Jul 30, 2012

Hatch Finatic 9 Plus - Spey Reel Review

Hatch Finatic 9 Plus Fly Reel

Over the years I have grown fond of reels that have light clicker drag systems. These drags keep just enough tension to prevent the line from free spooling. When trying to stop, slow or maintain perfect tension on a fish, it all depends on the use of your palm or fingers to apply tension manually. The human touch, as I like to call it, has dominated my fishing for years, but maybe this preference has resulted from a lack of trust in my equipment?

I was happy to get out on the Deschutes. Other than just taking in the spectacular landscape, I had a couple goals in mind. I wanted to see how the Hatch Finatic 9 Plus would work as a spey reel. But I also wanted to hook one of these hot early run steelhead - simply because it is one of the greatest events I can think of. Anyways, my hopes were not dashed in either respect.

When I got to play around with the new Hatch Finatic 9 Plus, I was blown away. As it turned out, I could depend on the drag to do the work better than I could manually. And that’s saying a lot, especially when you’re dealing with bright fish that have a tendency to go ballistic after taking a fly.

I fished it on a 6127-4 Echo 3 and a 7136-4 Sage One and it balanced out appropriately. I think a solid range would be for 6-8 weight spey rods, but be sure to get the Mid-Arbor spool which allows more capacity for backing and thick shooting heads. So it balances out and provides enough capacity for the spey game… Ok, now on to what makes a Hatch a Hatch: High grade materials that are precisely machined into a perfectly functioning tool. Seriously. When you pick one up, spin the spool, test the drag, bounce one up and down in your palm and then simply stare at it, you just know that you’re holding something out of the ordinary. I’ll stop there, but here are a few highlights:

-The solid metal reel seat is machined from the same chunk of aluminum as the reel housing! It’s all one piece – which means no loosening screws and wiggling reels.

-Stout, comfortable metal reel handle

-Large metal drag knob is easy to adjust and fine tune.

-Spool locks easily into place with no loose parts to worry about.

-Stacked disc drag system is fully sealed, smooth and has serious stopping power.

-High grade anodizing fights corrosion.

Hatch Finatic 9 Plus Fly Reel

So on the Deschutes… I was out there early and sliding around on some greasy ledge rock. The sun had yet to pierce the skin of the river and I was swinging a little hair wing pattern across a tail out when a steelhead struck. I must say that this moment could not have been spent any better.

Like a July fish does, it took off. I had my drag set pretty low when he ate but then I tightened up to try to keep him in the pool. He did, but it took a lot of give and a lot of take. The whole bit went down with the drag staying true and keeping the perfect amount of tension. It was strange not needing to add some skin to the spool, but it wasn’t long before my confidence in the reel took hold. He darted this way and that way and my heart grew warm when he finally relented and he lay over on his side, illuminating our little corner of the canyon.

I know people adore these reels for saltwater adventures. After all, they hold up to the whims of tough fish and tough environments. They are smartly designed and they are machined from the finest materials.

Add a two hander and you have a beautiful, cutting edge spey reel.

Have a good time,

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