The misconception that flyfishing is inherently expensive keeps many people from getting into the sport, which is a shame. As fly rod technology continues to improve, the more inexpensive rods keep getting better and better. If you spent $500 on a rod ten years ago, you can oftentimes get a similar casting rod today for $200 or less. The technology and materials trickle down from the high end rods to the entry level rods after a few years, and because of this the inexpensive rods continue to impress us year after year. Echo fly rods have always impressed us, and you get a great bang for your buck that still has a lifetime warranty! The Echo Base has been around for a year or so now, and has been one of our best-selling rods. The Base comes in a full range of sizes from 3-8 weight in 4 piece, comes with a case and sports an unconditional lifetime warranty. There’s a lot of reasons to like the Base, but here’s a few reasons we like them!
- The Echo Base makes flyfishing a reasonably priced, approachable option for many people. The $89 price tag in the trout sizes is really appealing to many people, especially because there aren’t a ton of quality options in that entry level price range. If I handed someone a Base and didn’t tell them what the price was, very few people would suspect that is was a mere ninety dollars! Many companies make rods this affordable by skimping on things like a rod sock and tube, but not Echo – the base comes with a cordura tube and rod sock.
- Many companies make their rods affordable by leaving out the lifetime warranty aspect. The Echo Base comes with the same warranty as their top of the line rods, which is a big deal in our opinion. From our experience, it’s not if your fly rod will get broken – it’s when. The sad reality is that fly rods get broken. They get stepped on, sat on, rolled up in car windows, jammed into the ground, and broken on snags and fish. Rather than having a broken rod that won’t be able to do you any good, you can send the Base back and get a brand spankin’ new one within a few weeks!
- The third and most important reason is that frankly, the Base doesn’t feel like a sub-$100 fly rod. There’s a lot of cheap fly rods out there – not only in price, but in feel and overall quality. We’ve casted just about every model of the Base, and have yet to find one that we’re not impressed with. These rods cast like rods over twice their price! From casting the 3 weight twenty feet to throwing the 8 weight eighty, these rods will do it.
Is the Echo Base going to cast as well as your $800 premium rod? Absolutely not. Are they fantastic rods for the money? Damn right. In our opinion, these are the first real quality sub-$100 price tag rods to hit the market, and a lot of folks that are fishing them agree with us. Another reason the Echo Base is great is that it makes a great backup rod. If you’re going on a trip of a lifetime, it’s cheap insurance to grab an $89 fly rod to bring along. If you break your main rod, you might be surprised how much you like it! For the ultimate in fishablity at an affordable price, pair the Base with an Echo ION and a RIO Gold fly line. This setup puts you right around $245, and gives you a setup that fishes beautifully. Here’s a short breakdown of what we think each rod is best suited for –
- 7’6″ 3 weight – This is the small stream fly fisherman’s rod. Perfect for dries flies and brook trout, but can fish small, light nymph rigs if need be. The short length is great for getting into tight areas and under brush. Pair with a 2/3 Echo ION.
- 8′ 4 weight – Perfect small stream rod, and perfect for the Black Hills. This is the best all-around small water rod, and is equally at home throwing light nymph rigs as it is fishing smaller dries or hoppers. Short enough to get into tight areas, but long enough to have good line control. Pair with a 4/5 Echo ION.
- 9′ 5 weight – This one doesn’t need much explaining. The 5 weight is the all-around fly rod, and is just at home in the Black Hills as it is on the North Platte or the Bighorn. The Base 5 weight is a fantastic rod, and makes a perfect backup if you’re going on a fishing trip. Pair with a 4/5 Echo ION.
- 9′ 6 weight – Bighorn River, anyone? The Base 6 weight is the big river trout fisherman’s best friend. This rod is a fantastic rod for casting big, heavy indicator rigs. Fantastic North Platte rod. Good rod for throwing smaller streamers as well, whether it be locally or on a bigger river. Pair with a 6/7 Echo ION.
- 9′ 7 weight – This is the streamer stick. Perfect for casting sinking lines and articulated streamers. This is also a great rod for lighter duty warmwater fishing – Pierre White Bass and smallies are a hoot on a 7 weight! Pair with a 7/9 Echo ION
- 9′ 8 weight – Pike, Largemouth, and backup saltwater stick. Pike fishing has blown up here in the past few years, and this is the most affordable way to get in on the action. Perfect largemouth rod as well. If you’re going on a saltwater trip, this is a great option for an inexpensive spare. Pair with a 7/9 or 8/10 Echo ION, depending on how big of a reel you like. I’d put an 8/10 on it.
If you’re looking to get into fly fishing at a reasonable price, or want to get another setup that won’t break the bank, look into the Echo Base – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!