Long before tackle companies began offering saltwater-tough baitcasting reels, saltwater fishermen, especially fluke fishermen, were abusing baitcasters built for freshwater bass. The easily palmed low-profile design fit too perfectly in the hand, making it easy to bounce jigs and rigs; the thumbar was easily pressed to stay in contact with the bottom or drop back to a biting fish, and the light weight made them fun to fish throughout the day.
But, baitcasters designed for largemouth bass had short life spans in the salt. Fortunately, tackle companies took notice, and responded with corrosion-resistant, durable baitcasters that packed enough cranking power to winch a doormat fluke into net range.
The Squall Low Profile comes in 200, 300, and 400 sizes, costing between $150 and $200. All have a full metal body, magnetic casting brake, and 20 to 24 pounds of drag pressure. The brass main gear and bearing-supported bronze pinion ensure the Squall Low Profile lives up to Penn’s reputation for durability.
The Fathom Low Profile carries a slightly higher price point of $250 to $300 that comes with an aluminum cranking plate, an upgraded handle, and additional stopping power. Like the Squall, it comes in 200, 300 and 400 size, and packs between 24 and 30 pounds of drag, depending on the model. The high-speed versions of the 300 and 400 pick up more than 40 inches of line for each turn of the reel handle, though bottom fishermen may prefer the additional cranking power provided by the lower-gear ratio models.
The 400 model holds 285 yards of 30-pound-test braid while the 300 tops out at 310 yards of 20. That’s plenty of capacity for anywhere fluke are found in the Northeast, even the deeper rips and shoals, where more fishermen are learning that dropping down to 20- or even 15-pound-test braided line allows them to use lighter weights and make a better presentation.
Both Reels will be available this September.