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Penn Conflict Reel Review

The Penn Conflict was introduced in the fall of 2013 and is positioned just above the Penn Battle II and below the Penn Conquer. The Penn Conflict is designed and is typically most popular in the 1000 – 3000 size range – for the nearshore or inshore fisherman that is typically looking for a smaller reel.  New with the Conflict is the 2500 size reel that is perfect for those anglers that are looking to have something that is small enough to balance out a lightweight rod for more technical fishing.  The Conflict is also offered in as large as a 8000 series.

What makes the reel different from the Battle II is that the line lay has been changed by altering the size and the lip of the spool.  This combination provides for better line management while casting and better line lay when retrieving.  One of the other things that you will notice right away, if you have been using the Battle II series of reels, is that the Conflict is quite a bit lighter, between 3% and 10% depending on the model you choose.  The smaller series reels use a graphite rotor that seems to provide adequate torque and strength while reducing weight.  The 5000, 6000 and 8000 use an aluminum rotor which again reduces the overall weight of the reel.

Drag has been increased over the Battle II by using a technology that is called keying the drag washers.  The washers are actually keyed into the spool meaning that there is now access to both sides of the washers allowing about a 20% increase in overall drag for the same sized washer.

Overall this is a step up from the Battle II – the biggest difference being the weight and the line management.

From a price point these reels are going to retail for:

  • $129.99 for the 1000, 2000 and 2500
  • $139.99 for the 3000 & 4000
  • $149.99 for the 5000 & 6000
  • $159.99 for the 8000

Features

Full Metal Body –  The Penn Conflict models CFT5000, CFT6000 and CFT8000 are the only models that are reported to have a full metal body, however upon inspection of the smaller series reels, I can attest that they all appear to have a full metal body, sideplate and rotor just like the Penn Battle II.

7+1 Bearing system – This reel incorporates what is referred to as a 7+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearing system as compared to the Battle II that has a 6+1 bearing system.   There are 2 on the main gear, 2 on the pinion gear, 2 on the handle knob and one under the main drag on the top of the spool that reduces the friction when the drag is paying out.  All bearing are sealed with rubber seals which should hold up well and protect the reel from accidental dunks in the water.

Techno-Balanced rotor – The Techno-Balanced rotor is a trademarked rotor design of Penn and is engineered to provide a very smooth retrieve.  When combined with the 7+1 bearing system, it makes the reel feel silky smooth.

HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers – HT 100 drag system – which utilizes keyed carbon washers in place of the traditional felt washers will lengthen the lifespan of the reel and provide a very smooth non jerky drag when under load from a retreating fish.  By using a keyed washer, there is access to both sides of the washer to provide a smooth drag.  The HT stands for the High Tech which is a carbon fiber laminated on fiberglass.  The 100 in the name stands for the equivalent of 100 miles of line being taken from the reel in original testing without any noticeable degradation which is pretty impressive.

Infinite Anti-Reverse – The infinite Anti Reverse eliminates the back play on the rotor when you set the hook.  This is accomplished by using a one way bearing in the reel design.

Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire – The Penn Conflict has an extra heavy duty bail wire that will withstand the test of time and should not warp over a long period of time. This is important as a warped bail will lead to inferior line management.

Superline Spool line capacity rings –  The super spool incorporates rubber inlayed into the spool which means that you can go direct to the spool with a braid of your choice without having to back it with mono.  I really like this feature and we are starting to see it on more and more reels these days.  The rings are marked at 1/3, 2/3 and full line capacity.

 Features at a Glance

  • Full Metal Body (CFT5000, CFT6000, CFT8000 only)
  • 7+1 Sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • Techno-Balanced rotor gives smooth retrieves
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse
  • EVA Handle
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Superline Spool Line Capacity Rings

The Penn Conflict comes in 8 different models starting out with a 1000 series that weighs in at just 7.8 oz and has a line capacity of 160 yards of 6 lbs braid with a maximum drag of 9 lbs.  Probably one of the most popular models in the lineup and my favorite is the 2500, which has a weight of only 9.8 oz. and I keep it spooled with 240 years of 10 lbs Spiderwire braid.  This is a great reel for my St. Croix Mojo Inshore and balances it out nicely.   The largest in the series is the 8000, which is a hefty reel that is suitable for surf casting weighing in at 29.1 oz and a max line line capacity of either 345 yards of 80 lbs  braid or 465 yards of 50 lbs braid. The drag in this big boy is bumped up to a hefty 30 lbs.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelMono Cap (yds/lb)Braid Cap (yds/lb)BearingsMax Drag (lbs)Gear RatioLine RetrieveWeight (oz)
CFT1000275/2
135/4
105/6
160/6
130/8
110/10
7 + 195.2:1227.8
CFT2000240/4
180/6
125/8
210/8
180/10
165/15
7 + 1106.2:1309.5
CFT2500255/6
175/8
140/10
240/10
220/15
160/20
7 + 1126.2:1339.8
CFT3000200/8
165/10
120/12
240/15
180/20
130/30
7 + 1156.2:13511.3
CFT4000270/8
220/10
165/12
360/15
260/20
185/30
7 + 1156.2:13712
CFT5000225/12
200/15
135/20
420/20
300/30
240/40
7 + 1255.6:13619
CFT6000335/15
230/20
210/25
490/30
390/40
335/50
7 + 1255.6:14121.5
CFT8000340/20
310/25
230/30
475/50
390/65
345/80
7 + 1305.3:14429.1

Pros

  • Price
  • HT-100 Drag system
  • Sealed bearing system
  • Smooth retrieve

Cons

  • Still a bit heavy
  • Some metal on metal
  • Not really that different than the Battle II

Alternatives

If you are looking to stay with the Penn brand, then I will give you two alternatives.

The first would be the Penn Battle II – if you were looking to spend a little bit less money.  What you are going to give up for the savings is some weight – meaning that the Battle II is going to weigh a bit more.  If you are looking to fish with a lighter weight setup for more tactful fishing, then I think I would either stay with the Conflict or I might consider going with a Penn Clash.  Read the full review of the Penn Battle II HERE. 

The Penn Clash is a lighter weight reel that is designed for technical fishing.  If you look at the 2500 series, you will see that the Penn Clash is 13% lighter.

In Conclusion

I almost feel like Penn is trying to hard to come out with too many models of reels.  As I said earlier and as Penn has said themselves, the Penn Conflict is a step up from the Penn Battle II and a step down from the Penn Conquer.  Is the Penn Conflict really a necessary model?  There are a few minor upgrades from the Penn Battle II as we have discussed – such as weight and the addition of one more bearing, but I still feel like it is almost redundant.  To me it is almost like Penn has added an options package to the Battle II.  For me, if I am not satisfied with the Battle II, then I think I am going to jump up in price point by more than $30 and go for something in the $150+ range like the Pflueger Supreme XT.

At the end of the day, the Penn Conflict is a good reel and would be a good addition to your fishing arsenal. But for me personally, I would probably skip this price point and jump to something a bit higher on the scale.

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