Waterworks-Lamson SS 9’ #4 $399.99
This is a good-looking rod finished in a matte gray color. I just wish that the performance was as good as its looks. One thing that killed its performance scores was the very heavy swing weight. In our important swing weight category, this rod was one of the worst. This is a medium action rod, and slower action rods like this SS have never performed well for us. As you have seen, the best rods in this 4-weight Shootout are medium fast or fast action rods with softer tips.
Overall the craftsmanship was ok but not nearly as good as the best mid-priced rods like the DXF or the Recon. The matte gray blank does look nice, and the guide wraps are a dark gray, trimmed in black on the butt section. The epoxy coatings are pretty good but a little heavy. The handle is a half wells design and the quality of the cork is decent – better than what we saw on the Loop Q and the TFO rods. The reel seat is a simple gray anodized double uplocking, solid aluminum seat with sliding band. I found the rings harder to grip than most and without any nylon spacer they will likely loosen up more easily than other rings with them.
Guides start with a hook keeper, and then one SiC stripping guide, followed with black hard chrome snake guides. I liked the use of alignment dots.
The perfect line: SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity in WF-4-F
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 points out of 20
Not so good in close. Little feel, and the slower action kills any accuracy.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 points out of 20
No better at mid-range. Now I can really feel the heavy swing weight. This is not a pleasant rod to do a lot of false casting with, as you would fishing dry flies.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.0 points out of 10
I could hit this distance easily enough, but I had much better feel and accuracy with the faster, lighter rods.
The Waterworks Lamson SS was designed to be versatile, accurate, fun to cast, and true to line size. In my opinion, none of these criteria were met, at least when compared to the other top rods in our Shootout.
We tried an SA Trout line on the SS, (which is true 4-weight line), however it was far too light for the SS’s stiffer/slower action. We found a 5-weight line was a much better match for this rod.
This was a pretty good-looking rod, in light matte gray. The half wells handle was comfortable and the quality of cork was decent. The reel seat is solid aluminum and looks cheaper than most.
Heavy in hand, Matte grey blank stands out. Cork grip and shape are quite nice. Cheap looking reel seat however double burled lock rings work smoothly. Alignment dots, large chrome snake guides but then a small tip-top.
Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20
Heavy in hand, not very delicate. The stiffer tip kills any kind of feel in close.
Performance at 40 feet: 17 points out of 20
Not especially accurate, still feels heavy, and too stiff to be a good 4-weight.
Performance at 60 feet: 7 points out of 10
Better. I could get used to this, but other rods had better power and felt much lighter.
Logan’s Comments: 42 out of 50
The Waterworks Lamson SS is the standard reel seat version of their new “Center Axis” system, which we did not test. I thought that the SS was too heavy and too stiff to be a good 4-weight rod. I would have liked to see this in a softer 8-8 ½ foot rod. The matte gray color is certainly a different look than most rods, making it stand out from the pack.
Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20
At 25 feet the Waterworks Lamson SS had a stiff tip that was not giving me any good feel or accuracy in close.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20
At 45 feet the Waterworks Lamson performed a lot better than at 25 feet. But my accuracy wasn’t nearly as good as other stiff rods like the G. Loomis Asquith.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 10
I was able to go long with the Waterworks Lamson SS. It has lots of power, and would be a good rod for nymphing or even throwing some smaller streamers.
This was another rod that just felt too stiff and clunky to be a delicate and accurate go-to 4wt. It would work better for nymphing or throwing smaller streamers.
Performance at 25 feet: 16/20
The Lamson was just too stiff and rigid to give me delicate presentations at this distance.
Performance at 40 feet: 17/20
The Lamson SS still lacked the finesse and accuracy the top performers showed at mid distances.
Performance at 60 feet: 8/10
It was hard for me to tap the power and control I needed to cast accurately at 60 feet.
The Lamson also felt on the heavier side when I first picked it up. Once I began casting, I felt a lack of feel and finesse, making it difficult to maintain accuracy with a delicate presentation.
Performance at 25 feet: 15.5 out of 20
Hard to load and maintain accuracy in close, overall just felt too stiff for close range casts.
Performance at 40 feet: 16 out of 20
Better at 40 feet, but still felt heavy and not very pleasant to cast.
Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10
I could get the distance easily enough, but I had little feel or accuracy like I was getting with the NRX LP or Truth.