Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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Spoke with John at Trophy Tackle about this one. He thinks Penn will clean up with this $100 reel. I agree. Metal body and the aluminum main/bronze pinion gears out of the more expensive Clash II/Spinfisher VI reels. These should be way tougher than the lesser zinc gears which Daiwa uses in their BG reels, and even their brandy-new, just-released BG MQ reels. What the heck is Daiwa thinking? Why would they hobble their latest $200 reels with freakin’ zinc gears? At least Penn (finally) gets it.

And here's a nice piece of news - the 6000-size and larger will include brass main gears, instead of the aluminum - an even stronger upgrade. I understand that the 5000-size retains the aluminum main gear, but that gear can be owner-replaced with the stronger brass main from the 6000. So that's a great plus.

Its nice (and good marketing) that Penn is migrating these far superior gear sets down-market, to their more "popular-priced" reels. FYI, the PENN Battle III won "Best New Saltwater Reel" at the 2020 ICAST Show.

Penn is making some MAJOR moves this year. . .

 

Roccus7

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Not for nothing, but Penn seems to be constantly bringing up new versions of reels, like every 2 years. There almost as bad as cell phone manufacturers. At least this "newness" is based on a significant improvement. I'm not sure about many of their other "new and improved" claims.

I bought my first Battle, a "II" last year, decent reel for sure, and my first Clashes 2 years ago. Now there are new versions of both? Until they need significant rebuilds, they will remain on the boat, and I'll be fishing them hard and leaving them put up wet...
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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The Battle II was intro-ed around 2015, if my memory serves me well. I think one big issue might be that Penn's spinning reels seem to look like they are a decade behind the two big Japanese reel maker's versions.

If you take Shimano's latest small spinner, the Stradic FK, it looks like a Ferarri in comparison to any of even the latest Penns. Complicated like a Ferarri as well, as the exploded parts diagram reveals. It actually is far better looking than any 2-dimensional picture can show. In reality, it presents like the manufacturer spent some time on its design.


STRADIC_FL-primary.jpg

Anybody see the movie "Ford vs Ferrari?" There's a scene in which Carroll Shelby and his driver Ken Myles are in the pits at Lemans, prepping their Ford GT, just prior to the race starting. The Ferrari team comes along, slowly pushing their race car past the Ford pits, with a look of derision/disgust on the Italian pit crew's faces as they see the Ford entry. Shelby turns to Myles and says: "Well if its a beauty contest, we just lost big time." And he was right, the Ford GT was all business, angular and evil-looking, while the Ferrari was full of sexy curves and looked to be doing 200 mph standing still. Same deal with Shimano's spinners vs Penn's offerings.

BTW, If you like to watch car-related movies, (or if you want to see how slimy corporate executive-types never cease working to undermine the true talent in an organization), I HIGHLY recommend this movie - its really quite extraordinary.

Anyway, its the same with Daiwa - the new BG MQ is a very good looking reel, with its monocoque body. Not an exposed screw on it. Right, there's no screws to take it apart. Instead, the two side plates "clam shell" themselves to the central body assembly. Clean, gorgeous even - tracing its obvious lineage right to the $500 top of the line Certate. Both kind of remind me of a high-end sports car as well, as "monocoque" body design was first introduced as a weight-saving and strengthening design in race cars.

BGMQ8000D-PR__75855.1593199686.jpg

The Penn spinners, even the latest releases, all look dated to me. And not just to me - this is a common complaint on the various Interwebs fishing forums. It is true that Penn has been moving to modernize their looks, the new Clash II being pretty successful. But still, they remind me of a "form follows function" philosophy, kind of like an all-business pick-up truck. Hey, PLENTY of people love their pick-ups, but no such truck will ever be mistaken for a sports car. Same with Penn spinning reels.

