Hatch Iconic 9 Plus Fly Reel Review
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I'll admit it. Of all the reels in this shootout, I've fished the Hatch the most. Not this Hatch, per se, but the older Finatic. And the Finatic is more or less the same reel as this one. And both are great. The Iconic is so great that it tied for FIRST place in our Tarpon/Big Game Reel Shootout. While the new(-ish) Hatch Iconic is the latest from a long line of great Hatch reels, Hatch has been making shootout-winning reels for a while now and the 9 Plus Iconic is now no exception. Keep calm and read on.
10.3 ounces. One of the differences between the Iconic and the Finatic is weight and the 9 Plus definitely lost some. That said, 10.3 oz is about average in this shootout.
The other update to the Iconic is its new 'more sealed' drag. It tops out at about 10.5 lbs which isn't that much at the top end, but because you can easily turn it to a hard stop, you can actually use it all. And while 10lbs is *probably* all you'll ever really need, it doesn't stand out in the test.
And while the top-end drag isn't necessarily show-stopping on the Iconic, it IS the most linear drag and boasts a whopping 43% at the halfway mark. It's probably the best part about the reel - a nice, linear, and VERY predictable drag. As you'd expect, there's no startup inertia either.
The drag bottoms out at a good enough to stop all but the hardest of free-spooling .2 lbs.
Drag Test Graphs
If there's one area that the Iconic not only declined from the Finatic, but didn't score particularly well in, it's the sound. It's just too quiet. Sure, you'll get the right feedback, but it's not going to give you the same thrill you'll get on a Nautilus.
Spool & Retrieval Rate
The Iconic's spool is a little below average in the shootout. Again, it's fine - the theme for this review. It will pick up about 11 inches per turn and holds a hair under 300 yards of 30lb Dacron. Enough for any GT or tarpon expedition.
Looks & Ergonomics
Hatch makes a fantastic reel. It looks great and exudes quality. It's one of the things that Hatch has always done well and it still does! The Iconic also scored near the top on ergonomics. It's got an awesome aluminum handle and an easy-to-grab drag knob. While it's not as big as the Sage Thermo, it's more or less fully functional and it's easy enough to turn it through the entire range of drag.
Lifetime to the original owner + $0 fee.
As you've gotten through this review, you've noticed a theme about the Iconic. It's fine - which is to say that it doesn't do anything particularly exceptionally well... but it also doesn't have any glaring issues. As this is the last in the reviews of our top 3 finishers, I find myself reflecting a bit: the Mako is too heavy, the GTX doesn't have enough drag adjustability, and the Iconic lacks the 'WOW' factor of the other two. There's just no perfect reel, but it's easy to forget as you read this, we only tested the very best of the best reels here. If this was a full shootout, the Iconic would have really stood out as an exceptionally good reel in a crowd of 50.
So how did it tie for first? Like the tortise... slow and steady. It's not a reel that's going to blow your hair back, but it will perform when you've got a great fish on the end of your line. It's like that old high school buddy - sure you've got friends that are more fun and more interesting now, but he's always there when you need help moving furniture.
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- A solid performer across the board
- No major flaws
- We really would have liked to see some bigger spool design upgrades over the Finatic