Iasgair, I may be wrong but I thought Hardy rods were manufactured in S. Korea. Really doesn't matter, as I think there are better options in U.S. made rods at the same price point. For instance, I have fallen in love with the orvis euro rod I recently purchased, which at $425.00 seems like a bargain. I also have some fiberglass rods from custom rod makers, although I paid over $600.00 a piece for two rods, the build quality and action of these rods second to none. I have also built a couple of my own rods, which is a pretty cool option. And yes I paid the big bucks for a gloomis nrx lp 5 wt. But it is also the best casting and fish on fun rod I have! All of these options are made in US, plus I have a Ross Colorodo reel, and Galvan T5, both made in the US, and reasonably priced. So there are options, and yes buying made in china really burns me, and I try to avoid it as much as possible. I belive other countries such as S. Korea and many more are good trading partners and if I wanted something made in one of these countries I would not hesitate to buy it.
Hey Mike, this is what I have found out. Hardy parts are made in China and then assembled in Alnwick England. Only the Hardy Bros. rods are still made in England and their more expensive reels too. Hardy's less expensive reels are made in China as well. Some believe they are made in S. Korea, but sadly not the case. I will say that S. Korea has really come a long way with their quality, and I don't have any issues with S. Korean made products. The man who built my cane rods said to me that S. Korean blanks are very good products, and they are just getting better all the time. Probably explains why a mid priced rod is almost as good as a high end American rod. TFO rods are made in S. Korea, and I used to own the Pro.II rod, and I really liked it for a rod less than $200. It's very similar to the old Scott A4's which were $400 rods. I still have one and it's my Czech nymphing rod.
But like you, I agree there are better options in US made rods at the same prices. I wouldn't ever get rid of my Scott rods, and my Orvis Recon is a fantastic rod. But I have to say that I own two Elkhorn rods where the blanks are made in S.Korea and assembled here in Loveland Colorado, and these rods being mid priced rods will rival any other companies mid priced rods. I'll take an Elkhorn over a Redington or St. Croix anyday.
I'm not knocking Hardy products. They must be very fine rods, and their reels are very popular among bamboo fanatics. My son has a Greys rod, and it's an incredible rod. I told him if he ever thought about selling it, I get first dibs. There's a good reason they are so very well liked among fly fishers. So if it's true that the components are made in China, and the rods assembled in England, ok, they need to pay the people in England too, and that may be the reason they are as expensive as they are.