Gear Review: Echo Gecko Fly Rod

You might have gone through moments in life, or in this case at the fly shop, where someone throws out a idea and then your group of buddies run with it for a bit and it takes on a life of its own. Usually those conversations end up as nothing more than a memorable conversation.  This time the idea turned into a challenge, an idea so good it was almost comical. This type of idea can turn into so much more! This time around, let me tell you, the idea took a life of it’s own – and it became something that I absolutely love!

I was at the fly shop joking around with the guys and we got talking about various things – reels, rods, fish we want to catch, bucket list locations, and the topic came up on what type of fish I could catch on the Echo Gecko.  We joked around about catching carp and pike/tiger muskies on the Gecko, I mentioned I had seen someone on social media using one for bonefish (if you know, you know), the reality that it would be a great rod for me to use with my kids to catch bluegill and trout, and the idea was planted.  I knew I had to get the Gecko. I knew I had to see what I could catch on the Gecko. I began looking at species in Utah and other places. The idea was planted. I felt the need, almost an obsessive need I to pick up the Echo Gecko and see what crazy situations I could get myself in with that fly rod.  Seriously, an addiction or a passion or an obsession or some combination of the three was born.

Shortly thereafter I pulled the trigger and bought the full Echo Gecko kit! A four-piece, 4-5 weight, seven foot nine inch fly rod in glorious yellow with a great camo handle and fighting butt/two handed casting rod, an Echo Solo reel with a Airflo fly line and a nail knot connected leader inside an included full kit carrying case. It was love at first unboxing.  I couldn’t wait to get it on the water. The first place I took the rod was to a local pond full of bluegill, bass, small stocked rainbow trout, the occasional carp and catfish. That first day the rod landed a bunch of bluegill, a trout and a bass! The rod performed like a champ. Since that time the rod has been tested by bigger fish in amazing waters.  The rod will continue to be used as frequently as I can as I work to catch various species with this wonderful rod!

On to the review of the fly rod:

PROS:

Fun: Honestly, why do we fish? I know some people do it as a career choice (example guides, professional or commercial fisherman, shop owners, outdoorspeople extraordinaire, film makers, etc and I respect all of you) but the majority of us use fishing is a hobby, lifestyle, and way to get out doors.  Another way to put it, for the majority of us fishing is a way to have fun. The Echo Gecko (purely subjective here) rapidly became the one of the most fun rods I have ever fished. I don’t know how to really explain why it is so much fun, but it is. Go cast one.

Powerful: One of my biggest concerns when I got the rod was how it was going to handle casting distances and “bigger” fish.  In my mind I originally thought “Hey, this is a kids rod so It might not do that great of a job performance wise.” It’s a 4-5 wt rod. It performed its job very well.  I’ve had the privilege of fishing the Gecko on a few bodies of water in the last few months. One of them was the Green River. While I am not a world class caliber fly caster, but I was successfully throwing casts that were ballpark 50 feet. I was casting accurately at that distance, even with a slight to medium breeze.  This trip I didn’t manage to catch any “really big” fish, but I did land several browns and a rainbow in the 17-20” range that found their way into some decent currents. Ive thrown everything from articulated streamers (4-5” at the biggest, not supper heavy) to foam dries. The rod definitely held its own power wise! I give the rod a thumbs up on both power, accuracy, and ability to handle 20” trout.

Quality build for a great price: The Echo Gecko comes in two configurations – the rod by itself or the kit that comes with a reel, line, and leader. You can get the full kit for $169.99. That’s not too shabby for a full setup for a kid (or an adult).   The rod is well built and looks like it is done up well. The camouflage rod grip feels great in my hands, but it might be a little small for those of you that have bigger hands. Looking at the build of the rod it doesn’t look like a sub $200 rod to me. I own a cheaper rods (sub $70) and there is definitely a large difference in the build quality when comparing those rods to the Gecko. I don’t notice as big of a build quality gap between the gecko and some of “higher end priced” rods. Definitely a good value.

Love the looks on the water: Speaking of how the rod looks, this rod definitely stands out! This rod is YELLOW with a green camouflage handle. It does not blend in with the majority of black, gray, green, brown and other earthy toned rods on the market. It brings a smile to my face when someone comes up and asks what type of rod I’m fishing because they don’t recognize it. (Happened more than once a day during that trip to the Green River).

Short length: There are plenty of local streams where having a long fly rod means I always have to be on the lookout for low branches. This rod is under 8 feet in length which means it’s easier to get into some of those highly covered in vegetation areas.  It also makes it easier to put in a pack or leave strung up between urban carp locations.

 

CONS:

Difficulty nymphing: This rod has the power to nymph and to mend a cast. That’s not what makes it difficult. What if found was that when using an indicator in more than 3 feet deep pools  I couldn’t bring enough line in to easily land a fish. The indicator would run into the tip and get stuck and I’d have to fully stretch my arms out in both directions to land a fish.  That made things a little more difficult

Leader/flyline connection: This was a point of concern for me. The first time I took the rod out was to a local pond with my kids. We had a blast! Well until my third cast when the tag end of the nail knot that connected my leader to my fly line became the center of a icky tangle.  I managed to untangle and cast a few more times before I got tangled up again. To fix that I quickly trimmed the tag and that made a much smoother transition point. Another small concern was that it is a direct and fixed connection between leader and fly line (not loop to loop) so the ability to change leaders was a little bit of a hassle. When I finally needed to get a new leader I cut the originally attached leader short, tied in a loop connection knot and then used the factory tied loop connection knot on my tapered leader. Both of those were minor concerns, but something that I felt was important to be prepared for with the full kit.

Those are the pros and cons that I feel are important about the Gecko.  I can promise you that there will be many species of fish caught with the Echo Gecko during this year (and future years).  I can’t wait to see what adventure this rod becomes involved with! If you’re in the market for something fun for yourself or your kids – take a look at the Echo Gecko! Seriously, I think you’ll be surprised by how much fun you have!

 

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