Each with its own characteristics, these swashbucklers are Penn’s latest flagship models
PENN MAG4 BEACHCASTERS
RRP: from £312.99
Words and photography by James Madsen
Many will see the launch of Penn’s new flagship Mag4 beachcasters as a breakthrough into a higher price band. Within this range there are three rods covering a variety of mixed and rough ground fishing.
I got my hands on two of the three – the Mixed Ground rated for casting six ounces (170g) and the Surf & Rock rated eight ounces (225g). There is also a Mixed Ground seven-ounce (200g) version.
Each of these three-piece hybrid rods (styled Medium, Medium/Heavy and Heavy) is 4.27 metres (14ft) long and designed to be used with a Penn 515 Mag4 reel for ultimate casting performance. With these rods being hybrids, anglers can actually use either a fixed spool or multiplier reel with all three of the rods.
As you would expect from a flagship range, the build quality is very good and they are packed with superb features. They push together nicely and look great, with a full set of genuine Fuji Alconites and smart whippings to boot. The blanks are made from 40-tonne high modulus carbon, with X-wrap carbon technology that increases rod strength and decreases rod twisting, thereby improving casting accuracy and rod control.
You may be pleased to hear that the rods are fitted with a sliding reel seat that can be fixed anywhere along the full shrink-wrapped handle, which should suit all manner of casting techniques. Last thing of note is a white finish on the rod tip, giving much clearer and easier bite detection.
First up for me was some casting with the Mixed Ground rod with the six-ounce (170g) rating. Using a multiplier, I started with a simple overhead thump which was okay, but much preferred a steady swing with a reasonably long drop. There is plenty of power to release in the second half of the blank, and once compressed you can hit some really good distances.
I also had a cast with my Penn Battle lll LC 7000 fixed-spool reel, this time with an off-ground casting style. Again, the rod performed really well again and I liked the quick recovery of the blank when using the fixed spool.
With regards to fishing, I really liked the slightly faster taper on the rod tip. Not only was it great for seeing bites but also the tip set nicely in the tide and allowed my lead weight to remain firmly anchored to the seabed. I landed a few half decent fish on it too.
Penn has found a good balance here for me, both with regards to fishing and casting. I like the fact there is a decent amount of sensitivity in the tip section for fishing but still loads of power in the second half of the rod for casting. I’d say you’d be buying a good looking, all-round fishing rod, which casts really well and is enjoyable to use when fishing. The two versions each cost £312.99.
SURF & ROCK
When compared to other models, the most notable difference with the Surf & Rock is the much slower taper in the rod tip. This rod caught me by surprise. Having been nice and relaxed using the lighter Mixed Ground version, when I came through in the cast with the Surf & Rock it nearly took my arm off. Talk about pokey, there really is loads of power in this blank. If you can hold on to the spool of your reel, you will have no problem casting an eight-ounce lead weight and bait with this rod.
It would be very well suited to a simpler ‘over the head and thump’ casting technique because the stiffer rod tip will pick up your lead weight much quicker. I see this as a big-fish rod, which will perform well in heavy ground.
Without doubt, if you have a good casting technique, you will be able to put a big bait a long way with the Surf & Rock. For instance, if used with a large fixed-spool reel loaded with braid, I could very much see the Surf & Rock becoming a very handy tool when up in Scotland targeting the big common skate from the shore. The price is £323.99.
At the moment you can buy a Mag4 beach rod for under £324 from most Penn stockists. You are getting a really good fishing rod for the money. Yet again, Penn has used its buying power and technological know-how to produce a good quality range of beach rods for a reasonable price tag.
The Mag4 range is most definitely a hit for me. I will be putting these rods to good use, especially with a fixed-spool outfit in mind.
Penn Mag4 Beachcasters
Length: 4.27m (14ft)
Ratings: 170g, 200g, 225g
Blank: 40T carbon
Guides: Fuji Alconite
Handle: Shrink wrap
Reel seat: Sliding
Prices: £312.99 and £323.99
For more information or to locate your nearest stockist, visit: www.penn-fishing.co.uk