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PENN DISAPPOINTMENT | Category: Fishing Talk

tuppo2491 1 year ago

ORDERED PENN Fathom 11 Level Wind #20 series;
Arrived this morning, impressed with the tackle shop supplier service and attention.
Eager to load it up, trying the new 20 lb X9 Berkley Braid.
What a let down .... have spent hours, asking questions, looking at You Tube the whole bit .... as you do ! !

As I may have said before, was given a PENN Squidder 140M & Bakelite spare drum when I was about 10-11 y/old 1953.
Bed plate is a bit corroded but drive wise, to spin with it still casts better than my ABU 7000, ABU 6500, have heaps of gear from my dad's kit; Surfmasters autographed by Keith Hilder for my dad, a Graeme, Ocean City, Pfleugers (a number) Seascapes and so on, never had a reel as disappointing as this PENN Fathom today.

Held the drum, the slop in the drive when moving the handle was alarming,
The knob on the handle, move up and down .. slop, move sideways more slop.
Touch the free spool lever, loose as buggery.

As I said (emailed) to PURE Fishing here in Oz, PENN USA and the shop I bought it from its going back tomorrow.
Never PENN again.
I do not feel disposed to pull the thing apart to tighten the Free Spool Lever.

Made the decision to pay extra for the Fathom11 as it is billed as all metal frame against the SQUALL's composite.

Brought my DAIWA Saltiga SURF 30 in, not a skerrick of slop, handle / knob no slop.

Picked out my PENN Senator 113H same deal, as good as the day I bought it. That was yonks ago.

So after a few nips of Sake (no ice) Just about decided on SHIMANO Tekota 700.

ANY COMMENTS about this reel appreciated.

For some reason I wanted to stick with PENN, slow learner, disappointed to the max ..... and not going there again.

Pass the bottle ........pulease.


itsaboat 1 year ago

That would be disappointing.

Isn't that a 2 speed reel. Did you have it in gear properly? It looks like it has a 2 speed handle also, maybe they ship them with the handle loose so that you can select the speed.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
tuppo2491 1 year ago


Thanks for comment, no it is same class series as SQUALL but shown in specs as more METAL bits etc on the Fathom, end plates, shown on PENN website.

When I say 'handle' hold the actual complete handle, then with the knob move it to show any slack , so up and down, sideways therein lies the slop. If it has that much slack, what will it be like real soon ?

When I mentioned the FREE SPOOL selector, why the f would that be loose ?.

It further surprised me that there is a label/sticker under the base plate 'Made in China' which contradicts what I was told by the counter staff at BASS PRO, Orlando FL.
From memory it is the fixed spool reels that PENN were looking to have made in China.

Bass Pro is where I bought the Saltiga, T3 Ballistic (Fab) and the Stick for the Ballistic.
Service and attention like you would not believe, something we in Australia have no idea of.

He made a point "Penn have made a rod for their own back, consistent standard / quality to spec is hopeless, .... cannot be achieved, PENN now manufacture in USA assemble and pack in CHINA". He added "They paid a price for customer returns, credits and damage to their reputation".

As I said earlier, I want to support a manufacturer that I have grown up with using their products.
FACT: how are we going to fare if China ever gets the poos with Australia ?.

Years ago my brother on the way back from the US, met an American this guy was coming to Australia looking for work as his agency had been shut down.
He was a development engineer, specialised in 'nasty firearms', had worked for the Black Budget, for weapons in the serious side of things that shall remain unsaid.

He said "Down the track Australia will export everything resource wise, manufacture nothing, import everything and be at the mercy of the world"

Say no more ? ?

Run out of Sake ..... making a cup of tea !

Poor second !

fish21 1 year ago

Penn are excellent

tuppo2491 1 year ago

Thanks Fish,

Yes you are correct, however it leaves a sour taste when one purposely seeks to support that brand and one gets a dud.

I have said clearly that just my PENNS, Squidder (66y/old), Senator/s have been belted over the years, still better than the brand new FATHOM11. The PENNS owned by my other brothers, still A1.

