FFR Stuff That Rocks: Lamson's Affordable Konic Fly Reel

Category:
Fly Fishing, fly fishing stuff, Review
Added Date:
Sunday, 30 Sep, 2007
Summary
While I remain a little skeptical of the practical advantages of large arbor reels, I bought one a few years ago -- after Chris Raine and I started catching big, fast-moving fish on tiny dries and tippets.
 
Content

[ED: The first in a short series of reports from the FFR show about goodies that might not get a lot of press, but deserve to.]

While I remain a little skeptical of the practical advantages of large arbor reels, I bought one a few years ago -- after Chris Raine and I started catching big, fast-moving fish on tiny dries and tippets. We figured the hatch would last forever, and if it did, I wanted to be ready (it didn't; don't even ask; and we're not telling).

So I went searching for a reel with an extremely smooth drag (even at very light settings) for my "technical" DT4 rig, stumbled across a Lamson Velocity 2 on closeout, bought it, and fell in love with the thing. It's solid, light, and the drag is absolutely smooth at the lightest settings -- an irritatingly weak spot on a lot of very expensive reels (my Galvans are excellent in this respect too).

When I had the chance to sit down with the Lamson/Waterworks folks at FFR, I took it. Their reels were intriguing, and more importantly, their design philosophy was impressive. In simple terms, they're not machinists making reels -- they're designers looking to strip fly reels down to a tightly engineered minimalism.

Their reels use far fewer parts than your average fly reel, with even spool counterweights and spool latching mechanisms cleverly eliminated.

It's an approach that appeals to the "simpler is better" part of my brain. It's also an approach that's appealing to the market; Lamson/Waterwork's sales increased by 35% shortly after release.

Their premium reels are interesting, but in addition to liking things simple, I also like them cheap; that's why Lamson's new $119-$149 Konic reel immediately flashed on the Trout Underground's radar.

The Lamson Konic Fly Reel; $129
The Konic; Lamson's $129 reel with the $400 drag. Tommy likes.

The key to the Konic is Lamson's sealed conical drag -- the exact same sealed unit you'll find on their $400 reel. If you believe a fly reel is basically a drag mechanism surrounded by something designed to hold the fly line away from the center spindle, then this reel's appeal far outstrips its somewhat drab finish.

It's die cast and then machined, and I know some of you are already rolling your eyes, but to the "machined or die" partisans, I simply point to the hordes of die-cast Hardy Lightweights still catching fish.

And besides, these guys do die-casting a little differently:


In order to deliver this expensive drag in a low-priced reel we are die casting the frame and spool. But this is no low-end die casting. This is Pressure Casting with molten ALDC12 aluminum alloy injected at 1,080 kgs pressure to ensure consistent, smooth and strong parts with lower porosity.

Like many, I wondered aloud at the durability of the Waterworks reels when they were introduced in the 90s, but their record over time suggests the problem lay more with my perception of what a reel should look like than with the reels themselves.

The drag mechanism itself is impressive; not only is the sealed-for-life mechanism maintenance free, it's also wildly smooth. For those who -- like me -- like to set their drag light, the Konic's drag micro-adjusts from almost no drag to reasonable settings in discrete, tiny steps.

Hot damn.

The finish of the reel won't excite those looking for brook trout themed paint jobs; it's a silvery grey polyurethane finish that's as tough as your average anvil, and generates about the same amount of sex appeal.

Still, Lamson's betting some fly fishers actually buy gear because they want to fish the stuff (never a sure bet in this industry), and I find myself hoping they're right.

How the Konic looks on a bamboo rod is open to interpretation, but those hunting for a more traditional look would probably consider the Radius anyway (the next reel up in the line).

Prior to the show, Alert Underground Contributor and Director of Scrounging Sully
urged me to steal borrow one of Lamson/Waterworks' top-of-the-line reels, and while the opportunity sadly never presented itself, I think their Konic reel's a steal unto itself.

You can read all of Lamson's Konic Reel Marketing Propoganada by clicking here.

For sheer usefulness and price -- and for focusing on the parts of the reel that really matter -- I'm giving Lamson/Waterworks four rollcasts (out of five) for the Konic.

More to come from FFR.

 
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Destinations
El Portal is located 11.5 miles west-southwest of Yosemite Village, at an elevation of 1939 feet. The population was 474 at the 2010 census. Yosemite Valley is a mere 20-minute drive ... morefrom El Portal along a relatively flat road, which makes El Portal convenient while providing less expensive lodging than the Park itself. Visitors looking for even cheaper lodging could drive further to Mariposa. Those looking to save could drive as far as Merced, but that is quite a haul for visiting Yosemite.

