Penn Squall Review 2023

Sergio Smirnoff

Hello, my name is Sergio Smirnof, and my goal with FishReeler is to provide a valuable resource for anglers of all levels, from beginners to experienced veterans. I hope that my passion for fishing and dedication to the sport shines through in the content I create and inspires others to get out on the water and catch some fish!

The American company Penn is known for its rich history in the field of reels and rods production. The creation of a fishing tackle is based on the experience of professional fishermen. Since 1932, the company has been supplying quality models that are used all over the world. Powerful spinning reels have gained popularity. The best materials are used in production, such as bronze, aluminum, steel. Their main advantages are convenience and simplicity, which is why they are popular among both novice anglers and professionals. Today I want to review the Penn squall reels. Stay with me if you want to change your fishing experience for the better!

About Brand Penn

Renn is the creator of an entire industry called “Big Game Fishing“. Penn stands for maximum reliability and durability. Penn is the most durable material for reel parts (from forged aluminum and stainless steel to bronze), the most advanced material for brake linings. They are used to brake jet engines (Penn patent HT100 ™, machined parts). All this allows Penn reels to withstand powerful loads for decades. Even if the model is taken out of production, spare parts for it are stored for the next 30 years! It is quite natural that this company prefers classic design for its products: fashion for look and color can change every year, but classics and reliability are always in fashion. The Penn is not just a reliable mechanism, it is a confirmation of your status as a hunter for big and strong fish!

Our Selection 7 Penn Squall Reviewed & Compared – Squall Level Wind

PENN Fishing SQL50LW Squall Level Wind , Black, 320Yd/50LbPENNBuy on Amazon
PENN Fishing SQL30LW Squall LevelWind , Black, 370yd/30LbPENNBuy on Amazon
PENN Fishing SQL20LW Squall LevelWind , Black, 315yd/20LbPENNBuy on Amazon
Penn SQL15LW Squall LevelWindPENNBuy on Amazon
Penn 1206096 Squall SQL60LD Lever Drag Conventional Fishing Reel, SQL60LD - 50lbs/370ydPENNBuy on Amazon
PENN® Squall® Star Drag, SQL25NPENNBuy on Amazon
Penn 1292937 30VSW Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed Reel, 1035/30PENNBuy on Amazon

Penn’s Squall Level Wind series of baitcasting reels are designed for trolling fishing. Moreover, they can be used both for sea fishing and for fishing in freshwater bodies. This series is perfect for beginner fishermen, as well as for those who are fond of kite fishing. You’ve probably heard of the Penn GT series. So, The Squall Level Wind series is its successor which has been used by some of the most experienced fishermen over the years. This model not only has all the best qualities of the Penn GT reels but also has an improved gear ratio, compact body, and instant Anti-Reverse bearing. The only thing I don’t like about this series is the lack of the ability to change the pinion bearing. It is attached to the side plate. If the pinion bearing fails you will have to buy a new side plate.

Penn Squall 50vsw Review

1# Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind – Amazon’s Choice

Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind

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This baitcasting reel is a true work of art. Its sleek and lightweight graphite body packs amazing pulling power to take on a truly big, strong fish! The main working pair of gears are made of bronze, which prevents their premature abrasion. Sealed bearings in a 2 + 1 arrangement ensure a very smooth and quiet operation. The capacious spool is made of anti-corrosion aluminum alloy. A special grooved ring prevents unwanted twisting of the cord or line.

The line guide will follow the line, thereby reducing stress on the line and extending its life. The HT100 Versa Drag carbon disc brake has a convenient and precise adjustment system. The clutch sprocket is located close to the handle, which makes it possible to quickly make the necessary adjustments even while fishing out prey. Side plates made of stainless steel will provide additional protection of the case from accidental mechanical damage. This reel model is adapted for the right hand.

  • Reel weight reduced by side plates and graphite frame

  • The Versa Handle system. It allows you to choose the length of the handle

  • The handle isn’t tight

Penn Squall 30 Review

2# Penn SQL30LW Squall LevelWind – Amazon’s Choice

Penn SQL30LW Squall LevelWind

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For a long time, no one doubts that the American company Penn produces the highest quality and most reliable coils. The Penn Squall 30 reel has an exquisite and beautiful shape. To manufacture this device, which is easy to maintain, but with a complex mechanism, American craftsmen and technologists have introduced many ingenious technical solutions into it, not saving on the highest quality, lightweight, and durable materials. The reel body, as well as the side covers, are made of lightweight graphite and the main gear is made of durable marine bronze.

The braking system, with carbon fibre brushes, in the HT100 Versa Drag brake mechanism developed by the company, does not question the accuracy and ease of adjustment. The anti-reverse of the reel stops instantly, and its ratchet works smoothly and quietly. High-quality, long-term operation is guaranteed by two spools forged and turned, aluminum. The main load gear and 3 sealed bearings (2 + 1) are made of durable stainless steel. The baitcasting reel has indicators of the remaining line on the spool surface.

