Simon Taylor Reviews the Cobalt

When I got my hands on the newly released Waterworks – Lamson Cobalt 8 fly reel several months in preparation for a trip to CXI, I could tell it was an impressive bit of gear straight out of the box. My first impression of the reel was admiration at the precise machining used to manufacture the reel.

Using a dual axis machining process, the clever guys at Waterworks – Lamson built a reel incorporating variations of both width and thicknesses into the spool; thus, eliminating the need for an external counter balance as used on other fly reels. In addition, the reels frame is notably thicker on the side that bears the most load (strength where needed) and its foot is embedded—rather than perched— on top to more effectively transmit force and distribute weight. All these engineering features combine make the Cobalt an incredibly lightweight, strong and perfectly balanced fly reel.

Clever machining is only the start of what makes the Cobalt such an impressive salt water reel. The Cobalt is finished with MICRALOX, a process which is twice as durable, and 20 times more corrosion resistant than standard type 3 anodizing. Fly reels designed to live in the harsh saltwater environment need all the protection they can get. The MICRALOX finish means your Cobalt will withstand corrosion after years of use and abuse in the salt.

As a guy who spends most of his time chasing trout on fly, I have always appreciated the need of a smooth drag, and a drag that can exert a modest amount of pressure on a fish. The Cobalt is different to my trout reels. The drag on this reel is just insane! Insane in the fact that it could stop a small truck (creating 12+ pounds of line out torque), is super smooth (sounds beautiful too) requires no lubrication and fully waterproof to an amazing 100 feet! The drag features exact adjustments, each click of the drag knob giving half pound variations of pressure.

On my recent trip to CXI I was determined to abuse the Cobalt as much as possible and went out of my way to ‘throw’ the thing in the water at every opportunity to test out the reels ability to stay dry. I have used some good reels before in the salt, but none have ever proved to be ‘fully sealed’, and over time drag pressure became inconsistent or even worse, the bearings of the reel would show signs of rust after prolonged exposure to salt water.

The Cobalt withstood everything I threw at it, no matter how long I left it floating in the warm waters of a CXI bonefish flat, the drag remained as smooth and consistent as the day it came out of the box.

I also went out of my way not to wash my reel at the end of each days fishing (normally a must when fishing the salt), to test the MICRALOX finish of the reel. Along with this, my reel spent time lying on rocks, coral and bashing against other reels hanging in the rod rack of boats and came out looking brand new!

The Cobalt is truly an impressive piece of gear. A fly reel specifically designed and built to withstand the harsh conditions and tame the strong fish chased by saltwater fly enthusiasts. Do yourself a favour and check one out next time you are at your local Fly shop!