The town lies along State Route 140 by the Merced River located on the western edge of Yosemite National Park. Town buildings include a post office, community center, and a small school. There are two hotels, a small general store, and a gas station, but not much else. Its proximity to Yosemiite national park and the Merced river that make it special.

Fishing permits are available at the El Portal Market. Fishing limits Park Boundary to Foresta Bridge, 2-trout limit, min. fish 12 inches, open all year. Foresta Bridge to Bagby, 5-trout limit, open last Sat. in April through Nov. 15.
Fishing Waters:
Fishing Waters
The North Fork and South Fork of the Kern Wild and Scenic River is located within a four-hour drive of more than one-third of the population of southern California. With its range ... moreof elevation, topography and vegetation, it offers a broad spectrum of recreation opportunities for all seasons of the year. Principal outdoor recreation activities include fishing, hiking, camping and whitewater boating.

The North Fork flows through Sequoia National Park and the Sequoia National Forest, past post-pile formations, spiked-granite protrusions and sharp rock ledges. The North Fork Kern River canyon within the Golden Trout Wilderness may be the longest, linear glacially-sculpted valley in the world. It contains regionally unique features referred to as Kernbuts and Kerncols. These rounded to elongated (parallel to the axis of the canyon) granitic knobs (Kernbuts) and the depressions between them (Kerncols) were first identified and named in the Kern Canyon.

The North Fork River corridor also includes regionally uncommon wetland habitat at Kern Lakes and the alkaline seep at the Forks of the Kern. The wetland habitat contains several uncommon aquatic and marsh species; the alkaline seep also supports several uncommon plants. The river's deep pool habitat supports a population of wild trout and also vividly colored hybrid trout.

The South Fork Kern River flows through a diverse landscape, including whitewater, waterfalls, large granite outcrops interspersed with open areas and open meadows with extensive vistas. The segment in the Dome Land Wilderness flows by numerous granitic domes and through a rugged and steep granitic gorge where whitewater rapids are common.

With a gradient of 30 feet per mile, the North Fork Kern is one of the steepest and wildest whitewater rivers in North America. The Forks Run is a nearly continuous series of Class IV and V rapids and waterfalls. The Upper Kern is a popular stretch of river for whitewater boating, camping and fishing. The Lower Kern runs 32 miles from Isabella Dam to the canyon mouth above Bakersfield, California.
Trips
$
275
-
$
615
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 4 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Fishing Waters:
The Merced River originates in the Southeastern corner of Yosemite National Park. Its headwaters begin at 7900 feet at the Clarke Range. It flows over Nevada and Vernal Falls, and ... morelastly, Illilouette Creek before she flows through the main Yosemite Valley. Then the Merced, picks up water from Tenaya, Yosemite, Bridalveil, and Pigeon Creeks near the end of the valley, and meeting up the water from Cascade Creek before the river flows through the Merced River Canyon and then outside the park. Its South and North Forks join it a few miles outside the park.

The Lower Merced is another river that can be drifted, water flow permitting, or walk & waded January through May.
$
300
-
$
400
/ Angler
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Enjoy a day fishing the Truckee River near Sierraville, California. With our extensive experience fishing the Truckee River, we have the vast knowledge needed to help you catch fish ... moreand have fun doing it. We specialize in guided trips for fishermen of all types from first-time anglers, to experts.
$
325
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 8 hours
Fly Fishing the American River in Northern Califronia will leave even the most advanced fly fisherman wanting more. That is why a knowledgable American River Fly Fishing Guide will ... morenot only educate you on the river sytem and its species, but show you the ins and outs, when, where, why, how and with what. Whether you are swinging for steelhead on the Lower American River or dry fly fishing the South Fork American River, you will be pleasantly pleased with the results.

The American River system is where you can start out fishing the Lower American River for shad, striper or steelhead while wet wading on a summer morning, then go eat lunch, get back on the road shoot up hwy 50 and within 45 minutes, have 30 fish on the South Fork American River fishing drys. Fishing the American River is one that can satisfy any fly fishing crave. The Lower American River is known for its shad, striper, steelhead and salmon runs. Shad start to enter the river in late spring, with some entering as early as April, the fishing starts to pick up in late May and early June, with July being the best. Even though the migration has ended the fishing can be great on those late July summer nights. If you have never fought a shad on a fly rod, I highly suggest it, they don’t call it the poor man’s tarpon for nothing. There are two methods used when shad fishing, one is swinging flys specifically tied for shad, the other is drifting flies under an indicator. Either technique is productive when used properly.

