This summer I finally got to purchase a reel I was drooling over for about two years, the Hatch Outdoors 5 plus. At first glance, the reel looks very technical, even in some senses it could be said to look literally "sharp", and it is all due to the exquisite machining that goes on in the Hatch machine shop down in Vista, CA. Its really no surprise that in the same shop some of the best putters in the world are made, the same ones that you will see being used in the masters and things of that stuff, Im not a golfer so I could really care less about the putters. But the reels are absolutely bomber. The aesthetics on this reel are one of the highlights, and could be called an artwork of engineering and fishing thought, but the real heart of this reel is its stacked disk drag. On the 5 Plus, there are 8 actual braking surfaces, which is where what
Hatch calls EBS (effective braking surface) comes in. Basically the drags are really really strong, and as smooth as the skin of your first girlfriend. The startup inertia is also pretty killer, being that there is almost no grab to start off with.
The porting on the 5 plus is very extensive, but even with that the reel still feels sturdy in your hands, unlike something like a Lamson being that they feel like they have the strength of your empty can of PBR. These reels are definitely built to last, and to take a beating. The photos of this 5 have been taken after a full season of bouncing around in the bottom of a sled in alaska, and easily noticed is how pristine the reel still looks to be.
Three of the features on this reel that really spike the punch for me are that of the easily accessible drag knob, the single piece reel foot, and the ease of swapping spools. I can remember more then a few cases of my buddies complaining of having a hard time adjusting their drags. Anything is hard to do when your fingertips are blue, especially trying to adjust the dime sized drag knob on your reel. But with this one, its easy to grab on to and the outside edge of the knob is grooved enough to grab into numb fingers without feeling sharp.
The single piece machined in reel seat is just a little kicker to the whole package really. Ive had one reel in the past explode off of its reel seat and believe me I was pissed. With this type of machining something like that would never happen. Last of all the spool is extremely easy to swap, being that all it consists of is a large screw with an oversized cap, which is easy to access.
As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. This 18" Agulowak River Bow was caught on a dry on pretty light tippet for fishing in AK, and the smooth drag definitely helped me land this beauty. This was actually the first fish caught on the reel, and i was very impressed.
This arctic char was actually the last fish I got in my summer in AK, and it was a good way to finish it off, the hatch yet again performed flawlessly, especially during some of the jarring and blistering runs this brute gave me.
If your in the market for a new reel, give the boys at hatch a call and you will not be disappointed. And as they say, Hatch reels can be found at flyshops "in the know."
(877) 634-4343 hatchoutdoors.com