Currently own a 5 wt, but looking to grab a 6 wt for a river a fish that is known for its wind. a 7 wt wouldn't be out of the picture either. I would be throwing heavy 2 nymph rigs with an indicator and weight, and possibly some larger streamers. Very tight budget right now, and I am slowly saving money up. I am hoping to spend 200 or less. I have been looking pretty close at the Echo Carbon. and even though it is a little over my budget, I have also been checking out the Allen Xa, because they offer it in a 10' model. I haven't been able to find many 10' rods in this price range, but a 9' would be just fine. Anybody have any experience with these two rods? Would also buy a used one if they price and condition were right. Any opinions wanted.
I can chime in on the Xa in 10' 7wt as I picked one up when they were doing a really good deal about two years ago. I've used it for large mouth bass but primarily for a couple Great Lakes Steelhead trips. I like having the extra foot for nymphing and really liked it chasing steelhead in Pulaski as it's not an overly fast action rod and I feel like it helped protect my tippet on hook ups. Prior to my trips I read about guys fishing the tribs in NY with fast action rods and loosing lots of fish to break offs. I don't chase steelhead enough (yet) to say whether this is true or not but it made sense to me. I had pretty good success with it as well and only broke off on one fish. You can really roll cast the hell out of it with a heavy rig. It's a stout rod.
That being said if I was primarily using it for a trout rod (nymphing or occasional streamers) I don't think it's your best option. The rod is a beast or more like a rocket launcher in my opinion. For comparison my buddies 8wt bvk felt like a 5wt in my hands after using the 7 wt Xa on a bass lake.
So for what it sounds like your targeting I wouldn't go over a 6wt personally in the Xa. I'm actually looking to pick up a 7wt this fall for streamer fishing but want something a little more nimble then the Xa I have now. I really like the rod but probably won't break it out other then steelhead or maybe a Salmon trip up North.
Hopefully someone on here has the Xa in a 6wt for a better comparison. Also I would send an email to Evan or Justin at Allen and describe exactly what your looking for. They won't steer you wrong. I've emailed them a handful of times and they really helped me narrow down what I want.
SdDryFly: Check out the new St. Croix Imperial OR Orvis Clearwater series. They are right in your budget (give or take $20) and the companies have excellent customer service in case of any issues with the rod. Both these rods are really good casting / fishing instruments & they both have 9' 6wts in 4 piece configuration.
Alternatively, you could scour the auction sites for a used older generation high end rod from the popular companies (SAGE, Orvis etc..) Issue is that any repair will cost you a good chunk of money, since you will not be the original owner.
Amongst the older generation choices, the Z Axis, ZXL, Scott S4, Orvis Zero Gravity etc are good choices in a 6wt but they still command a good price in the used market.
For raw performance in the fast rod category, one that handles nymph multi-rigs, and large sculpins at the $200 price point. I would have to suggest the TFO BVK. This is a verrry fast action rod, but for throwing heavy junk with solid performance, this one is hard to beat at that low price. If you can save your pennies up to $495 the sage VXP is a nymphing and streamer fishing monster. I have the 5weight and it performs with the strength of a 6 weight when throwing sculpins and triple nymph rigs. Ive heard the vxp 6 weight is capable of throwing dead chickens all with a butter smooth casting stroke. This sage blank is so smooth its unbelievable. Obviously I own the rod so some may think this is a biased review, however, I've owned and traded/sold tons of different rods. After all the craziness I settled on the vxp as my go-to 5 weight all-rounder and it has simply blown away my expectations, so if you can give it a cast with some weight on the line at a fly shop if possible. Just a great blank. Also I have found the best line match for me and this rod is the scientific angler GPX taper #5, simply a magical combo. Anyway, get some rods in your hands and test cast before buying if you can because only you can decide which rod is best for you good luck
At the moment Sierra Trading Post has the Redington CPX 10' 5wt with fighting butt for only $110... without any extra daily deal flyer markdown. I have a CPX 9'6" 8wt... they're very fast rods, and the ERN on my 8wt measures closer to a 10wt. I'd imagine that the 5wt would come in at at least 6-6.5wt in reality. And for that price you could probably resell it for at least what you paid if it doesn't work out. I'm tempted to buy one myself, and probably would if I hadn't just bought a spey rod. Just a thought.
Echo Carbon owners really like them. I don't have any experience with them, so I probably shouldn't even click on "submit reply" but people really like their Echo Carbons, and you mentioned that you were considering the rod. Sometimes the correct answer is the first to pop into your head.
I have an older Sage XP (which, as I understand it is the same as the newer VXP) in a 5 wt. .and I gotta say that it handled some stuff I shouldn't have been throwing with it on a recent trip.
I have the BVK 7 wt, and I think it's a great trout 7 wt. it is pretty fast, but I've thrown much faster and I think it's an awesome stick. One drawback that I've found with it is hat it doesn't have as much backbone as I'd like in the salt for lifting that sea monster that you always have the possibility of running into (though it will throw anything you want to)... I sound like someone who lost a big one, eh? I did recently, in Port Aransas... B
ut I think this rod just might be perfect for your needs, if it matches your stroke and you find it pleasant to cast.
I can't speak to the Allens, and I have nothing against them except to say that I can't seem to find anywhere to cast one... I hope that changes soon, I hear great things about them on here.
---------- Post added at 10:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:31 PM ----------
With these two in my quiver, I don't feel that I have a need for a 6 wt... YET
I use a 10' 7wt Sage ONE - as the 6 just doesn't have the muscle.
First I've heard that regarding the Sage ONE 6 wt. I've not fished it and recently bought the 9 wt., but the folks in my local fly shop fish that 6 often for smallies feel it's the best of the line and are throwing some sizable flies to these fish.
---------- Post added at 08:56 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:54 AM ----------
Originally Posted by thewalker1013
I have an older Sage XP (which, as I understand it is the same as the newer VXP in a 5 wt. .and I gotta say that it handled some stuff I shouldn't have been throwing with it on a recent trip.)
I own the 690-4 XP (as well as an 890 and 386 XP rods) and it'll throw some big stuff very well for me. As a FYI, the VXP is not the same as the XP, and I own the 7 wt. and fished a guides 5 weight for a day. Completely different rods.