Jul 11, 2012

Which End Should Get My Money

Roosters pull hard
Adages. I love them. When you are young, you believe them to be corny, trite and just plain stupid. How can only a few words contain any wisdom? But the older you get, the more you come to realize that these sayings have been around for so long because they do carry some core truths. My mother was the queen of adages, but most cannot be repeated in mixed company, much less a newsletter. Many are in Korean that I still don’t know what they mean. But she had a few gems to share, like “if a deal sounds too good to betrue, then it’s not”, or my favorite Texas adage, “A cat can have kittens in the oven but it don’t make ‘em biscuits” which to this day drives my children crazy that their dad can utter such nonsense.

Of course, recreation - especially fishing - is going to garner a few like “don’t leave fish to find fish”. Common advice regarding fly gear often tells us to “spend more on a reel than the rod”, especially with any larger species unless you prefer to crank in hundreds of yards of backing. I decided to put this adage to the test on a recent trip to La Paz, Mexico while chasing Rooster Fish and Dorado. I traveled to the Sea of Cortez with an Echo 3 Saltwater 9' 12wt fly rod, matched with a Hatch Finatic 9 Plus fly reel. The reel lists for almost twice the price of the rod. Time to put the old adage to the test!
The Echo 3 lists for just under $400, almost half the price of top end saltwater rods. The aesthetics on the blank are pleasing with a dark blue color and black thread wraps. You can see small details where some money was saved, but can you complain given the total cost? The components are all quality and built to withstand harsh saltwater environments. I paired this rod with a Rio Outbound Short Tropical line with a 15 foot intermediate sink tip which ended up being a perfect combination. The bummer was however, that our trip was cursed by a lack of Sardinia, which are key to bringing any game fish to within several feet of the water’s surface. Therefore, this year’s trip involved about 10X the blind casting as previous visits, but that just allowed more time with this rod.

The Echo was pure joy to fish for 6 straight days. The saltwater game is a matter of being able to load a rod within 1-2 false casts and shooting line towards the target. I found the Echo more than capable of delivering large saltwater flies including Sea Habit Bucktails, huge poppers, and crease flies. The balance was perfect with the Hatch reel so that arm fatigue never became a factor. If I had to find any fault with the rod, it would be that the transition from tip to butt seemed a little abrupt. But again, are you willing to pay another $400
for such a detail?

Concerning the reel, saltwater big game species are going put the drag to the test. No need to spend over $700 on a sealed drag to stop a 12 inch trout. But on Roosters, Skipjack, and Dorado, I’ve seen lesser reels literally scream like a terrified school girl before either melting or exploding. The sealed drag comes in handy to keep the salt out, in addition to providing pressure on the fish. Most importantly, you want a drag that at the very first millisecond of outgoing line, the pressure is exactly the same as 3-5 seconds into a
fish’s run. Otherwise, goodbye tippet, goodbye fly, goodbye fish, and hello to a tirade of curse words. The Hatch 9 plus drag performs flawlessly with such demands. I was able to crank the drag down to provide instantaneous pressure without worries about initial start up breaking my leader. The knob on the reel is well placed, large and easy to find. The drag knob is simple to grasp, and adjust without having to look down. The aesthetics of the reel are beautiful and lightweight. Pretty much a perfect reel with a pleasing outgoing click when fish are making long runs. You spend quite a bit of hard earned money to go saltwater fishing, why skimp on the piece of gear that will help you land that trophy?

All in all, I was more than satisfied with this combination proving the adage to be quite true. Next month, I’ll let you know how it goes with that pregnant cat in the oven and whether I end up with kittens or biscuits

-Charlie Chambers

1 comment :

  1. Hi Charlie, nice review. Makes me want to go back to the tropics.



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