Review of Good gear from Echo Fly rods: 2016

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass fly rod


ECHO fly rods are tough, and this is something I’ve learned over a long stretch of time. While I do not recommend doing silly things like the photo above reveals, it is but one more example of how durable Echo fly rods are. This is what happens when I loose my grip on a fly rod handle when inserting or removing it from a ceiling rack at my cabin. the rod bobs and hangs while I shriek and wait for the shaft to break. So far they have not, and this is not the first time I’ve made this error. Thanks to Tim’s drive for great casting rods that are also very durable, I have been saved the humiliation of breaking rods in this manner. And no, I have not fished this rod since this event so I guess we will have to see if it is damaged or not! I have goofed with ECHO 3 SW and PRIME rods in this same manner and gone on to fish them with no apparent ill effect.

ECHO Warranty: All ECHO fly rods are covered by a lifetime original owner Warranty that is among the best in the entire fly fishing industry.

The fly fishing industry is in a constant state of flux based on new material and manufacturing technologies; design modifications, consumer feedback, and yes, the value of the dollar in a world of global trade.

Folks who know me understand that I appreciate the opportunity to fish many brands of fly rods, reels, lines, leaders and such forth. That said, I have a deep understanding and appreciation for a few of these, and ECHO fly rods are among the brands that I am particularly well acquainted with.

This post is a quick update on some of the goings-on that are radiating from the Rajeff Sports site in Vancouver Washington, where Tim Rajeff and his adept staff are on the cutting edge of rod and line design – while I’m the lucky end-user of their new or modified products.

Kindly forgive the fact that these are not studio glamor shots of the gear,  just simple images to set the stage for each product.

Jay Nicholas Echo ION XL fly rod

Echo ION XL fly rods. Here is a great example where Tim took an already great and modestly priced fly rod, switched up the cosmetics, decreased the swing weight of the rod, maintained the durability and dependability—with a decrease in consumer price. Amazing. My ION was a great rod before, now it looks sharper and costs less. Go figure.

Jay Nicholas Echo Shadow II fly rod

Echo Shadow II. This specialty nymphing fly rod was redesigned prior to 2016. How so? Tim and Pete Erickson preserved the core elements that make this a great European style nymphing rod, but they added a little more flex in the butt section thereby making this long rod (10 ft for the 2 and 3 wt models versus 10 ft 6 inches for the 4 wt model) more user friendly as a casting tool rather than a purely high-stick rod. The rod is light and a joy to cast dry flies and small wets on the Deschutes or wherever you consider your home waters, and is well worth trying as a dual purpose fly rod. The addition to the Shadow II line for 2016 was adding the 2 wt to the rod series.

Jay Nicholas Echo Dec Hogan II Spey Rod

Echo Dec Hogan II. This is a rod that was re-designed a few years ago but that I only had a chance to experience in 2015. I liked the first DH spey rod series, and I love this DH II. I especially like the 6.5 wt because it gives me a genuine ‘tweener that has more power than the 6 but less than the 7 – as if anyone really cares. These spey rods allow you to really feel the load and are tremendous fun to fight fish on.  Tremendously easy to cast, anyone who swings the two hander should love these rods. I fish the seven wt in winter and the 6.5 in summer.

Jay Nicholas Echo Boost Salt fly rod

Echo Boost. Less expensive than the Echo 3 SW rods. More expensive than the ION XL. Faster than the ION. Powerful Fresh and saltwater fly rods, these are tough fly rods that you can overload and pull hard on but are super casting tools. If you like to power out your flies and wrangle fish giving little quarter, these rods sure are fine to fish. I fish the 8 wt for rockfish, lingcod, and king salmon. Solid performance.

Jay Nicholas Echo Base fly rod

Echo Base. In my opinion, these fly rods over perform and are under priced. I fish the 8 ft 4 wt rod and it casts like a rocket. Seriously, if you told me this was an 800 buck rod I would believe it based on the casting it delivers. Of course the components are budget minded on this sub-hundred-buck rod, but if you fish any of these you will be amazed at how well they cast.


