Man Fishing On The Pier

Penn Battle II 3000 (Complete Review)

Penn Battle II 3000

In terms of price, it sits at the higher end of entry-level. Its performance, however, is far better than entry-level in every metric. It’s a strength of the reel that it remains in the highly affordable class.

The Penn Battle II range has proven a highly successful release for US fishing icon Penn. The 3000 size, in particular, is a monster seller and is enjoying huge popularity right around global angling markets. So what’s the big deal about the Penn Battle II 3000?

Well, it’s not rocket science – it’s a great reel for a great price. And, importantly, the 3000 size is a bread and butter spin reel size for literally millions of anglers.

I would argue that the success of the Battle brand, including the original Battle, is based on Penn doing what Penn does best. And that’s delivering affordable, robust, reliable fishing reels that perform more than admirably for rank and file anglers.

This is exactly what the Penn Battle II is, and that’s why I like it. In fact, there’s a lot to like and very little, if anything, to complain about.

Let’s have an in-depth look at the Penn Battle II 3000.

A Little Penn Context. Me and the Penn Battle II 3000

Before we go any further I should let you know that while I’m not brand loyal but I am definitely a fan of Penn. I have a number of them in my arsenal and here’s why. I’m always impressed by the performance, strength, and durability for the price.

I’m one of those anglers that treats his reels with contempt. I rarely clean them and almost never service them. I don’t recommend this behavior.

I’m certainly not careful with them, and as a rock and surf angler, my reels suffer some pretty serious abuse. They end up rammed with sand a salt slurry or smashed on the rocks as I climb out to the water’s edge.

I’m not proud of this, it’s just the reality. I find the Battle II (amongst others) suits me for this reason. It will handle a bit of punishment and maintain its integrity for quite some time.

I’m a Reel Killer

Eventually, I do kill them…but it’s not their fault. The big thing is that I’ve caught countless fish and extracted every ounce of value and then some. Price for performance and durability is perfect for me. And I know there’s plenty of anglers just like me.

Yes, I have a selection of expensive top-shelf models in the arsenal. And yes, my wife and my kids roll their eyes every time I rig one ready for deployment. I’m pretty sure they think I’m an unnecessary drag on the family budget. Of course, I disagree and stand my ground… carefully.

Whilst I love to use the top shelf gear, I certainly feel more relaxed knowing the reel I may likely wreck any moment didn’t cost me a week’s wages. What’s more, the reel performs beautifully.

That’s why I like Penn, and that’s why I like the Penn Battle II 3000.

Penn Battle II 3000 Overview

The Penn Battle 3000 is classed as a small-medium reel. Given its 15 pounds of drag power and a spool capacity of 180 yards of 20 lb braid, it’s too big to be small and too small to be medium. For the inshore angler, I call this size perfect.

In terms of price, it sits at the higher end of entry-level. Its performance, however, is far better than entry-level…

In terms of price, it sits at the higher end of entry-level. Its performance, however, is far better than entry-level in every metric. It’s a strength of the reel that it remains in the highly affordable class.

A Refined Looking Battle

It’s a great looking reel in every way, with the trademark Penn black with gold highlights. The matt black and Penn gold, coupled with slick style features such as the heavy spool porting, give the look of a reel from a much higher price category.

The full metal body, side plate, and rotor deliver a classy look and feel that simply can’t be achieved with graphite. The chunky, heavy-duty alloy bail arm definitely compliments the high-class sports styling, as well as enhancing durability and casting manners.

Penn Battle II
Penn Battle II

Built for the Fight

Despite having a look that leans more on the refined side, the Battle II is more about rugged strength and grit.

It has the potential to slam on the hurt and wrestle the scales off belligerent fish. In this regard, its name is highly appropriate.

That’s not to say the compact battle is out of place when faced with finesse applications. It will handle the light stuff beautifully, but with its teeth bared throughout the fight.

Just because it feels a bit angry, doesn’t mean you can’t cast unweighted soft plastics when rigged appropriately.

What’s The Battle II 3000 Good For? Where Would You Deploy It?

