Review: Lamson Litespeed Series IV Fly Reel

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 Lamson Litespeed IV Fly Reel


A simple web search for the phrase “fly reel manufacturers” or our fly reel guide reveals that there are a lot of manufacturers, series, and models of fly reels on the market today that fly fishers can choose from to meet their various needs.

However, it seems that many manufacturers apparently equate physical weight with robustness. While there is some merit in this point of view, the fact is that heavy fly reels cause fly rods to feel unbalanced in the fly fisherman’s hand.

Such outfits are both less accurate and less comfortable to cast than a properly balanced outfit.

Lamson’s newly revised version of the Litespeed IV large arbor fly reel seems to somehow magically extend the boundaries of what can be achieved regarding strength versus weight to provide fly fishers with one of the lightest fly reels out there!

In fact, Lamson has retained the best of the old design by keeping the Hard Alox finish and the conical drag system while incorporating a new curved and ported large arbor spool for increased backing capacity combined with decreased drag geometry and a more aggressive drag knob for easier drag adjustment.

Thus, when these new features are combined with the overall reduction in the mass of the reel, the Lamson Litespeed Series IV is an excellent choice for fly fishers who intend to pursue large fish species.


Notable Features


Both the frame and spool of the Lamson Litespeed IV are CNC machined from a solid block of 6061-T6 bar stock aluminum while the pin in the center of the reel and other small parts is made of stainless steel for both superior strength and corrosion resistance.

Fly reels machined from bar stock aluminum rather than being cast from molten aluminum are slightly stronger. But they are also more time consuming to make so they are more expensive.



Thanks to Lamson’s unique spool retention and quick release system, changing the Litespeed IV’s spool is simple that only takes a few seconds.

So by purchasing an extra spool or two, you can also carry additional fly lines such as a specialized nymph line or a sink tip line for streamer fishing to drastically widen the performance of your chosen outfit.



It features a ported, ultra large, arbor with Lamson’s signature, concave “backing well” which serves to increase the arbor’s backing capacity while maintaining the optimum diameter for the fly line.

Plus, a slightly narrower arbor results in a wider spool diameter so the new Litespeed IV has a slightly faster retrieve speed than previous models.


Drag System

Fortunately, Lamson has seen fit to retain the conical drag system featured on the original Lamson Litespeed series reels.

But they also reduced the drag geometry which allowed them to create a flatter spool surface while still retaining the silky smooth performance of the original drag system.

In addition, they redesigned the drag knob to make it a bit more aggressive so that the drag setting is easier to change.


Aesthetic Appeal

Unlike many modern fly reels on the market today, the designers of the Lamson Litespeed managed to refrain from designing a body and spool that looks like something from a science fiction movie.

Though its design is definitely not classic, it is nonetheless very aesthetically pleasing with both the body and the spool artfully sculpted while the Hard Alox finish lends the reel an appealing, titanium finish.



Line weight: 10,11
Reel diameter:  4.5 inches
Reel weight: 7.95 oz
Backing capacity: 250 yards of 30 lbs



Comparison to Similar Products

It’s nice to know that the Lamson Litespeed IV is one of the lightest and toughest big game fly reels on the market but it is still helpful to compare the product that you consider purchasing with others that are similar to it.

ProductLamson Litespeed IV
Lamson Litespeed IV

Galvan Torque T-10
Galvan Torque T-10 

Ross Evolution R Salt
Ross Evolution R Salt

Diameter4.5 in4.25 in4.43 in
Width1.5 in1.35 in1.42 in
Weight 7.95 oz8.2 oz8 oz
LineWF10WF-10-F9-10 wt
Backing Capacity250 yards 30 lbs250 yards 30 lbsWF9+325 | WF10+275
CostCheck Price

Check Price

Check Price


Galvan Torque T-10 

Galvan Torque T-10 

The Galvan Torque T-10 is a slightly more expensive fly reel than the Lamson Litespeed IV, and it has an even more interesting spool design. Unlike the Litespeed IV which is only available in one color, the Galvan Torque is available in six different colors.

Similarities with the Lamson Litespeed IV

  • Made from machined aluminum
  • Large arbor spools
  • Fully ported frames and spools
  • Excellent drag systems

Differences from the Lamson Litespeed IV

  • The Litespeed IV has a larger spool diameter and a lighter weight than the Torque T-10.
  • The Torque T-10 costs significantly more than the Litespeed IV.
  • The Litespeed IV is only available in one color whereas the Galvan Torque is available in six different colors.

Although the Lamson Litespeed IV is lighter than the Galvan Torque T-10, it is only 0.25 ounces lighter and at the same time, the Litespeed has a ¼ inch larger spool diameter which some anglers may or may not like.



Ross Evolution R Salt 9/10 

Ross Evolution R Salt

Vying with the Lamson Litespeed in both the weight and backing capacity departments, the Ross Evolution R Salt 9/10 is another extremely lightweight, big game fly reel with an excellent reputation.

Similarities with the Lamson Litespeed IV

  • Made from machined aluminum
  • Large arbor spools
  • Fully ported frames and spools
  • Excellent drag systems
  • Nearly identical weights

Differences from the Lamson Litespeed IV

  • The Litespeed IV has a 1/8 inch larger spool diameter than the Ross Evolution Salt R.
  • The Evolution Salt R costs significantly more than the Litespeed IV.
  • The Lamson Litespeed IV is only available in one color whereas the Ross Evolution R Salt is available in two different colors.



Rating the Lamson Litespeed Series IV Fly Reel 

The following criteria are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

Drag Strength

five star rating

Although the maximum drag weight setting is not listed, this reel is specifically designed for big game fish species. Its conical drag system has garnered many positive reviews in the past. 5 stars for its drag strength.


Drag Startup Inertia 

five star rating

It seems that everyone who uses the reek is impressed with its smooth startup inertia which is important for protecting fine tippets. 5 stars for its drag startup inertia.


Line Retrieval Rate 

five star rating

Its large arbor spool provides the angler with 7.76 inches of line retrieval per revolution of the spool which is blazingly fast. 5 stars for its line retrieval rate.


Corrosion Resistance

five star rating

Due to its fully-sealed drag system and its high-quality, hard anodized finish combined with its stainless steel internal parts, it has excellent corrosion resistance. 5 stars for its corrosion resistance.



five star rating

One of the lightest big game fly reels on the market today, the Lamson Litespeed IV is exceptionally lightweight but is also strong and durable. 5 stars for its light weight.





When you consider the fact that the Lamson Litespeed IV fly reel is not only one of the lightest big game fly reels on the market but also one of the least expensive, then it quickly becomes an excellent choice for big game fly fishermen who appreciate the balance that an exceptionally lightweight fly reel can provide when combined with a lightweight fly rod for all day comfort.

It also provides big game fly fishers the strength and rigidity of frame along with the strength and smoothness that they need in the drag system to enable them to land large fish.

Plus, it favorably compares to materials, construction, capacity, and weight with its more expensive competitors. The Lamson Litespeed IV is a good value for the money! Given these, it has a final rating of 5 stars.

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Bill Bernhardt is a professional fly fishing guide and instructor with over fifteen years of experience. Also, he is a professional editor and outdoor author who has published eight books and written more than 1,500 articles and, he has contributed to both American Outdoor Magazine and Southern Trout e-zine.


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