  • It provides powerful resistance

  • High resistance to corrosion

  • It is only suitable for left-handed

Penn Squall 20 Review

3# Penn SQL20LW Squall LevelWind

Penn SQL20LW Squall LevelWind

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This reel differs from the rest by the presence of a line counter, which helps to track the distance at which the bait is released from the side of the boat. The model is called Penn SQL20LW Squall LevelWind. This is a very powerful reel weighing 513g and with a gear ratio of 4.9: 1 designed for playing trophy-sized fish. The body and side cover is made of lightweight graphite. Thus, while maintaining high strength, the overall weight of the structure was reduced. The main parts of the movement are made of bronze, and the gear is made of stainless steel. The spool is machined from aluminium and has special indicator circles on the inner surface to determine the amount of line remaining. By the way, you can use both monofilament lines and braided lines.

  • High-quality ball bearings

  • Multiple resistance settings

  • It looks bigger than in the photo

Penn Squall 15 Review

4# Penn SQL15LW Squall LevelWind

Penn SQL15LW Squall LevelWind

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This high-profile baitcasting reel is housed in a rugged composite casing, with reinforcements on both sides of the casing in the form of aluminum rings that prevent possible deformation of the casing under high loads. The model is equipped with a forged and machined aluminum spool. It contains three shielded stainless steel bearings. It has a mechanism made of bronze and stainless steel, and anti-reverse system, a high-quality clutch made of carbon discs (HT-100), a handle with a knob that is comfortable to grip. It’s designed for deep-sea fishing. Left-handed version of the reel.

  • It is made with high-quality components

  • The pinion gear provides the ideal smoothness

  • Heavy enough model

Penn Squall 60ld Review

5# Penn Squall Lever Drag Conventional Fishing Reel

Penn Squall Lever Drag Conventional Fishing Reel

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The Penn Squall Lever Drag baitcasting reel is state-of-the-art fishing equipment. This reel is in great demand among people who are engaged in fishing. This model of the reel is equipped with a lever-type brake, the body itself is made of lightweight but very durable graphite material. The Dura Drаg braking mechanism allows for smooth braking, the forged spool made of aluminum has line remainder indicators and with its help, instant anti-reverse is provided. The Squall Lever Drag reel has movable ears, thanks to which it is attached to the harness. The precision gears on this reel are made from the highest quality stainless steel.

The main drive gears are made of manganese-bronze alloy. The baitcasting reel behaves perfectly in all situations. When fishing with this device, it may seem to you that this reel has artificial intelligence, aimed at helping you in any fishing situation. You can be confident in fishing success with the Penn Squall Lever Drag reel. These reels are very durable and practically invulnerable. Even under the heaviest loads, and regardless of the type of fish and the place of its fishing, whether it is a river, a pond, or the sea, this reel will serve you for very many years. That’s what great quality means!

  • Final drive gears provide smooth-running, quietness and reliability

  • Durable and lightweight material

  • The clickers are not of the best quality

Additional Penn Reel Models

6# PENN Pursuit III Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

PENN Pursuit III Spinning Reel Fishing Rod

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The Squall Star Drag reel is constructed from a lightweight graphite material and features a Live Spindle design that delivers exceptional performance. It features a forged aluminium spool with line remainder indicators on the inside, instant anti-reverse. The main gear is made of a bronze alloy that can be used in saltwater. The model is equipped with 6 + 1 stainless steel bearings.

  • Anti-corrosion performance

  • HT-100 drag system

  • I don’t like the spool release lever

7# Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed Conventional Fishing Reel

Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Conventional Fishing Reel

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This is a great classic reel that is great for trolling, but not for throwing. Many fishermen prefer this particular type of reel, as it is considered the most optimal option for fishing. The Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed ​​Baitcasting Reel has all the best and the most modern. It has a lightweight body, and the sides are made of carbon fiber. Reel gears and the main mechanism are made of stainless steel. Dura-Drag TM brushes completely eliminate spooling. The bearings are also made of stainless steel, which makes the mechanism comfortable and durable. Quick-Shift TM speed switch included. Many professionals who have tried more than one type of reel opted for the Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed ​​reel.  The developers did their best and did everything at the highest level.

  • Ideal for saltwater fishing

  • Quick Shift 2-speed system

  • The top gear is slightly stiff


The PENN company was founded back in 1932 in America by Otto Henze. Since then, for over 85 years, the fishing accessories produced by this company have been very popular with fishermen from all over the world. After all, the PENN company, throughout its existence, has always tried to produce high-quality, reliable fishing tackle that would delight fishing lovers not only with its functionality but also with a modern stylish design. This article is about Penn squall reels. These models provide ease of use at excellent prices.

