Team Tuesday - David Hemphill's Primal Zone Review

David Hemphill has long been one of Australia's top competition anglers. Having competed in a number of Championships, he is one of the eight Australian competitors diggin deep and putting in the work in the lead up to the 39th World Fly Fishing Championships in Tasmania in December 2019. We are really lucky to be able to support these guys as they give it their all in their home country.

David got his hot little hands on a Primal Zone 1002/4 recently and didn't hesitate putting a bend in it. We think it's pretty exciting to have some of Australia's top competition anglers field-test our gear and give us some solid feedback.

The guys at Manic Tackle have just released their Primal Zone nymph rods and I have been fishing the 10ft #2 for the last few weeks and thought I would let you know what a great little rod it’s been.

I bought this rod as a back-up rod for the upcoming 2019 World Fly Fishing Championships in Tasmania later this year .

The Primal Zone comes with a cordura rod tube which is fully foam lined to keep the rod safe when not in use. Opening the rod tube and removing the rod 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 pretty 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 nymphing its critical. I used a Lamson 1.5 Remix with a level nymphing line and backing and the balance is superb. 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. The first thing I noticed was the great feedback I was getting from the nymphs. I knew exactly what was going on down there. Casting accuracy was as good as any rod I’ve used. 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 10ft #2. There is more than enough power in the mid and lower sections to handle fish in excess of 50cm easily. The first few fish hooked, once their head was above the water, just skipped across the surface to the net. Fighting fish on this rod is enjoyable and you feel in control of the battle nearly all the time. The tip is sensitive but not soft and can quite easily protect light tippet under 0.1 mm. I tried a range of tippet from .14mm down to under 0.1mm problem free. The tip, mid and butt all work together seamlessly into a real pleasing nymphing rod.

It’s amazing how rod technology has come to a point where great performance is quite affordable. Manic Tackle have really thought about the design of this rod and come up with a real winner.

I’ll be more than happy to use this nymphing rod for general river nymphing anywhere!