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Penn Prevail Surf Spinning Rod Review

Are you thinking that it is time to head to the beach and to do some surf casting for your favorite fish but that you need a new rod to take on the new season?  In this review of the Penn Prevail Surf Spinning Rod, I will go over what I think makes the Prevail an excellent surfcasting rod for the money.

Penn has been around since 1932 and is a name that we have all come to trust and respect in the fishing industry.  Penn tends to make excellent products particularly in what I would classify as the entry-level segment of the market and the Prevail that was introduced in the fall of 2012 is no exception.

The Penn Prevail surf spinning rod blank is made of a graphite composite material where the graphite provides the sensitivity that is necessary to feel a fish strike and the fiberglass provides the strength that is necessary to land the fish.  This combination of the two materials is pretty common in today’s rod manufacturing as it has been proven to create a lightweight rod that is at the same time strong and durable.  When you combine this rod blank with stainless steel guides that have aluminum oxide inserts and an extremely durable rubber shrink tube handle you have a winner especially for the price point that is around $69 for the 8′ model and $79 for the 12′ model at the time of this article (click the link below for current discounted prices).

Features

2 piece graphite composite blank – The Prevail is made of a composite material that incorporates both a graphite material for sensitivity and light weightiness and fiberglass for strength and durability.  The 2 piece construction is strong and makes it easy to transport your rod to your favorite fishing destination.

Carbon Shield – Penn uses a woven carbon fiber layer on the rod blank and the guide wraps to add an extra layer of protection and durability.  Think of this as a protective layer that it like a layer of armor for your rod.

Graphite reel seat – The Prevail uses a DPS graphite reel seat to make sure that your favorite reel is attached firmly to the rod without any wobble or play.

Stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts – Strong stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts will guide your line smoothly from the reel up through the tip of the rod.  Aluminum oxide is known for being a material that provides a very durable and smooth sliding action for both mono and braided lines.

Rubber shrink tube handles – Rubber shrink tubes handles provide an excellent grip in both wet and dry conditions, and have proven to be very durable over time.  The Prevail comes in 4 different handle types depending on the length of the rod.  (See the chart below.)

 Features at a Glance

  • 2 piece graphite composite blank
  • Carbon shield
  • Graphite reel seat
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Aluminum oxide inserts
  • Rubber shrink tube handles

Penn has really done an excellent job with the Prevail Surf Spinning Rod as it incorporates many of the same quality features that you would expect to normally only find in a more expensive rod.  If you are the type of angler that only gets out a few times a month or even a few times a year but you want a quality rod that will withstand the harsh saltwater conditions and stand up to even the largest ocean-going beasts then this is a great pick.  For the price, you get an amazing rod that while a bit heavier than the Penn Carnage II Surf Spinning Rod is still light and sensitive thanks to the graphite composite construction.

A few of the reels that would consider pairing to the Penn Prevail would be, a Penn Squall Star Drag or Penn Squall Lever Drag depending on the size of fish you are targeting.  I would also consider using a Shimano Tranx 300 or 400 and for the biggest fish a Shimano Tranx 500.  If you prefer to go with a spinning reel for your surfcasting then take a look at the Daiwa Saltist Spinning reel and from Penn, the Penn Spinfisher V and Penn Slammer III reels all three are excellent reels and pair nicely with any of the Prevail rods.

 

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

ModelRod LengthRod ActionRod PowerLine RatingLure RatingGuidesHandle TypePieces
PRESF1220S808Moderate FastMedium12-203/4-3 oz6B2
PRESF815S909Moderate FastMedium Light8-151/2-2 oz7A2
PRESF1220S909Moderate FastMedium12-203/4-3 oz6B2
PRESF1530S1010FastMedium Heavy15-301-5 oz6C2
PRESF1530S1111FastMedium Heavy15-302-6 oz6D2
PRESF2040S1212FastHeavy20-404-8 oz7D2

Regardless of the style of fishing, you are doing in the surf, casting artificials, plugging or soaking dead baits, you are sure to find that the Penn Prevail is capable of landing all of your favorite species such as shark, drums, stripers, blues, and kings.

We had the chance to take an 11′ Penn Prevail paired with a Penn Spinfisher V 5500 series, loaded up with 300 yards of 30 lb braid out for a field test at one of the most beautiful surfcasting spots I know on Sanibel Island, FL.  Both the rod and the reel felt like they belonged together and I was able to achieve very long casts.  I was impressed with how well the rod loaded up when I was casting a small chunk of ladyfish.  Fishing was a bit slow but I did manage to hook up a nice 10 lb Black drum and a few sheepshead so I did not get skunked.  I must say that I did enjoy the day of fishing and that I was thoroughly impressed with how well I could cast the rod and how I was able to play the fish.  Both the larger drum and the smaller sheepshead 2 lbs. approximately, fought well and were fun on this setup.

Pros

  • Price
  • Lightweight
  • Value
  • Durability

Cons

  • There is not much I don’t like about this rod for the price, you can’t go wrong.

Alternatives

If you are looking to step up to the next level of rods in this category then I would suggest that you take a look at the Penn Carnage II Surf Spinning Rod where you will get a higher quality SLS3 rod blank that is a bit lighter weight, a Fuji reel seat along with Fuji K guides.

If you want to stay at a similar price point then I would recommend that you take a look at the Ugly Stik Surf Casting Rod.  As usual, Ugly Stik gives you a good bang for you buck.

In Conclusion

Great value for the angler that is not surfcasting every day and does not want to invest over $100 in a rod.  For the money, I do not think that you can go wrong.  The rod loads nicely and I was able to achieve casts of great distance and fight and land the fish I caught.  If you are just getting started or have a smaller budget then this is a great option.

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