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September 5, 2011 / flogginwater

Flying Solo – Echo Style

I did something earlier this week that I never anticipated doing. Never really planned on doing. But I did it anyway. And I (mostly) don’t regret doing it.

What did I do? I went to my local fly shop and got seduced into an impulse buy on a new rod (not really a new thing) – an expensive new rod. I went in just to pick up some tying materials, and maybe wiggle a few rods. The thought occurred to me that I could buy a new rod for my birthday present to self, and build a new rod this winter when I won’t be fishing as much (sounds logical, right?)

I inquired about a particular rod, the Cortland Brook, in the 10′ flavor. I wondered if they made a 6 weight – I was looking for something that would be a multi-purpose rod – good for bass, good for lakes, and good for punching out some nice casts, but also one that I could swing wet flies with on a tight line, and get more reach than I can with my 8’6″ rods.

Cortland doesn’t make a 6 weight brook. They make 4’s and 5’s – which I wouldn’t mind – but no 6. I really was looking for a 6 for the versatility. The shop in question (River City, in Beaverton) *did* have a rod similar to what I was looking for. It was an Echo switch rod (the love child of single hand fly rods and Spey rods. They’re called “switch rods” because you can fish them either one handed or double handed. They’re longer than most single handers, shorter than most full on Spey rods. Versatile rods! Anywho – they had this lovely Echo SR 10′ 6″ 4 weight in stock. I almost balked at “4 weight” until I was shown that these rods are really recommended for a 6 weight line – which seemed odd. A bit more digging discovers that Tim Rajeff recommends this rod with a #6 line for double hand casting, and a 4 weight for single hand work.

Don, the owner of River City, happened to have a reel spooled up with a WF 6 line (which I believe is an Airflo Ridge Tactical Trout, after examining it a bit). We took it outside to the grass behind the shop, and I was turned loose to cast it. I was in love with a few casts. Don had another customer to help, so he excused himself and headed back inside, letting me continue casting. Sneaky trick. He must’ve noticed how much I was falling for this thing! I cast it for about 15 minutes – single hand, and double (both overhead and roll casting). I *had* to have it. I wasn’t looking to buy a rod this day, but I HAD to have it. Like a nymph craves lovin’, like an addict craves smack, I had to have this rod. So I reeled in, took the rod apart, and went in to find the rod sock and tube. I couldn’t help but buy it.

Now, the price I had in my head wasn’t the price of the rod. Don had shown me the catalog, and I misread the thing – I had been looking at the price of one of the line up of single handers. Thinking I was going to plunk down $190 for a rod, I was OK with myself. I was committed to the purchase. So when we flipped the catalog back open to double check price, and I saw it was $329 I about crapped myself. Too late! I was committed, I *had* to have this rod. Had to. “$329, on debit?” “Yep!” I replied ooh too cheerfully. What the hell did I just do? Don was cool, and he threw in a Cortland Vista turbine reel, and the #6 line, along with the little handful of tying materials I had originally come in for, at no charge.

I shouldn’t have spent that much cash. I really shouldn’t have. But I had to. I can’t explain why – or what kind of pull this damn thing holds over me, but I had to. Late that night at home, I broke the rod out again, and lined it up, to cast it in the yard – see if I was delusional at the shop. I stripped off 50′ feet of line and with one false cast shot it like an arrow. Okay, strip more line off. Three or five wraps of line left around the arbor on the reel, pile of line at my feet. False cast, false cast, shoot. Line shot out and laid flat straight out ahead of me, almost 80′ away. Ohmygod this is too good to be true! I reeled in and put the rod away.

Took it to work with me. Hit up this casting pond in Southeast Portland on my lunch break. 60-65′ roll casts. 70′ single hand overhead casts. I’d added 15-20 feet of casting length without over-powering the rod or doing a funny casting dance. I can only assume that much of this distance comes from the rod’s length – 10’6″ is nothing to sneeze at. It keeps the line up higher, allowing for more line in the air. The rod’s action, which I would describe as medium-fast, might help this also. I normally fish rods that I’d classify as medium action or slow action. Rods that really shine, and are very fun to fish with at closer ranges. With my 8’6″ rods, 45-50 feet is my most comfortable ‘long range’ casts, and most of my fishing is done at 25-30 feet. The 11′ 6 weight I just built lets me push casts out to 55-60 feet, so that is what leads me to believe that the extra length has most to do with this increased casting distance. The additional casting distance has to come from the rod’s action. Whatever it comes from – I like it. No, I love it. This rod is going to get some serious workouts in the future. Trout, bass, maybe even some steelhead and salmon fishing on smaller streams. It should work wonderfully for the original purpose I got it for – tight line wet fly and nymph fishing – and it casts well enough and delicately enough that dry fly fishing shouldn’t be a problem either.

So far I’ve lawn cast it with 5 and 6 weight lines – and it performed well with both. I haven’t lined it with a #4 yet, but I’ll get there.

For now, I’m day dreaming about throwing poppers and divers and streamer for bass, swinging soft hackle wet flies and streamers for trout, dredging nymphs for trout, and swinging smaller “low water” type patterns for the tail end of our summer steelhead run. And just for fun, i’ve got to get it out on the little pond and see how the panfish fight on it. Should be fun!

I’ll give a good detailed review on the rod after I’ve had some chance to really fish it (I’ve ‘fished’ with it once, on a small stream. Dapping and short roll casting to fish that didn’t want to play. So it’s still a virgin.)

On a similar note – if anyone wants a Ross Fly Water #1 (3/4 weight lien) reel, I’ll let mine go for a good price.

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2 Comments

  1. John Montana / Sep 5 2011 23:34

    Rajeff flat out knows his shit. I fish an echo two saltwater, love that rod. I crushed the grayling on dries on that sucker tonight, and laid waste to the rainbow on the copper river with that rod all afternoon. Echo rods flat out cast. Good purchase, you will love it.

  2. Mark / Sep 9 2011 18:59

    Gotta agree with you John, Tim Rajeff really knows his shit. I finally got to fish this rod a bit – and casting across the little pond, or for that matter from one end to the other length-ways wasn't impossible.

    Since I broke my little Grigg – the only rods I've got left now that will see consistent use will be the Echo and my Cabela's Wind River rods. I might replace the Grigg with an Echo Carbon 3 weight…

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