Over the last few years there is a small revolution in the saltwater spinning reel market. With better quality materials making reels tougher, more salt resistant and drag systems more powerful, major companies are battling to produce perfect saltwater spinning reel capable to handle even big –game tasks. Company’s flagships like Sihmano’s Stella, or Daiwa’s Saltiga are story for them self, as with the quality, power and durability as well with the price, so not many can afford it.
If you are on a budget and not ready to shell out the money, looking for a good entry mid level spinning reel for jigging, heavy bottom fishing from the kayak, casting big poppers or trolling or any other heavy duty application don’t worry, check one of these really good reels: Penn Battle 2, Okuma Cedros or Daiwa Saltist Nero, all being in the 100-150 Euro range (Daiwa being most expensive but can be found around 100Euros on a sale).
Penn Battle 2
First mentioned, Penn Battle has been around with its upgraded version of Battle reel for a while, getting a lot of compliments and continuing to be one of the most popular reels in Northern America. That doesn’t surprise us, because the moment you take it leaves the impression of robust and higher end reel with its all metal design, built quality and drag smoothness.
Penn Battle 2 compared to its predecessor went through some significant upgrades.
Sealed Ball Bearings
Battle 2 has 5 ball bearings, but this time they come sealed, which hopefully solves known issue on the old Battle with salt getting into bearings damaging it and making reel rough.
Improved drag system
This is another major upgrade, increasing the drag by 15-50% by using their HT-100 drag system which uses carbon fiber washers keyed into the spool. This system enables both sides of each drag washer to be used giving the reel higher max drag and smoother start-ups.
Except that , carbon looses friction as it becomes hot, providing smooth and even drag during a long run by a large fish when we lose a significant amount of line on the spool. Old, non carbon drag washers would increase friction when heated up, and that coupled with line loss which represents a mechanical disadvantage resulting in much more force needed to pull the line from the spool increases the chance of losing the fish and breaking the line.
Other cool and useful features are Line Capacity Rings marked on the spool which can tell us how much line is left on the spool when we fight a big fish.
Besides that paint job on the reel has been improved which improves corrosion resistance.
Battle still comes with Superline Spool system, which eliminates need for backing under the braided line because rubber gasket keeps superlines from slipping.
Reel comes in 8 sizes, from 1000 to 8000 reel which covers all kinds of uses. Big reel sizes have hi capacity spools and max drag of 11.3 for 6000 or 13,6 kg for 8000 size, making them perfect for offshore uses. The only complain is weight, they are a bit on a heavy side comparing to a competition but if all metal body and construction gives it durability and reliability I don’t mind its weight.
Price point has been set between 70 -120 Euros but it looks like quality wasn’t sacrificed. If you are looking for a proven and reliable reel, capable of handling most fish species you will likely hook and still not break the bank it’s hard to beat the value for the money you are getting in this reel.