Penn Slammer III

9.2 score
[Editors rating (9.2) + Users rating (8.6)] / 2 = (TheGearHunt) score (9.2)/10

Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 3 user ratings
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Penn Slammer III Review Facts

Have you ever dreamt about an incredibly robust and durable spinning reel? It has a smooth drag system, yet offers the grunt needed to battle big fish. The perfect reel is tightly sealed to keep out sand and saltwater. It should also be stylish. Dreams can come true with the Penn Slammer III.

The award-winning Penn Slammer III fulfills the most demanding needs of anglers. It has multiple innovative features. It meets all demanding expectations and stands up to the most challenging and robust fish. The Penn Slammer III is open-faced and available in sizes that range from 3500 to 10500. A wide variety allows users to choose the one that offers freedom and convenience. Black and gold accents make it recognizable. The Penn Slammer III made a list of Best Saltwater Spinning Reel of many reviewers. With all its features, it is an excellent means of getting the most from the money spent. It is unusual to get so much for so little. Rare quality issues and minor problems are nothing when compared with what the reel offers. It is designed, tested, and has earned the trust of Fishing and Charter guides around the world. Reviewers have caught hundreds of flounders in deep water that weigh one to six pounds. Countless grunts, sea bass, and by-catch sharks have been caught. Cobia weighing over 50 pounds have been landed with the 3500 size of the Penn Slammer III.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable handle
  • Excellent weight balance
  • Great line capacity
  • Great value for the money
  • Indicates if the spool is aligned correctly and the remaining amount of line
  • Powerful enough to handle any big fish
  • Reel performs as strongly and smoothly as it did at first even with maintenance and regular splashes
  • Sealed system makes reel last against corrosion as it keeps saltwater out
  • Smooth operation
  • Not very lightweight
  • Part of the handle frequently comes off
  • Smaller models may have a drag that seems too tight for the target fish

Basic Features

The reel features 6+1 high-quality stainless steel bearings that keep the reel flow powerful and smooth. The capacity ring at the bottom of the spool is a useful measurement that allows the user to gauge how much line is left on the spool if fishing deep or being taken on a run by a fish.

Capacity rings are also on the underside of the spool top permit seeing the amount of available line from all angles. There are not a myriad of features with unique names that other brands focus on in marketing spiels.

Advanced Features

The spinning reel was made for heavy-duty fishing. It features a drag system that provided ample drag pressure. The innovative Dura-Drag system uses a phenolic formula specially made to protect the reel from spraying water and give anglers smooth fishing experiences. Scientific proof exists that shows a Penn reel having the Dura-Drag systems perform like new after 30 hours of drag pressure. Other reels suffered considerable damage. The reel is protected from deterioration during harsh battles with fish.

Penn also uses the high-quality Dura-Drag system in its more expensive models. There is always enough power to drag in big fish. Regardless of the target weight, Penn provides a high level of drag. Smaller models may have a drag that is too tight for target species. Two large carbon washers get the system moving smoothly and keep it in excellent condition. Penn engineers tell us the materials used in the drag system are the same as those used by racing car manufacturers in car transmissions. The reel is protected from turning backward by the Anti-Reverse system. It engages the drag which is of vital importance. It releases line without moving the handle. When fish bite, they try to swim away. There is not handle pull back with the anti-reverse system. Braid line tends to slip.

Thanks to the anti-skid gasket, slipping is not a problem. The gasket keeps the line protected from slipping and steady. Automatic bail trip is accomplished for reel sizes 3500 to 5500 with a mechanism that automatically moves the wire from the open to the closed position. Sizes 6500 to 10500 require a manual bail trip.


Six stainless steel ball bearings, internal CNC brass gears, and CNC gear technology. CNC is a subtractive computer-controlled manufacturing process. Taking the construction material into consideration is enough to understand how extremely durable the reel is.

There is little flex when fighting fish thanks to the Penn Slammer III IPX6 Sealed System. IPX6 is a waterproof rating that means the reel is splash-proof. The reel and internals are protected from salt and water corrosion. The fantastic reel has a durable, sturdy, and all-metal body.

It has an aluminum rotor, side plates, and body. Aluminum gives it not so lightweight, but it is not heavy enough to hinder performance. When the reel is attached to a rod, it provides the proper amount of balance.

Of the eight sizes, the 10500 is the most powerful and largest. The environment and saltwater are a reel’s greatest enemies. Resistance to corrosion is among the main criteria used in evaluating saltwater reels.

If saltwater cannot enter the drag system, rotor, or reel, it can cause no harm. The IPX6 seal system surrounding the drag system, rotor, and other parts protects the reel from corrosion. Though not recommended, the reel can be submerged underwater and be fine. Minor regular occurrences such as splashes cause no problems.

The CNC technology is made from brass. Machine precision milling makes for durability and smooth operation. The gear technology gives incredible cranking power. The CNC gear technology and Dura-Drag system give fishers the ability to hook big fish and feel in control. While the reel is not lightweight, it has a solid, well-built feel. It is heavier than some premium spinning reels that are available.


