Penn Slammer 3 review
Fishing Equipment | Fishing Reels | Reviews

Penn Slammer 3 Spinning Reel Review

The 3rd generation of the Penn Slammer reel was introduced in 2016, and since its introduction it has become the flagship of the Penn spinning reel range.

It has been widely used by anglers all over the world, and also a favorite choice for fishing charter captains to use as their goto reel due to its performance capabilities and durability.

So what is all the fuss about with this reel?

That’s exactly what we are going to discover here in this detailed review of the Penn Slammer III spinning reel.

So let’s get into it…


Looks

Ok, so the looks of a reel is not the most important thing. But it is always nice when you have a stylish reel attached to your rod, and the Penn Slammer III certainly fits that bill.

The black frame with the gold accents on the regular Slammer 3 model delivers an instant eye-catching impact, it really does look like a brute of a reel.

Penn Slammer 3

You also have an ‘HS’ (High Speed) variation in the Slammer 3 range, and this comes with a black body with red accents, again it looks very stylish.


Performance

Now we get into the nitty-gritty of this reel, how well does the Penn Slammer 3 perform?

First off I have to say that the Slammer 3 is not the lightest of reels. You can find reels that are quite a bit lighter than most of the Slammer III sizes, but you would be paying a lot more money for these reels than you will with the Slammer 3.

But what does impress me is just how well balanced this reel is, and also how sturdy it feels.

Some reels just feel unstable, and that they will snap under a bit of pressure. Not the Penn Slammer 3!

Put this reel under huge amounts of pressure, it holds its own with ease. It is impressive actually.

When you are hooked into a big fish, you quickly learn that the Slammer 3 is up to the task. It cranks easily under pressure and you can feel that the reel does not twist at all. It gains your confidence pretty fast.

The reel is also very smooth. I know from experience that most Penn spinning reels do run very smoothly, but the Slammer 3 is exceptional.

The drag used on the Penn Slammer 3 runs on their premium Dura-Drag system (even better than their HT-100 drag). So as expected, the drag system is extremely effective. More on this below.


Sizes available

The Penn Slammer 3 is available in the following sizes:

  • 3500
  • 4500
  • 5500
  • 6500
  • 6500HS (High Speed)
  • 7500
  • 8500
  • 8500HS (High Speed)
  • 9500
  • 10500

As you can see, there is quite a wide range of sizes available for you, from the smaller 3500 all the way up to the largest size reel that Penn make, the 10500.


Two High-Speed models available

There are two High-Speed models available in the Slammer III range, the 6500HS and 8500HS.

The High Speed models are designed for anglers that need to retrieve lures at a higher speed, often when using surface lures for fast fish such as Tuna and Wahoo.

The line retrieve on the Slammer 3 6500HS is 48 inches per crank, versus 42 inches for the regular 6500 Slammer 3 model, and the 8500HS has 50 inches of line per crank, versus 42 inches per crank for the regular Slammer 3 8500 model.

Both of these HS reels have a different color scheme to them than the regular models, being an attractive red on black, rather than the gold on black that the regular models use.

Penn Slammer 3 High Speed

Reel specifications

Model: 3500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 480/4 | 360/6 | 285/8
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 310/10 | 270/15 | 220/20
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 30lb | 13.6kg
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 37″ | 94cm
Weight: 13.90oz | 394gr

Model: 4500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 425/8 | 320/10 | 235/12
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 390/15 | 320/20 | 250/30
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 30lb | 13.6kg
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 40″ | 102cm
Weight: 14.70oz | 417gr

Model: 5500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 430/10 | 330/12 | 230/15
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 485/30 | 410/40 | 355/50
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 40lb | 18.1kg
Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 39″ | 99cm
Weight: 22.40oz | 635gr

Model: 6500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 390/12 | 345/15 | 205/20
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 485/30 | 410/40 | 355/50
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 40lb | 18.1kg
Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 42″ | 107cm
Weight: 24.30oz | 689gr

Model: 6500HS
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 500/12 | 420/15 | 255/20
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 605/30 | 500/40 | 420/50
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 40lb | 18.1kg
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 48″ | 122cm
Weight: 24.70oz | 700gr

