Primal Zen Fly Fishing Rod | Review by Johan Kok

Johan Kok runs both a successful YouTube channel and a fly fishing school - both are called Crazy About Fly Fishing and both are well worth checking out. Recently we gave him a new Primal ZEN Euro Nymphing rod and said tell us what you think. Here's what he came back with...along with a few nice fish too.



I’ve been fishing with Primal rods for a couple of seasons now and I’ve always been impressed with the value you get from any of these rods. Primal rods are really well made with design, components and looks that you would expect only in high end rods. Years of design and on river testing has gone into the entire Primal range, so being able to get my hands on a new rod to try it out was superb.

Primal Zen Fly Fishing Rod Review

First impressions of the Primal ZEN were that I was surprised at just how good looking it was. The golden logo really stands out, but the reel seat's a definite eye catcher. The fighting butt is great too and works a treat with larger fish.

But looks aren’t everything and I had  entered into this with high expectations as this was an upgrade from my beloved Primal CONTACT. The Primal ZEN replaced the CONTACT, but rather than just be a straight switch it appears the folks at Primal went a whole lot further. The ZEN comes in 10ft, but you get the option of a 2,3, or 4 weight. Each of them have specific applications for specific water, each of them have the power to turn heads. Generally speaking, the bigger the rod the bigger the water, but everyone has their own thoughts on the matter, right?

Primal Zen Fly Fishing Rod Review

Manic gave me the 10’ 3wt as I fish smaller water more often. I find this a great rod for covering a wider range of water, as to contradict myself completely, I took it straight to Taupo and put it to work on strong winter run fish from the Hinemaia. After landing a load of great fighting rainbows, I headed to the mighty Tongariro River and once again it handled those fish with no problems at all.  

Primal Zen Fly Fishing Rod Review

So when the new season opened the first stop was a stunning big river known for big trout. Again I had no trouble fishing at distance, using light leaders and flies and fighting big rainbows in strong currents. I can also do so with confidence because I know that when I inevitably mess it up and break my rod, I have local support and I will be back fishing asap.

Unlike a bunch of US made mass produced rods, when you break something on a Primal rod, they don't muck about with fixing it. Simply get in touch with the store you bought it from and they will get the process running. Primal is based in New Zealand, so parts are plentiful and ready to go when you need them. Spare parts generally are back to you within a week. Top of the range rods like the new Primal CCC range  or the top Euro Rod - the Primal ZONE, need to be sent back to Primal for repair, but even so, there's still a super fast turnaround and you will generally be back fishing within two weeks.

Primal Zen Fly Fishing Rod Review



Johan Kok has been fishing for years - years! He runs Crazy About Fly Fishing on YouTube and has an online fly fishing coaching program also called Crazy About Fly Fishing. He's recently taken up competitive angling and has already won his first lake tournament.