RRP £189.99 to £219.99

Penn is a name synonymous with hardwearing, quality workhorse reels and this latest range certainly lives up to that reputation, writes Dave Barham.

There are a staggering 13 models in the new Fathom II LW series, including 15lb, 20lb and 30lb-class models available in both right and left-hand wind, plus a 50lb-class right-hand wind.

The 15, 20 and 30 are also available with a built-in line counter, but you might have to shop in the USA to pick up one of those.

Braid or mono

Obviously, line capacities vary across the range, but Penn has rather cleverly addressed the age-old braid/mono problem by providing line capacities for both, even adding line capacity rings on each spool, so you know exactly where you are and how much backing to put on when using braid.

As an example, the 15lb-class reels can hold 325 yards of 15lb mono or 590 yards of 20lb braid, while the 30lb-class holds 375 yards of 30lb mono and a whopping 1,040 yards of 30lb braid.

They’re reasonably fast, too, with the 15 and 20 models having a retrieve ratio of 5.5:1, the 30 giving 4.3:1 and the 50 a slower 3.7:1.

Solid construction

Full Metal Body construction keeps precise gear alignment across the range, while the Fast Gear Access Side Plate allows for easy maintenance – simply remove four screws and you have access to the insides without fear of springs or other tiny components popping off all over the place (we all know that feeling, right?).

The Fathom II also houses Penn’s legendary powerful HT-100 drag system, which is one of the best in the business. The star drags are infinitely adjustable to give you exactly the right amount of silky smooth drag whenever you need it – very impressive.

Workhorse reels

These reels are designed for hard working everyday use. They’re built to last and are ideally suited to UK-style boat fishing. The smaller 15 and 20 models are perfect for drifting sandbanks for plaice and turbot, working lures for cod, pollack and bass, plus uptiding and even float-fishing, while the heavier 30lb-class is best suited to deepwater downtiding for big rays, tope and congers.

The 50lb-class is just what you need to help bully a big porbeagle, ton-up conger or giant common skate to the boat. There really is a reel to suit everyone within this range.

Sea Angler’s contributing editor, Dave Lewis says…I took the Fathom II 20 and 20LW models on a trip to Nicaragua, where I anticipated they would prove ideal for the tarpon we hoped to catch. Sadly, bad weather prevented me targeting these, but throughout the week the anglers on the trip did experience plenty of action catching snook, jacks and stingrays to more than 10lb.

I leant the reels to several anglers on this trip, and all reported enthusiastically that they were very good reels to use.Aside from the silky-smooth drag and solid construction, it was noted that the spool release and side adjustment controls, along with the star drag, were easily adjusted, if necessary. Certainly, less-experienced anglers will appreciate the level-wind, especially if using braid.

In summary, these reels are ideal for a wide variety of traditional UK-style boat fishing applications, fishing both baits or lures.


HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers

Full Metal Body and side plates

Superb line capacity

Fast Gear Access Side Plate

4+1 stainless steel bearing system