Spoiler alert. We've given away the punch line. The Lamson Litespeed IV is the winner of our 2015 5-weight Reel Shootout. So, you can probably just go ahead and buy it now, but if you really want to know what makes this reel so great, read our full review below.
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3.75 ounces. Lightest in the test, by far! In fact, it was the only reel under 4 ounces. It will balance the lightest of rods.
The Litespeed was not the first Lamson reel we tested in this review. After seeing the drag on the Speedster, Remix, and Guru, I must admit, I didn't have high hopes. Boy was I wrong. The Litespeed has an entirely different drag system from the other Lamson reels. It puts out a whopping 6.78lbs of drag, and a mere 6% startup inertia. It's not quite as good as the Galvan Torque, but it's right up there. And it's also...
The Litespeed worked great, even after being frozen.
Classic Lamson. It's got a solid click on both the incoming and outgoing.
While not quite as fast as the Speedster, the Litespeed is no slouch in terms of spool design. It pulls in line at 7.76 inches per turn, which was good enough to earn it a top 10 spot. It also holds plenty of backing - a little less than 170 yards (the arbor isn't flat) - with a GPX line, so you can use it on your 6-weight if you choose. If there's one thing we don't like about this reel, it's that the spool is a bit wider than we'd like.
The fourth incarnation of the Litespeed is the most modern looking reel in our test. Its fully ported, made-in-the-USA design is not only light and strong, but feels like a quality reel in your hand.
Handle: Lamson's higher end reels come with some of the best handles. They are not too thick, and definitely long enough that you're not hitting your knuckles. They've even created a bit of a taper to make it even more comfortable. One of the best.
Drag Knob: The Lamson drag knob is a bit funky. In a world of oversized knobs, it's definitely not as easy to grab and adjust, but it's also not as bad as the worst ones out there.
Spool Change: Spool is easy enough to change, but not as easy as a one-button change.
Excellent. The Lamson "Hard Alox" finish is defnitely not marketing hype. It's one of the best and hardest finishes out there. After we beat up the Litespeed, it was hard to tell anything had happened to it. No damage.
Lifetime to the original owner + $20 fee.
To place in one of our shootouts, a reel has to stand out in the crowd. To win, it has to be truly exceptional. The Lamson Litespeed is. It scored a top 10 in virtually every category. For a reel this light to have as much drag strength (29 times its weight) and do it so smoothly is an incredible design feat.