Man Fishing on the Coast

Penn Clash Review: (Reviewed and Updated for 2020)

Penn Clash Spinning Reel

The Clash comes in 7 models —each one is built to stand up to saltwater. However, lots of anglers say it’s one of the best freshwater fishing reels. So if you want a spinner with duality —here you go.

Fishing keeps me sane —it’s the only time I truly feel at peace in this crazy world. So when it comes to finding the best reel, I’m willing to put in some extra effort!

Researching like a freak before I buy is the only way I roll. That’s why I haven’t dealt with a bad reel in over a decade —I’ve dodged loads of backlash, missed fish and crappy casts. 

I want my fellow anglers to enjoy stress-free fishing too. And yes, it all starts with a reel that won’t screw up! Or better yet, one that feels like your secret weapon on the water. 

Take a look at my expert review for the Penn Clash spinning reel. It’s built to snag all sizes of fish in freshwater or saltwater and is one of my favorites. Who knows, you may fall in love. 

But let’s see how you feel after you get the facts. Here’s my full review for the Penn Clash —

Designed to Fish Waters All Over Creation

A Reel for Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing

The Clash comes in 7 models —each one is built to stand up to saltwater. However, lots of anglers say it’s one of the best freshwater fishing reels. So if you want a spinner with duality —here you go.

It’s great if you want to hit the lake and then bounce over to the beach for some saltwater angling, without switching reels. I’ve caught largemouth, then high-tailed it to the ocean to snag snapper —using the same exact Clash reel. 

Small Fish Held in Hand
Small Fish Held in Hand

A Broad Range of Reels for Different Sized Fish

The Penn Clash ranges from light to heavy —weighing 8.2 ounces to 27.2 ounces. Obviously, the lighter reels are more ideal for freshwater fishing, while the heavier reels are built for saltwater giants like marlins.

If you’re looking for a Clash model that’s light enough for freshwater but strong enough for ocean fishing, try the Clash 4000 model. It feels like the sweet spot, weighing 10.7 ounces with a max drag of 15 pounds and a high mono capacity. 

Not Considered an Ultralight Spinning Reel 

The lightest Clash model weighs 8.2 ounce, which is fairly lightweight for a spinning reel. But to be considered ultralight, a reel should be less than 8 ounces —so the Clash slightly misses the mark. 

NOTE

I know when you’re fishing for hours on end and making dozens of casts, every ounce counts. Although this reel is light enough in my book it may be a deal-breaker for anglers who love true ultralight spinning reels. 

Fishermen on a Tight Budget Beware!

This isn’t exactly the cheapest reel on the market —you can find a decent spinner for half the price. But for the money, you get a quality reel built to perform and last. That’s a trade-off I sign off on 100%. 

The lighter Clash models are the most affordable reels of the bunch. The heavier models are more expensive, with a heavier drag and higher line capacity. So if you’re wanting one for big fish, then be prepared to spend a little more. 

Easy Reel for Novice Anglers to Master

If you’re not the most experienced angler, then a spinning reel is a smart choice. They’re much easier to cast compared to baitcasters, which means you’ll likely avoid lots of backlash. Below is an informative video on how to cast a baitcaster.

How To Use a Baitcaster

Spinning reels also help beginner saltwater fishermen make longer, more accurate casts. This is a difference-maker on the ocean, where crappy casting can be an absolute game-killer. 

If you’re a more experienced angler, then you might be able to skip the spinning reel and go straight for a baitcaster…

If you’re a more experienced angler, then you might be able to skip the spinning reel and go straight for a baitcaster. It takes more skill and patience to operate, but the upsides are pinpoint accuracy and longer casts —that’s only if you’re pretty damn good with one. 

Don’t get me wrong, this model is pretty light and will work for ultralight lures. It’s just not quite under 8 ounces —but if you ask me, it’s close enough. 

Deep Saltwater Fishing
Deep Saltwater Fishing

High-Speed Reel for Deep Saltwater Fishing

If you’re looking for a saltwater reel with a high gear ratio —here you go. The Clash is considered a high-speed reel, which helps to retrieve baits and lures hundreds of feet deep.

