Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph, first impressions, quick followup

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
After posting a question this summer about how to fish some structure and getting some comments on using a ESN technique I have been playing with it all summer and fall using my traditional gear. After having gone through a dry fly phase (following Art Lee's writings) and a wet fly fascination (mostly based upon Dave Huges) I am now hooked on the ESN techniques. I had convinced myself I didn't need another rod, as I was catching fish, but often I wanted more reach, and since I enjoy it I took the plunge to go full euro.
With classes being clustered online and sick parents I didn't want to drop a fortune, but I wanted something that would really let me explore the technique, and the wife said go for it because I spend so much time fishing. I looked at several rods in the $150-$200 range and several in the ~$300 price range. After reading about all I could find, watching many online reviews, and reading/listening to what folks on the forum have said about some of the rods and brands they like, I decided to go with the entry level Echo Carbon XL Euro in a 10' 3wt. I found a website that packaged the rod with an Echo base reel, airflo euro-nymph line and 13' custom leader. No sales tax, no shipping. I ordered it late Thursday and it came in the mail yesterday.
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The items were well packaged, and even included a nice little note. Personal service.
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The combo came set-up, ready to fish. All I needed to do was assemble, attach tippets and flies.
The rod comes in a somewhat heavy but protective feeling cordua covered case, inside of which is a four sleeve nylon rod sock with the rod essentials emblazoned on the side. The first thing I noticed was that it was nicely finished and had a very "classic" look. The alignment dots made assembly easy. Upon assembly and the obligatory first "wiggle" it felt right. While I could notice the lower two sections were more like my 6 wt rods, and the 2 upper sections were more like like my 4 wts, it didn't feel "put together from different pieces". It was smooth throughout, and although long the tip didn't bounce much. Once the reel was attached and the line threaded it balance just right with my hand on the swell of the grip, which seemed just right for me to hold the rod with ease. I only had a couple hours but couldn't wait with a new rod in the house so I headed out to the golf course. I used a two fly setup with a tungsten muskrat on point and polish rigged hares ear dropper.
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I was impressed by how light the whole setup feels in hand. I felt that I had good control in close and could swim, run, lead the flies as I wanted. The tip is sensitive enough that i could tell when my fly was touching bottom, or being pecked at by the fish. I noticed that when my sighter indicated something happening I could feel it in the rod also. I had no trouble reaching the seams, in along the edges or behind rocks. I also found it quite easy to lob or flip the flies about 25-30' across the river too, and with accuracy for the most part. It was a bit windy today, and I found the thinner euro-line wasn't pushed around when trying to maintain a distant drift. I fished here today, and never felt I wished I had a different rod.
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I didn't get to test the "backbone" on any bigger fish, but the few little players I did encounter in the time I had were fun.
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If you look real close some of the tread work might not be "perfect". I don't like having to "rotate" the lower reel seat foot holding part. The made in china sticker kinda got me. I spent $20 and ordered an extra tip, knowing where I'll fish it. Our sportman's doesn't have fly rods and I haven't tried any others so I have nothing to compare it too, however I liked the setup and was quite pleased. More will be revealed but so far I'm glad I did it, no regrets.
 

Eastside

Active Member
The best fly shop around. I live in the Tri Cities and consider that to be my home shop. Great service and excellent guided trips/teaching clinics.

Mark
 

Poff

WFF Supporter
I have the same fly rod and really enjoy it. Used today actually :) Congrats on a great purchase. I'm sure you'll enjoy the rod and the challenge of learning new techniques.

I recommend the following videos for some great tutoring.

Modern Nymphing Elevated: Beyond the Basics DVD (also on Vimeo)

Modern nymphing: European Inspired Techniques DVD (also on Vimeo)

 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
I have one too and it is the only rod I have used for about 6 months. There aren't many rods like this that are designed to perform both conventional fly fishing and contact nymphing. I dare say it may be the best all purpose trout rod available right now, at any price.

You need to get rid of that euro line and put on a mono rig though! You will thank me later!
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I have the same fly rod and really enjoy it. Used today actually :) Congrats on a great purchase. I'm sure you'll enjoy the rod and the challenge of learning new techniques.

I recommend the following videos for some great tutoring.

Modern Nymphing Elevated: Beyond the Basics DVD (also on Vimeo)

Modern nymphing: European Inspired Techniques DVD (also on Vimeo)

Thanks for the recommendation. I noticed I'd adapted a style with the shorter fly rod and fly line base that didn't translate well, especially the setup point at the end of a drift for the next presentation. I'll go watch those for sure. I also want to work on some flies of the proper style this winter too.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I have one too and it is the only rod I have used for about 6 months. There aren't many rods like this that are designed to perform both conventional fly fishing and contact nymphing. I dare say it may be the best all purpose trout rod available right now, at any price.

