Authority: The Flagship of Penn. Is it worth it?

It’s been more than a year that I’ve been fishing with Penn Authority Reels on my fishing trips! Does it worth the higher price? Let’s find out!

I have been using most High End reels out there for many years and to be honest I kind of missed them the last years! Every angler values the good performance of a High End reel, and the trust it can provide. The Penn Authority Reel is a new addition to the Penn family of spinning reels, and it is designed to handle any saltwater fishing challenge. It is a solid choice for anglers seeking reliability and durability on a Hi End reel. Key Specs of this new Reel family are the robust construction, smooth performance, and water sealing. It is a fully sealed reel that can withstand water exposure and corrosion, and it features a smooth and powerful drag system that can handle big fish and support fishing all day! I have been using particularly three sizes on which I am basing my review. The 3500, the 4500 and 5500.

Penn Authority 3500 and 4500.

While sharing the same body, these two reels use different spool diameters. I prefer to use the 3500 size with Pe #2.0 braid which it takes 300 meters, and the 4500 I use with PE#2.5 braid that it also takes 300m. For inshore use they both make an excellent match with my SGS6 or SGS2 Shore Jigging 10’ 30-100gr rods. The 3500 is also ideal for my SGS2 Shore Jigging 9’6’’ 20-80gr. For offshore use (casting) they are perfect match with my SGS6 Offshore Plug 8’2’’ 20-70gr and my SGS2 Offshore plug 8’2’’ 30-80gr and 20-60gr rods. For Vertical Jigging they fit perfectly the SGS2 Jigging 5’9’’ 40-120gr and 60-180gr rods. Both reels have a gear ratio of 5.7 to 1 which I consider fast and perfect for what I need. The 3500 size has a line retrieve per crank of 87cm and the 4500 and adequate 94cm, making them ideal to work with jigs, hardlures, topwaters and soft baits. There is a higher gear for the 4500 size with a gear ratio of 7.0:1 (!) with a line retrieve of 114cm per crank, that I haven’t been tested yet, but I will soon. For the 3500 and 4500 sizes with 5.7:1 gear ration, I can guarantee that the balance between torque and speed are PERFECT, making fishing all day easy! Both sizes have a true max drag of 13.6kg and the weights for the 2500 and 4500 are 405gr and 425gr.

Left: A nice GB Grouper on Slim Jig Minnow 100gr. Rod SGS6 Offshore Plug 8’2” 50-120gr \ Reel Penn Authority 5500. Right: Another GB grouper with Saltwater Sandeel 65gr. Rod SGS6 Offshore Plug 8’2” 20-70gr \ Reel Penn Authority 4500.

Penn Authority 5500

This is the perfect size for most Shore Jigging and Offshore casting situations. It can reel in 300m of PE #3.0 braid and it weights 669gr which it makes it balance PERFECTLY with most Shore Jigging rods! However this reel comes in 5.2:1 gear ratio with a line retrieve of 91.5cm per crank, which means that for Shore Jigging it has a huge torque. But for better jig animation, you need to use it with a faster tempo, especially in deep waters. The Authority 5500 stacks great with my SGS6 and SGS2 Shore Jigging 10’ 60-150gr, and SGS6 Shore Jigging 10’ 70-180gr.  For offshore use (casting) its a perfect match with my SGS6 and SGS2 Offshore Plug rods, at 8’2’’ 50-120gr and 8’5’’70-150gr rods. For Vertical Jigging they fit perfectly the SGS2 Jigging 5’9’’ 100-250gr. The true maximum drag performance of 18.1kg is more than enough to beat every challenge!

All models available so far 16/2023

Let’s dive into more details of the Authority reel!

Construction and Durability: This reel is designed to withstand the “punishment” of saltwater fishing, thanks to its corrosion-resistant materials. Its beefed construction ensures longevity, making it a dependable tool for active anglers. Tough from the inside out, the full metal body is designed for ZERO flexibility to ensure that the gearing will be aligned under any pressure! The Authority reel is crafted using corrosion-resistant materials, making it particularly suitable for saltwater fishing. The gear system is composed by Ultra Durable Stainless Steel CNC Main and Pinion gears to make sure that they will tolerate the hardest fight. This robust construction ensures longevity against hard use and harsh saltwater environment for a long time!

Water Sealing: Penn Authority is a true “Submarine” when it comes to water sealing! This beast can take a full 30 minutes of submersion at 1 meter depth, making it a reel you can trust, even in very “salty” waters like the Meds. And are not just words! The reel has been verified by the International Ingress Protection Rating at level IPX8 (!) for both reel AND spool!!! And there is more! The Line Roller is equipped with a High grade sealed stainless steel bearing with a Hydrophobic coating that helps to bead water away, keeping in perfect function this highly exposed to saltwater, crucial part of the reel!

Drag System: One of the notable features of the Penn Authority is its drag system. It is the first time that I feel in a Penn reel, Japanese smoothness and progressiveness from the lower end up to the higher levels of the drag performance! Silky smooth Dura Drag carbon fiber washers impregnated with a phenolic agent, compose probably the most efficient drag system so far! It boasts a smooth and consistent drag, allowing anglers to exert controlled pressure when battling fish, without hesitating to use full drag if necessary. This feature is especially crucial when dealing with larger, hard-fighting species, as it helps prevent line breaks and provides a better chance of landing the catch.

Line Management and Casting: To be honest, I always consider the Penn reels line management very simple. This is not necessarily bad, since the line does not twist, but the line alignment on the spool had nothing special. But I can put my signature that there is something special on the Authority line management. When I opened the first one, I realized that there is a slow oscillation system that perfectly supports the line management! For the first time there is an advanced line management, that results in extremely long, accurate and controlled casts and zero tangles, something that I appreciate when it comes to fishing all day!

Left a snapper and Right a Barracuda, both on Cast Hacker 115 XS. Rod SGS6 Offshore Plug 8’2” 20-70gr \ Reel Penn Authority 4500.

Performance: When you fish all day, then it is easy to understand if a fishing reel is the right for you from day 1. After one year of continuous fishing. I can guarantee that  Penn Authority’s performance is extremely smooth! So smooth, that if someone would keep his eyes closed and spin it in his hands, he would be sure that it is a High End Japanese reel. 12+1 Stainless steel premium quality ball bearings assist to this, allowing a pleasant fishing experience for hours!

Value for Money: One of the standout aspects of the Penn Authority reel is its value proposition. While it is higher that all other Penn spinning reels, it is VERY competitive with other High End reels of the Market, making it ideal for those who wish a High End Reel (or more) that deliver durability, functionality, and reliability.

Some of the pros and cons of the Penn Authority Reel are:


  • IPX8 sealed body and spool design that prevents water and dirt from entering the reel
  • CNC Gear technology with stainless steel main and pinion gears that provide smoothness and durability
  • Sealed Dura-Drag system that delivers consistent and smooth pressure
  • 12+1 stainless steel bearing system that ensures smooth and easy performance
  • Leveline slow oscillation system that improves line lay and reduces line twist
  • Spare Hypalon handle knob included for extra comfort and grip


  • Expensive price compared to other Penn spinning reels
  • Limited availability and stock due to high demand
  • No high gear on the 5500 size. (But maybe soon 😉)
Upper Left: An amberjack on Slim Jig Minnow 100gr. Rod SGS6 Offshore Plug 8’2” 50-120gr \ Reel Penn Authority 5500. Lower Left: A GB grouper with Saltwater Sandeel 65gr. Rod SGS6 Offshore Plug 8’2” 20-70gr \ Reel Penn Authority 4500. Right: A big GB grouper with Gravity Runner 55gr. Rod SGS2 Offshore Plug 8’2” 30-80gr \ Reel Penn Authority 4500.


If I am satisfied? More than enough. I have been using these reels for more than a year, and especially my 4500 that I was keep on hammering it both inshore and offshore, is still performing like day 1. Smooth and sweet like just out of the box! So even if you want to have more than one High End reels, or you simply need one but you don’t want to drain your bank account, Penn Authority will allow you to fish with confidence, even on the harshest conditions, as frequent as you want, even with the toughest opponents. Fishing without limitations is now a choice!

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