Whether you’re chasing massive bluefin tuna offshore or finicky trout in a small stream, Penn has a fishing reel perfect for the task. I’ve been using Penn reels for over 20 years to catch everything from snappers to marlin.
In this article, I’ll share my top picks for the best Penn spinning and conventional reels based on extensive first-hand testing.
Top-Rated Penn Spinning Reels
Penn Fierce III
The Penn Fierce III is a versatile and affordable spinning reel perfect for new anglers. It provides smooth and reliable performance thanks to its CNC machined stainless steel gears. The Fierce III’s sealed drag protects against saltwater corrosion which is great for coastal fishing.
While not as durable as Penn’s higher-end reels, the Fierce III is a budget-friendly workhorse capable of handling everything from freshwater bass to inshore saltwater species. It’s an excellent starter reel for those new to the sport. The Fierce was featured in our article about pier fishing rod combos, and you can also check out the Penn Fierce II.
Penn Conflict II
Serious anglers looking for an ultra-lightweight and sensitive spinning reel will appreciate the Penn Conflict II. Its graphite body keeps weight down, which reduces fatigue during all-day fishing trips. You’ll also love the Conflict II’s massive braided line capacity thanks to its superline spool.
The Conflict II’s corrosion-resistant construction makes it a great choice for both fresh and saltwater fishing. Whether drifting weightless baits on a trout stream or carolina-rigging for flounder in the bay, the Conflict II provides reliable performance season after season.
Penn Spinfisher VI
No spinning reel beats the Penn Spinfisher VI for hardcore saltwater performance. Its sealed body and spool design keep sand, salt, and water completely out of the gearbox even after repeated dunkings. The Spinfisher VI’s super-strong carbon fiber drag generates an incredible 50 lbs of pressure to stop big fish dead in their tracks.
From the boat ramp to the surf, the Spinfisher VI stands in a class of its own for anglers who demand the ultimate sealed saltwater spinning reel. It has the brawn and corrosion resistance for giants like bull redfish, shark, and even billfish. You may also consider the Penn Spinfisher V.
Best Conventional Reels from Penn
Penn Squall II Star Drag
A versatile high-speed trolling and casting reel, the Penn Squall II excels for offshore fishing. Its dual-speed system lets you quickly shift from blazing fast (for trolling and covering water) to lower gearing with massive cranking power. With up to 40 lbs of max drag, you have the strength needed for big game saltwater fishing.
From mahi mahi to sailfish, the Penn Squall II has the smooth drag, line capacity, and durability required for serious offshore work. It’s a reel built to handle big battles on the open ocean.
Penn Jigmaster 500L
A classic jigging and bottom fishing reel, the compact Penn Jigmaster 500L provides tremendous cranking power in a lightweight package. Its smaller size makes it easy to fish for hours when bouncing heavy jigs or bait rigs in deep water.
The Jigmaster 500L has gained legendary status for subduing giant grouper, amberjack, snapper, and other bottom dwellers around structure. It has the strength and reliability that seasoned captains demand from their gear.
Penn Torque II
When facing the most extreme saltwater battles, only Penn’s Torque II will do. This heavy-duty big game reel is built to withstand incredible punishment when fighting powerful pelagics like giant tuna, marlin, or sharks offshore.
With a super-strong carbon fiber drag that generates 50+ lbs of pressure, massive line capacity ready for 80lb braid backing, and all-metal construction, the Torque II is in a class of its own for hardcore open ocean fishing. Anglers who demand the best of the best need to look no further.
While this doesn’t cover every great Penn reel, these models represent what I consider the top performers for common fishing applications based on decades of experience. Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to provide more details on these outstanding Penn fishing reels.