Penn Fathom II 15 SD Mag Reel review

On opening the box and taking the reel out of the protective bag it felt sturdy and underneath it in the box you have all the usual Penn extras with instructions as well.

The reel is certainly sturdy and looks great it’s an all aluminium frame and side plates too so there will be no twisting is going on here and with the matt black finish and right amount of gold markings it certainly is a good looking multiplier for those who like looks as well as good performance.

Just looking over it and you can see the mag brakes is a dial and easily accessible but is also not going to be easily knocked or changed, the spool release catch is solid with no wiggle and clicks firmly and securely between positions.

Clicking the ratchet on and testing it... its clicks loudly and seem really good but will test properly when I’m out on a boat Lorna Doone out of Watchet captained by Tom Wright or known locally as Tommo. Loading some 20lb Asso HT line onto the spool and winding away the first thing you notice if just how smooth the reel is, the handle also sits in the hand very well and feels comfortable. Once fully loaded and 70lb shock leader added I head over my local field armed with the Century WR300 Kompressor and match them up.

I get a 6 oz weight on the end and set the mag brakes to full power and take a simple over head cast the lead flies out nice and easy to around 80 yards with the reel making a satisfactory quiet smooth whirring noise even with the brakes on its a speedy little number the reel also doesn’t sit very high of the rod which is great when casting when your thumbing the spool its easy no stretching required.

With that I took the mags half way off and I was hitting distances of 130m to just over 140m I’m sure if you’re a good caster you will do much better as I don’t predominantly use multipliers unless I’m on a boat I prefer fixed spool as I fish rougher snaggier beaches and prefer a better retrieve without having to wind the handle like a crazed lunatic, that being said though the retrieve on the Fathom II is actually really good at 6.1:1. So 30 inch retrieve per turn.

After ten or so casts I got brave and removed the mag braking completely and it is quick! Very quick!! For me it’s too quick!!! Haha I had a cast and it zipped out to 140M mark in no time and almost had an overrun as I lost the lead in the sun. The next cast I gave it max power pendulum cast and yep overrun, if you’re a multiplier user and you want a fast reel this would have to be a top contender if it’s just grass court tournaments then maybe not but for fishing and ticking all boxes this reel is coming up very well and I’m really liking it.

ON TEST: Part 1 Lorna Doone... Going out with Tommo it was a cold wet day and blowy as well but heading out to find some Cod hopefully, I was only casting from the boat but it was easy and smooth plus hauling large baits and weights we use in the Bristol Channel back in to the boat was so easy the reel doesn’t even break a sweat even with fish on the end which was at the time a small conger of about seven pound and later in the day the only cod landed that day of around five and a half pound.

Day Two: Was rougher but started to calmed down and managed to reel in a few times with smaller fish on the end and then at the end of the day again another cod over the five pound mark over reef grounds.

Nothing had really tested the reel thus far so decided to head down to a local rocky headland and go Conger bashing to see if we could find anything a bit heavier to fight from the shore and sure enough two targets one 4.5kg conger which was scrappy and fighting back but the winching power of the reel made short work of it and I was happy, it’s a good solid reel which is just as well because later on that evening I hooked into a 12kg Conger which tested the ratchet perfectly with it clicking loudly and clearly as it took my mackerel flapper and then took off with it which set off the ratchet sound that gets the adrenaline pumping and we all love so much!

The conger certainly didn’t want to come in but again the winching power of this reel is great and was smooth under load even when the drag was going off with its versa- drag system and HT-100 washers doing the business and keeping it all faultless and smooth, also during this scrap the star drag is very easy to use with definitive clicks as you adjust the drag for more or less pressure.

Some other features include the fast gear access side plate which makes it very easy to service yourself and Penns live spindle with floating spool which keeps everything very smooth indeed when casting.

I also noticed the line won’t be able to get between the spool and reel housing as has happened with other makes I have used.

In total for the price I really don’t think there is another reel that can compare quality wise and function wise and have nothing bad to say about this reel, I have heard that someone had been given one with a faulty handle in the past but it was remedied immediately with that being said though I had two here from West coast tackle in Watchet and both are mint and solid winching machines.


- Penn Fathom II 15 SD Magnetic braking

- Full metal body and side plates 

- Fast gear access side plate 

- Machine-cut marine grade bronze main gear with hardened stainless steel pinion 

- Versa-Drag system with HT-100 washers 

- Live Spindle with free floating spool 

- Line capacity rings 

- 6 shielded stainless steel ball bearing system 

- Instant anti-reverse bearing 

- Line capacity 325m/0.35mm 

- Ratio6.1:1 

- Maximum drag 13.6kg 

- Weight 17.1oz 

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