Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Product Review- Lamson Vanquish

Finally, after a long period of waiting, the new Waterworks-Lamson Vanquish reels arrived in September. We have been using Force and Litespeed reels for Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish and really like them but were eager to try out the Vanquish.
A recent trip to Mongolia for Taimen gave us the opportunity to put this new reel through it's paces. Opinions and critiques are as follows:
Appearance: One of the prettier reels on the market we have seen. Lamson did a great job with this reel. Anglers who prefer more traditional looks like the Islander will probably turn their noses up at this one. The "light" model offers more porting and, in our opinion, is nicer looking but there is also a "closed" model which has less porting.
Overall Design: Following suit from other Lamson models the design is simple, but pretty. They have taken proven drag design and stepped it up to a larger, heavier duty drag system. In our tests on Taimen they proved to be one of the better reels for higher end drag, showing no start up inertia we could detect. The reel foot is a little different on the Vanquish, machined closer to the reel body. This caused no problems but a caster that grips the rod way back in the handle may not like this design. The reel knob is easy to work with and did not slip in our fingers.
Bascking capacities are exceptional, the 10 weight model houses more than enough gel spun to use for Tarpon (400 yds 30# w/ WF12F) (450 yds 30# w/ WF10F).
Drag: In a word, amazing! The drag is wicked smooth with no start up inertia or variance if the reel changes temperature or gets wet. Where you set the drag is where it stays. Taimen are similar to Tarpon in the way you set on them so we got a chance to set the drag right up and hit the fish right off the reel. The Vanquish drag allowed us to strike on the fish hard right off the reel but still be smooth when the fish peeled away. Not something you see on most reels. Normally when you set the drag way up a reel gets a "sticky" feel. Not the Vanquish.
The drag system utilizes proven technology used by Waterworks for a long time only bigger and heavier. Not a lot of parts involved and the sealed system means no maintenance.
Overall Rating: We would have to give the Vanquish a 9.5 out of 10. It's as good as we've seen in a big game reel, Lamson outdid themselves on this one. The only reason for the .5 deduction is the darn things are pretty expensive. Not every angler will get their mind around the price, but they're still cheaper than Tibor, and no corks to mess around with.
For those of you who target big game species and want the highest quality, this reel is worth a look.

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