Model: 7500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 490/15 | 330/20 | 220/30
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 530/40 | 440/50 | 400/65
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 50lb | 22.6kg
Gear Ratio: 4.7:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 38″ | 97cm
Weight: 29.20oz | 828gr

Model: 8500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 455/20 | 310/30 | 260/40
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 730/40 | 600/50 | 555/65
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 50lb | 22.6kg
Gear Ratio: 4.7:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 42″ | 107cm
Weight: 30.80oz | 873gr

Model: 8500HS
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 490/25 | 330/30 | 280/40
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 955/40 | 805/50 | 760/65
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 50lb | 22.6kg
Gear Ratio: 5.3:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 50″ | 127cm
Weight: 31.30oz | 887gr

Model: 9500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 350/30 | 300/40 | 240/50
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 730/50 | 670/65 | 435/80
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 60lb | 27.2kg
Gear Ratio: 4.2:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 40″ | 102cm
Weight: 40.90oz | 1.15kg

Model: 10500
Line Capacity Mono (YDS/LBS): 435/30 360/40 255/50
Line Capacity Braid (YDS/LBS): 845/50 780/65 540/80
No. of Bearings: 8
Max Drag: 60lb | 27.2kg
Gear Ratio: 4.2:1
Has Instant Anti-Reverse Feature? Yes
Retrieve Rate Per Crank: 43″ | 109cm
Weight: 43.10oz | 1.22kg


Premium drag system

The drag system used in most of the spinning reels from Penn is the HT-100 system, and this is an extremely powerful drag that has become one of the key selling points for Penn’s spinning reels over the years.

But for the Slammer 3, Penn has gone one step further and implemented their new Dura-Drag system on the reel.

This new system allows for increased drag pressure, and an incredibly smooth operation.

Dura-Drag uses a proprietary material that is based on the same material used in the transmissions of high-performance racing cars.

It is designed to endure the frequent brutal encounters it will have with hard fighting fish, and keep the drag system running as smooth as it does at all times.

This drag system is extremely effective, and as soon as you experience the drag in operation you quickly understand the level of quality and precision that has gone into its design.


Tough gear system

Another key element of the Penn Slammer is the CNC gear technology.

The entire gear system is made from brass, that has been machine precision milled.

This provides more durability and a very smooth operation.

This gear technology also gives the reel an incredible amount of cranking power.

When you hook into a big fish, you want to feel like you can keep it under control, and the CNC gear technology, coupled with the Dura-Drag system will certainly give you that ability.


Other things to note

Penn uses a couple of different handle knobs on their spinning reels.

One of them is the aluminium knob, and the other is the EVA knob.

Preference is obviously down to the individual, so to accommodate for everyone’s preference, the Slammer III comes with both the aluminium and EVA handles.

The handle can also be interchanged between left and right hand side of the reel, so will suit either preference.

If you are familiar with some of Penn’s other spinning reel models, then you will probably have seen line capacity rings on the bottom of the spools.

This is a very useful measurement that will allow you to gauge just how much line you have left on the spool if you’re fishing deep, or you’ve been taken on a big run by a fish.

The Slammer 3 also has the line capacity rings on the underside of the top of the spool as well, so you can see the available line left from all angles


Final verdict on the Slammer 3 reel

It is hard to find much wrong with the Slammer 3 spinning reel.

Personally, I love it!

It is a brute of a reel, an absolute workhorse, yet it still has the silky-smooth operation and technical ability.

Yes, it is a fairly heavy reel, but at the same time it’s not the heaviest out there.

It may not have a myriad of uniquely named features, as some other brands tend to focus on in their marketing spiel, but what it does have are some extremely effective design elements that improve the performance of the reel significantly.

The price of Penn Slammer 3 is another very alluring factor. The quality you get for the price is exceptional, and the reel is built to last, so you can fully expect to get many years of usage from it.

Whether you choose the regular, or high-speed models of the Penn Slammer 3, this is a superb reel that will give you the ability to do battle and dominate those big fish!

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