The Squall Level wind series are rugged and reliable reels from Penn. Equipped with a durable guideline, they can be used in all areas of boat fishing, whether monofilament or braided line, fresh and saltwater. If you do not know what you need and what to opt for, then I advise you to pay special attention to these models: 1# Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind – Amazon’s Choice, 2# Penn SQL30LW Squall LevelWind – Amazon’s Choice, and 7# Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed ​​Conventional Fishing Reel.

Tags: #penn squall review / #penn squall 50vsw review / #penn squall 15 review / #penn squall 60ld review / #penn squall 30 review

Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

Affiliate Disclosure: sometimes gets paid for listings, through sponsors or affiliate programs like Amazon, Ebay, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Shimano, Daiwa, Rapala, Renn, Okuma, KastKing, etс. Clicking a link helps keep free, at no extra cost to you!

About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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3 months ago

I’m excited to be heading out on a small private boat with some friends soon to fish for Halibut, Sand Bass, Calico Bass, Sheepshead, Barracuda, Rockfish, and maybe even some Yellowtail and White Sea Bass. Since the charter we’re going with has a you-break/you-buy policy for their high-end gear, I’d rather bring my own rod and reel to avoid any potential costs if something were to happen.

As someone who mostly fishes in lakes and doesn’t have any heavy salt gear, I’m looking for recommendations on a rod and reel that would be suitable for this trip. My budget is under $300 for both, and we’ll be fishing in SoCal.

After doing some research, I’ve narrowed it down to the Penn Level Wind and the Penn Lever Drag. Both are within my budget, are reliable brands, and have good reviews. However, I’m having trouble deciding which one to go with since there are many posts that lean either way.

From what I’ve gathered, it seems like the main difference between the two comes down to the reliability of the reel (lever drag) vs. the simplicity of the retrieve spooling (level wind). I would really appreciate any feedback from seasoned saltwater fishermen or anyone who has experience using either reel.

Peroso Wuarto
Peroso Wuarto
3 months ago
Reply to  ImpPlant_Fish

As someone who has experience with both the Penn Level Wind and Penn Lever Drag, I would recommend the Level Wind for beginners. The reason is that with a lever drag, you have to manually lay your line down with your thumb when reeling, which can be challenging for those who are new to fishing from a boat.

I noticed that the sizes of reels you have in your cart are quite large and may be difficult to cast if that’s something you plan on doing. If you’re looking for a reel that’s easier to cast, I would suggest checking out the Avet 5.8. It’s a great option for the price and pairs well with rods such as the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite. However, I’m not sure if the Tiger Elite comes in a casting setup.

Personally, I have a Squall 40 LD that I bought from a pawnshop and have had good experiences with it. But for the price, I think the Avet 5.8 is a better investment.

Ultimately, the decision on which reel to choose comes down to your personal preference and specific needs for your fishing trip. Both the Penn Level Wind and Penn Lever Drag are great options, but if you’re new to boat fishing, the Level Wind may be the better choice. Whatever you decide, make sure to do your research and choose a reliable brand that fits within your budget.

Raalf Alerdinal
Raalf Alerdinal
3 months ago

I recently bought two Squall II reels, the 12SD, and the 25ND, and my first impression is that they are both solid reels. The 25SD was a tight fit on my Ocean Master 12ft rod, but it worked fine on the 10ft one. I tried a quick cast with a 3oz weight, and the 12SD had a good braking system. 

I didn’t have any issues with overruns or bird’s nests while casting 100 yards (although my yard is too small for longer casts). The 25NSD, on the other hand, spun too fast and overran too easily without thumbing it down. I think I might add a mag to it, but for chunking 8nbait, it should be fine.

One thing that threw me off was the balance compared to my Abu reel, but for half the price of other reels, I’m not going to complain. I’m looking forward to chunking some bait out there and putting the drag to the test. I’ve already noticed that the drag is definitely superior to the old Abu reels I had before.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase and think that the Squall II reels are a great choice for anyone looking for a solid and reliable reel at a reasonable price. Just make sure to do your research and choose the right size for your rod and fishing needs.

Bron Scalzus
Bron Scalzus
3 months ago

Hey there fishing enthusiasts, I recently had the pleasure of using the Squall Lever Drag fishing reel and I have to say, I was blown away by its advanced features and industry-leading technology. This reel is packed with superb features that make it a top choice for serious anglers.

One of the standout features of the Squall Lever Drag is the Versa-Handle system, which allows you to adjust the power and speed in under a minute. The frame-flush ratcheting lever drag is rock-solid and ergonomic, making it easy to use even for long periods of time.

Line capacity rings are another great feature that lets you monitor the top shot and capacity at a glance. The DuraDrag washers eliminate hesitation, providing a smooth and reliable drag system.