You need to get rid of that euro line and put on a mono rig though! You will thank me later!
I made a mono rig based upon Troutbitten's pages last summer, following up on several folks recommendations. It didn't work out for me on the 8.5' 4wt or the 9' 6wt so I just put it away on a spool. I'll give it a proper try again now that I'm prepared with a more appropriate stick.
@jaredoconnor ,Thanks for your input, I've appreciated your past posts on the topic.
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
I must admit I have deviated from the wisdom of Mr. Swentosky a bit. I struggled with visibility, using his formula. Below is what I use now.

40ft 30lb OPST Lazar
1ft 13.9lb Cortland Indicator Mono
1ft 10.5lb Cortland Indicator Mono
Tippet ring
4ft 3x Rio Powerflex

I've successfully used this for dries, nymphs and streamers, from #6 3xl to #14. I tie backing barrels at every junction, for a bit of extra visibility. The final backing barrel can be used as a strike indicator, when floating the sighter. The highly visible Lazar line can also be mended, just like normal fly line. I couldn't do that with Chameleon, because I couldn't see it.

I have no doubt the TB rig is better, in the right hands. He spends more time on the water in one year than I will spend in a lifetime though. I think my formula is a bit more beginner friendly.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I must admit I have deviated from the wisdom of Mr. Swentosky a bit. I struggled with visibility, using his formula. Below is what I use now.

40ft 30lb OPST Lazar
1ft 13.9lb Cortland Indicator Mono
1ft 10.5lb Cortland Indicator Mono
Tippet ring
4ft 3x Rio Powerflex

I've successfully used this for dries, nymphs and streamers, from #6 3xl to #14. I tie backing barrels at every junction, for a bit of extra visibility. The final backing barrel can be used as a strike indicator, when floating the sighter. The highly visible Lazar line can also be mended, just like normal fly line. I couldn't do that with Chameleon, because I couldn't see it.

I have no doubt the TB rig is better, in the right hands. He spends more time on the water in one year than I will spend in a lifetime though. I think my formula is a bit more beginner friendly.
I had a bit of trouble seeing, especially when looking across the water sw into the sun. I clipped the sighter between the two colors and retied leaving 1" tags. That helped quite a bit. So much to learn and try.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
I had a bit of trouble seeing, especially when looking across the water sw into the sun. I clipped the sighter between the two colors and retied leaving 1" tags. That helped quite a bit. So much to learn and try.
Colors make a big difference. I want to be able to keep my Tenkara line off the water, precisely monitor-control the drift of dries-wets-nymphs, and to see subsurface takes. Line visibility is everything!

I started out fishing bright neon orange fluorocarbon 12lb (~0.13) Tenkara lines and when my casting improved I moved to 10lb (~0.12) for less sag. Orange (and red) stands out well against green streamside foliage when I and the line are in sunlight and facing away from the sun but virtually disappears when I and the line are both in shadow, especially if the background is brightly lit. So I started to use a 0x (0.11) Orvis sighter in a white-(neon) chartreuse-(neon) orange scheme but switched to chartreuse-orange-white scheme for more stealth since the waters I fish are often very clear and assume white is less to fish visible if a sloppy cast leaves it on-in the water. The sighter helped with above water visibility for me but it wasn't good enough.

I fished with a friend who was using a neon chartreuse line and it was more visible in a wider variety of lighting conditions so I've switched to that line with the chartreuse-orange-white sighter scheme. I find the chartreuse visible against foliage in sunlight but is more visible in shadow. Facing the sun is still a challenge.

Keiryu anglers use very long rods, short clear 3x to 5x lines, and 3-4 small yarn knot "markers" (indicators) of different colors, 2-3" apart, with the lowest one kept above the water's surface to fish natural nymphs (bait) and split shot or more recently, beadhead nymphs.
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Perhaps Keiryu yarn markers may be worth checking out for ESN?
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
Backing barrels provide a similar function to the yarn indicators you mention, but are much smaller.

 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I got a pair of prescription raybans, which would of helped me see too, but I left them on the table, and my regular glasses just made it worse.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Backing barrels provide a similar function to the yarn indicators you mention, but are much smaller.

I've done that in the past. Used to use bobber stops. Also good for sliding to mark depth for repeatable drifts in a consistent long run. Old school style. Works in lakes too.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
In case anybody has been looking at one I can add this:
Although this is rated a 3wt, echo recommends a 4wt if fishing a non euro line. I believe the euro line included is rate at 2-5wt, it's ,0235" in the kit. I reversed a 30 year old DT Saturday because the original end had become trashed and didn't float. I had to take about 18" off, somehow got gunky. Can't remember if I glued that backing knot. Put a new 9" 25# butt on with chameleon and a nail knot.
This rod is really a pleasure to cast with the 4wt line. I've only used it twice this way, but it may become my preferred way to run it, we'll see. I got easy distance with good accuracy. Even with a 3 nymph rig. Line control was better at distance than my 8.5'er.
It's not the most sensitive rod, I'd place it middle of the road. A very nice rod for the price, this one will get used.
 

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