Got a trip planned? Looking for a fly rod that is easy to travel with? The Echo Trip series should be just what you need. These 8-piece rods go beyond being just easy to tote around. Available in 5,6, and 8-weight sizes, these 9-footers break down into diminutive 18-inch rod tubes which means they'll easily fit into something like a suitcase or backpack. I've never fished with a rod comprised of this many pieces before, so I had the good folks at Echo send me an 8-weight Trip "Salt" to try out!
Length: 9 feet
Line Weight: 8
Rod Weight: 4.8 ounces
Stripping Guides: Stainless Frames/Ceramic Insert
Guides: Chrome Snake Guides
Reel Seat: Black Anodized Aluminum
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
Tube Length: 18 inches
While the 5 and 6 weights are finished in a glossy green color scheme, the blank of my 8-weight Salt model sported an attractive gloss blue look. The rod is adorned with two large stripping guides, chrome snake guides, and a large tip top to keep knots flowing freely. All the wraps are done in black, and there's some silver trim here and there for some added detail. All of the ferrules thankfully feature alignment dots which are VERY welcome on a rod like this!
The Trip's grip features some nicely-tapered cork with a slice of composite cork at each end to boost durability. The quality of the cork seems decent and the color was fresh and relatively bright in appearance. Next door at the reel seat, there's also alignment dots on the seat itself as well as on the sliding ring so you know exactly where to slip in the reel foot. There's only one up-locking ring to be found here. While it operates smoothly, the shape could be more comfortable to grab and the feel while tightening down a reel could be better. While it held a reel fine during testing, I much prefer double locking rings on an 8-weight rod for added peace-of-mind. Otherwise, after a close inspection, I noted no defects anywhere in the finish or craftsmanship.
Throwing an 8-piece rod was definitely something new to me, and I was worried the Trip 890-8 would feel like a real clunker while casting. This, however, was not the case at all! Coupled with a WF8F Airflo Super-DRI Tropical line and a RIO General Purpose Tropical, it performed admirably and was especially good at medium to long distances. I was pleasantly surprised at how the multiple pieces didn't seem to hinder the blank or transmit any clumsy feelings to my hand, and the overall weight felt about "average" while casting. It was just like casting another 4-piece rod, and I was satisfied with the line speed, accuracy, and control I experienced. Another surprise was that my test rod exhibited no discernible "tick" when flexed. Sometimes, when a multi-piece rod is flexed or shaken, you'll feel a little tick or creak coming from one or more ferrules. None of that nonsense here!
With the 8-piece design, the portion of the blank immediately above the handle is relatively thin, but I still felt this rod had adequate power for an 8-weight fly rod. I didn't hook any bruisers during my short time with the Trip, but I did some tugging on stationary objects to push the rod's muscle a bit more and wasn't left looking for more "oomph." It should be up to the task of what most folks will throw at it.
The Echo Trip 8-weight has me rethinking what I call "many piece" fly rods. I was really happy with the fishability of this rod and the fact that it was able to fish with a similar feel to more commonly-configured 4-piece rod blanks. Although I don't personally own one, my experience with it got me thinking about how easy it would be to just toss one or more of these into my checked luggage and not have to carry-on a single rod the next time I fly. The Trip series would also make a great choice for hike-in fishing or simply as a spare to keep in a boat or truck. Hmmm. Well, I have a few months to ponder that decision before my next flight or possible hiking adventure, but it's clear that the Trip 8-weight is a rod that any on-the-go angler should consider, too!
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