ECHO Pro Staffer/fish genius Mark Hieronymus discusses the ECHO Boost rod series and how losing his go-to rod ‘family’ prompted a new love for this unique series.
Like many of y’all, when I got the word the ECHO Edge rod line was being discontinued in 2015, I was a little chapped. I had spent 3 years guiding exclusively with the Edge 790s rods, and grew to appreciate their “fast-ish”, easy casting action and burly backbone for all aspects of my season, whether it was for 14” spring dollies or 14lb fall coho. So yeah, I did not take lightly the news that Uncle Tim & Co. were canning my go-to twig – matter of fact, I got on the phone with HQ and yelled so much it took WEEKS for Jarrod and Jamie’s ear-hair to grow back. Mad, I was.
No longer. After a sneak peek at the BOOST in December 2014, I knew there would be a good replacement coming down the pike. When I finally got my hands on a BOOST Salt 790-4 of my own last year, my suspicions were confirmed – the Rajeffians have added another awesome rod to the lineup. After my first few casting and fishing sessions, I ordered 5 more to use as client rods – as well as one for my own use.
One of the first things you will notice when you get your new BOOST in your hands is the fit and finish. The metal reel seat with dual skeleton locking rings is a fixture usually reserved for more expensive rods, and the blue accent wraps add a discreet touch of “bling” to the non-fish-scaring matte black finish blank. Top it off with a well-turned cork grip with burl accent ends and you have one sexy flypole.
If you were to give your new BOOST the “fly shop wiggle” you will feel the crispness of the fast action, and when you stop wiggling it you feel the damping effect that makes the BOOST a super-awesome casting tool. Simply put, damping is the thing that determines how much a rod vibrates while being loaded and unloaded. While positive vibrations are good in the reggae world, they are bad in the fly-casting world as they rob the rod of power during the cast, and can have decidedly negative effects on your distance and accuracy. The better a rod “damps”, the more control you have over where and how far the line goes.
The other thing you might notice while holding your new BOOST is its lightness in hand – tipping the scales at a svelte 4.3oz, the BOOST Salt 790-4 is the lightest multi-piece 7wt in the Echo salt lineup, lighter than both the E3s 790-4 (4.5oz) and the now discontinued Edge E790s (5oz). Another factor contributing to the light feel is a balance point about 23.5” from the butt end of the rod…what does that mean, you ask? Well, for the folks that like light AND balanced setups, it means the BOOST Salt 790-4 balances with less than 7oz in the reel seat, lessening your fatigue and making the casting “feel” of the rod come alive.
Speaking of casting, that’s where your new BOOST will really shine. From 10’ to 100’, this rod can do it all and do it well. The light tip allows for easy short-line loading for close-in shots, and the progressive taper provides the oomph needed to throw all the line a fisher could want or need to throw. I cast the BOOST Salt 790-4 with both an ECHO SOLO 7wt line and an Airflo Super-DRI River & Stream 7wt, and both lines loaded well for all casting ranges.
Rods aren’t just about casting, though. Over the years, I have owned some rods that are great long-casting tools but HORRIBLE fishing tools. The BOOST Salt 790-4 has the ability to roll-cast and mend well at all distances, and the feel of a fighting fish isn’t deadened by a heavy blank or sluggish action. After 450+ client-days and guests tangling with everything from 10-inch trout to 20lb coho, the BOOST performed admirably, bending and bucking on the little trout yet with enough chutzpah and backbone to hold good control over the big, crazy coho.
The BOOST Salt 790-4 is a perfect rod for my guests – easy to cast, light enough to fish all day, beefy enough to pull in the trophies, but a fun rod to fight fish of all sizes. If you happen to catch me fishing on a rare day off, the odds are pretty good that I will have a BOOST in my hand.