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New Penn 525 Mag vs Abu CT Mag E*L*I*T*E

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The previous thread on the virtues of various Abu Baitcasters has stirred me to compare these two "State of The Art" casting reels. I've been testing the Penn 525 Mag on various rods & with different size weights since Mid December. I started out spooling it with some 17lb Silver Thread (cheap) and that's what my CT Mag was spooled with, so it was sorta' like a side by side comparison.

 

After all is said & done, the Penn 525 Mag is just as fast as the Abu CT Mag. It has more line capacity and a better (larger) drag and stainless steel gears. There's two ball bearings (3/16X3/8X5/32") in the spool like an Abu, and one ball bearing on each end of the spool axle, plus an additional ball bearing on the drive gear carrier with an anti-reverse roller bearing on the other end of the shaft, giving it 5 ball bearings and a roller bearing. These extra ball bearings give you the smoothest retrieve you've felt this side of a custom offshore trolling reel. Surf reels just aren't normally this smooth right out of the box. Speaking of the box, it also comes with a full retail bottle of Penn Formula Rocket Oil (30ml) and a massive powerhandle and graphite rod clamp. I'm hoping I can persuade Penn to make available, a trigger style reel clamp as standard. The reason for this, is twofold. Lots of guys like a reel they can use with a trigger grip reel seat, but some reels with the dropped down gearbox don't have enough room for the right hand to grip a trigger comfortably. The Penn has solved this, unlike the Daiwa reels, with the gearbox slanted forward on the bottom! There's enough room to get your finger down around a trigger clamp or trigger reel seat for any but the most massive hands.

 

Casting with this reel is smooth and there's no surprises. The freespool lever is made to keep out bad stuff like saltwater and sand, and the mag control slider on the left sideplate is sealed in its design to keep out the same bad elements. The lightweight spool is machined of aluminum and has the familiar little thumbing edges to keep your hands off any mono or braid you might be casting with. When you look inside this reel - (remove the left sideplate by removing three little screws) you'll appreciate the larger dimensions of the components. Nothing falls out in your hand when you remove the spool, but if you've ever seen the inside of the CT ***** or other "International" style Abu reels, everything will be very familiar. The "Speed Bushing" of the Penn Mag is located in the left sideplate and has a ball bearing located behind it. This pressed in brass bushing rides against the left side spool bearing inner race. You'll also like the way the clicker and mag control work. The Mag Control in the Penn moves parallel to the spool face. It doesn't pivot or tip out like the Abu.

 

I really think Penn Tackle was listening to everyone's complaints about the Abu CT Mag - line capacity, pieces falling out when removing the sideplate, poor drag performance, etc. They resolved all these issues and IMHO, did a masterful job of it too! The price point I've seen is very close to the Abu CT Mag, so it looks like the consumer is in the "Driver's Seat" on this one too! We will all benefit from the obvious competition between these very large and reputable manufacturers. If you were just waiting for Penn to challenge Abu with a worth candidate, then there's no need to put off the decision any longer. Find one in a shop and bring along a little phillips head screwdriver with you. Remove the three little screws and reach inside the frame and push the spool towards the left sideplate, and the whole works will come right out for inspection. It goes back together very straightforward with no surprises. Look at the size of the pieces and compare to Abu. I think you'll agree, this one is built to take it! The weight is in all the right places, where it counts.

 

 

The one major fault I found was the reel seat is not perfectly flat front to back. I had to bend the ends up a little bit to fit it on my British style rod with Coaster Fittings. Before bending it flat, it caused the coasters to slide off the ends of the reel stand when I tightened up on them. It took only a few minutes with some flat nose pliers. It fits perfectly now.

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Gowge, Excellent concise reel evaluation!

 

EEeerrr .. you have made the wait for my Penn 525Tournamag even harder to take now. wink.gif It is supposed to be shipped from the UK this week.

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