I'll admit, we were skeptical at first and held off ordering our first ECHO OHS. Fact is we waited an entire year before picking one up despite what the good folks at Rajeff Sports had told us about chasing chromers on the weekends with their OHS's. Maybe it was the concept of being able to convert a single hand rod to a switch rod that could match the performance of any single hand or switch rod one it's own.
Enter Billy Jack Sheffield and Brian Davis. Two great guys with a wealth of knowledge and different casting styles. Brian with slow clean swing, while Billy has a more compact moderate stroke like myself.
For comparison we lined up a 4wt Deer Creek with a 330 grain Airflo Skagit Scout which we had dialed in earlier, and the Echo OHS 7wt with a 270 grain Skagit Scout both with 8' polyleaders.
Note that we later swapped heads threw the 330 Scout on the OHS which greatly improved two hand casting. We would recommend a 330 Airflo Skagit Scout if you plan on two hand casting or feeling the rod load deeper into the butt section, and a 300 if you truly will be single hand spey casting or bouncing back and forth between both or prefer a more gentle presentation.
Ready to swing away Billy stepped up to the plate without the rear two hand extension in hand and launching a 70' single hand spey cast careful to make the necessary haul required to make this rod truly sing. Making several more casts Billy picked up the Deer Creek 4wt for a few casts to cleanse the pallet. Back on the Echo OHS with bottom hand extension in tow Billy made a series of series single spey and snap T casts taking a few moments to get familiar with the OHS's crisper stop with more backbone. After three or four casts Billy had the OHS sending his fly in the 80'-100' range the same distance as the 4wt Deer Creek.
Tapping out, Billy handed off the Echo OHS to Brian Davis who made a couple overhead casts which sailed out into the Salmon River followed by a couple single hand spey casts and a series of two handed casts. Brian dug the crispness of the OHS's high modulus graphite and reserve power but was a little fast for his casting style and was back on his Dec Hogan and a fresh beer after sufficiently putting the OHS through the paces and was off again to hassle any steelhead that might find there way to the end of his line as the sun fell behind the Salmon River breaks.
Having spent much of the day casting and dialing in a slew of TFO and Echo rods this was the Echo OHS was the last rod I had picked up at the end of the day. Immediately I appreciated how light and well balanced the OHS felt and had to remind myself that this was a 10'4" rod but felt more like a 9'0" in hand. I gave the OHS several single hand spey casts first 80' then progressively further as I made a few adjustments finding the right length of dangle and stop followed by some two hand hand casting.
Picking the 4wt Deer Creek backup I again made several overhead casts, single hand spey, and two handed casts. The Deer Creek which I think is one of the best rods out there for truly performing as a switch rod, felt heavier in the tip granted we were throwing a 330 grain head as well which was ideal for two hand casting but perhaps needed to be dialed down for single hand. Both the OHS and Deer Creek were on par for two hand spey casting distance but I wish the rear butt section extension was just slightly longer on the OHS. Echo may have made the butt section extension a little shorter than your standard light switch rod to accommodate for not having to remove said butt section if you switch up your casting method and go back to two hand casting and did not want to waste time bouncing back and forth between butts. Personally I would probably leave the extension on 75% of the time unless I was fishing from a boat.
SUMMARY (in case your bored):
If you're sick of reading and just want the summary you should buy OHS if your not like Brian. Sorry Brian. And by that I mean you have a slower cast or maybe prefer glass rods. In contrast to other 10' rods such as the Echo Ion 10' 7wt and other trout spey rods such as the Deer Creek, the OHS is simply lighter and better balanced with more lifting power and backbone.
The only downsides to the OHS we found were that we wish the rear two hand butt extension felt a little short, but it was the ideal size/weight for not having to switch between the shorter fighting butt and extension all day as your casting methods change. We are also pretty use to fishing trout speys in the 11' range and the 10'4" length took some getting use to but not a lot. If we were planning on swinging soft hackles or prefer a 7wt 9' rod to an 8wt 9' I would step down to the 6wt OHS.