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My new Penn Fathom reel

Started by AJFishin, September 18, 2023, 04:38:44 PM

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AJFishin

I've recently been watching some YT videos of guys catching sharks, mainly Thresher sharks and halibuts, which is something I'm wanting to get into, along with other larger stronger fish. I have a Diawa Lexa 400 which could be up for the task for bigger fish, but I wanted a reel with a couple more bells and whistles.  I wanted a reel that would be a good all around reel, had features I would use and not a bunch extras that I probably wouldn't use, a reel that would be fairly easy to do maintenance on, a reel that has got a lot of use by others so there's plenty of reviews, but was moderately priced.

After doing research and going over the mind boggling amount of reels out there, I decided to go with a new Penn Fathom 2 reel (FTHII40SDP) as my reel of choice. I almost went for the Squall 2 as it's similar to the Fathom, but I wanted the all metal and stainless steel construction that will last for a long time and have no problem if a massive fish yanks on it. :jester: This Penn reel is a solid mid-level reel that from all the reviews I've read and seen, the majority really like it, especially after the first gen, and have caught all kinds of fish from sharks to tuna with it. Also like a lot of other reels in this class, it to can work well with rock fishing, something I wanted to use for as well.


My experience with the reel.....
Yesterday I gave it a try on lake Pacific and I was very happy using it. I spooled it up with 70 pound braid and I added about 5 feet of fluorocarbon. I first gave it a hard cast, as much as I could from my boat, and I was very pleased with the reels free spool, distance, and the mag brakes. I fly lined a sardine and turned on the alarm, caught a Calico that took off on a run, hearing the alarm was awesome, very loud. Then I tried dropping it straight down for some rockfish and again the free spool spun effortlessly to the bottom where I caught a senorita fish, LOL.
Then after a bit I moved inshore just off of the wall to try my luck for a Thresher shark, something I've never fished for, so not sure if my technique is correct. I let out about 50 yards and trolled at 2mph (slowest I could go) with the alarm on and the drag set just enough so the Mac with a trimmed tail couldn't run hard.
I didn't catch anything big to give the real good work out, but compared to my other reels, I really like using it and I can see it's going to be a go to reel that will always be on my boat.

A runner up reel is my Lews 300 Super Duty (SD3SHJ) that I have kept in the garage for a about 4 years collecting dust and only used it twice when I first bought as a bait casting reel. I never liked it for bait casting, hated it to be exact, but then yesterday I tried the reel out and found it to be a great little bottom fishing reel with 24 pounds of drag and a line out drag alarm that works well. I caught a nice Calico on it with 12 pound mono and with the "power handle", reeling it up was nice and easy. It's also now going to be one of my go to reels for bottom fishing.

Purchasing it......
I wanted to buy my reel from one of the 2 local mom and pop shops near me that are within a couple miles. Unfortunately one didn't have it in stock and the other place where I buy a lot of fishing gear at was way to expensive, like $70 over MSRP.
The 3rd place was Evike, it's a super store that is mainly known for Airsoft sports, guns, gear, etc. and has been a local store that was started and owned by a guy that is from this city and has been here in the community for 20 years. I've haven't been there in the last couple of years, but once there I was surprised how much they have grown their saltwater section by building a second story loft to accommodate it. www.evike.com/store-locations/fishing/   After checking out a few other Penn reels, I bought the one I came in for, for $260 before taxes. I could've saved a few bucks doing a price match, but I was ok with the price I got it for.


Here's some pictures.....











My runner up, Lew's 300SD..........



'96 Sea Ranger 19, 2016 Mercury 115 EFI CT (1115F231D) 
'96 Sea Chaser 16, 2019 Suzuki DF60AV (Sold) 
'87 Sea Chaser 17, 1987 Johnson V4 90 (Sold)
My Arima project videos: youtube.com/socalseachaser

Fisherdv

Nice reels AJ. I have caught a few Thresher sharks up here. They are crazy and jump like a Marlin! I caught them on a plain, whole frozen anchovy.

I forget where it was at, but I saw a video of guys catching them with a ballon, or bobber setup.
2018 Sea Chaser 16, Honda BFP60

martin3

Jeremy,

That Penn Fathom 40 will be a versatile workhorse for you.
They are solid.  Free spool is really good.

For Threshers,   find the 64 to 68 degree water and look for the anchovy schools.
Soak nearby or slow troll weighted baits as slow as you can manage.
On your meter look for large boomerang under the bait cloud.
Near LB breakwall is really good area.   The small Threshers are there most of the year. (80lbs - good eating size)
Late spring and early summer is best time though.   
MJM3

1990 SR Skip Top  "Gypsea Soul"
2013 Etec 115H.O.

Fishgriller

I have the first generation Fathom leverdrag that I use for Halibut fishing, love the reel, it has been flawless. I have Penn Squalls that I use for salmon fishing, also awesome reels.
2018 Sea Chaser 17, 2018 Yamaha F115

Wiley

Great read. Thanks for sharing. Definitely gonna check out the Penn. maybe I could use it for sturgeon? If I could just get one to bite  :jester:
86 c Dory 22' new 90 hp etec (sold)
96 sea explorer 15'-11" new 90 etec named (wutz wuzn cuzn)
10' Don Hill Pram
Respectfully, Build, Buy, Be American
Please bring back logging, we can't afford to keep burning up our country!!!

christianbrat

those penn fathoms are great. i have 3 of the 2 speed ones. 2 80ns and 1 40n and love em especially for the price
1989 Sea Explorer 16 w/ Custom Pilot House
2007 Honda BF90 & 2002 BF5
Built not Bought

If I could be an appliance I would be a toaster

AJFishin

#6
Thank you guys.  :beerchug:

That's awesome you got one as well Fisher. The people that I've talked all seem to have caught at least one and all say they're fun to catch.

Martin, a versatile reel is exactly what I was looking for and this one I believe is the perfect fit for me.
Yeah the other day I first searched for those bait balls like you told me to do the other week, but I only found 2 very small bait balls, but nothing lurking.  Water temp was 67, depth was about 65, I went back and forth from the end of the wall, outside, near nachos and went north half way, and did a couple laps.
I was using a Carolina rig with 2 - 2 ounce egg weights above a steel leader with the Mac on the end, slow trolling at 2 mph was the slowest I was able to go, but I can see I need to make a couple improvements when I head back out in a couple weeks.
Next time I'm going to hang my bait tube with cut mackerels off the stern, didn't think to do that last time after my success with catching mackerels. If I can make a couple floats I'll do the float set up, but probably will use a balloon as it's cheap and accessible, 1 - 2oz egg slider, steel leader to hook, and drift, we'll see what it produces.

Just the one day I used it I really like it and now I'm looking to get another one to maybe replace my Lexa 400. The Penn seems to check all of the boxes for me, from catching different size fish, to different ways to fish, including when I fish from shore or piers, and yeah hard to beat the price for a good solid reel.
'96 Sea Ranger 19, 2016 Mercury 115 EFI CT (1115F231D) 
'96 Sea Chaser 16, 2019 Suzuki DF60AV (Sold) 
'87 Sea Chaser 17, 1987 Johnson V4 90 (Sold)
My Arima project videos: youtube.com/socalseachaser

Hunter

Quote from: Fishgriller on September 19, 2023, 06:48:22 AMI have the first generation Fathom leverdrag that I use for Halibut fishing, love the reel, it has been flawless. I have Penn Squalls that I use for salmon fishing, also awesome reels.

I also use Penn Squalls exclusively for Salmon and Lings....  Solid performers 
2001 Sea Legend 22 (Gone But Not Forgotten)
2017 Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220 ET-HT - Honda BF250 & Honda 9.9 Power Thrust
All Garmin Electronics

"ALWAYS QUESTION AUTHORITY!!"

Fisherdv

2018 Sea Chaser 16, Honda BFP60

AJFishin

The Squalls are a nice very nice reels, I was very close on gettin 1 of those.


Quote from: Fisherdv on September 19, 2023, 08:56:06 PMhttps://youtu.be/TRPbmP60iBI?si=WTlyO-TQgFnzXZB9

Yep I saw that video and that will probably be me when I first catch one, lol. That's right where I was but I was basically just driving really slow there.
The floats the guy has I think are homemade, but it's a pretty simple rig, not sure if the lure is anything worth putting on, but from all of the other videos I've seen, this is nice set up.
Here's another one from a guy up near Santa Barbara I think on Kayak.

https://youtu.be/UmkN8xsk6R4?si=qSo4H1PajpUf6MNt

I'm going to check out a couple local tackle shops to see if they have these "shark floats", if not off to a Hobby Lobby or Joanne's to find some sort foam ball floats etc and make a couple.
'96 Sea Ranger 19, 2016 Mercury 115 EFI CT (1115F231D) 
'96 Sea Chaser 16, 2019 Suzuki DF60AV (Sold) 
'87 Sea Chaser 17, 1987 Johnson V4 90 (Sold)
My Arima project videos: youtube.com/socalseachaser

DARice

Last year I had one Fathom 2, this year 3, two lever drag 2-speed models and a 15 level wind star drag that gets more use than any other reel on the boat.
2005 Sea Chaser 17, Lost Sailor
'21 Honda 90, Yamaha T9.9

AJFishin

I was looking on BD for something else last week and saw there were 3 different for sale ads for Penn Fathoms, 15, 30, 40, and I couldn't pass up the deal for the same reel I just bought. The guy said he never used it, although there is a minor scuff mark on it, but not a big deal considering I only paid $155 including shipping, works great. :party017:



'96 Sea Ranger 19, 2016 Mercury 115 EFI CT (1115F231D) 
'96 Sea Chaser 16, 2019 Suzuki DF60AV (Sold) 
'87 Sea Chaser 17, 1987 Johnson V4 90 (Sold)
My Arima project videos: youtube.com/socalseachaser

amazing grace

Hi J, if the need arises for another reel hit me up. I have some nice ones and will treat you right.

Congrats on the newish Penn.
1989 22' C-Dory Angler

1997 19' Sea Ranger hardtop with Alaskan bulkhead

AJFishin

Quote from: amazing grace on September 25, 2023, 02:58:32 PMHi J, if the need arises for another reel hit me up. I have some nice ones and will treat you right.

Congrats on the newish Penn.

Thank you AG, I really appreciate that!  :beerchug:
'96 Sea Ranger 19, 2016 Mercury 115 EFI CT (1115F231D) 
'96 Sea Chaser 16, 2019 Suzuki DF60AV (Sold) 
'87 Sea Chaser 17, 1987 Johnson V4 90 (Sold)
My Arima project videos: youtube.com/socalseachaser