Gear Review: Lamson Guru Fly Rod
Lamson is best-known for their fly reels (I have one buddy who refuses to fish anything else) but in recent years their product lineup has expanded to include fly rods. Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the chance to fish their 9′ 5-weight Guru.
I’ve been thoroughly impressed.
The Guru is an entry-level stick (priced at $249) with a pleasant medium-fast action which, in my opinion, is much better for newer anglers than the fast-action sticks most beginners have had to deal with in recent years. Yes, it might be easier to learn to cast a fast rod, but you’ll develop far better casting mechanics if the rod provides enough feedback to feel the line load an unload during the casting stroke.
In addition to its great action, the Guru has one truly unique feature. Lamson has engineered an entirely new reel seat for all of their rods. These “Lockdown” reel seats provide a more secure reel-to-rod connection through straight rails machined into the reel seat itself. The straight edges of a reel foot mount directly to those straight rails on the reel seat, which Lamson says eliminates any side-to-side movement that can sometimes loosen a reel’s connection to a fly rod.
Instead of matching two curved surfaces together (the curved surface of the reel seat and the curved surface of a fly reel foot), Lamson engineered a way to match two straight edges, This requires less force from the reel seat rings, and Lamson says this new reel seat ensures that a reel will “never” work its way loose while casting.
I don’t often have reels work their way loose while casting, so I can’t say if this new reel seat is truly revolutionary. But I can say that through all my fishing of the Guru, my reel never slipped once. I love that Lamson was willing to try something new and unique with this rod. The Lockdown reel seat doesn’t feel like a gimmick, either. It’s a feature that will benefit anglers (especially those fishing heavier-weight rods and chasing much larger fish than trout) and something I expect to see copied throughout the fly rod industry.
So, the rod has a nice action and a new reel seat. But how does it fish?
In one word—well.
In more words: I’m impressed with what Lamson has done here. The Guru reminds me of the Douglas LRS, which is my all-time favorite $250 fly rod. The Guru fished well at usual trout distances of 40-50 feet, throwing both dry flies and nymphs with ease.
During one afternoon on the river I had to rig up a heavy nymph rig (I think I had a half-dozen split shot on my leader) along with heavy flies to get down into the strike zone. The Guru struggled to roll cast that heavy rig, but it still got the job done. That was the only instance where I noticed the Guru struggle with what I asked of it.
It’s accurate with dry flies, doesn’t have too heavy a swing weight, and it has the backbone to handle larger fish. Often, when anglers hear that a rod is “medium-fast” or “slower” action, they assume it doesn’t have the strength to handle big fish and/or throw larger flies. The Guru wrangled a few nice rainbows from quick water without any problems, and again, the only time it struggled was when I asked it to throw a few pounds of lead and flies. Nearly any of my current 5-weights would struggle under that load.
I enjoy what this rod offers for beginners. It’s a good balance of action and power, with plenty of feedback to help anglers learn the mechanics of a fly cast. That the Guru won’t break the bank is an added plus.