Top 3 Best PENN Reels For Surf Fishing (With Reviews)

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Top 3 Best Penn Reels For Surf Fishing (With Reviews)

Penn Spinfisher V 8500 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo, Boat, 7 Feet, Heavy Power

I love Penn fishing reels. And that feeling doesn’t change when it comes to surf fishing. You might have noticed though that Penn makes a ridiculous number of fishing reels. 

In this post, I just want to list out the top 3 Penn reels that I’ve found to be the best option for surf fishing. 

Here’s a look at some of the best Penn reels for surf fishing.

Penn Reels Reviewed In This Post


Reviews of The Best Penn Reels For Surf Fishing


1. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel

“sturdy, reliable, and smooth.”

Penn 1481262 Spinfisher VI Spinning Saltwater Reel, 4500 Reel Size, 6.2: 1 Gear Ratio, 40" Retrieve Rate, 6 Bearings, Ambidextrous

Click image to view on Amazon.com


The Penn Spinfisher VI is a reel that’s going to let you handle pretty much any fish or condition that you’ll come across while surf fishing. With full sealing rubber gaskets strategically placed in every location that saltwater could possibly enter the reel, this surf fishing reel has pretty much been rendered waterproof. This means worry free surf fishing, becasue hey, we all get our reels wet when wading out in the surf.

Easy Maintenance

What’s nice is that even if you’re not the best at detailed cleaning of your reels after every saltwater use, this Penn reel should last you a long time with only basic cleaning and maintenance. 

The Perfect Upgrade Reel

The Penn Spinfisher VI is the ideal choice for serious surf fishermen who take their hobby serious. It’s also ideal for you if you’re looking for an upgrade from your current reel. 

Braid Ready Spool

A fully balanced and well protected braid-ready spool ensures the smoothest and most comfortable operation compared to other brands of surf fishing reels. You can expect an even line lay when retrieving your line from the waves minimizing tangles and ultimately wasted time fishing. This feature gives the same smoothness and functionality of a much more expensive reel, but for nearly less than half the price.

If there’s anything about this reel that might be on the negative side, it would be that this Penn reel is a tad bit heavy. With that said, the weight of this Penn surf fishing reel isn’t a deal breaker, and it still currently remains on the top of my list of the best Penn surf fishing reels. 

Penn Spinfisher VI Features

  • IPX5 Sealed body and spool design

  • CNC Gear™ technology

  • HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers

  • 5+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearing system

  • Full Metal Body

  • Superline Spool

  • Line Capacity Rings

  • Sizes 2500-5500 have automatic bail trip

  • Sizes 6500-10500 have manual bail trip

Pros:

1. Multiple sizes to choose from

2. Sealed spool and body design

3. Super even line lay

Cons:

1. A little heavier than expected

2. Users have reported that the bail arm can loosen over time

Take Away

The Penn Spinfisher VI is an excellent surf fishing reel when you combine the quality, craftsmanship and affordability. In your hand if feels like a high-end surf fishing reel that comes at a mid-level price. The features of this Penn reel  make it sturdy, reliable, and smooth.

Whether you’re looking for a starter surf fishing reel that feels like a high dollar reel, or finally wanting to upgrade to a Penn reel, you’ll want to consider the Penn Spinfisher VI series of reels.


2. Penn Slammer III

"Perfect for anything from surf perch to large red drum"

Penn 1403983 Slammer III Spinning

Click image to view on Amazon.com


In order to be the best, you first have to beat the best and although the Penn Slammer 3 didn’t snag our top spot, it did take my second choice as the best Penn reel for surf fishing.

The Penn Slammer III comes in multiple different sizes to choose from, ranging from a 3500 model all the way up to a 10500 for those of you fishioften will only have several sizes to select from. 

That’s one of the reasons it made this list, because what one surf fisherman catching red tail perch in the Pacific Northwest might need is totally different for the person surf fishing for red drum in North Carolina.

7+1 stainless steel bearing system

The Penn Slammer 3 features a 7+1 stainless steel bearing system combined with a CNC gear design which together makes for an silky smooth surf fishing reel that is more than capable to catch anything from smaller west coast surf perch to large east coast sharks and red drum.

