flyangler

Drift boat indicator nymphing w 10.5' rod? Echo Shadow II?

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I could use some advice gentlemen.

 

I am booked for a trip out to the Missouri River in early July which will include at least 5 days of floats with a possible 6th day if I add it. This is prime dry fly timing so I hope to spend every day casting to sippers. However, as my 2020 trip to Missoula showed, you cannot count on Mother Nature to cooperate. Back then she dumped rain on that watershed a week before we got there and we had high water the entire time. That said, my son and I caught a couple hundred trout (70%+ cutties) but that was almost all on dry/dropper rigs, mostly with big Chernobyl dries. Clumsy assed casting but damned effective on those over-eager cutthroat. 

 

Of course, the section of the Missouri I will be fishing is bigger than the Clarkfork and Bitterroot and the water levels on the Mo are more controlled by flows from the dams (I think). That said, I am going with a hope but not certainty that it will be all dries all the time. Thus, I want to up my indicator nymphing game this trip, just in case. 

 

As I noted in that trip report, I had to butcher a dry fly oriented line to make it a better profile for casting, lobbing, mending and controlling the dry/dropper rig. Cutting off the front part of the taper so that the fatter line was connecting to the leader made for a more pleasant experience. I also observed then that a modestly longer rod would have helped with roll casting, mending, keeping line off the water, etc. But unlike shortening lines, I would not lengthen any of the 9' rods I had. 

 

Remembering that, I am currently looking at modestly priced 10-10.5' rods (under $300). That is probably too many $$$ given my trout fishing is down to a week a year which is all the more reason to optimize the experience. As with all rods, there is a meaningful weight difference based on price, even when comparing a $150 to $250+ rod. The style I am looking at are Euro/Czech nymphing where rods generally run 10-11'. My thinking it that I will have at least two rigged rods on the boat, 9' 4 or 5wt rigged with a dry fly and an indicator setup, so I don't need this longer rod for any overhead casting. 

 

So first question from the group, have you fished rods longer than 9' from a drift boat? If so, how did that work out? Is the theory of longer reach, easier mending, better roll casting, more tippet protection and longer drifts sound? 

 

Second question will be related to rods, and a specific model. My concern with the serious (competition) Euro or Czech rods is that the tips are very thin and real sensitive which makes them easy to mishandle. So I needed to find a compromise, both in design as well as in weight. After enough reading and watching, most of the Euro nymph rods are nominally rated 3wt with some down at 2 and others up to 4wt. Due to the extra length and the thickness in the butts of these blank designs, the fish-fighting equivalent rating for these rods is about two weight classes higher. That is, a 4wt will have the butt stiffness equivalent to a modern 6wt. Yes, likely an oversimplification, but close enough for this discussion. 

 

So I am focused on 10.5' 4wt nymph design willing to give up tip sensitivity since I won'd actually be fishing without an indicator. The 4wt should be plenty strong for the bigger Mo browns and rainbows. BTW, unlike the Missoula trip with all those 6-12" cutties, this is mostly going to be about 14-22" inch fish, or so I am told. I am about as far from being a finesse angler as one can get so I won't miss a few degrees of better sensitivity. 

 

I started looking at "trout switch" designs but gave up on those because they were just too heavy for my needs. Also, I will do no spey casts so don't need the extra butt and foregrip on those models. 

 

Enter the Echo Shadow II Euro/Czech Nymphing Rod 10'6" 4wt - Anyone familiar with this family or model? Designed by Tim Rajeff, this is a pretty cool rod, especially if you get the "competition kit" which provides two 6" pieces to extend the blank (to 11' or 11.5') to match fishing conditions. The kit also provides a cork fighting butt and weight washers to optimize the balance of the rod. Given the longer length, unless you are using a heavy fly reel, the balance point can be more forward than optimal. The weights can provide a counterbalance to bring the balance point back onto the front grip. All this explained in the video below. 

 

I found a used rod in a western fly fishing forum for $150 plus shipping, really tempting given the going rate new is $289. However, I found an online shop offering the either the 3wt or 4wt rods with the kit for that same $289 with free shipping. Plus, they have a new-customer code for 10% off. Thus, I can get the rod and kit for $260 shipped. I will likely sell my never-fished Loomis 8' 4wt Classic IMX (circa 1992) to partially fund this new addition to the family. 

 

So, anyone know the Shadow II? Any and all advice is welcome.

 

T

 

 

 

Edited by flyangler

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1 hour ago, flyangler said:

So first question from the group, have you fished rods longer than 9' from a drift boat? If so, how did that work out? Is the theory of longer reach, easier mending, better roll casting, more tippet protection and longer drifts sound? 

