Costa Rica Dreamin- PENN Clash reel

I want to share few thoughts on the new PENN Clash reel. I wish that I could make my opinions transferable from a boat fishing to a surf fishing, but I can’t. We all know that surf fishing eats up reels and spits them out. So until we actually put some time on these reels in the surf, I can only speak of my experience while using them in the boat for a week. Here are some of my thoughts

The Bail

Three days of casting on a bow. Zillion casts and not a single bail closure, not a single lost lure.

Strong bail wire

Nuff said


If you were paying attention to PENN reels last few years, you would notice that their reels got progressively lighter.

PENN Clash is the lightest spinning reel they ever made until  now. The sizes for PENN Clash line up are 2000-8000 .Surfcasters would primarily be interested in the 4000 to 6000 models. I fished PENN SS 850 reels long, long time ago when I just started out, and now that I look back, I realize that is Godzilla of a reel for surfcasting. Lets be honest, rod companies are coming out with lighter and lighter rods seemingly every day, your reel should match the rod if you want to have a pleasurable experience using the combo. The 2000 to 5000 have a rigid resin rotors making them perfect for light tackle use while 6000 and 8000 have aluminum rotors.

Line lay

Line lay is nice and tight, and it comes off the reel in a beautiful spiral. They added a slow oscillation on the Clash line of reels and line lay is just about perfect.DSC_5604


This is probably the biggest news on this model and part of reason why PENN Clash won the ICAST 2016 Best New Reel category. Models 2000 to 5000 feature fully machined aluminum gears while models 6000 to 8000 featured the same technology but the gears are made out of brass. They call this CNC Gear Technology which provides for lower tolerance (which results in smoother operation) and more durability over the life off a reel. So machined gears instead of die cast gears


Here is the thing. There are haters on fishing forums that would lynch Mother Teresa if she ever comes back from heavens. They hate everything and everyone. And yet, even they have nothing to say about PENN drag. Why? Because its an awesome drag and its been awesome for a long time. Clash has sealed drag system with seals on top and bottom and HT 100 washers. I can sincerely say that I never used a reel made by PENN where I had drag issues. We all had stuff over the years that we didn’t like, but drag was not one of them.In addition they added some seals to the Clash to prevent saltwater intrusion and sealed ball bearings. Is it a “sealed” reel? Absolutely not, but its not meant to be.IMG_2555-001

Final thoughts

Having not used it in the surf I am having a hard time judging this reel on how it would perform in the surf. During my use for a week on the boat (I understand its a limited trial test) I would be willing to say its one of the better reels I used in this price range. But that means very little to the surf guy who wants to see how prolog use in the surf would affect it. I get and respect that so here are some thoughts in a video from SJ columnist John Skinner who got to fish with it last fall in the surf

and yes I did read Mr.Hawk review recently. I respect the dude immensely although I have to admit half of the time I have no idea what is he is saying (level of my reel fixing skill is fish, rinse once a year, fish some more). I thought review was quite good. Some people read it differently but I have no issues about buying it. That is why I ordered 4000 model for fluke fishing next year.

4 comments on “Costa Rica Dreamin- PENN Clash reel

  1. Rick F.

    How could that review be read as anything but negative? There are major flaws in the reel. Penn is a sponsor of that trip and this site. Come on Z?

    1. zhromin Post author

      Sorry..I wrote this weeks before his review and based on my experiences fishing it I wouldn’t change a word of it. Nothing in his reviews points to any major flaw, definitely not based on my usage. Unless we are going to discuss where made in china sticker was
      Sorry, I don’t regurgitate posts from the nastiest place in the world. Arguments are best left to those who are willing to have them
      I am sure John Skinner is losing sleep over Allan’s doubt that

  2. john giammona

    Great review Z. It is always refreshing to read write ups from people who actually use the gear as it was intended to be used. You are correct, Surf fishing is extremely hard on reels (even if they never touch the sand or salt.) Down here in San Diego,there are few long rodders on the beach as most only fish the suds with light tackle. I too read AH review and was left scratching my head wondering if he was talking about the Clash as I have not seen any of the short comings he described. No spool rubbing on the bearing, and my line roller screw had a teflon washer for protection. Casting distance is too subjective and should not be used as a positive or negative in deciding wich reel cast the farthest, as you have already shown on S/J.


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