Penn Salt Reel

Penn Salt Reel
What are some quality fishing reel brands?

I’m interested in surf-fishing and fresh/salt water fishing. Which brands are commonly suggested as being good quality or a good investment? So far I’ve only been introduced to products from Penn.

And are combo deals worth looking into or should they be avoided?

Surf Fishing-

Penn was once the leader in all saltwater reels. However, since farming out numerous different manufactured parts from China, (and Shimano & Daiwa making HUGE strides forward in reel design) it’s a “crap shoot” whether you will get a “good one” or not. There are certain Penn reels that are still “mostly” American made with American Parts. Here are my favorite’s that still have “quality” workmanship & components-

1. Penn Slammer-

2. Penn Spinfisher SSm-

The Spinfisher is a “tank”. Esp good for Surf Fishing or Offshore light action fishing. There is a reason the design has not changed in 60 years- it works! The only issues with the SSM is the “spool wobble”. If your OK with that, then this would be a nice reel for the Surf. Go to a Bass Pro Shops or Cabelas, (or your local Sporting Goods Store) and “test drive” it.

One other thing about Penn- They are EASILY fixed. Most local reel repair shops have prts for Penn reels, (or have easy access). Another “plus” in the Penn category.

My Favorite fishing reel for the Surf or for Jetty/Pier fishing is the Daiwa Black Gold Series. The BG’s are another “tank” designed reel. VERY sturdy and almost indestructible, the BG’s are a common reel you see aboard savoy Florida charter boats. Daiwa designed these reels to offer something to the US market that could compete with Penn’s SSm Series.

They are JUST as durable, with excellent workmanship and good components AND they don’t have the “spool wobble” the SSm has. AND they are cheaper by about $40!!!!!!!!!

So what you have is a reel that is cheaper than a Penn SSM, has the same quality as an SSM, and (FYI) ALSO is easily repaired by local Reel shops- it’s really no contest which is better. Check them out & read the reviews at Bass Pro-

And here is Cabelas reviews on the BG’s-

One more reel that is excellent for Surf Fishing is the Fin-Nor OFS Series. These are VERY nice. Are built like “tanks” and have all the other “bells & whistles” the other 2 competitors have. Personally, if I was buying another Surf/Light Offshore Spinning reel it would be an OFS. It’s THAT good!

Read reviews at Bass Pro-

The above reels are “all metal designed” with VERY tough components and designed for the harsh saltwater environment. All three are the least expensive, (but with excellent workmanship), reels you can purchase that, (with proper care), could easily last a lifetime.

You can get more expensive reels but they won’t last any longer than the above 3. Here are a couple “Holy Grail” reels that mirror or rival the components and workmanship of the Daiwa BG’s, Penn SSm and Fin-Nor OFS. Notice the price tag-

1. Shimano Stella-

2. Shimano Stella-

3. Daiwa Saltiga-

4. Quantum Cabo PT-

The above reels are some of the finest reels made. If you have the money, these are THE best quality reels made within a reasonable price point ( the Van Stals are even more expensive!!!).

However, unless your a connesiour of fishing reels, I think you would be pleased with a simple Daiwa BG, Penn SSm (or Penn Slammer), or a Fin-Nor OFS. I am confident they would last as long, (if not longer) than any reel in the “Stella” class.


Think about this- When combo’s arrive from the manufacturer they come in huge boxes all wrapped together, (rod and all). When I was a manager at a tackle store in Florida we would ALWAYS get 2-4 combo’s that had been damaged in the shipping process.

It always AMAZED me that major fishing company’s would pkg their combo’s so “slip-shod”.

The point? The odds on you getting a “dud” reel or rod in a combo pkg is high. Why risk it? Usually the difference in price is marginal, ($10-$20) and the “pkging process” with reels & rods is always better when they are shipped separate.

Hope this helps ya in your hunt for a good Surf reel? Read reviews at Cabelas and Bass Pro for further insightful help. Good fishing!

Fin-Nor Ahab Unboxing