echo muskie rod

Echo Muskie Rod Review

New Echo Muskie Rod

This fall, during our annual Muskie adventure up North, we had the chance to put the new Echo Muskie Rod to the test. Echo Rods reached out to Ed McCoy and myself to see if we would be interested in testing out their new predator rod and then provide them with some feedback. Absolutely we were in, and to sum up our experience in just a few words, We liked it a lot!

Postive Feedback

The first thing that Ed and I both noticed right away is that this 11 weight rod doesn’t feel like an 11 weight at all! Ed and I have both had several of these bigger rods in our arsenal before and have either sold them or just quit using the bigger 11 weight rods with our clients. What I have found over the years is the bigger rods are just too much rod for my typical client. Honestly these bigger rods aren’t even for me, I just don’t enjoy throwing an 11 weight for that many casts. The new Echo Muskie Rod doesn’t feel that way at all. In fact if you were to blind fold me and ask me to guess what weight this rod feels like, I would probably guess it was an 8 weight.

The next great surprise is that this rod, even though it is very light in the hand, has tremendous hidden power! The 8’8″ 11 weight – 4pc we tested had no problem throwing the 450 grain lines we prefer. The rod handled both the Sonar Titan 3/5/7 and the Sonar Musky lines with no problem at all. This rod demonstrated the ability to deliver flies of all sizes and materials at distance. It even handled Ed’s super sized game-changers. The new Echo Muskie Rod had no problem delivering flies we commonly fish for Muskie. This rod received positive feedback from all who fished it. Watch the video below from our friends at the Northern Angler to see more of this rod in action.

Echo Muskie Rod
photo by Eric Rambo

Fighting Grip

The next piece of positive feed back we had for this rod regards the integrated fighting grip and extended butt handle. The fighting grip combination received a lot of positive complements from our clients. Throwing these silly sized flies all day is taxing on the body! Your arm fatigues, your grip gets a work out, but the size and feel of the new Echo Muskie Rod’s fighting grip is really well designed. The extended fighting grip butt section helps immensely when doing a proper figure 8. It can also be used as a two-hand overhead casting tool when your shoulder starts to feel it. It’s one of the only rods where Ed and I both agree on the fighting grip design. We both walked away from our experiences with a positive review.

Echo Rod Video Review

Shop Local

The new Echo Muskie Rod is truly a great rod for muskie fishing. I can also see this rod being used for Golden Dorado and various saltwater fishing applications. Plus this rod won’t break the bank at the price point of $299! This is truly a great rod for the value. If you are looking for a new predator rod, make sure to check out your local fly shop. If you need help finding this rod, please let Ed and I know and we are happy to put you in touch with a local shop carrying this rod.

Jon Ray

Scott Sector S 8107

Scott Sector S 8107

Scott Sector S 8107
Smallmouth Bass Fly Rod

Scott Sector

The Scott Sector S 8107 is one of the newest fly rods in the Scott Fly rod line up. The Sector series is geared toward the Saltwater market. Needing a new seven weight I decided to pick up the 8 foot 10 inch 7 weight in this new series. While understanding it’s one of the fastest rod actions in their lineup, it would give me diversity in my fly rod selection. If I have to be completely honest, I tend to lean heavy on the Scott Radians.

As soon as I picked up the Scott Sector S 8107 the first words out of my mouth were “man this is light”. Being a guy that is known to break pretty much anything, having the lightest usually isn’t what I’m most thrilled about. But after taking the Sector through a Hex season on the Upper Manistee and giving it a good test during the first part of my Smallmouth Season, this rod gave me a good first impression.

Positive Feedback

Scott’s all new Carbon Web technolody improves torsional stability and rod durability by encasing the unidirectional fibers in a web of ultra-light multi-directional carbon fiber.

