When talking with ECHO’s marketing manager Red Kulper about this rod the first thing that came out of my mouth was that this rod gives the “poor man and average joe spey nut” the ability to fish something similar to a bamboo rod, which for most steelhead anglers is not achievable. When first hearing about this rod line up I instantly knew that ECHO could be on to something big, especially given the “re-interest” in fiberglass rods from anglers wanting to return to a rod they can truly feel load, fish and handle the fish. Although today’s graphite and boron rods are excellent and have proven their worth, there is something about fishing a glass rod that will always be appealing: whether swinging flies for steelhead or chinook on the west coast or using a light weight glass rods for Missouri River trout.
This rod is EXACTLY how one would want a fiberglass spey or switch to look, not surprising coming from ECHO, whose visual aesthetics are appealing throughout all of their rod line ups.
Let’s start by talking about the classic honey finished blank and metallic brown thread wraps. A new rod, with a vintage look and feel, how can one complain about that?
Secondly, let’s mention the grip, reel seat and butt section. The fore grip on this rod is great, but it is a little bulky. (Which I personally don’t mind) My assumption is that most people will initially prefer a smaller diameter grip when first casting this rod but once acclimated to casting this rod I doubt they’ll mind.
ECHO put their time in when considering how this rod should look, OR… maybe they just studied rods built from previous generations? Either way they did it right, a matter of fact they did it perfect. The brushed aluminum reel seat and cork insert really set it off; it looks right and feels even better. I’ll let the following images sum up the series aesthetics
Recommended Line Sizes:
ECHO FG-7129 Spey- With it being winter during the release of these rods I decided to pass on even trying a Scandi head and solely stuck to fishing Skagit and Skagit switch heads. In my personal opinion I found the Airflo Skagit Switch 540 grain to be the perfect line for this rod. It threw tips and weighted flies both extremely well. The Skagit Compact 510 grain also worked very well on the rod if you like a slightly longer head
This is a complete guess but, based on how this rod felt when casting a sink tip and Skagit head I can only assume that this rod, along with the 6 weight, could potentially be the most gratifying rod to fish during the summer and fall months with a Scandi Compact head.
Casting/Fishing These Rods:
Two words when grabbing these rods for the first time… Slow and Smooth.
As you’d expect, these rods take you back to the fundamentals of fishing a two handed rod. After fishing a graphite rod and then transitioning to fiberglass you are quickly reminded that you need to slow down, and smoothen out your casting stroke. Once you’re re-adjusted to this notion you will be extremely happy with how well this rod shoots line and quickly reminded on how forgiving fiberglass rods can really be.
Furthermore, with how forgiving this rod can be I can say that for the beginning double hand caster, looking for their first rod, this could be a great learning tool, especially when casting Skagit heads and sink tips. It will definitely teach you to slow down your casting stroke and will help you quickly learn how to properly control the fly.
One would not expect this rod to punch line out the same way a graphite rod does, but it’s pretty dang close. As we all know, it doesn’t take a 100’ cast to fish effective water, and this rod will teach you just that. With that said, these fiberglass rods cast extremely well; to achieve distance with these rods they need to be lined correctly and your casting stroke will need to be altered slightly. What I found to work extremely well when casting these rods, is stopping your casting stroke high. This allows the rod to load more effectively during your follow through. I’m no casting pro, but when dialing these rods in you will be pleasantly surprised by the distance one can achieve.
I’ll keep this short. For under $300, this is THE most fun I have had fishing a double hand rod, period.
Alright, so my review of this rod is pretty good so far right? Right…BUT I do want to address that this rod won’t replace your graphite or boron rod. Although, the new ECHO Glass can be fished year around in any condition, I still feel that it has its time and place with in ones spey/switch arsenal.
I personally plan on fishing this rod 75% of my time on the river during this winter’s steelheading, and I can honestly say that it will be the first rod I pick up when targeting summer runs. I only say this because of the rods “fun factor,” not because it replaced my graphite and boron rods.
The first time you cast this rod you will instantly smile, possibly chuckle and begin to know why this new toy from Echo is so much fun.
Whether being a beginner, intermediate or pro, this rod should be on your list.