hatch reel drag problem

A Hatch reel is expensive, but it’s worth it with its outstanding performance, especially when dragging. However, a Hatch reel drag problem may happen sometimes. 

This post will discuss the most common issues with your gear. Then, we can find solutions for each. Let’s follow our post to discover! 

Hatch Reel Drag Problem 

Some of the problems with the Hatch reel drag arise from maintenance. Here are particular causes and tips for maintaining your fishing gear properly.   

Saltwater Intrusion

Saltwater penetration is the biggest problem with the drag system on your Hatch reel. In some cases, you can’t avoid it. 

Although the reel’s construction is good at keeping saltwater from leaking into the system, you still need to dry it after use. If you ignore it for several months, the water accumulates and destroys the whole system. 

Rinsing the saltwater out with fresh water after usage is the only way to resolve this problem. Do not mind servicing the reel frequently for it to last longer. 

Excessive Tension

Even when setting the reel at its minimum, you may feel annoyed with the excessive tension. You need to clear the old grease from your reel because it is causing this problem. 

You can solve the severity by lubricating the system if the severity is modest. But once you find out the case worsens over time, ask customer support to service your gear. 

Many reel manufacturers offer long-term warranty and repair policies. They cover all the issues that you encounter while using their products. So, have your equipment fixed by professionals as soon as possible.

hatch reel drag problem

Locking Issues

You may be too busy to take care of your gear properly, or you maintain it incorrectly. Whatever your case, the debris will build up over time within the system, freezing it up. As a result, you can’t adjust the drag to the right fishing situation. 

The best solution for this issue is to open your reel and wipe all the excess debris away. Then, the dust buildup won’t lock the system anymore. 

You may find it hard to access components on your reel. Remember to check the manual carefully before removing any part of it. 

Knob Spinning Freely

In addition to the drag system locking up, sometimes you can’t control the drag system due to the faulty knobs.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do to remedy a broken knob; your only choice is to ask the Hatch service center for help. You can contact the repair team or all the dealers to talk about your problem. 

Often, the mechanic will fix the damaged knob for you. If it has broken down terribly, you will have a replacement. 

Precision Issues

Over time, your drag system’s precision may degrade, but it won’t happen soon. Normally, you can use it at its best for a few years after the first symptoms arise. 

Contact the manufacturer immediately if you have just bought the reel and experienced precision-related issues. Call the dealer and request a replacement, even if the fault is minor. 

hatch reel drag problem

Finatic vs. Iconic Hatch Reel 

The best way to avoid problems with your reel is to buy high-quality gear. We will recommend the two famous series of reel provided by Hatch right here. Let’s compare and choose the better one between Finatic vs. Iconic Hatch reel. 

Drag system 

Hatch has consistently delivered the industry’s top drags. The store has reels that “feel” tougher than hatches, but the brand’s internal parts are invincible.

Since Iconic lines are newer, they come with more features in the drag. So, expect better performance too. 

The manufacturer has upgraded their proprietary Ultraflon Drag System in the Iconic series with new carbon-filled material. This upgrade distributes heat more quickly and offers a smoother ride. 

With the new features added, you can say that the Iconic series has the smoothest drag system in the Hatch reel collection. 

hatch reel drag problem


Aside from the drag’s mechanical workings, the entire housing system and appearance have received a thorough makeover in both the Iconic and Finatic series. 

The potential of water or other objects to penetrate the drag system, even when sealed, has been one of the most common problems we have heard about the reels. 

If a malfunction occurs, Hatch has removed the set screw, the new spindle structure, and three points of water incursion at the drag knob.

In the end, the new drag construction will enable the user to repair it with a cap screw if a fisherman faces a dragging failure.

In this regard, we would like to focus on Iconic items as Hatch has been working on a lot of them. The drag gear is now a mechanism onto the actual, as opposed to being a reel component.

This design modification requires a larger drag knob, which is now easier to turn. Additionally, it takes less spinning when adjusting, making it simpler to modify while battling fish over an extended time.

If you’ve ever used a Hatch reel, you know how tough it can be to activate the drag system. 

Previously, you needed a Micro Allen Wrench Key to open the reel. But now, they all include a Hatch “Cap Wrench” to help you open and seal the drag mechanism.

Please note that although the Iconic model seems to outweigh its competitor, the Finatic item is still worth it. We recommend experimenting with both, and you can settle on the most suitable gear for your next fishing trip. 

hatch reel drag problem

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How do I clean my Hatch fly reel?

Hatch advises detaching the spool from the body and giving the reel a freshwater rinse after using it in saltwater. It would be best to use flowing tap water to eliminate any salt buildup from the pipe and backing completely. 

2. Does a fly reel have a drag?

Yes. There are two types of reel drag systems: spring-and-pawl and disc-drag. Both are good, but disc-drag is more popular.

The fly line can exit the reel at a very constant rate thanks to the “spring-and-pawl” drag system, which uses gearing within the fly reel. 

The disc-drag system, however, works more like an automobile’s braking system. Adjusting a pad inside the reel can increase or decrease the fly line’s tension. 

3. Why is drag important in fishing? 

A fishing reel’s drag works as a safety mechanism. It’s a force that allows you to spin your spool against the force pushing the line from its reel.


You may encounter problems with your Hatch reel several times. Most of them come from improper maintenance. So, it’s necessary to opt for high-quality gear and take care of it carefully to avoid mishaps. 

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. For any further information about Hatch reels, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading! 

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