Penn Spinfisher V Review
The Penn Spinfisher V spinning reel is just as the name would suggest, the 5th generation of the Spinfisher reel. It was first released at ICAST in 2012, where it won Best New Saltwater Reel of 2012. The first of the Penn Spinfisher line, the 700 reel, began production in the early 1960’s and Penn has continued to refine the spinfisher offering ever since.
In this review of the Penn Spinfisher V, we will look at what makes the Spinfisher V such a solid choice for a saltwater reel. If you are an angler that likes to get down with the action such as fishing from a kayak, wade fishing the flats or your favorite surf spot, then you will want to seriously consider the Spinfisher V for what Penn refers to as it’s Water Tight Design. The ability to keep water and therefore salt out of the reels gear box and drag system is on of the top design elements in the Spinfisher and is accomplished by using a series of rubber gaskets – more on this later.
If you are looking for a single reel that can withstand the test of time, some abuse and getting wet with saltwater, then the Penn Spinfisher V is a great choice. Now, I am not recommending that you don’t clean your gear after each use but this reel has a very good chance of lasting for a decade or more even if you are not the most meticulous when it comes to reel care and maintenance.
The Penn Spinfisher V comes in two different styles: the regular and the live liner which can be determined by the addition of the LL at the end of the model number. For example, the SSV4500 is the regular and the SSV4500LL is the live liner. The reels are broken up into four different classes that each share the same frame specifications with different spool capacities. We have the 3500/4500, then the 5500/6500, next is the 7500/8500 and then it is capped out with the largest, the 9500/10500.
The design and features are consistent across all of the models with the exception that the models 7500 and greater have a mechanical anti-reverse back up vs. the instant anti-reverse and the 9500 and 10500 have a main shaft that extends all the way through the body to the rear support.
Water Tight Design – One of the great features of the Penn Spinfisher V is its water tight design. Penn has been able to accomplish a nearly impenetrable design by using sealed or shielded stainless steel ball bearings and a sealed drag system. The seal drag system uses one seal on the top and two on the bottom. In the handle, Penn has added a mounted seal to keep water out. While you would not want to use this reel to fish under water, we have seen demonstration of the like. While I personally have not had any issues with water penetration, I have read a few reviews by other anglers that claim they have seen minor drops of water which would place this reel in the waterproof vs. water tight category.
Full Metal Body – The Penn Spinfisher V offers a full metal body which is going to provide a good backbone for the rest of the reel.
Live Liner Models – There are four models of the Spinfisher V that come in a live liner version for those of you who want to fish live baits.
5 Bearing system – This reel incorporates what is referred to as a five sealed stainless steel ball bearing system. All bearing are sealed with a rubber seal 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. This when combined with the 5+1 bearing system makes the reel feel silky smooth and provides for a very even line lay on the spool.
HT-100 Slammer Drag System – HT 100 slammer Drag System utilizes keyed carbon washers in place of the traditional felt washers, which will lengthen the lifespan of the reel and provides for 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 that could normally only be achieved by using more washers. 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. The drag system itself has a very slow progression due to the fine threads which means that to achieve the same level of drag that you might be used to getting with one or two quarter turns on another reel, you will have to, in some cases, double the number of rotations. While this gives you more control over your drag, it also makes it a bit more difficult to switch between different brands of reels.
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. The models 7500 – 10500 use a back up ratchet system in place of the infinite anti-reverse.
Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire – The Penn Spinfisher incorporates an extra heavy duty bail wire that will withstand the test of time and should not warp or bend easily if bumped or slammed against another object. This is important as a warped bail will lead to inferior line management.
Superline Spool line capacity rings – The superline 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. Some of the other models on the market have similar features, however Penn has made the rubber wide enough to eliminate line slippage when has been known to happen to other models.
Features at a Glance
- Water tight design
- Full Metal Body, sideplate, and Techno Balanced rotor
- Superline spool with Line Capacity Rings
- Sealed HT-100 Slammer Drag System
- Instant Anti-Reverse
- 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings.
I think that the Penn Spinfisher V is a solid reel for the price point that has a few outstanding qualities that include nearly water proof design, rock solid braking system, excellent drag, remarkable line lay and an overall design and finish that should last for years, if well taken care of.
For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.
|Model||Mono Cap (yds/lb)||Braid Cap (yds/lb)||Bearings||Max Drag (lbs)||Gear ratio||Line Retrieve (in)||Weight (oz)|
- Nearly water proof design
- Excellent HT-100 slammer drag
- Great line lay
- Quality finish
- Excellent braking
- Not 100% water tight as advertised
- Some gear wearing after heavy use
For a small step down in price you could take a look at either the Penn Battle II or the Penn Conflict. Read the full review of the Penn Battle II HERE and read the full review of the Penn Conflict HERE.
Headed in another direction, you can take a look at what I would probably go with personally which is the Penn Slammer III. The Penn Slammer III is going to set you back a few dollars more but it is also going to give you incredible drag capacity with the Dura-Drag material, brass gearing and a wider selection of reel sizes. Read the full review of the Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel HERE.
All in all, this is a good quality reel that has been around for a half a century and will most likely still be around years from now. For the price point, this is a quality reel that should last the average angler years of quality fishing, if it is well cared for. Don’t be fooled by the advertising that claims that the reel is 100% water proof. The finish is a heavy anodized finish and will keep the reel from corrosion for many years. If you like to fish live bait then you will want to take a look at the live liner version of this reel.
Overall for the price point, I think that Penn has produced a fine reel that is worthy of consideration for anyone that plans on fishing in wet saltwater conditions such as from a kayak or the surf.