Hatch ICONIC 7 Plus Reel Review - The Best Saltwater Fly Reels

March 11, 2024
Hatch ICONIC 7 Plus Reel Review - The Best Saltwater Fly Reels
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Hatch ICONIC 7 Plus Reel Review - The Best (and Most Popular) Premium Saltwater Fly Reels

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What makes a reel "the best" for you? Choosing a saltwater reel is normally all about trade-offs. If it's a big reel that takes a lot of inches per turn, it's probably heavier. More drag? Heavier. Lightweight? "It's too light." Built really well? Probably expensive.

Hatch somehow balances all of these aspects in a superior way to most other reels out there. Probably why they are the best-selling reels we carry. There just aren't any significant disadvantages. I'd say the price is a little bit above some other options, but it's also a better product. There's a good reason we feature the Hatch Iconic reel series in almost every high-end rod combo we sell. Hatch sells the best out of all the high-end reels we carry. That's a statistic without bias - it's a fact. That's what everyone buys the most. 

This review is focused on the 7+ but the 9+ and other sizes of Iconic reels sell very well also. In fact in the 9/10/11 reel category, the 9+ is also the winner. 

One tough aspect about comparing fly reels these days is availability. There are some very nice saltwater reels made by companies that are still experiencing production issues so they never have reels available. In fact I can count at least four different popular fly reel companies that regularly take many months to ship anything you order. Some are still a year or more out on production. That's a long time if your big saltwater fly fishing trip is coming up soon. This isn't to knock any of these brands, it's just a reality when people are trying to go on a fishing trip fairly soon, or pick out a birthday present, or anything like that. So the real question isn't only "What's the best saltwater reel?" it's which one is the best that's available in a realistic timeframe? The answer is usually Hatch.

The entire Hatch ICONIC series sells very well, but the 7 Plus in particular is the number one bestseller at our shop here. That's just a fact. There are pros and cons to any rod or reel and we like to be fair in our reviews, but nobody can argue with me when I tell them what sells the most. Also, I should mention I have seen ZERO returns and ZERO failures on this reel since it came out. That's even more insane than the sales numbers. I am not saying there haven't been any at other shops but nothing with us and we sell lots of these reels.

So, what is it about these reels that makes them this popular? Build quality, reliability, looks, value? Drag numbers? Arbor size/inches per turn? Unlike some other reviewers we don't fixate on numbers alone to measure a fly reel because the reality is it needs to be great at lots of those aspects to be worth it. We take the more holistic approach because one number like "inches per turn" isn't enough to say a reel is better or worse than another. We judge how they actually perform on the water and we feel that matters much more. 


Keep in mind we run a saltwater fly shop so you can support us by shopping here if you find our reviews helpful!


*I'll do a deeper comparison of all the options at a later date, or feel free to ask me by phone or email any time. 


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