Although Waterworks-Lamson is mainly known for their fly reels, they've recently made a solid push into the fly rod realm. Back in 2019, I had the opportunity to test one of their new saltwater-friendly rods, the Standard Seat (SS) 7 weight. That review proved to be quite positive, as the SS impressed with its handsome looks and composed performance. Despite that rod getting a thumbs up from me, the reel seat didn't really stand out in any way. However, the new Cobalt fly rods offer a serious upgrade!
Line Weight: 7
Measured Weight: Approx 4.41 ounces
Stripping Guides: Titanium Frames/Silicon-Carbide Inserts
Snake Guides: Black-Chrome Snake Guides
Reel Seat: Anodized-Aluminum Lockdown Seat
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
As a whole, most of the rod remains unchanged, including the grip. Like the last rod I tested, the grip has nice quality cork and features a composite upper end, right where your thumb goes while casting.
Now on to the big story: the reel seat. Unlike a traditional design that sports a round barrel, the new Lockdown reel seat features rails to hold the reel foot securely in place. Not only is any side-to-side wiggle eliminated, but it also keeps the seat rings from getting jostled loose.
At the top of the seat is a laser etching of the line weight for easy identification. The dual up-locking rings spin smoothly and now have gaskets in between, which is a welcome addition. There's no problem tightening these rings with wet or slick hands; the outer texturing is quite aggressive—perhaps a little too much—and provides plenty of grip.
There are two titanium-framed stripping guides with sic inserts, large snake guides, and a large tip-top guide to round out the complete set.
Thanks to the distinct overall color, Cobalt rods are easily identified from afar. The blanks are finished in flat sky grey with a UV stabilization coating and contrast beautifully with the dark guides, grey wraps, and blue trim. If I saw this rod on a rack for the first time, I'd have to pick it up just based on looks alone!
I can't complain when it comes to build quality. The epoxy looks a touch heavy in a few spots, but the craftsmanship is otherwise clean and nicely done.
The line I've been fishing on this rod is the Airflo Superflo Ridge 2.0 Flats Tactical Taper. With a head length of 51 feet and a 30-foot weight of 198 grains, this line can be classified as a "7.5 weight" as it sits between AFFTA's 7 and 8-weight line ratings.
On the Waterworks-Lamson site, I noticed they rate these rods as "ultra-fast." When I hear that, it makes me think of rods like Sage's TCR, TCX, METHOD, and IGNITER, or the little-known Powell EDGE. I guess when you compare the Cobalt to many trout rods, it can feel really fast to some folks, but it comes off as a standard fast action in my hands. That is definitely not a bad thing, as that's my preferred all-around rod action.
I really enjoy casting the Cobalt at all distances. At close range, the Airflo line loads the rod enough to offer decent feedback and accuracy. Of course, as with many fast rods, a heavier line would improve performance at very close quarters. However, this blank really starts to wake up when you start pushing the casts out to that modest 30–50 foot range. Here, the blank is smooth, loads well, and makes accurate casting easy. The Cobalt doesn't have that ultra-precise feel of a rod costing twice as much, but it's very pleasant to throw.
While this rod is quite satisfying in that mid-range zone, it still has some grunt on reserve. In fact, the Cobalt is able to shoot my entire 100-foot line without extreme difficulty. Although I basically never have to cast that far in the types of fishing I do, it's always good to know a rod can easily toss a long bomb if needed.
The combination of a standard cork and composite cork grip continues to get praise from me. The handle's dimensions are indeed excellent, but the composite cork also adds a unique feel and extra comfort and durability. In my experience, regular cork grips can pit anywhere, especially in the upper half. Whether that happens because of constant thumb pressure while casting or from just contacting other objects, the composite cork protects against those unsightly (and uncomfortable) cork chips.
At about 4.41 ounces on my scale, the Cobalt is just a touch heavier than the 4.35-ounce SS 7-weight I reviewed last time. Like that stick, the casting swing weight feels about average—not exceptionally lightweight, but not heavy. In a nutshell, the rod won't tire you out.
Even with the upgraded Lockdown reel seat, my Cobalt 7 weight comes in at the same price as my previous SS 7 weight: $399.99. For a rod that performs so well and delivers such a slick look, I'd say that represents a pretty admirable buy these days. The Cobalt series includes models from 6–12 weight, with prices ranging from $399.99𠄴–$449.99. Each rod comes with a canvas-covered tube and black rod sock.
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