Sunday, June 28, 2015

New England Fly Fishing Lessons: ECHO and TFO Fly Rod Reviews

Fly Fishing Lessons: $5 per Hour!

We believe, in order to get more people into the sport of fly fishing, you deserve the very best instruction, at the lowest price possible.  This is why we offer lessons based on a donation only fee system.  In other words, if you have a well paying job, do the right thing by paying the suggested minimum donations.  If money is tight, make a donation that works for you and your family.  It's that simple.

Beginner Casting Class Donation Rates

  • (1) Angler: suggested minimum donation is $20.00 per hour
  • (2-3) Anglers: suggested minimum donation is $10.00 per hour, per person
  • (4-6) Anglers: suggested minimum donation is $5.00 per hour, per person
  • Minimum Course Time: 2 hours
  • Age: Under 12 years old, must be accompanied by an adult  
  • Monday- Sunday

You can read more about our lessons and guiding programs at

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 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, but I also have the 3wt and 5wt. ECHO makes good rods, but I feel the medium-slow action of TFO Finesse rods are best for dry fly fishing.
  • 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, 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 use a 6wt TFO Mangrove. This thing, in the right hands, is a cannon! The butt section is stiff/strong, yet the tip is sensitive. 


One of the greatest things I like about ECHO is that you can dial there 800 number and ask to 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 playing with this rod.  
  • For all my beginner classes, I use the ECHO solo outfits.  Though they are not my personal go-to rods, they are, for beginner rods, 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) 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.