One of the highlights of the T&G show was the Pure Fishing stand featuring such giants as ABU Garcia, Berkley, Mitchell, Shakespeare, JRC and Penn – the list goes on – all featured a number of great products for 2010. Of particular interest to me, was that Penn had added two new ranges of top-end fixed-spool spinning reels, both suited to sea or any heavy duty angling. Announcing the imminent arrival of the new Conquer and the range we’ll look at now, the impressive Torque!
Top of the tree is the new Penn Torque Spinning Reel – a reel squarely aimed at the Shimano Stellas and Daiwa Saltigas of this world. I was lucky enough to handle the Torque at the show and it is exciting in that it’s very different to both those aforementioned reels. The Torque has an almost industrial feel, although I’m sure the reel will become super smooth as the tolerences wear in. It’s kind of Orange County Chopper ‘industrial’ in build – everything is over-built. You’ve probably guessed by now; it’s made in the US of A!
Don’t be distracted by the pretty anodising, this reel is tough and ready to take on all-comers. It’s over-engineered, but not over fussy. The spool and sideplates are forged and then machined aluminium, while the handle is machined from a single piece. The frame is also one piece, machined aluminium. The gear housing itself is sealed to keep out sand, water and salt – just how waterproof the reel is in use is a mystery as yet, but you would imagine that the development team at Penn would’ve looked very seriously at the Van Staal reels, which are properly 100% sealed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the calibre is the same here. Drag quality and smoothness is pretty much a given on high end Penn reels.
While I was handling the reel at the show I was intrigued by a small button behind the rotor. I couldn’t work out exactly what it did at the time but I’ve later found out that this is a bail lock. With this feature it is possible to turn off the automatic bail so the function is purely manual. Whether this helps rule out bail arm closures whilst casting, only time will tell. But still, an interesting feature.
A Bail-less kit is also available as an option for the Torque which is another interesting addition.
There are three reel sizes available – 5, 7 & 9. The smallest (S5) will swallow 400 yards of 30lb braid, while the big brute of the family (S9) holds a massive 575 yards of 65lb braid.
The reels are available in traditional Penn International Gold or Black with gold highlights. Both look amazing and attract a lot of attention – they stood out amongst all the great new products on the entire Pure Fishing stand.
The only bad news is the price. RRP on the smallest S5 was displayed as £449.99 with the S7 priced at £599.99 before any discounting. Quite what price tag the S9 will demand on these shores is just mind boggling.
I’m yet to see just where these reels fit in on the UK angling scene… but that doesn’t stop me wanting one real, real bad!