Primal Fly Rod Series Review

Are you looking to take your fly fishing to the next level? Have you ever wanted to cast further distances with tighter loops? Do you like great looking gear the feels amazing in hand? Until now, high modulus, high-end fly rods have been reasonably expensive to buy, but that game has been changed with the Primal Rod Co range bringing a never before seen mix of quality and price to the market.

Tackle magpies who like shiny, cool looking stuff, and fly casting aficionados that love to pick a rods action to pieces are both catered for in the build of these rods.

Not designed by product developers in lab coats, Primal fly rods are the tangible results of decades of hard earned fly fishing expertise. If you could catch fly fishing lightning in a bottle, this is it.

Mike Davis Primal Rod Review

For those who enjoy the technology aspect of fly rods, at the heart of all Primal rods is a helical core of Nanomatrix prepreg. In simple terms, the first layer at the core of the fly rods are off-axis fibres that give the rods incredible hoop strength, as well as torsional stability. This makes the rods not only strong but means they cast a very smooth tight loop with very little tip bounce and exceptional tracking. Less sideways movement of the rod blank while casting means more accurate, smoother casting, better presented flies and more fish to the net.

Then these high tech blanks are treated to only the best in class componentry putting the proverbial icing on the cake to a world class fly rod series inspired by New Zealand’s needs.

Come on down to your local Hunting & Fishing New Zealand store and ask to give a new Primal a cast. I’m sure you will be highly impressed by the look, feel and actions of these rods. 

Let’s dive into the range of Primal fly rods.



Primal RAW Fly Rod

The Primal RAW punches well above its super lightweight feel, and more importantly, it could be a significant milestone on the road to becoming a more successful angler. The Primal RAW series makes a fantastic upgrade option for anglers who are looking to make the next step up, after having got into fly fishing with any number of excellent entry level packages available to anglers these days.

The rod actions are ideally suited to a range of fly fishing conditions so the action is fast to deal with winds and heavy or large flies, while the tip still maintains enough feel to drop a tiny dry at close range off the rod tip. The freshwater rod range includes an 8’6” 4 weight, with 5,6,7 and 8 weights which are all 9’ long. All of the rods are 4pc.

The RAW series of fly rods feature an ultra-high modulus prepreg of 65 and 57 MSI fibres held together with an extremely strong nano resin. This resin is so strong the manufacturers were able to reduce the resin content to half of what would normally be used by competitors. This reduces weight and increases the amount you feel through the blank.

The rods are fitted with customised machine cut skeletal reel seats, with double locking rings and stabilised timber inserts. The stripping guide is a titanium framed SIC and the guides are custom light wire single foot guides.


Primal BOLD Fly Rod

Fly fishing equipment feels delicate in hand but is amazingly tough given what we ask of it, but sometimes we need gear that’s just a little bit more forgiving for those that tend to push things a little bit harder than most.  So in the Primal BOLD they’ve created a rod that you can push hard, treat a little bit rougher, and not break the bank with its accessible $349.99 price tag.

The fast action BOLD is ideal for a powerful caster, dealing with brutal headwinds, or just the general abuse and battle scars of a life well lived.

The range has the usual stalwarts of the 9’0” #5, #6 & #8 weights but also fills a few niches gaps of 7’9” #3, 9’3” #7 and 10’0” #6 to fully round out any quiver of rods at an affordable price.

Built on the Primal tech of 55msi high modulus blanks the Ultralight Helical Core provides strength and stability while the Low Mass Scrim adds hoop strength without the weight. Finally, Longitudinal Fibre Alignment brings exceptional feel, energy transmission and recovery to add that extra 5% of soul to the rods. 


Primal STASH Fly Rod

We’ve all been caught short at one time or another when confronted with a feeding fish and no rod is at hand. With the six piece Primal STASH there’s no more excuse for not having a rod on hand for any fishy moment that catches you by surprise.

Stash one in the boot of the car or the side of the pack, basically anywhere is fine as this puppy takes up very little space and will be ready and waiting when the moment calls.

The action of the 9’0” #5 STASH is fast and built using the same UHC and ANR found on the RAW and MEGA rods, so it’s a small rod tube that packs a lot of punch.


