Penn Pursuit III Spinning Reel Review

Updated on March 16, 2022 by

The Penn Pursuit is one of Penn’s most affordable spinning reels, and is perfectly suited for inshore fishing, lakes, streams, and rivers for both freshwater and saltwater. In this review I will highlight and pros and cons for this reel but it really depends on your personal requirements.

If you enjoy fishing, then you need to make sure you have the right fishing gear. However, if you are a beginner, then you don’t want to spend a fortune on gear that you might not need. The Penn Pursuit 3 is a very affordable, entry level spinning reel that is suited for saltwater. While it doesn’t have the features or power of a more expensive option, it is well made and has a number of upgrades from the previous model that have alleviated a lot of my previous concerns.

So let’s jump in to the review.

Bestseller No. 1

Quantitative Score

Performance – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Durability – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Value for Money – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Penn Pursuit Spinning Reel Review

This fishing reel is a great entry level saltwater spinning reel for budget conscious anglers. While it may lack the features of the more premium options, it is well made and is very affordable, making it well suited for beginner anglers. If you are operating on a tight budget and still want to have your reels’ best fishing experience, this is one of the best reel for you. Almost every Penn Pursuit Spinning Reel review confirms that many anglers prefer it to many others.

It is because of its performance and price because many anglers can afford. It is one of the best fishing reels that you can get within this very low price point.

Penn Pursuit III Unboxing
Penn Pursuit III Unboxing


The Penn Pursuit Spinning Reel’s main features include the stainless steel handle that makes it easy to grip. You can work with it the whole process without getting tired because it is comfortable to use. Most Penn Pursuit Spinning Reels are made of stainless steel, graphite, and aluminum. It is both lightweight and corrosion-resistant because of its graphite body. It can thus be used in both saltwater and freshwater fishing locations.

Drag Washers

One of the major drawbacks of the Pursuit 2 was the oil felt drag washers. I thought that this a particular weakness especially in the larger models when fighting saltwater species. The upgrade in the Pursuit 3 to HT-100 drag washers is a significant improvement and eliminates the problem I had with using this reel in the larger sizes.

The reel has carbon fiber drag washers with a lightweight and corrosion-resistant body, making it best for use in all kinds of waters. Another feature that makes it best to use is the super line spool with machined and anodized aluminum.

It also has a sealed drag system with sealed drag washers, which are always lubricated, making them smooth at all times. Keep in mind this is an upgrade from the shielded system in the older model.

The slow oscillation gearing is meant to improve the line lay while minimizing the line twist.

Instant Anti-Reverse

The Penn Pursuit Spinning Reel is well designed first-class saltwater fixed spool reel. The reels also have an instant anti-reserve, which is important for eliminating back play. It is fitted with a stainless steel bearing, machined and iodized aluminum spool, and line capacity rings.

It has a corrosion-free material, making it suitable for use in all types of waters. Also, it is a shielded stainless ball bearing to make the user have a very smooth operation. If you are considering saltwater fishing, this is a great reel to begin within the saltwater.

Penn Pursuit 3 Bench Testing
Penn Pursuit 3 Bench Testing


  • The biggest benefit of this reel is the price point – it is very affordable considering its quality. This is not a cheap and nasty reel, but I really believe that it offers one of the best value for money saltwater options for beginner anglers.
  • The upgrade to HT-100 drag washers means that the larger sized reels are more suitable for larger saltwater fish.


  • I did notice that the bail can close on its own which makes casting more difficult.
  • It is heavier than some of the other options at over 10 oz for a 3000 size model compared to 8 oz for a Shimano IX.

Penn Pursuit Video Review

If you are looking for more information then have a look at this review of the Penn Pursuit by Fishing with Essex:

Bestseller No. 1


BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB240/10 220/15 160/20250/15 180/20 130/30360/15 260/20 185/30420/20 300/30 240/40490/30 390/40 335/50475/50 390/65 345/80
GEAR RATIO6.2:16.2:16.2:15.6:15.6:15.3:1
MAX DRAG LB10lb12lb15lb20lb20lb25lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB255/6 175/8 140/10200/8 165/10 120/12270/8 220/10 165/12225/12 200/15 135/20335/15 230/20 210/25340/20 310/25 230/30
RETRIEVE RATE33″35″37″36″41″43″
WEIGHT9.8 oz11.8 oz12.4 oz19.7 oz21.4 oz29.1 oz
Table of Penn Pursuit 3 Specifications

Comparison to Penn Fierce II

I always like to look at a new reel in comparison to alternatives by the same manufacturer or others on the market. In this case the most similar option is the Penn Fierce II. In terms of specifications as you can see below – these reels are almost identical in terms of performance. The Fierce is slightly more expensive but does come with a better build quality. I would recommend paying extra and getting the additional durability and lifespan of the Fierce.

The table below is comparing the Penn Pursuit 3 with the Fierce II looking at specifications of the 3000 sized model.

FeaturePursuit IIIFierce II
Gear Ratio6.2:16.2:1
Retrieve Rate35 inches35 inches
Drag MaterialHT-100HT-100
Max Drag12 lb10 lb
Mono Line Capacity200 yards of 8 lb220 yards of 6 lb
Weight11.8 oz11.7 oz
Penn Pursuit 3 vs Fierce II Specifications

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Pursuit II and Pursuit III?

The Pursuit III comes with the upgraded HT-100 drag washers – this makes it more durable and reliable. It also has a 6.2:0 gear ratio compared to a 5.2:0 gear ratio. I used to recommend not buying a Pursuit 2 beyond a 400 sized model because you really want better drag when fighting larger saltwater fish, so this upgrade has really made the Pursuit 3 more appealing in the larger sizes.
The Pursuit III also comes with a super line gasket which means that you don’t need to use a mono backing when spooling braid fishing line.
The Pursuit 3 also comes in a 2500 size which was not available in the old design.


The Penn Pursuit is one of Penn’s most affordable options, but you will notice both high performance and high durability. Don’t be confused by the low price – this is a quality reel that is affordable and constructed by a reputable American company.

If you have used a Pursuit before or own one then please leave a comment below with your experience so we can all learn from your wisdom.

If you are looking for alternate reels then please read through our article on the best spinning reels.

Happy fishing.

Last update on 2022-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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