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Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Penn Spinfisher VI spinning fishing reel review. Now, as you are probably aware, fishing is one of those past times that holds two essential truths:
- There are a great number of variations of every piece of equipment, tackle and accessory that you could be looking for.
- Everybody has an opinion on which of these variations is best at any given time – which is generally due to the fact that that particular item has helped them catch fish.
So with that in mind, one thing I have tried to do on this site is review the products I use, as well as the ones that are popular at the moment to give you an idea of what may work for you as you head out to the water and chase the big ones.
Hence, for this review, I will run you through:
- What the product is
- What I bought if for
- Pros and Cons
- My recommendations
What is a spinning reel?
Also known as ‘open face’ reels or ‘eggbeaters’, these reel types wind the line onto a front spool which is held on by a ‘bail’. Line is wound in via a handle on the side which is ratioed to bring the line in faster than the handle is turned. In general, spinning reels are made from a corrosion-resistant metal, carbon fiber and/or aluminum body with variations of the following:
- Bearings – As with a car wheel, the mechanisms inside a spinning fishing reel generally incorporate ball bearings for smoother operation. From my experience, most come with between 3 and if the specifications are listed as 10 + 1 for example, this means that there are 10 ball bearings in the main housing and also a roller bearing incorporated into the bail to make line retrieval easier.
- Rotation – One advantage of a spinning fishing reel is the winding rotation. This is usually set anywhere for 3:1 up to 6 or 7:1 (often listed as 6.0:1 etc.) This simply means that for every time the user turns the handle a full rotation, the spool holding the line has actually turned 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 times meaning less winding for faster line retrieval. Higher ratios are good for fast retrieval fishing such as with a lure or if there are a lot of snags etc. Lower rations assist with the big fish catches.
- Drag – The drag of a fishing reel is its ability to release a little bit of line when a fish strikes or is being pulled in. This is in place to reduce the chances of a bigger fish snapping the line as it fights. As with anything, the more you pay for a reel, the better the drag system should be with the more expensive models containing precision setting capabilities and carbon washers.
- Casing: This is the part of the reel that contains the springs, levers, gear cogs etc. that make much of the stuff above work. I’m my opinion, avoid any reel that doesn’t have this all housed in a sealed, waterproof casing. These are low maintenance and the components will not rust.
What did I buy it for?
I purchased the 9500 model for deep sea fishing chasing reef dwelling fish in 15 to 100 metres (50 to 300ft) of water. It is great for this type of fishing with a paternoster rig as well as ‘floating a live bait’ off the side for the fast moving surface fish.
I have the large model as I have the need to stop large catches at the depths however if you wanted to cast it in the surf or even from the boat, then a smaller model will definitely suit here. One of my fishing buddies has the 4500 model which he uses in the surf and although I have not used it myself, he says it casts extremely well in those conditions on a standard running sinker surf rig.
I have mine attached to a 5’7″ Penn Ocean Assassin rod spooled with 80lb braid (it is really thick almost like fly fishing line haha) and 80lb fluorocarbon leader which was more than capable landing anything I have been able to land as below (ok, I just wanted to brag haha):
What is the Penn Spinfisher IV?
- Model: Penn Spinfisher VI SSVI9500 spinning fishing reel (models range from 4500 to 10500)
- Bearings: 5 + 1 fully sealed stainless steel
- Ratio: 4.2:1 (smaller models range 5.6:1 to 6.2:1)
- Composition: IPX5 sealed spool, full metal body and side plates protecting CNC Gear System with a Thermoplastic soft handle
- Drag: front of spool – HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers – up to 45lb (ranges start at 15lb on 4500 model)
- Anti-reverse switch: no
- Extremely durable and tough
- Easy to manage and clean
- Extremely sensitive drag and tension settings (if not a little high)
- Handles heavy catches without displaying any strain
- Fully sealed components
- Larger models not great for casting
- Not as smooth as some others
- A little heavier than other spinning reels of same size and cost (such as Diawa Tierra for example)
How much is it?
I paid $AUD229 however have seen these priced at anywhere between $200 to $250 for the 9500 models.
Do I recommend it?
I actually purchased this model on the advice of my neighbour who is an ex-commercial fisherman. His comments where that even though it is not as ‘smooth’ as some others (it does make a ‘squealing’ noise on heavy load) it is easily the longest lasting and most durable reel he has used. In fact, he uses these over all others for deep sea fishing.
My experience with these has been nothing but positive in that it really works well and when a fish is on, I have never felt like the reel was struggling or going to ‘give out’. As above, I have the large model so it doesn’t cast really well – although the heavy line and small rod will have to take some of the blame here. I have also found that it is easier to just flip the bail to release line if needed rather than pull on the drag – although I may just need to play with the settings there.
At the end of the day, in my experience, If you are looking for something to use with live or fresh bait in an ocean setting then you could definitely do a lot worse than this one – especially if you want something durable that will take a bit of work and not have to be replaced often even if used regularly.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Penn Spinfisher IV spinning reel. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.
Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
Until next time