I needed a fly fishing reel, so I looked at many models and options. Wow! No wonder people are hesitant to start fly fishing. Do I really need to spend $400 or more for a reel? Then I asked a friend for advice.
He told me he had a fairly inexpensive reel on his smallest rod (4 wt), but all of his other rods (four rods I believe) have Lamsons which are in his words are “solid and good value”. I was told to make sure I got a reel with a decent drag because of the potential for catching large trout on my home waters. I was also advised to look for a large arbor reel because of the faster retrieve rate, constant tension drag and for less “coil memory” in the fly line.
So I researched Lamson (Waterworks/Lamson). Instead of guys that love fly fishing and wanted to learn how to design reels, the guys at Lamson are engineers that wanted to build better reels.
Among other things, they design bikes. In 1995, they patented the Center Axis Concept which aligns the center of mass of the reel with the center axis of the rod, which reduces twisting and the pendulum effect which makes for a more balanced and responsive rod. They also design reels with few parts for simplicity and reduced weight.
The Konic 2 (or II) is Lamson’s entry level reel, but has the same conical drag and stainless steel bearing system they use in their high-end reels.
Lamson Konic 2 Features
- Large 3.4 inch diameter Arbor
- Pressure cast aluminum spool and frame
- Stainless steel roller clutch
- Conical Drag System, sealed and maintenance free
- Anodized with Polyurethane finish
- Saltwater safe
- Lifetime Warranty
- Based in Ketchum, Idaho
The Lamson Konic 2 is Available in Four Sizes:
I read many other reviews about the Lamson Konic II and everyone seems to agree that it is the best reel available for less than $200. Way under! Because now, they are priced between $119-$135 depending upon the weight of your fly rod.
Update: The Lamson Konic II is no longer produced (some are available at eBay (see below) and has been replaced by the Lamson Guru, (still available – low priced fully machined reel). The Lamson Guru II has now replaced the Guru.
I was almost prepared to buy, but being my typical cheap self, I decided to wait until I could compare several reels side by side, since I had to go into the big city and would be near Cabela’s a few days later. I had already decided that $150 was going to be my absolute maximum, so I compared Cabela’s Prestige Premier ($89) & RLS+ ($140), Ross Flystart ($60) & Flyrise ($120) and the Sage 2250 ($140).
If my friend had not given Lamson such an good endorsement, I probably would not have considered them. But since I had already looked at and held the Lamson, the other reels just didn’t feel as solid or have the same smooth action. I liked the drag system and the drag control best on the Konic II and the Lamson was lighter than the other reels except for the Cabela’s Prestige. The Sage 2250, was also a nice reel with a lifetime warranty, but I still liked the Lamson better.
So you don’t have to spend $400 to get a strong, large arbor reel with what may be the best drag system available and with a lifetime warranty. It is still true that most of the time the reel just holds extra line until you need it and spools it back up when you don’t need it. For catching small fish, almost any reel will work, but if you plan to hook and land big fish, then the reel becomes very important. I like catching all fish, big and small, but I don’t want a big one to get away because of the reel.
Waterworks/Lamson Lifetime Warranty
When I got my reel home, I was surprised no warranty information was in the box. I emailed Lamson directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and asked what I needed to do to register. Within a few minutes, I got the following email:
“We actually no longer require a registration process in order to activate your warranty. Should you ever have any issues with your reel, this is the right place to get a hold of us. Have fun out there, and happy fishing!”
Thanks. I do have fun out there and I don’t want to know anyone who isn’t happy when they’re fishing.
Update: The Lamson Konic II is no longer produced, but can sometimes be found at Ebay. I’ve found some very good deals at Ebay: