Penn Authority Spinning Reel Review – Worth It?

Penn Authority Spinning Reel Review

I’ve been using the Penn Authority spinning reel for several months on my fishing trips around Tampa Bay. Is it worth the premium price? Take a deeper dive with me into the construction, function, and applications to see if it’s the right crew member for your next outing.


Check out some of the other gear we love using on the weekends!

Penn Authority Spinning Reel Summary

Penn Authority 6500

Penn Authority reels focus on best-in-class smoothness and sealing, with a size and gear ratio for every scenario. They utilize CNC Gear technology, the precision-cut stainless steel gear train paired with the Dura-Drag system, to provide the power to tame anything from within the deep blue. The IPX8 sealed body and spool ensure that no water will reach the internals, even if submerged, making these reels suitable for both creek fishing and blue water fishing.

Key Features

  • Submersible IPX8 Sealed Body and Spool Design
  • Full Metal Body, Sideplate, and Rotor
  • CNC Gear Technology with Stainless Steel Main and Pinion Gears
  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag
  • 12+1 Stainless Steel Bearing System
  • Leveline Slow Oscillation System
  • Spare Hypalon Handle Knob

Penn Authority Models

SizeGear RatioMono CapacityBraid CapacityDrag
25005.7:1
7.0:1
255/6
175/8
140/10
240/10
220/15
160/20
20 lb
35005.7:1360/6
285/8
220/10
310/10
270/15
220/20
30 lb
45005.7:1
7.0:1
425/8
320/10
235/12
390/15
320/20
250/30
30 lb
55005.2:1430/10
330/12
230/15
500/20
380/30
335/40
40 lb
65005.2:1
6.2:1
390/12
345/15
205/20
485/30
410/40
335/50
40 lb
75004.7:1490/15
330/20
220/30
530/40
440/50
400/65
50 lb
85004.7:1
5.3:1
455/20
310/30
260/40
730/40
600/50
555/65
50 lb
105004.2:1435/30
360/40
255/50
845/50
780/65
540/80
60 lb

Using the Penn Authority Spinning Reel

Penn Authority Spinning Reel with Snook

I got my hands on the 4500 model and paired it with a 7-foot medium heavy rod to see how well it handled a variety of applications. The majority of my time fishing is in Tampa Bay. I’m in the rivers during the cooler months, on the flats most of the year, hitting the shipping channels from late spring through fall, and occasionally venturing out off the beaches a few miles. On any given trip, I might be fishing in 18 inches of water for redfish and snook, drop out to 5 feet for trout, hit some rock lines for sheepshead, and turn around to fish 45 feet of water for gag grouper and big mangrove snapper on the slack tide. Yes, Tampa’s fishery really can have all that in one day.


The big question was… can one reel really be that versatile?

Yes! That’s the beauty of what Penn put together in the Authority, and what the 4500 size does so well for the way I fish. Paired with a medium heavy, extra fast action rod, 20-pound braid, and switching flouro leaders to match the situation, I can cast a topwater plug a mile across a flat, pitch a jig between rocks, drag a keeper grouper off the rock It’s trying to return to, finesse spotted trout on pothole edges, and just about everything in between. The combination of quality components, precision machining, butter smooth bearing system, and strong, smooth drag make it possible.

Is this one setup absolutely perfect in all of those situations I fish? Of course not. But with the Penn Authority, it can manage all of them and do them well. So instead of switching rods every other cast like a hyperactive bass fisherman (no offense, guys—I’ve been there, too) and filling my boat with gear that may or may not be used, I’ve got one confidence setup to go with the majority of my confidence baits.

In a perfect world, here’s every combo I’d build around the Penn Authority:

  • 3500 with 10lb braid, 7-foot medium fast action rod
  • 4500 with 20lb braid, 7-foot medium heavy extra fast action rod
  • 4500 with 30lb braid, 7-foot heavy fast action rod

3 combos, that’s it. And that covers every species I fish for, from trout and sheepshead to snapper and grouper, all without having to go heavier than a 4500-series reel.

Penn Authority Price

As a top-of-the line saltwater spinning reel, it should be no surprise to find the Authority at the top of the price scale. It ranges from $499.95 for the 2500 to $599.95 for the 10500. You can find yours at your favorite Penn retailer, or order directly from Penn’s website.

The Bottom Line

The Penn Authority spinning reel is for the angler who demands the highest quality and construction from their reels, and needs them to perform in a variety of fishing environments. If you’re looking for a highly versatile setup or to reduce the number of combos you’re hauling (I’m looking at you, kayak anglers), the Penn Authority is the new authority in high-end saltwater spinning reels.

See more quality fishing gear by visiting Penn’s website.

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