The PENN Slammer III is a spinning fishing reel suitable for heavy-duty fishing both at the shore or from a boat.  It was first released to the market in 2016 and has since gone through several upgrades to make it even more efficient.

In 2016, the PENN Slammer 3 won the iCast Awards for best new products in the category “Best Saltwater Reel.” The reel promises to be reliable and durable when fishing in salty water and other rough conditions. It is less prone to damages that result from saltwater spraying, falling, or wading.

It is preceded by the PENN Spinfisher V spinning fishing reel. The Spinfisher offers a similar range of features as the PENN Slammer 3, only at a lower price.

PENN Slammer 3

The PENN Slammer 3 reels are available in 8 models, including:

  • SLA1113500
  • SLA1114500
  • SLA1115500
  • SLA1116500
  • SLA1117500
  • SLA1118500
  • SLA1119500
  • SLA11110500

This fishing reel is particularly popular for its reliability, durability, and highly-innovative operating mechanisms. In addition, it is sold at a reasonably priced for its premium features.

Pros of the PENN Slammer 3

  • Incorporates the innovative CNC gear technology
  • Features the IPX6 system that keeps the gearbox and drag system waterproof
  • Made from heavy-duty metal for improved durability
  • Versatile: Can be used for inshore fishing and surface casting to catch both small and larger fish.


  • Models 6500-10500 do not have automatic bail trip
  • It may feel too heavy for smaller catches

About the PENN Company

The PENN Fishing Tackle company was founded in 1932 by Otto Henze. It has been at the forefront in designing and manufacturing fishing reels and has served millions of customers through their wide range of fishing products. PENN fishing products have set numerous new records and have been awarded several awards throughout the years.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Spinning Reel

One of the top benefits of using spinning reels over fishing rods and baitcasting gear is that they throw the bait further into the water even in extreme weather or water conditions. Furthermore, once you catch the fish, you can adjust the reel’s drag, making it easy to retrieve the fish during the fight.

Spinning reels are ideal if you are looking for:

  • A modern and efficient fishing reel
  • A simplified method of casting
  • A fishing reel with powerful pulling power
  • A fishing reel with drag adjustment

With that said, several factors come into play when deciding the right spinning reel to buy. Here are the criteria against which to evaluate the available spinning reels in the market:

Length of the Spool

Determine whether your throws will be short or long distance. Either way, while you may mostly throw for short distances, there may be occasions where your throw is long distance. Therefore, it is important to go for a spool that operates well for both short and long distances.

Line of the Spool

The ideal spinning reel should offer a flat and level loading line from top to bottom. It should not have any bumps or humps. It is best to keep off spinning reels with shims as the shims could compromise the shaft’s spool’s orientation.

You don’t need to worry about the consequences of not having shims as reels that don’t have it are usually calibrated for efficient and accurate casting performance during the manufacturing process.

Gear Ratio

A higher gear ratio means a faster-retrieving speed. For instance, a spinning reel with a 7:1 gear ratio has faster retrieval than one with a 4:1 ratio. A higher ratio is especially necessary for heavier hunts.

The Number of Ball Bearings

The number of ball bearings determines how smoothly your reel spins. The more the ball bearings, the smoother the spinning reel rotates. The recommended number of bearings is five or higher, especially for a ceramic or steel spinning reel.

If you have to choose between a spinning reel with more bearings and high-quality materials, go for the one with more bearings. Durability and quality won’t mean much if you can’t crank the reel smoothly.

Materials Used to Make the Spinning Reel

The goal is to go for a spinning reel that will last the longest while operating effectively. Spinning reels made from heavy-duty metals with an IP rating higher than 5 tend to be waterproof and weather resistant, making it more durable.

Heavy-duty metal is also strong enough for larger and heavier catches such as catfish and northern pikes. However, while there are some good quality plastic spinning reels on the market, such as the FYSHFLYER Lite Green High-Speed Spinning Reel,  they will not last you as long as a metallic one will.


