How good is a Lamson Guru fly reel after a decade of use?

Reviewing products when new is fine, but it does little to indicate long term durability. So in this post, I decided to take a look at one of my old Lamson fly reels to see how well my US made Lamson has held up after many years of freshwater use.

I tried to find my exact purchase date and store, but I have lost the receipt. It was purchased in a Wyoming store sometime around 2007. Details are fuzzy thinking that far back. I certainly have been using this reel for over 10 years.

This reel has seen a lot of use and has been my main trout reel. It has traveled around the world. It has tamed trophy brown trout in New Zealand, fought Salmon off Vancouver Island, and even landed Cherry trout (Masou Salmon) in the Korean Mountains. Quite simply, it is my favorite reel and the first one I throw into my bag before heading toward the mountains.

Over the years it has been well used, and in many ways abused, I have dropped it onto rocks, and it has been fully submerged more times than I can remember. It has been crashed inside my pack on numerous long hiking trips.

What is the brand, name, and model?

The exact details have been lost to history. It is a Lamson Guru reel in G 2.0 size (5/6wt). Any further details and paperwork has been lost. Some of the printing on the reel has worn away with use.


Before purchasing this Lamson fly reel, I only used cheaper reels when targeting trout. One was made by I think Tica and the other was some mass produced store brand. They caught fish and held line, but both reels let me down within a couple of years of use.

The Guru was my second Lamson reel, my first was an 8wt which I used for saltwater applications. If this review does well, I might also tear down and review my saltwater reel from the same era. (Spoiler, other than cosmetics there is nothing wrong with it).

After a quick wipe down, just a few chips in the coating and fading lettering. I do need to clean my backing material.

Now, I will get into reviewing my trout reel. Other than a few chips in the black coating there is very little damage. The chips are mostly from putting the reel down on rocks while fishing and maybe bumping around in the back of my truck.

The printed on brand and model numbers have for the most part worn off. I guess the printed on text was the less durable part of this reel.

Tolerances are still very tight, and there is next to no noticeable wobble in the spool. If I squeeze down hard, there is less than an mm of flex in the frame (That is 1/32 inch).

What maintenance has been done?

To be honest. Barely any. I have not had the spool out of the frame since new. I had to watch a youtube video to figure out how to do it.

I have never greased, oiled, or given it any form of care more than the occasional wipe down to remove dust and grime. I sometimes run it under warm water if I have been using it in the sea.

Inside the reel was much cleaner than I expected, mostly just dust which was easy to wipe away.
Much cleaner, no damage to the gears or even corrosion
No complaints, or damage

The Internals

Looking inside, there is no apparent wear or corrosion visible.

The black tooth cover despite its appearance is not actually a gear. The teeth are only there for the clicker to rub against. The cover also helps protect the little red clutch assembly further inside.

After removing the black tooth cover, I removed the little red clutch assembly. Inside was spotless, with no corrosion or signs of wear.

Perfect, almost like new.

The drag

It has a sealed drag, that does not require any maintenance. I rarely need to use the drag when actually fishing. Most trout I can land just by handling the line, and occasionally palming the reel if they decide to run.

I decided to test the drag by gently pulling the line by hand. It still works fine with little jerkiness or variation in resistance. I can never remember losing a fish due to a sticky drag.

The drug knob itself does require a fair amount of pressure to adjust. I am not sure it was so stiff when new but there is no way for me to verify it. The drag knot is not the easiest to adjust with gloves on.


I am very impressed. Even after 10 years of use, the reel is still in great shape and I can easily see it lasting another 10 years.

Yes, Lamson Gurus are quite expensive, with a retail price of around $280 but my experience shows the build quality is top notched. On the other hand, Lamson reels are extremely cheap for a reel machined in the United States, I was recently looking at some Abels are they were retailing for over $1000. Even the Sage reels, which are imported retail for $300

In my eyes, the Lamson Guru is a one time purchase. Any pain upfront was quickly forgotten and I have been rewarded with many years of use out of it.

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