2012/4/25 Echo Gecko 7’9” 4/5 wt Fly Rod for Kids – updated
My older son and I picked up his first fly rod from post office which was granted to him after passing Kanji Exam. He had been trying fly fishing with multiple tackles before, but we found difficulties in casting. Some rods were too long and too heavy. Some rods didn’t give him enough feedback on casting so that he couldn’t keep concentrating on what he was doing.
I’d say fishing-part of fly fishing is quite simple.When I first gave my son tenkara (non-reel fly rod) tackle, he understood immediately how to put fly where fish is. Casting-part is not. It’s a combination of motion much like playing guitar that requires certain amount of experience by practice how to let your tool do the work for you.
So, the most important part of letting someone learn fly casting is to choose the right tackle that is not too heavy or too light for that person. And another key point is how to sustain concentration of that person before unfamiliar experience tires him or her out.
I searched for quite sometimes and found that Joan Wulff, great caster of all time, left great instructions: Fly Casting for Children. Then her study came to reality by another great caster, Tim Rajeff, fonder of Echo and brother of Steve Rajeff, into this 3 piece fly rod for kids.
Echo Gecko fly rod comes in 3 piece which become 7’9” in assembly. Length of fly rod is not too short (creates enough kinetics) or too long (kids will hit the obstacles with rod easily) and heavy. It loads 4 or 5wt line which is ideal for kids who needs to feel good amount of feedback from fly line when they “actively stop” the rod tip. 4/5wt are not too much weight to give fatigue too soon either.
Grip is made of EVA in thin diameter of 1.75cm (my 3wt is 2.5cm) which prevents it to slip off kid’s small hand. It also offers extended end grip to make it a switch rod. This is the remarkable feature of Gecko for kid can cast both single or two-handed, and he can get helps in higher line speed for distance or physical aid to fight his fish. Also, having EVA butt section helps reduce a damage caused by dropping rod on the ground.
Reel seat is made of durable plastic comes with single screw nut which secures the matching reel in place.
Why Echo Gecko?
There are other great junior fly rods. Reddington Minnow and Ross Journey are great choices. But it had to be Gecko. Why?
My 6 year old son (3′ 11” tall), tried 7’6” 3wt, 9′ 5wt, and 7’11 6wt.
3wt didn’t give him enough feedback. When he does not receive enough feedback, he loosens his grips and begin loosing tight line.
9′ length or 6wt line weight was too heavy. It helped him to keep his concentration, but it tired him out too soon.
He also came to fatigue with single-handed casting in 10 minutes time then switched to two-handed casting to carry on fishing.
So, it had to be 4 or 5wt in short rod with extended butt. Only Gecko has them all. If your child is older and has enough strength to cast single-handed, then you could have more selection.
Recommended Fly Line
I gave 5wt WF for the initial start up for my son to be able to feel more feedback which is important process to make him familiar with what he is doing. I will give him 4wt DT when he become able to cast further than 10m or so.
To help your kid visually confirm how cast is being done, I strongly recommend to choose bright colour such as orange.
Recommended Fly Reels
I’m currently matching it with my old Cabelas 567 reel made of plastic which is light enough to make the fine match. It is 123 grams including 5wt floating line with 20lb backing. 123 grams is 4.3 ounces by the way.
I’ve made this choice after making big mistake with Echo Solo 4/5 reel which weighs about 5 ounces that is nowhere close to make its user happy.
So, being “feather weight” is really important when choosing fly reel for kids.
I’d say, choosing reel below 4 ounces is the goal. And it has to take 4/5wt line.
- Redington Drift 3/4 (3.7 oz) or 5/6 (3.9 oz).
- Nautilus FW 3+ (4 oz).
- Waterworks LamsonVelocity 1.5 (4 oz), Lightspeed 1.5 (3.5 oz), and ULA Force 2SL (2.9 oz).
- Hardy Ultralite CC 3000 #3 (3.7 oz), Featherweight (3.5 oz)
To Be Updated
I think this trial with my son could help fly fishing parents’ search for right choice, so I will revisit this article for updates.