A standard nymph rig used on drift boats on the upper Delaware system is a 10' 4 wt rod. The guides I've fished with like it because the lighter rod cushions the tippet on the strike. So, yes, a longer rod will work fine on a boat.

 

I'm not familiar with that specific Echo rod, but I have another model Echo and I like it quite well. TFO makes a similar rod, I think it's called the Drift rod. It's a 3 wt rod with extra sections and a fighting butt so it can be configured as a 9', 10' or 11.5' rod (I may not have the lengths exactly right).

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build yourself a nice fly rod.. much easier than the last one you did.. 

 

"I will likely sell my never-fished Loomis 8' 4wt Classic IMX (circa 1992) to partially fund this new addition to the family."

 

that is a nice rod.  

 

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1 hour ago, smath said:

A standard nymph rig used on drift boats on the upper Delaware system is a 10' 4 wt rod. The guides I've fished with like it because the lighter rod cushions the tippet on the strike. So, yes, a longer rod will work fine on a boat.

I first fished the Del in the early 1990s, when Al Caucci was running his schools at the motel but before bought it and turned it into the Delaware River Club. I floated the WB in the second year they were running drift boats, so know it well. Have floated the WB, WB and main stem a couple dozen times over 20 years. That said, we always used 9' rods because that's what we owned. 

 

After my first class there in 1993, I bought four IMX rods at Al's insider's price: 8' 4, 9' 6, 9' 8, and 10'6. I still have the 4 and the 6. The 8 broke on a fish and they replaced it with a modern IMX Pro. I sold the 10' years ago to a steelhead guy in the PNW. 

1 hour ago, smath said:

I'm not familiar with that specific Echo rod, but I have another model Echo and I like it quite well.

I have not read or heard any Echo owners that were not happy with their specific Echo rod(s). 

1 hour ago, smath said:

TFO makes a similar rod, I think it's called the Drift rod. It's a 3 wt rod with extra sections and a fighting butt so it can be configured as a 9', 10' or 11.5' rod (I may not have the lengths exactly right).

I have looked at the Drift and it is an interesting design. However, at $430 it is more than i needed to spend for this 6-day-a-year need, at best.

 

That said, to TFO's credit, they designed a really smart new recoil guide that allows their extension to be inserted between the other sections without de-lining the rod. You just separate the sections, insert the extension and then lace the line into this open guide that will be on the lower section. Conversely, the Echo is a closed stripper and would require cutting off the fly/flies and running the line back through the guides. The difference is a matter of minutes but I guess if you were knee deep and wanted to make this change, minutes count. 

 

tfo-tfo-drift-fly-rod.jpg

 

Thanks for the comments. 

 

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2 hours ago, makomakoman said:

build yourself a nice fly rod.. much easier than the last one you did.. 

I have a Blackhole Suzuki 10' blank with the grips attached sitting on my bench for the past 3+ months, waiting for me to wrap the guides. The runners are all single foot and that might be why I am procrastinating. Last thing I need right now is another build with single foot guides. 

2 hours ago, makomakoman said:

"I will likely sell my never-fished Loomis 8' 4wt Classic IMX (circa 1992) to partially fund this new addition to the family."

 

that is a nice rod.  

I think that rod has been lined a half dozen times but never cast to fish. Your point is why I still own it, but if I don't need it....

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I have and like very much an echo shadow II in 10’ 3 wt with a comp kit that can extend to 10’ 6” or 11’.

i would never use it from a drift boat ever.

contact nymphing for me is on foot up close no fly line at all outside the guides. it just doesn’t work from a boat for me. 
if I am going out west l am bringing a 5 and 6 wt 9 feet that’s it.

protecting light tippets is not the same as the west branch of the Delaware.

I fished the north platte last September and I think 3x tippet was pretty standard on the boats.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks KML, appreciate the feedback and forcing my pea brain into overdrive. 

 

Two years ago, when it was me and my son, I took a 9' 4wt GLX (circa 2005), 9' 5wt GLX (early 2010s), three 9' 5wt Fenwick Aetos, 9' 6wt IMX (circa 1993) and 9' 7wt Redington Predator, the latter two set up as streamer rods. The 5wt GLX and the IMX are 2-piece so I packed them in a big Plano bazooka case with one or two shorter rods and checked the tube on the plane. Having the 4pc 4wt and at least two 5wts among my carry-on keeps he happy if the Plano tube gets delayed. Heck, since it is just me, if I were to buy a new 6wt, I could leave the 2pc GLX and IMX home and not take the big tube. :idea: you have me thinking....

 

So where is the last Yellowstone 6wt shootout....

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16 mins ago, flyangler said:

Thanks KML, appreciate the feedback and forcing my pea brain into overdrive. 