If you’re fishing the ocean bottom or deep-water jigging, it saves you time and hand-cramps. Maybe you’re going after tuna or marlin at a depth of 150 feet —having a high-speed reel is a necessity if you want to last all day. 

NOTE

So, what is gear ratio? Well, it’s basically the number of times the spool turns per 1 full crank of the reel —which determines how fast the reel retrieves line. 

For example, on many Clash models the spool turns 6.2 times per 1 full crank of the reel handle. So its gear ratio is 6.2:1 —which is considered high-speed. But please keep in mind there are reels with higher gear ratios out there. 

Requires Light Maintenance to Last a Long Time 

The Clash has the technology to protect against salt corrosion. But there are a couple of access points where saltwater can creep in —especially if the reel becomes submerged. 

To play it smart, you will need to rinse it with regular water periodically. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to do it religiously. The Clash has more gaskets and seals to all but completely block saltwater corrosion

TIP

But if you want to make sure it lasts a long time you should rinse it after each use. Even with the extra seals, it is still slightly susceptible to saltwater’s wrath. 

Well, those are the basics of the Penn Clash, but not the whole story! There’s much more to talk about—so I’ll dig deeper and reveal what lies beneath. 

But first, here’s a snapshot of the Clash —just to get to know it a tad better —

Nice Upgrades and Wide Variety 

The Clash Spinning Reel is Penn’s way of saying —“We understand what anglers need and here it is”. It may cost a little more, but Penn puts the focus on the parts of the reel that truly matter —so you get your money’s worth.

More Ball Bearings for a Smoother Retrieve

Penn upped the ball bearing count to 8! Anglers say they notice a difference in how smooth it casts and retrieves compared to past models. So if the Battle II’s mediocre 5 bearings were a turn-off, then this reel might get you excited. 

And to be clear —yes, it is a bit of a misconception that more ball bearings always means better reel performance. The truth is that the quality of the bearings makes the real difference

the quality of the bearings makes the real difference…

In this case, the Clash is packing 8 stainless steel, sealed bearings —so having 3 more is a pretty big deal. The Clash also has 1 bearing dedicated for the anti-reverse mechanism. 

A boosted ball bearing count could come in handy when you’re fighting a sailfish or reeling in a deep-running lure. It’s not exactly an epic upgrade, but I assure you —no anglers are complaining!

Penn Clash Spinning Reel
Penn Clash Spinning Reel

A Reel for Every Fish Under the Sun

One thing I like about the Clash is its array of sizes —it boasts 7 models spanning from light to heavy. (as mentioned) This allows anglers to pinpoint the best reel model for their fishing needs.

To be honest, this area isn’t exactly an improvement over the Battle II —which has 8 different models. But it does continue Penn’s theme of having a nice variety.

it boasts 7 models spanning from light to heavy…

So whether you’re fishing the flats for small cod or deep-water jigging for giant redfish, there’s a reel for you. 

All-in-all, the Clash is a step towards having a high-end reel that doesn’t cost a fortune. True, the ball bearing count isn’t phenomenal —but it’s a step up. And it comes packing a heap of features —I’m diving into those in just a second! 

But first, here are some basic pros and cons of the Penn Clash Spinning Reel —

Pros 

  • A range of 7 reel models to catch all sizes of fish
  • Built tight to stand up to saltwater corrosion 
  • High-Speed reel for saltwater fishing 
  • Full metal aluminum body that’s durable 
  • Anti-reverse mechanism
  • Good drag system
  • Has 8 ball bearings —which is 3 more than its predecessor

Cons 

  • Susceptible to saltwater corrosion if not rinsed after use
  • There have been complaints about improper line lay 
  • Reel has no extra features 
  • Drag might wear down prematurely 
  • It doesn’t have an ultralight or extra-heavy model 
  • Not a great reel if you’re on a budget 

Well, I’ve dangled it in front of you like a carrot long enough. It’s finally time to dive into the features of the Penn Clash Spinning Reel. Here we go —

A Heat-Reducing Drag System with a Wave Spring

Heat is the main force that wears down a reel’s drag. The Clash’s sealed HT-100 carbon fiber drag system uses washers to reduce friction and heat —yes, their washers are patented. 

