In the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, from mid-October to early December, Atlantic landlocked salmon ascend countless tributaries to spawn, often arriving in waves when water levels rise. and come down with the autumn rains. I’ve been fly fishing for them since I almost ran out of diapers. Over the years, I have perfected the equipment and techniques I use to find these leaping salmonids, but I am still experimenting and perfecting.
Over time I found myself gradually gravitating to one hand, water loaded spey style throws with my trusty 10 ‘7wt and so naturally I flirted with the idea of ââpicking up a rod. of commutation. For some reason, I never pulled the trigger. I was pretty happy with what I had and the money was prioritized in different directions. But then the ECHO OHS hit my radar – an alleged missing link between one-handed rods and fishing rods – and I had to check it for myself.
Beyond the occasional loan from a friend, playing with the Echo OHS has been my deepest foray into the world of spey-style rods and interchangeable head systems. But don’t be fooled by the mention of spey casting, the OHS isn’t two-handed. OHS stands for One Hand Spey.
The ECHO OHS is intended to be used for one-handed Spey style casting which incorporates a hook to pull the line at the end of the casting stroke. But the cool thing about OHS is that it also lets you overhang cast. Paired with a Skagit style shooting head, you get the benefits of a switch rod without sacrificing the ability to pick up and throw when needed. The casts I did with my standard fly rod and line setup were very similar to the casts the OHS was designed for, so it seemed like the perfect choice. The OHS comes in 6-8wts, and all models are 10’4 “. I read that some people go much higher. I split the difference with a 300 grit head, which quickly became my favorite of the weights I’ve tried.Then I put together some homemade flotation and casting tips and hit the tributaries.
I have owned and fished quite a few ECHO rods over the years, and the OHS is no exception in the quality and value you can expect. The four piece pearl green blank features chrome snake guides and silicon carbide (SIC) stripping guides, an anodized aluminum reel seat and a Wells style cork grip. The OHS comes in a fabric-covered hardshell case and fabric sock, and includes both a one-handed threaded and spey-style combat stock. It’ll set you back around $ 475 new, which is one of ECHO’s more expensive deals, but you get what you pay for, and it looks and feels like a quality stick worth the price.
Having used their services myself in the past, I can say from personal experience that the ECHO Lifetime Guarantee and customer service are also excellent. They’ll repair or replace almost anything for around $ 35 plus shipping, and get it back to you quickly.
I have read several reviews that have warned that this rod is not ideal for true two handed spey / switch style casts, and found it to be somewhat true. While I can pull them off, I much prefer the water-laden single-handed throws (for lack of a better description) that characterize the OHS. As such, assuming you’ve found a good line pairing, your enjoyment with this rod will depend on your ability to use hauling effectively. It’s all about the right time shots to load the rod and send your throw into the next area code. Simply put your line in position, load your rod out of the water to form your D-loop, pull it over your front stroke and let it rip. It’s pretty amazing how well you can pull this thing for how relatively easy it is to cast, and the compact throwing stroke is really nice on small, crowded rivers with minimal space for anchoring and throwing. more elaborate spey.
Photo: Cosmo Genoa
The OHS is special because of what it lets you do, combining the overhang cast and the fast throw into something unique, for a rhythm that’s fun to perform and complete in its coverage. There aren’t many rods out there that allow you to accurately pick up and throw a run right in front of you, then send one 80ft roll throw to another in quick succession. There is real flow to this rod, and the transition between active fishing, anchoring and casting is super smooth. With the mix of a short (by Spey’s standards) high modulus shank and a Skagit head, your throwing stroke stages quickly reach the top and you can use your strokes to speed up the energy transfer with each stroke. point. The OHS also performs very well on continuous motion throws, such as the snake roll.
Despite the 300 grain shooting head that I preferred, I had no problem throwing overhand when needed. Even with the heavy head and a sink tip, the overhanging pickup and throw is very comfortable, and you don’t get that overlined feel you might expect. You won’t get the smoothest presentation, but it’s not your dry fly rig. There were several occasions in October when I was fishing in the Atlantic that I needed to quickly pick up and throw on a broken fish, and the OHS made it easy for me. I also tried the OHS with a few traditional flylines of different weights and taper just for playing, and even if you sacrifice a lot of the rod’s ability to shoot spey / switch casts, you can absolutely fish the rod. rod in hand or with a very respectable throw of the rollers.
From active streamer counting to more traditional swing, dead drift, floating indicators and even tightlining, the OHS gives you plenty of options. The length of the rod makes it ideal for nymphs, long repairs, etc., and the action is great for picking up heavy flies and sink tips below the surface. While the OHS is ultimately a salmon / steelhead river rod, I could see it useful for a variety of fishing applications. I think it would be worth a try for lake fishing, on smallmouth water, or maybe even for modest surf fishing. The load-and-haul style of throw with a heavy skagit head would lend itself well to the range and allow you to throw farther with less energy than trying to false throw and aerate a ton of line while still being pummeled by the waves.
The OHS can be a bit tricky for a brand new fly thrower to figure out, but with the right pairing of lines, any decent one-handed thrower who understands the water load should be able to throw reasonably well within the next day. its recovery. An average two-handed pitcher should have no problem learning the OHS provided they can incorporate the strokes correctly. The hardest part for me was figuring out the optimal combination of head and tip, but once I did it was gambling.
I don’t think calling the OHS both versatile and specialized is an oxymoron. There are certain types of fishermen that the OHS will appeal to, and I think they will be very happy with that. A serious salmon or rainbow trout fisherman, using a one-handed rod and considering a switch setup, or a dedicated two-handed fisherman looking to mix things up and get a little more versatility of its equipment would be wise to give the OHS some consideration. Since OHS is somewhat specialized, and not necessarily cheap, you will need to decide if it is worth the investment for yourself. With the OHS, you will also need to factor in the additional cost of the various heads, racing lines, and spikes. I think my next purchase will be an integrated line (where the firing head and the racing line are part of the same continuous line) just to keep the whole system simple and transparent. As far as I’m concerned, the fewer loop connections through the guides the better.
I was hoping the ECHO OHS would be the perfect little tributary Atlantic salmon rod, and it didn’t disappoint. This is a smooth spinning rod that blurs the lines between one and two handed setups and performs its intended use extremely well. When fitted with a short Skagit style head and incorporating single and double strokes into your water-laden throwing stroke, you can really take advantage of the OHS design and shoot a lot of line with minimal effort. . The OHS shines in tight spaces where you still have to reach out across the river. Plus, despite the heavy heads and spikes you’ll likely use, this is also a respectable overhand spinner. The OHS opens doors that a dedicated one or two handed rod cannot go through, allowing the angler to do just about anything you would like to do with it, and some things you cannot do. Fishing the OHS is an experience that reinvents and refines familiar casts into something new and unique.
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