As I mentioned the rod is super light, and the above quote from Scott Fly Rods gives some of the techie stuff that I don’t really understand, but makes it sound super fancy. What I know is that you can cast this rod all day, especially if you balance it with a light reel. I have a Ross Revolution LTX on the Sector I am running and it seems to balance well on this rod at 4.65 oz.

The next thing I noticed with the Scott Sector S 8107 is the stripping guides. I love a big stripping guide and these are some of the largest diameter guides I can remember seeing on a 7 weight rod. The Sector features all new CeRecoil stripping guides with nickel titanium frames and super slick Zirconia inserts, along with Recoil nickel titanium snake guides for low friction and corrosion free performance. The guide sets are PVD coated in a low reflective coating for even greater durability and stealth. Large guides allow greater line speed when you cast, thus a farther cast.

The S 8107 seems to team up well with the short quick line tapers that are now common from most fly line companies. I’ve been running the SA Glow Line during my Hex Hatch season, which is on the Frequency Magnum taper, and the SA Bass Bug Taper for my smallmouth fishing trips. These rods have very little swing weight and are great with short head lines.

8 Foot 10

I decided to go with the S 8107 because smallmouth bass was the main target for this rod, having a quick responding easy casting rod that can quickly fire into small pockets is what I was looking for with the Scott Sector S 8107. This is exactly the situation in which the Sector excels. This rod is fast, much faster than the Scott Radians, which I have to note here again is my personal favorite trout rod!

When I’m fishing topwater flies for Smallmouth Bass I like to make longer casts, chugging or popping the popper a few feet off the bank, and then quickly picking up the line and firing it back towards the shore. No complaints when it comes to picking up longer amounts of line with the Sector. This rod has handled every range of casts I have thrown at it.

Cons

Really the only cons of the Scott Sector S 8107 are some minor points, but really they are little facts about the rod that it actually wasn’t designed to do anyway. The rod seems too fast for dry flies and casting at slow rising trout isn’t really in its wheel house. While as a mousing stick I think it will do just fine, but jet setting on a trout with this quick stick seems to be a common occurrence. Also I wouldn’t buy this length if I planned on roll casting, the Sector is designed to be fast, so roll casting isn’t really what it’s known for. Also because the rod fishes so well with the short head fly lines we already mentioned, those lines to are not going to help you in the roll cast department either.

Overall Review

While the new Scott Sector S 8107 isn’t going to take the place of my Scott Radians during the Hex Hatch or even on my next trout streamer trip, it defiantly has a place in my arsenal. Especially when I know it’s going to be a long day of casting, the rod is so light and so far very durable. It casts tight loops, throws poppers and frogs into heavy cover, and has plenty of power to pull smallmouth bass away from logs and stumps. It’s going to be a great rod next time I get to travel again to the salt. If your looking for a fast rod the Sector should be first on your list of new fly rods to cast, so please go check one out at your Local Fly Shop.

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

brown trout picture

Day Time Hex Eater

A new line was introduced in the past month the SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity  and have had the pleasure to test it out over the last month.  Line showed up during Hex Season, even though my go to line for Hex is the Glow Line , but I have a few days each year that allow daytime fishing of the Hex Hatch.  Turning over big dry flies into tight quarters is a must and the New Smooth Infinity was up to the task.

Location, Location, Location

During the last thee weeks the line continues to bring it’s A game to Northern Michigan. With the foam bite (hoppers, ants, and beetles) mixed in with twitching (small streamers on a floating line) these two methods are a huge part of my summer program for trout.  Having a line that can deliver dry flies to within inches of a log, but still has the energy to turn over a small weighted streamer with a tungsten cone head into a deep pool.  Is a must for me, nice to have confidence that the SA Smooth Infinity can do both without missing a beat.

Local Fly Shop

If you have ever spent much time with me in the boat, and we talk equipment you know how I feel about fly lines, it is the most important part of your equipment!  Make sure to stay on top of the latest technology and check them out at your local fly shop.  Also if you see me on the water and want to take a test cast just ask.

