P1030951I’ll begin by letting you know that I’m a fairly new member of the Echo Pro Team, and have spent much of the Summer/Fall becoming acquainted with Echo’s family of spey rods. The collection of rods as a whole is strong, with several different actions covering the spectrum of fishing applications and casting styles. Professionally, I work a decent chunk of the year as a casting instructor, and have learned through experience that casters tend to gravitate towards a particular type of action that’s best suited for their individual casting style. Personally, I’ve adopted the Echo 3 series as my action of choice, and have grown fond of their versatility in a variety of fishing situations.

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Earlier this week I had a conversation with Red, the Marketing Manager over at Rajeff Sports. He asked me a simple (not so simple) question: “Now that you’ve spent a few months fishing Echo3 Spey Rods, I’m curious to know what you think?”

The easy answer: They’re great rods that load, cast, and fish exceptionally. He wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily. Pushing for a bit more info, he asked me for a breakdown of each rod, including personal preferences for line systems, and an explanation of strengths in specific fishing situations.

Before we get into specifics, I’ve got to say that I’m a big fan of the Airflo Rage Compact on these rods. Here in the Great lakes region, the Rage and a set of Airflo Polyleaders will cover just about any Summer/Fall Steelhead situation. Think of the Rage as a “Swiss Army” shooting head, capable of accommodating polyleaders in a full range of sink rates. When fish hunker down in cold winter flows, the Airflo Compact Skagit and Compact Skagit Intermediate cast wonderfully as well, but up to this point, I haven’t found it necessary to change tactics.

P1030680Disclaimer: Typically, I’m not a fan of suggesting what’s best for you without having an opportunity to observe your casting stroke or ability. That being said, I believe these suggestions are sound based on feedback from a number of clients and friends that have found success with these “formulas”.

Here’s what I’ve fished:

6wt Echo3:

420 Rage, 10′ poly leaders, 4ft of mono or fluorocarbon. My summer run stick of choice. Surprisingly light in hand. Perfect for fishing dry/traditional patterns.

7wt Echo3:

510 Rage, 10-14′ poly leaders, 4ft of mono or fluorocarbon. Excellent 4 season option. Not too heavy for early season steelhead (or summer run in the lower 48), and not too light for winter fish. This is my favorite rod in the series. I feel right at home fishing this set up for Atlantic’s or Steelhead, with wet and dry patterns, on just about any river.

8wt Echo3:

540 Rage, 10-14′ poly leaders, 4ft of mono or fluorocarbon. The additional power and length (over the E3 7130) makes a huge difference when fishing conditions call for long, precise casts. With the cold weather gripping the Great Lakes region this would be my choice to fish slow and deep, changing my setup to a Skagit or Skagit Intermediate.

P1030614Finally, Red asked me how the Echo 3 Speys “stack up” when compared with other manufactures offerings. I told him without hesitation that they perform with the best of them, even compared to rods selling for twice the MSRP. There’s one point I’d really like to drive home. The major difference between Echo rods, and some of the other rods available at similar price points, is that Echo rods are designed by Tim Rajeff and a team of expert casters. Designing a perfect action with consistency throughout the series is a long and somewhat difficult process. These are NOT parts ordered sight-unseen from a manufacturer, then pushed out the door with a label slapped on the blank. These are precision fishing tools thoughtfully designed to perform over a wide range of applications. Even better, the price is so reasonable, you’ll be able to afford more than one.

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For over two decades, Rick has been an accomplished fly tier, fly fisher, and teacher. Rick’s been profiled or published in: The Toronto Globe and Mail, The Hamilton Spectator, Fly Tyer, Fly Fusion and The Atlantic Salmon Journal, to name a few. A guest tier and speaker throughout Canada and USA, his flies have been highlighted in many books and periodicals. In 2004, Canada Post commissioned Rick to tie a Full Dressed Jock Scott. The reproduction was replicated and released on Canadian ¢.50 stamp in February 2005.

For more about Rick, visit his website HERE, or check out his Facebook page HERE.

For more information on Echo 3 Spey Rods, click HERE.