Penn Pursuit IV Review

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Penn Pursuit IV. We tested this spinning reel in the 3000 and 5000 size in the UK, Mexico and New Zealand over a 7 month period.

Overall, this is a rugged and reliable spinning reel that pairs well with most rods on the market. It’s a great choice for those that value toughness in a reel, and its few limitations won’t be noticed by most anglers.

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Our Youtube review.

The Penn Pursuit is tougher than other reels at its price

Penn reels are supposed to be tough. In recent decades, manufactures have focused on making reels lighter and reducing costs. This has resulted in an era when your reel isn’t expected to last as long as it once might’ve. However, reels today are also far lighter and smoother.

We believe the reel is indeed much tougher than most others on the market, but not as tough as Penn reels used to be. We used the reel when rock fishing in the UK, NZ and Mexico, kayak fishing in Cornwall and surf board fishing. The reel stood up to it all, escaping with only a less smooth drag after the salt exposure (and an immediate warm water bath). It’s handy having a reel like this that can stand up to some mistreatment and survive being treated rough.

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penn pursuit

This reel has some protection against day-to-day salt exposure

The Penn Pursuit is designed for saltwater fishing and compared to lower end models or random brands on Amazon, it’s going to be far superior. However, it’s not designed to be submerged or even splashed.. Despite this, I have found the saltwater resistance to be better than previous experiences with Shimano and Daiwa at this price.

The Penn Pursuit is not mag sealed, meaning that salt water will get into the gearing if it is given the chance. I did fully submerge the reel multiple times. The reel is still in use, and is not as affected as I expected. At first it was crispy and rigid, but once I reeled off the salt crystals, it went back to being functional. Avoid getting the reel salty, definitely don’t dunk it, but you can rest assured day to day salt exposure is no issue for this reel.

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The Penn Pursuit has a satisfying, tight responsiveness and immediate stop

The reel feels tight. This means when you stop reeling, there is no looseness in the handle. The spool, the rotor and the handle are linked together without any experience of ‘slack’. This makes it feel good in your hand – sturdy and reliable. The reel feels cold and solid, as it should. There is no flex in the reel, which is impressive.

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The line lay is ok compared but not as good as Daiwa or Shimano at this price

The line lay on the Penn Pursuit is not that great, but isn’t bad enough that most would notice. Line lay refers to how even the line is spread across the spool during the retrieve. Poor line lay results in reels with ‘fat’ areas of line, or line that is prone to tangling during the cast.

We feel confident using this reel with braided lines down to 16lb (with cheaper braid) or 20lb with more expensive braid (this is due to line thickness) or monofilament of 10lb in the 5000 size. We didn’t test the use of lighter braids as we were using a 5000 size reel for larger fish.

This is a fantastic reel for use with standard strength braids like 20lb, but I’d consider Daiwa and Shimano reels at the same price too if you’re using lighter stuff.

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What size Penn Pursuit for each rod length?

Penn Pursuit Reel SizeRecommended rod lengthUses
600011ft flatty rod rated to 100g+ (3oz)Useful on a generalist UK sea fishing set up, including mackerel feathering
50009-10ft spinning rod rated with max casting weight of 60-100g.Useful on heavier spinning rod outfits, mainly for travel outside UK
40008.5-10ft spinning rod with max casting weight of 30-50g.Popular size for lure fishing for bass and pike on rods around 9ft.
30007-9ft spinning rod with max casting weight of 21-35g.Most popular for modern lure fishing for bass, pike, perch, zander and more.
25007-8.5ft ultra light spinning rod with max casting weight of 10-20g.Ultra light reel for LRF anglers that like something more rugged looking
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The reel has a graphite body and aluminium spool, making it heavier than average

The Penn Pursuit 5000 weighs about a third more than the Shimano Sedona. It’s noticeably heavier and chunkier in pretty much every way. This works well with most rods on the market which are ‘average’ in thickness, but if you have something super light weight like a Japanese rod (or a lure rod from HTO or similar), it could be a bit bottom heavy for your liking.

The body of the reel is made from graphite. The spool is made from aluminium. It doesn’t feel like plastic crap. It has a solid feel. It’s nothing special in terms of build quality at its price but feels solid and reliable, far more so than cheaper reels.

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How does the reel feel?

In your hand, the reel is cold and noticeably heavier than most spinning reels of its size. The handle is longer than is found on Daiwa and Shimano spinning reels, which is typical of Penn. The rate of retrieval is 5cm less than the Sedona in the 4000 size, so that big handle doesn’t effect actual retrieval speed.

As somebody used to using high end reels, I would describe the reel as ‘perfectly fine’.

I would not use it for professional guiding with experienced anglers because it lacks the luxurious feel and confidence with higher end braids that more expensive reels provides.

Who should buy the Penn Pursuit?

This reel is ideal for somebody that values sturdiness and is using a fairly traditional spinning rod between 8-10ft, rather than an ultra light or Japanese rod. This is because due to the weight of the reel it pairs better on a relatively thick rod compared to those used by many specialist lure anglers in the UK.

I would reach for it for rock fishing with a 9ft rod that casts 60g in the 4500 size. I would not pair this rod with an LRF rod or a Japanese rod that casts under 45g, because it Daiwa and Shimano provide sleeker reels. This style of reel is heavier and more rugged.

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