The Squal Lever Drag also boasts a forged and machined aluminum spool, high-strength bronze main/pinion gears, and five shielded stainless bearings plus roller bearing, ensuring top-notch performance and durability.

And let’s not forget the switchblade harness lugs, available in the 50 and 60 sizes, which lie flush with the frame when not in use.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the Squall Lever Drag fishing reel and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a high-quality reel with advanced features. Plus, with its impressive line recovery in inches per handle turn, you’ll be reeling in the big ones in no time!

Abdish Qustus
Abdish Qustus
3 months ago

I am blown away by the Penn Squall 50VSW reel. This reel is not only physically light but also strong enough to handle the toughest fish out there. The construction of the Squall Lever Drag is truly impressive, with its durable lightweight graphite frame and side plates, recessed ergonomic drag lever, and top-notch Dura-Drag™ system.

One of the features that stands out to me is the Dura-Drag washers which virtually eliminate hesitation, even when you’re using extreme drag settings. In fact, these washers are made of the same top-of-the-line drag material that is used in the International V series reels.

Another useful feature is the Line Capacity Rings which provide you with the exact number of lines left when you’re in the middle of a fish fight. The three lines on the spool flange give you an indication of whether you have 1/3rd, 2/3rd, or a full spool of line. If you’re someone who responds often, these lines are a great benchmark for backing your super lines with monofilament.

Overall, the Penn Squall Lever Drag series is a true heavy hitter among lightweight graphite lever drags. I can’t wait to put it to the test and see how it performs on my next fishing trip.

Purteon Goldstern
Purteon Goldstern
3 months ago

I have been a long-time user of Penn reels and have always been impressed with their performance. I have a personal experience of fighting and landing a 50-pound class Albacore tuna with an old Penn reel that was loaned to me by a friend. However, my reel preferences have changed and I now rely on the power and finesse of the Penn Squall series.

What makes the Penn Squall stand out is its affordability without compromising on quality. The graphite frames make the reels lighter than their aluminum counterparts but still durable and high-performing. The Squall offshore conventional reels are available in both star and lever drag models, and anglers can choose between models with line guides or open frames. The lever drag model also comes in a two-speed option for added leverage against larger fish.

All Squall models start with a graphite frame, followed by a machined aluminum spool and line capacity rings for accurate line amounts. The bearing systems differ between Squall models, with Squall star drag reels using 7 bearings and lever drag reels using 6. The two-speed lever drag drops down to a 4 bearing system.

The Squall star drag model comes in smaller sizes than the lever or two-speed options, with a mono line capacity of 270 yards/12-pound test, up to 220 yards/50-pound mono in the largest SQL40. Squall lever drag reels start with a line capacity of 390 yards/20-pound mono in the smallest SQL40LD and go up to 330 yards/60-pound mono on the spool of the SQL60LD. Two-speed models offer a line capacity of 1090 yards of 15-pound mono and go up to 565 yards of 80-pound mono.

In conclusion, the Penn Squall series is an excellent choice for both novice and seasoned anglers who want high-performing equipment at an affordable price.

3 months ago

As a big-game fisherman, I can definitely vouch for the advantages of the Penn Squall Lever Drag Reel. Not having a LevelWind line guide was great because it significantly reduced the chance that any of the reel’s crucial parts would malfunction. 

With this reel, I can have peace of mind when I’m fighting a giant catch – knowing that my gear won’t let me down! The Penn Squall is as reliable as they come and is an excellent choice for anyone looking to take on big game fishing.

Calex Stonecrop
Calex Stonecrop
3 months ago

I’m a big fan of the Penn Squall Lever Drag and Penn Squall 2 Speed Lever Drag reels for offshore fishing. They’re great quality and surprisingly budget-friendly, making them ideal for occasional use or when you need to equip a group of anglers quickly. Plus, they come from one of the most trusted names in the sport – Penn!

The solid graphite construction might not be as strong as a full metal body, but I’ve never had any issues with it under regular recreational fishing conditions. 

It’s definitely good value for money and won’t let you down in tough situations. If I were going out with clients every day though, or if my budget allowed it, I’d consider getting the higher-end Penn International series – although it does cost double the price!

Ansel Sacrablades
Ansel Sacrablades
3 months ago

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty saltwater reel for trolling and deep-sea fishing, then the Penn Squall 50 LW should definitely be on your list. It was designed specifically with these activities in mind, so it ticks all of the boxes. It’s tough, reliable, and has plenty of line capacity.

The components are top quality too – graphite body, stainless steel ball bearings, high-strength machined marine-grade bronze main gear, and anodized aluminum spool – so I know it’s going to last me a long time. Although the graphite body isn’t as durable as metal or carbon alloy materials, it does have the advantage of being lightweight.

All in all, though, this is one great reel if you’re serious about your big-time saltwater fishing!