The Waterworks-Lamson Liquid and the Redington Behemoth fly reels. These are two of the top reels in their class.
These high quality reels perform at a level way beyond their price point. Either would be a great of choice, allowing you to use more of your money on a high quality fly rod.
These companies saved money in the manufacturing process in ways that doesn’t effect the quality of the reel. In doing so they brought an affordable fly fishing reel, with exceptional quality to all fly fishers looking for a suitable fly reel with amazing features.
Not everyone wants to spend money on expensive fly reels, but want more than what entry-level reels have to offer.
When comparing these two reels we looked at several important factors, such as: the price point, the manufacturing company, the warranty, the availability of a variety of different sizes, the drag system, the reel construction and customer reviews.
Table of contents
- Waterworks-Lamson Liquid
- Redington – Behemoth
- Liquid vs Behemoth Comparison Conclusion
Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel
- Larger Arbor Design
- Sealed Drag
- Strong Drag System
- Die-Cast Aluminum Frame
- CNC-machined to finetune specs
- Easy Spool Change
- Great Looks
Redington Behemoth Fly Reel
- Large Arbor Design
- V Shape spool for maximum fly line and backing capacity
- Powerful Drag System
- Die-Cast Aluminum Frame
- Unique Design
- 5 Unique colors to choose from
$109.99 – $129.99 (Depending on the size)
Waterworks-Lamson Company Information
Waterworks-Lamson is an American Fly Fishing company based in Ketchum, Idaho, but they weren’t always ”Waterworks-Lamson.”
Waterworks was formed in 1996 by product designers who were also avid fisherman. These designers originally worked designing bicycles, and because of their love for fly fishing, they set out to make the perfect reel.
They used their experience designing bicycle gearing and framing to design their first reels, which was named after Ketchum.
They eventually developed many of the characteristics that make Waterworks-Lamson what they are today, with the ultra large arbor (ULA), the power arm frame, the conical sealed drag and the integrated counterbalance.
These state of the art designs have endured the test of time, and have continued to make the Liquid reel one of the best fly reels on the market.
Related Article: Introduction to Fly Fishing – Plus 10 tips to catch more fish
Lamson is another great American company that was established in Oregon. Lamson was originally a machining company. They grew by using their expertise in machining techniques to design and manufacture great reels an an affordable price.
Previously, CNC-Machined reels were only available as high end expensive reels. They were able to bring a low cost quality reel to the market. Lamson was eventually acquired by Sage, and their reel designs and sales went through the roof. Lamson became synonymous with quality made American fly reels.
With the acquisition of Lamson in 1998, Waterworks added Lamson to their name. Now they had two brands sharing technology. This technology is at the core of their simple, function-driven design and styling.
Their continued pursuit of inspired design and solid engineering has driven their innovative line-up of reels.
In developing the Liquid, Waterworks-Lamson has brought a high quality reel to the market that preforms in critical areas that make the reel a continued success. This fly fishing reel makes many anglers question why high end reels even exist.
The Liquid Warranty
Waterworks-Lamson reels have a Lifetime Warranty that is valid for any defect in material or workmanship. The warranty includes parts and labor. It does not cover damage due to misuse, improper maintenance or modifications.
As with most warranties, there is a surcharge when using the warranty.
The Drag System
Waterworks-Lamson wanted to create the best drag possible so their innovative team of designers engineered the “Conical Drag.” It’s a drag with zero start-up torque, excellent range, and smooth operation.
They also designed it to be a sealed drag system. This protects it the drag from environmental exposures, such as dirt, sand, grime and salt water.
This conical drag system is engineered like no other drag system on the market. Instead of using flat rotating discs, they designed cones as the centerpiece of their drag.
They found this design resulted in a significant reduction in the diameter of the drag assembly, making it small, light and compact while still being a powerful drag with stopping power that has proven itself time and again.
The drag system is also a maintenance free system.
The star pattern drag knob makes the drag easily adjustable by feel. You can get ahold of the knob easily with sweaty hands or when wearing gloves.
This is extremely important while fighting large fish, because you don’t want to be fumbling with the drag knob while adjusting the tension on your fly line, and especially, your tippet.
The drag on one area where Waterworks-Lamson did not look at changing to save money in manufacturing. Even thought the Liquid is an entry level fly reel it comes with the exact same stainless steel ball bearing and conical drag system as their higher level reels, giving the Liquid the quality where it counts the most.
Here is more information from the Waterworks-Lamson website on the design of their reels: Waterworks-Lamson Design
How the Liquid is Constructed
Waterworks-Lamson designed a distinct and efficient frame that aligns the structural support for the spool along the primary load path.
The primary load path of any reel runs from the center of the drag to the reel foot. This section of the reel needs to be the strongest and sturdiest part of the reel.
They call this design, The Power Arm. This design uses the least amount of material needed to achieve maximum stiffness, while maintaining a lightweight design and a large arbor.
The also integrated the handle counterbalance into the structure of the reel. This is done by most manufacturers by attaching an extra piece of metal to the side of the reel opposite the handle.
