During the first week of our season at BC West this year, we got a hold of a quiver of spey rods designed for king salmon fishing – you can read our introduction to king rods here. Today we kick off the first of our individual rod reviews with the ECHO K-10130 King.
The ECHO King comes in the ‘classic’ (if anything about king rods can be called classic) 10 weight, 13 foot configuration, striking a great balance between casting and fish fighting ability. At 8 3/4 oz, it’s light for a king rod – the second-lightest in the group of rods we tested. For such a value-priced rod (read more on that in the summary), the quality of the finish is fantastic. The burgundy thread wraps are a great touch. The ‘HD Cork’ handle feels great and the grips are medium-length compared to the other rods in the batch.
When you pick up the ECHO King, you’re going to be surprised by how light it is. We’d call the action medium-fast. ‘Easy loading’ is the first phrase that comes to mind after making a few casts. You can feel this thing bend down through the cork, and that feel makes it easy to make good casts all day long. For a relatively heavy rod (it’s light for a king rod, but come on – we’re talking 10 weights here), fatigue wasn’t really a factor, even at the end of a long fishing day.
It’s got a beefy butt section, which makes it easy to lift heavy tips (we cast up to 15 feet of T-17) and big weighted king flies. Delivering casts out to any reasonable fishing distance was easy. The rod’s moderate action and easy-loading feel made it particularly great for sustained anchor casts like the Perry Poke. If you like to Poke, you’re going to love this stick.
720 grain Skagit heads. We fished it with Airflo’s Skagit Compact 720 as well as their new Skagit Intermediate 720. The Compact 720 gave a great balance between a deep load and a nice crisp feel. Some folks say that you can line your rods about 30 grains lighter when you’re fishing the Skagit Intermediate…we still loved it with the Intermediate 720, although we did have to slow down our stroke a little bit.
ECHO prints a grain window of 720 – 780 grains on the rod. We tried a Skagit Compact 750 on it and felt like it still cast great but lost a little of that crispness. 720 grains is the ticket in our mind – for once we’re on the light end of the grain window!
We stuck a Hatch 9 Plus on the ECHO King and thought it balanced perfectly, so we never changed it up. The 9 Plus weighs 10.6 oz, so reels with high quality drags (very high quality – you’re going to fight kings with them) in that weight range should work great.
Easy-loading, nice crisp feel, fantastic for casts like the Perry Poke – all in the classic king rod configuration. But wait for the punchline…
This rod costs $425. That makes it $150 cheaper than the next-least-expensive rod in the batch, and less than half the price of the most expensive.
It’s a great rod at an almost unbelievable price. If you like chasing kings with deep-loading rods, you’re going to be very happy with the ECHO K-10130 King.
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