Product Review: Penn Authority & Fathom II - The Fisherman

Product Review: Penn Authority & Fathom II


As Capt. John Raguso says this month in his glossy feature on sightcasting pelagics, “we are living in the dawn of a new era for bluewater-capable spinning gear.”  There may be no better example of the evolution of “spin” than the PENN Authority spinning reels available this September in terms of setting new standards for best-in-class saltwater fishing reels.

If you’ve used the PENN Spinfisher series – followed up with the PENN Slammer – you might say the Slammer IV is essentially a Spinfisher VI on steroids.  That’s why the PENN Authority may be best described as the “super steroid” model; it boasts an impressive IPX8-rated sealed body and spool that allows the reel to be submerged 1 meter for 30 minutes, which means it can stand up to extreme saltwater exposure and spray without suffering water intrusion.  When you’re casting into the teeth of a nor’easter, waves blasting across your face, the PENN Authority will give you the confidence to keep on plugging thanks to the IPX8 rating.  It’s sized from 2500 to 10500, with the 6500 and over offering manual bail.  There are also four high-speed models in the 2500, 4500, 6500 and 8500 models.

“We designed the Authority to be the ultimate premium reel, focused on overall refinement, smoothness, and power,” said PENN’s Ben Joyce, adding “Using the best materials to support our reel systems and create maximum performance, we took the best of the PENN reel technologies and then leveled them up by focusing on the smallest details like the screwhead style, backup systems, and how we supported the gear systems.”


PENN’s Leveline slow oscillation system produces a tight line lay for improved casting and diminished wind knots – with a 12+1 bearing system for smooth retrieve with additional bearings in the spool that lends support for the drag when under heavy pressure. The CNC Gear technology with stainless steel gear train and pinion gear is designed to be better supported overall which allows for long-term durability. It is machined out of a solid piece of metal, ensuring exact alignment, long-term performance, and maximum torque.

The full metal body, side-plate, and rotor keep gears protected and eliminates flex in the reel’s frame, ensuring rigidity under heavy loads.  The Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag offers outstanding drag pressure and features smooth carbon washers which eliminate hesitation under extreme drag settings. Washers are also impregnated with a phenolic bonding agent to reduce wear. It comes out of the box with an oversized stainless handle, but a spare Hypalon handle knob is also included.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the new PENN Authority over the summer putting the 6500 to the test on topwater yellowfin and can tell you that this reel – especially when paired with a PENN Carnage III rod (in shops now) – provides an exciting option for all day tuna jigging and popping.  Comfortable, reliable, and up to the challenge, it’s the aptly named Authority from the beaches on out to the edge and back.  In a nutshell, the PENN Authority is a beast of a spinning reel, priced from $499.95 to $599.95, and available in shops this September.


On the conventional side, also keep an eye out for the all-new Fathom II Lever Drag reels with new models, sizing, features and optimized billfish models to fit every Atlantic Coast application. By integrating the palm side plate and frame PENN has made the new Fathom II Lever Drag more compact in hand, coupled with reduced weight and increased strength. Pull-to-Turn preset knobs allows you to pull the knob and set the drag adjustments, at which point it spring loads back into place; no more worries about unintentional drag changes.  With removable Top Spacer Bar and Lugs (60 an 80 sizes only) and Quick Shift II two-speed system, the Fathom II Lever Drags will also be available next month starting at $229.95.

Look for the new PENN Authority and Fathom II posted soon at



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