By Scott Wood

I hate to maintain equipment. I’d much rather use it. Perhaps it’s a rebellion against my father, a meticulous engineer with a depression-era mentality. When I was a child he and I spent far more time maintaining equipment than we did using it. I watched many a beautiful Saturday afternoon slip away from under a ’76 Oldsmobile. The outboard that ran great most of the time but occasionally sputtered had to be fixed before it could be put on the river. When the bail spring broke on a spinning reel it had to be taken apart, a spring ordered or fabricated and the reel repaired. No manual bail flipping in my family. The amount of lost fishing time weighed heavily upon my young mind.
A couple decades later, in 2001, freed from working on Oldsmobiles, I was salt water fly fishing every chance I got. I bought a couple of expensive cork drag reels and was surprised to discover that when I took spray over the bow of my boat, splashing the reels, the drag became quite sticky, requiring me to disassemble the reels, rinse them with fresh water and oil them to restore that super slick drag I had paid so much for. About that time Ryan Harrison with Waterworks/Lamson offered me a Velocity to try. He explained that he had designed a sealed, conical drag that was zero maintenance. O.K, I thought, we will see about this “zero maintenance.”

lamson reel
Lamson Konic Reel

It quickly became my favorite reel, but I still wanted to put it to a true torture test. So I never put a case on it, and I never so much as rinsed it off. The only time it saw fresh water was when it rained. If it got sand in it, I rinsed it in the ocean. As months turned to years it became covered in salt crust and yet the drag was as smooth as ever. Then one day in 2009 I went to pull line off of it and it was locked up. I thought I had finally managed to abuse this thing to death. I was wrong. I popped the spool off for the first time in 8 years and saw that the drag cartridge had unscrewed slightly from the reel, letting water in. It was badly corroded but eventually I was able to get it apart. I soaked it in gasoline, cleaned it up, oiled it, dried it and put it back together. It’s as good as new today. If only Lamson built cars and outboards. But then guys like my father would go mad with boredom. Oh and the Oldsmobile? It was with mixed emotions that I received the news that Dad had sold it around the time I got that Velocity in 2001. I had driven it just the week before. For some strange reason, I wanted to see how fast it would accelerate from a stop. The 25-year-old engine spun both wheels in 1st and 2nd.