Are any of you dismayed by the current crop of fast, stiff fly rods? In the right hands and with the right lines, these rods can certainly be extraordinary in some circumstances. The problem is, some folks simply don't need or just aren't into this era of ultra-fast, powerful rods. It is also occasionally argued that some of these rods should really be labeled one line weight higher than what they're rated for. After all, if you have a 5-weight that feels much better with a 6-weight line, is it still a 5-weight? That's a whole other discussion! However, at last year's IFTD show, the crew at ECHO unveiled the new Dry series of rods that's true-to-size and is said to offer great performance with just a standard-weight line. In our third ECHO fly rod review in recent months, I take a look at the 9-foot 3-weight from the Dry lineup!
Length: 9 feet
Line Weight: 3
Rod Weight: 3 ounces
Stripping Guides: Stainless Frames
Guides: Chrome Snake Guides
Reel Seat: Silver aluminum/woven graphite
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
My 390-4 ECHO Dry test rod exhibited a clean, tasteful look that I can't imagine anyone hating. The glossy moss-green blank (one of my personal favorite fishing rod colors) is dressed with chrome snake guides and stainless-framed stripping guides, both attached to the blank with dark green wraps. There's no thread accenting anywhere, but there are the always-handy alignment dots at all the ferrules and a small hook keeper near the labeling.
The adjacent cork grip looks to be of decent quality for the given price point. Locking the reel down is a simplistic aluminum and woven reel seat that's always a winning combo appearance-wise in my book. The single locking ring on the seat spun easily, but I wish it secured the reel with a little more of a solid, positive feel.
Everything was assembled well with no errors or loose bits to be found. When given the old "flex" test, I also found there was no "tick" to the blank, thus indicating the ferrules fit together nice and snug. Nice!
Strung-up with a WF3F Cortland Finesse Trout II line, the rod was an able caster. The moderate-fast action loaded easily and flexed readily without being overly stiff like so many rods these days. For giggles, I even threw a WF4F RIO InTouch Single Handed Spey line on the rod. As expected, this noticeably softened up the rod's action, but it made for a pleasant-enough combination while fishing a tiny canal one afternoon.
I wasn't able to cast an entire 90-foot line with the ECHO Dry, but it worked well for me at short to medium (or what I call "average") fishing distances. The tip section is quite soft and allowed for delicate presentations and good accuracy on the shorter end of things. Though the rod isn't stiff, it's not a limp noodle, either. In a pinch it can throw a slightly bigger fly if needed. One day, I tossed both small tilapia flies and little unweighted baitfish streamers on the Dry. It definitely liked the smallest flies better (this is a 3-weight, after all), however it was able to fish the bigger patterns decently enough.
Casting comfort was good. The grip was a little thin at the top but comfortable, and the rod was acceptable weight-wise in my hand. Adding to the comfort was the fact that the rod didn't require a fast, nervous stroke to perform, nor did it require perfect timing. While it didn't totally blow me away with the given lines, it was a good, pleasant, relaxing rod to fish.
The ECHO Dry 390-4 would make a great companion for chasing species like trout, panfish, or other smaller quarry. It's a very capable rod that provides the user-friendly castability some anglers may need or simply just prefer. If you're tired of stiff, fast rods that seem stouter than their ratings indicate, one of these might be of real interest to you! All Dry rods are 9-feet in length, 4-pieces, and span from 2–6 weight in designation. Each comes with a fabric-covered twist-top rod tube and cloth sock.
Looking for ECHO Dry Fly Rods?