No stranger to the fly reel game, Waterworks-Lamson has done a terrific job over the years at making itself a household name in the fly fishing world. Their newest offerings, geared generally towards the entry-level angler, have totally reset the bar for what is possible with fully sealed, disc-drag, sub-$200 fly reels.
We'll start with with the Liquid. Starting at just $99 for their 1.5 and 2 models (3-5wt), Lamson has done a great job at pushing the barriers of what is possible with a die cast reel. For many reels out there, "Die Cast" might as well say "imported from X country", where issues of quality control, durability, performance, etc can immediately come to mind. Lamson has done a great job addressing this, while still demanding they provide customers with the quality of reel synonymous with owning a Lamson. The only part of this reel that they import is the actual frame and spool. The fully sealed, conical drag system and all applicable hardware is manufactured right here in the USA and every reel is hand assembled at their headquarters in Boise, Id. What this means, is that the same folks assembling their $500 reels are also assembling the Liquid. Quality control was of upmost priority to these reels.
The next "step up" in the Lamson lineup is the Remix. Starting at $159 for the 1.5 and 2, the standout feature of this reel is the "Hybrid" design....and while unfortunately this doesn't mean you'll get better gas mileage to the river, it does mean you'll get a more durable real for just slightly more coin. The Remix has a fully machined frame, CNC'd from 6061 bar stock aluminum, made right here in the US. The Remix uses the same cast spool found in the Liquid....hence the "hybrid" description, part machined, part cast. Just like the Liquid, the Remix uses the same fully sealed, conical drag system found on every Lamson reel, and is assembled in Boise, Idaho.
Both the Liquid and Remix comes in sizes 1.5-4, which will cover all your bases from brook trout to permit and baby tarpon.
Now on to the cool part....the Color Sleeve. Serving no other purpose aside from pure cosmetics, the color sleeve is available in 3 colors: Salsa Green, Burnt Orange and Coral Blue. These interchangable sleeves are compatible with every Lamson reel on the market and are available for individual sale for $9.95. Now, when I said "no purpose other than cosmetics" that needs to be clarified to mean from a performance standpoint. I do think these will be helpful to the angler looking to add a little green flash to a reel mounted on a Winston rod, or perhaps the blue sleeve on a reel affixed to a Helios 2....you get the idea. Finally, I know that I personally will be buying these in two different colors for my 4 and 5 weight reels. I fish identical Lamson reels on my 4 and 5, with identical colored fly lines on both. Needless to say, when everything is packed away, it can be a little difficult to figure out which reel goes with which rod. Once I know my 4 wt reel is green and my 5 wt reel is blue, life is sure to get immeasurably less stressful. (insert sarcasm here.....but seriously I'm looking forward to getting my hands on these)