It also evenly disperses mechanical heat, prolonging reel life. That’s a big deal if you see your reel as an investment. However, there is one knock on this drag system. Some anglers say it wears out over time —but that can also be related to volume of use. 

Penn is known for having tough drag systems built for fighting big fish…

Penn is known for having tough drag systems built for fighting big fish. This one is designed to give the angler more leverage and better disperse shock and weight —-which means a better hook set and no warping. 

Precision Gears 

Penn Class CNC Gear Technology
Penn Class CNC Gear Technology

Crafted with Dura-Gear and CNC Technology 

It may not come with any fancy extra features, but one thing is for sure —the gears in this reel are solid. They’re made of premium metals like aluminum and brass, and machined for exact tolerances. 

made of premium metals like aluminum and brass, and machined for exact tolerances… 

What does it all mean? It means the main gear and pinion are crafted with computer precision engineering for smooth operation and to run perfectly. 

Great Casting and Near Perfect Line Lay 

Its new Leveline Slow Oscillation System keeps fishing-line tight and level on the spool. This is nice because it reduces wind-knots and helps you make pinpoint casts.

The Clash’s techno-balanced rotor works in tandem to let line flow off the spool for long, fluid casts. 

NOTE

When you’re trying to skip your plastic frog onto a lily pad, or cast into a narrow recess in a river bend — Leveline Slow Oscillation System will come in handy.

Or if you’re shore-fishing and looking to make a deep cast —this will help you out!

A Solid, Full-Metal Body and Heavy Duty Bail Wire

It’s no surprise that Penn went with an all-aluminum body and side plates. They have always prioritized quality over flash —which is one thing I like about them. 

And although none of these reels is considered ultralight, the aluminum manages to keep them somewhat light. But to be fair, some anglers prefer a graphite and magnesium splice. If you’re one of them, the Clash may not be for you. 

This kind of build means you don’t have to worry about the “twist” that can rear its head if you roll with a plastic-body reel. The strong aluminum body also protects gears and vital components.

The bail wire is forged from aluminum as well and is built to withstand anything the ocean throws at it. Your hook is liable to bend before the bail wire ever will. 

8 + 1 Stainless Steel Bearings —Quality Sealed 

Like I said earlier, anglers love the Clash’s increased ball bearing count. It provides a smooth retrieve that really helps when it comes to finessing lures and landing fish.

provides a smooth retrieve that really helps when it comes to finessing lures and landing fish…

They’re stainless steel —made to hold up in saltwater and freshwater. Plus they’re sealed, and well-guarded within the Clash. I look at this as Penn protecting their (and your) investment. 

Braid-Ready Aluminum Spool with Line Capacity Rings 

This is pretty convenient if you want to go straight to the spool with braid. There’s a knurled band in the center that lets you do that. It beats having to “back it” with mono to avoid slippage —hands down. 

The Penn Clash also gives you 3 line capacity rings that tell you how much line is on the spool. There are times when this overlooked feature comes in extremely handy —like when a fish high tails it in the opposite direction to your boat. 

Okay, I know that perusing features might be less striking as hearing it from the horse’s mouth. So I combed the “interwebs” and found where a couple of anglers gave the Penn Clash its rightful props —

Here’s The Fisherman Magazine’s Mike Caruso using the Penn Clash to reel in some nice fish with light tackle —

Light Tackle Albies With Penn Clash & The Fisherman

And here’s the Penn Clash being used —but this time by some old pros down in Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica. Hey, if they can do it so can you!

Okay, I’ve done a lot of yapping about the Penn Clash —and that’s a good thing! After all, this review article is pretty much its moment in the sun. 

But it’s only fair to devote a few minutes to some other reels. And here they are —

KastKing MegaJaws Baitcasting Reel

Here’s a reel with a different feel. It’s pretty lightweight across the board –each model weighs 7.5 ounces.

