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  • Writer's pictureAllen Crater

Gear Review: Waterworks-Lamson Standard Seat Freshwater Fly Rod

Updated: Mar 7

man wearing sunglasses and waders holing a trout in a river


If you fly fish often, you are likely familiar with the Waterworks-Lamson brand for their innovative fly reels - in fact you've likely fished them. The Guru has adorned countless set-ups over the years. What you may not know is that they also make fly rods, applying the same design philosophies that make them great at crafting reels.

The Waterworks-Lamson Design Philosophy:

By nature, fly fishing is a minimalist activity. Defiantly uncluttered. It's about being fully engaged and immersed in the moment— connected to everything around you—without being distracted by gear.

At Waterworks-Lamson, our goal has been to make gear so technically fluid you almost forget it's there. How? By eliminating complexity. Reducing weight. Streamlining design. And using advanced materials and cutting edge processes.

Our work has been to strip gear down to the core dynamics. What remains is only the essential. From that discipline come forms where beauty emerges from what isn't there. That is our method and our paradox: To create products that you can forget about. And in doing so, make them unforgettable.

These graphite rods are rated as Medium/Fast aiming to strike a balance between speed and loop control, fish true to line weight and tip the scales at 3.25 oz. (for comparison purposes the same as the Sage Pulse - which carries a similar price point). They are finished in a unique flash-reducing matte grey color and retail for $399.

Recently I had a chance to test drive this rod in both the five and six-weight models. I paired the five-weight with the simple Liquid reel and Scientific Anglers Amplitude Trout WF 5F floating line for dries and nymphs. The six-weight got matched with the Remix reel and Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan INT S3 S5 sinking line for streamers. I tested them out on small spring creeks, larger rivers, alpine lakes and my son even landed a brown mousing with the five weight. Here are my thoughts.

Close up of two fly rods and reels in the back of a truck

What I like: First, these rods aren't fussy. What do I mean by that? They are fun to cast, not heavy but not overly delicate either, and they perform just like you would expect them to - true to line weight, smooth, pretty darn accurate and not overly "fast" but with plenty of power for what I used them for. They are four-piece rods that feel more seamless like a one-piece. Beyond that, the matte grey finish kind of says it all: while beautiful in their own way, these rods aren't show horses they are work horses. The half weIls handle has nice cork and is comfortable in the hand. The reel seat is a simple gray anodized double uplocking, solid aluminum with sliding band. In short, the rods completely matched the design philosophy in that you really didn't have to think about them - they just worked.

The five-weight handled everything from small dries and nymphs to larger mouse and terrestrial patterns and the six-weight managed streamers from very small up to medium size/weight easily. While it didn't handle some of the larger streamer patterns as well (think large and articulated like a Sex Dungeon), those are a load on any six-weight.

The price point is interesting, hitting a middle-of-the-road range along with the upper end of products from brands like Redington (Crux $399) and TFO (Axiom II $339) and some of the mid range products from brands like Douglas (DXF $395) Orvis (Recon $498), Sage (Pulse $450) and Scott (Flex $475).

Man fly fishing in a mountain stream

What I don’t like: To be honest, I really liked these rods and, to some extent, if they would have had Sage or Scott or Orvis written on the side I wouldn't have been surprised by it. Somehow I had a hard time getting past the idea that these were rods made by what I perceived as a reel company.

That being said, there were a few things that I noticed.

First the rods do have a slightly "heavy" in hand and casting feel to them. I didn't really mind it, but to folks more accustomed to super light rods it might be noticeable.

Second, because the rod loads deep into the bottom/butt section with a stiffer tip it does handle better with a slower casting action and may cause a little difficulty for folks used to a faster action or that do a lot of false casting. It also presented some accuracy issues with in-close shots and more delicate presentations.

Last, the tip top is quite small which did create some annoyances with line feed on occasion.

Perfect for: For me, the Standard Seat Freshwater series is a no-nonsense, good value rod providing a lot of features, a nice feel and a unique look in the mid-range price point. These rods would serve well for beginners through advanced anglers and won't break the bank.

Stars: 4 out of 5

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