The 3000 is a highly versatile size. If you’re looking for a reel that will cover just about every inshore application, this is it.

Such is the Penn’s versatility I’m kinda struggling to think of where to start.

Great for Lures and Natural Baits

The purist will suggest that the gear ratio indicates which lures you should cast. I say nonsense. I can’t think of a lure type I wouldn’t cast and achieve great results.

I’d also be happy to cast natural baits and live baits at whatever inshore fish you desire. I’d also be happy to spool with braid or mono, depending on where I was fishing and what I was targeting.

NOTE

Land-based or afloat, the Battle has few limitations. Casting manners are fantastic. Depending on the rod you’re using, you’ll manage to get plenty of length. This enables stealth approaches and working from the bank to distant structures.

Limited By Imagination Only

Essentially, you can chase anything inshore, from bass to crappie and flounder to salmon and trout. Think of a fish, and you can toss a bait at it with the Battle II 3000.

Essentially, you can chase anything inshore…

Of course, you’ll struggle up against a 12-foot sturgeon. Keep it reasonable. If you’re deliberately targeting the biggest of fish, you’d gear up appropriately.

What I love about the Penn Battle 3000 is that when you’re out casting cranks at 16-inch largemouth, you’ll have a chance should a hungry 35-inch monster take your lure.

Such is the line capacity and the drag power, you’re nicely backed should a larger specimen than you expected monster your lure.

Man Surf Fishing at a Coast
Man Surf Fishing at a Coast

Useful In The Surf

Given the drag and spool capacity, you can strap the 3000 to a 10 footer, rated around 7 to 10 pounds. Your heading for great sport should a stripy take your lure. And those looking for table fish such as flounder or pompano will be well supported with the 3000.

Again, it’s a mammoth task to cover all the reel’s potential. Let’s just say that up to 15 pound, you’re in with a serious shot. Depending on your skill, there’s no reason you can’t land fish beyond this size.

A List of Likely Locations

  • Piers
  • Pontoons
  • Banks
  • Surf
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Creeks
  • Harbors
  • Estuaries

The Battle II 3000. Specs and Features

  • Model / Size: Battle II 3000
  • Ratio / Retrieve: 6.2:1 (35”)
  • Bearings: 5+1
  • Braid Capacity: 250/15 180/20 130/30
  • Mono Capacity: 200/8 165/10 120/12
  • Weight: 12.3oz
  • Max Drag: 15lb
  • Full Metal Body, side plate, and rotor
  • HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers
  • 5 + 1 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant Anti- Reverse bearing
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Superline Spool
  • Line Capacity Rings

For detailed specs check out the Penn site here.

Battle II Upgrades from the Original Battle

The original Battle was also a successful reel for Penn. It’s a credit to Penn that they have managed some modest yet valuable upgrades while keeping the Battle II price the same as its older sibling. In my books, this is a definite plus. Let’s check out the new inclusions:

Line Capacity Rings

While some may say ‘big deal’, line capacity rings do serve a valuable purpose. However, I would argue they’re far more valuable on the big models than the 3000 size.

For me, if I’m using a 3000 reel, it’s rare to never that I’ll be worried about being spooled in the heat of battle. Nor will I be fishing so deep that I need to keep an eye on how much line is out. In that regard, line capacity rings are more useful on the big models.

That said, I do like them on the 3000 reel for assessing the need for line replenishment at a glance. Even more so when I’m spooled with mono. It’s not a huge feature, but useful, nonetheless.

Paint Upgrade

The paint upgrade has certainly delivered a cosmetic improvement. But the real value is the improved corrosion resistance. While the paint doesn’t have super high-tech corrosion-resistant properties, it is far more durable than it was on the original Battle.

if the paint holds the reel longer, the harder it is for corrosive elements to get in and take hold…

Bottom line…if the paint holds the reel longer, the harder it is for corrosive elements to get in and take hold.

Many anglers will also appreciate that the Battle II maintains its out-of-the-box good looks for longer.

A Bearing Change

Interestingly, the battle II has lost a bearing, down to 5 from the original 6. While this might seem like a downgrade, it’s not. The internals are the same. The difference is that the line roller bearing is replaced by a plastic bush.

