Review of Penn Spinfisher VI Reel
Penn is the top salt brand. There are no doubts about that.
We like Penn’s reels as much as anyone else. Our favorite spinning reels are the Battle II, Slammer III, and Slammer III.
How does the Spinfisher VI compare to these worthy competitors?
It is the ultimate all-rounder, capable of everything, from surfing to offshore trolling.
Let’s see what happens.
Specifications and performance
Sizes: 3500, 4500 and 5500.
Maximum drag: 15 lbs. 3500, 20 lbs. (4500), 25 pounds. (5500), 30 lbs. (6500), 35 lbs. (7500), 45 Lbs. (9500), 45 lbs. (10500)
Line capacity: 3500 8/285 (mono).
4500 10/320 (mono).
6500 15/345 (mono).
7500 20/330 (mono).
10500 50/255 (mono).
Gear ratio: 6.2:1 (3500 & 4500), 5.6:1 (5500 & 6500), 7.7:1 (7500 & 9500), 7.4:1 (7500 et 9500), 4.7 :1 (7500 et 9500), and 4.2:1 (10500).
Weight: 12.1oz. (3500), 12.5 oz. (4500), 18.5 oz. (5500), 22.3 oz. (6500), 26.5 oz. (7500), 37.1 oz. (9500), 38.6 oz. (10500)
If you are familiar with our reviews, then you will know that the drag system is what we look at when choosing a reel or comparing it to other options.
Penn’s Spinfisher VI was designed for large fish and hard fights. We expect drag on these reels to have size-appropriate maximum settings and smooth, consistent performance.
These reels are exactly that.
The Slammer III’s drag maximums are lower than those of the Slammer III, but that’s to be expected considering the differences in tech and price. The Spinfisher VI is a great reel that will give you the fight of all your lives.
The reel’s maximum weight is 15 pounds. This is enough for lines up to that size. Every increase in the reel size bears a strong drag, which is increased in 5-pound increments. The 10500 can be set up to maximum 50 pounds.
This is a lot of drag, in my opinion.
Penn equips the Spinfisher VI lineup using what it calls an “HT-100 drag system.”
Let’s clarify what this means.
The HT100 system is made of carbon fiber fabric and fiberglass discs. They exert a lot of pressure directly on the spool, and resist wear better than oil and felt systems. A large reel will also benefit from their weight reduction.
This drag has a rating IPX5 to protect against saltwater intrusion, meaning that water should not get in unless it goes overboard.
Experts believe that the HT100 system has one advantage: it reduces friction as it heats up. This means that if a large fish runs for it, your drag will naturally ease up as the line is drawn farther and further.
This allows the drag system “compensate”, meaning that less line is left on your spool. It protects you against sudden breakage.
It is a great performer in real life. Expect smooth, consistent releases with no line-threatening stops and starts.
Some anglers grease the drag system, while others leave it as is.
Penn is an expert in long, hard-fought fights and can provide gearing to help you win.
Penn chose an aluminum main gear with a brass pinion for the smaller reels, the 3500, 3500 and 4500. This combination is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and allows precision machining of gear teeth, particularly on the pinion.
Brass pinion and main gears for the 6500, 7500 and 9500 models are available. These models are easier to machine than aluminum because the teeth are much finer and can be matched with great precision. This model has a smooth, connected feel that is sure to impress.
Both systems can be used in a fight to match the fish size they were designed for.
Penn, as you would expect, matched the gear ratio to the spool size and broke down the lineup into appropriate size sections.
The reels with the smallest diameter have a ratio of 6.2 to 1, which results in retrieval rates at 37 inches and 40 inches per turn, for respectively, 37 and 40 inches. These numbers are identical to the Slammer III, and they also have identical spools.
The ratio of the next two largest reels is 5.6 to 1. This combination, together with their larger spools allows for 39 to 42 inches per turn, which is again in line with the Slammer III pace.
The 7500 and 9500 have a gear ratio of 4.7%, pulling in 38 to 40 inches of line per turn. The Slammer III’s 8500HS reel with its brilliant gearing is unbeatable, but these reels still produce respectable numbers.
Finally, the 10500 big runs a 4.2 to 1 for 43 inches per round, doubling the size of the biggest Slammer III inch by inch.
These reels can be used to catch monsters that turn back towards you, making it difficult for you to keep your boat in line. You’ll be able keep up in all cases except the most extreme.
Capacity of the Spool
As on the Slammer III you can expect huge spools and plenty of line for every fight.
The 10500 can hold540 yards braid of 80-poundsIt is, and it’s not something that I would be concerned about. Other sizes are equally large: The 6500 holds410 yards braid of 40-poundsFor example,
I’m sure you will be impressed.
Each spool is marked with capacity lines. This helps you know when it’s time to turn the pump on.
Casting and retrieving
Penn describes the Spinfisher VI to be an all-round solution for all saltwater requirements.
This is not marketing hype, I think.
These reels cast very well and the smaller models are great for surfingcasting. The spools have a well-designed and executed design, and the bails work well and are reliable.
The process of retrieving is smooth and effortless. Many converts, such as Abu Garcia or Daiwa, are amazed at how great those bearings and gears feel.
As you might expect, large, strong reels won’t be featherweights.
Penn designed each reel in the Spinfisher VI line with weight-saving features like graphite rotors and machined aluminum wheels – spending less on the size – and an all-aluminum body which is impressively stiff without weighing down the ounces.
These touches are a great indicator of the overall numbers, even though they are quite high.
2/3 lb: That’s 10500. However, it’s unlikely that anyone using the reel will care about how ounces compare to performance.
The Slammer III is a more affordable option if you only need to carry a few ounces.
Are the Spinfisher VI all-arounders it claims to be?
These smaller models can cast exceptionally well, while still providing power, durability and drag for larger species such as reds. It’s difficult to imagine getting more bang from your buck as a surfcasting reel.
These reels work well in deeper waters, with stiff bodies and high maximum drag settings.
There are better spinning reels available – the Slammer III, again – but not at this cost.
Penn’s Spinfisher VI delivers everything, and this reel is the best choice for anyone looking for a powerful, yet affordable spinning reel.