made by my competition fishing companions is how Hanak have maintained the same action throughtout the line weights which is quite unique in itself.

Tom Jarman

Rainbow Lodge Guide

Australian Fly Fishing Team Member

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