Echo Carbon Four-Weight

A medium-fast fly rod that's affordable and good looking


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In certain parts of Michigan, Echo fly rods have achieved a sort of cult following. After hearing enough friends sing their praises, I finally decided to try one.

The Carbon isn’t new—it was introduced in 2008—but it came highly recommended. After testing it out on small streams of New Mexico I can see why. First, it’s cheap. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a rod of that looks this good—matte brown finish, anodized aluminum reel seat—and fishes this well for under $200.

But even better, Echo didn’t chase the ultra-fast craze with this. They say it’s a medium-fast rod, but it definitely tends towards the medium end. And that’s perfect. It was ideal for making soft casts with small dries onto a small meadow stream, and had just enough backbone to toss big dry/dropper rigs at distance. We only had a few hours with it—a front moved in, and we had to hike 1,000 feet up a mesa to get back to camp—but that was enough. Count me among the cult.