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Penn Clash Review: Lightweight Budget-Friendly Spinning Reel

As an avid angler on a budget, I’m always seeking quality fishing gear that delivers excellent performance without breaking the bank. In the world of spinning reels, Penn’s Clash series hits that sweet spot. After months of putting the Clash through its paces, I’m thoroughly impressed by its smooth drag, lightweight design, and durability. Keep reading for the full review on this outstanding budget-friendly reel option.

Penn’s Refined Clash Spinning Reels

The original Penn Clash offered impressive capabilities in an affordable package, quickly becoming a favorite among anglers seeking value. Penn built on that foundation with the Clash II, implementing key upgrades like proprietary CNC gearing, advanced carbon fiber drag, and enhanced sealing and protection.

The refinements make the Clash II ideal for both fresh and saltwater fishing. I used it primarily for bass, trout, redfish and flounder this season with outstanding results. Its buttery smooth 5.2:1 gear ratio gave me a perfect blend of speed and power for finesse techniques.

In this review, I’ll cover the key features that make the Clash II such a impressive reel, along with its strengths and ideal fishing applications.

Lightweight yet Durable Construction

The Clash II’s full aluminum body and side plates keep weight down for all-day comfort, yet provide greater strength than graphite. Combined with the carbon composite rotor, the reel weighs in at just 9.4 ounces on the 2500 size.

Despite the lightweight feel, the Clash II’s metal components can withstand season after season of rugged use. The Clash Armor protection shields critical gears from dust and moisture. While not fully waterproof, it will handle splashes and dunks with aplomb.

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The Clash II’s refined oscillation system also helps reduce damaging wind knots when fishing braided line. This gives you confidence to fish light fluoro leaders and braids for tempting finicky fish.

Silky Smooth Carbon Fiber Drag

Penn wisely upgraded the Clash II’s drag system, utilizing advanced HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers housed in a wave spring design. The result is an extremely smooth 15-25 lbs of drag pressure that remains consistent.

Fighting 12 inch trout on light 6lb test was no trouble for the Clash II. The smooth startup and resistance allowed me to use finesse without fear of drag slippage.

For larger gamefish like stripers, the carbon drag provides reliable stopping power to turn their runs and avoid getting spooled. HT-100 carbon is renowned for its strength, smoothness, and heat dissipation capabilities.

Fast and Responsive Gear Ratio

A versatile 5.2:1 gear ratio gives the Clash II a great blend of speed and cranking power. With 22-44 inches of line retrieve per turn depending on model size, you can quickly pick up slack line or reel in your lure for another cast.

The machined brass gears and instant anti-reverse bearing also make hooksets lightning quick. When that big fish strikes, you’ll drive those hooks home with authority before it has time to react.

Despite the fast gearing, the Clash II remains smooth and cool during extended retrieves. The thermally applied grease keeps the gears running efficiently even under heavy loads.

Generous Line Capacity

The Clash II’s aluminum spool sports generous mono and braided line capacities suitable for a range of fishing applications. With 140 yards of 20lb braid, I had ample line when chasing schooling stripers offshore. Yet I could spool up 225 yards of 12lb mono for finesse bass techniques where long casts are key.

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Having extra line comes in handy if that trophy fish makes a blistering initial run. You want as much backup line as possible before getting into the reel’s core.

For budget-minded anglers, the Clash II’s excellent line capacity means you can fill it with high-value braided lines to maximize savings. You’ll still have plenty of room for a fluoro leader.

Ideal for Inshore and Freshwater Fishing

After extensive testing in saltwater and freshwater environments, I’m confident recommending the Clash II for nearly any light to mid-duty fishing application.

Its palm-sized form factor and lightweight build are perfect for tossing small jigs, cranks, and soft plastics all day. Yet it has the guts to stop hard-charging fish up to about 15-20 lbs.

For chasing freshwater trout, bass, walleye, and panfish, the Clash II gives you an ideal blend of sensitivity and durability. Budget-minded saltwater anglers will love its corrosion resistance when targeting redfish, flounder, and other inshore species.

An Affordable Reel Built to Last

Considering its reasonable price point, the performance and quality delivered by Penn’s Clash II spinning reel are extremely impressive. The upgrades over the original Clash make this newest iteration buttery smooth while improving reliability and corrosion protection.

It’s a reel that punches above its weight class, offering features usually reserved for models costing much more. If you want a versatile high-quality spinning reel that won’t break the bank, the Penn Clash II is one of the best options available today. It’s built to provide seasons of trouble-free fishing enjoyment.