Hatch Outdoors might be most well known for their bomb-proof fly reels, but over the past few years, they’ve put out some pretty awesome product on the terminal-tackle side things as well.. Ahem, like their premium backing for example. Hatch recently released their new Professional Saltwater Series of tippet, leader material, and tapered leaders, and since we were able to get our paws on some, we thought we’d tell you what we liked about it.
We’re not going to pretend we understand the intricacies of the extrusion process or the chemical makeup of fluorocarbon versus monofilament. However, we feel we have a good idea of what we like in our bonefish leaders, and Hatch’s Professional Saltwater leader and tippet material fit the bill. Here’s a rundown on what we liked.
Hatch Professional Saltwater Series Tippet
- High grade fluorocarbon. We say it all the time, but at Andros South our bonefish aren’t overly spooky. You could probably catch fish with nothing but a straight shot of 20 lb. maxima! With that said, they’re still bonefish, and stealth can be very important at times. Therefore, we like to use fluorocarbon tippet on our bonefish leaders. Its strong, more resistant to abrasion than standard nylon mono, and is nearly invisible in the water. According to Hatch, all Professional Series leader and tippet material is made from the two highest grades of fluorocarbon available, and we like the sound of that.
- It’s stiff, but not too stiff. For the most part, we use pretty large flies compared to typical bonefish standards. Therefore we like leader and tippet material that’s stiff in order to turn over large flies into the wind. Soft and supple leaders made from plain ol’ monofilament work great for presenting delicate trout flies, but they don’t get the job done as well on the flats, particularly in windy conditions. The Professional Series Tippet is pretty stiff stuff, and when attached to the Professional Series Tapered Leader, we had no problem turning over standard lead eye bonefish flies into the wind. Tippet material that’s too stiff sometimes doesn’t knot well, but we found the Professional Series tippet to be a good balance between knotability and stiffness.. But more on that below.
- It knots well. Fluorocarbon is typically much harder than standard nylon monofilament, and because of this, one down side to some fluorocarbon offered today is its ‘knotability.’ The Professional Series Tippet actually knotted extremely well. It didn’t make that ugly ‘clicking’ sound (usually a sign of leader damage) when drawing blood knots tight or tying on flies, and we found that to be a huge plus.
- Bomber spool. While it might not be a big deal to some, if you’re like us and pretty much live with a spool of tippet in your pocket, you appreciate a spool designed to actually keep the tippet on the spool. The spool used on the Professional Series Leader and Tippet material is a rugged well designed spool with a tight fitting elastic and a groove to lock the tippet in place, so that it actually stays in place.. Seriously! Check out the photo below.
Hatch Professional Series Tapered Leaders
- Stiff for a tapered leader. Most of the time at Andros South, we prefer hand tied leaders to allow us to fine tune the taper best suited for the situation. For that, Hatch offers leader material from 30 pound test to 80 pound test, followed by tippet ranging from 8 pound test to 25 pound test to cover your bases. However, we understand the convenience of knotless tapered leaders, and therefore Hatch also offers their Professional Series fluorocarbon tapered leaders, featuring many of the same properties listed above. A common complaint to knotless tapered leaders is that softer materials are often used in order to create a taper through an extruding machine, ultimately leader to a more supple leader. However, this typically applies to standard nylon monofilament leaders. Fluorocarbon is quite a bit harder than standard mono, therefore good turnover can still be achieved from a knotless leader. If you like knotless leaders, and are planning to fish the salt, we highly recommend giving these a try!
- Super low memory. When we first checked out the Pro Series tapered leaders, we were told that it has such low memory you can ‘pull any hatch leader out of the package, stretch it for 3 seconds, and it will straighten out perfectly.’ We initially thought, ‘yeah right..’ Sure enough however, we pulled one out, gave it a quick swipe of the hand, and it was as straight as an arrow! Why does this matter? Its tough to lay your fly and leader out straight to a target if your leader is not straight to begin with, and no one wants to burn lines into their hand attempting to straighten out a leader.
We really like Hatch’s new Professional Series of leader and tippet and plan on putting it to the full test this season at Andros South. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted.
The Pro Series leader and tippet are available at all Hatch dealers in the know (click here to find one nearest to you), and retails for $22.00 per 25 meter spool f tippet, $38.00 per 50 meter spool of leader material, and $13.00 per tapered leader . Not cheap, but not bad considering the piece of gear that breaks the most often.. Think about it!
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