At ICAST in July 2013 Penn introduced some new models in the Squall Series. The newest Squalls feature Lever Drags and two speed function. Penn also produces Squalls in star drag and single speed lever drag fashion, and at ICAST they introduced levelwind star drags to the Squall Series, which we’ll talk about a bit later…
SQUALL TWO SPEEDS:
There are three models produced in this series, sizes include 16VS, 30VSW and 50VSW wides. The new reels feature a stainless steel gear train. The hardened gears are drilled out for weight reduction, combining both strength and durability as well as lighter weight. Of course Penn is making use Penn’s Dura-Drag material, a carbon fiber material with phenolic bonding agent to prevent premature breakdown while providing a better barrier to water. The drag washers are also treated with a special compound developed by Penn engineers to improve the smoothness of their drags – say bye to jerky drags and lost fish! You get a forged and machined aluminum spool, stainless steel main and pinion gear, Penn’s Quick Shift 2 speed system. 4 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, a DOUBLE DOG ratchet anti-reverse, and lightweight graphite frame and sideplates.
Okay, that’s Penn’s pitch… Here’s mine, the reels are nice, a big improvement over the older GLD and KG series two speeds Penn had in their line over the past 10 years. They are indeed smooth in operation, nice feel to the gears, nice handle, leverage, overall construction is good. I’d say that these reels, while really not breaking any new ground, take off where the old TLD20/30/50 series from the bike maker took off. They are affordable, perfectly suited to handle a wide range of fish – though these are NOT cow reels (in the case of the 50). I’d feel quite comfortable fishing them from say 50-80# with appropriate drag for those line tests. But, like any graphite bodied reel I’d have some reluctance to fish the big 50 at it’s rated 30 lbs of drag. At 25#, it should live a long, long life. But, with a 200 lb tuna fished heavy on a long range boat it’s going to be questionable, and time will tell just how far you can push ’em. If your target fish is under that level, then you’ve arrived at a great option which these reels will satisfy well. I’m especially pleased with the choice of gearing provided. Their low gear is quite low, and that’s a great thing for turning a fish’s head your way and keeping it coming towards you.