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Hatch Outdoors 9 Plus Fly Reel Review



Hatch: 9 Plus Fly Reel


Weight: 11.0 oz
Spool Diameter: 4.25inches
Spool Width: 1.375 inches
Mid Arbor Spool: Line + Yards of Backing: 9 + 450 30# 10 + 400 30#, 11 + 375 30#
Large Arbor Spool: Line + Yards of Backing: 9 + 300 30# 10 + 250 30#, 11 + 200 30#
Retail Price: $725.00

When we first met John and Danny of Hatch Outdoors several years back, we thought they were truly on to something good. Hatch engineering was right on the money, but our biggest issue was that they just didn’t have a full suite of fly reels in their lineup, (as in “bigger” reels). We went ahead and brought in the 3 Plus, 5 Plus and the 7 Plus with the anticipation that a 9 to 12 weight reel would some be on the way. Well, enter the Hatch 9 Plus and, now, we can’t get enough! These reels have all proven to be wonderful reels with powerful, smooth drags and we wouldn’t expect anything different from the 9 Plus. From the initial stripping of fly line from the 9 Plus, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be disappointed. The big question; could this drag hold up against big fish?

Cutting edge design, impeccable machining and powerful drag is how I would describe the Hatch 9 Plus fly reel. Alternating stacks of stainless steel and Rulon® discs are the foundation for this reel drag and along with stainless one-way bearing, gives you big fish stopping power and protection.

When you decide to enter the flooded fly reel arena, you better know what you’re doing. And when you enter the field of fly reel manufacturing, you better have something different, and better, that works, but without varying too far off the path. Welcome to Hatch Fly Fishing Reels. These reels are truly stylish looking without pushing over the edge, and with innovative ideas like an integrated reel foot that is machined as part of the frame,( no oxidizing foot screws here!) and a truly, fully sealed drag and bearing system, these Hatch reels are taking names and kicking fanny.

To reach this level of design with minimal weight, Hatch engineers applied a dimensional type spoke frame instead of the traditional flat, thick spokes. This allowed them to reduce the number of spokes, while increasing the look (“coolness”) of the reel, and increasing frame integrity.

The reel handle and counterbalance are perfectly trued, so the reel spins cavitation free, preventing uneven force distribution during a wild run. Hatch employs Type II anodization and polishes only the areas of the reel that come in contact with the fly line, thus providing protection while eliminating reel bright “flash” that can alert potential prey..

The 9 Plus is designed with two spools of different arbors depths, a mid arbor for 11 and 12 weight lines and a large arbor for 9 and 10 weight lines.

To top it all off the reels come with a neoprene pouch in a really cool, collectible tin.

Aluminum, what else? No, just kidding, but yes, the Hatch reels are machined from the highest grade bar stock aluminum. This means that each and every aluminum piece of this fly reel is cut from a solid block of aerospace grade metal.. There is no casting or pressing to create anything on these fly reels. This adds to the reel’s integrity and strength.

The sealed drag system contains a precisely calculated size and number of Rulon® and stainless steel discs. This sizing and numbering has to do with the engineering for the Effective Braking Surface area. Basically, the correct number and size of discs is dictated by the amount of drag needed for each size fly reel; the 9 Plus has eleven discs, 6 Rulon® and 5 stainless. That gives you 10 effective interactive drag surfaces, and a larger contact surface area than most single, large flat surfaces.

The one-way roller bearings are stainless steel and even though they never see any water, are non-corrosive and do not need lubrication.
Fit and Finish…

The 9 Plus has a stylishly raked spoke frame which gives the fly reel its cutting edge looks while adding strength and integrity. Each reel has a clear, unpolished anodized finish providing the reel a dull aluminum color, although black is also available. All Hatch reels are accented with a matching color logo, model and size names, thin striping on the handle and counterbalance, and as a final touch, the drag cap is colored to match, too.

Sealed drag of 11 stacked Rulon® and stainless steel disc washers Fully Machined and Type II anodized aluminum Stainless Made in USA

Reliability, Durability and Customer Support …

Relatively new to the fly fishing industry, Hatch fly reels are quickly becoming one our most popular brands. Their design and engineering is second to none and this is evident by the lack of returned reels. There have been very few reels brought back , with the largest issue being adjustment range of the Hatch drag. Some customers like a reel that locks down completely, where as the Hatch reels have a slight amount give when tightened all the way down. The guys at Hatch can easily adjust the drag, so it will lock down for you, if you so desire.

Hatch stands behind every reel they manufacture and offer a warranty against any manufacturer’s defects in materials or craftsmanship for the life of the product. Hatch publishes all telephone and email contacts and is available on the web. John and Danny were once outsiders in the fly fishing industry, and were told a whole bunch of “you can’t do that”, so they did it anyway. Anyone that bucks the system better make a good product, because that’s what it all comes down to. Hatch makes a great product.
Overall Rating…

Move over, boys at the top, Hatch Outdoors with the 9 Plus is moving in. This fly reel looks good and it fishes good. I used the 9 Plus on an eleven weight and the reel performed quite well. The mid-arbor spool provided ample backing capacity at over 200 yds of 30# Dacron, the pickup ratio was excellent, and the drag, while performing without a hitch, could have tightened down a tad more for the eighty plus pound tarpon I fought . Several fish were runners, not jumpers, so it was gut check time. However, a quick palm and the fish were stopped! If you’re looking for a change from the traditional, but want a strong fly reel, grab a Hatch 9 Plus. I think you’ll be impressed as I am.

I have been fly fishing the saltwater environs now for more than 15years and grew up with a fishing rod of one type or another in my hands. I have been in the fly fishing industry for more than 10 years and have been lucky enough to be exposed to most of the major manufacturers of fly rods, reels, waders, clothing…I hope this review helps you decide on which products to purchase.

-Richard Montgomery

PROS –A thing of beauty strapped to any fly rod. But beauty is only design-deep, as this is one brute of a fly reel. A series of eleven, alternating, stacked Rulon® and stainless washers is the centerpiece of this big fish, tough fly reel. Two different arbor size spools are available for the frame of the 9 Plus.

CONS – The reel looks so good you may not want to fish with it, but please do. Some people may feel the drag range doesn’t tighten enough. Some anglers like to lock it up, but the 9 Plus is designed to apply just the right amount of pressure to control any big fish.

BOTTOM LINE – The Hatch fly reel is a great looking fly reel that provides a powerful, fully sealed disc drag system. Designed by fly anglers that thought there something missing in the fly industry and set out to fill the void. The result is one fine fly reel.

Check out our selection of Hatch Fly Reels.