This rod suits #3 lines, but in my hand it feels like a rod for a heavier line. So I switched to a heavier line - #4 then #5 - and this Neutrino can cast both, but feels more lively with the #3 line and loops were just that bit tighter and tidier.
The build of this Neutrino is typical of Steve Parkes' work: super attention to detail, very well finished. The components are well chosen, good guides, high quality cork. The seat on this seems to be very light, a rosewood spacer, the colour of these metal components look like nickel silver, but I'm guessing they are aluminium – either way the seat is light, functional and attractive. Atomsix rods are built on blanks rolled in the UK to Steve's own design - tough, durable blanks.
Inevitably, a longer rod feels heavier in the hand, that said, this rod feels a little heavier than other rods of similar length and line weight. The action seems to be deep, casting is smooth, rod inertia encourages a smoothing, gentling stroke which makes for very good, gentle and well controlled presentation and fits exactly with my main reasons for fishing a 3-weight.
Fly rods are for casting, controlling line, playing fish. When playing fish, light-line fly rods can be a little gutless, which may be fine for small fish, but poor with bigger fish in general, and poor when trying to play anything but the smallest fish firmly. Now, having mentioned that this rod feels a little meatier than other rods of similar length and line class, this has more grunt, more stiffness lower down the blank, the part of the rod which comes into play when I am playing a fish – frankly, I can bully a fish with this, bring it to hand fast and release it fresh and frisky.
Interesting rod: just wiggling the rod then simply casting, I formed the impression of a slightly heavy rod, I liked the way it cast, but... then play a fish and this has the guts I prefer. I can appreciate the balance, the choice between lightness or stiffness that led to the weight of this finished rod. I'd still like it lighter for how it casts and handles; I'm beginning to think I'd sacrifice a little weight for the way this plays fish.
Action angle: 60 degrees
Rings: One lined butt ring, single leg snakes
Fighting butt: No
Cork quality: Excellent
Reel seat: Wooden spacer, aluminium fittings
Blank: Lustre black
Thread: Black, metallic brown trims
Build quality: Very high
Rod bag: Canvas
Rod tube: Aluminium