Monday, January 19, 2015

Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: ECHO and Temple Fork Outfitters Review

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, Pesos, Fy Rods, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia...the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog.  Thanks.

Since 1999, I have been fishing Patagonia.  During this time, I have used a variety of rods and reels. For instance, when I co-managed a lodge in Junin de los Andes, I was able to fish with Sage, Scott, Winston, Thomas-Thomas, Orvis, Loomis, Loop, and many other top brands.  I even fished many bamboo rods, including a $6,000 Oyster bamboo rod.  I feel fortunate to have tested these great rods and to have met some of the manufacturer's.  However, in the end, this experience led me to do the following:

  • After leaving the lodge, I sold all my high end rods and reel. 
  • I started fishing with rods and reels that offer the best performance and value.  
  • I focus 100% on balance and action of the rod-reel; no longer the name brand.

The purpose of this post is to share with you what fly rods I currently use in Patagonia, and around the world. This will not be a long detailed review of each rod; just personal advice and my willingness to point you in a direction, that might be good for you.

High end rods, such as Sage or Scott, are incredible, but they won't make you a better fly caster or fly fisherman.  The one guaranty is that they will cost you a pretty penny.  If you can use a brand that offers both value and performance, I would highly recommend looking at Temple Fork Outfitters and ECHO.


TFO

TFO has an amazing line-up of rods.  I have tested a handful of them and I must say, they are all good. Here's what I currently use:

  • My dry-fly rod of choice is the TFO Finesse series. The 4wt is my favorite.  ECHO makes good rods, but I feel the medium-slow action of TFO Finesse rods are best for my dry fly fishing needs.
  • In Patagonia exclusively, I use the 11ft 5wt Deer Creek switch rod for all my nymphing and streamer techniques. When I am tight-line nymphing, I feel the tip is a tad too soft.  However, when I am using my tango nymph rig, especially in strong winds,  it's the perfect rod.
  • When I am on a float trip in Patagonia, and if the wind is nasty, I have used a 6wt TFO Mangrove. This thing, in the right hands, is a cannon! The butt section is stiff/strong, yet the tip is sensitive. 

ECHO

One of the greatest things I like about ECHO is that you can dial their 800 number and speak to a product specialist.  Every time I have called ECHO, within seconds, I am able to speak to a specialist...a real person who fishes and understands my needs.  The other thing I like about ECHO is they make excellent performance/value rods.  I currently use:

  • In Patagonia, I use the ECHO 5wt Carbon.  Compared to the canon like action of the TFO Mangrove, the Carbon has a true medium action, yet it's plenty stiff/strong in the butt section. For all around use, this is now my go to rod.  I have read reviews suggesting this is a good back-up rod; bull shit...this is an excellent rod and in the right hands, is capable of everything you'll ever need in a rod.  
  • Back in the USA, I am in LOVE with my 10'6" SR 3wt switch rod.  I use it much like the TFO 11ft switch rod.  If you like to nymph fish, I highly recommend testing this rod.  
  • For all my beginner casting classes, I use the ECHO solo outfits.  For beginner outfits, these rods offer excellent quality and value.  

Length + Power + Sensitive Tip = wind destroying, fish catching tool!
When there is no wind, I am tight-line nymphing.  When it's windy in Patagonia, I use my tango nymph rig.  If needed, this rod can launch the tango nymph rig (heavy hardware) easily...in windy Patagonia, single hand rods can not do the same.
This is not a back-up rod. 
In tight areas and delicate dry-fly presentation scenarios, by placing my index finger on the rod, I f can feel the energy in the rod.  I can't do this with the stiffer TFO Mangrove. 

Final Word

A Timex watch tells the same time as does a Rolex!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed this post and hope to see you in Patagonia.

Abrazos,

Mark



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