KastKing MegaJaws Baitcasting Reel

Now here’s a reel with a different feel. It’s pretty lightweight across the board –each model weighs 7.5 ounces. And oh yeah, MegaJaws is a baitcaster —so if you don’t have the know-how, or time and patience to master it then stick to spinners. 

But if you’re feeling froggy, then this silver stud is worth a look. It edges out the Clash in a couple of categories —like bearing count, and gear ratio. But to be fair, only one MegaJaws model has a higher gear ratio! 

Here’s how MegaJaws stacks up —

  • High-Speed Gear ratios from 5.4:1 — 9.1:1 (only 1 model has a 9.1:1 gear ratio, so the Clash’s is higher overall)
  • Boasts 12 ball bearings —bests the Clash by 4 
  • 17.7 pounds of max drag —weaker than certain Penn models
  • 8 magnet breaking-system —feature unique to baitcasters
  • Low Friction Tapered Vortex for long smooth casting —comparable to the Clash’s slow oscillation system 

Give KastKing MegaJaws a whirl and see what it’s about. 

GOMEXUS TX15 Saltwater Jigging Reel

This powerful reel holds its own when it comes to fishing. It has a high braid capacity and can venture the ocean depths to snag marlin and other monster fish.

GOMEXUS TX15 Saltwater Jigging Reel

It may look a little like R2D2, but this powerful reel holds its own when it comes to fishing. It has a high braid capacity and can venture the ocean depths to snag marlin and other monster fish. 

2 of the GEOMEXUS TX15 models are considered high-speed reels, and all three of them are great for jigging. With a max drag of over 50 pounds, the 2 heaviest models are definitely built to catch big gamefish. 

Let’s see how this reel compares —

  • 5.1:1 — 7.1:1 gear ratio —Lesser overall gear ration than the Clash 
  • Has either 10 or 11 ball bearings —2 or 3 more than the Clash 
  • Max drag ranges from 25 — 66 pounds —Heavier models have stronger drag than the Penn
  • More difficult to cast —the Penn spinning reel is much simpler 
  • Can catch ocean monsters —this reel is heavier and better for jig fishing 
  • Is designed for saltwater fishing, not as good as the Clash for freshwater 

If you want to see what the GEOMEXUS can do, then don’t be shy! 

SHIMANO Socorro 5000F SW Offshore Spinning Reel

Built for offshore fishing. It comes packing SHIMANO’s famous X-Ship Technology. It’s known to help gears stay in alignment and produce smooth performance.

SHIMANO Socorro 5000F SW Offshore Spinning Reel

This bad boy is built for offshore fishing. It comes packing SHIMANO’s famous X-Ship Technology. It’s known to help gears stay in alignment and produce smooth performance. 

It has a low bearing count, but then again this is a rugged saltwater reel. With cold-forged gearing and a cross-carbon drag system, you can’t help but like it at least a little! 

Let’s see how it measures up vs the Clash —

  • Has unique Hagane technology —not something Penn offers 
  • Has a low bearing count —the Clash has twice as many 
  • Is built for offshore use –Clash can also be used offshore 
  • Features a crosse-carbon drag system, but doesn’t emulate Penn’s heat reducing tech
  • Max drag is comparable to the Clash 
  • Has a lower gear ratio across all models –the Clash is a better high-speed reel

Make a splash with Shimano Soccorro and snag something nice. 

Conclusion

Okay my fellow anglers from all over the country and world —sad to say, but it’s getting to be about that time! You know, the time where I leave all these tidbits of reel knowledge with you to use as you will. 

Hopefully you like most of what you read, and can use the info to pick the best reel. And maybe you’ll give the Penn Clash Spinning reel a hard look. It’s one of my favorites and has a reputation as a trusted option for genuine anglers like us. 

Until next time —keep researching, reeling and relaxing. And if you should happen to catch a nice-sized fish on a reel I recommend, then send us a pic and we’ll post it on the site!

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