Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Dear powers that be at Penn fishing tackle - pretty please can we have a 2500 size in the Penn Slammer III spinning reel lineup………….

I accept that this blog post isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference, but then again if you don’t ask you certainly don’t get. I asked the same question on Facebook a while ago and got some interesting feedback from a number of anglers wanting the same reel as me. Penn fishing tackle is I believe a US based company that is part of a massive umbrella corporation with a whole load of fishing tackle brands under its global wing. I am merely little old me who works in fishing on my own. I am my own boss and sometimes I like to feel all grownup and have a meeting with myself - which to be honest often revolves around going out fishing for “research purposes”.................

You get two handle knobs with a Penn Slammer III - the big round gold coloured one, or the softer, EVA-type one as I have put on this 3500

You get two handle knobs with a Penn Slammer III - the big round gold coloured one, or the softer, EVA-type one as I have put on this 3500

And I do like lure fishing tackle, and I am finding myself using the awesome Penn Slammer III spinning reels more and more for my UK and Ireland saltwater lure fishing (review of the Slammer III 3500 here). Sure these reels are a bit heavier than their equivalent size, buttery-smooth and don’t much like being drowned Shimanos and Daiwas, but you know what? Five minutes into a lure fishing session and on an applicable rod I just don’t notice the bit of extra weight to a Slammer III 3500 or 4500 reel - both are essentially the same size as a Shimano 4000 spinning reel, with the 4500 size Slammer having a slightly larger spool and therefore balearm. There are then a bunch of bigger again Slammers in the range that look like they could deal with almost anything out there!

This gully is definitely wadeable!

This gully is definitely wadeable!

Now I get completely that fishing with a lightweight, buttery-smooth Shimano or Daiwa spinning reel which is running perfectly is an experience that you don’t quite get with these Penn reels, but when you’re in the thick of things out fishing? It matters not in my book, although you might have no need for a more robust and very well sealed reel like the heavier Penn Slammer III. I can speak only as I find, but I haven’t yet found a Shimano or a Daiwa spinning reel that much likes being used and abused in the surf especially, or strapped to a rod and used as an occasional wading stick for measuring the depth of gullies we have to wade through because they are in the way and we cannot help but want to be over there! Sure the Slammer III drag is tighter on its minimum setting, and I have seen a few UK anglers reference this now, but I would personally argue that if you find that minimum setting a bit too tight for our bass fishing then you need to learn to put some decent pressure on your hooked fish rather than donate them line as a free gift.

If it helps, the smallest 3500 size of Slammer III weighs 403g when loaded up with braid, and the equivalent size Shimano Sustain 4000FG which is now discontinued weighs 300g loaded up with braid. Yes there’s a difference, but I am finding out that some lure rods for whatever reason feel better to me with a slightly heavier spinning reel sat on the end when I am actually fishing with them - and not waggling them around at home and worrying about a few extra grams in my hands (tee hee).

I am really liking the slightly cheaper and “not quite as well sealed but still seem to be bloody well protected for the price especially” Penn Spinfisher VI spinning reels - but Slammers they ain’t. The Spinfisher VI reels are a touch lighter than the Slammer III equivalents (3500 size Spinfisher VI is 359g loaded with braid versus the 403g of the 3500 size Slammer III), and as nice as they are and as much as they are growing on me, there just isn’t quite that feeling of machine like robustness and “pull the plug out of the sea” sort of Rocky IV, East versus West testosterone fuelled mainliness. Does it matter for much of our lure fishing? Quite possibly not, and these Spinfisher VI reels so far seem to be a hell of a lot of reel for not much money - but there’s a lovely little 2500 size in the Spinfisher VI range……………….

The lovely little Penn Spinfisher VI 2500

The lovely little Penn Spinfisher VI 2500

Whereas there isn’t in the Slammer III range - and that needs to change if you ask me, which let’s be honest you are because you are reading this blog post and either thinking yes, Henry is right on the money this fine Monday morning, or conversely, what the hell is he on about today? But there is logic in my demands to the grownups at Penn fishing tackle worldwide. I know that a lot of US anglers especially fish with short and very powerful spinning rods and are happy to strap a bigger spinning reel to them, but we are made a bit differently here in Europe. A lot of our say up to 9’ long lure fishing rods are somewhat more subtle and deft than their US counterparts (damn Henry, you’re so subtle this morning), and in my opinion it’s a spinning reel around the Shimano 3000 that tends to sit so well on these types of rods (apologies, but I am not very up on the equivalent Daiwa sizes these days).

So where’s the 2500 size Penn Slammer III? I know the “meant to be 100% sealed but of course time will tell” Van Staal VR50 exists and they are working really well for a number of UK anglers (which makes me feel like an even worse angler, see here), but cheap they are not, and unless you can find the very few that have trickled into the UK so far then you’re going to need to import one from the US. I know the Penn Slammer III isn’t and doesn’t claim to be 100% waterproof, but so far so good with my ones and a hell of a lot of use in conditions that I know would have killed my Shimanos. I am also going to feel a lot more comfortable replacing these Slammers if needs be because I think they offer incredible value for money.


And in a perfect world I’d like to use Slammers virtually all the time because I am liking them so much and not having to worry about keeping them out of saltwater and so on, but however much weight and size I can get used to (tee hee), I simply don’t want to put a Penn Slammer III 3500 on a wand of a 9’ lure rod. If a 2500 size Slammer III existed though, I’d be all over it, so if I say a big pretty please to the grownups at Penn HQ, do you think they might listen to me and make this spinning reel? Most likely not, but here’s me asking/begging for it to happen!

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