Lamson Hyperspeed M8 Review - A Cool New Reel - But Why?

June 24, 2024
Lamson Hyperspeed M8 Review - A Cool New Reel - But Why?
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Lamson Hyperspeed M8 Review - A Cool New Reel - But Why?

Ok guys the arbor wars have gotten out of hand at this point. This is getting silly. Nobody needs this on an 8wt reel. And if you do, just use a 9/10wt reel to get a larger arbor... Please don't misunderstand, this is a neat reel and it looks very nice, I just don't think anyone really needs it to have an arbor this large in the 8wt range. Lamson has always designed great-looking reels so this one is no surprise and of course the family resemblance to their other well-known saltwater reel series is clear. 

Side note: Remember, this is really just a 9/10 reel labeled as an 8wt so it becomes the largest arbor in the 7/8 size range. Same exact thing happens with many fly rod brands, to make a "powerful" saltwater rod which impresses people who cast it, they just change the number on it from 9wt to 8wt, and so on. Most powerful 8wt rod that you have cast? It's actually a 9wt. Don't believe me? Put a "true-to-weight" fly line on it and watch it fail miserably and not want to load. Then put a 9wt line on your "powerful 8wt" and see how that does. Oops, did I forget to say that almost all the fly lines have been moved up in size/weight too? Rio Flats Pro is extremely popular, but it is one full size heavy. So an 8wt line is literally a 9wt line in grain weight. What I say in my reviews is usually controversial but easy to verify for yourself. Go check if you doubt any of this. I've been doing this a long time and have seen all these trends for myself.

Ok guys the arbor wars have gotten out of hand at this point.

Some history for those of you new to this: Nautilus first pioneered the idea of a lightweight, large arbor, minimalist reel with the XL and XL Max reels. Then many years later, Sage came along and borrowed heavily from Nautilus (specifically the XL and XL Max) to make their "Arbor XL" which honestly they should have named something else because that's way too similar to both Nautilus' original ideas and name for their reels. The Ross Evolution R Salt is arguably also in this category although I don't think of it as being quite so similar as the first two I mentioned. Lamson created their own variation of this lightweight theme with the Litespeed M, leading to this new Hyperspeed eventually as you can see by the resemblance. Now you are up to date with a quick history of this category of lightweight, large arbor saltwater fly reels.

Plenty of other saltwater reels have a great retrieve rate. This one is even higher but I don't feel the $800 price point makes much sense considering the construction of this reel, and the fact that the direct competition is roughly half the price - the Nautilus and Sage reels I already mentioned earlier. Hatch makes one of the best reels on the market, the Iconic, and it's only $815 so I question the decision to get a Hyperspeed over a higher-end reel like Hatch. 

If you just really don't like cranking in line with any more turns than you absolutely have to, this is probably the right reel for you. I just don't think that's the most important factor to worry about in saltwater fly reels, particularly small ones like 7/8wt range. And again to reiterate, I think this is a perfectly fine reel (aside from price point) so I am not knocking it but at that price there are some very serious competitors to be aware of before you dive in.

I think the Lamson marketing here is smart in the sense they know how to appeal to the current trends, even if this is massive overkill. The kind of people who will most likely buy this reel are people who have never been saltwater fly fishing and have spent too much time on the forums and YouTube rabbit hole of reviews and advice. Engineers maybe or tech-spec guys. They obsess over retrieve rate and startup inertia and other useless things like that. You'll hear "expert advice" online about saltwater fly reels from some guy based in Oregon or Colorado, or even Maine. Meanwhile here in Florida (where Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, and almost every other popular species actually lives) we are out in the salt all the time and have been doing this for decades. So what do we know, right? 

Again this isn't to single out Lamson or anything (and again this is a cool reel), because the same happens with fly rods too. Several brands realized that to make the "most powerful 8wt rod" all they had to do was write "8wt" on a 9wt blank and voila! The most powerful 8wt rod anyone had ever cast before. Could easily handle lines a size or two heavy. Hmmmm. And then it doesn't load well with a "true-to-weight" fly line? Ok so, really what you did is make a 9wt that says 8wt on it. Several rod brands do this, believe me. It's easy to feel when you have compared them all. It's all part of a general trend to cater to people who haven't been fishing before, or who aren't very good casters and need a very heavy line to have a chance. Some of us who use heavy lines when we need to will of course also appreciate this benefit. Same goes for this new reel. 

For most people, simply holding onto the fly line and stripping in to bring the fish to the boat (probably only 30-50ft) is perfectly viable, and in fact it is faster than any reel will ever be. So if you're really a speed freak, learn to strip in a fish. Just don't try to boat flip it if you're new to fly fishing. Let the guide or your buddy get it.

  

Remember, this is just my two cents here. But if I just write generic reviews like everyone else saying "this new thing is the best new thing and you should buy it" then I am not providing any real value to my customers and readers. You probably won't find anything I wrote here anywhere else, at least not until after I've published it. Some of the freshwater fly shops "borrow" my information and act like they know what they are talking about. Can't tell you how many customers have told me they went into their local fly shop and started asking questions about saltwater fly fishing, and the guy pulls up my website in front of them to get them set up. Pretty funny stuff actually. Guys, buy your gear from us. Don't bring your gear you just purchased from the other guys and then ask my help and advice because "they didn't seem to really know what they were talking about" which I hear all the time. We appreciate your support and your business. Buy from pros. 

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1 comment

I don’t know if you’re familiar with my name, I’ve been doing this for about 50-years, have consulted with different companies, tons of writing, so I know the industry quite well. You write great reviews, no BS. I’m recommending folks, especially those new to the saltwater game to get their stuff from you guys. the industry needs more people like you. I wish you continued success.

Nick Curcione

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