In the market for a new 10' 6 wt rod. I was pretty set on getting an Allen, but have sent them several e-mails lately with no response, so I have been looking around a bit more. I know they have been busy, so I plan on calling them later this morning, so hopefully I get my questions answered. As I was looking around a bit, I came across a deal for an Echo 3 with free line for 349.00. From the store offering the deal, I can get a fly line up to 70.00. I already have a reel rigged up with 6 wt Rio indicator line, so a reel or line is not necessary, but if you had to choose, would you take an Allen Xa rod with an Allen ATS reel for around 280 dollars, or an echo 3 with free line for 349? Obviously the Allen outfit would be cheaper, but is the echo worth the extra money?
I don't have a way to cast one. I live in the armpit of Wyoming, the closest fly shop is about an hour away, and they only carry the more top end rods. Just going to have to buy one and hope I like it, or get used to it. I have only ever owned one fly rod in my life, and might be one of two that I have ever fished with, so I probably wouldn't even notice the difference between the two.
If you don't think you'll notice the difference then I would go with the Allen Xa rods. I have two Xa rods (6&8wt) and they are excellent performers and will throw everything down range. They are work horse rods and you won't be disappointed. I think they have a cast & return policy as long as you don't remove the plastic, or something like that. Go with Allen.
Just a general note, I'm pretty sure Kyle (or is it Justin) from Allen has been out of office at the cancer center for the last week or so. I saw him comment on another post recently to this effect, mentioning that he will be catching up now on missed emails.
As to Allen vs. Echo, you are really deciding between "well known, but pricier brand" and "less known, cheaper brand." This is a common dilemma in every purchasing environment and is best answered by your personality. Are you someone who likes to have the peace of mind that comes with a well established brand and pay a little more for it, or do you like to take chances and go with more up-and-coming brands. Keep in mind that every big name brand was a nobody at some point.
I'm curious to know what the 6wt is for, however, and some details like:
How often do you fish?
How long have you been fishing?
Have you owned many rods before?
If you aren't fishing very often, and are rather new, chances are you would never be able to tell the difference between a $100 rod and a $500 rod. You might also see if the guys from Allen can give you a deal on a line if you purchase the rod as well.
Looks like I posted this right after you mentioned making a decision already. I think you made a good choice, not that there was a right or a wrong one.
I will basically using the rod for fishing the North Platte in Wyoming. I currently have a 9ft 5 wt, but in wyoming, the wind tends to blow a little bit. I wanted a rod with a little more backbone for tossing heavy, two nymph rigs, with weight an an indicator. Often times you are making longer casts with these rigs, with different currents at one time. this means a lot of mending with a bunch of line out, also why I went with the 10 footer. I have never had to own anything different than my previous rig because the waters I fished in South Dakota were perfect for the rig I was using. I will also find myself throwing bigger streamers, to bigger, heavier, harder fighting river fish, so this is why I went with the 10' 6 wt. I have been fly fishing for about 10 years, with the last 4-5 being the most intense, at times going 3-4 times a week. I think I have answered all your questions. I think I am going to be really happy with the rig I chose. Paired it up with the Allen ATS reel and some new, old stock, rio nymph line in 7wt (older rio indicator line) I will either be going to the BigHorn to fish with Mcnerny in October, or the miracle mile sometime this fall, depending on work schedule, so I hope to put this rig to the test.