Penn Spinfisher V Review

Penn celebrated the 50th birthday of the Spinfisher reel in 2013 by coming out with its fifth generation, The Spinfisher V.  The fact that these reels have had a fifty year run speaks well of the original design.  The fact that Penn continues to improve, these durable effective reels speaks well of the company.

The Spinfisher V is in the medium-low price range of Penn reels, but it has all the drag capacity that most saltwater anglers need.  Even with the necessary deflation that we need to use when listening to other fishermen, these reels have held their own with very big fish.  Satisfied customers have reported bringing in a 38 lb. amberjack, a 35 lb. Florida dolphin, and several 30 lb. stripers.

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A general feature of Penn reels that you get with the Spinfisher is the solid machinery.  You have full metal light aluminum body, side plate, and rotor.  The hallmark of Penn reels is lightness and strength, a strength derived from few, well-machined parts.   All of these reels feature six stainless steel bearings, one used exclusively for anti-reverse (fish stopping power).

Improvements in Resistance to Corrosion

Some of the innovations of the Spinfisher V derive from the desire to make them more resilient to salt water.  This is a response to a perceived weakness in earlier models.  Here are the innovative new features to make this happen:

*   The process of anodization for corrosion protection has been refined.   “Deep Anodization” uses sulfuric acid to partially dissolve aluminum and add a hard coat additive to form a tough protective layer over the aluminum that prevents corrosion from salt water.  The spool, the handle, the body, the side plate and the rotor are all anodized in this way.

*  There are six seals in key places to prevent saltwater from corroding valuable internal components.  There is a new water tight seal between the handle and the body.  Penn discovered that this is actually a hotspot of corrosion problems.  There is also a seal on the opposite side of the handle and three seals to protect the gear box.

Improvements to the Spool

In response to feedback from users of the earlier Spinfishers, Penn has made adjustments to the spool to make the most dramatic fishing moments go more smoothly.

*  The new generation has a thicker aluminum bale wire.  This is so you can flip it more easily as your eyes are following what is on your line.

*  The spool has line capacity rings at 1/3, 2/3 and full capacity.  You do not have to guess when you might need to put more line on the spool.

*  Penn has a added a “super line spool band” in the spool allows you to load up with braid without having to put a monofilament backing on the spool.

Improvements to the Drag System

The two factors that make a reel strong in the battle against the fish are the solidity of construction and the drag system.  The Spinfisher reels feature the “Slammer Drag System.”  Penn employs oversized HT 100 Carbon fiber washers.  These are improvements over the older felt washers.  They compress less and they last longer.  The new model places two of these washers underneath the spool.  This allows you to employ the big diameter washers which can absorb more pressure.  The end result is a big increase in maximum drag pressure.  The top of the line can now reach 40 lbs. of maximum drag.

Like the reel itself, the drag system has added seals to keep out salt water.

Another new feature that the drag knob on top of the spool has been made wider for easier manipulation.  It has a lot of range and allows you to greatly increase drag.  If you keep tightening it, be careful unless you are working from a harness.

The Live Liner Option

This an option that you can find on three of the current Spinfisher models.  You can activate this feature with a switch on the bottom of the reel that gives you free spooling action when you are using various live bait techniques. In the chart below, the model numbers that are marked “LL” at the end are the Live Liner models.

The Long Casting Option

If you see an “LC” at the end of the model number, this means that it is the long casting model.  These are designed to let out line more freely to give you greater range.  You do sacrifice a little with the maximum drag, but if you know what you are going for and it is not huge, this can be an attractive option.

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The Table:

Below is a summary of all the Spinfisher V models.   The “SSV” just refers to Spinfisher V.  The number that follows indicates the power of the reel, which as you can see, is reflected in the maximum drag.

SSV3500 390/4,  250/6,  210/8 230/10  215/15, 165/20 6 20 lb. 6:2.1 139.95
SSV4500 300/8, 250/10, 185/12 365/15, 280/20,200/30 6 25 lb. 6:2.1 159.95
SSV4500LL 300/8, 250/10, 185/12 365/15, 280/20,200/30 6 25 lb. 6:2.1 159.95
SSV5500 360/10, 270/12, 240/15 425/20, 320/30, 250/40 6 30 lb. 5:6.1 159.95
SSV6500 330/12, 300/15, 210/20 430/30, 340/40, 280/50 6 30 lb. 5:6.1 159.95
SSV6500LL 330/12, 300/15, 210/20 430/30, 340/40, 280/50 6 30 lb. 5:6.1 179.95
SSV6500BLS 330/12, 300/15, 210/20 430/30, 340/40, 280/50 6 30 lb. 5:6.1 159.95
SSV7500 440/15, 300/20, 210/30 430/40, 360/50, 320/65 6 35 lb. 4:7.1 179.95
SSV7500LC 480/12, 370/15, 300/20 500/30, 400/40, 350/50 6 20 lb. 4:7.1 199.95
SSV8500 440/20, 300/30, 250/40 650/40, 540/50, 470/65 6 35 lb. 4:7.1 179.95
SSV8500LL 440/20, 300/30, 250/40 650/40, 540/50, 470/65 6 35 lb. 4:7.1 199.95
SSV9500 360/30, 300/40, 220/50 630/50, 540/65, 490/80 6 40 lb. 4:2.1 199.95
SSV10500 415/30, 350/40, 255/50 750/50, 670/65, 580/80 6 40 lb. 4:2.1 199.95


This is a proven product that has accomplished some valuable upgrades.  It is a proven salt water reel that is strong and effective for all fish under about 40 lbs.  It is a strong and reliable reel at a good price.  The only customer complaints I came across pertained to older models and they involved corrosion problems, which is exactly what the latest upgrades corrected.

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