When you think of Waterworks-Lamson, you think reels and only reels. So if you were a little skeptical when you heard that they released their first saltwater rod a few weeks ago, you were not alone. We’ve seen it before; a company that is not known for rods imports a blank and puts their logo with an attractive price tag on it. The price catches a few anglers; they fish the rod for a bit as it gets the job done. But it’s nothing special, it casts but it’s not a pleasure to cast, and it eventually gets swept under the rug.
The Waterworks-Lamson Standard Seat Fly Rod must be the same case as described above right? It has all the same symptoms: a reel company’s first rod, with an un-inspirational name, and a grey blank that one’s first thought would be to just stand out from the crowd. The answer is no. These rods are not going to fall into that same tragic category. Why not? Dave Chouinard.
Dave is Lamson’s sales rep in the southeast region. You may have seen him before in one of our blog posts or on our social media. Anyone who knows him knows of his exuberance and energy, but most of all his passion for the sport. Dave lives and works in the perfect area to spearhead this project.
From the first thought, to concepts, prototypes and the final release, Dave funneled all of his energy into working with Lamson on this rod’s design. Dave avidly fishes for tarpon, permit, bonefish, snook and redfish from his home in Tampa up to the Carolinas and down to the Florida Keys. With occasional Bahamas trips thrown in the mix.
He made it his business that the reel company’s first rod is not only one that he would fish, but one that he would enjoy fishing and one that he would have full confidence in in any situation. That business included taking prototypes to the fly shops he works with and getting feedback that he trusts. Some direct feedback from industry insiders, but more feedback on the behalf of the anglers that support the shops.
Once the production rods finally arrived, we set them out front to let anyone who comes in give them a whirl. The majority of the reactions were in favor of the rod. People were SURPRISED with how well the rods casted. Great casters, good casters, and beginner casters alike sang the Standard Seat’s praise. Easy and effortless were common keywords amongst the feedback. Not everyone was so thrilled though; there were also those who were underwhelmed by the grey sticks. Both the utterly impressed and the “meh” reactions are justifiable.
When you first pick the rod up you will notice how seamless it feels. You have total control of a very fast but lively tip. You’ll notice with every swing how efficiently energy is transferred from butt section to tip as if it were an extension of your arm. Just as Lamson says in their description, the rod generates line speed intuitively.
Back to the reactions, every single beginner caster who tried these rods loved them. When you put a rod in someone’s hand and they immediately feel that they have full control even before casting, the rod is a confidence booster. It’s also a very forgiving rod for those first learning to shoot line.
Good and great casters enjoyed the rods most when they let the rod do the work. Well-timed hauls, and nice smooth false casts optimize the action of the rod. The rod loads deep, getting more of the tip involved. With all that power built up, the crisp tip then fires the line in a nice tight loop.
Those who did not like the rod were very aggressive, quick-handed casters. A common theme in saltwater fly fishing. They generate line speed extremely quickly and really get on the rod when casting. They were not happy, as they were able to overpower the rod. The deep load was counter-productive and worked against their momentum. In the class of fast action tips, the Standard Seat is quick, but not quite as quick as other rods. The type of caster who did not like this rod would be better suited with a quicker rod like a TFO Axiom II, Echo Boost Salt, Sage Igniter, Orvis H3D or G.Loomis NRX.
That being said, there is a class of casters that were able to really get on the Standard Seat and cast it extremely aggressively without overpowering it. How? They don’t give the rod time to become overwhelmed. The entire cast is complete in the blink of an eye. 1-2 false casts shooting line in both directions, then the final haul makes that nice deep load. On a short cast they drop it down right there with precision. On a long cast they let the line fly. The most permit-esque cast you can think of. Every caster of this caliber thoroughly enjoyed the Lamson rod.
As with any rod, but more so with this rod than others in its category, once you start getting to 4,5,6 false casts – everything starts to fall apart. Especially if you’re aggressive with it.
Casting aside, there are a few more notes to add. We’ve come to the conclusion that the rod is deceptively heavy. On a scale, the rod is in fact on the heavy side. A few casters immediately commented on their distaste for the weight. The majority did not notice the weight until it was pointed out to them. And the majority of the majority said they didn’t mind the weight since they felt like they had the backbone to power into the wind. Lamson’s going slightly heavier is going against the grain, against the trend. It only works here because of how seamless the rod feels, how much control you have of the tip. The Standard Seat is a four-piece that feels like a well engineered one-piece.
As for the grey blank, it’s been getting nothing but love. The blue tarpon in the saltwater series Waterworks-Lamson logo is also a big hit. There’s something about feeling like a rod was designed specifically for you as a saltwater fly angler.
It’s unanimous that you can tell every weight in the series is part of the same line of rods with the same characteristics as the rest of its family.
When asked to guess what the price on the rod is, some casters hit the number right on the head. Everyone else’s number was over the mark. $450 is what it costs to fish a new saltwater series Waterworks-Lamson Standard Seat Fly Rod.
On a personal note, I recently took the 8 weight up to Jacksonville where I enjoyed how stable the rod was when making short quick casts to redfish in grass and in muddy water with a slightly heavy crab fly. Darren, our shop’s owner, did some bass fishing with the 8 weight. He was surprised with how well it picked up and hauled line off the water. The rod left a good impression on both of us, we definitely wouldn’t mind fishing with it again.