Re: Hey Steve
St. Croix make excellent fly rods. I too like the Imperial better than the Avid. I have personally owned both. The Imperial is more of a medium action than the Avid. I prefer medium action in all of my rods under an 8wt.
The Imperial and the ECHO cast about the same to me. Both are very smooth and easy to cast. They both look good too. The Imperial, as you know, is finished in a nice chesnut brown and the ECHO is finished in a beautiful emerald green. The cast is really the same but still I give the edge to ECHO regarding cosmetics. They both come with a tube.
I can get St. Croix for you if you prefer. I will go ahead and place my initial order so we can get you going. Just let me know what and when you want it.