Echo Base    9’ 5-weight        $89.99 

Echo Base

Echo Base

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George's Notes:

It amazes me that Tim Rajeff and Echo can give us such a nice rod for such a crazy low price.  This shows you how far the overall quality of fly rods has increased in just the past few years, and building them in Asia keeps the cost down.     

If you are looking for a rod for your son or daughter, or for any beginner that is on a tight budget, this is the rod for you.

Sure Echo uses a cheaper lower modulus graphite than most of the other rods in our shootout, and this leads to one of the heavier swing weights and lack of feel at shorter distances.  This rod has more of a medium action than fast. 

This is not a fancy rod, but it’s a lot better than you would expect for such a low price.  The blank color is a very dark blue, with dark brown wraps that are trimmed with silver on the first two sections.  The line up marks are a nice touch.  The handle is a half wells with a swell in the middle and flare at the back.  I felt the quality of the cork was OK, about the same as we found on the Aetos and Reaper.  The reel seat is a simple but functional plain black anodized aluminum uplocking seat with a wide locking ring and it seemed to work just fine.  The guide set up is one SiC stripping guide, with the rest silver hard chrome snake guides.   


The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  18.0 points out of 20.

The stiffer tip and heavy swing weight led to the poor score at short distance.  Most rods were far better.

Performance at 45 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

A lot better at mid range with good control and decent accuracy.  Now it felt as good as the Aetos and Reaper.

Performance at 70 feet: 8.5 points out of 10

The heavy swing weight made me work harder to carry line in the air and the accuracy wasn’t so good.

About equal to the Aetos and Reaper out long. 



Echo Base

Echo Base

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James' Notes:

Here is a bare bones rod from Echo that performs a lot bigger than it should for such a low price.   It was heavier than many of the rods that use higher modulus graphite, but that was to be expected.   On the other hand the heavy swing weight hurt the performance, but more at close distance than out long.  The medium-fast action seemed about right.

The components were less impressive than on the more expensive rods, but overall we were impressed at how good this rod looked and performed when you consider the ridiculously low price.


Performance at 25 feet: 18.4 points out of 20 

Heavier feel in hand than most rods, but still smooth casting and accurate.  Other rods just felt significantly lighter with faster recovery.

Performance at 45 feet:  18.4 points out of 20

Not bad!  A nice smooth action, with solid accuracy. I could get tighter loops out of other rods, but I was surprised at the decent accuracy I was getting, even hitting the plate here and there. I still can’t believe this rod only costs $89.99; it should be twice that if not more… 

Performance at 70 feet:  9.3 points out of 10

Better than the Beulah Platinum, Mystic Reaper, Winston Air, and Scott Flex.  This rod proved it can hang in there with the much more expensive rods at long distance. 



Echo Base

Echo Base

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Logan's Notes:

The Echo Base is a serious rod with a ridiculously low price tag.  I love the fact that Echo has given us such a good rod at an incredibly low price.  This makes fly fishing more accessible to the public.  I strongly recommend this rod to anyone who has an interest in fly-fishing and wants to get started, or anyone who needs a backup rod.  (Editor’s note:  compare with George’s comments on how a better rod makes you a better caster).


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17 out of 20

The Echo Base is good at 25 feet.  I was able to get this rod to do what I wanted it to do but I felt that the Reaper was better.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20

Still getting it done.  I could feel the rod load well, and it delivered the indicator to the plate with pretty good accuracy.

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

I was able to make powerful, long casts that reached the plate, but only with moderate accuracy.  Still, the Echo Base surprised me with its decent performance.




Echo Base

Echo Base 

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JG's Notes:

Everyone has heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”.  The Base takes that adage and throws it right out the window!  At $89.95 you can’t expect to get the best cork or top of the line hardware.   But the bones of this budget rod and the way it performs, make you think you’re fishing with a rod that has a far higher price tag.


25 Feet – 18.5 points out of 20
The Base was pretty good for me in close, despite its weight.   Its slightly softer action helped, and I found that it wasn't clunky or aggressive at short range.


45 Feet – 18.6 points out of 20
The base is surprisingly good for such an economical rod.  I was getting consistent accuracy, and the action was great.


70 Feet – 17.8 points out of 20
The Base wasn’t one of my favorite rods at 70 feet.  It just doesn't have to power to reach out to the longest targets, and it lacked accuracy.