I had a chance to pick up a 7wt Echo2 SW fly rod this past weekend. I was on a mission to search for a fast, powerful rod that will handle the rigors of saltwater fly fishing while not breaking the bank. TFO has a good chunk of that market with their TiCr and Axiom series rods, but there has to be a competitor out there that can hold its own as well. Afterall, competition is the heart of Capitalism (for those of you who still beleive in it). I needed a 7wt rod to fish for tailing bonefish and redfish in calmer conditions so I decided to try some less expensive rods so that I can make some recommendations to anglers who want to sample the sport of fly fishing without having to spend a lot of money. Performancewise, the Echo2 handled windy conditions without an issue. I found that the “D” tip, which stiffens up the rod, to be the perfect match on the 7wt under most saltwater conditions encountered. What impressed me the most about this rod was the line control and line feel. Something that most TFO rods I’ve fished in the past lacked was good line feel. The Echo2, however has one drawback as it is not the lightest rod on the market. For someone who chucks 12wt flyrods all day 3 to 4 months out of the year, this isn’t a big issue, though this 7wt could benefit by being slightly lighter to balance out well with smaller lighter fly reels. I had a Danielsson LW6/9 on my test rod and did not feel it was balanced. A Tibor Everglades or Nautilus CCF No.8 would balance this 7wt rod out better. The Airflo Ridge bonefish/redfish taper line (by far the best colored fly line I have ever fished) I fished on this rod was a perfect match though. The Echo2 SW retails for somewhere in the upper $200 range and can be found on www.rajeffsports.com. Unfortunately there are no dealers that I know of in South FL to sample cast these rods (which may change in the future) but if you want to sample the 7wt, feel free to contact me.