Amplitude Smooth Infinity from Scientific Anglers on Vimeo.

There’s a reason we call this line the Infinity: there is no end to what you’ll be able to do with it. The Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity taper is a half-size heavy freshwater line built for everything from panfish to pike. With a long rear taper and extended front taper, it’s delicate for dry flies, has enough power for streamers, and can mend line for nymph rigs with equal ability. Built with the AST Plus slickness additive, Infinity lines are 50% slicker than any other SA line, and will last, on average, eight times longer than any line from the competition.

Remember: REAL NERDS GET ALL THE FISH.

Scott fly rods

Review of Two Handed Rods, the Scott Radian 1257 and the Scott Radian 1259

Scott Fly Rod, Two-Hand Review

I just wanted to share my personal experiences with two of Scott’s flagship two handed rods, the Radian 1257 and the Radian 1259.

A while back, we reviewed the 1308 Radian, and were very pleased with it as a great big river rod. The Radian 1257 is a 12’6″ 7 weight rod. Many of the 7 weight two handed rods that you might cast that are on the light side. You would not consider them as a primary rod for big rivers like the Muskegon or the Manistee. However, the 1257 has some nice horsepower, and can elegantly cast a 480 grain skagit head with 8-10 feet of t14 (Note that the recommended Skagit with this rod is 520 but given the tips I use, I prefer 480). This will cover a lot of the scenarios encountered on our river systems.

Because of its light weight and sensitivity, I find myself using this rod to fish the edges of the river in the winter months. Fishing in the winter in this manner requires a rod with a lot of tactile feel because you are mending the line, allowing the fly to get to the bottom, and then engaging it. In a nutshell, this rod is very sensitive and is a pleasure to use for this purpose. Furthermore, because the edges of the river often contain trout as well as steelhead, using the lighter rod keeps things fun for me and my clients. This rod is capable of long casts, but I find myself using it in close. When fighting a fish, it protects tippets well.

Though I have only used it for swinging, I could see this as a good indicator rod. If you do not want the added weight of an 8 or 9 weight, this 7 weight can handle most situations you will encounter on medium to large rivers in the Great Lakes region. It is a very sweet rod indeed.

Scott Radian 1259

Now let’s talk about the Radian 1259. As you can imagine, it is a totally different beast than the 1257. This rod is very stiff and very powerful. This is a new rod in Scott’s Radian lineup, and as such, I have been using it for a couple of months. During those months, I have put it through its paces. For my purposes, this rod is best for down and dirty fishing at short to medium range. This is not a rod for everyone, and does not have the agile feeling of the 1257 or the 1308 Radian. Typically, I use this rod with a 560 or 600 grain Freightliner Intermediate Skagit, and a significant amount of T14 or a short and compressed head of T17 or T20. In this configuration, it makes easy work of casting a heavy line with a heavy fly. If I had to point out one drawback of this rod, it does not inspire as much confidence when fighting a quick moving steelhead. The rod is very stiff and those panicked head shakes are nerve wracking with this stick.

I see the best applications of this rod as specialty rod for big fish, big tips, heavy tippet, and big flies in relatively close quarters–steelhead in timber or big king salmon in coastal regions come to mind. For these applications, this rod is a gem. I could also see an application for this in surf fishing as it could shoot line well into wind and waves.

I hope you enjoyed this review. If you have any questions about Scott rods, please contact Scott pro staffers Kevin Feenstra or Jon Ray.

Thank you for reading! Tight Lines!

