Product Reviews: Most Excellent Echo Fly Rods

Echo 3 Switch and E3 Two Hand rods now available! The new Echo 3 Switch and Echo 3 two Hand fly rods are en-route to the Caddis Fly on the UPS truck from our friends at Rajeff Sports. My river fishing experience with these rods is growing by the day; E3 Switch and Two Hand rods are much anticipated and welcome additions to the Echo team. Expect more specifics on these sleek, high-modulus Switch and Spey rods shortly. I can unequivocally promise outstanding performance and fun to anyone who fishes one of these new Echo 3 fly rods. I expected nothing short of fantastic after two seasons fishing Echo 3 SW and FW rods, and oh boy, these new Switch and Two Hand Echo 3s delivered on my dreams.

Anyone who is interested in an Echo E3 Switch or Two Hand rod may email or call the Caddis Fly this instant, at 541 342-7005, before we get the Echo E3 SWitch and Two Hand rods entered into our online catalog.

We know Echo fly rods – we fish ’em all the time, so we can make informed recommendations, based on experience, not just from reading the catalog.

Whoa there: If you are looking for detailed technical specifications for Echo fly rods , ION fly reels, and Airflo fly lines – this isn’t the place to achieve complete satisfaction for your geeky techno-engineering desires. This article recapitulates a summery of my assessment of Echo Fly rods, based on fond memories relating the conditions under which I fished each of these fly rods and my reaction to each. If you take a look in the trucks, SUVs, and boats being navigated by our guides, friends, and clients – you will usually find a passel of Echo fly rods. Trout rods, steelhead rods, salmon rods, offshore rods, lake rods, big rods, little rods, and even practice rods. We can do fish high and entry-level rods of all the major manufacturers and each of our crew has his or her favorites. Fact is, Echo has earned a place among our favorites because of their overall performance, specialized rod tapers, value, and warranty service.

The Echo fly rods reviewed here include the following:
Echo 3 Saltwater fly rods (7 wt, 9 wt, 10 wt, and 12 wt.)
Echo Edge fly rod (9’ 5 wt.)
Echo Ion (9 wt.)
Echo Shadow fly rod (3 wt.)
Echo 3 Freshwater fly rods (10’ – 7 wt.)
Echo Dec Hogan Spey fly rods (5120-4, 6126-4, & 8136-4)
Echo Tim Rajeff Spey rods (7130-4)
Echo Switch fly rods (4 & 8 wt.)

The final straw that pushed me to complete this fly rod review, fell when I unearthed an envelope stashed on my desk under the growing pile of lists – you know – stuff I need to do. Most of the tasks are now dead and gone, either accomplished already or too late to matter. The envelope contained a fistful of labels cut from boxes and shipping invoices, each one representing products from my friends at Rajeff Sports. Some had notes penned by Tim Rajeff, Jarrod Black, Jamie Hixon, and a bunch sported notes and various sorts of harassment from Randy Stetzer.

All of the products I have ordered to fish over the last several years were represented in this envelope. Wow, it was quite a bundle of Airflo fly lines, ION fly reels, and Echo fly rods.

Echo Fly Rods: Summary of Product Reviews.

Rod Feel. Echo Fly rod actions are quite pleasurable. All of the Echo fly rods I fished felt good to fish, cast well, and were fun to fight fish with. I do not care much for parking lot fly rod evaluations. Standing in a boat, gravel bar, or beach with rod in hand is by far the best place to evaluate a fly rod’s performance. Echo fly rods passed my test with high scores. I cast short. I cast long. I pushed all of these rods to the limits of my casting skills. I never had a rod collapse on me with I over-lined it, failed to cast decently when i under-lined it, or failed to earn a regular place in my boat, pram, sled, truck.

Durability of Echo fly rods. These Echo fly rods, all of them, tolerated a completely unreasonable level of mistreatment in my boat, getting in and out my truck, and transporting into and out of my garage, cabin, den, dining room, kitchen and so on. I managed to poke rod tips into the most unimaginable crevices in my truck and boat and ceilings and trees and you name it. I finally managed to break one solitary rod-tip by stepping on it in my boat.

