Best Penn Fishing Reels 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to fishing reels, Penn is one of the best-known names. Having launched in the early 1930s, they’ve gained a lot of popularity and experience that they use to improve their reels and justify this popularity.

You’ll find everything, from low-budget gear to more expensive, high-quality choices.

And if you're looking for the best Penn fishing reels, you've come to the right place. In this article, I've listed the best choices you'll find and why you should buy them.

The 8 Best Penn Fishing Reels

1. Penn Spinfisher VI 

This is a 2500 reel size with a 6.2:1 gear ratio. It has an IPX5 Sealed body and spool design, which means that water will not reach the gearbox or drag system when the reel gets hit with a wave, for example, or when you spray it with water at the end of the day.

The HT-100 drag washers are housed in a fully sealed spool to give the stopping power needed for big saltwater fish. The gear ratios range from 4.7:1 to 6.2:1 according to the model, the bearing count is 6 for all models, and the max drag ranges from 15 pounds to pounds. 

Pros:

  • IPX5 sealed body
  • CNC Gear system 
  • Available in standard, Live Liner, Long Cast, and bail-less models. 
  • Full-metal body 

Cons: 

  • Paint may start to chip after a while
  • Bail arm may loosen over time

Bottom Line:

If you are looking to upgrade your reel, you should consider Penn VI. It is affordable, versatile, and comes with features that make it stand out, like the IPX5 and the spool design.

2. Penn Pursuit II 

This is a budget Penn Spinning Reel as it costs less than 40$. Its dimensions are 5.5 x 5.5 x 3.5 inches. It is available in five sizes from 3000 to 8000. It has a durable construction due to its corrosion-resistant graphite body and rotor, and aluminum side plate, which ensures that you will not need to get a new one except after a long time. 

Moreover, you will enjoy a smooth drag pressure due to its oiled felt drag system. You do not need to worry about your hands getting tired from holding the reel because it is lightweight, and it has an ergonomic handle for comfortable reeling.

It also has a machined and anodized aluminum spool and four shielded stainless steel ball bearings that provide smooth retrieves. Moreover, its anti-reverse is a one-way bearing that provides for a solid retrieve without any back play in the handle. 

Pros: 

  • Corrosion-resistant graphite body 
  • Graphite rotor
  • Smooth drag system
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Instant anti-reverse

Cons: 

  • Not sealed
  • Missing the HT-100 drag system

Bottom Line:

This is an excellent entry-level reel. It is lightweight, has an ergonomic handle, and is corrosion-resistant. Moreover, its price is very suitable if you are still an amateur who is still not sure whether he/she is going to like fishing or not.  

3. Penn Battle II 

This is Penn saltwater spinning reel as it is a suitable reel for catching big saltwater fish. Its full metal body, side plate, and rotor make it withstand heavy use; however, they make it a bit heavy. Its dimensions are 5 x 4 x 3 inches. 

Its HT 100 carbon fiber drag system ensures a powerful, yet smooth drag. It has five sealed ball bearings that are stainless steel and, therefore, corrosion-resistant. The instant anti-reverse, using a one way bearing in the reel design, eliminates the back play on the rotor when the angler sets the hook.

One of its best features is the superline spool and the addition of line capacity rings, which let you know how much line you have got left on your spool. There is also a rubber inlay on the spool, which lets you skip having to back the spool with mono and load it directly with a braided line, instead.

The improved paint quality is saltwater-and-chemicals-resistant, which eliminates erosion. According to its different models, the reel size ranges from 2000 to 8000, the gear ratio ranges from 6.2:1 to 5.3:1, and the bearing count is 6 for all models. 

Pros: 

  • Spool capacity that is braid-ready
  • Anti-reverse 
  • Smooth drag system
  • Stainless steel five sealed ball bearings

Cons: 

  • Heavy 
  • Not fully sealed
  • Wind knots
  • May loosen up after use

Bottom Line: 

This is an excellent reel for fishing big saltwater fish. Its heavy body enables it to carry heavy fish, yet if you do not like carrying heavy stuff, this reel will not please you. It has line capacity rings, so you will not need to worry about finishing your line all of a sudden.

