Echo Bad Ass Glass: Review

22 comments / Posted on / by

Photos by Elgin Rahaming

Photos by Elgin Rahaming

I saw this fly rod and I knew I had to have it.

I have a problem. I openly admit that. I am a fly rod junkie and I’m in way too deep to stop now. Once you reach the point in the addiction when you start fishing glass in saltwater, there is no going back.

Two thing about the Echo BAG fly rod stole my heart as soon as I saw it. It’s fiberglass and it’s bright blue. That is messed up on every level, I admit it. What is it that draws me, and many other anglers, to fiberglass fly rods? My good friend Michael White says that’s the proof that fly fishing is not a sport. He sites that in no other sport do athletes embrace old technology, which could arguably reduce their performance. I think that’s a brilliant insight, and I, and many other anglers, make that choice more and more. We choose what is arguably a less efficient tool. A fiberglass fly rod. Why?

I can only answer for myself. I like glass because, for what ever reason, it enhances my experience. It’s simply more fun.

I’m fortunate to call Tim Rajeff my friend. Tim is a brilliant individual outside of fly fishing, and when it comes to fly fishing he is almost unmatched. When I told Tim I wanted to take his new Bad Ass Glass rod to the the Bahamas for bonefish, I got a look. I knew that I was putting this fly rod to the ultimate test. While I’ve heard anglers raving about this rod for tossing bass poppers and streamers, taking a fiberglass rod out on the flats is defiantly the next level and I couldn’t resist.

DSCF6655I caught my first saltwater fish on fly with a glass rod. It was a long time ago but I still remember it. I guess I thought it might bring back those memories for me, but when I got the BAG out on the flats, I found it was a completely different animal.

It was a windy week on South Andros and I put off fishing the glass for a couple of days. Eventually I figured there was no time like the present. I expected to get pummeled but I quickly discovered this rod had more backbone than I gave it credit for. I could actually push it fairly hard without it collapsing. It’s slower than graphite for sure, but surprisingly powerful and no afraid of a little breeze.

It wasn’t long before I put about a six-pound bone on the line and the fun started.

DSCF6888There’s nothing cooler than fighting a strong fish on a glass rod. The deep bend does more than make you feel like a rock star though. It spares your tippet the shock of head shakes and sudden acceleration. There’s no shortage of power in that blank. You can put it to ‘em with no fear.

I don’t know that I’ll fish the BAG very time I’m on a bonefish flat but it sure didn’t let me down. I didn’t feel like I was compromising distance or accuracy and the presentations were beautiful. The only way the carbon fiber outperformed the glass was in the line speed category. That’s not unimportant but it’s not the most important thing every day.

What I did take away was this. If I can catch bonefish on a windy week with a fiberglass fly rod, it’s a pretty special rod. I’ll be giving it a workout on freshwater this season and I have complete confidence it will deliver. If you like glass rods, this is one you should get out to the shop and cast.

Did I mention it’s bright blue? God, I love that color.

Get yours HERE.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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22 thoughts on “Echo Bad Ass Glass: Review

  1. I’m waiting for my local fly shop to get some of these delivered. I’m looking to use it mainly for bass poppers, streamers and great lakes steelhead int the spring and fall….What wt. do you think I should get??

  2. Great to hear the review on this rod… Any thoughts between this rod(guessing this was a nine weight) and the Epic 990?

    • I should have mentioned that this is an 8 weight. I don’t feel like I can make a really fair comparison. The only Epic 990 I’ve fished was set up with a sink tip and was overloaded. The Epic rods are nice but I don’t see a huge difference and they are about $500 more expensive.

      • Great thanks…If the 8wt works in the Bahama’s I think it’ll be fine for southern Ontario…I’ll go with that…appreciate the free advice

    • The honest answer is that I do. That reel is a prototype and I was told the drag seal would likely fail, and I was tasked to find out. That said, I have reels I’ve been fishing for 10 years that spend plenty of time under water. If it can’t take that, I don’t want it.

  3. Hey Louis, I love my glass rods too. I own and have owned more than a few of Chris’ (CBarclayflyrods) offerings along with Phillipsons for trout, panfish and small bass work. The heaviest glass rod I owned was a Steffen 8’3″ 7/8, which is more 8 than 7. While it more than did the job, it still was noticeably heavy in hand after a long day of streamer fishing. Do you have any initial thoughts as to how the BAG will perform with a type 6 sinking line throwing 6-8″ articulated streamers all day? I noticed on the Echo site that the rod weighs in at 5.7 ozs.

