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21-11-2012, 11:45 AM #1
SFF Review - Echo 3 Switch Rod
Echo are based in Vancouver, Washington, USA. Their rods are imported into Europe and distributed by Baltic Fly Fisher. The Echo brand is the brainchild of a world famous caster and rod designer by the name of Tim Rajeff. These products are making their way into the UK via Baltic Fly Fisher.
In this review I am looking at what has became known as a Switch Rod or in this case an Echo 3 8110-4.
Switch rods are basically short rods of around 106 to 118 that are in effect either short double handed or long single handed rods depending on how you look at them.
The rod comes in a green square cordura rod tube and a black cloth rod bag. The square nature of the tube is useful as it makes it stable and will stop it rolling around in the boot of your car.
This rod is 11 in length and rated for an 8 line. A 4 piece blank with over-fit joints with alignment dots. The dark green metallic finish is complimented by darker contrasting green whippings, these are finished with a couple of turns of gold around the logo and ferule reinforcements. There are 8 snake rings with 2 lined stripping guides and a hayfork tip ring.
The cork handle is of reasonable quality, there is less filler than I have seen in some more expensive brands. The top handle is 10.25 long with a bottom handle of just over 3.25 and is fitted with a rubberized cork button. The black anodized reel seat which is uplucking has the usual two double locking nuts and will take the now standardized reel foot common on most modern fly reels, the reel seat also has handy white alignment markers to help you find the grooves for the reel foot. The rod weighs 171g or 6.03 oz.
I dont typically use a rod like this for very much of my salmon fishing, rarely even do I use a single hander. I decided this rod had to accompany me on a number of different fishing trips this year so I could really get a feel for it and its best uses.
Staurt at BFF supplied the rod with an Airflo Scandi Compact head of 34' length and a weight of 480 grains which is 31g - this was the line I used throughout my testing and I found that it matched the rod very well for a combination of spey and overhead casts.
If I was planning on using the rod solely for spey & roll casting I might have gone up a couple of grams but that's more down to my individual preference than the line being too light for the rod.
The rod has a very user friendly middle or medium fast action, it had no real vices and cast a very tidy line to distances around 25m, more in overhead if needed. I think its important to remember what we would use a rod like this for, its designed for places where short to medium casts are needed, its not designed for throwing tungsten tubes into the Tay in January! Its a delicate rod for casting floating lines or the lighter end of the sinking tip spectrum and it does this very well indeed.
As for the notion that Swich rods are called as such because you can switch between single or double handed use then Im not so sure, this rod and line was far too much for me to cast single handed all day and I cant think why I would want to anyway. If an overhead cast was needed then a simple two handed overhead saw much more than 25yds disappear towards the horizon quite easily, I guess that is when it would be useful for fly fishing in the sea with sea trout and bass being the target species.
I landed a 12lb fish with this rod and to be honest it took a while but coped well enough, then again if I was targeting fish of this size or bigger I probably wouldn't choose to use such a small/light rod. I see this rod as being really well suited to the smaller Irish rivers or the rivers of Iceland, anywhere where the fish are that bit smaller and there isnt the need to cast heavy gear or really long lines. I could see it being used for the salt very well indeed.
What was clear to me from the first cast is that this is a salmon line weight rod, the 8 line rating applies to shooting heads in the 30g range, an 8wt trout head would weigh around 16g and would be far too light for the rod, even with overhead casts. It is a well made rod which presents itself well, the finish is of a good quality and the rod has proven to be reliable during the use its had this summer. If you fish the smaller rivers or in the height of summer with low water conditions and need the stealth of a lighter line presentation then I think these short double hander's are a very useful addition to the salmon fishers armoury.
This rod was supplied for review and can be purchased from Baltic Fly Fisher
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