thanks Sash, interesting reading. I used to pester my local fly-fishing retailer, Laxtons Sports, as a boy in the 70s too ;-)
Bought two of those 3.5wt Fibatube blanks like the one shown here, from Laxtons. This was when they were new, in the mid-80s. Gave one to a friend and built mine up with an insert in the butt to make it 6' 10", as I really prefer a rod longer than 6'. It's more of a 4.5wt to me, still a fine small stream rod, will cast a leader with a #12 Royal Wulff quite happily.
As recounted in an earlier post, viewtopic.php?f=2&t=49181
The first time I took it out on a backpack trip in the Drakensberg, it ran into a 20" rainbow on one of the low lakes, a shock for all concerned. Next trip found a 19" brown in a tiny stream at dusk, after catching 6-9" rainbows all day: nearly fell flat on my back as the fish rushed off three pools upstream.
I believe the Fibatubes were made in an Alnwick factory as part of Hardy's attempt to branch out from flyfishing, during the hard times toward the end of the family's time of running the company. The Hardy history page
"Jim was instrumental in catapulting Hardys into the modern era when he set up Fibatube, the plant which made the firm's glass fibre and carbon rods. "
The factory became a subsidiary known as Hardy Advanced Composites
According to this page
, its tubing is in the Airbus 320 among other high-tech products..
So Fibatube was certainly closely associated with Hardy, but not Hardy. Whether these blanks used a different taper and/or layup than Fibalite rods from Hardy, is lost in the mists of time..