With my conflict 8K reels finally giving up the ghost after years of abuse and a few unfortunate accidents that I’m sure would have killed off many other reels I decided it was time for a change but what to choose? As these Conflict reels although heavy were solid gold on performance and smoothness.
I had been looking around and decided on trying the Penn Battle II 8K reels as I had done some research and gone to look at some in my local tackle shop and could compare them to some of the equivalent reels of which Steve at West Coast Angling in Watchet has plenty of in his well stocked shop.
After handling and having a play around I purchased two of them.
When I got home I opened up the brand spanking new reels and the first thing you notice is that the reel is all aluminium and is sturdy plus you get a spare spool with it, one is a deep fill spool and the other is for long distance casting so is a cone shape, that on its own is a nice bonus to have with a reel as you can change up your game when fishing if you need too. Both spools are braid ready with the central rubber band for a braided line to grip. On the deep fill I loaded 20 Asso HT and 70lb Shock leader and on the long cast spool I put on 50lb Whiplash Braid.
The bail arm is nice and thick and smooth when used and clicks back positively when the handle is cranked.
The long cast also has a live liner switch at the back as well which I don’t often use but is a handy bonus to your game should it be needed.
Picking up my Century WR300 rod I use for testing most reels out and a 6 oz lead I headed over to the field setting up the rod and reel and the first thing I notice is the reel has quite a large foot on it when attaching it to the reel seat not that it was an issue of any sort but if you have a slim rod and slim reel seat it may be an ill fit.. if it fits. All set up and I attach the mono deep filled spool first and cast away just a few gentle ones to start with to get a feel for the reel and bed the line and get the line lay spot on, the line as you cast comes off in ringlets as normal and easily just the gentle casts were going to the 100m line I had set up with the meter wheel.
Each time I reel in the weight there is a real smoothness to the reel no noise or wobbles just the spool going out and in again and the line lay is fantastic not as good as a Shimano I used but then that also cost a lot more! A £100 more to be precise.
Happy with how it feels and no flicking back of the bail arm it was time to crank up the power a touch give the rod a bend to send the lead, on casting with a few pendulum casts hitting just shy of 150M I was more than happy with that and the last lead sank into the ground so I loosened off the drag a touch and reeled in whilst walking back again the drag... on this reel it has the HT-100 versa drag system and it is smooth even under load.
With the lead freed and line wound back in I took the lead off and changed over the spool. Braided line all set and finger stool on I gave it just a few casts to make sure that the line was on good happy with it flying out to around 100M every time I decided to do a few off the ground casts but with a 5oz pyramid lead I walked back to the edge of the field I have 170m I can play with, so keeping a nice smooth casting action from off the ground the lead flew at a rate of knots! And line stripped off the spool effortlessly.
I walked out to where the lead was 153M I knew it could be better so made my way back tied on a shock leader of 60lb mono and then done the same again but with more power and hit my best braid cast with 162M. Feeling very satisfied with my purchase I headed back and loaded up my second reel ready for a fishing session the next day.
I was fishing a snaggy part of my local beach Bossington for some Bullhuss with the mono deep filled spools I didn’t catch anything significant but a couple went to around 4-5lb and were pulled in easily as were all the dogfish and an unusual summer solitary Cod. That night I had a text invite to go fishing for rays the next day at Whitemark although I was going to be working I couldn’t say no! I wasn’t working until the afternoon so I packed light and went down for literally a hour and a half to two hours.
One rod and one reel of braided line I was casting out onto clean sand with double sand eel baits and on second cast had a nice small eyed ray on (which turned out at 9lb 12oz) again the reel just took it all in its stride even though it was hugging the bottom and quite a tide was on but it brought the ray smoothly but surely to the surf line. I’ve now used these reels for a couple of years and have pulled in good smooth hounds, conger, cod and have no issues with these reels they are bullet proof and I think the best bang for buck you can get in the reel scene the quality VS the price doesn’t reflect these Battle II do everything and more of a more expensive reel.
I have dropped these reels and once was from 6ft onto concrete (don’t ask!) I didn’t want to look but it was ok! It had landed on the spool and bail arm... The bail arm didn’t work clicking back when you turn the handle but it was because it had been bent, but upon undoing a screw and re bending the arm it worked again with no issues.
Recently I was going to upgrade them for some Spin fishers but I haven’t bothered due to not being able to fault these workhorses!! They are strong, robust, workhorses that will pull the plug out of the ocean.
The only downside to them is if you like a light reel they are not very light at 12.8oz each unloaded I mention this because I know some guys who wouldn’t buy them because of this and if you have a LD rod and small reel seat the foot of the reel may be not a great fit, It fits my Century TTSMG but its tight! So recap: Positive points are - Strong & robustly built. - Large capacity & spare long cast spool. - Braid ready/ Great line lay for casting - Great retrieve rate at 4.7:1 which is 45.2 inch per turn. Negative points: - Large foot may not fit all reel seats. - 12.8 oz may be too heavy for some people