Mediocre fly reels…step aside! Having now spent dozens of hours on the water with a Hatch fly reel, I can tell you that it lives up to the praise and accolades the company is getting. When a relative newcomer on the reel scene is quickly winning over guides and professionals who work on the water, there is usually good reason for it.
The first time I laid hands on a Hatch Reel, I was impressed with the heft of the thing. Dainty~no. Delicate looking~no. The reel has a real business-like, industrial look to it that really does inspire confidence.
One glance at the back plate of this Hatch Cyclone fly reel reveals the amount of material that is used, and machined away to execute it’s design. As we all know, appearances mean nothing when a fish takes off, you need to have a reel that performs. Hatch reels do just that!
I’ve had this reel in the back of my vest for some time, and its been my companion on countless adventures, big and small. Migratory browns and steelhead in NY, bass in warm Ontario Lakes, trout in stocked ponds….life was good. The reel survived a couple of ugly falls on slippery clay banks that gave away, and the regular treatment reels enjoy when you’re focused on fishing. Not a single glitch. (The clay washed out in 5 minutes with the help of some warm tap water and a friend’s toothbrush) Still, I was convinced that there must be a “chink in the armor.” A 5/6 weight set up is too light for what I consider to be the most amazing warm water fishing experience there is~GAR on the flats!
I was determined to see this drag system under the pressure of 30C temperatures and numerous, hard-fighting gar in a single day. At the end of it all, the rod and line proved to be a bad idea, but the Hatch Reel made short work of every fish hooked. Just awesome! The bottom line~these reels are excellent. A few things that I think contribute to the success of Hatch products…
Designed and built to withstand the rigors of a saltwater environment, Hatch has improved on the design of traditional reels in eliminating the reel foot as a separate, mechanically fastened part. Salt water can get between the reel foot and frame on a typical fly reel, ultimately compromising both the finish, and purchase the machine screws have in the material. The Hatch solution~the frame and reel foot are machined from a SINGLE piece of high grade aluminum.
A decision that no doubt contributes to the price of these reels….but WOW~no shortcuts here! All exposed parts are metal, housing an incredibly strong sealed rulon disc drag system. If there is room for improvement..I can’t see it.
The spool keys into place, secured by a single thumb screw
In the time I’ve had this reel, Hatch has already re-vamped their line up to include models as light as their “3 Plus” (lines 3/4/5) all the way up to their “9 Plus” (lines 9/10/11/12) They are clearly not resting on their laurels! Exciting new frames, anodized accents…Hatch has been quick to answer not only the functional challenges of producing a modern fly reel, but is right up to speed on the aesthetics too.
The next time you’re in the market for a high quality fly reel, do yourself a favor and check out Hatch Outdoors!