Fly line adaptability. All of the Echo fly rods I fished have very wide tolerances regarding the line weights they will cast. There were plenty of days when I did not have a properly matched fly line in the boat so I just hung on a reel with something close, plus or minus a few line weights, and went fishing. If I had to choose between over or under lining an Echo Fly rod, I would go with over-lining the rod. I cast 10 wt lines on 7 wt rods for months, and the supposedly inappropriate match-up worked just fine. Conversely, I fished 250 gr shooting heads on an Echo 3 10 wt. rod on many days, and again, the Echo 3 allowed me to push line as far as I cared to cast. I don’t pretend to say that the grain weight window of performance of these Echo fly rods is superior to other rod brands, because I have not tested most of them the way I tested Echo. I’m simply saying that my experience has proved that these Echo fly rods can probably handle far more line weights than you may have expected.

Hardware on Echo fly rods. Reel seats, rod wraps, guides and handles are very nice and all of the rods I have fished stand up in saltwater, whether they were designed to or not. My Echo 3 fly rods have stood their ground to a high level of mistreatment day after day, week after, month after month. No maintenance has been performed on rods fished in saltwater, even though I know in my heart that I should have rinsed these rods off at the end of each day’s fishing. I have had ZERO component failures, and this is very good for those of us who devote almost all of our time to fishing and almost no time to tackle care. The handles on the Echo 3 SW rods show no sign of deterioration and only a little wear, which is amazing considering the hours they have been battered about. Portions of the Echo 3 reel seats show some thinning of the black anodized finish, with a glimmer of brass showing through. This is occurring where my hand has rubbed the reel seat over the last year. I consider this sign of wear a badge of courage for he rods and me.

Downsides to Echo fly rods. Trivial and essentially irrelevant issues, but this is a fly rod review, right? The Ion is a smidgeon on the heavy side, for my tastes but the weight is appropriate for the fact that it is intended to be practically bullet-proof; the price for this rod and the ION’s casting and fishing performance make it a perfect back-up or serious start-up fly rod. The reel seat on the Echo 3 is currently in the process of re-design to accommodate bulkier reel seats. My personal quirkiness prompts me to use larger fly reels than any normal person would. The Ion accepted every giant reel-foot I fished. The Echo 3 reel seats did not always provide the most comfortable fit for a few of the largest reels I mounted on them (like the ION 10/12). The rod color on the Echo Switch fly rods is my least favorite. Sorry Tim. Not the first time you’ve heard this. The Switch rods perform, but gosh, choose a different blank color next time. Just sayin’.

Short story on a few specific echo fly rods. The following represents a quick peek at Echo fly rods that I fished over the last two years. More information is provided at the link for each fly rod, if you care to read more any of these specific Echo Fly Rods.

Echo 3 Saltwater fly rods
(7 wt. – 9 wt. – 10 wt. -12 wt.). I fished these Echo 3 rods in estuaries and in the ocean. These rods were lined with floating, slow sinking, and super fast sinking full fly lines and shooting heads, depending on the circumstances of the day. I fished these rods for Silvers, Chinook, black Rockfish, Lingcod, and Chum salmon. These Echo 3 Saltwater fly rods are excellent fast action, nimble fly rods. The 12 wt was intended for Tuna, but I never had a shot at those beasties. It was a little harsh on Silvers in the ocean, but with 10 lb. leaders, it was OK. Best fly rod for silvers was the 7 wt. King salmon called mostly for 9 and 10 wt. rods. Rockfish rocked on 7, 9, & 10 wt. Echo 3 rods, depending on how deep I needed to fish.

Echo Edge
fly rods (9’ 5 wt.). I fished this freshwater Edge fly rod for sea run cutthroat in estuaries and coastal rivers above the head of tide. This is a top notch fly rod. At the price level, the casting and fishing performance of this Edge fly rod is absolutely sparkling. I would have to go into the six hundred buck range and get picky to find a better rod than this.