Penn-Battle-III-Spinning-Reel-031324048638_image1__35182.1592866891.jpg
To me this new Battle III looks ALOT like my 40-yr old Penn Spinfisher 550. Not knocking that "oldie but goodie" reel, its built like a tank, and mine can reel in big bass now just as well as it did in 1985, but come on now - the familial resemblance is a little too close, for a reel being released in 2020.

s-l1600.jpg

The Clash II seems to be Penn's best effort at modernizing, in the "Looks Dept." Still, it ain't no Stradic, that's for sure.

IMG_0649-1024x948.jpg

Maybe looks don't count when your locked up with that 30lb bass or potential DD fluke, maybe its not such a big consideration then. But they sure seem to when you're at the reel counter in your favorite tackle shop. The Penn reel's looks will never impress, when placed side by side with the latest Shimano or Daiwa entries. And so, I still think Penn could really use a "aesthetic make over philosophy" when it comes to their upcoming reel releases.
 

Roccus7

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But I still think Penn could really use a "aesthetic make over philosophy" when it comes to their upcoming reel releases.

Could not disagree more with you. Why retool an assembly line and molds just for looks??? To me that is not a "value added" exercise.

Personally, I NEVER factor looks into the purchase of a reel. If I were to list 25 items to consider when buying a reel, "LOOKS" would be like number 26 if even that high...

I guess my initial reaction was correct, Marketing is driving the changes more than engineering, a sad statement. Are they moving to an "Apple Product Line Strategy" where they periodically make minor incremental engineering changes, coupled with huge design changes to cater to those that need to have the latest?
 
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Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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This is an interesting subject to me. Perhaps you missed my point. Or more likely, I failed to make it properly. I feel that when a company redoes a reel, re-releasing it with major internal upgrades, in my opinion they most certainly should redo the exterior as well. Particularly so, if its an outdated design, relative to their immediate competition. And that is and has been Penn's problem, for at least the past 15 years - outdated-looking reels relative to their competition. I do agree that a cosmetic redo without any accompanying internal improvements is kind of ridiculous.

But this I couldn't disagree with more: " . . . they periodically make minor incremental engineering changes, coupled with huge design changes to cater to those that need to have the latest?" Really? What huge design changes are you referring to? Do you mean external cosmetic or somewhat-functional body/rotor changes? I don't think anything Penn has done for years and years could be classified in that manner. That's why their reels have nearly always appeared well behind Shimano and Daiwa's "same time period" reels. Frankly, they look dated, almost cheap. There, you forced me to say it! o_O And they've looked that way for years. My opinion, of course.

However, in this case, upgrading the gearing big time and giving a reel more comprehensive SW-intrusion protection capability is NO incremental engineering upgrade. In fact I think its a MAJOR move for the better. Particularly so in the $100-class of reels. Making it appear more attractive at the same time is a win/win, to my mind. Why the heck not? Why produce reels that look like mutts when it cost no more to produce collies (or whatever pooch you think is good looking)?

As far as Apple's marketing strategy goes, I do agree - to a small degree, with some caveats. I use an iPhone 8Plus, which as far as I can determine is nearly identical to the latest iPhone 11SE. That people will literally RUN to the Apple store and stand in line for days, just to trade in perfectly good phones, in order to have the very latest generation is a joke, but its NOT the fault of the marketer. Its all on the customer. 100%. No one is forcing this sort of behavior. "Just Say No!" as Mrs. Reagan used to advise. In many circles its a status thing to have the very latest techy sh*t. That Apple has helped create that demand and is feeding it, is NOT a knock on Apple - its a mark of genius marketing. . .

But hey, I'm a salesman of 40 years standing, so what do I know? :p
 

Roccus7

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Yes, we had a "failure to communicate". I have no problem with true improvements, and applaud the changes. However when they fix some problems like the Clash I vs II, which occurred only 2 years after the original Clash launch, I don't think it's time for a new name and certainly not time for blinging it up.

