Since the beginning of Demystifly, I have reviewed several Douglas Outdoors rods including DXF and Upstream 5-weights along with 7 and 9-weights from their flagship SKY series. I've had great experiences with their products so far, as everything I've fished and handled at shows was put together very well and had the performance to back up all the hype. As good as those rods were, I was really interested in fishing with their new LRS series that was introduced in late 2018. Priced much lower than the previous Douglas rods I've reviewed, I just had to find out how this lower-cost option would fish. Let's get to it with the 7-weight LRS!
Line Weight: 7
Measured Weight: Approximately 3.87 ounces
Stripping Guide: Stainless frame with no-name ceramic inserts
Snake Guides: Chrome
Reel Seat: Aluminum/Carbon insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Divided tube only
Douglas kept it very straightforward with the design of the LRS (which stands for Lake River Sea), but the looks are simply beautiful. My tester showed off a glossy deep-blue blank that popped brilliantly when exposed to bright sunshine. The ferrule joints were absent of alignment dots, while there was a hint of blue trim around the logo area and both stripping guides. The guides used are stainless-framed with a nickel finish, while the remaining snake guides are shiny chrome. Most of the guides seemed fine except that I'd definitely like to see the tip-top guide enlarged.
The cork of my LRS was of decent quality and had a thin sliver of composite cork at each end. For a reel seat, Douglas uses one that has nickel-colored aluminum hardware with a nice dark carbon spacer. The reel seat rings spun smoothly and secured the reel well, but there were no gaskets in between the rings which is always a good bonus. A nice fighting butt finished the rod off down below.
Fit and finish of the LRS 7-weight was excellent. All guides were straight, there were no stray epoxy blobs, and ferrule joints fit snugly.
The largemouth were snappin' when this rod arrived, so I brought it out to a local lake for a few testing sessions. I snugged a 3-TAND TF70 fly reel onto the reel seat and spooled it with a couple of my favorite lines: a Cortland 333 WF8F (210 grains @ 30 feet) and Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Smooth WF7F (200 grains @ 30 feet). The Cortland is traditionally-weighted and the S.A. line is overweighted slightly, so they both came very close to each other as far as grain weight goes.
No need to up-line here—casting performance was admirable with the WF7F Amplitude line. I had nice feel throwing at very close targets, while typical mid-range casting was a total cinch. The LRS also threw long surprisingly well and can throw some solid tight loops. I casted the entire 90-foot line easier than expected, with the only reason I couldn't go farther being that I ran out of open space. This rod also doesn't require any special timing nor does it require arms like popeye. Big flies, small flies, in close, or out far—it's capable, versatile, and user-friendly to fish.
Weight-wise, the LRS wasn't shocking to me either way—it didn't feel heavy, nor did it feel lightweight, but rather just somewhere in the middle. I think most anglers will find it's totally acceptable and doesn't steal any of the fun away from the rod at all....but with that said, of course lighter is always better, right?!
Douglas Outdoors did a solid job with this LRS. It's always nice to have more affordably-priced options when it comes to fly rods, but when one of those options fishes above my expectations....? Well, that just makes it even sweeter. If the high-dollar sticks aren't a possibility for you, do yourself a favor and make sure you go look at the LRS series.
Douglas LRS Fly Rods