4. Penn Fierce III 

It is a suitable reel for inshore and near-shore fishing. It has a durable exterior thanks to the full metal body and side plate. The side plate also maintains the alignment of gear even under the strain of heavy loads. It also has a braid-ready spool that comes with line capacity rings and a 4+1 stainless steel bearing system that has an instant anti-reverse that does not allow for back play on the handle. 

The HT carbon fiber drag washer gives you the upper hand against hard-charging game fish. Depending on the different models, some features vary; for example, the weight ranges from 7.8 to 28.70, retrieve rate ranges from 22” to 44”, and the max drag pounds range from 9 pounds to 60 pounds. 

Pros:  

  • Full metal body
  • Anti-reverse 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • HT carbon drag washer
  • 4+1 stainless steel bearing system

Cons: 

  • Hand-crank might come off
  • Anti-reverse might break

Bottom Line: 

A good reel for inshore fishing as it gives the anglers the maximum value for their money. The HT carbon drag washer gives you the upper hand against big fish and therefore makes fishing more comfortable. 

5. Penn Conflict II 

The Penn Conflict II reel is an intermediate reel between the Penn Battle II and the Penn Clash.

It is lighter than the Penn battle but not as light as the Penn clash reel. It also has a higher bearing system than the Penn battle II.

The eight bearing system gives you superb control and handling over the reel.

The Penn Conflict II is structured to be suitable for the fishermen who fish in the near-shore or inshore.

Moreover, it is designed for small size fish. This is due to the gear ratio of 5.2:1 to 6.2:1 gear ratio that isn’t too fast.

It is also perfect for the anglers who are searching for a reel that is small enough to be used to balance out a lightweight rod for more technical fishing.  

Pros:

  • One of the lightest weight Penn spinning reels.
  • Has a durable design made of a full-metal body
  • Has infinite anti-reverse, which eliminates the rolling back of the rotor
  • Comes with a techno-balanced rotor which helps in smooth retrieve of the spool

Cons:

  • Only has high performance in freshwater
  • Not as light as graphite reels
  • Doesn’t have a unique feature

Bottom Line:

It is a conventional small-sized reel that is similar to the Penn Battle II spinning reel but only smoother. It has minor updates that make it limited to certain uses. It can be considered as a budget Penn spinning reel.

6. Penn Clash 

Penn clash spinning reel has a distinct feature, which is, it is made to deal with any type of water.

So, it is suitable for whichever water you choose to fish in, whether saltwater or freshwater, while maintaining its shape and performance. This is because it has a full metal body.

This metal body is made of aluminum, which is well-known for its great durability and strength. It means that all the mechanical and functional issues won't occur for a long time.

You won't need to change or fix it regularly as its body's toughness gives it another unique feature. It is also designed for those who angle as well as those who prefer to fish using artificial lures with braided line.

Its gear ratios range from 4.7:1 to 6.2:1, depending on the model, but all models are equipped with nine bearings.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and has solid construction
  • It has eight stainless steel ball bearings
  • Structured to adapt to both freshwater and saltwater
  • CNC Gear Technology
  • Instant-anti reverse
  • Has heavy-duty aluminum bail wire, in which it doesn’t get bent easily

Cons:

  • Weighs more than the other Penn reels which are made of graphite

Bottom Line:

It has everything a fisherman and an angler need. This reel is not only worth the cash, but it also has high durability

7. Penn Z Series 

The Penn Z series spinning reel is considered one of the oldest Penn reels to exist. It incorporates the High-Tech drag system of 100 miles to ensure the smoothness and powerfulness of pressure on dragging big fish.

It has an indestructible body. This is because it combines metal with graphite making it impossible for the bail wire to be bent.

