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I purchased a Lamson-Waterworks Liquid 3.5 (-7+) in 2020. After a couple seasons of use, I thought it necessary to provide an in-depth review of the reel.
The frame of the reel is cast aluminum. The spools are cast and have a large U-shaped arbor. Since the entirety of the reel is cast, it may pick up scratches and markings rather easily. Mine certainly did, but I also don't baby my reels while I'm fishing, so if you take better care of your reels than I do, this shouldn't be an issue.
The reel can be switched from left-hand retrieve to right-hand retrieve easily by removing the spool, unscrewing what Lamson calls the "Gland Cap" on the inside of the frame, and flipping the "clutch" mechanism 180 degrees. This is a very simple process.
The way the Liquid reels are named/sized is based on the rod and fly line weight that is ideal for use on the reel.
I felt the size of the reel was appropriate. Having the -7+ Liquid, it is certainly not the heaviest reel on the market in its size category, nor is it the lightest.
This reel has a sealed conical drag system. The drag knob is easy to grip, and it is easy to tighten and loosen. It doesn't have super obvious drag adjustments, and there are no clicks or any feedback when tightening or loosening. The drag knob should not ever be removed.
I use this reel a bit with my clients while on guided trips. It performs well and we have no issues with it. The drag works smoothly and the plastic clicker on the reel does create sound, but it does not generate an obnoxious sound.
The handle of the reel is a hard plastic that can certainly hurt if it whacks your hand when pulling out line or getting line ripped off the reel by a big fish. While certainly not abnormal in design, it is something that some people are picky about.
Lamson says to not use oil or lubricant in or around the drag system. These low-maintenance options are a favorite for many anglers.
Spool removal is simple with no buttons required. It is pressure-based release as many fly reels are; see video here if you need help with this.
The Liquid and Remix reels also can be customized by purchasing these reel inserts from Lamson.
I have not tested this reel in the salt or on saltwater fish. Lamson says that it is a good idea to use saltwater equipment rinse such as Salt-X to help keep your reel safe when used in saltwater.
It is hard to beat the value of a Lamson Liquid. Most fly reels in this price range are heavy and potentially clunky. Also, having the affordability of this reel plus the affordability of additional spools pre-spooled with other fly lines makes the Liquid is a great option. Lamson offers this Liquid in a 3-Pack version, which includes a padded carrying case, the reel, and two extra spools.
Overall, this reel is a great option for either the average fly angler or the angler who fly fishes a few times each year. It provides affordability, smooth retrieve, and reliability without breaking the bank.
NOTE: This reel is very nearly identical to the Lamson-Waterworks Remix, so this review of the Liquid may have many aspects identical to my review of the Remix, with a couple minor exceptions:
Frame of Remix is machined; Frame of Liquid is cast.
Drag knobs have different appearance.