I'm all for the Battle replacing the "drive" system, especially at its price point. It's just sad to me Penn felt the need to restyle it too. Sad in the sense that a newer generation of fishermen may consider "form" more important than "function", but this is the generation that runs to the Apple Store every time there's a new iPhone launch. I guess everything needs to look good for your Instagram and Twitter posts...
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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Just wanted to add a bit to this discussion. Have you seen a schematic of a Shimano Saragosa? Look at this nightmare:

5f295bfe66f3f_Saragosa10000SWA.png.734f491ee08a326b82014bd6cade1caf.png


I realize this is a very robust design, but for sure its one reel's repair I would approach with extreme caution. Some things are better left to the manufacturer. Or maybe Gregg at Trophy Tackle!

No Penn is this complicated, not even the Torques come close.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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It looks like Penn will be releasing a special version of the Battle III real soon - called the "Battle III DX." It will feature a BRASS main gear to match the brass pinion gear in ALL sizes, not just the 5000 and larger.

This is a big upgrade over the already upgraded and also brand new Battle III, which was up-gunned over the Battle II, with its aluminum main gear/brass pinion vs the II's zinc/pot metal gears.

Did you follow that last sentence? It even confuses me, a bit - and I wrote it! 8-)

I think I just might try a DX next season. Not super-pysched over the 6.2:1 gear ratio though. Not for what I do. But we shall see.

Oh, and for the fashion-forward, like Roccus7 ;), its colored silver/black vs the "standard" Battle III's black/gold finish.

Penn-Battle-III-DX-Spinning-Reels-3000.jpg
 
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Roccus7

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It looks like Penn will be releasing a special version of the Battle III real soon - called the "Battle III DX." It will feature a BRASS main gear to match the brass pinion gear. This is a big upgrade over the already upgraded and also brand new Battle III, which was up-gunned over the Battle II, with its aluminum main gear/brass pinion vs the II's zinc/pot metal gears. I think I might just try a DX next season. Not super-pysched over the 6.2:1 gear ratio though. Not for what I do. But we shall see.

Its colored silver/black vs the "standard" Battle III's black/gold finish.

View attachment 23940

Albie fishermen will be all over this reel with that ratio!
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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The reel I’m most interested in seeing is the new Daiwa Procyon LT-AL. Daiwa upgraded its frame to Aluminum from the original graphite, plus they've included machined aluminum/brass “digi-gear“ gearing in the 5:1 range. Way better for what I like to do. And NO DOPEY MAG-SEAL! It’s supposed to come in at roughly $35 more than The Battle III DX. Many good choices in relatively well-priced reels these days.
 

Leprechaun

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The "other" reel to look into is the new Shimano Stradic FL. A TON of technology has been migrated down into that reel from the world-class Stella series. They've put so much good stuff into this new Stradic that I see no reason to buy a more-expensive Sustain. Maybe they should have made this reel the new Sustain? Who can say where they take the next Sustain, as there isn't a ton of difference between this new Stradic and the MUCH more expensive (like double the cost) equally-new Twinpower FD.

Shimano is an interesting company, in that they pick and choose which reel, and which specific versions they will send here. For example, in Japan the Stradic FL is offered in a 5.2:1 version which is not available here. Only 6:1+ is sent to us. Also, in Japan they offer what they term the "C" versions - which means that they build any reel carrying a C in the model number with the next size down's more compact body.

So for example, a Stradic C3000 offers the larger rotor and spool of a true 3000-size, but the body is from the 2500 reels. Plus that specific reel IS a 5.2:1 reel. Perfect for cranking moderate-size fish off the bottom - without the bulk of a larger reel. This roughly corresponds to what Daiwa is doing with their newest reels, like the Certate, Luvias (Zaion graphite frame) and their latest, the BG MQ, which to me is a HUGE disappointment, because Daiwa chose to put zinc gears in it. What a shame.

Why cripple your newest $200 reel? I would have put that reel at the top of the $200-class, if they had not hobbled it. I guess they thought that putting better gears in it would move it too close to the Luvias and Certate - possibly cannibalizing the sales of those much more expensive reels? If that's what they were thinking, I strongly disagree.

