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Freshwater Reels

Hatch Iconic 4-Plus Fly Reel

Bomb-proof, but a tad heavy.
Kirk Deeter author.
Kirk Deeter
February 29, 2024
Hatch | Iconic 4-Plus Fly Reel
product description
“The Hatch Iconic 4+ fly reel bridges the gap in size and weight between the 3+ and 5+ models. If you’re looking for the perfect reel for your 9-foot 5-weight fly rod, then look no further.” – Hatch Outdoors
company ethos
“Hatch Outdoors’ mission is to make your angling endeavors extraordinary by providing you with top quality tools that instill confidence and enhance your overall experience. We work hard to provide premium quality products that push the boundaries of design and innovation, proving our worthiness in your investment and our name.” – Hatch Outdoors

I became a fan of Hatch reels when I bumped into John Torok, one of the company’s original partners, in 2007, when he was bopping from fly shop to fly shop on Colorado’s Front Range, trying to convince the owners to carry his new line of reels. He slid me a couple samples, and Romano and I went and tied them to a motorcycle to conduct the infamous “motorcycle reel test” for Field & Stream magazine. During our first reel tests (16 years ago), we half expected to burn the drags up, but Hatch more than held its own. And from that point, the company experienced a meteoric rise–it’s fair to say that over the next 10 years, Hatch became one of the hottest brands in fly fishing.

Product story

Part of that, of course, is attributable to the distinctive, classy look of Hatch reels. If you play golf, you know all about Scotty Cameron putters. Well, it’s the same machine shop operation in Vista, California, that mills those putters as well as Hatch reels. 


The other part was attributable to performance. Hatch reels have completely enclosed drag systems, and the tolerances are among the tightest and most uniform in the industry. And they are tougher than rocks. I’ve subsequently fished Hatch reels in different models all over the world, from the flats to the jungle, from trout rivers in the West, to above the Arctic Circle in Russia, and there’s never been a failure or a malfunction. I decided to carry Hatch reels on trips where I didn’t have the luxury of bringing many backups. 

There’s only a couple knocks to talk about. They’re heavy. In the older models, at least, if you cranked the drag knob all the way tight, the reel would lock up. And frankly, though the model names have changed and there have been some subtle refinements, you’re still looking at pretty much the same animal, now named “Iconic” that’s been around for almost 20 years.


Bomb-proof design. I’ve seen trucks run over them, I’ve seen them frozen in ice, I’ve seen them sizzle in the sun, and none of that phases a Hatch reel.

I wouldn’t call the drag-adjustment knob “sensitive,” especially not compared to another premium reel like a classic Charleton. But it’s functional, and the drag reliably stays where you set it.

Premium machining. Ultra-tight tolerances. Reel foot integrated into the frame. 

Very smooth start-up performance.


They’re obviously designed with an eye toward saltwater fishing. Great for the flats, but arguably overkill on trout rivers.

They’re heavy. I fish 3+ and 4+ sizes on a 5-weight, and find the 5+ too much for a 5-weight. Just know to size down, and you’re fine.

You need a special hex wrench, which comes with the reel, to switch from left-to-right-hand retrieve. It’s a simple process, but if you don’t do it right away and lose the wrench, it becomes a process to figure out.


Ranging from almost $600 for a smallish trout reel, to over a grand for a tarpon reel, it’s pretty hard to call those bargain prices. But they’ll last forever (usually). 


They look great. They’ve become kind of a status symbol for seasoned anglers. And occasionally, the company offers custom designs that sell out and become collectors’ items within days, if not hours.


Like we said earlier, we’ve seen them run over by trucks and live to fish another day.

  • Price: $646
  • Sizes: Line weights 4-6
  • Weight: 5.25 ounces
  • Colors: Clear/Blue, Clear/Red, Black/Silver, Gray/Black
  • Drag: Carbon-filled drag material to dissipate heat
  • Handle: Aluminum handle, reducing the risk of galvanic corrosion
  • Arbor: Large (3.4-inch diameter)
  • Warranty: Hatch warranty

Hatch Iconic 4+ fly reel: years of engineering, innovation, hard work and testing...

Hatch warranty.

“All Hatch reels and products are carefully inspected to assure product consistency and quality, and are guaranteed against manufacturer’s defects in materials and craftsmanship for the life of the product, while it is available on the market. The limited lifetime warranty only applies to the original owner and is non-transferable. Any defective Hatch product will be repaired or replaced (at our option) at no charge for parts and labor. This warranty does not cover damage caused by accident, misuse, mishandling (including the use of non-Hatch tools on reels), neglect, modification, engraving paint fill, anodize color variance, or damage done to custom anodize pieces.”

Likely buyers

Who should buy the Iconic? Obviously, Hatch reel aficionados and loyal followers of the brand. The angler who wants to, perhaps, transition from trout fishing to saltwater and wants a thoroughbred for the flats. People who have the money to spend on a reel that might cost as much, or more, than the rod they’re fishing.


If I’m going to any far-off destination, and I’m dealing with gear weight restrictions, and can only carry one or two reels, I’ll often pack Hatch reels. I size down, because I don’t trust the number on the side of the reel to match my line choices.

Admittedly, these reels might be a bit of overkill for the purely trout-focused angler, particularly those who prefer lighter reels on light rods, and those who think fully-encased, disc-drag reels are overkill, and are perfectly happy with click-pawl drags.  

But my feeling with reels has always been to err on the side of durability and performance–you can always loosen the drag if you want more play–and it’s hard to argue against the durability and performance that Hatch consistently delivers.

Find the Hatch Iconic 4+ fly reel with our trusted partner:

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