 

Two years ago, when it was me and my son, I took a 9' 4wt GLX (circa 2005), 9' 5wt GLX (early 2010s), three 9' 5wt Fenwick Aetos, 9' 6wt IMX (circa 1993) and 9' 7wt Redington Predator, the latter two set up as streamer rods. The 5wt GLX and the IMX are 2-piece so I packed them in a big Plano bazooka case with one or two shorter rods and checked the tube on the plane. Having the 4pc 4wt and at least two 5wts among my carry-on keeps he happy if the Plano tube gets delayed. Heck, since it is just me, if I were to buy a new 6wt, I could leave the 2pc GLX and IMX home and not take the big tube. :idea: you have me thinking....

 

So where is the last Yellowstone 6wt shootout....

I bought the Douglas sky G II only based on the Yellowstone anglers review last year for 6wt rods.

not going to shows and shops it was a leap of faith to drop 800 clams on a 6wt but it is a beautiful rod I have no regrets.

If you are on a shopping spree Allen has a buy one get one on their Alpha and ATS reels this weekend.

l got two Alpha 5/6 wt reels for about $270 all in.

it really is a great deal 

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19 mins ago, Kml said:

I bought the Douglas sky G II only based on the Yellowstone anglers review last year for 6wt rods.

not going to shows and shops it was a leap of faith to drop 800 clams on a 6wt but it is a beautiful rod I have no regrets.

If you are on a shopping spree Allen has a buy one get one on their Alpha and ATS reels this weekend.

l got two Alpha 5/6 wt reels for about $270 all in.

it really is a great deal 

Just finished skimming the shootout results, noted that the G was so highly ranked. The top cheap rod was actually and Echo, out pacing the Aetos. 

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6 mins ago, flyangler said:

Just finished skimming the shootout results, noted that the G was so highly ranked. The top cheap rod was actually and Echo, out pacing the Aetos. 

You are a man of ample means buy the best once.

have a great trip.

my good buddy that I fish with a lot got the Orvis Helios 3 blackout in 9’ 5” 5wt last year. A really sweet rod.

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1 hour ago, Kml said:

You are a man of ample means buy the best once.

have a great trip.

my good buddy that I fish with a lot got the Orvis Helios 3 blackout in 9’ 5” 5wt last year. A really sweet rod.

Ample means? Ha! 
 

Last thing I need is another 5wt. However, the saltwater version of the Sky G might find some usage in Florida…..

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On 1/28/2022 at 5:27 PM, makomakoman said:

build yourself a nice fly rod.. much easier than the last one you did.. 

 

"I will likely sell my never-fished Loomis 8' 4wt Classic IMX (circa 1992) to partially fund this new addition to the family."

 

that is a nice rod.  

 

You have me thinking now. Just bite the bullet, buy a CTS 10’ 6wt blank and build a single-hand with saltwater-worthy components so I might be able to use it down here for inshore or back bay. 

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After a couple more days of reading, watching and thinking, my focus is off Euro designs for two reasons.
 

First, too long and I think 10’ is better for drift boat indicator fishing.

 

Second, the light and sensitive tips are designed to that indicator-free technique and weighted nymphs that are relatively light. The Missouri rigging is one or two weighted nymphs under an indicator, either a Thingamabobber or Airlock or a big ugly Chernobyl dry fly. And, if that’s not enough to scare those thin Euro tips, they often include a crimp-on shot to keep the nymphs down near the bottom. All-in, way too much to challenge a Euro rod tip in my current no-hands-on opinion. 
 

I also eliminated that trout Spey rods as being too long given I will never Spey cast in this application. 
 

So as I mentioned above, current focus is on 10 foot in 6 or 7wt. Unless I build as mentioned above, and irrespective of "ample means", I want to keep cost under $350, whether new or used. Unfortunately, you don’t see too many used 10 footers in 6 or 7 come up for sale. 
 

Or, I should just forget the extra 12” and use my early 1990s Loomis IMX 9’ #6 for this and spend the extra money on casting lessons or booze. 

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2 hours ago, flyangler said:

Or, I should just forget the extra 12” and use my early 1990s Loomis IMX 9’ #6 for this and spend the extra money on casting lessons or booze.

This^^^^

 

I sense you are keyed up on a really cool trip and your mind is turning it over and over and the only physical way to manifest it is buying a new rod. Fishing from the boat should make casting to the bank and getting good drifts pretty easy, especially while fishing a bobber. I have a 10ft Orvis Clearwater 3wt I use euro nymphing and have bumped into the same rod fishing with guides. It's reasonably priced, and not overly euro specific. Keep in mind that most euro nymphing rods are light because they are casting a very long leader with little or no fly line outside of the guides, probably not what you are looking to do from the boat.

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