Gear Review: Waterworks-Lamson Vanquish 4.5

May 12, 2011

Author: Tucker Ladd


Out of the box I will say that the Vanquish is one of the hottest reels I have ever seen.  I have never been one for the tricked out machined reel, but there is just something about the Vanquish that still catches my eye.

What We Say:

When I first heard about he Vanquish Fly Reel, I will be the first to say that I was a bit hesitant.  I mean, how can you justify spending this much money on a fly reel?  I have always been a proponent that when it comes to trout fishing, the fly reel is one place where you can save some money and go with something in the upper $100's to low $300's.  And for good reason, as I never saw much value in say an Abel reel.  I mean, sure it looks pretty, but it doesn't function any better than any $250 reel on the market today.

Out of the box I will say that the Vanquish is one of the hottest reels I have ever seen.  I have never been one for the tricked out machined reel, but there is just something about the Vanquish that still catches my eye.  You'll also quickly notice that there is some very unique machining on this reel.  From the concaved spool, to the built in reel foot, it is readily apparent that a lot of thought and engineering went into it. 

Now, after about a dozen days on the water, I can say with 100% honesty that this reel rocks!  The built in reel foot keeps the reel close to the fly rod, and really provides a clean transition in you cast.  And the beefed up conical drag system creates the smoothest turning reel I have ever used.  The enhanced drag also does an amazing job of keeping dirt and grit out of the drag, and ensuring that you get flawless rotations of the spool.  All in all, if you're looking for a unique reel that will work flawlessly for as long as you have it, look no further than the Vanquish Fly Reel.

Last Minute Thoughts:

Looks pretty good on a Winston BIIIX 490-4!

What They Say:

As the name implies, we created the Vanquish reel with just one thing in mind – total victory. And as the “form follows function” zealots we are, it all starts with the world’s smoothest, and now much larger and more powerful drag system. Delivering twice the torque of our previous salt water design, the Waterworks conical drag generates no stick-slip even at the line-snapping rates required by blue water anglers.

To support this kind of torque, a new, much stiffer frame was created — one that transmits extreme loads with a simple, efficient and graceful structure.

Vanquish 12 and 10 reels are available in a “closed face” version for those anglers who prefer only small porting on a rotating spool.

Other innovative Vanquish features include:

  • An integrated foot/frame is stronger than traditional fastened-on foot
  • Flush foot raises the center of mass, improving casting ease and accuracy
  • machined-from-solid, modular stainless stripping arm on V12 and V10
  • our proprietary “Hard Alox” finish
  • large, ergonomic, self lubricating no-slip handle
  • tandem roller clutch transmits higher torque and provides redundancy
  • Fully sealed, zero maintenance drag components
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