Korrie has fished with 7 World Champions, managed the Protea team to 2 World Championships and captained the Commonwealth team. He is known for his passion for the sport and loves to share his knowledge with everyone. He is highly respected in the fly-fishing fraternity for his open and honest opinions.
I recently saw the new HORIZON Tactical Competition Euro-style Nymphing rod on the Internet and as a self-proclaimed nymphomaniac I was very interested in the new rod and was really curious as to how it would compare to some of the other rods I had that fits into this description of a fly rod.
The package arrived and when I opened it, the black Cordura rod tube with the bold HORIZON black-on-black embroidery looked impressive. I opened the Cordura rod tube and my first impressions was, “Wow, this is a beautiful rod”.
The blank is finished in a matt black with single foot guides. Most Euro Nymphers believe that single foot guides improve the performance of the rod (less vibrations and quicker recovery) and the cork looks top quality. The reel seat is down-locking (which helps with the balance of the rod) and has a small fighting butt. Sitting in the office with a new fly rod is not conducive to productivity! I assembled the rod and did a couple of imaginary casts and flicks. The balance felt good and the action crisp.
After two days I finally managed to get to cast the rod and played around with it. The finish is top class on this rod. Full marks to Frontier Fly Fishing for the look of the rod. I tried the rod with three different reels (Sage, Redington and a Stealth) as some fly fishers believe the balance has to be “perfect”. For me, the perfect balance is not that important as you do not have to go and buy a new reel every time you buy a new rod. If a rod requires an extra 5 grams in the butt section to make it balance in your hand then you should not be fly fishing. That’s just my opinion.
What I do not want in a Euro-style Nymphing rod is a rod that wobbles and snakes after every cast and then vibrates to a standstill. The HORIZON rod does not do any of this. After you have made the cast the rod comes to an immediate standstill, with no wobbling or vibrating. NOTHING. Dead Still. I tried the rod with very light nymphs and very heavy nymphs – 2mm tungsten beads right up to very heavy nymphs tied with 4mm tungsten beads as well as lead wraps. There was no wobbling along the blank – NOTHING. I did the “normal loading” of cast, drift, back cast and forward cast and the downstream-behind-you water-loading. Every time the rod was perfect. The rod is a touch on the fast side, which made me change my normal casting stroke a little. But after four or five minutes I got the fly to land in the proverbial cup and saucer diameter area. With the action a bit faster than what I was used to, the sensitivity was something different to me. I am a firm believer that you must fish a rod a couple of times to find the sweet spot for casting, and to get all the “feels of the rod”. But since more than 90% of the takes in Euro-style Nymphing are via sight-fishing or watching the indicator, it is not a game breaker. The HORIZON rod has a good backbone in the bottom half of the rod, which will make playing and landing big fish very easy.
I also fitted my reel with a dry fly leader and dry fly and tested the rod with this setup. I was pleasantly surprised. It handles the dry fly setup so well. Clean, crisp and accurate casting. Short, delicate presentations were fantastic. Even with a long cast, shooting out a 3-wt fly line to targets that where 15 and 20 metres away was a pleasure. This rod will be able to handle delicate Euro-style Nymphing techniques as well as delicate dry fly fishing with a 20 foot leader- and tippet setup without any problems. The advantage of the longer rod when dry fly fishing is that you do not have to mend the line so much and you can keep more fly line off the water.
To summarize: this is a GREAT rod with excellent finishes, it casts very well with enough backbone to land big fish but is delicate and soft enough not to bounce off small fish. At a retail price of R3,350.00 the rod is a definite winner. It competes with rods that are three to four times more expensive. But it gives you everything that you will find in the more expensive rods.
Will I buy and fish this rod? Definitely, as I think this is the best value for money Euro-style Nymphing rod on the market at the present moment. Even better than most rods at double or three times the price.