It is obvious that PENN realise the move to China for manufacture was a bad move.
A friend of mine (Paul) is based in SHENZHEN China, I have been there also. Shenzhen was built by the communist government to prove that capitalism will not work ??
Ah .... wrong ... it is the star of commercial enterprise in China, amazing the development, have a look at electronics made in Shenzhen for Apple, Samsung you name it.

Look up BYD ("Build Your Dream") on the net go there, see the cars that BYD are building ...battery/electric .... the finish /quality is astounding, I have seen it, makes the Toyota PRIUS look a bit poor.

There is supposedly 10,000 employees on product, research and development in a complex built by the government.

Anyway Paul's role is that he acts as an engineering / quality control rep for many companies, one big name generic company that I know of from here in Australia. That company makes pumps, huge mothers for mining and quarrys.
He takes the drawings to a selected manufacturer for that item. They respond with a sample, sends back to Oz, everything U-beaut ... perfect.

An order is placed for a quantity. Now this is where it all goes WHACKO, the factory that gets the order decides that the order is really big for them so they sublet/subcontract the job to another manufacturer or in some cases a few manufacturers and that is when things go pear shape.

Tolerances are way way out of whack, availability becomes a problem, so there is NO product available.

It has happened with other major brands in this country.
Ask around find out how many have said the risk is too great of quality breakdown.
Price is a factor obviously, however the cost of warranty claims, the damage to product reliability is a huge cost.

That is precisely what the person told me regarding PENN reels when I was at Bass Pro Orlando FL.

The Chinese can do it ... no doubt, reality is they (many) have not got the ability to maintain quality consistent with spec.


itsaboat 1 year ago

In the U.S.A it is Penn...In Australia it is Jarvis Walker.

That is how it has always been.

For what ever reason the name Jarvis Walker was not suitable for the American market. So they named it Penn.

Then some years later, someone said "hey we can compete against ourselves" and so Penn was introduced to Australia. Some minor cosmetic changes and bingo, Penn is seen as something "special". When in fact it is just a re-badged Jarvis Walker with some minor cosmetics.

Yes, the Jarvis Walker that you can buy in Kmart...funny though, you will also find Penn in Kmart which might have something to do with a supply contract and the fact that Penn is Jarvis Walker.

Yes, the Jarvis Walker that has almost always been made in China...Yes, is the same as Penn which has almost always been made in China.

Sure, they do make some in the U.S. but seriously, you should be cautious of anything made in the U.S...They do not have the best reputation for quality. In fact their reputation for manufacturing quality is pretty poor at best.

If you have specifically requested a U.S made Penn, then there in lays your answer...You should have asked for a "made in China" one.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
fish21 1 year ago

Nothing at all to do with Penn and also the U.S.A has some of the best engineering in the world

Jarvis Walker is an Australian owned company that has made fishing gear for Aussie fishermen since Jarvis ‘Jim’ Walker started the company in 1946. Jim was a skilled fisherman with a vision to produce professional quality fishing tackle at a price the general public could afford. By the 1950s and 1960s the name Jarvis Walker was synonymous with Australian fishing and has since grown to become a true Australian icon.
The Jarvis Walker of today is still committed to Jim’s ideals, promoting fishing as a healthy outdoor activity that brings family and friends together. All Jarvis Walker fishing gear is designed to make this accessible for all Australians.

Many Australian anglers started their life-long fishing adventure with a Jarvis Walker fishing rod. Today, Jarvis Walker makes this even easier by taking the guesswork out of choosing tackle by offering a full range of balanced rod and reel combos at great value. Jarvis Walker adds to these essentials by designing and producing new fishing rods, reels, lines, lures, accessories and a wide range of terminal tackle each year to ensure Aussie anglers have a comprehensive selection of quality fishing tackle. And keeping with Jim’s promise to customers in 1946, it’s affordable and is still the best value fishing gear around

