So I have a background in design, and whilst at university we were always taught about form vs function and the rare occasion where manufacturers actually marry these two facets, which is something so many get wrong, especially in the field of fly fishing. But one company has got it right time and time again, Waterworks Lamson. Well known in angling circles for producing some of the sexiest damn reels on the market with outstanding drag systems, Lamson do one thing well, well, actually two things…they just work…and they are simply beautiful to look at.
You can ask me about the various other models in their range but I’d be lying if I told you I knew much about any of them other than one particular model. I’m a simple kinda guy who appreciates tackle that works and will never let me down. Over the years I keep coming back to the ONE model in the Lamson lineup time and time again, the Lamson Guru. Having owned all THREE generations of the Guru from its inception, I can tell you they are simply superb, the arbour is perfect in size, not silly big which can unbalance today’s ultra-lite modern graphite sticks and the line capacity in the #2 model (which I use and suits lines 5-6_ allows for a full WF6F fly line and around 80m of 20lb backing, more than enough. (so says the man who had an Otamangakau Rainbow take the whole 110m to the knot once, but that’s another story).
The Guru is the first in Lamson range to feature a fully machined frame and spool, not cast alloy, not that there is anything wrong with cast reels, they are fantastic, and service an important price-point, albeit they just require a bit more looking after in the hard-knocks department, not a risk I’m prepared to take in Wellington’s tumultuous back country environs. From the days of the first generation Guru, I have dropped them from a height, slammed them into crevices, jammed them with sand and gravel and used in both sub zero and plus 40 temps and never had one issue at all, nada… zip… nothing! Cementing their minimalistic stature as the absolute workhorse of the fly reel world.
The first generation Guru did the hard yards filming in Wellington’s back country for Nick Reygaert’s “Back Country North Island” series and a subsequent two seasons thereafter, only to be replaced by a treasured gift of a brand-spanking Generation 2 Guru from good friend Mike Kirkpatrick – South Island guide extraordinaire and himself a lover of Lamsons – but Mike is a high-roller and favours the top of the line Waterworks Force. I still use the generation 2 Guru to this day. This one is special as it has the limited edition orange drag knob and accents, and we all know these catch more fish! But seriously, I LOVE colour accents like this on a fly reel, it really makes images of fish and reel simply pop in both video and photo.
I’ve recently got my hands on the newly released S version for 2020, the new versions doing away with the traditional sizing of #1, #2, #3 etc and going 5+, 7+ etc. Now if you’re familiar with the Lamson Speedster (oh that thing is sexy!) it draws a lot of inspiration from that reel in the frame and spool design, and again, that oh-so-beautiful orange knob! It’s a work of art and would not look out of place in an upmarket Auckland design store. But what’s the consensus? Superb. Lamson have long prided themselves on their reliable and ultra-smooth drag systems used throughout their range of freshwater reels, from bottom to the top, and this latest version is no different and housed in an even lighter package. I can honestly say of the three generations of Guru’s I have owned, I have NEVER even looked at the drag system let alone serviced it and this is through thousands of trout making these beasts sing, testament to the reliable design, what’s that saying? If it ain’t broke, it’s not worth fixing. Then there is the neoprene reel pouch, redesigned for 2020, and like the reel it houses, fantastic in quality and look.
The latest Guru S will come in either the very cool Blaze or stealthy Olive colourways, so if you’re a fly fisherman like me, who on occasion likes to stop and smell the flowers (also known as admire your tackle which actually sounds pretty dodgy) and how perfect said combination is in form and function, it really is hard to go past what has become the ultimate workhorse from the Lamson stable in recent times.
Become a Guru, you won’t be disappointed.