Penn Slammer III

Penn Slammer III

Real good reels…

First impressions were good: these robust, all-metal Slammer III spinning reels have an attractive black-gold finish and are engineered to fish braided super lines. The 6500 models had been loaded with 300-plus metres of 24kg/PE 5 braid, while the 4500 models were spooled with a similar length of PE 3 (15kg). Larger Slammer III models are available, suitable for 37kg/PE 8 braid.

During four days of intense fishing, the reels performed flawlessly. We caught kingfish to 18kg on the Slammer 6500 jig-rod combo, which was a pleasure to use. The 1.71m (5’7”) medium-heavy rod is light and responsive, but has plenty of power when required, and while the reel’s all-metal construction means it isn’t especially lightweight, the combo as a whole was easy to fish. A 200–250g jig seemed ideal for this combination.

The 4500 got quite a workout, too, fishing a range of Catch slow-fall jigs, as well as Squid Wings inchiku-hybrid jigs that proved deadly on both snapper and kingfish. Between us we caught a couple of decent kings on the lighter 4500-Ocean Assassin combo, though the bigger ones hooked often left us feeling under-gunned.

The Slammer III’s Dura-Drag drag system is smooth and very strong – on one occasion while using the smaller 4500 reel I managed to snap 15kg braid by screwing the drag up too high while trying to stop a kingfish reaching the bottom. The 6500’s drag is rated to 18kg; the 4500’s to 13.6kg.

Slammer III reels feature sealed bodies (IPX6) and water-shielded drag systems, six-plus-one shielded stainless-steel ball bearings and computer-cut gears. The 6500’s gear ratio is a useful 5.6:1, retrieving 107cm per turn of the handle; the 4500 has a quicker 6.2:1 ration for 102cm of line per turn.

Penn Slammer III reels are a step up in specification from the Clash series, which are excellent reels for the price (we thrashed a few of those on this trip, too), but much more affordable than Penn’s top of the range spinner, the Torque.

Penn Slammer III reels are available in smaller sizes for well under $400; larger sizes are less than $500. Ocean Assassin rods range in price between $230 and a bit over $300, depending on the model and retailer.

Don’t spare the rod!

As mentioned, we really thrashed the Penn Ocean Assassin rods and were impressed by their capabilities – they’re tough. Much of this is due to Ocean Assassin blank, which incorporates a longitudinal carbon and fibreglass ‘backbone’ sandwiched between layers of spiral-wrap carbon fibre both inside and outside the rod. The result is a lightweight but strong and very fine diameter rod – notably thinner and lighter than a comparable Penn jig rod I currently own.

The blanks are dressed with Fuji Alconite K-guides, slim, contoured EVA grips that are easy to hold, a Fuji DPS reel seat with a machined aluminium and carbon lock nut, attractive gold and red bindings, plus graphics. 

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New Zealand Fishing News

August 2017 - John Eichelsheim
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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