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Hello, old friend. The Hatch Finatic 7 Plus was the winner of our last 8-weight shootout and it’s been one of our best performing and best-selling reels ever since. To me, Hatch has always set the bar for what a great saltwater reel should be. This year they changed things up a bit by introducing the “new” Gen 2 Finatic. It’s got the same (more or less) exterior, but a totally new interior. Is that enough to fend off the competition for another 5 years? Find out.
8.6 ounces. Definitely not light.
There’s a lot to like about the Hatch drag system. They’ve really tightened up the waterproofness of the reel so you’re not going to see a lot of the issues the Gen 1 had. It’s also got one of the most linear drags out there. At half drag, it still gives you 2.4 lbs of drag or 44% of the max. They’ve taken care of you on the bottom end with a nice free-spool-preventing .26lbs of pressure.
The one thing that’s missing from the new and improved 7 Plus drag is strength. It maxes out at 5.5lbs. It’s like a sports car that can only do 70mph. The good news is that, since there’s no pressure on the system, 100% of that is effective and usable. Still it’s the biggest shortcoming of this reel.
Hatch spent a lot of time refining their sound. It’s fantastic!
I could easily go back and copy the text from my old review, since this hasn’t changed one iota. The Finatic picks up line at a respectable 9.22 inches per turn, which puts it in the middle of the pack. The size of the spool is also more than adequate for any 8-weight lines, and more if you decide to go with Hatch backing or PowerPro. If you need even more room, Hatch offers the ability to change to a mid-arbor spool, but you’ll be slowing down your line pickup to do it.
You can’t deny it. Hatch reels are sexy. They are easily my favorite reel to look at and, in their own way, just as cool as any reel out there. Maybe that’s why I have like 6 of them. They also offer a wide range of color options as well as some seasonal custom color releases.
The ergonomics are solid too. While Hatch doesn’t have my absolute favorite handle (it’s still great), they have done a really great job on the drag knob. While in a head to head competition, I’d still choose the knob on the CCF X2, the Finatic’s drag requires no pressure to turn it so they are functionally identical since you don’t need the extra torque.
One thing we didn’t test last time around was durability, but Hatch held up pretty well. It lacks the super hard finishes of some of the top reels to really stop all the damage. What I’m saying is that you can tell that this reel’s been dropped. It did much better on the dragging side of things. I also want to note that the reel seat is actually quite durable. We tried dropped it on the end and it definitely doesn’t bend easily, which should come as peace of mind to some since it can’t be removed.
Best in the business. Lifetime to the original owner + $0.
I will admit that with all of the hype and secrecy at iCast this year, I was expecting a true bomb to be dropped. Some other reel manufacturers even admitted to me that they were a little scared of what Hatch was going to be releasing. So when I saw the Gen 2 Finatic, I was a little let down.
Is the Hatch still a great reel? Yes. In fact, it's still at the top of our list, and if you don't need or want a big drag, this reel is perhaps the best one out there. Would I have loved to see it win the shootout again? Yes. Did they change the original Finatic enough to make that happen? No. It’s really hard to keep up with the competition with a design that’s 5 years old. I feel like they could have addressed any number of things to stay true to the Finatic while making a reel that was just a bit more competitive, like weight or retrieval rate.
I hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years for the next iteration.
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