Echo Glass Switch and Spey rods. These are economical and fun to fish. I love the 3 wt and 4 wt rods fishing sea run cutthroat and summer steelhead in the coastal lakes. I fish the 8 and 8 wt spey rods for kings and winter steelhead. These take some getting used to after the fast recovery rods we have become accustomed to, but in terms of having fun fishing and playing fish these are superior rods. I thought initially that my casting range would be restricted by these slow rods, but it is not.


Echo Glass single hand fly rod. I have the 5 wt and LOVE it for trout fishing, plus I have also caught summer steelhead on this rod with small dry and wet flies. This rod will not cast as far as the BASE or Echo 3 rods in the five wt series, but it casts plenty far for my needs. In this photo I’m actually pulling on a summer steelhead on 5X tippet.

The Gen 2.0 Airflo Skagit Compact is noted by the blue hue on the rear of the head.

The Gen 2.0 Airflo Skagit Compact is noted by the blue hue on the rear of the head.

Skagit Gen 2.0 Skagit Compact Spey Head. Not a fly rod but what the heck. I have fished this line and find it performs very well, especially when paired with the new Super Dri Ridged 30 LB floating running line

The generation 2.0 skagits are shorter by about a half foot per size, and the rear taper is about a half foot longer. Overall, these skagit compact upgraded designs just make an already fine line even better.

The new super dry running lines have a black large loop that is I think tougher than the original line loop and is a nice visual cue to recognize how much overhang you have at your rod tip. The new super dry coat on these running lines is superior to the previous line coating and these are slippery and float better too.

jay nicholas echo carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL. The carbon is another Echo fly rod that is lighter and a tad less expensive in 2016. Good before, still good now, you can not go wrong with the fly rod.

ECHO 3 SW new titanium stripper guide on right.

ECHO 3 SW new titanium stripper guide on right (upper).

Echo 3 SW fly rods. These already excellent fly rods have been very slightly upgraded for 2016, with a titanium insert first stripper guide and a tip acton that is reportedly some 6% softer than the former models. I’m told that only expert casters will notice the difference but Tim Rajeff made the change to give these rods a slightly better feel when loading on short and moderate range casts. I loved the rods already and these changes only make them better. Fantastic fly rod at a fantastic price. Still, if you can afford it and want a rod in the 8 and up class, give the PRIME a serious consideration, I can’t imagine anyone regretting it.

Jay Nicholas Echo PRIME fly rod

Echo PRIME. This one piece fly rod is a fast action beauty that I love to fish offshore and in the estuaries for everything that swims within my casting range. At 8 ft 10 inches, this is a fantastic, light, tough-as-nails, fly rod. I’ve fished kings, silvers, rockfish, lingcod, and albacore with these rods available in lines wts from 8 – 12 only. The eight wt makes a fantastic all season rod for salmon. The the wt is acceptable for albacore (i usually fish the 12 wt though) and I have yet to find another 10 wt that I would fish albacore with. Is the one piece construction a problem? Not to me. And I have never broken one of these either. And I fish them hard too.

ECHO 3 Switch Rod – seven wt. Not changed, just a dependable great switch rod. I fish the 7 wt with a 450 Airflo Skagit Switch compact or 375 gr OPST Commando head on the coastal rivers, and this is a fantastic steelhead switch rod – light, powerful, casts long and short and generally a pleasure to fish all day long.

Jay Nicholas Echo 3 FW fly rod

Echo 3 FW  – 10 ft six wt. When I’m feeling like indicator fishing, this is my go-to rod. Light, powerful, casts far and handles fish with authority (wow nice phrase)  this is a great fly rod. As this fly shows, I also swing flies with this rod fishing my indicator line or a OPST Commando head.

