Lamson Litespeed Micra 5 3.5 Fly Reel Review
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Winner of our 5-weight shootout, the bar is high for the Lamson Litespeed. Now in its new “Micra 5” incarnation, it sits at the top of Lamson’s “all-water” or freshwater lines, offering massive performance and super lightweight. Can it compete with today’s top saltwater reels? Find out.
True to its name, the Litespeed is light! It weighs in at a very reasonable 5.9 ounces taking 6th place honors in that department.
We loved the drag on the freshwater version of the Litespeed. It was at the top of its class. Unfortunately, in a reel that’s 2 sizes bigger, the drag still has about the same amount of power. What the Litespeed does have, is plenty of adjustability. You’ll really be able to dial in the exact amount of drag that you’d like.
At 6.6lbs, it’s not really a contender for the top drag. Dial it back to what’s usable, and you’ll get 3.5lbs. At the halfway mark, you’ll get a very reasonable 1.35lbs or about 21% of the total. On the bottom end, you’ll have .1lbs – not enough to fully prevent a free spool, but it does an OK job.
Drag Test Graphs
The Litespeed sounds good, but it’s a little trouty. It lacks that throaty hum that we really like when a big fish is sucking out drag.
Spool & Retrieval Rate
This one really surprised me. Lamson is dedicated to making large arbors and quick retrieves, but the Litespeed seems to have missed the memo. It’s in the bottom 3rd in spool design. It picks up line at just 8.4 inches per turn. On the plus side, you’ll have loads of capacity for your favorite line.
Looks & Ergonomics
Like all Lamson’s the Litespeed sports some minimal, but good looks. No flashy colors, just good, lightweight machining. It’s also got a pretty nice handle that’s been beefed up to accommodate a bigger reel. The drag knob wasn’t my favorite, but it’s got a SUPER grippy surface, so while it’s a little small and tighter than we’d like, it actually works a little better than some of the other systems out there. Oddly, it’s very tight on every one of the Litespeed’s I’ve tested, which makes it tough to turn.
Finish and durability
One of my favorite things about the old Litespeed IV was its durability. There was nothing you could do to scratch the reel. While it’s still a really good finish, the Micra 5 seems to be a little less rugged than the old Type 3 finish. We also subtracted a few points for the bent reel seat. We noticed that virtually every reel (that was heavy enough) with a ported reel seat bent when dropped and this one was no exception. I don’t know how much weight drilling 4 holes saves, but I’d prefer the durability.
Lifetime to the original owner + $30.
It’s tough to take a freshwater reel, make it a little bit bigger, and have it perform really well in the salt. But the Litespeed does about as good of a job as any reel we've seen. It’s hard to really point at one thing and say that’s what really let us down. It's a good reel, but it’s just not quite as good as some of the other reels out there. At about $400, unless weight is your number one concern, you’ll be better off with the Nautilus CCF-X2 6/8.
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- Spool design