Echo Carbon XL Review

by | Aug 5, 2023 | Fly Rod Reviews, Reviews | 0 comments

The Orvis Clearwater fly rod has gone through many generations over the decades. And there’s a good reason why this classic series has stuck around so long – powerful performance from a trusted brand for an unbelievable price.

I got my hands on the latest version (in a few different weights) and write this Orvis Clearwater review to check out exactly what makes this rod tick and what types of anglers may like it.

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL Background

Echo Fly Fishing is an American company founded by champion fly caster Tim Rajeff. Their niche seems to be in very specialized fly rod models that cover just about every fly fishing application you can think of. 

This is the second generation of the Carbon fly rod. I think the central design goal of this rod is to utilize the most current rod making technology to provide an extremely lightweight rod with plenty of power, but also with the action to help fight fix. 

One thing to note is that while the Echo website has listed the Carbon XL and the Carbon XL Euro nymph as separate models, we have grouped them together for the purpose of this review. 

Carbon XL Specs:

Line Weight: 8 different models, 2 through 6 weight, and including a euro nymph option

Length: various length from 7’3″ to 10′

Model Reviewed: 9′, 5 weight

Weight: 2.8 oz, 3.3 oz, 3.4 oz, 3.5 oz, 3.7 oz

Color(s): Rosewood

Action: Medium-Fast

Manufactured: China

Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod Review: Features

Echo Carbon XL Features

1. Medium-fast action

2. Half wells grip

3. Aluminum reel seat

4. Alignment dots

5. Single foot guides

6. Hook holder

Echo Carbon XL Models

Echo Carbon XL

2 wt 7’3″

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

3 wt 7’6″

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

4 wt 8’4″

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

4 wt 9′

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

5 wt 9′

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

6 wt 9′

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

3 wt 10′ Euro Nymph

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL

4 wt 10′ Euro Nymph

Echo Carbon XL

Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod Review: Our Take

Echo Fly Fishing currently has about 20 different rod models listed on their website. While some companies like Orvis consolidate their options to 3 or 4 models, Echo takes the opposite approach by having many different models that suit different fly fishing scenarios. 

With that being said, the Carbon XL is their model that could most accurately be described as a multi application rod. And they’ve done. agreat job making a rod that can really deliver.


The updated Carbon XL features the newest carbon fiber technology which enables the rod to be extremely lightweight, to deliver outsized power, but also to have a very responsive action that is extremely forgiving.

While the rod has a medium-fast action, Echo characterizes it as more of a”medium-faster” action. The taper of the rod has a stiffer tip than other models which helps deliver extra power, whereas the rest of the rod allows for more forgiving action.

In addition to the carbon fiber design, the reel seat is also anodized aluminum with a carbon fiber insert. The rod features single foot guides as opposed to the more popular snake guides that you see on most rods nowadays. These choices in rod design all say one thing – lightweight. 

Also worth noting is the half wells grip, hook holder, and alignments dots. The reel seat has a single lock mechanism which isn’t ideal, but to be fair, the lighter 2 through 6 weight models are less susceptible to reels coming loose than heavier weights.


Probably the most interesting claim that Echo makes about this rod is that the medium-fast action can be characterized as “medium-faster”. The claim is that the extra bit of power can help give a bit more power to propel small to medium sized streamers with a 5 or 6 weight rod. But at the same time there’s a more flexible action that helps land fish. 

Now the Carbon XL has a slightly different feel than most rods that took a bit of getting used to. But I will say that after a bit of casting, it was able to deliver on the initial claims of more power. 

I believe that difference in feel can be attributed to two things: handle placement and the weight ratio between the rod and reed.

One thing to note is that compared to other rods, the Carbon XL handle is pushed back around 1/4″ to 1/2″ farther towards the handle. This means you’re gripping the rod farther down which effectively makes your reach slightly longer. 

Second, as mentioned above, this rod was designed to be as light as possible, which means your reel choice can have a huge effect on the feel. If you’re casting a rod that is 3.4 ounces with a 4.5 ounce reel, the rod can feel a bit unbalanced. If you’re going to purchase this rod I would suggest pairing it with a lighter reel – possibly even a click pawl reel which usually tends to be around half the weight of a reel with a disc drag system.


Most rod models from Echo do not offer an array of colors and designs. The company seems to be focused on dial in the performance and not necessarily the looks.  

However the rod does feature a brownish-red Rosewood coloring that is elegant while still being understated.  This rod may not elicit oohs and ahhs from your friends, but it does have a nice look that portrays quality.


The value that the Carbon XL brings is probably its strongest feature. Hopefully the previous paragraphs have communicated strong enough how this is a great rod with strong performance and functionality. But my inner Billy Mays is shouting – BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. The price point on this rod is way lower than you would expect for a cutting edge carbon fiber rod. 

I wouldn’t call the price point entry level, but it’s amazing to me that you can get a rod of this quality for a price that is just barely above entry level.


To wrap this up, I think we can accurately summarize that this rod is an extremely lightweight, yet powerful rod that delivers. And at such a good price it can fit any budget.

This rod will do well for most applications from small streams up to throwing mid-weight streamers. My suggestion is to pair it with a lightweight reel, possibly a click pawl reel.

Echo Carbon XL Pros and Cons



√Extremely lightweight carbon fiber design

√Medium-fast action with extra power

√Single foot line guides to reduce weight

√Flexible action to help land fish

! Single reel locking mechanism



Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod Review: Ranking

Compositionextremely lightweight carbon fiber design8 / 10
PerformanceMedium-fast action with flexible action

7 / 10

LooksLow-key Rosewood coloring6 / 10
ValueA crazy good value for the price8 / 10
Echo Carbon XL

Overall Ranking

7.25 / 10

Echo Carbon XL Deals

Trident Fly Fishing Product Listing

Ed’s Fly Shop Product Listing

Amazon Product Listing

Accessories: Reel and Fly Line

Orvis Hydros Reel

Echo Shadow Click Fly Reel

Rio Mainstream Trout Fly Line

Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod Starter Pack

If you’ve decided to pick up the Echo Carbon XL, or found another fly rod that suits your needs, there are some bare essentials you’re going to need to get read yot hit the water. Check out some of our suggestions below:

Echo Carbon XL Accessories

Fly Fishing Landing Net Wooden Frame Soft Rubber Mesh or Waterproof Nylon Mesh Trout Bass Catch and Release Net

Simms Taco Wader Bag

Fly Fishing Tools Kit and Accessories Combo Kits, Fishing Quick Nail Knot Tying Tool, Hook Remover Forceps and Pliers, Stainless Steel Salmon and Trout Multiple Fishing Set Gear Tool Assortment