Echo Ion
fly rods (9’ 9 wt.). This is a solid work-horse steelhead, salmon, and rockfish fly rod. As noted, these ION rods are a tad on the sturdy side, an intended characteristic to make them the best back-up trip rod on the planet. Fish this rod and it’s cousins in the ION series with confidence for big trout, bass, steelhead, silvers, chum and Chinook.

Echo Shadow
fly rods (3 wt.). My high stick nymphing technique is weak, but I had a lot of fun and caught some very nice trout and a few Northern Pike minnow with this Echo Shadow fly rod. I also fished this Shadow with indicators to guide my nymphs and eggs through rivers and fished buggers and girdle bugs in coastal lakes. The Shadow is a versatile fly rod, but it really shines with the high stick technique, heavy nymphs, and complex currents to navigate. And yes, this rod can handle summer steelhead too, so forget the moniker of the typical 3 wt fly rod.

Echo 3 Freshwater Fly Rods
(10’ – 7 wt.). If I was asked to name this Echo 3 rod I would call it the Steelhead Supreme. This 10’ fly rod is a rod full of wonder for both summer and winter steelhead fly fishing. I have fished it with traditional sink tip lines, with dry lines, with an Airflo Skagit Switch line, with a Speydicator. I have swung and dead drifted flies and hung jig flies from indicators. This is a fly rod of beauty and utility. I have a virtual blast every time I pick it up.

Echo Dec Hogan Spey fly rods
(5120-4 – 6126-4 – 7130-4 – 8136-4). These are quite possibly the most intuitive Spey rods for any angler to cast. The 5 wt and 6 wt. rods shine for summer steelhead, and when I borrowed a friend’s 7 wt. I was in the game casting heavier sink tips with authority. The 8 wt Dec Hogan, at a mere 13.5’ is every measure up to the task of fighting monster winter steelhead and king salmon. My personal preferences are to the 5, 6, and 7 wt fly rods in this series. If I need heavier sink tips than the DH 7 wt will deliver, I prefer the Tim Rajeff 7 wt over the Dec Hogan 8 wt.

Echo Tim Rajeff Spey Rods
(7130-4). This family of Echo Spey rods has a faster action than the Dec Hogan, so it does not flex as far into the butt section and is (rod wt for rod wt) what I would call a stronger Spey rod. Translation: If fishing conditions call for a Dec Hogan 7 wt, I feel like the Tim Rajeff 6 wt will deliver every grain wt. of sink tip and fish fighting strength as does the up-sized Deco. Don’t let the catalog spiel for the Tim Rajeff Spey rod let you think that these rods are difficult to cast. They are every bit as responsive as the Dec Hogan series, they just don’t load as far into the butt in the process of remaining a very easy rod to “feel”.

Echo Switch Rods
(4 wt. – 8 wt.). I fished the 4 wt Echo Switch from a drift boat with an indicator & nymphs for trout and the 8 wt Switch for salmon in Oregon and steelhead in BC. If you fish indicators from boats (or wading for that matter) you should check out the 4 wt. Echo Switch rod. Line management, hook setting, and fish fighting were effective and fun. The 8 wt. Switch rod cast T-11 and T-8 sink tips great distances looped onto an Airflo Skagit Switch line, and cast dry and damp flies with ease paired with a Rage Compact. Overhead casting – matching the 8 wt. switch rod with shooting heads and full floating and sinking fly lines was not quite so pretty a sight, but offered a tremendous advantage when I wanted to cast off my left shoulder because of a horrendous right-to-left cross wind. In these conditions, the 8 wt Switch rod is amazing, and it kept my fly on my downwind side, safely away from my ears, nose and the back of my head. Nice.

Thanks for your patience. More specifics on all of these Echo Fly rods is posted on my blog at fishingwithjay.

Jay Nicholas
January 2012

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3 Responses to Product Reviews: Most Excellent Echo Fly Rods

  1. Two Dogs says:

    Love my Echo Switch 7wt .

  2. Sam W. says:

    I be damned if that last photo ain’t a chinook on a popper…

  3. Ted A. says:

    Really like both the TR-6126 and DH-6126 depending on which line I’m casting or how I’m feeling that day. Can’t wait to see what they do at the next price point level with the Echo3. Holding off on a 7wt purchase a bit longer.

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