The Feathers & Fluoro crew have been hard at work testing out a selection of new gear, tackle and other clobber. More in-depth reviews will run in up-coming issues of The Mission, but for now here are a few first impressions.
ECHO – PRIME 8-weight (seen in action above with a Garden Route grunter)
LeRoy Botha writes, “The Echo Prime is marketed as a flats fishing rod and a specialist one at that and I can’t agree more. I’ve only had this rod for a short while and have been out with it twice. It’s not THE best rod for a long line although it will push it, but for sight fishing to grunter and other species on the flats, it is absolutely amazing. It will put a fly exactly where I want it within a split second and it allows you to make that presentation extremely softly and controlled which is fantastic. It really does what it says on the box. It has not been easy fishing (in terms of the time of year), but so far so good. One grunter has fallen for its charms. Quick, accurate, extremely light – it feels lighter than the 7-weight it’s replaced. Beautiful rod, very nicely appointed, love the finish, the hardware is extremely good quality. I fished it with Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Cold Redfish line, which matches it well for the job. I can’t wait to spend more time on the flats and put it through its paces properly.” Available in South Africa from African Waters.
Platon Trakoshis writes, “I have been testing out the Echo Steamer X 790 lately for Clanwilliam Yellow Fish and Smallmouth Bass and I am blown away by this beautifully designed and built rod. It’s a fast action rod with a lot of power, perfect for casting big, heavy streamers and poppers. The rod can push out a short head and a heavy popper with minimal false casts placing my fly close to structure perfectly with ease. With the longer belly line, the rod keeps the line in the air with little effort even with big, heavily weighted streamers. Roll on spring for some big water and hopefully some big fish.” Available in South Africa from African Waters.
Jazz Kuschke writes, “Love at first sight? Don’t come with that bullsh*t. Then these walked into my life… First things first: Fit – I’m not the world’s tallest human so with waders it’s often been a serious case of ill-fitting compromise between height, shoe size (bootie fit) and chest-size fit in the past. With these (and the range of sizes are staggering) the fit is absolutely perfect. Tailored even. Comfortable, ergonomic – just a great place to be for a long time. In the first few outings, the performance – in terms of agility and walking in comfort has been beyond impressive. And now, with something of a ‘new’ winter grunter fishery having come on the radar, I’m currently working on putting all the features – including interior waterproof pocket, handwarmer pockets with zip flaps and adjustable quick-release suspender for conversion from chest to waist height – to proper test.”
JD Filmalter writes, “I’ve been wearing the jacket a lot recently with all the rain in the Cape. It’s super light-weight, packable to the extreme – it really gets down to a tiny little ball – and is very waterproof. An all-round great shell that is nicely wind-resistant as well.”
Andre van Wyk writes, “To be honest I was a little skeptical of this things usefulness until actually getting it in hand and playing with it. In a nutshell it’s brilliant! If you enjoy trying new patterns and materials and techniques it’s amazing. I test swim all my flies in my fish pond, but being able to get a fish eye view of your pattern under water, swimming in various different current speeds changes it up completely, and removes a ton of guess work! Does it perfectly imitate a real world fishing situation? No.. but it’s close enough to make near on fuck all difference! It’s also amazingly entertaining to stick a fly in there and just watch it swim! Only downsides to it for me are:
Size – I like tying very large flies and it would be great if it could handle flies over 10 inches.
Variable speed on the pump – unfortunately the adjuster for the pump speed is on the underside of the pump, which means you have to take it out and reset it every time you wanna adjust the flow. I’ve found a work around with a new pump which has the flow adjuster on the top though, but does require buying a new pump.”
Leonard Flemming writes, “The Rio Elite Technical Trout line is a smooth, quality floating line that casts beautifully all round, but flies like a fire demon in the wind. The tip of the head section has a sky blue finish, which I particularly like because it is easy to follow on the water surface and it doesn’t put fish off, not even in our peat stained waters. I’ve managed to fish it during periods of technical dry fly action where accurate presentations were necessary to catch surface-cruising witvis at a fair distance; and I’ve also used it for close-range carping in dam shallows where they can be very skittish and spook when a floating line lands with too much disturbance on the surface. Although I’m still ‘playing’ with this line, it’s performed very well in the scenarios mentioned above and it’s made fly fishing an absolute pleasure on those outings. Available in South Africa from Xplorer Fly Fishing.
Jazz Kuschke writes, “The Elite Rio Gold fly line is the apex predator of Rio’s fly line development. Having been a fan of Rio lines for years, I was frothing to get my hands on the WF5F with the view of it being the ultimate all-round floater for the 5WT smuggler’s outfit that lives in my car. It’s seen only a few outings (on farm pond bass) thus far, but initial impressions are that the SlickCast technology and new taper design (long head and back taper) provide incredible casting control and versatility on range.” Available in South Africa from Xplorer Fly Fishing.