Fishing GearFishing Reels


We got to check out the new PENN Squall Lever Drag reel at the recent ICAST tackle show and it instantly impressed us with its lightweight, comfortable feel and modern look.

This reel is a great all-around reel for trolling and dropping back to hungry sails and marlin, or battling big dorado, wahoo and tuna. It would also perform well as a kite reel for those anglers who fish the Florida sailfish events. It’s high speed with a 6.1:1 gear ratio, so it would also make a smart choice when fishing the bottom. With such versatility, it’s safe to say the Squall Lever Drag is pretty much ready to tackle anything you throw at it. The reel comes in four sizes, two of which are offered in left-hand versions.

PENN says that high-performance and comfortable ergonomics were the driving forces during the Squall design and it shows. The Squall Lever Drag features high-grade drag material in what PENN calls its Dura-Drag system.

Starting at 18.2 ounces, the graphite frame and sideplates helped PENN create what it calls “the lightest reel in its class.” But even though this reel is lightweight, it’s still tough. The spool is made of forged and machined aluminum for added weight reduction. You’ll find a stainless steel main and pinion gears and a 5-plus-one shielded stainless steel bearing system.

Another cool feature is the Versa-Handle, which allows the angler to adjust how far the reel handle extends. Go long for cranking power or shorten the handle for more speed.

To avoid any possible line tangle, PENN set the lever drag up so it does not extend above the frame. The spool also features three line capacity rings to show you when the spool is one-third, two-thirds or at full capacity.

Another nice feature are the removable lugs. If you don’t need or want the lugs, get them out of the way. PENN’s Switchblade Harness Lugs are available on the 50 and 60 reel models and can be extended when needed or stored flush to the reel frame when they’re just getting in the way.

The SQL30LD weighs 18.2 ounces and has a max drag of 13 pounds while maintaining free-spool. The gear ratio is 6.1:1 and you retrieve 37 inches of line with each full rotation of the handle in high gear. The SQL40LD weighs 20.9 ounces with a max drag of 18 pounds. The gear ratio is 5.1:1 and line retrieve is also 37 inches. SQL50LD weighs 27.4 ounces with a max drag of 20 pounds. SQL60LD weighs 28.1 ounces and is capable of 30 pounds of drag. The gear ratio is 4.3:1 and line retrieve of 35 inches for both the 50 and 60. The Squall Lever Drag retails for $159.95 for the 30 and 40, and $179.95 for the 50 and 60.

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