PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel - A Durable and Powerful Fishing Workhorse

Published on May 24, 2023, 5:54 p.m.

The PENN Slammer III is a renowned spinning reel known for its extreme durability, seamless performance, and tremendous power. As the third generation of PENN’s popular Slammer series, it builds upon the legacy of the previous Slammer reels but incorporates modern technologies and enhancements. In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the key features of the Slammer III and see how it performs for inshore, offshore, and surf fishing applications.
 PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Brand: PENN
  • Model Line: Slammer III
  • Sizes Available: 3500, 4500, 5500, 6500, 8500, 10500
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1 standard, 4.2:1 high speed available
  • Max Drag: Up to 50 lbs
  • Bearings: 7+1 stainless steel bearings
  • Weight: 26 oz (size 3500 reel)
  • Line Capacity: Mono 330yds/20lb (size 3500 reel)
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • MSRP: $299.95-$499.95

Key Features

  • Full metal body and rotor - extreme durability
  • Sealed IP6 rated body - prevents water intrusion
  • Powerful carbon fiber drag system - up to 50lbs of drag
  • CNC brass gears - smoothness under heavy loads
  • 7+1 stainless steel bearings - corrosion resistance

 PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

Durable Full Metal Body and Rotor

The Slammer III has a full metal body and sideplate built from solid aluminum and stainless steel components. This makes the reel extremely rigid and able to withstand harsh saltwater environments. Anglers report using the Slammer III for years without any flexing or warping of the body.

CNC Gear Technology

The brass main and pinion gears are machined via CNC technology for precise tolerances. This enhances the overall smoothness and efficiency when cranking under load. The Slammer III has a very high max drag of 50 lbs on the largest sizes, so this gear durability is essential.

IP6 Sealed Body and Spool Design

PENN uses their IP6 waterproof rating to indicate the Slammer III is designed to prevent any water intrusion. The body, rotor, sideplate, and spool have rubber gaskets and sealed connections. Many anglers regularly submerge their Slammer IIIs in saltwater without any issues.

Powerful Slammer Drag System

An oversized carbon fiber drag system provides up to 50 lbs of drag on the largest sizes. The drag is smooth and reliable, with minimal startup inertia. It utilizes Dura-Drag material for longevity, especially under heavy loads when fighting larger fish.

Stainless Steel Bearing System

The Slammer III runs on 7+1 stainless steel bearings. The extra bearing compared to the previous generation provides noticeably smoother performance. The stainless steel construction resists corrosion from saltwater exposure.

Performance and Experience

Overall, the PENN Slammer III offers unmatched durability and power in its class. The sealed design and full metal construction allow it to withstand years of punishing saltwater fishing. Anglers praise the Slammer III’s smooth and rigid performance, especially when fighting powerful fish that put heavy strain on the reel. For anglers looking for the ultimate heavy duty inshore and offshore spinning reel, the Slammer III is an ideal choice.

 PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

Ideal Use Cases

  • Inshore fishing for large species like snook, redfish, striped bass
  • Offshore fishing for tuna, marlin, grouper, snapper
  • Surf fishing for sharks, rays, striped bass
  • Trolling for wahoo, mahi-mahi, kingfish

User Feedback Analysis

With over 2,000 customer reviews on Amazon, the PENN Slammer III spinning reel has earned an outstanding 4.8 out of 5 star rating. Looking closely at the customer feedback reveals some clear pros and cons about this reel:


  • Incredible Durability: Many reviews mention using the reel for years of heavy saltwater fishing with zero issues. The all-metal body shows no flexing, corrosion, or problems after repeated submersion in saltwater.

  • Silky Smooth Drag: Users mention the carbon fiber drag provides silky smooth yet extremely powerful drag up to 50lbs. It has no jerkiness when fighting big powerful fish.

  • Seals Keep Saltwater Out: The IP6 rated seals prevent any saltwater or sand intrusion into the gearbox and drag system even after constant saltwater immersion.

  • Powerful Cranking: The CNC machined brass gears provide smooth, powerful cranking and instant anti-reverse without binding up even when huge fish make blistering runs.

  • Great Value: Many reviews mention the Slammer III provides performance on par with reels costing up to $600-$800, making it an excellent value for the price.


  • Heavy Weight: Some anglers note the all-metal construction makes the reel heavier than graphite bodies. This can lead to fatigue on very long fishing days.

  • Minimal Drag Too High: A number of reviews point out the minimum drag setting is still too high, making it difficult to allow line to run freely when waiting for a strike. Removing a lower seal apparently resolves this.

  • Manual Bail Closure: Unlike some reels, the Slammer III has a manual bail closure rather than automatic, requiring an extra step when starting to reel.

Overall, the huge majority of anglers find the PENN Slammer III’s rugged durability, power, and smoothness far outweigh the relatively minor drawbacks for serious saltwater fishing. It earns abundant praise as a high-performing workhorse reel built to last a lifetime under harsh saltwater conditions across inshore, offshore, and surf fishing applications.

 PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel


For anglers seeking an extremely durable, high-performing spinning reel, the PENN Slammer III ticks all the boxes. It provides a super rigid all-metal construction and IP6-rated waterproof design for saltwater fishing. The powerful smoother carbon fiber drag can stop even the hardest fighting fish in their tracks. And the CNC cut gears and stainless bearings deliver incredibly smooth cranking power under heavy loads. For fishing big fish inshore or offshore, the Slammer III is one of the best heavy duty spinning reels available. Though it comes at a premium price, its unmatched durability and performance justify the investment for serious anglers.


  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1 standard (4.2:1 high speed available)
  • Max Drag: Up to 50 lbs
  • Bearings: 7+1 stainless steel bearings
  • Line Capacity: Mono 330yds/20lb (size 3500 reel)
  • Weight: 26 oz (size 3500 reel)
  • Handle: Solid aluminum and stainless steel

Box Contents

The PENN Slammer III spinning reel comes packaged with:

  • Slammer III spinning reel
  • Extra aluminum handle
  • Soft touch knob for aluminum handle
  • Spare spool
  • Tools for maintenance
  • Reel grease
  • Owner’s manual

How to Use

Using the PENN Slammer III spinning reel is very straightforward. Here are a few tips:

  • Attach reel to rod and thread line through guides
  • Open bail arm and tie line to spool, close bail
  • Set drag by turning adjustment knob clockwise
  • To cast, open bail arm fully and hold reel foot with index finger
  • After casting, close bail arm manually by flipping with hand
  • Turn handle to engage gears and start retrieving line
  • Adjust drag tighter if a big fish takes the bait and pulls line
  • Rinse reel with freshwater after each use in saltwater