Primal WILD Youth Rod

Finally a rod for the youth gone wild. The new 7’10” six weight Primal WILD is the ultimate stick for the young ones that are getting into the game and want their own rod that’s made with them in mind.

It’s a progressive, easy loading blank so it’ll be a breeze to take their casting to the next level, and with a cork handle made especially for smaller mitts they’ll be gripping it and ripping it straight out of the gate and giving the oldies a run for their money.

The Primal Wild comes loaded with all of the tech features in the BOLD range and like all rods in the range is also supported by the Primal Quick Fix warranty service, just in case Dad gets his hands on it and does the rod a mischief.



Primal MEGA Saltwater Fly Rod

The Primal MEGA series is a proven performer built to handle aggressive saltwater predators, from our local kingfish and kahawai through to chasing the different species in the tropics. Once again, the improved tracking of the rod will maximise your chances when chasing the ocean fish species with clean, powerful and accurate casting.

The 57MSI blanks have optimal wall diameters to maximise lifting power without compromising the rod's casting ability. The reel seats are fully machined aluminium with titanium SIC stripper guides and corrosion resistant snake guides. The saltwater series are all 4pc and come in 6, 8, 9, 10 and 12 weight, all in 9ft.



Primal ZONE fly rod

When opening the tube and removing the Primal ZONE from its rod bag you have in your hands a 4 piece, stealthy, matt grey blank with black single foot guides down to a lined stripping guide all whipped to the blank with matching grey thread and lighter grey trim wraps. The epoxying of the wraps is minimal and neat to reduce weight and keep the rod lively. Further down is a nice small hook keeper just above a good quality fine taper cork grip, which is essential for getting good feedback from the business end.

A good looking down locking reel seat with black aluminium hardware and a nice wooden spacer with Primal printed on the top finishes this little rod off in a non-reflective finish to eliminate any fish scaring flash.

Balance in any fly rod setup is important but with euro nymphing it’s critical. It feels so light in the hand, which is very pleasing to fish with.

On the water is where the Primal shows its true colours. Expect great feedback from your nymph and casting accuracy is dart like. Some lighter nymphing rods are good until a fish is hooked and you find out there is no power in the lower sections and then the fish dictates the terms of the fight. Not so with the Primal ZONE range. There is more than enough power in the mid and lower sections and fighting fish on this rod is enjoyable as you feel in total control of the battle.

The tip, mid and butt all work together seamlessly into an excellent euro nymphing rod.


Primal CONTACT euro nymph fly rod

The Primal CONTACT euro nymphing rods are amplified for NZ fishing applications where European techniques meet big kiwi fish. These rods combine finesse with power, delicacy with strength and are finished in a way that makes them look pretty darn sweet, like the unique recessed reel seat, off axis stripping guides and fine diameter snake guides.

The Primal CONTACT is the ideal rod for the angler looking to get into contact nymphing without having to invest too heavily. It’s the gateway drug of the Czech nymphing underworld.

Constructed using super tough UHC, LMS and LFA Primal tech you can be sure this is a rod built to perform and made to last.



Primal RUN two handed fly rod

The Primal RUN series has been created to be proficient in casting everything from short chuck-and-duck Skagit heads, to making smooth hero casts with Scandi’s. Everything about this two handed rod screams quality, power and finesse with a blank comprised of Amplified Nano Resin and Ultra Light Helical Core Primal tech features.

So on the days spent mostly just casting you’ll have a fun rod for the job, and when the fish are in the river, the Primal RUN is the most epic tool to have at hand.


Primal RHYTHM two handed fly rod

The Primal RHYTHM rods are all about two handed fishing without the snobbery. 

With a relaxed action optimised for modern skagit heads, multi position handles to suit your casting style and off axis fibres to create torsional stability for change of direction casts, these are detailed packed rods at a fraction of the price of similarly featured competitors.

UHC, LFA and LMS technology again provide a solid framework for excellence in casting and longevity of rod.


Industry veteran and fly fishing lifer, Mike Davis is also commonly known by his nickname of "Fish. So it makes complete sense that he's also owner of Hunting & Fishing NZ Rotorua and living his dream on a daily basis.

Mike has seen any number of new fly rods come and go over the years, and if you've seen him throwing some loops you'll know his depth of experience on both counts means he's more than qualified to be passing judgement on the range of Primal rods.