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The Echo 2 Series
Published by dougm
12-15-2005
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Default The Echo 2 Series

Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair:
Product Update
Tim Rajeff’s Echo 2ã

Doug Macnair
Click the image to open in full size.
With the advent of the Echo2 series of fly rods for 2006, Rajeff Sports has become a name to be reckoned with in the ever competitive fly fishing industry. I cannot but wonder if some of the biggies in the industry know what they are up against … Simply stated the Echo2 is a great rod, at a great price, offering superb performance.

Background. After forming Rajeff Sports, Tim Rajeff introduced Echo rods to the fly fishing public. The series, now called the Echo Classic, was received with very good reviews; it included a number of 4-piece rods that promised excellent performance at an affordable price. Lot’s of fly fishers – especially those not endowed with owning the Brooklyn Bridge, a stable of Porsches, or their own private island in the Caribbean, took notice. Folks begin to buy into the offering, and subsequently offered their accolades -- they still are… The rods’ popularity continues to grow: those who fish an Echo give it rave reviews.

To an industry observer, this is all very interesting. It used to be that those entering the sport almost always turned to a 2-piece rod -- a 2-piece was a better value for the money. In truth, most 2-piece rods not only performed better than their multi-piece counterparts, they cost substantially less. Today, there is nothing at all wrong with 2-piece rods other than the fact that they remain clumsy to transport. The Echo rod offering, along with others, began to change all that. A 4-piece Echo costs less than many high-end 2-piece rods and performs as well – gone is the day when the multi-piece rods are inferior in action to their 2-piece counterparts. Technology has equaled the playing field. The difference between a 2 and 4-piece is now difficult to distinguish.

The Echo2. Now for 2006, Rajeff Sports brings to the marketplace a new series of 4-piece models called the Echo2. I received two rods for this review: an Echo2 9-foot, 4-piece, 5-weight FW (freshwater) and an Echo2 9-foot, 4-piece, 8-weight SW (saltwater). So what’s new other than a series of 4-piece models that cost more that the original Echo Classic? The answer is: Lots!

At the beginning let me go on record as stating that for the Echo2 series represent the best rods ever offered in the price range of $269.95 to $279.95. They feature very good cork, top-notch components, alignment guides, and high quality reel seats. True, you might be able to buy better cork or a prettier reel seat, but for an extra $300.00 I doubt you can buy a better rod. And no, I am not kidding…
Click the image to open in full size.
You see, these rods feature something that you and I have never had access to before: 2-tips! That’s right … each rod in the Echo2 series comes with 2-tips, one tip marked (A) for accuracy and the other marked (D) for distance. At first glance, one could hypothesize that this is a promotional ploy and little, if any, difference exists between the tips for any given rod. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The 2-tips individually impart a different action to the rod they are married to.

The Echo2, 590FW, 5-weight.
Click the image to open in full size.The 5-weight is pretty … I particularly like its color. It’s what I would call “cranberry.” Refreshing! It’s a nice change to watch the effect of the sun bring out the rich color so different than the usual black, brown or green. The finish is perfect. And you will also like, as I do, the dual titanium coated SIC strippers, nickel coated single-foots, excellent cork and maple reel seat. I assure you, for beauty, this rod takes a backseat to no one!

As for performance … this is a “big water” five in every sense of the word. I delight in the choice of tips … for my casting stroke (and bad back), it’s an absolute delight to throw 50 to 60-feet, effortlessly, using nothing but forearm and wrist and the A-tip. Tip casting close-in is not a problem with this rod … and if you find yourself in really close quarters, simply remove the first three sections and cast without the butt section. (It’s an old Lefty Kreh trick.)

To go for record on large waters, change out to the D-tip and you have a different rod. In this capacity, I threw the rod against my other five and six weights. The Echo2 acquitted itself well against all comers. For both distance and performance, this Echo2 takes a backseat to no one.

The Echo2, 890SW, 8-weight.
Click the image to open in full size. So how about the 8-weight? To begin with, I think you will love the “brilliant” blue color (my term) and the fit and finish from one end of the rod to the other. It’s beautiful. In fact, I nicknamed this one Big Bad Blue. No single foots here, only the best chrome snakes and 3 extra hard strippers featuring the illusion plasma coating system in titanium coated frames. The cork is great as is the double uplocking reel seat. The finish is impeccable.
Click the image to open in full size.
Sum all of its attributes and you, too, will conclude this is one helluva rod. Besides being pretty, it has the build and feel to suggest that it ready for most anything Mother Nature can toss in its direction to include big water and my favorite adversary, Mr. Wind, and most anything else except perhaps for Jaws, the Great White… You may be assured that Mr. Blue will materially assist whenever you want to reach out and touch someone, and that includes Friend Fish. Big Bad Blue likes to go for distance – just be sure to let Blue do the majority of the work.