Kevin Feenstra

USA made Tumblers

Have been a big supporter of Liberty Bottles.  They have a Kickstarter going on right now to help them become the 1st USA manufacturer of double walled tumblers.  Currently other double walled tumblers are made over seas.  Help Liberty achieve their goal.

black mangled fly hat

Free Sole or Spike Pack

Korkers is excited to announce a FREE Sole/Spike Rebate Program for April 2017.
Take advantage of this special offer and experience the latest product innovations from Korkers.
Online Rebate Form: http://www.korkers.com/rebate

If you have plans on of heading to Alaska this year or the next (no felt wading boots are aloud) or just simply need a new pair or wading boots for this season.  Korkers has a great line of products.  I’ve currently been running around in the Devil’s Canyon’s  and they are the best wading boots I’ve ever owned.  Check them out and take advantage of this great rebate. #shoplocal

 

sunrise mirror lens

New Len’s by Costa Del Mar

sunrise mirror lens

Costa Del Mar has a new lens that is a great lens to have in your gear bag.  Many of the best days of fishing are cloudy and rainy.  You are not going to want to be wearing your bright sunny day lens.  It’s important to have the right lens to the conditions that you are fishing in.  Especially if you are a streamer fisherman. I just wore these lens the other day and they are great.  I had a all day rain day, and had no problems seeing what I needed to do my job.  Here is a link from Costa letting you know more about the Sunrise Mirror that just came out this week.

 

George Daniel Strip Set

Book Review: Strip-Set: Fly-Fishing Techniques, Tactics, Patterns for Streamers

George Daniel Strip SetIt’s been over a decade since Bob Linsenman and Kelly Galloup’s “Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout” really took the idea of targeting big trout with big flies to the mainstream. Since then there have been tremendous advances – in gear, in fly design, in knowledge, and in the number of anglers hucking big meal to entice the river monsters out from under the log.

Now a new book from Pennsylvania’s George Daniel has added to the must-read list for the streamer angler. In “Strip-Set: Fly-Fishing Techniques, Tactics, Patterns for Streamers” Mr. Daniel takes all of these advances, mixes them with some insights from some of today’s top streamer purists, and delivers a tool to take your streamer fishing to the next level.

Interestingly, the title topic – strip setting – is mentioned only briefly. As a recent convert to the muskie game, I understand the advantage of the strip set. But it also makes a ton of sense when pursuing trout. Trout-setting only moves the fly away from the fish, adds slack in the line, and generally lowers your odds of a solid hook-up. By contrast, a strip set creates immediate, positive contact. Makes perfect sense! This is but one example of the pragmatic, direct insight that Daniel presents in the book. Can’t wait for this Spring’s big trout hunt! Missed hooksets have been my nemesis in the past.

For years a couple of my friends who are knowledgeable anglers have extolled to “fish the fly, not the line”. In principle, that sounds simple. But what does it MEAN? And how do you actually accomplish that goal? George Daniel delivers that answers at a level that totally changed my thinking and strategy. The book includes extensive discussions of line types – floating, sink-tip, and full-sinking – as well as when to deploy each type.

Another interesting area is his extensive discussion of floating lines. Here in Michigan, we seldom fish streamers on a floating line. It’s generally a sink-tip or intermediate line match to current, depth, etc. At first I thought this to be just a quirk due to the fact the he spends most of his time fishing his native Pennsylvania (though it is clear from his book that he LOVES fishing Michigan) where the waters are typically not as deep. But before long I realized that he was really taking my knowledge to the next level – in some situations, even in deep water, there are significant advantages floating lines offer. This is a recurring theme in this book. There are a lot of tactics that can impact your success; consider them all carefully!

These are but a few of the excellent topics covered in this solid book on the streamer game. Mr. Daniel writes in an engaging style, covers concepts thoroughly but not too extensively, and really addresses the gamut of issues, challenges, and conditions the streamer angler may encounter.

This week I had the opportunity to meet and tie with George Daniel. His personality really reflected the book – straightforward, but with plenty of friendliness and no need for excessive flash. Speaking of flash; his patterns seem incredibly sparse alongside what we’re used to seeing here in Michigan.

I’m eager to put my new knowledge, skills, and insights to work on my next streamer trip! If you’re a streamer angler, put this book on your “must have” list. You won’t be disappointed!

-Sean-