Waterworks-Lamson has historically been known best for their popular fly reels, but did you know they now offer fly rods as well? To me, their most innovative and downright polarizing offerings undoubtedly come in the form of the Center-Axis rod/reel setups. Now, what if you like the looks of these rods but aren't necessarily keen to the whole integrated reel thing? The Center-Axis is personally not my cup of tea, but I was glad to see that Waterworks-Lamson also has a lineup of "Standard Seat" fly rods for someone just looking for a straightforward stick with the same cosmetics. After the release of these rods in 2018, I wasted little time in grabbing a 7-weight Standard Seat Saltwater model for review!
Line Weight: 7
Measured Weight: Approx 4.35 ounces
Stripping Guide: Titanium frame/ceramic insert
Snake Guides: Black Chrome Snake Guides
Reel Seat: Anodized Aluminum
Rod Tube/Sock: Divided tube only
Starting at the handle, there's some good quality cork here and a composite cork upper section was integrated in for added looks along with extra grip and durability. The gunmetal anodized-aluminum reel seat has double up-locking rings (no gaskets in between, though) that function smoothly and hold the reel tight. Lastly, there's a fighting butt with a rounded composite cork end that provides satisfying cushion against your gut when fighting fish.
My rod has two titanium-framed stripping guides along with snake guides the rest of the way to the tip. All guides are sized well and are done in a dark finish which accents awesomely against the grey and blue shades of the blank.
Finished in a sky grey color, the blanks really catch your attention and look totally different from most rods on fly shop racks. I personally love the look! Aside from the glossy logo area and grey wraps, the rest of the rod's color is non-glare matte. There's also some cobalt blue trim that's used sparingly around the logo and at the ferrules to provide the perfect amount of accenting. Black alignment dots can also be found at the ferrules.
Both the blank itself as well as the guides were nice and straight and the ferrules fit tightly with no play or slop. The only thing I noted craftsmanship-wise was the epoxy work which looked a little heavy on some of the wraps.
While the 4,5 and 6-weight freshwater rods are built with a medium-fast action, the 6–11 weight saltwater rods boast a fast action.
I fished the rod with two floating lines which included the WF7F Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity and WF7F Cortland Liquid Crystal Guide, both of which run slightly heavy (200 grains @ 30 feet).
While fishing the beach for snook, short shots are the norm and I felt the rod did just fine accurately putting the fly in close where I needed it. When casting more line out of the guides as in most fishing situations, the rod makes quick work of those common 30–50 foot presentations with tight loops and high line speeds. During a couple of bass adventures, I felt the rod had plenty of grunt in this range to deliver larger flies and a hard-bodied popper without breaking too big of a sweat. If the long game is important to you, shooting the whole line out of the guides didn't require a crazy amount of effort for me. It's a smooth, enjoyable rod to use at really any distance.
This rod is definitely "fast" as advertised and can handle what you throw at it. Although the static weight of the rod is on the heavier side at about 4.35 ounces, it doesn't come off as feeling that heavy while casting, but rather somewhere in what I'd call the "acceptable" range. Overall, casting the rod is enjoyable and I look forward to fishing it a whole bunch more.
The handle design and thickness is excellent in my hand and I really like the grippier feel of that composite cork upper portion. Additionally, this section should provide increased durability. Often, the top portions of fly rod grips are the first to wear due to thumb/finger pressure from casting, fighting fish, or simply coming in contact with things. This composite cork helps prevent that, and I also like how it breaks up the grip and offers a more interesting look.
Even the local beach walkers were impressed......
This 7-weight has worked great for both bass and snook and I could feel some good fish-fighting power on tap even though I have yet to pull on any truly big fish. Waterworks-Lamson designed the blank with a solid lower section, so it should be pretty robust for even more demanding situations than what I've shown it thus far.
This rod offers admirable all-around performance and the cosmetics provide some extra intrigue which is NEVER a bad thing. At a price of $399.99 for this model, it's at a modest price point in the fly rod world and in my mind is very fair for what you get here. I give Waterworks-Lamson props on designing a legit 7-weight that I look forward to fishing with (and showing off) a bunch more in the future. All rods include a rod case with internal dividers, so no rod sock is included.
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