    • I wouldn’t recommend this rod for that purpose. I own the 10 wt, and I tested it for an afternoon (throwing ~7 inch pike flies) along with a heavy sink tip. Really a chore to cast big flies, especially if you have any wind. I used a few different 9 and 10wt lines as well, still pretty rough. But for sight fishing purposes or smaller flies, you won’t have any issues.

  4. Great review, I’m taking one down to Andros South next week. While it will not be my number one rod, I can def say that I am very excited to try it out, it’s actually the most excited I have been to try a rod in awhile.

  5. Great review!

    I’ve been eyeing these since they’ve come out, just haven’t gotten around to puling the trigger yet, considering I’m pretty much set for heavy weight glass (absolutely love the Epic Bandit & try to find every reason to fish it) so it hasn’t really been at the top of my radar. Thanks for getting it back up there….ha!

    How was the shoulder casting that 9’er all day? How is the swing weight on that thing?

  6. Got to spend considerable time casting the 9′ 9wt. at the shop this past weekend. We had steady 10-20 mph gusts throughout the day. Some personal notes:

    The rod is a cannon. If you let it work for you it will flat out throw some line. The graphite only crowd didn’t really care for it. The rod rewards patience, tracks well and has a pleasant quick recovery. I could hit the targets we set out from 20-75′ with relative ease. I should note that the rep had an Air-Flo tropical short line spooled on it.

    The rod is a club. At 9′ it is really tip heavy. The rod will benefit from a reel that is much closer to 10 oz. Even then the swing weight may be too much for some. I’d like to have seen a down locking reel seat. Anything to help balance out the kit just a bit more. Perhaps in the future Tim will adjust the lengths of each rod in this line up to compensate for this.

    Even with the negative at $275.00 it is an intriguing rod. I love casting and fishing glass rods and I might just buy one.

  7. Quick question as it sounds like you got some good use on it. How dose The “BAG” roll cast? I have loved the thought of a glass rod as my old float rods are glass Sage blanks and they are a ton o fun. Reason I ask is I am looking for an 8wt for Great lakes salmon we mostly nymph in rivers no more then 40 feet wide. Nut I am looking for a rod I can take down south on my dive trips to play around off the beach. Just want your thought on this rod for that use.

    • you wont have a problem roll casting with the BAG…i fished great lakes tribs for steelhead all fall and used it exclusively. Yes it’s a little heavier but playing fish on it is awesome. If you’re an Ontario guy, I fished it in Big Creek, the Suageen and in NY at Versailles… problems at all with it. You’ll love it.

      • What weight B.A.G were you fishing Ontario steelhead? (I wanted to buy one for that purpose but I’m having trouble deciding what weight to buy)

        • I use an 8wt it’s amazing for all fishing. Even use it down south cast off the beach when on vacation. Never been concerned about the size of fish i hook. I don’t think the 9ft exists any more though they are 8’6 if I am not mistaken.

  8. I’m thinking of using a 9 wt Echo BAG as a second rod for Andros in late January. My other rod will be a Redington predator 8 wt. Do you think the these two rods will be good options?

    • I used an 8wt BAG in Cuba for bones and also in Florida just fishing off shore…it’s not a problem at all. Although I think I’d probably prefer the quick shot version with its shorter length as I’m not the greatest caster especially into the wind. I also have an Epic bandit that I use with 8 wt line….overall its a stiffer shorter rod and I think its a better option for what you plan. Having said that we are talking apples to oranges when you compare the prices. I think you’ll be just fine.

    • I used an Airflo C.A.S.T. line all last year for Steelhead and Salmon, also my summer bass. I picked up a Rio Outbound Short Intermediate in the fall for going down south and it is amazing I am going to use it for my summer line in Ontario also. Both lines I found work perfect for what I need.

  9. Dam you Tim R, like a trout attracted to a specific colour. I was caught by this blue rod. I just ordered a 9wt BAG Quickshot. I live in Ontario Canada but fish 2-4 weeks a year for bonefish ( that has wrecked my freshwater fly fishing totally). Anyway I’m not a rich guy and do my best to spend my money wisely, not sure if it made a good choice yet. I could have bought a new Loomis Pro4X cheaper in the same weight but like all of you who are pilfering the web to find out info to justify a purchase or not. I just made a leap of faith kinda. I can’t see this rod failing me miserably but my worst fear is not being able to take a shot at a fish directly into the wing. That said, I’m a good caster and I’m always looking to improve my casting experience. I own many graphite rods (all Loomis rods) and have spent a ton of time fishing them and lawn casting nightly. My sole tells me I want to feel my casting stroke more, maybe at the expense of 10 yards of hero casting distance but I think I can accept that, knowing the bonus of feeling the action of the rod and still knowing 60’ casts are easily achievable. Heck once the fish is on, glass would be my choice no questions asked daaaa. Stay tuned once I put this to use.

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