If you have kids of a certain age, you’ve probably watched the Pixar movie Ratatouille, in which the main protagonist, Remy, a rat, is inspired by Chef Gusteau’s proclamation that “anyone can cook”. It’s possible that no other company follows its leader’s vision more closely than ECHO fly rods follows Tim Rajeff, who proclaims that anyone can fly fish. You don’t need years of practice, and you certainly don’t need wads of cash. But Tim knows you need the right fly rod.
The ECHO BASE I own is a one-rod workhorse that I have tested against various species of hot water fish for almost four years. You can learn a lot about a cane in this time.
A pleasant action
ECHO says the BASE is a medium fast acting rod. Personally, I found the action difficult to define because I throw so many different types and sizes of flies, but anyway I like it. Starting BASE is a pleasant experience.
On lighter stuff, of course, I would call it medium-fast with a more lean towards the medium. Heavier nails, bunny bands, and big poppers slow the action down considerably. It’s a far cry from the softness levels of glass, but it’s a languid, very runny feel. Smooth is a good word for it. All in all, let’s call action a comfortable way.
I don’t worry about tricky presentations because none of the species of fish I chase really care about them. That being said, I slipped a few tiny streamers into tiny, crystal-clear pools without alerting the tiny resident mouths until one was hooked. And I did it with precision. The BASE is a surprisingly precise rod up to around 50 feet and even a little beyond.
It’s not a reel thrower, not in my hands anyway. The maximum casting distance is 65 to 70 feet for me, and in pursuit of bass, bowfin, gar and drum, precise accuracy at these distances is rarely needed. One fine summer day, I deployed a dandy throw that perfectly intercepted a pair of Grass Carp cruising over 60 feet away. I’m not saying it’s the norm, but I wasn’t shocked.
Just about all I attached, BASE managed size 10 nymphs for creepy sunfish to 2/0 Hollow Flies. It was only when trying to stretch my casts with the beefier flies that I felt BASE was working and on the bigger fish I wondered if BASE had the guts. The 20 inch big mouth, the 17 inch smallies, the 18 inch spotted bass, the two foot gar, the 8 pound freshwater drum, the catfish as long as my forearm, all have succumbed to BASE.
Grass carp was perhaps the ultimate test. And, while it took a while, BASE eventually wore it out too. Tackling the 15-pound Grass Carp in a gentle current is a lot to ask of any 6-weight rod.
The graphite BASE is a deep ocean blue accented with black and silver envelopes. It features chrome guides, an anodized reel seat and two grip options. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and great customer service. Just a few months after my possession of the BASE, a botched backcast led to a collision between the tip of the rod and a big Clouser. The weight of the dumbbell made the tip crack. But after a quick call to ECHO, a new tip was on the way and I was back in the water with it in under two weeks.
BASE costs from $ 89 to $ 99 depending on the size you want. This includes a sock and a rigid tube.
I have buddies who enjoy the finer things in life, including expensive fly rods. I’m not going to throw away the brands they own, but when I put the BASE in their hands, they were shocked that a rod under $ 100 could compete – fiercely – with their rods that cost five to seven times Following. As for me, compared to their rods, I couldn’t say that more money spent would equate to making me a better fly thrower. And I’m sure I wouldn’t want to go up and down the streams I run with a rod that costs almost as much as my set of all-terrain tires. I abused this rod – in fact, foiled it – from falling over slippery rocks to climbing cliffs with it in hand, to brushy deer trails hoping I didn’t break it, by asking too much of the big fish. BASE hasn’t let me down.
My 9 foot 6 weight weighs 3.9 oz. Some might consider it a bit heavy. I have logged several four to six hour fishing trips, stuffed with blind casts with the BASE in hand, and never thought twice about the weight.
A lot has happened in the past four years: I finally finished my university degree (after a 20-year hiatus). My hopes for the future of the country have taken the steepest step. I became a grandparent – twice. But one thing that hasn’t happened is that I find a better fly rod for the price of my local smallmouth bass or pretty much whatever I want to tackle. The ECHO BASE is the penultimate fly rod for everyone.
The BASE is a great fly rod at an incredible price. It hits above its category in almost every category. No matter your skill level or bank account, with ECHO BASE, anyone can be a fly fisherman.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ECHO BASE (via ECHO)