Clearly, this is a large arbour reel. Fractionally less obviously, this takes cassette spools. The smaller of two CLS models has the capacity for a WF7 with 70m of backing. At 7.2oz (204g) this is a weighty reel, however, on the butt of a 10ft rod this feels fine and that large diameter arbour stores line in large coils, lets me pick up line fast and makes the drag that bit smoother.

Hardy has opted to link the spool to the frame with a captive nut, nothing wiggles or moves which shouldn’t wiggle or move. Remove the spool to reveal the cassette. This has the most user friendly means of getting spools in and out that I have met to date – slide the lock catch to unlock and the spool comes out, slide the catch to lock and your spool is locked. More complicated to make than the typical o-ring mechanism but so much nicer to use! Switching drag direction is similarly simple, unscrew that brass nut at the centre of the spool and turn the bearing – no tools, or screws – easy!

Look at the edge of the cassette, the designer has set wee holes around the spool, each labelled with a fly-line term for line size and density. Look in the box and you find a bag of little plastic plugs, which I can use to mark my cassettes. Nice idea, the designer has clearly had that “What line is this?” moment. I will, of course, lose the plugs!

In the frame, behind that brass nut, Hardy has put a neat wee drag mechanism, based around a couple of Rulon drag washers, the result is smooth and more than adequate.

This reel is well designed. The guys behind this see the issue they are addressing very clearly and solve the problem, and then make it easy for the owner and user of the reel to use – which is more unusual than it should be. Very well made and finished, a good looking, functional reel.