The overall weight of the spinning reel is an essential factor to consider.  An extremely heavy spinning reel can make your fishing experience strenuous and tedious.  Go for one with a manageable weight without compromising on the overall quality and operation of the reel.


While a higher price can mean higher quality, it is not always the case. Of course, a heavy-duty spinning reel that incorporates a wide range of features will cost more than a lower quality one with the basic features.

Determine the key features you want in a spinning reel and do a market survey to identify the price range for this type of reel. Then, check their reviews to evaluate if the products deliver value for the features it has as per previous customers’ experiences. Purchase one that has the features you consider as a must-have whose price is within your budget.

Benefits and Features of the PENN Slammer III

Below is a detailed look at the distinguishing features of the PENN Slammer 3 and their benefits:

Heavy-Duty Metal Body, Side Plate, and Rotors

The PENN Slammer 3 entire frame is made of heavy-duty metal for durability. This ensures that the spinning reel serves you for a long time even when it is dropped, dunked underwater, or even smashed against gunnels.

The heavy-duty metal also protects the gearbox so that it keeps operating optimally. The metal is corrosion-resistant, even in salty water. It also keeps the spinning reel working effectively, even when handling a heavy load.

CNC Gear Technology

CNC gear technology provides smooth and precise gear training. The gear itself is made from premium metals to ensure corrosion resistance and durability.

IP6 Sealed Body and Spool Design

While many marketers vaguely label their products as “waterproof,” the IP rating system tests products to ascertain that they are indeed waterproof and to what extent. The IP6 rated body and spool in PENN Slammer protect the drag system and gearbox from getting water or being eroded by salty water.

Sealed Slammer Drag System with Dura-Drag

This system offers a smooth drag even when retrieving big fish. It prevents jerking, especially during the hunt fight.  The material used to make the Dura-Drug system contains a phenolic bonding agent that prevents the carbon fiber material from breaking down prematurely. The carbon fiber material serves as a barrier to prevent water from entering the drag system.

6+1 Stainless Steel Bearing System

The stainless-steel bearing system is corrosion-resistant, which makes it durable and reliable. At the same time, the 6+1 ball bearings enable a smooth spinning of the reel. This way, you will not experience a sudden jerking or knocking of the PENN Slammer 111.

Here is a detailed video explaining the PENN Slammer 3 features and benefits.

PENN Slammer 3 alternatives

While the PENN Slammer 3 is an excellent spinning reel, you may prefer a different spinning reel for one reason or another. Below are three alternatives for the PENN Slammer 3 that you might consider.

Okuma Cedros CJ-80 –S

Okuma Cedros CJ-80 –S

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It performs equally well in salty water as the PENN Slammer 3. It is strong enough and has a large line capacity for handling jiggling or fighting large fish. While it may be better than the PENN Slammer 3 in casting and reeling, it is not sealed, so it tends to wear out faster.

PENN Spinfisher V

Shimano Stradic C14+

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The PENN Spinfisher V shares various features with the PENN Slammer 3 because the same manufacturer produces them. For instance, both are built to be watertight and reliable, even in salty water and rough environments. However, the PENN Spinfisher V is most suitable for surf fishing.


Shimano Stradic C14+

PENN Spinfisher V

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The Shimano Stradic C14+ is as good a spinning reel as the PENN Slammer 3. Both offer smooth and powerful drag power and can stand abuse and rough conditions well. However, the Shimano Stradic C14+ stands out because it is lighter than the PENN Slammer 3. It also employs different technologies than the PENN Slammer 3, such as Hagane gear, G Free Body, and Core protect


PENN Slammer 3 takes away the stress of reliability and durability when fishing in salty water. With this one, you no longer have to worry about your spinning reel rusting or breaking after a few uses in salty water or rough conditions.

The PENN Slammer 3 is built with heavy-duty metal, and it is IPX6 rated, which ensures that the spinning reel is corrosion-resistant and does not break easily. Besides, it utilizes the Dura-drag system and has a 6+1 bearing system, ensuring smooth and sturdy retrieval even when you catch huge fish.