Penn is quality Jarvis Walker is cheap Australian useless crap

itsaboat 1 year ago

To quote probably not the best source of information ----

Jarvis Walker design and manufacture products under its own brand names and have their own product development department based at their head office in Rowville, Victoria where they design fishing tackle for Australian conditions. Their brand portfolio consists of the following:
(a) Jarvis Walker
(b) Butterworth
(c) Penn (USA)
(d) Ryobi (Japan)
(e) Intruder lures

end quote -

If I am wrong, I am happy to stand corrected. It has been my understanding that for many, many years Penn and JW are one in the same. If that is not the case then I would be very interested to hear about the myth behind the folk lore.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
fish21 1 year ago

ok sorry looks kind of ok , but none of penn sites mention jarvis walker ,so i have emailed penn direct to ask ,cheers ,oh and as you may of noticed i love penn stuff as always been great for me

itsaboat 1 year ago

JW make no mention of Penn on their sites either. They list a dozen or so brands that most people would not think were actually JW, but no mention of Penn.

But the InterGoogleWeb is full of it...and long. long before Google was even an urge I have "known" about it.

I also think highly of Penn. I have several Penn reels. I also have a little Rovex which I am very impressed with....Rovex is a JW brand.

Maybe there was a deal for JW to get into the US market using the Penn name ?? I don't know. Ever since being a kid I have always "known" that JW and Penn are one in the same.

Before today, I really had not given this any thought. I am going to be a little peeved if it turns out that I have been duped by urban legend

But then again it would not be the first "business partnership" kept secret.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
itsaboat 1 year ago

I see you have found the "edit" button.

You added "the U.S.A has some of the best engineering in the world"

Yeah, alright, I might agree, they have "some of the best engineering"...But I did not say they didn't, did I ?

American "manufacturing" is dismal compared to the rest of the world. It always has been. Yeah they might have great engineering, but their manufacture is very questionable at best.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
tuppo2491 1 year ago

Reply to yours,

When I just started to learn to fish, my Dad sold a guy a JEEP Station wagon, in those days JEEP was a tank hard to get hold of.
His name was Keith Hilder apparently a very competent engineer, not a fisherman though. he was an aviator, built the original airstrip at Blackalls near but North of the Swansea Bridge, built on Coal wash, council as usually tried to f .. him in the 'aisles.
He moved the strip further to wards Belmont end. It was Hilder who inspired me and I joined Broadmeadow Aero Club. dad freaked out. Bob Russell was the President of BAC. Russell field at Thornton is named after him. Flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the battle for Britain, I was in awe at what they did in those times any way he dobbed me into Dad, not good.
Hilder started to make SURFMASTER reels, he is not the original designer as I found out. Dad and a number of friends would give the Surfmasters a work out, had no star drag initially, the alternatives at the time were GRAEME reels made by Bennet in Sydney. They were a fragile bit of gear. At the time there was a batch off 23 Studebaker Champion 9G's were imported dad as a distributor was the only dealer to get two of.
Through that dad met someone who had contacts in the US.
Cannot recall how but Dad had a friend from the US who knew Keith Egly, President of PENN reels at the time. Dad and his fisho' mates would wrap Australian dollars in carbon copy paper and post it to Egly. All of a sudden with the PENNs we were hitting big fish in big numbers nothing to go down to Redhead and spin or with mackerel / mullet slab baits 5-60 Taior in a night between say five people. The walk back over the sand hills was really hard, even as a 13 year older. Then from another contact in the US we had Ocean City's, Pfleugers and so on, one make I have never seen before or since was a 'South Bend' a smaller type reel that was used for perch up around Dungog, That is where by the way Bellbrook lures were first hacked out of dowelling sticks.
About this time Seascape came up with a Star Drag, as the Surfmaster.
Hilder used to stamp the persons name on the winch plate, we had a number Black, Red, Silver with 'CBL' my Dad's initials. Was a joke back then my fathers initials were CBBPL,
He did not like it all that much Cyril Bay Bear Park Lawton when his driver licence regularly came though with C....B....B... PORK used to really get him pissed.
So yes I am disappointed regarding PENN, I met an elderly person couple years bag he had an original ABU ... had it for yonks, my 7000 looks crappy the anodising has come off all over, the level wind *?!$ after the first few months.
So the argument could be 'cop it' things ain't like what they used to be .....

pass the bottle ...........

tuppo2491 1 year ago

About PENN.

