This film is part of Free

To Cane a Trout

Quiet reflection on angling and the craft of elegant cane rods from the famous Hardy Brothers of Alnwick.

Promotional 1974 34 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Tackle fit for maharajahs, film stars and royalty: artisans of Hardy Brothers of Alnwick create beautiful rods from Chinese cane, a holy grail for anglers the world over. Casting on the River Aln in rural Northumberland, Jim Hardy, the last family member to enter the firm, and fellow angler Ian Blagburn demonstrate the meditative skill and precision that dedicated craftsmen display in making fine fishing tackle for Hardys.

The firm was first set up in 1873 as a partnership between two brothers with a passion for fishing, William and J. J. Hardy. At the time of this film’s production in the 1970s, a severe slump in the industry (followed by the 1980s recession) had pitched Hardy Brothers into difficult times in a modern world of corporate commerce. The family-run business was bought out by the Harris and Sheldon group in 1967. In some ways, the film represents the ideals of simpler times and conveys a message of respect for traditional craftsmanship. The firm’s Anglers’ Guide claimed: “Each reel bearing Hardy’s name is a perfect little mechanical masterpiece.”