It feels almost unfaithful to be trying out a spinning reel for my bass, wrasse, pollack etc. lure fishing that isn’t made by Daiwa or Shimano, but I’ve heard rumblings about the new Penn series of Clash spinning reels since the iCast show last year, and I am fascinated to see how this roughly £150 spinning reel might do. There’s plenty of talk about how tough and rugged Penn spinning reels are, and I used to get on very well with a pair of their first generation Mag 525 multiplier reels for some of my bait fishing, but is this Clash “finesse” enough for lure anglers used to Daiwa and Shimano spinning reels? I believe that this new Clash range is Penn’s first properly lightweight, “designed specifically for braid” bunch of spinning reels, and I wonder if Penn have managed to nail some proper toughness into a modern style of spinning reel that we would want to use for our lure fishing……..
Time will tell of course - and it’s a big thanks to Seaview Tackle in Plymouth for letting me use this Penn Clash 3000 spinning reel. It will get the usual treatment that I would dole out to any spinning reel I fish with, albeit cancer operations, winter weather etc. might hold me back from fishing more regularly - I will wash it under freshwater when I remember, and I will keep an eye on various bearings and oil them up as and when required. This Penn Clash 3000 is the same size as a Daiwa 3000/Shimano 4000 spinning reel, and I see it retailing for around £150 here in the UK. I happen to think it looks very smart, I love the big, chunky handle, and I have to say that the reel overall feels incredibly solid but also nice and smooth. It does niggle me that this Clash doesn’t come with a spare spool though, but then I don’t know if other Penn spinning reels do or don’t come with one?
I am sure you are no different to me when you purr at how smooth most decent Shimano and Daiwa reels feel when you first take them out of the box and turn the handle, but let’s be honest - how long does that “fresh from the box” feeling actually last for? I love the Shimano Sustain 4000 for example (review here), but over lots and lots of time with it, I have come to the conclusion that the bearings inside aren’t exactly the finest, and I would interested to see what replacing them all with decent/new bearings would do for the overall feel of the reel. Would it go back to being oh so smooth again, or is that oh so smooth feeling only reserved for new and very nearly new reels? I don’t favour Daiwa or Shimano more than the other, but I do believe that Daiwa reels tend to stay smoother for longer, albeit smoother doesn’t then necessarily mean longer lasting of course.
This Penn Clash does feel smooth, albeit a tad “tighter” than other spinning reels I have used recently. When you turn the handle, everything feels very much together if that makes sense, with a bit more resistance than turning the handle on say the Daiwa Caldia 3000-A Mag Sealed (review here) - and I like that. I can’t tell you how this Penn Clash 3000 is going to last around saltwater, but it’s lovely to cast and retrieve. The line-lay was ok out of the box, but I ended up taking the first two pre-installed washers out and putting a single one back in from the packet of two extra ones that are supplied in the reel box, the drag seems to be nice and smooth and easy to wind down tight, and again I come back to that word “reassuring”. Whilst it feels a bit strange to be using a Penn spinning reel for my lure fishing, my first impressions are very good. This reel just feels incredibly solid when you fish with it, and that’s a good thing if you ask me - I wonder how it might do for plenty of wrasse and pollack fishing, because that solid feeling doesn’t half inspire a good deal of confidence.
I have heard some talk of older Penn spinning reels not working great with braid, but I would argue that most of these modern lines we use tend to benefit from being used on modern reels, and so far this Penn Clash 3000 is behaving impeccably with the #1.2/22lb YGK Upgrade PE X8 that I have loaded it up with. The retrieve ratio of 6.2:1 is a little faster than I am used to fishing with on a spinning reel, but it’s easy to slow down these days with my newfound maturity and control of my overexcitement? When loaded up with line (mono backing and then braid), this Penn Clash weighs 298g, against 297g for a loaded Shimano Sustain 4000, and 273g for a loaded Daiwa Caldia 3000. OK, so it’s slightly heavier than the Daiwa reel that I have the most recent experience with, but now put it on a lure rod and all feels great to me.
That’s about all that I can tell you so far. I need a lot more time with this Penn Clash 3000, but I will be very interested to see how it holds up, and whether £150 is buying us a “proper” lure fishing reel that can compare to the higher end Daiwa and Shimano reels. A little unfair perhaps to compare it to more expensive reels, but why not? Penn are saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread after all and I am really liking it so far. More to come……….