It has an aluminum rotor, which doesn’t add weight on dragged weight. It also allows brakes feature when casting the spool

Moreover, it has a machined and anodized aluminum spool. This means the spool works smoothly and without any obstacles or knots formation.

It is made of a machine cut brass main gear with a stainless pinion in other words.

However, its gear ratio is limited to 3.8:1, so it only suits slow-paced battles.

One model has only one bearing, while the other has 3. And although they're of high quality, it would have been better if there were more to provide more smoothness.

Pros:

  • It has a full metal body with a graphite side-plate
  • Solid construction with premium-build quality

Cons:

  • It has a selective click anti-reverse. Once the bail arm is turned open, you have to turn it back manually
  • It has a collapsible handle, which requires changing or fixing frequently
  • It requires maintenance more than other reels

Bottom Line:

It is considered Penn spinning reel for brass cutting. It is a very popular reel for big fishing missions. It has a long life-span due to its HT-100 drag. However, it is overpriced for its job.

8. Penn Torque II 

It is designed for heavy-duty fishing missions. Whether you are on a boat or on the shore, the Penn torque II reel will do the job for you.

Using a Penn torque II reel requires a level of knowledge and experience. It is slightly complicated for beginners due to its parts’ interference and its high gear ratio. 

The Torque has a full metal body, side plate, and rotor. This gives a durable and glorious shape.

It has a “Dura-drag” system that is higher than the HT-100 drag system, enabling it to provide extraordinary durability and cranking power with less tension.

Moreover, it has CNC Gear technology to overcome any fighting pressure while the sealed body and spool design protects it from accidents.

It has a stainless steel bearing system with a super line spool. This leads to an efficient spool casting working system as well as retrieving system.

Finally, the reel has an instant anti-reverse, which ensures control and bears a silent backup ratchet.

Pros:

  • Dura-Drag system
  • Stainless steel bearings
  • Full-metal body

Cons:

  • It is very expensive

Bottom Line:

This kind of Penn spinning reel gives you the most enjoyable experience in combating with an unprecedented level of saltwater toughness. It is very suitable for hardcore anglers. However, it is very expensive. 

What’s Special About Penn Reels?

Penn’s spinning reels are very popular among anglers of different levels. The company has gained a lot of experience and established a name for itself since its launch in 1932 –which makes it a very trusted choice.

Moreover, Penn is an American company that mainly produces its components and reels within the USA.

How to Pick a Penn Fishing Reel?

There are a couple of things that you should consider when you set out on buying a fishing reel, and I’ve gathered them on this list:

Body and Housing

The most common choices for the body of the reel would be graphite or aluminum. The latter tends to be more rigid and suits freshwater fishing.

Moreover, it's less prone to rust like iron, yet it still does oxidize with time.

On the other hand, graphite reels are lighter and suit casual fishermen that don’t mind a slight flex.

Gear Ratios

Gear ratios indicate how fast your retrieve will be and how easy it would be to reel in heavy catches.

If you have a reel with a 6.4:1 gear ratio, this means that the spool spins 6.4 times with each turn of the handle.

The higher the gear ratio is, the faster the retrieval would be. But lower gear ratio are more suitable for reeling in heavy loads.

Bearings

Bearings are one of the most important aspects of a quality reel. They’re typically made of stainless steel, can be single-shielded, double-shielded, or water-sealed.

Water- and corrosion-resistant bearings are a must if you’re going to be fishing in saltwater.

And while the quality of the bearings matters more than the quantity, it’s still important to focus on the latter as it usually indicates a smoother operation.

Final Thoughts

While all the options mentioned above are the best Penn fishing reels on the market, there are some that beat the others.

For example, both the Spinfisher VI and Clash are great choices if you want to do saltwater fishing. Their bearings are sealed and deliver an amazing performance in freshwater as well. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, however, that’s still capable of providing reliable performance, you should go for the Conflict or the Z Series.

Justin Anderson
 

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