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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Ditto on the comments…the finish is a beauty, and if I use the timing Hickman showed me this season, it launches as far you need to…I liked it a lot and got the 9 wt and it is sweet! I tried it with both 660 Airflo skagit and 700 Rio skagit, and, again like our intrepid editor, I liked it with the 660 better.
That’s great Klint – glad you got your hands on one!
Great review, just wanted to know what running line and sink tip were used in the test?
Hello from Spain,
I’m considering to buy a Echo King 9wt. for atlantic salmon fishing because I want go to a shorter DH rod.
Currently I’m using a 15 footer with a scandinavian S.H. about 39/40 feet long and weighting 640 grains.
I’d like to know if you think that the #9 King could work fine with this scandi S.H.
Many thanks and best regards.
Kyle Shea says
Kyle here with Deneki. I personally use the Echo King 9130 and absolutely love it. However, I typically throw a 660 grain skagit head on it, although I’m sure the rod would cast a scandi setup just fine. My gut feeling is that the 640 might be a little on the heavy side, as typically a longer head will require a drop in grain weight, but definitely worth a try! Hope that helps and thanks for reaching out to us. Best of luck out there!
Thank you very much for your answer and advise.
I’ve seen some rodmaker that they precisely reccomend some models of its Spey rods with 660 grains Skagit/640 Scandi. So I think that I’m going to try it, because the 1013 King has a grains range too high.
Thanks again and all the best.
Alex Belonga says
Kyle or Andrew,
Is it possible to get good distance with the Echo King rod? Does cast poorly compared to Sages or others in the category?
How is the backbone for large Kings?
Can you elaborate on the strengths of this rod series and your favorite things about it?
Kyle Shea says
Thanks for reaching out! Having had a lot of experience with the Echo King, both personally and in the hands of many of our guests, I can honestly tell you that both the 9 and 10 weight models have more than enough backbone for large kings. In fact, I would say that’s one of my favorite things about it. At 13 feet flat, available in true king worthy sizes (9 and 10 wt.), and with as beefy a butt section as it has, it checks all the boxes in the fish fighting category in my opinion.
The price is also one of its greatest selling points as well. I’d argue there isn’t another spey rod worthy of adult kings at the price point anywhere else.
For the price, it does also cast well. Casting is a gray subject of course, especially spey casting, as there’s a lot of personal preference involved. That said, there’s no run on the Kanektok that the Echo King can’t cover, in the right hands it can certainly reach longer distances than are worth fishing. Case in point, I know more than one fellow guide at Alaska West who have both the Echo King and comparable Sage rods, some actually prefer the Echo, while others Sage.
So why would anyone pay nearly double for other top-shelf ‘premium’ rods (in regards to price of course)? The answer is the same for most rods. Most rods coming in at higher price points will have higher end components and cosmetics (guides, quality of cork handle, reel seats, ect.). They might look nicer, or last longer over time. Also, the materials and resins used in most blanks in top shelf rods typically result in rods that are lighter in hand, and more responsive actions made possible my more expensive materials.
In other words, when looking at more expensive rods, you’re paying for two things. First is craftsmanship (which many would argue is part of the fun and worth the investment). Second is premium materials which an experienced hand might be able to translate into higher casting performance or ‘feel.’ However, I would argue that this day and age, ‘Fishing Performance’ is not necessarily related to price.
Long story short, I think for the price, the Echo King is one of the best King sticks out there, and I’ve been fortunate to witness many special fish to hand on the Kanektok with it. Hope that helps Alex! Have fun out there!
Echo King 10 Wt.
I use this rod for Kings and Chum. On Vancouver Island, Chum fishing is mostly on smaller rivers, I have snapped my high end 14 ft 9/10 two hander two years in row dealing with these rod busters.
Fed up with screwing around with replacement warranties, I purchased an Echo King 10 wt.. This rod is a beast, it casts great and handles any fish with ease. I tried the 720 grain Skagit lines and although they work well, they are way to much work if your fishing a lot.
I use a 625 Gr 20 ft Skagit head, this short head and rod combo will toss all the T14 you want with ease at any distance you need to go.
My beautiful replaced (again) 9/10 is relegated to winter steelhead fishing.