Penn Spinning Reels: A Guide to Getting Started

May 5, 2021


Penn spinning reels are a great option for people who want to fish without the hassle of hauling heavy equipment around. They are easy to use, and they offer a lot of versatility in terms of where you can fish. If you're thinking about getting one or more Penn spinning reels, this guide will help you get started with your decision-making process!


Penn Spinning Reels

Penn spinning reels are a type of fishing reel that is designed and manufactured by a company called PENN. PENN themselves are among the best fishing equipment producers, if not the best.

The design strategy behind Penn’s line of spinners has been one which combines simplicity with performance for both novice and veteran anglers alike. By providing these easy-to-use yet highly capable models in various sizes, colors and finishes. Penn ensures that there's something for everyone! The quality design provides smooth operation and durability to the highest levels. 


Penn offer a range of different types of reels that are suitable for people conducting many different types of fishing:

  • Spinning Reels: These are the most popular type of reel for freshwater anglers. They typically have a level wind system which means that they are easy to use and offer smooth casting even in adverse conditions such as high winds or choppy seas.
  • Baitcaster Reels: This type of reel relies on centrifugal force generated by rotating gears to cast out your bait or lure out. Baitcaster reels have been designed to help you cast more accurately.
  • Conventional Reels: These reels have been designed for salt water and are very popular among professionals. They typically come with a heavy duty level wind system that is capable of handling the high-pressure line needed to maintain performance in deep or rough seas.
  • Offshore Reels: Designed for fishing the open sea. They are made of high-strength materials and have been engineered to handle any kind of weather conditions.
  • Inshore Reels: These are best for fishing in shallower waters. They are generally smaller reels which can be used for handling smaller fish that you typically find closer to shore.
  • Surf Reels: Specifically created for fishing in the surf. They are similar to spinning reels which have been designed to cast further and with ease. Typically have a wide, shallow spool to allow line to come off the reel easier when casting! They are generally much bigger than your average spinning reel too.


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    Fish Size: The size of the fish you are targeting will dictate the size of reel you should use. For example if you are targeting large fish from the shore like sharks. Then you'll need a much larger reel to deal with runs of the fish and the power of the fish. A larger reel will allow you to apply more drag to tire a bigger fish out faster. While having enough line on it's spool to allow the fish to run a considerable distance. However, if you're targeting trout in a river you'll need a much smaller reel. You don't need to apply nowhere near as much drag and you can apply it at a lesser ratio. 
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    Location: This will affect the type of reel you get. If you need to cast far then a spinning reel with a wide spool would be the preferred option. Sometimes you may need to get your lure or bait to a feature that's a considerable distance. A spinning reel with a shallow wide spool will allow you to get that extra distance needed. These types of reels are typically called "longcast spinning reels". Also, whether you are fishing in saltwater or freshwater will dictate the type of reel you get. You'll need a corrosion resistant reel and preferably one with sealed bearings when fishing in salt water. Otherwise it just wont last. 
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    Depth: Size and type of reel will be affected by the depth you are fishing in! For example, if you're fishing in deep water then you're going to need a large spool on your reel to hold a large amount of line. Otherwise you wont get your jig/lure or bait down to the required depth, this means a bigger reel. If you're fishing inshore in shallow waters this isn't as much of an issue. 


Using a spinning reel is different from a bait caster reel. A spinning reel easier to use because it doesn't rely on a centrifugal force to help cast. Instead, a spinning reel pulls line off the spool itself when you cast out. This makes it much simpler to use and avoids what we call a "birds nest". Which can be a common occurrence when using a conventional reel or baitcaster reel to cast for beginners.

Here's a video above which gives a review of the Penn Spinfisher Reel, it gives you good idea of how a spinning reel looks. 


After every use I recommend you rinse your reel in fresh water to remove any dirt or salt. This will help keep corrosion at bay and also prolong the life of your spinning reels!

I advise you oil your Penn Reel with a soft cloth or spray, I use gun oil simply because that's what I have lying around. Some people recommend storing them indoors while others say they can be left out on deck. I personally prefer to store my reel inside because moisture is less likely to accumulate which means no rusting.

One thing that matters for all spinning reels though is not allowing excessive debris into the spool area. This could interfere with casting or tangle up when reeling in line later down the road... In order to prevent this debris from entering you should make sure that you don't lie your reels down on sandy beaches. This where most problems occur and begin to propagate. 


If you do encounter any problems with Penn fishing reels you're better off contacting you're local tackle shop. They will tell you what can be done and point you in the right direction. Or are more than likely able to sort the problem out for you themselves. However, problems with Penn spinning reels are not a common occurrence which is why they have done so well! 

In my opinion I would never recommend buying a used Penn spinning reel. Whereas if you buy a new one from an authorized dealer then you know exactly where it's been and what condition it'll come in! Unfortunately there are a lot of untrustworthy people out there that would fail to mention the reel has been dunked in saltwater.

A reel that has been dunked in saltwater will start rusting from the inside out. You will be much better investing your money into a reel like a penn spinfisher vi which has sealed bearings. These reels are perfect for saltwater and can take a dunking now and again. I have a couple myself (the 4500, 5500 models) and have to say I have been very impressed with them!


Penn Spinning Reels

Without a doubt my best recommended Penn spinning reel and any reel for that matter would be the Penn Spinfisher VI. I think this reel provides the most value for money at the moment. There are better reels out there but you have to pay considerably more. I have already created an article which lists and reviews various different types of spinning reels. If you would like to view this article then please do click HERE.


You can buy a Penn spinning reel at any authorized dealer that sells them. This will often be most tackle shops in your area or alternatively buy them online. However, I would recommend supporting your local tackle store. If you don't have a tackle store close by or they don't have anything available then Amazon are extremely reliable and offer an extensive range of Penn fishing reels!


Penn Spinning Reels
  • Durability: The Penn spinning reels are renowned for their durability, being able to withstand the worst conditions. I have had a Penn spinning reel for around 13 years and it still looks like new! They offer an excellent level of durability which means your Penn fishing reel will last you years without any issue at all. All in all, by investing in Penn I have found my spinning reels have definitely been worth the money spent. Providing me with many hours (and years) of use! You can't beat the reliability and value offered by these amazing products!
  • Versatility: The Penn spinning reels offer something for everyone- offering both Longcast and bait runner options so you can choose which one is right for you. They also come in a variety of sizes from 2500 all the way up to 10000 meaning there's plenty of choice depending on your needs.
  • Ease Of Use: All Penn spinning reels are extremely easy to use. Spinning reels are perfect for beginners as the design is so simple, being just a few parts that are easy to understand.



Jake's Outdoors is a blog for all of your hunting, fishing and general outdoor needs. Jake's Outdoors has created this space to help beginner level enthusiasts find their way into the world of outdoors and will provide advice on how to get started. We'll cover topics like what gear you need, where to go hunting or fishing in your area, how to cook fish/game animals you've caught as well as other general outdoor tips.

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