The Penn Slammer III has a fantastic capacity. The 10500 size accepts approximately 435 yards of 30-pound mono line and 780 yards of 65-pound braid line. If the angler feels as though the line is running out when fighting fish that run too far and used a lot of line, there is a line capacity ring feature that can be used to check the amount of line left initially. The spool is ready for the line. Fishers face little difficulties when spooling. Doing a bit of manual alignment may be necessary.


The spinning reel has a couple of handle knob options. One is aluminum, and the other is an EVA knob. Choosing is a matter of individual preference. Both are included in the package. The handle is interchangeable between the right and left side.

It has a metal ball knob on the handle and a thick bail wire. The box has a rubber knob if preferred. The handle looks a bit odd out of the box. The large handle of the reel can be surprising and confusing.

Anglers are surprised by the great feel and performance. It is easier on the fingers and hands which makes holding the rod easier. The reel does not move back and forth in hand. When reeling in or working a lure quickly, it is easier to keep a constant speed with the easy to control larger handle. The size ideally fits within the hand. Its shape makes it feel proportionate and very comfortable.


The spinning reel has some practical design elements that significantly improve the reel performance. The Penn Slammer III 3500 has a 6:2:1 gear ratio, 300/2.5mm braid capacity, and weighs 394 grams. It has a max Dura-Drag system of 13.6kg. It is an innovative system that tremendously improves the reel performance.

Penn increased the brake level of resistance to efface initial surge of drag pressure. Bigger sizes have larger maximum weight and drag. The Penn Slammer III 6500 gained maximum drag but has a decreased gear ratio.

With a low gear ratio, a bit of line is recovered each time the handle is turned. High gear ratios recover line quickly but do not have sufficient torque to fight strong fish. Penn is increasing the drag system resistance over past reel models.

Two high-speed models are available. They are designed for fishers who need to retrieve lures at high speed. Surface lures are often used for fast fish like wahoo and tuna. The line retrieve of the speed models is 48 or 50 inches per crank versus 42 ounces for the standard models. They have a color scheme that is a beautiful red on black instead of the regular model gold on black.

It is inevitable that the gear will be covered in saltwater when out on the ocean. The reel can withstand the conditions encountered on a boat trip. The Slammer III design has a tightly sealed gearbox and drag system that are critical internal elements to keep out sand and saltwater.

The reel is kept at optimal levels and ensures years of usage. The drag system is extremely powerful and a key selling point. Penn’s Dura-Drag System allows incredibly smooth operation and increased drag pressure.

It is made to endure frequent brutal fighting fish encounters. The drag system is beneficial. Anglers understand the level of precision and quality that goes into the design when they experience the drag first hand.


Anglers love the smooth casts and retrieve the CNC gear system provides. It keeps the reel working smoothly. Some larger Penn Slammer III sizes can be used for jigging. If ripping catfish from the water at high speed is desired, the 10500 model can be used. A Penn Slammer III 6500 will comfortably bring catfish to the angler. The 10500 can be used to reel in tuna and shark without effort.


The fishing reel is a value-for-money product that consumers never regret purchasing. As fishing skills improve, anglers begin to realize cheap beginner level reels are not up for the challenges. The price of higher-end reels can also affect an angler’s progress.

Relatively new fishers who are improving are not at the level they can spend a lot on a reel that can be ruined in a second with a wrong move. Fortunately for them, there is an available reel that not only falls in the affordable price range but has performance and quality similar to high-end reels.

There are expensive reels that don’t live up to the mark. The Penn Slammer III is an intermediate level reel that is reasonably priced. It is in the price bracket that ranges from $207 to $260, depending on the size.

What is offered for the money spent is a product with extreme value. It is a sturdy reel that is built to last. Users can expect many years of usage. Whether the regular or high-speed model is chosen, the consumer gets a superb reel that can do battle and dominate big fish.

Key Features

* Available in eight sizes, two with speed versions
* Bearing system is 6+1 stainless steel
* CNC Gear Technology
* Drag range: 30 pounds for 3500 size to 60 pounds for 10500 size.
* Full metal rotor, side plates, and body
* Instant Anti-Reverse
* IPX6 Sealed spool and body design
* Sealed Slammer Dura-Drag system
* Super line ready spool
* Techno-balanced body

Bottom Line

Penn uses top quality materials to craft spinning reels that meet the most demanding expectations. It may be considered a bit heavy in comparison to other reels in the same category, but it gains in performance and durability.

The weight is inconsequential when taking into consideration the reel will last a lifetime. The manual bail system for the 6500 to 10500 models is one of the few negatives. Forgetting to close the bail, then accidentally trying to retrieve line causes potential danger of harm to the internal gears.

A strong fish bite is a tremendous feeling. The Penn Slammer III with its high-quality materials, amazing drag performance, and innovative gearing make it an excellent tool to be part of a user’s spinning reel arsenal.

Finding fault with the Slammer III spinning wheel is difficult. It is relatively heavy but not the heaviest on the market. The reel sells for a couple of hundred dollars which is far from the price of premium reels.