Now that the Penn 515 and 525Mag2 reels have been on the market for a couple of months, whilst chatting to other anglers its interesting how so many perceive the reels to be for beach casting only. This applies especially to the 515 model.
I’ve been fishing with the 515 for over a year now, initially in field test and pre production format, and now with “out of the box” reels the same as is available on the shop shelves. During that time I’ve found I’m using the reel for more and more fishing situations. Here are a few examples.
I initially used the reel for long range beach casting from the surf beaches loading with 15lb line. This is what most anglers use the reel for and it does excel at this due to its compact size and narrow format spool. Also the spool fully disengages from the spindle to give a fully free running spool to maximise casting range.
When I wanted to fish crab baits in to heavy rough ground for bass I need a reel with a good drag system that will pretty much lock up if need be to bully big fish away from the many boulders, weed beds and other snags I’m fishing in to. This also requires tough gears as inevitably you’ll need to really crank in big fish from time to time to literally keep them coming through the boulders and line cutting barnacles. If they get behind a boulder, they are lost! The high speed 6.0:1 retrieve ratio of the 515, its tough gears and HT100 drag system prove to be exactly what you need in a rough ground bass reel.
Next up was a boat trip where I’d be uptide casting for rays. My attitude to fishing is to always use the lightest and toughest gear I can. With a light 2 to 6oz uptide rod more than adequate for this type of fishing, I realised the 515 was also the perfect reel for the job when loaded with either 15 or 18lb mono line and a shock leader. The reel casts well and is easy to control with the simple dial-in mag brake adjuster which is an advantage when casting off a pitching boat. Again it has the gears to tackle big fish in fast tide currents, that great drag system, but also the retrieve ratio to get slack line back in quickly to catch up with a fish that’s sprung the lead weight out and is heading off downtide fast.
Another boat trip was for pollack and coalfish over a wreck. To prove the versatility of the 515 I matched it to a Penn Waveblaster 12/20lb class rod again with 15lb line on the reel. I was fishing artificial rubber eels, Gulp baits and lead-heads targeting pollack to double figures, with the coalies running to about 4lbs. The reel performed perfectly and again the smooth drag system is ideal for playing big fish on relatively light line. And the fast retrieve ratio means you can work the lure fast when needed.
On a recent trip to Ireland I was drift fishing over sand and mixed rough ground for species such as haddock, codling, gurnards, rays and flatfish. I normally fish an ABU Revo Toro 60HS with a Suveran 12lb or 20lb class rod for this type of fishing, but needed a second rod ready with a different rig attached. I chose the 515 which I’d now loaded with 30lb braid and fished this on the 12/20lb Waveblaster rod. Again the reel is ideal for this fishing being light in weight to hold, simple and quick to click in and out of gear when you need to stop a bait on the seabed periodically for chasing fish to catch up, but as before has the drag and gears to tackle big fish when they happen along. The reel caught a lot of fish during that trip and yet again shows how adaptable this amazing reel is.
These are just some of the examples that my own 515Mag2 reels are being used for. It’s rapidly becoming one of my all time favourite reels. Those who think the reel is just for shore fishing need to think again. The Penn 515Mag2 is one of the most versatile reels on the market!