Lamson Liquid Max 6

The liquid Max 6 has Thomas Clancy rethinking drags

Over-engineered is one of those buzz phrases often thrown around by the fly fishing industry. I used to think drags on fly reels fell into this category too. Sure, in 8-weights and above, used on bigger, meaner targets, a premium drag is definitely a worthy investment. But why would you bother with Lamson’s Liquid Max in its smallest size, the 6?

In Australia, a six-weight reel is a bit of a jack of all trades tool. 6-weights are one of the most popular weights for chasing Australian bass in our coastal freshwater rivers and lakes, and they’re also frequently used for chasing bread and butter estuary species such as bream, flathead, tailor and Australian salmon. Most trouties will also have one or two 6-weight outfits stashed away. It’s tempting, therefore, to kill two birds with one stone and use the one reel for both fresh and saltwater pursuits.

This can be OK for a short while, but those that become addicted to the salty stuff and want to spend more time wading the flats or drifting with the tide need to think of the long term implications of saltwater use on gear that isn’t designed for such. Trust me when I say that salt is a bastard of a thing, and sand isn’t too far behind it.

This is where the qualities of the Liquid Max 6 come into play. The benefits lie not in the drag’s very capable stopping power but in making sure your reel does what it is meant to do and does it for a long, long time, thanks to its bulletproof design that flicks sand and salt the bird.

After fighting, and slowly losing, the constant battle against the sand and salt these last few years, I have finally made the transition to fully sealed reels on my saltwater six weights.

Aside from the longevity benefits of the drag, you’re also getting the same stopping power found in Lamson’s premium saltwater reels, like the Litespeed M and Centrefire. While a laughable selling point if all you’re catching are flathead and bream, it comes into its own if you’re hunting down our estuary pelagics like the Australian salmon, bonito and tailor. 

The Liquid Max 6 sports an ultra large arbor found on its bougier brother, the Litespeed M, and while I was a little unsure of the design initially, after experiencing its super speedy line pick up, I honestly now can’t live without it. In fact, I’m so reliant on it now that regular sized arbor reels often feel fiddly and inefficient in hand.

At $600 AUD the Lamson Liquid Max 6 is an affordable reel that punches well above its weight