After having conversations the night before with several local fishing guides and one being a good friend and trusted source, we decided to hit up the trout in a boat. We had the opportunity for a guided float on the Buffalo River but that entailed waking up well before the rooster for a drive and fighting floatillas on a hot and steamy river with a lower CFS than recent spring guide trips.
(Dad enjoying the view from the front)
I brought my Fenwick FF78-6 and Echo BAG 608. I knew well beforehand that the creek might not be high enough for floating. And that the Fenwick and Echo Bad Ass Glass would be sufficient enough for Smallies or trout.
Up late and wondering if we were going to land any fish, we met up at the shop around 7:45 and chatted it up with some guides. My father likes to fish tailwaters and prefers being on the stream at sun up and not loading into a boat at 8:30. I too am used to hitting the trout early on before the activity drops off before lunch time. I'll chase Smallies all day though!
We jetted up about 200 yards from the ramp. An eagle was watching us from the shoals! I figured we were going to cast streamers or throw articulated flies. NOPE. Drifted nymphs all day. We both had a fish on withing several casts - we had many doubles that day. We probably caught about 13 or so at the same time. THAT GUIDE PUT US ON THE FISH. After 8 hours of great fishing with could cover and a few rain drops, we were tuckered out. I broke in my Echo Bad Ass Glass properly.
Echo BAG Review
This rod is faster than the other new and vintage fiberglass rods that I do own. To me, it feels like a 5 weight rod but will act like a 6 when need be. It's not rigid and it will bend over like an Eagle Claw Featherlight but it's tough. I had on a 2 or 3 pounder but played it like a smallmouth bass and didn't net it. As I only drifted nymphs, I will do a review on casting streamers and catching some Smallies. The recovery rate on this rod is great. You definitely feel it load and it's tough. That rod is spunky fighter - great recovery and sensitivity. You don't necessarily need to slow your cast down as you do with older (and some new) glass. If you miss a strike, you can get your line back out quicker (thus the nickname Quickshot). The rod feels solid - unlike those 5/6 and 7/8 CGR's I landed a few Brown Trout on a few years back. The back bone in this rod makes you feel assured you can handle to fight.
Not so good things about the ECHO BAG - Alignment dots don't line up on bottom blank. Inside the blanks seem uneven in hue and clarity as if the blanks are dirty on the inside. Up close, for $279 it looks like a budget rod (cheap looking rubber windcheck and I coulda done better making thread wraps on one of the guides. Low grade cork with lots of filler. Also, some light pitting on a thread wrap and tiny almost unnoticeable bumps in the finish on one of the blanks) BUT it feels like a million bucks.
I matched the rod to an Allen ATS and Cabela's base 6 wgt line. I feel like better line needs to be used or perhaps a heavier line. Maybe, 6 wgt line will be sufficient with streamers - at least for me.