ImageThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words…well, I’ll add a few more.

Southeast Alaska isn’t the place to bring your fishing gear if you want it to keep that “fresh off the flyshop shelf” look. Between the salt water, barnacles, granitic sand and glacial flour, your stuff will stay “pretty” for about a week’s worth of trips.

Beauty, however, is in the eye of the beholder, and I for one would rather have a reel that can take a beating and still answer the bell than a shiny, fragile museum piece that can’t handle my work environment.

I have a half-dozen of these Echo Ion 6/7 reels that guests use, and have fished them exclusively for the past few years. 700+ client days and over 8,000 fish later, they look like the dog got ahold of them when he couldn’t find a tennis ball to fetch. They are still going strong, and just got new lines and a fresh coat of waterproof grease on the bearings in preparation for a new guide season.

I put these reels on Echo EDGE 790s rods and have folks do battle with salmon all day (every day) for a few months out of the year, in both salt and fresh water. They have been thrown in and out of airplanes, dropped into the sandy surf, dragged down gravel bars by fish, and subject to the use and abuse by folks who fished ‘em like they were rentals, and they will probably endure just the same this year.

Quite possibly the best $79.99 that a fella could spend on a reel. Seriously.

Echo/Airflo Pro Mark Hieronymus is a senior guide for Bear Creek Outfitters, designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants, and serves as the Trout Unlimited Southeast Alaska Sportfish Outreach Coordinator working to save native spawning grounds in the Tongass National Forest. No bones about it…Mark’s one busy dude.

Learn more about the Tongass 77 Campaign here.