For 2020 and beyond Penn has introduced an updated series of Fathom Star Drag reels. These have always been great casting reels, now they are even better. They offer a “live spindle” for a fully free floating spool for excellent casting performance. They spin very well, as expected. The reels still make use of the HT-100 drag material, using Penn’s Versa-Drag system, machine cut marine grade bronze main gear with hardened stainless steel pinion gear. They offer six shielded stainless steel ball bearings, a full metal body and sideplate. One of the enhancements to the new series is the fast gear access sideplate for ease of entry for quick lubrication or service.
Taking things a couple steps further, Penn now offers some models with added features like the Magnetic Cast Control on the 12 & 15 size, and for the 25N, 30 and 40N sizes you now have two choices of gear ratio, 4 and 6 to 1. So, both bait and iron fishermen have reels made for their particular areas of application. There is a higher end 15 which features an enhanced cast control w/knob similar to Seigler’s Surf design
Penn’s listening to fishermen, they did some nice things for those of us who look at their fishing reels to be long term use products. Not only are they pretty easy to take apart and service from the gear side housing, they also offer excellent porting for drainage and better evaporation. Long term, this is something all manufacturers should take into account, and like Okuma’s Makaira series reels Penn did a good job with ports when the reel is horizontal and when vertical on a rod (additional ports for that orientation).
From the little 12 to the large 40 size fathom, all represent solid reels. The favorite of the guys here tends to run towards the narrow 25N, a bit taller than the 12/15 size and narrower than the 30/40. Very nice size for casting, with 50# braid suggested for backing, then fishing say 30-40# leader, then you’ve got room for close to 100 yards of 30# on top and a bit less of 40. Wonderful for most casting work, and the reel will find it’s home on plenty of jig-sticks rigged up just that way. Penn has a winner on their hands.