Waterworks-Lamson Speedster Review
9’ 9-weight Sage Xi3
Speedster size 4
9 weight Outbound Short Floating Line
In Mid-July I had the opportunity to join my father on his annual trip to the Matapedia River in Quebec Canada to fish the summer Atlantic Salmon run. After doing some research on appropriate gear it became obvious that one of the most important pieces of equipment to have was a solid large arbor reel. These salmon come straight out of the ocean and become rather irate when you stick one in the lip with a sharp fly. The result is often acrobatic jumps in between long runs into your backing. Their ability to streak right back at you made me want to emphasize the “large arbor” aspect of the reel. In comes the Waterworks-Lamson Speedster reel. The Speedster W-L's “extra-large arbor” reel and boasts extremely fast line pickup with a narrow profile to eliminate line wrapping.
My first impression of the reel was how bad#*% it looked. It has a concaved spool to hold extra backing while maintaining the extra large arbor. The finish is gorgeous with extremely clean milling. Lined up with over 250 yards of 30lb backing and a 9 weight Outbound Short I was impressed by the overall look and feel of the reel.
Over the years my rods have been equipped more and more with Waterworks-Lamson reels. This is mostly because of the drag system. Lamson has a completely sealed conical drag system that is the definition of low maintenance and has yet to fail me in any way. I’ve owned a Lamson Radius for 7 years and have yet to do any maintenance on it other than the occasional rinse off. The fact that the click sound is lighter than a lot of other reels on the market is also a plus for me.
W-L's clutch system is called the “Torrington Zero-Lash Roller Clutch”. This system is based off of the fact that most click pawl systems are prone to contamination and failures. The Torrington system eliminates any pins or teeth that can break or wear out. The “Zero-Lash” aspect of the drag eliminates any pause before the clutch engages- essentially saving leaders and tippets and ultimately, fish.
This reel seemed to be built for Atlantic Salmon fishing. When we arrived on the Matapedia we were greeted with low, gin clear water. This meant fishing 10-12 lb test for extremely hot sea-run salmon… protecting your tippet was a must. I ended up sticking one Salmon with the Speedster and it performed phenomenally. The initial run took me 70 yards into my backing. After turning its head up stream, the fish proceeded to run straight back upstream and had me reeling as fast as possible. After another 10 minutes I’d landed my second Atlantic Salmon and first fish on the new Speedster.
I’ve owned a lot of reels and I am extremely pleased with the Speedster. If you are looking for an extremely large arbor reel to pick up line fast with a low maintenance, high quality drag system, this is the reel. The narrow profile of the reel would work well for Spey rods as well and I plan on testing it this fall on a Spey rod.
See you out on the water!
Enter your number below to receive new, up-to-date river reports from Montana Troutfitters.