Penn GT Level Wind Reels Field Test Report

By: Mike Gnatkowski

If youŐre fishing for a living, the one thing you absolutely must have is dependable equipment. If your equipment malfunctions, breaks down or causes you to lose fish, itŐs going to cost you money. ThatŐs one reason why I came to rely on Penn Reels.

Penn Reels have been a staple in my tackle assortment since I first got into charter fishing 20-some-odd years ago. To say Penn GT Level Wind Reels are dependable would be an understatement.

A friend, who was a sales representative for Penn at the time, convinced the company to send me two cases of the GT level wind reels to field test. More than two decades later, I have finally given up the charter business, but those same Penn Reels are still in use and functioning perfectly. There aren't too many

Another strong point of Penn's GT Series Reels is cost or value. When you're looking at purchasing a dozen or more reels to outfit a boat, whether it is for business or pleasure, it can add up. Penn Reels won't cost you an arm and a leg. The reels are reasonably priced compared to similar trolling reels. Penn has exemplary customer service too, so when reels do break down and you can purchase parts quickly and easily right on-line or send them directly to Penn for repair. They offer a quick turnaround.

Penn GT Reels have lightweight, one-piece graphite frames and side plates, which make them durable. The black graphite can become faded after prolonged exposure to UV rays, but a product like Armor All® will bring the luster back with one application. The reels also feature a black anodized spool, stainless steel pinion and manganese-bronze main gear.

The Penn GT Series includes reels with line capacities from 325 yds. to 600 yds. to match any big-lake or light saltwater application. The 310GT2 is perfect for in-line planer boards, short lead-core lines or walleye trolling. It features a fairly quick 4.2:1 retrieve ratio and takes up 22 in. of line per revolution. It has a line capacity of 325 yds. of 15-lb. test.

The Penn 320GT2 reel is the workhorse in the GT line. With a 4.3:1 retrieve ratio and the ability to hold 320 yds. of 20-lb. monofilament, it can withstand runs from feisty King salmon and hard-fighting saltwater species. Its size and features make it an ideal choice for downrigger fishing and medium lengths of lead-core line.

The Penn 330GT2 is a larger version of the 320GT2. Capable of holding 350 yds. of 30-lb. test monofilament, the 330GT2 is the choice of many anglers for lead-core line. With a steady retrieve ratio of 3.6:1 and 26 in. per revolution, the 330GT2 has plenty of room for backing and a full, 100 yds. of lead-core line. The 330GT2's dependable drag system with super-durable H100 drag material ensures years of great service.

The Penn 340GTi and the 345GTi reels are the big-game contenders in the GT series. Built to take on anything from salmon to sturgeon, these low-profile reels have a line capacity of 475 to 600 yds. of 30-lb.test monofilament, four ball bearings, 26 in. of line per revolution and a 3.3:1 gear ratio. Big-lake salmon fishermen find them ideal for running cores-and-a-half and double cores.

Penn recently added several reels to their GT Series. The 320LD and 330LD feature smooth, easy-to-adjust lever drags. The 321GTiLH is made for a left-handed retrieve.

Penn Reels have been around for 75 years, and for good reason. The make a dependable reel at a reasonable price.