Looking at getting a hatch 9+ for an 8wt of mine. I have never owned one before and I had one question. They offer a large and mid arbor reel. Besides spool width are the capacities and weight the same? Is there an advantage of one over the other?
Location: Penobscot River, Grand Lake Stream, West Branch, East Outlet, Intercoastal Florida
I bought a Hatch Reel at LL Bean's a few years ago. I had trouble getting the spool off. It would not turn. Had to take pliers. I returned the reel. I know the first generation reels had drag problems. Maybe Gen 2 is improved. So many great reels out there. Why buy one that has a history of problems.
I have two Gen 1 Finatic 9 that I think are great reels. I had them upgraded to Gen 2 spec, but only because they were going on an Alaska trip and I wanted them serviced anyway. By the way, the drag problem that Mecast referenced was related to heat build up...think tarpon in the salt, not steelhead and was a legit issue resolved in the Gen 2 version.
The only difference between the large and mid arbor versions is line capacity and, subsequently, the loaded weight. I have both size spools and for freshwater fishing I think either works fine particularly if you use hatch/gel spun backing.
I once have owned gen 1 5+ with both mid and large arbor spool. The difference was not so obvious (mid is approx. 1/4" deeper) and did not feel a difference in retrieve speed. I will choose the mid for more versatility in line capacity.
I have had several hatch, a couple of Abel’s, some Ross and so one. I love my hatch reels, never had an issue and they are local for me down south. The abel’s Are great and 2 of mine are from Steve and he is a great guy.
I recently got a speyco, still waiting for it to arrive.
I would tell people to go feel the reels play with them, see what feels good in the hand. All the top reels will perform well.
I have had drags fail on Hatch, Galvan, Speyco, and Tibor... so none of the "good" manufacturers are immune. Hatch customer service is very easy to work with, though. I still use a Hatch 9, LA, and run gel-spun backing. No issues with capacity.