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Hey Guys, I'm sitting here at the firehouse with two feet of snow on the ground outside... we've been getting our buts kicked but I'm not complaining. Anyway, to kill the time... I've been checking out Ebay for a good deal on a nice baitcasting reel. Has anyone out there ever used a Penn International Baitcasting reel? For example, the Penn 965? I'm not a huge Penn fan anymore since they've taken most of their business overseas and their quality has suffered because of it. That being said, I'm pretty sure the Internationals are still made here in North Philly on Hunting Park Ave so they are probably still a safe bet. I was strictly a spinning reel guy for the longest time until last year when I forced myself to give the baitcasters a try. Although I'm not fully converted, I sometimes use a baitcaster when I'm flipping bucktails for flounder in the surf... but I still prefer a spinning reel. So, without continuing to ramble on... again my question is... what are your thoughts on the Penn International Baitcasters? Also, what about the Sargus? Please reply with any of your favorite baitcasters. I love the Shimano Calcutta but its a bit out of my price range. I also had a Shimano Corvalus that I liked but I left it on my truck bumper and drove away and who knows where its at now. How about the Quantum baitcasters like the Cabo... any thoughts on this reel? Ok then... look forward to reading your replies. Can't wait until spring! Until then... Stay Safe! ;)
Nicky
 

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I tried the Penn 965's in the surf and found them just a bit clunky and they do not like sand at all. Except for the sand bit, they wouldn't be too bad for bait and lead. They do make great boat reels and are used as that now. It's hard to beat the Shimano Calcuttas,I swtiched over to the 400 series a couple years ago and so far so good. I can throw 1 oz. metals with no problems or 4 oz. of lead plus bait. My opinion for what it's worth.
 

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I have a 965 on a boat rod, and like it. But I do NOT like it for heavy casting duty, for example on a surf setup. The spool release button has a tendency of closing at the worst possible times, and when it does, your line will snap, and your plug will go halfway to Portugal.

I don't know anything about the Sargus. If you can handle a rod without a levelwind, though, get a 525 Mag. If you can manage the line, they are GREAT surf plugging reels. The 525 Mag might be the best reel Penn makes, and might be, dollar-for-dollar, the best value of any reel out there.

You're right about one thing, by the way: the International baitcasters are indeed made in Philly, at Penn's Hunting Park factory. The general rule of thumb is that anything over $200 is made in Philly, while anything under this is made overseas.
 

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I have the 965 on a St.Croix and use it for the boat. I'm strickly a spinning guy for the surf. I just bought a new Shimano Baitrunner 8000 and can't wait for the Spring run. Just my 2 cents:cool:
 
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