Another long legacy of mine is Penn reels. Whereas my relationship with Mako as a boat owner dates back to 1977, my history with Penn goes back to my father, when he was an avid saltwater angler. Every reel he owned was a Penn, and – of course – the very first reels I cut my fishing teeth on were Penn! And I’ve fished nothing ever since!
I vividly recall as if it were yesterday, when I was in my mid- to late teens and hanging out at a local North Miami Beach tackle shop called Uslan Rods. I was mesmerized by the Penn Reels in their display case, and dreamed about owning most of those models. I’d save my money from after school jobs, and then go to the shop and buy a Penn reel with a matching Uslan rod Then, I couldn’t wait to use that outfit, whether it was catching jacks, seatrout, dolphin, or whatever! When I turned 20, I had a very respectable collection of my own Penn reels from that Uslan tackle shop. I enjoyed and used the heck out of that tackle for years and years, until I finally “retired” them in the name of “nostalgia”; I see those outfits every time I go into my tackle garage, and I’m still proud of them.
Having fished Penn since childhood, and including all the fishing I’ve done coastal- and world-wide for Salt Water Sportsman and now my TV series, I can say from experience that Penn’s biggest attributes are durability and quality. They are just so extremely reliable and tough, I like to refer to them as the Harley Davidson of fishing reels! Where the “rubber has always met the road” for me with Penn, is when we’ve hooked, fought and bested quality fish - whether it had been a sailfish on 8-pound class tackle, an 800-pound class blue marlin on 80-pound gear, a 212-pound Big-Eye tuna on a 50-International, or a 143-pound, three-ounce, wahoo on a 70-International; The reels always performed flawlessly. Their ultra-smooth drags are just that: “smooth”, with no “surging” or “sticking”, no matter how many fish the reel has caught. In short, when I hook up with a trophy fish, I never worry about the performance of my reel. Penn has been catching fish for me for decades. Who could want anything more?