Jay Nicholas Echo Gecko kitlECHO Gecko kit with rod, reel, line, and leader. It is snappy bright to appeal to the youngest potential angler but this is no toy. At 7 ft 9 inches, this forgiving action fly rod has a short fighting butt to make two hand assist casts and the shaft is sturdy enough for the rod to take considerable amount of messing around poking at salamanders or just generally whipping around when not actually fishing. At under a hundred bucks for the rod only and well under two hundred for the complete outfit, this is a great fly fishing starter combo gift for very young anglers.

 Jay Nicholas ECHO Base Kit

ECHO BASE Fly Rod – Reel – Line – Leader combo kit. offered in line wts 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 – these combo outfits offer the ready to fish outfit in a carrying case at well under two hundred bucks. All Echo/Airflo, and all durable highly fishable gear, these are wonderful starter combos, backup combos, and gifts.



Jay Nicholas ECHO Pin rod

ECHO PIN. Not a fly rod, I know, but I’ve fished these rods two full seasons and can report that they are a delight to fish for steelhead and chinook. My Centerpin casting skills are so rudimentary that I often just strip cast off the reel, and I’ve had some bonafide snarls in my line playing fish but these long rods at 13 ft cast great and have full flex action to absorb the surge of big fish while still making five pound steelhead seem like linkers. If you fish a center pin rod, this is a great option. Am I an expert in these rods? Heck no. But I’ve fished a lot of rods over the last fifty plus years and can recommend the PIN as an honest to goodness great value and effective steelhead/salmon “bobber” rod. Rated for 8 – 12 Lb line, Ive fished 15 when the going gets tough.


ECHO TR (Tim Rajeff) Two Hand rod series.  I have no image for this rod and do not normally fish this rod, but I have fished it and have several friends who count this as their number one two hander. Met a fellow recently who has a seven wt TR spey rod and was helping him tune his casting. Wow. This is a cannon. With a  powerful butt section, this TR is on target for powerful casters who like to push out the heavy tips on skagit heads. This is a long proven rod design and there are none tougher.

Hope these notes pique your interest, time for me to head out and hitch up the boat to go trout fishing on the town lake.

ECHO offers many more fly rods plus over roughly 20 fly lines, and great leader materials and various Polyleaders, Flow tips and custom cut sink tips too. I have fished most of these products (not all) and would be pleased to offer my thoughts if anyone calls or emails me.

Same goes for SAGE, SCOTT, WINSTON, LOOMIS, RIO, SA, HATCH, BURKHEIMER, and the entire range of great tackle I am fortunate to be able to fish. With so many solid options out there, I hope to be able to guide anyone into an outfit that fulfills your fly fishing dreams.

Jay Nicholas, March 2016

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4 Responses to Review of Good gear from Echo Fly rods: 2016

  1. david jensen says:

    Winstons will break if you are as stupid as me with your rack. But replacement guaranty like Echo. I am now keeping Winston and Echos in rod cases because they are too good to miss while being replaced.

  2. Rob Rosario says:

    I discovered Echo as few years back and have slowly been replacing my other rods with Echos- I have absolutely fallen in love with the Echo Glass (7wt in both switch and spey, 2wt 6’2) and Ion in 10′ 6wt. Im looking at the Glass Bigwater, althought I wish they would have added a small fighting butt to them! Otherwise, I think when you find a product line that does everything you want, you stick with them.

    Echo fan for life,


  3. John says:

    Great post Jay. I’ve been super happy with my 8 wt Ion and Echo reels so I’m looking to pick up another one. I’m curious if you’ve got an opinion on the Glass 4108 compared to the SR 4106? I’m going to primarily use it to skagit cast big streamers for east side of WA trouts.

    I’ve seen some people say that the glass 4108 has a bit more power and the slower stroke is reminiscent of larger spey rods. What do you think?


  4. John says:

    Curious on your opinion between these two rods for indicator fly fishing out of float tubes and pontoon boats. Echo 3 – 5100 (10’ – 5wt) and Echo Lago (10’ – 5wt). Thanks

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