Expert Review: Hatch Iconic 5+ Reel

Published on 07/03/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the reel, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2022.
Marshall McDougal, Fly Fishing Expert
By Fly Fishing Expert Marshall McDougal

All photos courtesy of Marshall McDougal

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the reel, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2022.

My take

The Hatch Iconic 5+ is a super versatile fly reel that has an incredible drag system. It is lightweight enough to put on a trout rod, while still offering enough room for a sufficient amount of backing to use in saltwater applications.

About the reel

  • Model: Hatch Iconic 5+
  • Reel Size: 5-7 wt
  • Backing Capacity: WF5F-130Y, WF6F-115Y, WF7F-100Y
  • Arbor Size: Large Arbor
  • Construction: Machined 6061 Aluminum with Type II Anodize Protection
  • Drag System: Sealed Drag
  • Drag Pressure: Not disclosed

About me

  • Preferred fishing style(s): Streamers and Dry Flies
  • Experience: 16 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: May 2022
  • Rod Paired with Reel: Sage Method 690-4
  • Line Paired Reel: Rio Intouch Outbound Short WF6F
  • Days tested: 15
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Texas Gulf Coast, Texas lakes and rivers
  • Species targeted with rod: Bass, Striper and Bonefish

How it performs


What I was looking for

When I started my search for a 6 wt reel, I was looking to get something that could be mounted on a streamer rod to fish for bass and striper. I needed something that had a large arbor for extra backing and a good drag system that also was not super heavy. The two biggest needs for me were a lightweight reel with a sealed drag that would be able to fight fish that like to make runs.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the new Hatch Iconic because of its versatility. Not only would this reel fit my needs, but the new sealed drag system would allow me to take this to the saltwater without any issues. This reel was also light enough to be able to throw on any trout setup I have, and use it in mountain streams.

What I love about it

  • Performance: I was shocked by how well this reel performed. Not only did it live up to my expectations, but it exceeded them. This lightweight reel packs a big punch with its fish stopping drag system!
  • Quality: These reels are machined aluminum, which makes them durable and light. They are slick-looking reels with attention to detail in mind on the finish.
  • Versatility: The Iconic 5+ is a very versatile reel. Not only will it handle both freshwater and saltwater, but the drag has enough strength to fight tough fish on a 7wt, as well as be light enough to slap it on a 5wt to target trout.
  • Durability: Bulletproof! I have slammed this reel on boat decks, dropped it in saltwater, and even had it fall out of my truck before I got it on my rod. This reel stands up to any durability test, and will handle the toughest of fishing days.
  • Use Case: Streamer and saltwater fishing. Although the versatility is limitless with this reel, it is best suited for hard fighting fish. It can be used for trout and other smaller species, but this reel will excel when you put the drag system to the test.
  • Build: Machined aluminum makes this reel light and durable. A well-built product from Hatch.
  • Aesthetics: Clean. Offered in multiple color combos, this reel looks great on any rod an angler wants to put it on! I paired it with a Sage Method, so I went with the silver color with red accents.

Issues I’ve encountered

It is extremely difficult to find a flaw to write about on this reel. I have fished it to its limits and put it through the ringer, and have yet to find something that I have an issue with. Overall, this reel will be with me on every destination trip I go on, as well as every day I take a quick work break to go chase some bucket mouths on my local waters.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite memory with this reel was lake fishing from a kayak. I had my rod and reel strapped to the side while padding through some flooded trees. I accidentally hit the butt of the rod hard on a paddle stroke and the combo fell off the kayak and into the water. I immediately dove in after it and was able to catch it before it sank too far (thanks to the lightweight reel). Once I regained my composure and was able to get settled back in on my yak, I turned around and launched a cast back into the flooded timber I had just pulled the rod and reel from, and boom! First cast, I was able to pull a bass out of the tree limbs and into the boat. A memory I will not soon forget!

Value for the money vs. other options

Of all the high-end reels on the market, I think the Hatch Iconic offers the best bang-for-your-buck. This reel is priced at $657 and is an American-made reel that is easy on the eyes, and tough on the fish.

Final verdict

With a high price tag, comes high-quality gear. There is no other reel on the market that I would trust as much as I trust Hatch reels. It has the ability to fight fish who like to make long runs, while being light enough to cast all day. The 5+ is not the only model I plan on purchasing from Hatch, and will be looking to upgrade all of my reels to the Iconic!

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