A wise person once said “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  Or in this case, “when everything is closed, go fishing.”  Either way, right now a positive attitude is important and perspective can be everything.  In an effort to keep things positive and help my fishing family I thought I’d share some photos from a recent trip to the river and some information about my equipment.  It was a great day that brought us joy and motivated me to write a review of the ECHO GECKO fly rod my kids use and I secretly love.
We had the great fortune of winning a GECKO at a casting competition held at Cutthroat Anglers last Fall.  My sons, Jax and Jett, battled it out in the kids category and Jax barely got the victory.  Jett’s second place got him a hat and a promise from dad he would get a fly rod too.  I’ll consider myself lucky that I needed to buy a second rod.  Each boy has their own fly rod now and love to fish with me.
The ECHO GECKO is a complete fly rod, reel and line that is set up and ready to go fishing.  Each kit comes in a cool case and is a 7’9” 4 piece rod that is a 4/5 weight.  The manufacturer says it is a medium action rod but since it is fiberglass it has a soft and light feel when casting.  The GECKO is specifically designed for kids and has a switch grip allowing one or two hand casting.  This is critical for teaching little kids (my guys are 4 and 5) good technique and allows them to hold the fly rod correctly and safely get that “over the shoulder” cast.  I also recommend letting little guys practice casting with a “special” fly that has had the hook bent down until they get it down.
When on the river the rod performs great.  I’m not joking when I say I secretly love it.  I have to fight the urge to take it out of the kids’ hands and usually fish with it when they are taking a break.  The stock line is blue, but floats nicely and the kids think it’s cool.  It comes with a leader on the fly line.  I replaced it with a new one from RIO (7.5ft 4X).  The rod casts like a dream and will compete with many of my 9’ 5 weights for distance when cast properly.  I see a lot of clients that insist on using their own gear, inevitably a fiberglass rod, and cast them terribly.  It is very easy to try and cast a fiberglass rod like a graphite rod but it isn’t usually very successful. Oppositely, clients that CAN cast a fiberglass rod correctly can usually cast a graphite rod with ease as well.  That is another reason why I like the GECKO as a first fly rod for kids.  If they get the proper timing down for casting a fiberglass rod first, then casting a graphite rod will come naturally too.
The best part about the GECKO is the hook-up and fighting of fish.  We have fished our GECKO all over the place.  From Cutthroat trout on the Snake to giant Rainbows on the Big Horn in Thermopolis, every fish has the rod doubled over and everyone grinning.  Nothing has the feel of a fiberglass rod when fighting trout and the GECKO really has handled bigger trout than I thought it would.  I’ve also been impressed with the rods versatility.  We mostly rig it with dry-dropper set-ups, but it can also work well with light double nymph rigs. I have yet to cast a streamer with one, but the boys have frog flies they can cast pretty far.
For a simple set up, that is built with quality AND wallet friendly, it is hard to beat the ECHO GECKO.  Wherever you are in the process of handling the lemons these days, this is one item that may help.  It is also critical to continue to support our local businesses and the employees.  These fly rods and other fishing equipment can still be ordered online or picked up curbside at Cutthroat Anglers.  30% of sales go to help shop staff.  More than ever it’s important to explore, breathe, enjoy the moment, fishing will become catching, lemons…lemonade.

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