Waterworks-Lamson removed the counterbalance and integrated it into the design of the reel. This is accomplished by simply using an asymmetric design. This design has become an essential part of the reel’s personality, making it easily identified by the reel’s fans.
The Liquid is a die-cast aluminum reel, but one that was designed to eliminate the traditional disadvantages of a die-cast reel.
Traditionally die-cast reels are noted as being more fragile and brittle that a machined reel, but some extra engineering was put into the Liquid, and the die-casting was done in a way that makes the reel structurally tougher, yet surprisingly lightweight.
After casting, he reel is then CNC-machined to perfect the reel’s fit and finish. Using this combination of casting and machining has amplified the benefits of both reel manufacturing techniques to make the Liquid a unique product.
Although the casting is done overseas, all of the machining and assembly is done in Boise, Idaho.
The Liquid also has the same pop-off spool design that Waterworks-Lamson is know for with all of their reels. To change the spool you simply have to pull the spool away from the frame and it pops right off.
This design has been perfected by Waterworks-Lamson to make changing spools effortless while still maintaining a rigid design.
Another important factor to note is the Liquid’s large arbor design. The larger arbor helps in the retrieval rate and to prevent dreaded line memory.
This means that your fly line will last longer and continue casting smoothly through it’s useful life.
Best Application for the Liquid
The Liquid is a great reel for most any application, and to go after most any species of fish. If you enjoy freshwater trout fishing, then it’s a great option for smaller species of cutthroat trout to larger species of salmon and steelhead.
The reel‘s design is also great for traditional nymph fishing or euro nymphing, and there are a variety of sizes to choose from.
It is primarily thought of as a freshwater reel, but It’s also a great option if you are looking for a saltwater fly fishing reel.
It’s powerful drag has the stopping power for targeting larger saltwater species of fish, and it’s sealed drag and aluminum alloy construction makes it corrosion resistant.
If you are looking for a fly rod to put the reel on, then check out our review on some popular fly rods here:
Lamson Liquid Customer Reviews
The Liquid has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon with hundreds of great reviews. With a rating this high there were very few negative comments.
Many reviewers commented that this was the best reel for the price, with a smooth drag and no start-up friction. Reviewers noted that it has a simple design that felt strong yet lightweight with no internal slop or wiggle.
The negative comments were mostly focused around some confusion on the buyers part, believing the listing was for a three pack that included two additional spools. That option is available, so be sure to double check what you are ordering.
It’s a great deal if you‘re looking to add some extra spools, and it even comes with a convenient bag to hold all three.
Some other negative comments focused on the click mechanism being cheap. The reel has an external clicker, that some reviewers actually enjoyed because they could bend back the clicker to make the reel virtually silent.
Others like the clicking noise, so they did not like the design.
We were unable to find any reviews that did not recommend the reel or had a problem with actually using the reel for their desired application.
Some reviewers bought multiple reels after buying their first because they were so happy with the quality of the reel and the affordable price point.
Here’s a good video review of the Liquid done by Trident Fly Fishing.
- Made in the USA
- 50% US manufactured and 100% Idaho built
- Lifetime Warranty
- Large arbor design
- Sealed conical drag system
- Great stopping power
- Not a lot of color options
- Weak external clicker
The Liquid has been named one of the best reels for $100 by many reviewers who have used the reel side-by-side with other reels in the same price range.
It’s a good quality reel at a very reasonable price for an experienced angler to have in their quiver. It’s also a great deal for a noobie learning the fly fishing basics. The Liquid helps those new to the sport understand why reels with larger arbors are such a benefit.
On top of all that, the Liquid a great looking reel that has stood the test of time and continues to be one of the best selling reels in its class!
Related Article: Check out this article Cheeky Limitless vs Sage Spectrum Max – Best Fly Reel Comparison
Redington – Behemoth
$87.11 – $200.36 (Depending on reel size)
Redington Company Information
Redington is an American company headquartered in the Pacific Northwest that was established in 1992. It’s owned by Far Bank Enterprises, which is the same company that owns Sage Fly Fishing.
Redington focuses on making quality products that are affordable. They believe that good quality does not mean high price and strive to bring value to anglers all over the world.
They want to be sure that fishing stays fun when using their products by maintaining a high standard in the quality of their gear.
The people of Redington are also anglers, so they know what fly anglers want and expect from their gear. This helps in their development of some of the best reviewed reels on the market.
Redington says they deliver, “Versatility that performs, Value you need and the quality you deserve.”
The Behemoth reel is covered by a lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.
This is an original owner warranty and is is limited to repair or replacement of the reel only and does not cover direct, indirect, consequential, incidental or any other type of damage.
The Drag System
The drag system on the Behemoth is really one of the center focuses of this reel. Redington boasts it as being the strongest drag in its class, and we haven’t found any information or reviews that would dispute that claim.
The drag is a carbon fiber drag system with an oversize drag knob for easy adjustment. The Behemoth has a smooth drag with low startup inertia to save your tippet when the time comes.
The drag has been put to the test by a lot of reviewers and we have yet to read a review that stated this drag did not have the stopping power needed.
The drag is not a sealed drag, but capped. This does make it necessary to do some maintenance, especially in saltwater conditions.
