Sunday, May 28, 2023

Review: Lamson Velocity 7-weight fly rod

Yes, Virginia, there is a Summer Santa. He often comes disguised as a UPS delivery man. There's no celebratory anticipation.. no decorations.. no festivities and no fruitcake. But make no mistake, his gifts often bring joy to our hearts.

And boy, did I need some uplifting in my life. Ten days ago, I woke up from a short nap to a sharp pain radiating over my right abdomen. I felt pretty certain it was a kidneystone, having had one for the first time just 14 months ago.  My wife took me to the ER, where the diagnosis was confirmed. I was prescribed pain meds and told to see if it would pass over the weekend.

Well it didn't pass. And sometimes bad things can happen if you allow them to linger. A checkup on Monday revealed that my kidney was slightly swollen. So early Tuesday morning, I underwent something called "Lazer Lithotripsy". Rather than describe it, I suggest googling it. While this is considered a minimally invasive procedure, full recovery can take 2 to 4 weeks. During that time, body energy levels are low. Like taking a short walk can wear you out.

So here I was yesterday... feeling like Austin Powers after he lost his mojo. Donald Trump would describe me as a "low energy guy" and that would be optimistic. But then I heard the UPS truck pull up... I perked up and rushed outside. It was Summer Santa bringing me a brand new Lamson Velocity 7-weight fly rod, purchased from No Wake Outfitters in Metairie.

Some background here. At the New Orleans Fly Fishers annual Rio Rodeo in September, Tom Jindra told me of a new fly rod he thought I'd be excited about. Tom is a longtime friend and former president of Fly Fishers International, past chairman of the FFI's Casting Board of Directors, and someone long involved in the fly tackle industry.  He now reps for several brands. As with all reps, I tend to temper any such enthusiasm for new products.

But a few months later, at the NOFF biennial expo, I had the opportunity to test cast the Lamson Velocity - and I was blown away!  This was one of the best casting rods I'd ever put in my hand. I had a need at the time for a new 7-weight rod for bass fishing. But the need never presented itself... this has been a really bad Spring for me and fishing. Probably the fewest times I've fished in 40 years - and I live on a lake!

So for an early Father's Day present to myself, for putting up with pain and the lack of fishing time this year, I ordered the Velocity last week. When the package arrived, it took all of two minutes for me to setup. The paired reel was an Orvis Hydros I won in a gamblers draw at the FFI Gulf Coast Classic earlier in the month. The reel already had backing and an Orvis Pro Taper textured fly line (one of the best lines on the market and worth $120).

The only problem with the line was that it was a 6-weight. You'd think that might underpower a 7-weight on short casts (under 30 feet). WRONG! This combo casts like a dream. Whether the cast is 20 feet or 90 feet, everything was effortless. The rod balances with the reel so well, and there's little swing weight in the rod tip. After 30 minutes of casting - stopped short only because it was getting dark and mosquitos were joining the act - my impression was that this might be one of the very best rods I've ever owned!

So here's how Lamson describes the Velocity: These rods have a fast action and can punch tight loops into windy situations. The high modulus graphite gives a lightweight feel with enough power to throw large flies, cast heavy lines, and quickly fight the lunkers. The 7 and 8-weight models feature anodized aluminum seats with full wells grip and composite fighting butts. The flat-faced Lockdown Reel Seat is designed to ensure consistent locking of your reel and no rotational movement after a long day on the water. Velocity rods come with a tough cordura rod tube and rod sock, and lifetime warranty for defects. MSRP is $469. Repairs caused by misuse can be done for $50. Lamson offers a 2 week turnaround on repairs.

My thoughts on what Lamson says: I'd describe the action as slightly moderate than pure fast. As mentioned, it loads perfectly well at all ranges. That lockdown reel seat is one many of us rodbuilders are now using, and it's the cat's meow! As for price, at $469 it's in the lower end of the mid-priced rod range, nearly $100 less than our previous favorite, the Orvis Recon.

So the bass have had it easy this Spring without me around much to terrorize them. I've also missed out on several kayak bass tournaments. Those days are numbered!  Pretty soon, I'm going to attack the baskeens with a new weapon that will produce hundreds of sore lips. For now, the doctor says rest. I can patiently wait.