I cannot remember his name but the guy who designed Ocean City reels really hit the big time, had the market virtually.

An engineer working for O C had other ideas, that was the start of PENN.

Think we had a PENN Level Line, bit after the time the SQUIDDER came out, the L L had no pawl but a bar the line ran over to lay it on the drum which we disconnected. Never was a good reel to cast compared to the Squidder. I think I was given my Squidder 1955/1956.

Another point that helped PENN reputation and hugely here in Oz was when Zane Grey, the famous America author of cowboy books came here to Bermagui chasing Marlin,

Not dead set sure of the reel he used but was told had PENN features. Had a number of reels came to Australia after a jolly to NZ.

Famous bit from that era was a young employee of Mick Simmons SYDNEY was sent to Bermagui as a (bait boy) gesture for Grey.
Story is that there were no hook ups on a particular outing, the so called experts had their input .
That junior was to us 'Uncle' Jim Simpson (as we knew him in later years) put his three penneth in about and why the rig should be altered, the senior know it alls discouraged him from commenting, told him to 'can it' they knew better than Jim.

Grey is on record as saying "let the young guy have his say" result was a record catch the next day.

Mick Simmons made Jim Simpson manager of Mick Simmons NEWCASTLE over night.

When we were kids, he had a radio show on the Newcastle network "Good Fishing and tight Lines"

Was great; fisho's would come in to buy tackle and bragging as we do ? ? well some do ?? "don't tell anyone but the tailor are on down at Catherine Hill Bay near the 'big wash'" .(around the corner)... phones would run hot many, of Dad and his mates would be down there, pick us up from school and that night, an Arnott's biscuit tin of Mum's rissoles and into it.

Was always taught to have a spin first if nothing, then bring the Garfish out (4 x 6/o Mustads) however on some outings would never bait up, all taken on KEEL spinners that we used, others preferred Graeme Chromed spinners.

Wow memories ???? always had a freezer full of Tailor / Jewfish in those days.

Reminds me of ITSABOAT famous quote ....then Ya Get hitched sort of dampens the view, life gets in the way ! !


tuppo2491 1 year ago


I am surprised your comments re PENN and Jarvis Walker, can't imagine that there is any connection of similarity.............

Have been to a few BIG tackle shops in the USA, never got to BASS PRO at Fort Myers (supposed to be biggest in the world)

Orlando, was simply unbelievable.

Just the LODGE cast Iron cookware display would be the size of an average tackle shop here.

Bow hunting just for fish was huge.

I also went to other shops around Winter Haven also in Florida, the advice on rigs, knots was something to see.

I saw a guy at Orlando who I would describe as a 'tyre kicker' from my car sales days.

You ain't got the 'coin'.

He had reels and rods all over the counter, went on for a number of hours.

I thought what a do do .... had all really big gear out on the counter PENN Internationals the whole bit.

Later at the huge BROWNING handgun display this same guy was there.

I could not help asking "Did you buy and gear?'"

He was from the DEEP, DEEP South.. wow ...... I would say GATOR countreee he was hard to understand.

He said "Yeah I bought eleven reels and eleven rods"

"I came down here last year and set up a FISHING charter business, borrowed all my rods reels from MA KUSINS and MA UNCLES TO GET ME GOING, NOW I IS GONNA REPAY THEM"

Wot is the saying ? Don't judge a book by DE CUVVER.


itsaboat 1 year ago

Gee Tupp... I can't get a post in edge-ways...

Let me know when you have finished with your input...and I will think about replying.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
itsaboat 1 year ago

Did you get a reply yo your email yet?

It will be interesting to see what they say...but even more interesting if they make no comment

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !