Penn Slammer III Review: Top Pros & Cons, Who It’s For & More


If you’re looking for a tough reel to battle big fish, then you definitely need to see this Penn Slammer III review.

We’ve got Justin, our head of tackle, breaking it down and sharing:

  • What the top pros and cons of this reel are
  • When to use these reels (including a size-by-size breakdown)
  • Who this reel is good for
  • And much more

Check out the full review below!

Penn Slammer III Review [VIDEO]

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Here are the top pros and cons of this reel, as well as what type of fishing each size is best for:


  • Strong and durable (yet smooth)
  • Very saltwater resistant (IPX6 rating)
  • Dura-Drag system provides lots of drag
  • Plenty of line capacity
  • Excellent line lay


  • Aluminum body makes it heavier than some other inshore reels


3500: Great for targeting big snook against the mangroves

4500: Ideal for fishing bridges and heavy structure for big redfish, black drum, and snook

5500 & 6500: Excellent tarpon reels


strong angler of the week

If you’re looking for a workhorse of a reel that’s strong and durable, you’ll love the Penn Slammer III.

You can get this reel from our shop here:

And if you want to save 20% on this reel (as well as everything else in our store), click here to join us in the Insider Club.

Have any questions about this reel?

Let us know down in the comments!

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Abel Sanmiguel
1 year ago

I am disappointed in those penn slammers. I have taken it a couple of times to the coast and it has already lacquered, it is filled with sand and salt inside

David Dunnam
3 years ago

Just bought a 4500. What rod would you suggest for good all around fishing?

Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Dunnam

Hey David! I would suggest going with a 7’6″ Medium-Heavy rod, mabye something in the 10-20lb. or 12-20lb. rating. These Slammer III reels are a little bit heavier than other 4000’ish sized reels, so pairing a rod that meets these general specifications would be a good start. It will depend on what you are trying to fish for, specifically. For Inshore fishing, take a look at both Star Rods and St.Croix, as there are a lot of options available between those two brands. Good luck and let us know what you decide!

A Rollins
3 years ago

I didn’t hear you mention the oversized bail. Penn’s thick bails have never failed me, and they’re easier to use. Other reels have closed while casting, and I’ve lost many good lures before I started buying Penn reels.
Also, these reels are very smooth for an IPX 6 sealed reel.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Rollins
Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  A Rollins

Yes! Good point. The thick wire bail on the Slammer III are very sturdy and help prevent a “false close” during a cast, which will help make sure an angler doesn’t throw off a lure mid-cast.

Mel Crissey
3 years ago

Great video of the features of the Penn Slammer III.

Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel Crissey

Thank you, Mel!

3 years ago

I’m looking for a new Kingfish trolling reel. Which model slammer lll would you recommend?

Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Hey Dan! I would recommend the 5500 size. That will be the best balance of weight & line capacity.

3 years ago

I own two Penn slammer 3500. I mainly wade fish the surf in Port Aransas TX about 4 to 5 days a week. The slammer has been an incredible reel. I have dropped it in the water couple of times and it gets splashed regularly.One of the reels is starting it’s fourth season the other is starting it,s third season with no problems at all. Neither have had to be opened up.I have taken the spool off a few times to clean the underneath of the spool and wipe down the main shaft.Also I have opened up the bail and washed and oiled it and I wash the reels after every use.The drag is extremely smooth! The weight is a little heavy other than that it is the best reel I have owned in years.

Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Rusty

Good review, Rusty! Thank you for sharing!

3 years ago

Where is the reel made?

Jesse Hammen
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike


Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Hey Mike! Yes, these reels are currently made in China. Most spinning reels are produced overseas nowadays, whether it be China, Thailand, Vietnam or Japan.

Steven Free
3 years ago

I’m disappointed in Penn reels I bought 2 battle 2 combos for my girlfriend and she always seems to twist the line but then when I replaced them with the shimano 3000 series nascis have had no problems since and for me I have found what works I stick with it the shimano as well as all there reels are the best quality you can get and the nascis at only 100 bucks is an incredible deal works for me 😁

3 years ago

Is the Penn Slammer III to big of a real for Kayak fishing

Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Not at all! I would use the 3500 for inshore fishing, with 10 or 15lb. braid depending on the type of structure you will be fishing. It will pair well with most 7’0″ and 7’6″ Medium and Medium-Heavy rods out there.

Paul Hazeres
3 years ago

What would be your recommendation for an inshore bait casting reel? I mainly fish artificial lures for Flounder, Reds and Trout. 

Also, would the 3500 be good to casting and working an artificial lure? 


Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Hazeres

Good questions! I’m personally partial towards Daiwa Baitcasters (the Coastal Series and the Tatula SV are awesome options). And yes, the 3500 will work well for artificial fishing Overall it might feel a tad heavier than some other Daiwa & Shimano reels out there, but from a Power & Sealing standpoint I think they are absolute workhorse reels! I’d fish both soft plastics & hard baits (Topwaters, Lipped Plugs, etc) on that 3500.

3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Hazeres

The lews inshore baitcasters are in my opinion hands down the best you can buy.


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