Waterworks Lamson Cobalt

Waterworks Lamson Cobalt

Amid the current profusion of fly reels on the market, it's hard to imagine much new being brought to the table. But Waterworks-Lamson builds a number of noteworthy innovations into the saltwater Cobalt (5/6 to 11/12). Even looking at the Cobalt, you sense something slightly unusualthe spool and frame ports are asymmetrical, some larger than others to distribute mass in a way that eliminates the need for a separate spool counterweight. Less visibly but more significantly, the inside and outside diameters of the case are machined on different centerlines, putting less material at the bottom of the frame and more at the top, underneath the reel seat, where it does more good by adding strength and stiffnessno small consideration in fighting powerful, hard-running saltwater fish.

Much, in fact, about the Cobalt addresses strength and toughness. The MICRALOX finish offers twice the durability and 55 times the corrosion resistance of standard Type II anodizing. In protection from the degradations of saltwater, there's no such thing as overkill.

A spool held to the spindle with a nut for a more secure mount replaces the familiar pop-out design. The drag is a super-sized version of Waterworks-Lamson's signature conical brake (as smooth and reliable as any I know), built specially for the Cobalt with a carbon alloy friction surface for heat stability at high RPMs. Completely sealed, it requires no lubrication and remains waterproof to 30 meters. The drag adjusts in half-pound increments through a 12-pound range, but you can change the window from 0 to 12 pound, or 2 to 14 pound if you prefer to match the requirements of your target species. (It entails tools and loose parts; I'm not anxious to try in the field.) Once you've dialed it in, you can mark specific settings on the drag knob and instantly adjust from stripping tension to fighting tension with repeatable, reliable results.

Tarpon are a bit hard to come by in Oregon, so I took the 11/12 model to an estuary for a shot at fall Chinook during one of the worst salmon returns in memory. The fishing lived down to my expectations; the reel exceeded them. The frame proved commendably rigidno flexing or twisting or play when you bear down on it. It felt like a full-cage frame. I had a particular interest in how it would behave with a monofilament running line behind a shooting head since this setup can cause problems with many single-sided reels; the thin mono can sneak through gaps between the frame and spool and end up outside the reel, wrapped over a frame pillar. But I never had the slightest problem. I have only one, very minor, quibblethe drag knob, which I find found stiff to operatethough this may well relax with extended use.


Decidedly not a scaled-up trout reel, the Cobalt is engineered for heavy lifting and longevity, built from the ground up specifically for big dogs in the salt. $570-$800 | waterworks-lamson.com


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019. Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies. Bass

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers, identifying ten rivers facing imminent threats. News

2019 Most Endangered Rivers

Fly Fisherman - April 16, 2019

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers,...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Finding giant Mongolia taimen and a state of enlightenment.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp flies! Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman - September 27, 2016

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp...

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most common applications you'll encounter on the water. How-To

Picking the Perfect Fly-Fishing Leader

George Daniel - January 22, 2018

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most...

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in United States

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado

Steven B. Schweitzer - May 03, 2016

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in " Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado."

See More Stories

More Reels

Ted Juracsik set the saltwater world on its head when he reinvented the Tibor brand with his Tibor Signature Series. The reels are lighter than the original. Reels

Tibor Signature Series Trout Reel

Fly Fisherman - October 28, 2013

Ted Juracsik set the saltwater world on its head when he reinvented the Tibor brand with his...

Green means go on the color-coded drag system of the new Hardy Ultralite SDS reel. Reels

Hardy Ultralite SDS

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 23, 2013

Green means go on the color-coded drag system of the new Hardy Ultralite SDS reel.

Land your biggest fish ever with one of these great new fly reels of 2018. Reels

Best New Fly Reels of 2018

Ross Purnell, Editor - November 13, 2017

Land your biggest fish ever with one of these great new fly reels of 2018.

See More Reels

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.