Lamson Litespeed 1 Large Arbor Fly Reel Review
The innovative designers at The Waterworks have obviously applied significant effort into the superior design and simplicity of this superb Large Arbor Reel. A traditional style frame has facilitated the use of 6061 Grade Aluminum for the body instead of Titanium and the well-placed “Portal’s” not only make this a reel of beauty but also drive down its weight. The Litespeed 1 weighs in at 3.75 ounces. I loaded the reel with 75 yards of backing and a dark willow coloured SA 3WF line to compliment the electrifying bronzed-smoky appearance of the reel. The O-Ring that fits around the spindle is precise and snug; nothing mechanical is used to separate the spool from the body. I wanted to change to right hand retrieve and simply pulled the spool and body in opposite directions and the two pieces parted with an audible “Pop”. It is at this point that you notice that the reel design accommodates an arbor diameter, which is significantly wider than other LA reels in my possession. This wider design facilitating the shallower storage of line and as I mention later in this article it has its pros and cons. During the review period I used the reel with several 3WT Rods of varying lengths manufactured by several high-end companies the main target of my efforts were Brookies and Brown Trout.
The first thing you notice when fishing this reel is the superior drag system which consists of a pair of nested cones which are drawn together by spring tension. The slightest turn of the drag knob instantly increases or decreases the drag. The configuration also enables extremely light drag settings, which is my preference when casting a fly to small Brookies. On the other hand, when you’re dreaming about the enormous fish that got away and a good Brown Trout suddenly smacks your fly as it happened to me one day, you will instantly notice the advantages of the zero-lash roller clutch. The mechanism relies on ramps and rollers to achieve torque transmission and has no teeth or steps to break. This feature ensures instant engagement completely eliminating that “jerk” one feels on a standard pawl clutch. As for keeping the reel clean, the conical elements completely seal the drag system keeping out all dirt and grit. Just remove the spool and wash in the river if you drop the reel in the muck.
When you’re on your first half hour or so of fishing on a cool morning you sometimes notice a bit of “line-coil”. It became clear after a short time that the wider arbor diameter was indeed reducing line-coil due to the shallow storage of the line. This design also noticeably increases the retrieve rate (much faster that other LA reels that I own) enabling me to keep a few fish away from sunken tree debris on several occasions. This wide arbor is a great feature however; specifically in the initial trials this is also the design’s only flaw. The significantly wider arbor allows for the build up and over wrapping of the line on either side of the reel pending on your fishing style. You must be “conscious” at all times that your line will indeed build up unless you move the finger that guides the line from side to side as you reel in line thereby spreading the line evenly across the spool. In my experience (I use a lot of LA Reels) I found that in the excitement of the hook up I am more focused on landing the fish than paying attention to how your line spreads on the centre spool as you reel in the line. Several times I found that I could not strip line off the spool due to this problem. After a month of fishing I am much better at handling this set back.
Overall I am extremely happy with the performance of the reel. This is my first Lamson LA reel and it performs extremely well meeting ones highest expectations, as you would expect from a Lamson. In the Trout arena, this reel excels. I own two Lamson LPs and fully endorse this brand. The Lamson Litespeed 1 retails for around $250 US and a spool is around $100 US.
When rating this product I found that one of the reels best features also contains its only draw back so I decided to rate each feature.
Rating out of 10. 10 being extremely superior and 1 being extremely inferior.
Drag System 10
Torrington zero-lash clutch 10
O-Ring seal (Body to Spool) 10
Wider Arbor feature 6
Quality of workmanship 10
Related Link: Waterworks - Lamson