As far as stripers go, there are some resident fish in the river system year round, but can be extremely hard to catch due to the lack of numbers. When the weather warms so does the water as well as the Striper migration. The stripers start entering the river in early April and they are in the river system through September. Your best numbers in the lower part of the river is between April and May. June is a little slower due to the amount of shad that are in the river system and the stripers actively feeding on them, but once the shad are gone the fishing really heats up from late July through August, September and sometimes even October depending on the weather and water conditions. The best technique used for stripers is by stripping or swinging clousers with sink tips, full sinks and shoot head lines.

Now for the Steelhead, half pounders can be year round, but are mostly caught from late summer to spring. They can be caught using many techniques, from swinging to nymphing and even throwing drys. The best months to be on the water for half pounders are August through October along with March April and May. Don’t be discouraged by the word half pounder, this was the original run before the Eel and Mad river strain (winter run steelhead) was introduced in the 70's. These guys can put up a real fight for their size and most half pounders are wild fish ranging from 16-22" some even pushing 5 pounds and they are always full of spunk. The winter run doesn’t start showing up until the beginning of October, this is also peak time for the salmon run. The winter run steelhead that are on the American came from the Eel and Mad River systems, that was introduce by DFG to protect the steelhead population after the dams where e rected. These fish can be caught throughout the length of river from mid October all the way through March, sometimes even April. These fish range anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds. As far as fishing techniques goes, these big boys can be caught with the same techniques used on their half brothers, just scaled up a bit. If you want to get into steelhead and don't want to travel severals hours and possibly get a big goose egg, the American River is where its at. Not only is it our back yard, but we have 30+ years fishing this river system and we know where these fish hold throughout the year. Come enjoy some backyard fishing on a great river like the American river.

-Brian-
Outfitters
 (12)
We are a team of friendly and knowledgeable fly fishing guides, with a combined 40 years of fly fishing experience, dedicated to making your adventure on the water with us as enjoyable ... moreand informative as possible. We want you to succeed in all of your fishy endeavors, and we will take the time with you to make sure that you have all the techniques and skills necessary to catch fish wherever you go. Float or Walk and wade with us on one of Northern California's finest rivers and streams and we will accommodate our guiding style to meet your needs and abilities. With our extensive fly fishing knowledge and experience on waters all over Northern California, we will guide you on a fly fishing trip you will not soon forget.

NCFG practices catch and release on all boats. We respect the sport of fishing and wish to give all anglers the opportunity to experience the gratification we strive to give each of our clients.
Type:
Fishing
I just bought one of these because I wanted a seven wt for inshore salt water fishing. About fifteen year ago I bought a comparable Lamson for a nine wt bonefish, bass and pike outfit. That was, and is, a great reel that I have gotten trouble free excellent service from. I trust that this new reel will serve me well for a long time. I recommend Lamson.
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Lamson is one of the brands I'm looking at as part of a 6-wt setup, so I had to check to see if you'd done any reviews. Anyway, they appear to be phasing out the Radius model. If you fancy it, there are closeout deals for roughly the same price as the equivalent Konic. Giddyup! http://www.waterworks-lamson.com/closeouts.html
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Chile: You're clearly disturbed (then again, why else would you end up on the Trout Underground). Seek professional help immediately, but not before sending us a few of those close-to-nuclear peppers from wherever you're staying today. As for the lockups, it's possible those were related to the embedded Quicktime video farther down the page. Because those morons at Apple set the Quicktime's default ... more setting to "play automatically", I finally deleted the player and just included a link to the video. Quicktime (and Apple) can bite me, hard.
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Tom, I'm ashamed of you. Anvils not sexy? Blasphemy! How do you think we ever get more anvils, if the boy anvils don't find the girl anvils sexy (and versa vice). You're just not viewing the world in the right way; that is to say, mine. Next you'll be saying that left-handed statisticians arent sexy. At that point you will have gone from preaching to meddling. Different note: I now have documented ... more proof that the Trout Underground has insanity hard-coded into it. It took me three tries to get in before Firefox found you. The other two tries locked the browser up. Remember Einstein's definition of insanity? "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." (Okay, maybe Einstein's not the right authority to appeal to here. But fly fishermen do something very similar; pick your own authority.) I would have complained about Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, but they're big enough to sue me out of my jockstrap (there's an image for you) if I say bad things about them. So instead I'll blame in on the Troutster; he's pretty much harmless... The Chile Doctor
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[...] Richard Brown wrote an interesting post today!.Here#8217;s a quick excerpt[ED: The first in a short series of reports from the FFR show about goodies that might not get a lot of press, but deserve to.] While I remain a little skeptical of the practical advantages of large arbor reels, I bought one a few #8230; [...]
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