Lamson Litespeed 4 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Lamson Litespeed 4

02-26-2005, 03:12 PM
Hi all-

I just got this Lamson Litespeed 4 on Ebay as a reel for my 10 weight setup. I'm heading to Moorea and the Tuamotus in the fall. The reel appeared to be such a good deal that I failed to give it too much before bidding. So now my question is: Will this reel hold up in the salt with a good bashing from some flats and reef fish? I got it for $250 with 300 yds. of 30# gel spun and the regular price is $375. So I feel pretty good about the deal.

Also, on my trip I'll have an 8 weight for bonefish and other smaller critters and the 10 weight for cudas and hopefully Giant Trevally. I'll be walking the flats and trying to pitch flies into some fo the deeper channels along the reefs. Should I plan on using a sinking line on the 10 wieght or a floating line. I'll bring both but I 'm wondering what would be most helpful to have rigged up when I'm crusing around.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

02-26-2005, 04:10 PM
Sounds like an impulse purchase. If you askme you should have gone to your local fly shop instead.

02-26-2005, 04:11 PM

I use the Velocity and friends use LiteSpeed. They have the same drag system. We use 'em all season in fresh and the estuary (not "quite" as salty as you). Absolutely no problems.

A few years ago, there was a Lamson model out there that had drap problems, but it was NOT these models. When I checked the Lamson site, I don't think that particular model is currently offered.

Just a note as this (rectified) drag problem turned some people OFF of Lamson reels for a while, ... Definitely NOT a problem on the reel you found.

02-28-2005, 06:18 AM

You have no worries with the Litespeed in the salt. Just the usual post trip maintenance will look after it. I have been using one for about a year now and it still look like new. Not used it on Bones but kow someone who has caught a lot of bones on his litespeed and it has worked out just fine.

Good buy.


02-28-2005, 07:50 AM
I love the performance / price and lightweight of the V4 and used them as spare reels as a SWFF guide (Cape Cod / Monomoy). I found the o-ring based 'sealed' drag to be problematic and corrosion set in within a single season despite religious fresh water rinsing after use.

Their service is excellent and they will take care of you in the event this occurs, which in my case was for both reels. I no longer use them in the salt at all but reserve them for light spey reels on 5/6 and 6/7 rods.

I have to add that I need to swap spools frequently to give the right lines to my clients in the right situations. WW suspects that moisture, even salt vapor, can get 'locked in' to the chamber and since we are instructed not to touch the inner workings corrosion sets in quickly after a hot swap on a foggy beach.

Based on the degree of corrosion, I suspect there is a better choice of material (stainless alloy, etc) than what is used as these were rusted solid inside.

I have Lamson LPs (machined) that I bought decades ago. They lose a little drag when submerged but overall are great battle-axe reels for the money, now discontinued. They had a clutch problem as well for a while, but WW provides spares cheap and they fit all models.

Bottom line: I would not recommend this as a serious saltwater reel.

02-28-2005, 03:05 PM
Thanks for all the information. It looks like I didn't get the higest quality product. But I'm sure it will work for the amount of salt water fishing I do. Maybe I'll put it on one of my spey rods to keep it in fresh water and figure something else out for my trip.

I appretiate all the advice and input.


02-28-2005, 03:51 PM
On the Lammy:

The performance of the reel is great as long as you don't remove the spool. On my older reels I used to swap spools a lot and they became corroded.

When I got the replacements I made sure never to remove the spools. I just lightly rinse the whole reel in freshwater after fishing. Many bass, blues, albies and bonefish later they run fine.

I actually looked at the innards a couple of weeks ago and they still look new.

Moral of the story - never remove the spool! :hihi:

02-28-2005, 08:04 PM
I used my Litespeed LS4 most of last year from my SOT Kayak. The reel would constantly be sitting in or being sprayed in saltwater. The drag worked real smooth no problems. I also used it many times a a crashing ocean surf and the drag worked great. Also in both situations it was very easy for me to change spools whenever needed. My guess is anyone that had a hard time changing spools probably had some salt/sand particles on the shaft the goes inside the O-Ring. Instructions that came with my reel clearly says "if you change spools a lot apply grease to the O-Ring". I do this once every 2 months and never had a problem changing spools.

03-02-2005, 02:36 PM
I second Juro and Big Dave's comments on Lamson. Don't ever remove the spool in a saltwater environment!! Salt air will corrode this drag system because it becomes trapped in the sealed casing.

Search under Lamson in previous threads and you'll find a lot of discussions on this topic from last year. I bought the reel, switched spools (very carefully), had no problems initially. I had to send the reel back for a separate problem (my fault) and when I read the work order they had replaced the entire drag system due to heavy corrosion. I didn't know there was any problem with the drag because the whole system is enclosed. The problem is, if you read some of the previous posts, when this drag goes the reel seizes and becomes completely inoperable.