This is only a mild inconvenience since some maintenance should be done after a saltwater fishing trip, even with a sealed drag. Just soak the reel and rod butt in a bucket of fresh water for 20 minutes or so. This should get all the salt out of those tight areas.
The Behemoth is a die-cast aluminum reel, but similar to the Lamson reel, a lot of thought has gone into making it stronger that most other die-cast reels on the market.
Now, we could go into reel construction a bit deeper and talk about the differences of CNC-machined verses Die-Cast construction, but instead we’ll just give you a basic idea of the difference.
A CNC-machined reel is machined by a computer from a solid piece of aluminum stock to very tight tolerances. With the Die-cast process molten aluminum is poured into a mold. This process is typically makes for a structurally weaker product with specs that are not quite as precise.
Redington claims that, the unique angular design of the Behemoth makes it impossible to machine. This design was made with the specific idea to make the reel body and the spools stronger and more durable.
Redington designed the spool and frame of the Behemoth with structural strength in mind to match the powerful 30-pound drag system. From the spoke design all the way to the reel foot, strength was the focus of the design.
Redington also created a deep V shaped larger arbor design for maximum backing capacity and a high retrieval rate. The spool design was also made to be easily switched out for changing spools.
There is a screw on cap that holds the spool to the frame. The cap is fixed in the spool in such a way as to not come all the way detached from the spool itself, so it wont be lost when changing spools.
Redington also included a polymer coater reel handle for comfort and convenience. This can be great when your hands are slick from sweat or when wearing gloves. The reel is also easily converted from left hand to right hand retrieval.
There area lot of reviews on the Behemoth out there, but Hatchmag did a great in-depth review. To see there review click here: Hatchmag Behemoth Review
Best Applications for the Behemoth
Redington made the Behemoth in a wide variety of sizes for most any fishing application. It will, of course, handle smaller trout in rivers and bass in lakes and ponds, but it was really designed to go after much larger game.
The strong drag makes it ideal for targeting larger species of freshwater fish like steelhead and bass or hitting the ocean for saltwater fishing.
There really is no limitation to what you want to target, or where you want cast your line.
The Behemoth has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon with hundreds of positive reviews. The 4.8 rating also matches it’s global rating.
As previously mentioned, most reviews rave about the strong drag and the amount of backing you can put on the larger arbor.
We read a lot of reviews on the Behemoth and noted a few that highlight most of the other reviews.
One reviewer talked about buying the Behemoth to fish for king salmon and the reel was perfect. He used the reel on his trip and caught a lot of salmon. He talked about how the drag help up perfect, even on the hardest runs, without breaking his tippet.
Another talked about how he has used the reel for saltwater fishing and found that it does not hold up to saltwater use. He also used it for freshwater and it held up just fine. One reviewer talked about the spool having a slight wobble in the spool; however he stated that it did not seem to effect the reel’s performance.
Another reviewer talked about the spool retaining cap being plastic, and feeling like it would not hold up very well. This reviewer had not used the Behemoth very much, and had not actually experienced a problem with the cap.
Here’s a good video review of the Behemoth from Backwater Fly Fishing:
- Lifetime warranty
- Strong drag
- Large backing capacity
- Oversize drag knob
- Polymer coater reel handle
- Rigid design
- Does not hold up to heavy saltwater use
- Slight wobble in the spool
- Capped, not sealed, drag
The Redington Behemoth is an excellent option for most any application, and most anglers will enjoy every minute of fishing with this reel.
If you are an experienced fly fisher who has experience with some high-end reels, then you may notice a difference between those and the Behemoth. In that case the Behemoth will make a great reliable backup reel to keep in your arsenal.
If you are a new fly angler, then know that you will be purchasing a very popular and unique reel that is tough enough to stand up to some harsh treatment at a price that will give you confidence in your purchasing decision.
Liquid vs Behemoth Comparison Conclusion
We compared these two reels, because both are excellent examples of the ingenuity that has developed in the fly fishing sport to create great reels at affordable prices.
Here are some important factors to look at when deciding which one of these reels is the right choice for you:
- These reels differ in the design of their drag, but both contain critical drag components to for a powerful drag system. The Behemoth drag is designed with a specific emphasis on a beefy drag.
- Redington uses a carbon fiber disc drag system for the Behemoth. Waterworks-Lamson uses a more compact design for the Liquid with their conical drag system.
- The sealed drag design of the Liquid makes it a better choice for someone looking for a salt water reel, or one that will stand up to being dunked on occasion.
- The drag system of the Behemoth is capped, not sealed. The cap keeps almost everything out of the drag system, except salt water.
- While both reels have a large arbor design, the Behemoth will have space for as much backing as you would ever need on a reel. That’s important for that fight anxiety we all get. To know that when you have a hog pull through your running line you still have plenty of backing to keep the fish and your tippet safe, is an important quality.
- Both reels have a strong aluminum construction; however due to the extra CNC-machining that goes into the Liquid the spool has a more precise fit.
- The Redington is heavier that the Liquid. This may affect your casting fatigue on a long day in the water.
We hope this comparison helps with your purchasing decision. Until next time, keep your lines tight and your knots wet!