But back to the Stradic. Unfortunately, the only way to get such a reel (The C3000 for example) is to order it from one of the many quality Japanese tackle shops that specialize in sending "Grey market" Japanese tackle here - such as Digitaka, Japan Lure Shop, Plat, ichiban, Asian portal fishing, or japantackle.com.

This is all well and good - and the reel will arrive in very short order from any of those sellers. However, there is always the issue of service after the sale. Shimano/USA will only service JDM-market reels if they cross over to the USA models. So they could probably service the bearings and other parts that cross, Japan -> USA, but things like that JDM-only 5.2:1 gear set? Yeah, umm, good luck. Shimano/USA no tiene.

So that means that should the reel require service involving the gear set, you either send it to a place like Japantackle.com for repair, or try to source the parts yourself from a Japanese vendor. If I were to purchase a JDM Stradic, I would also need to purchase a JDM 5.2:1 gear set for future repairs. And once those dry up after Shimano again refreshes the Stradic line, you can kiss your gorgeous reel goodbye. Or perhaps "save it," by shooting a set of USDM 6.2:1 gears into it. If they fit, which is in the 95% range of probability, I would think.

I still am considering the Stradic C3000 for next season, but there's a lot to think about, before clicking the "Buy" button. Penn Battle III DX and Spinfisher, Daiwa Procyon AL, JDM Stradic - all offer really good specs, but not too many offer less than a 6:1 gear set.

And here's a wild card - if you like high-end stuff, as I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Shimano just released a new version of their up-market Twinpower, called the FD. Its basically a Stradic with a full metal aluminum rotor (instead of graphite/plastic), more bearings, a "doubled up" drag washer set, meaning that the drag system resides both above and below the spool, and better sealing. One step down from the world-class Stella ($800+), it sells for right around $400 or so.

In an uber high-end light tackle spinner it slots in cost-wise just below where the Van Staal VR50 lives - maybe a bit less. No doubt that the Twinpower is the considerably higher-tech reel, but then no reel is as water resistant as a Van Stall, and no reel (other than the Tsunami Evict) carries the SS gearing of the little Van Staal. No comparison in smoothness between a Twinpower and VR50 (or Evict) though. Shimano wins that one every day of the week. But of course there's a ringer or two with the VS VR50 - no left-handed option and the gearset is a fast-ish 6.2:1. Both non-starters for me, as I'm most definitely left-handed, LOL!

And then of course there's the Daiwa Certate, which might just be the nicest mid-high-end spinner ever built - but you have to live with the dopey Mag Seal bearings, which ONLY Daiwa, or an authorized Daiwa service shop has - not available for home repair dudes, like me, for example.

Yet another really nice piece is the Daiwa Saltist Back Bay 3000 and 4000 - it offers quality aluminum/brass gearing, a host of up-market features, a good 5.2:1 gear ratio and a really cool black-out paint job. But again, it carries those mag sealed bearings, which would be a big no-no for home servicing. Plus, one of my closest friends used his about 10 times this season, and now its locked up tighter than Fort Knox. And he does take reasonably good care of his tackle. So there's that, too.

In any case, you CAN find mag fluid on Ebay, being sold by a Korean vendor. However, they make it clear in the description that it is NOT a Daiwa product, and the minimum order is $50 or so - though that will take care of a multitude of reel services. But who knows if this stuff is the "reel deal," that it works as well as the original Daiwa juice? I certainly don't.

So many choices, so many different ways to skin this cat. Cost, taste, long-standing preferences, the ability to service yourself, all of these factor into the choice one can make these days.
 

Flukinit

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Saw the Battle 3 series today at Trophy Tackle. Appears to be a solid choice at an affordable price range at $115 for the 2000 which has the larger paddle handle. The 1000 has the small round knob.
 
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