Could this new offering from Penn signal the start of a resurgence of multipliers reels?

Penn 525 Mag4

RRP: £160

The multiplier reel market has lain mostly dormant for a few years, and it would certainly seem that the movers and shakers in this industry have run out of ideas, says Paul Fenech. However, the boffins at Penn have been busy scribbling down designs of a reel that will surely raise an eyebrow among many sea anglers.

Over the years, trends have swayed somewhat. While a majority of shore anglers have drifted to ‘Team Fixed-Spool’, the lovers of the multiplier (me included) at last have something to get excited about.

Those long hours spent at the design stage have definitely been worth it for Penn because finally this is a multiplier to lust over. It’s a reel that offers strength, smoothness, control and, ultimately, the performance to match. Here it is, the new Penn 525 Mag4.


I get no pleasure in taking reels apart; in fact I’m useless at it. When I purchase a new reel, the only thing on my mind is filling it with line and then going fishing.

The first thing that struck me about Penn’s new baby, the latest in the 525 family tree, was its unbelievably good looks. Blazoned in a blue trim that I couldn’t take my eyes off and shrouded in a matt black frame really does set off this multiplier. The neat gearbox doesn’t make it overweighted on one side either; Penn really has got the balance spot on. As you’d expect, the power handle is strong enough to pile on the pressure while the hardened rubber grip is ergonomically sublime.

The gear lever takes a decent firm push to click the reel into free-spool, so there is absolutely no chance of knocking it back into gear mid-cast. Another thing worth mentioning about this lever is the fact that Penn has slightly raised it to sit above the frame. I like this alteration simply because it helps to prevent sand becoming clogged underneath.

It’s also fitted with a line clicker too. Some anglers ignore this feature but it’s something that I approve of and use for threading the mainline through the rings before starting a session. It’s ideal when targeting larger species that tend to run when grabbing the bait.

Penn has finally decided to completely change how the magnetic control is adjusted. Now there is an extended knob that allows the magnets to by increased or decreased by clicks. With absolutely no chance of altering the setting during casting, it’s a huge smiley face and thumbs up from me. The clutch wheel is also easily adjusted too, and again there is a good firm click when doing this.


After loading the aluminium spool with 18lb mono and finishing off with a 15-70lb tapered shockleader, it was time to take the Mag4 for a spin. Setting the magnets to fully applied, my intention was to gradually free them with each cast. The first cast was smooth, but it was very noticeable that the six-ounce sinker was being held back. Yes, those magnets really keep things in check.

As I loosened the magnets a click at a time, my next few casts went well. This was the point where things started to become interesting, because the model I had was a bit of a racing machine. The spool free-floats on a live spindle and, as I loosened the magnets further, my distances dramatically increased too, until it came to the point where I had to thumb the spool hard as the mainline rapidly started lifting. Run this reel with no mag control at all and believe me, you’ll be in a spot of bother if your thumb timing is off. It really does fly away and at high speed.

Find a preferred setting that you’re happy with and you will have so much fun. Each cast was a joy with no horrible grinding noises when winding in; that’ll be the stainless-steel gears and pinion, which are so much better than bronze versions.

The Penn 525 Mag4 is a winner. Shore anglers who target cod, rays, smoothhounds, bull huss, conger eels and tope will definitely reap the benefits of this reel. There is a smaller 515 Mag4 model for those who like to target bass or species that don’t quite need the grunt that the 525 offers.

I reckon those many anglers who used to prefer a multiplier before switching to ‘Team Fixed-Spool’ could be in for a day of reckoning. This beauty may be enough to drag you back.


Frame: Lightweight graphite

Spool: Aluminium

Bearings: 6+1

Gears/pinion: Stainless steel

Weight: 439g

Retrieve: 6.1:1

Drag: HT-100

Line capacity: 280yd/0.35mm mono

Braking: Extended magnetic adjustment knob

RRP: £160

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