During this review, I’ve repeatedly thrown Mr. Blue with both tips switching out between a fairly broad variety of 8-weight lines to include sinking, sink-tip, and floaters by several manufacturers. I’ve concluded the performance rod’s performance can vary not only between tips, but between tips and a specific line. I find that interesting but not surprising. Remember the only thing standardized in fly fishing is the line’s weight … all else is in the mind of the creator. In this case, the creator gives you, the fly fisher, 2-tips and, therefore, the ability to determine which tip is best for your line(s), stroke, and abilities. Somehow, I get the feeling that those of us who fish the both freshwater and/or the Salt for big fish will soon be seeing lots of “Blue” rods in the near future. More than one denizen of the deep is about to meet their match.

By the way, both rods – freshwater and saltwater - are packaged in a convenient PVC Nylon covered tube color-coded to your flavor complete with embroidery announcing to one and all that the content is an Echo2. Sort of reminds me of Hallmark Cards: Tim Rajeff cares enough to do his very best.

It’s my opinion that the new Echo 2 series sets a new standard for the fly fishing industry. The gauntlet has been dropped; whether the other manufacturers take up the challenge is anyone’s guess. Without question, the Echo2 is a class act: beauty, quality, performance, and versatility at an affordable price.

For more information on the Echo2 Series, contact Rajeff Sports, LLC. at http://www.echoflyfishing.com or write to Rajeff Sports, 7113 NW 25th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665.[1] Telephone: 866.347.4359 / Fax: 360.694.1950....or go the The Full Creel eBay Fly Shop at eBay Store - The Full Creel: Fishpond, Fly Rods, Fly Fishing

-30-

ãCopyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2005.

[1] The graphics used in this review are through the courtesy of Rajeff Sports, LLD.
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  #1 (permalink)  
By BigCliff on 12-15-2005, 02:05 PM
Default Re: The Echo 2 Series

Thanks for the review Doug! I was planning on gettin the ECHO Classic 7wt but you may have convinced me otherwise.

One question, I noticed on the ECHO site that they say for most every rod in the ECHO2 series
Quote:
It has a fast action when the “A” tip is used and has a medium fast action when the “D” tip is used.
I find this perplexing because I think of a distance rod as being of a faster action and an "accuracy" rod being one that is of a bit slower action. I also realize that it could be that with the "D" tip, the rod bends deeper into the blank, but returns to straight faster, making it faster in reaction if not initial flex. Did you find this to be the case with the rods? Or is the "D" tip just stouter to make the rod sort of a half line weight heavier and thus more adept at casting long lines?

Thanks for your help
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  #2 (permalink)  
By dougm on 12-15-2005, 03:25 PM
Default Re: The Echo 2 Series

Cliff,

I find the A-Tip a bit more limber than the D-Tip. I'm sure that explains why the A-Tip does such a nice job when tip casting.

Remember that rod weight is in the eyes of the maker and not a part of any measureable industry standard. The D-Tip does rebound quickly and, in my veiw, serves to stiffen the rod thereby changing its performance curve.

Hope this helps...

Doug
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  #3 (permalink)  
By BigCliff on 12-16-2005, 08:44 AM
Default Re: The Echo 2 Series

Thanks for the clarification Doug. Sounds like my suspicion was sort of correct, but I'm glad it was confirmed by someone who had held the stick.

Hopefully the popularity of these rods and the switch-tip concept will take off and I can get rich making an affordable tip scabbard so that an ECHO@ owner could carry his extra tip with him while fishing. Hmmmm, 1" pvc with a cap on one end and a velcro piece over the other to close it, adjustable strap to allow you to wear it diagonally across the back.... wonder if Mr. Rajeff would give me a cut of the one's they sell?..... Set them up to where they will ride on the rod tube, hmmmm..... snap buckles on either end of the strap so it will attach to either the main rod tube or the scabbard, hmmmm....

Heard it here first folks! Maybe I'll shoot Tim an email to see what he thinks.
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