I own 5 Lamson reels and use them for meat and potatoes reels. They are great utility reels and the unconditional lifetime warranty was the first in the market for machined bar stock and the price is right. If you own own you know how smooth the drag is. On a related topic I am looking for an heirloom reel, and the Lamson is not that - but to say it's not adequate for a species is a gross generalization in my opinion. I've landed albies, bonito, bass up to 38", blues up to 17 pounds, steelhead up to 22 pounds, chinook up to 35 pounds, coho up to 17 pounds, chum salmon up to 20 pounds, cuda, bonefish, ladyfish, smallmouth bass, and other species without a hitch using Lamson reels from LP3.5 to LP4's and the SPEY model.
To answer your question, The big bass we get in this part of the country put the albies we get around here to shame in terms of fight. If you're headed down to the Carolinas for some 20 pounders, different story. But around here the real test of drag is a huge hot cow in a rip, a slammer blue - not the little speedsters. They tend to test your ability to set-up, cast, and strip excess line more than burn up drags despite their wonderful screaming runs. The big riptide bass make the rod and reel feel like they are going to explode. The blues run so far and hard you long to see the flyline someday. Sure, our tunoids are great fun and run like torpedoes but the Lamson is plenty of reel around here. If anything it's a discussion of reel SIZE more thsan design. Is anything in a "3" adequate?
If you are going down south to chase their bigger cousins regularly, I would consider upgrading to natural cork, larger area delrin / teflon or other low heat drag - or upgrade to the NEW Lamson lightspeed (LS) ultralarge arbor with the super-fast retrieve, conical sealed delrin drag. It can DEFINITELY handle albies and will give you a great retrieve rate as well.
Islander, Pate, Abel, there are many what I call 'heirloom' reels to choose from for drags that are flawless. If it were me, I'd be down there with my ol' Lamson LP4 battling the big tunoids at least the first time around. Benefit of the doubt, as they say. BUt the LP3 might be a touch small.
a) like many drags, when the drag mechanism gets thoroughly soaked it's grab is reduced slightly 10-20% - but not enough to backlash. The LP drag dries out quickly, or you can advance the drag a click while you wait.
b) smaller reels have a faster rotation speed when under load, making the drag work harder and the cranking harder. Large arbor makes the drag smoother and the cranking easier. It's not as easy to level line on the spool if the spool is too wide, so diameter is as important as width. The LP3 is a large trout / small steelhead / schoolie reel for the most part, but an LP4 or LP5 would be plenty of reel for tunoids.
Where are when are you going after albies?