Don't mean to rain on your parade Tyler. Don't want to see this happen to anyone on a trip. I still love the reel. It has the smoothest drag I've ever seen :smokin: , just don't ever let any salt get into the drag.

One more thing. Lamson also told me not to let any fresh water get into the casing due to rusting problems with the drag.


03-02-2005, 04:03 PM
Used my four Lamsons (Velocities) in fresh and occasionally the salt. No problems to report but then I don't swap spools on the water.

I really didn't like the drag on the LPs and I lost what would've then been my biggest steelhead when the LP drag when into pulsing mode of stick 'n' release. Alternated between grabbing and overspooling. Very ugly.

03-02-2005, 08:10 PM
You results may vary, but I have reached the following conclusion for my own SW reel buying practices:

When there is such thing as a truly sealed drag, buy it. Until that time - buy a drag that is serviceable and doesn't pretend to be sealed.

That being said, the Loop Evotec and Sage reels have earned high marks from hardcore anglers as most reliable 'sealed' drags over the years. Others are looking good but haven't been out long enough to earn the multi-year kudos.

There are a lot of unsealed drag reels on the market, many of which have proven themselves for many years. Cork, cork/teflon, etc. They might not be maintenance free but they are reliable.

Peter, the LP drags are not perfect. But the reels last forever and the drag is 'bearable' if not submerged and you have a quick palm. It's not a great reel but it's been a good one for a lot of people over the years. The housing is excellent. Which model do you have, and do you want to sell it?

03-02-2005, 08:16 PM

I liked the reel in general and was a big LP fan, owning two 1s, a 1.5, a couple of 2s, one 3, and two 3.5s. But after I had a few "drag" events over time, I sold the lot. Sorry, none left.

03-02-2005, 08:24 PM
I still hope to modify the existing caliper system to make the LP the workhorse drag it deserves. Somewhere is a sketch I made of the replacement caliper in the archives...

03-03-2005, 05:27 AM
Some sobering experiences here with the litespeed. As I use mine for my shooting heads I have not had the need to remove the spool.

Caution and care required; me thinks.

clouser UK
03-03-2005, 11:13 AM
And there's me with a nearly new Litespeed 3.5,
not long bought from Pete V :frown:

Still , so far i like the reel :)

Dave :wink:

03-03-2005, 03:53 PM

I believe my friends were having trouble with LP's a well. Funny, even after having a few problems, they stayed with Lamson and got Velocities or Litespeeds.

03-08-2005, 07:12 PM
I've had a Lightspeed as my personal reel for over 3 years now and use it day in and day out in the salt (bonefish guide). Only once have I had a problem with the drag - after I had to dunk my rod/reel under an anchor rope after a big bone got creative.

The problem is that the housing of the rocking-roller clutch is not made of stainless steel and therefore corrodes easily when introduced to a salt environment. After this first happened I merely cleaned the rust off the clutch housing (the bearings themselves don't seem to be succeptable to corrosion) and gave it a light coat of machine oil before replacing it. I've never had any trouble with it since and in all other respects the reel looks almost brand new.

The only maintainance I do is give the clutch a good cleaning and another light coat of oil every few months... and this reels sees a LOT of use.

I should mention that the instructions that come with the reel say NOT to add any lubrication to any part of the drag system, but that was the only way I could figure to stop further corrosion. So far (after 3 years) I've not had any problem with the drag slipping and it continues to be the absolute smoothest drag I've ever found on a reel.

I have not fished another reel that is as lightweight, as smooth, or has a faster retrieve than the Lightspeed - the ergonomic placement of the handle allows for optimum retrieve speed with little hand fatigue. (Not to mention that none have a more reasonable price tag.) Even if there are models out there that boast even less maintainance, none of them are as well suited to bonefishing, in my opinion. Don't beat yourself up unnecessarily - I think it's a great purchase for that price.

Just to be fair though, I think I should mention that I do not use Lamson reels for my clients, but instead fish a couple Harris Solitude reels. I find them a solid reel with well sealed drag, great backing cap and need practically no maintainance. However, they are small, heavy, and could use some tweaking in the design. (The round drag knob is difficult to manipulate with wet hands and the handle is poorly designed and placed. The first time a big bone pulls off a hundred yards of backing you notice that for sure.) Of course, they are practically bullet proof so that makes up for a lot.

Understand this is all coming from someone who is on the water almost daily during the season and is very particular about tackle. Most reels are fine for casual use and I'm sure not too many of my clients would voice the same knit-picking complaints (mostly because they're too busy listening to the sound of a screaming reel as a bonefish tears off a flat for deep water).

Tight lines.

PS. I LOVE the sound of the clicker on the Lightspeed.

03-08-2005, 08:55 PM
I just got my new Litespeed a few days ago. It looks beautiful, has a satisfying sound when retrieved, and seems light enough. Thanks to all for sharing personal experiences and opinions. I'm going to throw this baby on my spey rod and go play around with it!

I can't wait!