TAKING out best saltwater reel at this year’s ICAST tradeshow, the recent release of Penn’s flagship threadline, the Slammer III, has piqued understandable attention. To shine in the well contested, mid-range, offshore reel market, there are three key areas that the Slammer needs to deliver on: gearing durability, drag quality and water resistance.
The first thing you will notice when you pick up the Slammer is the weight, stemming from a full metal, diecast aluminium body, sideplate and rotor. There are two reasons for this solid exoskeleton, the first is to ensure rigidity in the reel under load, so as the brass main gear and brass pinion gear retain precise alignment. These gears are machined using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology, which delivers fastidious manufacturing tolerances.
The second, is attributed to the Slammer reel having very high drag capacity. Although graphite rotors featured on other Penn reels are lighter, the diecast aluminium rotor is necessary to reduce flex under heavy drag. The bail wire is heavy duty and the Slammer also features automatic bail trip on all sizes.
Equipped with a sealed, Dura-Drag system, the Slammer receives the same proprietary carbon fibre drag washer material that Penn uses in their International game reels. The smallest size in the range, the 3500, punches 13kg of drag, with the largest 10500 sized reel maxing out at 27kg, according to Penn’s specifications.
As for the sealing, the Slammer has an independent IPX6 ingress protection rating, with the reel tested to withstand a high powered jet of water shooting at different angles for three minutes. What does this mean for anglers? The reel is splash proof, or can take a quick dunking. With a rubber gasket sealing the internals, the 6 + 1 stainless steel ball bearings won’t see a drop of salt water under general use. The Slammer also follows the trend of many other reels in this category by omitting a potential failure point, an anti-reverse lever.
One of the most striking features of the reel is the large aluminium handle knob, which was a pleasure to fish with. However, each Slammer is also supplied with an EVA knob, which is not as cool to touch on cold winters mornings. Another thoughtful feature is a braid ready spool, with a rubber ring on the base of the spool designed to tie braid straight onto, eliminating the hassle of backing with monofilament.
Penn Fishing supplied the Slammer for testing on a day out of Broken Bay with Haven Sport Fishing Charters skippered by Scott Thorrington. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious on this occasion. The Slammer’s water resistance was put well to the test, as the reels copped plenty of spray in the gunwale rodholders. However, the inclement conditions made jigging very difficult, with just a few small reefies coming over the side. On our return to Brisbane Water we crossed paths with a large salmon school, and the 3500 sized Slammers matched with Penn Regiment rods proved to be quite capable of taming these spirited sports fish.
The Slammer retails between $369 and $499 depending on size, and offers rigid internals, third party rated water resistance, and a quality drag. With smaller sizes featuring high speed 6.2:1 gear ratios they are suitable for all manner of saltwater spinning, jigging or even live baiting for pelagic species like kingfish and tuna or demersal fish such as jewies and snapper. The larger sizes are equipped with huge line capacities and a lower gear ratio of 4.2:1, suitable for taming marlin and tuna in game fishing applications.
More info at pennfishing.com.au
By Luke Reilly