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Experience with Echo Ion XL Rods?

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considering an echo ion xl 7wt for smallmouth.  any experience with the rod?  I purchased an echo base 7wt as a backup rod last year and I like it.

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Echo Ion and Ion XL rods are tough and have a  lot of lifting power for their rating.  That being said I have not owned the XL version.   I have the earliest version Ion in 10' 8wt, and a 9' 8wt Ion (2nd gen) as well.  The main difference in the Ion gen 1 and gen 2 is the lower weight of the handle and reel seat in the gen 2 (less composite cork and less metal).  With the Ion XL that weight is further reduced (from both the gen 1 and gen 2) and the blank is supposedly improved. 

 

Great company, and solid rods for very little money.  Excellent warranty as well.  Main complaint about them is that they do tend to be a bit heavier in hand than comparably priced rods. The 6 weight Ion XL I think would be a winner for smallmouth and can be up-lined  (like Tin Boat says) to throw larger flies like heavily weighted streamers, epoxies, and small poppers.  No need to get the 7wt IMO.  If you were going with something like the TFO Pro II, I would maybe look at a 7wt.

Echo provides you with a rod tube for roughly same cost as a Pro II without a tube.

 

See my earlier response on some other rods that I think you might want to look at for a bit more cash money.  You still do get what you pay for at the $159 price point.   Throw another $50 or $100 down and my recommendations would be very different.

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I have a 9wt and it's a little stiffer than my other 9wts but very serviceable, great price and they did replace one under warranty when I broke it. BTW, nice trim there on that little anklesnapper

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I've been using a 6wt ion xl as my smallmouth rod for about a year now.  It's pretty fast so I'll echo (pun intended) the previous comments that the 6wt is plenty strong for smallmouth.  I use an airflo beach wf6i or SA titan 7 wt. Casts great. I generally fish it from kayak or SUP so short head lines work well for me 

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I caught a small albi on my 6 wt last year in addition to plenty of school stripers. Going to take it bonefishing next month. Yes, it is heavier than some others, but swing weight seems light.

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Like you I got the echo base but in #8 and caught lots of striped bass. Decided to get the echo ion xl #10 to cast bigger flies and love it. Puts the fish inside the boat a lot quicker since the action is faster only down side is a bit heavier so casting is a bit more work  but not a deal breaker.

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Tried to get the Echo 10 wt., but it was back ordered. Ended up buying a used Helios 10 wt. for less money than a new Echo. Go figure.

 

 

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Echo rods are heavier than some other rod maker's based on listed specs but in many cases the extra weight is because of the amount of composite cork used in the handles.  Also there seems to be a tough dense coating on the blanks, that adds weight to some of their rods (older Echos especially).  Echo's newer rods are often lighter but some of their oldest rods are real winners for durability and toughness. The 10 weight Echo Ion XL is about as heavy a ten weight as I would ever want to throw for long periods of time.  That Helios 10wt is for sure gonna be lighter.

 

 

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I have an Ion XL 9wt.  It is a little heavy in hand, not like their old rods though.  It casts great with a 9 or 10wt line.  I can throw it all day without getting too tired.  I use it to fish pike with big flies, I've caught pike to 20+ pounds with it and I wouldn't hesitate to battle a larger fish with it.

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