Penn Squall Level Wind Review

by Gethyn Owen

review product supplied stickerAs a charter skipper on board My Way, Gethyn Owen requires hire tackle that will withstand use and abuse over a season and not let him down. Here he takes a long term look at the Penn Squall 20 with level wind which has been used by beginners and experts alike over two seasons.

When Gethyn embarked on his sponsorship deal with Pure Fishing, it was important for him to obtain the right equipment, such as the Penn Squall, for our waters. With the likes of Penn, Abu Garcia and Shakespeare all part of the Pure Fishing family of companies, he had quite a decision to make on the exact products that suited his needs.

Penn Squall reel with level wind

Reels had to be robust enough to endure the rigours of novice handling, especially line lay, so a strong level wind in particular was essential. They also had to be fairly easy to use. Drag system being crucial, for personal fishing Gethyn loves the ease of a lever drag reel and value his Penn Fathom 15 twin speed immensely, but feels a star drag is better suited to novice anglers and his general hire rod clientele, simply for its controlled spool release and the incremented drag system.

Penn Squall in Use

The Penn Squall reels feature a graphite frame and side plates, with marine grade bronze main and pinion gears. Combined with the famous Penn HTR100 Versa drag system including anti reverse bearing.

He opted for the size 20 reel over the 15, you could argue slightly oversized for the general all round fishing, but for My Way, this was to allow for the potential of line loss in a day should there be a tangle or snap off, this leaves the anglers with slightly more line available on the day before the need to needing to re-spool the reel. He acquired eight for the boat and they have been in use over the last two years offering a true test of time.

One of the reels Gethyn notched on the reel foot, and this ensured that this reel was used on every day our equipment was requested. Give or take a few days, that particular Penn Squall reel has been used over the last two years on over 200 separate occasions.

Penn Squall reel with level wind

Penn Squall reel with level wind

Gethyn’s reel care for the boats equipment is no different to his personal reels. After every use, and on the odd occasion maybe after two days; if they’re required a second day running, but no longer, the reel is washed and wiped under a tap of warm water, then placed in the airing cupboard overnight to dry off. He then puts them in a box and always gives them a minimal blast (more of a haze) with WD40 or another water repellent on the outside. Keeping this treatment to only the outer surfaces ensures that the internal lubricants and grease are not degraded.

A well used Penn Squall reel

A well used Penn Squall reel

A look at the reel shows that there is no evidence of corrosion or significant chipping/flaking on the plates or spool.

After two years of constant use and believe me the odd bit of abuse, the reel was functioning fine. However, some play was noticed in the level wind, a couple months ago, requiring further investigation. On examination, he found that the idler gear for the level wind on this reel was worn and needed replacing.

Penn Squall worn gear

Penn Squall worn nylon gear

This part is plastic and runs with a brass gear to control the level wind and lay the line correctly onto the spool. The gear is easy to replace at a cost of only £8 plus postage from Penn’s official UK service agent.

Penn Squall with replaced gear

Penn Squall with replaced gear

So let’s put this into perspective. Around 200 trips, and estimated three hours use each day, it is really is hard to quantify a time when you consider travel time to marks, waiting for a bite etc. This gives a figure of 600 hours in the hands of less experienced anglers and only requiring an £8 idler gear!

Long Term Wear and Tear

Looking at the other Penn Squall 20LW reels on board there are two spool release lever fixing screws that needed replacing and one actual spool release lever. The latter my own fault as I put the release lever somewhere safe when waiting for the new screw. It’s still in that safe place, just wish I could remember where!

Another two reels are shown signs of wear on the level wind and will no doubt need replacing soon, everything else though, including the drag system, the handles and the spools are all in great condition. Gethyn is in no doubt that the reels have a good few years’ service ahead on My Way.

In a nutshell, Gethyn finds the reels faultless. The Penn Squall 20LW is fairly priced at £119.99 RRP in quite a competitive market and offers the angler total value for money.

The Penn Squall comes in three sizes, 15, 20 and 30 with the 20 & 30 also available in left hand versions. If you’re after a great new reel that offers superb value for money, a Penn Squall has to rate very highly in your consideration.

Penn Squall specifications

Anglesey Bait Centre in Beaumaris is a Pure Fishing Stockist and has some great deals on the premises and mail order.

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