The Battle II has 5 stainless sealed bearings. This quality of bearing is a marked improvement over the original…

The Battle II has 5 stainless sealed bearings. This quality of bearing is a marked improvement over the original. The sealed bearings will protect from water and dirt ingress, ultimately prolonging peak performance between servicing.

In my opinion, the change to a quality sealed bearings is a far better inclusion than one extra bearing, where a bush will suffice. Under normal circumstances, the Battle II should perform better for longer relative to the original.

SpiderWire Invisi-Braid
SpiderWire Invisi-Braid

Braid Ready

Braid ready is a fancy way of saying that there’s a rubber loop sitting around the spool. The rubber provides a secure base so that your line (particularly braid) doesn’t slip when you’re spooling from scratch.

Or, for when in those very rare circumstances you’re spooled to the absolute limit during a battle. It delivers convenience more than anything performance-related.

HT-100 Upgrade

HT-100 is Penn’s mid-range drag system. While some have been critical that the drag wasn’t upgraded to Dura Drag, their flagship system, this would have completely blown the price out.

Improvements have been made in the HT-100 drag and it now achieves 20% more drag pressure…

Improvements have been made in the HT-100 drag and it now achieves 20% more drag pressure. Of all the improvements, this is the one I like the most and along with the improved bearings makes the upgrade worthwhile. For a great explanation of HT-100 follow this link.

The 3000 now has a hefty 15 pounds of max drag. This is plenty of head-turning power for the fish you’ll chase with a 3000. Indeed, this amount of drag will see it punching well above its compact size, and weight.

Is There Anything I don’t Like About The Battle II 3000?

Short of having to pay for it, I have to work pretty hard to find a flaw. But, it can’t be perfect right?

What About the Weight?

The fact that there was no weight reduction in the new Battle drew criticism from a few pundits.

I question this criticism. Obviously, the Battle is not the lightest in its class by a long way. But critics need to remember that lighter costs more. Lightweight alloys that reduce weight without compromising strength are expensive.

the Battle is not the lightest in its class by a long way. But critics need to remember that lighter costs more…

Of course, they could have whipped a couple of bearings out, but this would be at the cost of strength and performance. Alternatively, they can go graphite, and in so doing knock it down a class or three. Not an option!

It’s metal. It’s robust. And that’s a feature of the reel. I would also argue that a reduction of 1/8 of an ounce is more or less meaningless for the anglers Penn target with the Battle II. 

Impact Wounds

I have had several problems with Penn (not the Battle) and their anti-reverse. With all the Penns I have broken (3), it is the anti-reverse that has failed – Usually (if not always) because of impact.

Most recently, it was my Penn Slammer. I couldn’t repair it. In fact, I couldn’t repair the others either. This is an observation more than a criticism. And I have to say that it’s most likely my fault. Reels aren’t built to be smashed into the rocks.

I find it interesting that the failure was a result of impact. I’d be keen to hear from any readers if they’ve had similar experiences. Is it just me? Unfortunately, I couldn’t repair them. Learn more about assembling a Penn Battle II reel in the video below.

Reassembly of a Penn Battle II Reel

Not as Good as New

The reason I mention this is because my fishing buddy Marty, ram fed his Battle II (4000) with a foul mix of salt, sand, and water.

He took it apart, cleaned it, but couldn’t get it back to out-of-the-box performance. He’s pretty good with reels, but he struggled with the Battle II.

Are Home Repairs a Thing of the Past?

Should your Penn Battle II come to some sort of grief, it’s too expensive to send off for repair, yet too expensive to throw away. If you can’t fix it yourself, you’re in a dilemma.

This would be my criticism. For me, robust means that when your reel meets with misadventure, a reasonably handy angler might have a chance to repair it.

It would seem there are questions about the Battle here. I’m yet to have conclusive evidence, but again, I would love your feedback and insights here.

An Honest, Reliable Workhorse

The Penn Battle II is true to purpose, true to the manufacturer’s claims and true to its price point. There are no obvious flaws, but longevity is yet to be tested and I can’t really criticize a reel for a test its still in the process of undertaking.

