It’s rare to find a fly reel for under $100 that is just as suitable for experienced anglers as it is for beginners.
If you take fishing as seriously as I do, you might write off the Echo Ion when you see its low price. But you’d be missing a trick if you did!
This superb low-cost fly reel can easily compare against premium reels thanks to the close attention to detail and smart design from the folks at Echo. And all for less than $100!
Have I got your attention yet? Then let’s take a closer look at this bargain reel in our Echo Ion fly reel review and see whether it deserves to make our best fly reels of all time list!
As a company, Echo prides itself on making top-quality fishing gear for affordable prices. The team is made up of avid fly fishers, and they know their stuff. It’s easy to see that they pour all their expertise and passion for fly fishing into everything they do. The result is highly effective products like the Ion fly reel.
The Echo Ion retails at between $79.99 and $99.99, making it a bargain fly reel. Extra spools also cost just $30-40, so it’s very economical.
But with its clever design and useful features, it’s not just aimed at beginners. Any fly fisher can enjoy using this reel and have a lot of success out on the water. It’s ideal for anyone on a tight budget. The Echo Ion is also a fantastic backup reel to keep handy in case of accidents or to lend a friend!
The Echo Ion fly reel comes in six different sizes, allowing you to find the perfect reel for your fishing setup. Whether you need a lightweight reel for small fish or something more sturdy for trophy-size saltwater beasts, there’s an Echo Ion to meet your needs.
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The Ion fly reel provides a constant smooth drag that can handle large fish. Whether the fish takes off and runs or puts up a mean fight, the Ion won’t let you down. By exerting steady, consistent pressure, it will protect your line and haul that fish in!
This reel works best in freshwater, but you can also use it in saltwater. If you choose to talk it out to the saltwater flats or open sea, you will need to be meticulous with the cleaning and maintenance each time. As the drag system isn’t fully sealed, you’ll need to make sure that you get rid of any corrosive elements like salt, sand, and grit.
The Ion fly reel has a hybrid frame with an unusual construction. The process uses die-cast aluminum that is then machined, making it super strong but affordable. You get the best of both worlds!
This reel is kitted out with stainless steel internals and a large arbor, which allows for speedy line pickup and reduced fly line memory. It also has a generous backing capacity, so you won’t need to worry about running out of fly line.
The unique shape of the reel allows the line to be stacked evenly with little input needed from you, so you can focus on the fishing! You can tell that the design of the Echo Ion fly reel is for efficiency, not just aesthetics. Lots of thought and experience went into crafting a practical tool that will serve you well out on the water.
When using the reel, it does emit loud clicks when in use. Some anglers love this, some don’t. Personally, I like the feedback this gives me, but you might find it annoying after a while.
Echo Ion fly reels aren’t the lightest of fly reels, although it’s not very heavy, either. The 2/3 weight model comes in at 4.8 ounces, while the 4/5 model weighs 5.3 ounces. This might put off some fishers, but it does offer the advantage of nicely balancing out rods.
You’d be lucky to find a reel for under $100 that comes with a full disc-drag system. But that’s exactly what the Echo Ion has to offer! Its disc-drag system is low maintenance and exerts a smooth, consistent pressure with no stickiness.
There’s also very little startup inertia or backlash. You can stop a fish instantly with this reel! It really is very impressive (especially for the price!)
The spool-release knob is a great addition. It’s very easy to turn, even with cold, wet hands, making it quick and straightforward to switch out spools
Both the 8/10 weight and the 10/12 weight reels have a feature that we love – the oversized brass drag knob which is so easy to use. Another benefit of this handy feature is that it adds some extra weight, allowing fishers to balance out their rods perfectly.
- Great affordable price
- Speedy fly line retrieval thanks to the large arbor
- Reliable, smooth drag system
- This reel is sturdy due to the die-cast/machining process
- You get a one-year warranty for your reel
- The loud click can become quite annoying
- You’ll need to do daily maintenance and cleaning if you use the ion reels in the saltwater
Visit our top recommendations for the best spinning reel for the money!
The Wrap Up
In conclusion, the Echo Ion fly reel is one of the best low-cost reels on the market right now. Despite its low price, this reel doesn’t disappoint. The Echo design team has poured all of their knowledge into creating an effective reel that is a pleasure to use.
If you are interested you can check out our full breakdown of all fly rods from echo here on Echo Fly Rod Reviews.
With a powerful drag system, fast line pickup, and nice ergonomics, the Ion reel is suitable for all anglers, from novices to fly fishing experts. With six different sizes of fly reels to choose from, Ion reels can cope with any fishing situation! Whether you’re looking for your first reel or you’d like a spare, just in case, these Echo reels fit the bill.
We hope this review is helpful to you in your search for the best fly reels! Drop us a comment to let us know what you think of the Ion fly reels. Then, head over to Fly Fisher Pro for more gear reviews, destination guides, and fly fishing tips!