The Rats Nest

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Echo Shadow PE 10-1/2' 3 Weight Rod, A Review Of Sorts

So I have been fishing the Echo Shadow PE for the better part of 6 weeks now and am as impressed now as the day I put my hands on it.  I have fished with both the 11 foot 4 weight and 10-1/2 foot 3 weight, and am very partial to the 3 as it is perfect for various reasons I will elaborate upon later.  If you are looking to make a plunge into the realm of "Euro-Nymphing", this in my opinion is a very good choice for a multi faceted "Euro-Nymphing" tool.

This rod was designed by a nationally known competitive angler, Pete Erickson a member of the Team USA fly fishing team, with insight from others in the competitive realm as well.  Couple that with  Tim Rajeff, and you have some great minds working to turn out a quality product.  A lot of R&D went into the construction of these rods.  Some concepts that were meddled with were affordability, fish-ability, lightness in hand, durability and a stealthy design.   All of these attributes were the foundation that Pete and Tim were looking for in building the perfect "Euro-Nymphing Tool".  After many prototypes, countless hours of testing and re-testing they finally produced what I believe to be a great rod to employ these deadly techniques while hitting on all of those key areas.

Lets start with the blank itself, although it may not be the prettiest rod on the market, reducing rod glare through the use of a matte black finish, hard finished black single foot guides, and black mesh reel seat this rod is about as stealthy as it gets, which is another bonus for those of you who fish on rivers with heavy angler pressure, or extremely wary wild trout.

The second attribute that was a big one especially with the competitive anglers was the lightness of the rod in hand.  When you fish with your arm extended for long periods of time, fatigue is a reality and making a light rod was a huge factor in the success of this rod.  After several trials the production rods are a mere 99(10-1/2') and 104(11') grams respectively.  Pretty darn light considering their lengths.  I will admit when I held a few of the prototypes in hand over the winter, I was very skeptical as they seemed very heavy and overly tip heavy.  But after some re-working the final product is much lighter and more angler friendly

The third attribute which in my opinion is probably one of the more important ones in the grand scheme of things is the fish ability factor.  This is a catch all phrase, one which encompasses a couple of topics, most importantly accuracy.  This has been a chief complaint of several anglers with some of the other longer nymph rods on the market.  Some rods do not seem to track well, especially some of the lower to mid range priced models on the market.  The main problem with many of these rods is they cause an anglers presentation to be skewed as the flies never seem to land exactly where the angler intended them to.  I have experienced this myself with several other rods that I have fished, where you want your flies to land in a specific location but instead they land either 1-2 feet to the left or right of the target.  This can be very problematic especially if the angler has a very small window in which to place their flies into.  I can say with an almost 100% degree of certainty that this rod is spot on.  I have been intentionally fishing in tight areas that require a great deal of concentration and precision and this rod places the flies exactly where I intend them to time and time again.

The second half to the fish ability equation is the ability to play large fish on lighter tippets without worrying about breaking them off.  This rod does it all, after landing several fish in the 18-20 + inch class over this time frame in a quick manner without any lost due to break offs had me sold.  As a guide on a rather pressured tail water fishery with 18+ inch fish very common, this is a very important attribute especially when guiding clients of all skill levels.  This rod leaves a greater room for error when playing larger fish without sacrificing cast ability.  Bottom line, it performs what it is meant to do.  The bottom 2/3 of this rod is fairly stiff making lobbing flies an easy task, but the upper 1/3 near the tip is very forgiving and will protect even the lightest of tippets making this rod a complete fish catching tool.

Now, to the downsides, of which are very limited in my opinion and can be taken with a grain of salt.  If you are looking for a multi-purpose fishing tool, these aren't the rods for you.  You aren't going to transition from nymphing to throwing dries with accuracy or a grained line and big streamers with these particular rods.  This particular series of rods was made for one thing and one thing only, long or short leader nymph fishing, period.  Keep this in mind before taking the plunge.  Secondly, if balance is an issue, then you may not particularly like this rod as the only complaint from anglers that I have experienced is that they are tip heavy.  If this is important to you, then you can add the new Ross Balance ArmNymphing with a distinct emphasis on the longer Spanish and French styles, this rod is aces in my book.

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