The Penn Battle II is true to purpose, true to the manufacturer’s claims and true to its price point…

While the upgrades are certainly modest, I tend to feel the new release was justified. One becomes suspicious of marketing ploys designed to reinvigorate sluggish sales in an established model. That’s not the case here.

The new Penn Battle II is an improvement on its older sibling, and fans obviously agree. 

Alternatives to the Battle II

There are several reels that keep the Battle II honest. The Battle II doesn’t stand head and shoulders above the rest in its class.

There are alternatives, let’s look at 3. Keep in mind I’ve done my best to choose reels of a similar price with similar features. Comparing apples with apples, as best possible.

Also keep in mind I’ve listed only 3. There are more that compare favorably with the Battle II. I’ve included the basic specs of each reel so you can make a comparison yourself.

Okuma Ceymar Reels

Lighter, more bearings, and cheaper. The Ceymar delivers more technology for less.

Okuma Ceymar Reels

Lighter, more bearings, and cheaper. The Ceymar delivers more technology for less – the key feature of the reel. Does it have the staying power of the Battle?

Specs

  • 7+1 Ball bearings
  • Brass pinion gear – machine cut
  • Body: Graphite narrow body design
  • Spool: Aluminium
  • Handle: Aluminium
  • EVA knob handles
  • Heavy duty bail wire
  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1
  • Capacity mono: 0.2/240, 0.25/120 or 0.30/110
  • Weight: 232 grams
  • Max drag: 6kg
  • Line Retrieve cm per crank: 64cm
  • See the full specs for the Okuma Ceymar Reels

Shimano Nasci

The tech inclusions for a lower price tag present hefty competition to the Battle. Hagane gear and the AR-C Spool are great inclusions that will appeal to spin anglers.

Shimano Nasci

Shimano fans may well choose the Shimano over the battle. While there are a couple of less bearings, the tech inclusions for a lower price tag present hefty competition to the Battle. Hagane gear and the AR-C Spool are great inclusions that will appeal to me spin anglers.

Specs

  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • G Free Body
  • Hagane Gear with X Ship
  • Varispeed II
  • Coreprotect
  • AR-C Spool
  • Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag: 9.0kg
  • Braid Capacity: 10/200, 20/140, 40/105
  • Weight: 235g
  • See the full specs for the Shimano Nasci

Pros

  • Ideal for light freshwater and saltwater fishing

Daiwa Exceler LT

The tech inclusions are great, and the ATD (drag) system is smoother and oceans more powerful than the Battle. The price is also comparable.

Daiwa Exceler LT

Given the choice between the Battle II and the Exceler, I’d struggle to the point of endless deliberation. The tech inclusions are great, and the ATD (drag) system is smoother and oceans more powerful than the battle. The price is also comparable. Touch selection.

Specs

  • Ball bearings: 5+1
  • LT Concept
  • Tough Digigear
  • Airspool ABS
  • ATD drag system – Tournament Drag
  • Air Rotor and Air bail
  • Twistbuster
  • Ratio/Retrieve: 5.3:1 (80cm)
  • Weight: 215 grams
  • Max Drag: 10Kg
  • Braid Capacity: PE 1.5 (0.18mm) 300m
  • See the full specs for the Daiwa Exceler LT

The Penn Battle II Wrap

The Penn Battle II 3000 is highly recommended. For those anglers tough on gear and for those anglers looking for the one reel to cover heaps of inshore applications, it’s hard to look past this reel.

Based on popularity, it’s apparent that plenty of anglers don’t look past it. For me, that’s a great indicator. It’s not just popular, anglers love this reel.

Penn frequently delivers honest, no-nonsense reels with plenty of brawn and a modest hint of finesse and class. The Battle II is no exception.

While it may be getting harder to complete your own reel repairs, I’m not sure that Penn is Robinson Crusoe here.

Relative to its competitors, I feel the Penn Battle II holds its own. It’s a great reel for a great price.

Share

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on print

Share

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print