count your fly reels until you try a Hatch
A good fly reel really serves one major purpose when it comes to casting and
that is to properly hold your line and backing and make it easy to strip line
when casting. Unlike conventional equipment casting distance is more about
making sure the reel is outfitted with the right line for the application and
you have the technique down. The 5 plus weighs only 7oz. (without line and
backing) so it is relatively light and easy to cast all day long.
Ms. Casey is ready to go fishing,
we spooled up one reel with sinking tip and another with floating line for
Most anglers will leave the reel in the configuration it comes from the factory
which is left hand retrieve. There are two reek options available, Large Arbor
(LA) and Mid Arbor (MA). If you need more capacity than the mid arbor spool will
hold nearly 20% more backing and line but for most applications the large arbor
spool will suit anglers just fine and delivers a slightly faster retrieve sue to
the diameter of the spool.
The reel seat is machined out of
the same piece of aluminum for a one piece design
The larger the reel and
the bigger the species you are fishing for the more important reel integrity is,
that is the strength of the reel. Hatch has created a unique spool and frame
design that sweeps backwards creating “dimension” rather than just flat edges
like you would normally find on most fly reels. Because the spokes extend
towards the inner frame the reel not only feels more balanced but increases
overall spool strength. When you strip line or retrieve there is a pleasant soft
click which is audible and provides some positive feedback making it easy to
properly gauge your speed.
Each reel comes with a sheepskin
Hatch also changed their
crank design in 2009 and while the new knob is still machined out of aluminum it
now features a more ergonomic design. The crank felt good pinched between my
fingers when retrieving and delivered a positive grip even when wet. I seem to
prefer aluminum cranks over wood mainly due to long term durability. Wood cranks
look and feel great when new but after prolonged exposure to the elements often
dull when they lose their finish.
...which can cover the reel when
on a rod and not in use
The drag system Hatch has designed is phenomenal and delivers exceptional
stopping power but also proved to be extremely smooth. The secret is a
multi-disc drag cassette that loads alternating Rulon and stainless steel discs
which together increase the total drag surface area over what you would normally
find in a fly reel of this size. During testing even after prolonged runs
Steelhead could do little to alter the performance of this drag. Because there
are so many washers the heat is efficiently distributed over a range of washers
throughout the stack.
Ready for a dunk?
This system is designed
to be water resistant, maintenance free and self lubricating. During testing I
found this system to be among the very best that I have ever fished in terms of
ability to adjust on the fly and sheer stopping power. While the Lahontan
Cutthroat Trout didn’t make as many extended runs the Steelhead in the Smith and
Klamath Rivers really put the 5 Plus’s drag system to the test. It responded
with a drag system that was both powerful and smooth so that fish tired quickly
while the drag was still able to protect the tippet.
We test the drag system after
submersion and it worked beautifully
After a few months of
fishing the 5 Plus I encountered my one and only hiccup with this reel during an
inspection of the drag. I had pulled out the cassette to check if there were any
contaminates inside and found the system to be both clean and still well
lubricated. I then rotated the drag setting all the way back and forth and
suddenly found it completely locked up. I contacted Hatch through their website
support email and was responded to within 24 hours by a rep named Andrew.
A Lahontan Cutthroat taken with
the Hatch 5 Plus
His response: “Thank you
for contacting us – you must have an older drag that has since been updated to
eliminate that lock up action – we were having an occasional reel show up with
the drag locked in the open position. We did some testing and found it was two
brass parts touching and galling on each other b/c of being the same material.
We changed one of the parts to stainless steel and Viola! We were in the money.
If you would like to pop out the drag assembly with the bearing and mail back to
me, I’ll send you a new drag with the updated materials. Please send me your
address and the color of your 5Plus. Thanks again,"
- Andrew Dickinson
This reel was really overkill for