I’m excited to add my inaugural offering to all of the entertaining and informative blogs on echoflyfishing.com! I look forward to contributing many more in the near future.
About five years ago, when Tim and I first talked of creating a Euro-nymphing rod, I knew there would be design challenges, but the risk to reward potential was just too enticing to not at least give it a shot. Happily, the first Shadow series – “the Shadow PE” – was a success. The Shadow PE introduced innovative features like a matte black finish and black foot guides, along with a revolutionary long-lite action with a sensitive tip. The original 3106 was the very first production 10’6 3wt, and has since inspired many other rod makers to introduce 10’6 foot nymphing rods with similar features to the Shadow PE.
While the Shadow PE ‘s were excellent nymphing rods, when we sat down to rethink what a new Shadow II model might entail, the Echo design team zeroed in on a couple of key opportunities for improvement. First, the new Shadow II’s would be “light long rods” designed to excel in all nymphing situations–including Euro-Style, indicator, high sticking and wet fly. Next, (and this was paramount) the new Shadows would need to cast a dry fly beautifully–not just O.K., but BEAUTIFULLY! Additionally, groundbreaking features like rod extensions and adjustable reel seat weights would allow anglers to dial in multi-functional in their “hybrid” nature. Finally, in the great tradition of all Echo rods, the Shadow II’s would need to be affordable, because paying 800 bucks for a nymphing stick is just insane! The new Echo Shadow II comes in at a cool $249.00!
“Which Shadow 2 model should I buy?” —- is a question that I have heard a lot the past several months. First, please let me express our appreciation and gratitude from the entire ECHO design team to all of the folks out there that have taken notice of the new Shadow II’s and have arrived at the dilemma of which one to buy–the 3wt or the 4wt? The easy solution is of course–buy both of them 😉 However, if you are on a limited budget like I usually am, and can only buy one, there are a couple of factors that you might want to consider before making your choice.
***A quick disclaimer—always remember, overall it is usually mostly personal preference and feel when it comes to choosing the right fly rod***
As to my preference, I can clearly recall anecdotally, last summer, I used the 3wt most often simply because I like the light feel of it, and it is great for both all-around nymphing AND dry fly. Ok, I’ll just go ahead and admit it. I’m totally THAT typical angler that’s too damn lazy to walk back to my car and swap out rods when I switch from nymphing to dries (or vis-versa)! The 3wt really became my go to rod. Conversely, if I’m going to immerse myself in hard core, all day nymphing sessions then I prefer the 4wt because of the extra reach.
I’m also frequently asked the question—”What is the best fly line for the Shadow II?” Again personal preference plays a huge role here, however, right now I have Airflow Super-Dri Elite lines in 3wt and 4wt on the rods–and I’m very happy with the performance. Since both rods are matched up perfectly to cast the line designation printed on each rod, I felt no need to “overline,” and although I have been hearing many good things from guys that have laced up the Shadow II’s with specialized nymph lines, I prefer to keep to the traditional WF and/or DT floating lines as I spend a great deal of time dry fly fishing with these rods.
People call the Shadow II a “hybrid” rod for good reason. As I mentioned before, the ability to perform at the highest levels both nymphing and casting dry flies added to many multi-function features that are realized by purchasing the competition kit (sold separately for only $79 bucks) gives these rods that “do it all” presence. To sum it up, I asked well-known Silver Creek Outfitters guide Bret Bishop to describe the Shadow 2 and he told me, and I quote: “With some long light rods you lock yourself into fishing a certain way. The Shadow 2 is not only versatile, it’s just flat out fun to fish. In fact, the 3100 has now become my go to “pod rod” for fishing tricos on Silver Creek–especially in areas with tall grass.”
Recently I went winter fishing with good friends Phil Rowley and Erik Moncada here in Idaho–we chose a small river to give the shadows a go. Here is the link to Erik’s blog to read all about day of “Casting Shadows.”
Pete is an ESPN Outdoor Games Gold Medalist, a Team USA National Champion, and has finished “Top 25” at the World Championships several times since 2002, (top 15 twice).