Sealed Drag System

The Slammer comes with a full-metal body, with a sealed drag system, making it virtually waterproof. There are plenty of videos on YouTube where guys are dunking these reels in the surf and report that they are still going strong.

The one complaint that seems to be consistent is that this reel has a little too much drag. If this is a potential issue, you may want to consider the Spinfisher VI.

Penn Slammer 3 Features

  • Full Metal Body, sideplate, and rotor

  • CNC Gear technology

  • IPX6 Sealed body and spool design

  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag

  • 7+1 stainless steel bearings plus 1 anti-reverse

  • Sizes 3500-5500 have automatic bail trip

  • Sizes 6500-10500 have manual bail trip

Pros:

1. Multiple sizes to choose from

2. Water resistant

3. Heavy duty reel

Cons:

1. A little too heavy of drag

Take Away

The Penn Slammer 3 is one of the better quality surf fishing reels on the market, even before you consider the fact that it’s a Penn reel. When you consider the affordable price point on the Penn Slammer 3 combined with the quality and the Penn reputation, it’s a great reel to go with.


3. Penn Battle II 

"A silky smooth drag when you need it"

Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel

Click image to view on Amazon.com


The Penn Battle II happens to be the reel that’s part of Penn’s most popular saltwater rod and reel combo. This Penn surf fishing reel is constructed with a full metal body, side plate and rotor for the durability we need as surf fishermen. The Superline Spool is constructed from machined and anodized aluminum and allows you to tie superlines directly onto the spool without having to use backing.

The Penn Battle II is braid ready and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity to make sure you’re aware of exactly how much line is off the spool.

The Penn Battle II drag system provides a silky smooth drag when you need it, especially under heavy loads, which is what we all are hoping for!

The fishing reel also features a fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing.

Pros:

1. Excellent combination of quality and affordability

2. Smooth drag system

3. Marked spool capacity that is braid ready

Cons:

1. Not fully sealed making it prone to saltwater intrusion if submerged.

Take Away

For what you’ll spend on the Penn Battle II in combination with the quality you’ll experience in this reel, you can’t go wrong. It’s a solid saltwater reel that’s designed with us surf fishermen in mind. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Surf Fishing

What Size Reel Should I Use For Surf Fishing?

This is the million dollar question. That’s because the answer strictly depends on what you plan on fishing for and catching out in the surf. For me, I live and fish in the Pacific Northwest and mostly chase red tail surf perch. So for me, a size 4000 real is ideal. 

But for someone who’s fishing for larger fish, like red drum, a reel size of 6000 might be more appropriate. Mike over at Skilledangler.com recommends that a 6000 reel is a good place to start.  He states that its size will be enough to reel in larger fish but is still small enough to feel even the smallest fish bite.

What is The Best Length For a Surf Fishing Rod?

For surf fishing, I prefer to use rods that are 8 to 9 feet in length. I’ve used fishing rods that are shorter that that, but they just don’t give me the casting distance I need. Now, if you require a lot of distance out of your cast, then you’re going to want to use a surf fishing rod that’s more in the 10 to 12 foot length. 

Can I Surf Fish With A 7’ Rod?

Yes, you can. However, if you require a long cast and want to keep the line over the breakers, then a longer rod will be needed. The fish I target are not far out at all, so a 7’ rod can be used. As a matter of fact, a 7’ rod is what I used the first couple of times I went surf fishing. Even though you can use a 7’ rod, you’ll quickly find that you’re going to want to upgrade to a longer rod. 


Final Thoughts

The Penn Spinfisher VI is an excellent surf fishing reel when you combine the quality, craftsmanship and affordability. In your hand if feels like a high-end surf fishing reel that comes at a mid-level price. The features of this Penn reel  make it sturdy, reliable, and smooth.

Whether you’re looking for a starter surf fishing reel that feels like a high dollar reel, or finally wanting to upgrade to a Penn reel, you’ll want to consider the Penn Spinfisher VI series of reels.  You can check it out below.

Penn Spinfisher VI Saltwater Reel
  • IPX5 sealed body and spool design
  • 6.2:1 Gear Ratio with 40 Retrieve Rate
  • 5+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearing system

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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the respective Amazon site that you are redirected to at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

About the Author

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure. I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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