The Baja Special is a reel that we like a lot. There’s a sad love story behind this reel, a lost love…and then a re-kindled affair. While we loved the piece on the West Coast, the rest of the country was slow to warm to the skinny 4/0. But once Penn announced that they’d not be producing the reel, well, it’s desirability increased greatly. But, they were gone, long gone for over a years time. Penn finally bowed to popular pressure and brought this darling back for one run, and we’re hoping to see one run per year going forward. They’re still produced here in America.
At ICAST in 2014 Penn announced, and proudly showed off, three new Senator 113 reels – ALL MADE HERE IN AMERICA JUST LIKE THE ORIGINAL 113HN! Penn’s making the 113N (Baja Special), 113 and 113 W (wide). All have their place in a guy’s arsenal. All reels in this series offer a one piece aluminum frame, stainless steel main and pinion gear, live spindle with free floating spool for great casting, forged, machined and anodized aluminum spool, HT-100’s offering carbon fiber stopping power, six shielded stainless steel ball bearings, line capacity rings like some of Penn’s other newer reels… All offer 27 lbs of drag with a 4.3:1 gear ratio, 34 inches of line retrieve per crank. Bottom line, the Penn US Senators are the best Senators money can buy, and they are a value given their capability.
Mono Capacity: 300 yds of 40, 370 for the 113 and about 430 for the 113W. For Braid: 600 of 65, 750 of 65 and 1000 of 65 on the W. (though most guys go 80 for the backing on these reels).
Last one first, for our Hawaii guys going after ULUA, in the past Newell had this one covered with 500 series. But, with Newells passing there was a huge gap for our Ulua specialists. Some moved to Avet’s HX, but some really wanted to see a star drag as was preferred in past years. Well, Penn’s 113W US Senator is now the reel of choice for this demanding application, that’s my take. Traditional design, improved production, USA reliability all contribute to a wonderful series of reels that cover a lot of functionality for anglers, from casting iron, yoyo jigs, dropper loop fishing and more.
Now, for what we’ve come to love here locally and for our Baja bound anglers: The Baja Special 113N. This is your basic, enhanced 113HN or Yellowtail Special. Narrow frame for casting ease, plenty of capacity, excellent drag capability and reliable performance on a star drag reel. While lever drags are great, a big benefit of a star drag is that you can hammer down on the drag and not crunch a spool bearing nor interfere with freespool performance. Simple design, reliable performance under the most demanding conditions, these are the things guys look for when traveling to Mexico to tangle with tough fish – plentiful tough fish. You can’t afford to have your gear go down, give up after a couple hard fights and spoil your time on the water. Reliability is a must, and the 113’s have earned high marks for robust construction, bullet proof design and consistent performance. In terms of value, the reels are long on that characteristic and the new cosmetic treatment really stands out, in my opinion. The images don’t quite do ’em justice. Great performance, strength, reliability, high line capacity, versatility – these are the characteristics the new USA built Senators excel in delivering.