count your fly reels until you try a Hatch
Total Score: 8.42 -
Is there really room for another premium fly reel manufacturer? The team at
Hatch thinks so and their lineup of reels are designed to address things they
felt were missing in existing competing offerings. The Monsoon 5 plus is
designed to be a “do it all” reel and makes use of some interesting design
concepts to create a reel that is looking to change the definition of “high-end”
fly reels as we know it.
Fly Reel Specifications
Large Arbor - Dacron 5: 130/6: 110/7:90
Mid Arbor - Dacron 5: 160/6: 140/7:120
black/silver, silver/blue, silver/green, silver/red
Machined from premium bar stock aluminum
MSRP (Extra Spool)
Meet the Hatch 5 plus...
I first learned about
Hatch when researching new reels for Steelhead fishing. I wanted a reel that
could deliver more drag pressure but still would feel lightweight. I have fished
many Abel, Nautilus and Galvan reels but the minute I saw the Hatch reels I knew
I had to try them. I immediately liked the porting on the reels as well as the
work done to make the frame truly one-piece, but more on that later.
...the reel comes in a collectable
tin with everything you see here, minus the line (reel, neoprene/sheepskin
pouch, tool, decal and warranty card)
thing I needed to do was procure the reels, so I headed to the California Fly
Shop and bought two of them retail, at 500 dollars apiece the total setup was
1200 dollars once they were spooled up with backing and Scientific Anglers
branded line….ouch. We purchased two reels so that we could compare the reel
with two different wt. lines side by side.
This reel is machined from
aircraft quality aluminum
The 5 Plus is described
as the company’s workhorse reel and can accommodate line weights from 5 to 7.
Because the reels are available with different color highlights it was easy to
discern which was which. There are four color combos available in all. Three of
them are silver with different color logos and one of them features the more
traditional looking black/silver combination.
The Allen wrench provided
is to access the guts of the reel
Before we get into the
details of the reel itself its worth taking a moment to note the attention to
detail Hatch put into the entire package. While most fly reels come in a simple
cardboard box with their logo silkscreened on there for identification (if
you’re lucky), Hatch has put together a total bundle that is more like unboxing
a fine watch than a fly reel. Inside printed tin anglers will find the 5 Plus
mounted within a cardboard seat with a registration card and instructions as
well as an Allan wrench for servicing the reel. The spool comes in a neoprene
pouch that is lined with sheepskin. This is one package worth keeping and the
tin makes a good place to store your reel when it is not in use.
Once the screw is loosened you can
remove the drag cassette
Once you get past the
packaging you will note that each reel is aggressively ported on both the frame
and spool. The feature that most attracted me to this reel at first glance is
the reel foot which is machined out of the same piece of aluminum, I’m talking 1
piece not two. Unlike other reels where the reel foot is bolted on the top of
the reel Hatch machines the foot right on top of the frame so there are no
screws. This reduces total weight to a minimum and eliminates one more point of
failure where the reel foot might loosen or the screws could possibly corrode.
Underneath is a one way bearing
which can be flipped to change the retrieve direction
The spool attaches to
the frame via a single bolt, much like a wheel on a GT car. This allows for
quick and easy spool changes. On the other side of the frame is the drag knob
which features clicking adjustment.
A look at the one way bearing and
Real World Test:
To test the 5 Plus reels I traveled from the Smith River on the Oregon border
all the way to Pyramid Lake Nevada, fishing in both rivers and lakes pursuing
everything from Browns to Lahonton Cutthroat trout and Pacific run Steelhead.
Take a look inside the cassette
and you can see the Rulon/stainless steel multi-disc drag system