Penn Clash reel and Carnage 2 rod offer fish-busting power without busting the budget. Photo: Ric Burnley
Penn Clash reel and Carnage 2 rod offer fish-busting power without busting the budget.

Kayak fishing requires reliable tackle and rock solid rigging—especially when facing big fish. Large red drum, catfish, striped bass, sharks, tarpon and cobia are more than a match for paddle anglers. To even the playing field, an angler needs a rod, reel and line combo that are smooth and strong. To meet the needs of big-game fishing, Penn Reels has continued their long tradition of designing rods and reels capable of taking on the toughest customers with the new Clash line of spinning reels and Carnage II rods.

We received a Clash and Carnage combo earlier this fall and put it on the water for big drum. These fish can grow to over 50 pounds and 50 inches; they are famous for slamming strikes and screaming runs often dragging the angler on a thirty-minute sleigh ride that can cover hundreds of yards. The key to beating one of these beasts is a silky smooth drag and a rod capable of lifting heavy loads and forgiving big head shakes.

Penn’s new Clash reel is braided-line-ready with stainless gears, smaller body, carbon fiber drag and non-slip spool.

Penn put all of their techonology and experience into the Clash reels. The spinning reel features a full metal body to avoid twist and give under heavy drag pressure. They added machined gears that won’t strip or slip to keep systems running smooth and produce maximum cranking power. An oversized bail ring and slow oscillating spool lay the line tightly and evenly for longer casts. Carbon fiber drag washers are the ultimate in drag technology.

The material does not absorb water so the drag pressure stays constant. The washers do not overheat under incredible pressure so it won’t catch or lurch when a big fish runs. Eight sealed stainless steel ball bearings in the moving parts resist corrosion and enable the reel to retrieve line smoothly without grinding or squeeking. Another anti-reverse bearing puts the stop on the fish when the reel handle stops. Anti-reverse dogs are an Achilles heel on heavy tackle. The incredible pressure put on the system by a big fish often causes the stop gear to strip or break. Clash’s system is beefed up to keep a big fish from ripping out the anti-reverse gear.

Braided line has allowed anglers to pack more line on smaller reels. Clash is specifically designed for braid. The undersized reels are smaller and lighter but still capable of holding enough braid to stay connected to a big fish. The beefy construction and tight package will withstand the increased pressure of no-stretch braid.

I love the braid-ready spool that features a rubber insert that keeps braid from slipping on the spool without using backing or tape. And line-rings on the spool let me know when the reel is full. Overfilling a spinning reel will result in wind-knots and headaches. The reel has been shaved to save weight and a EVA foam handle is comfortable to grip and non-slip. These reels are designed for high drag pressure. The smallest 2000 series can produce up to 10 pounds of drag while the biggest 8000 size puts out 25 pounds of neck breaking power.

Penn’s Carnage II rod combines tough fiberglass with sensitive carbon fiber for superior lifting strength and casting accuracy.

Combined with the redesigned Carnage II rods, the Clash reel provides power and reliability for big fights. Carnage II rods complement the Clash reel by providing big power in a small package. This is possible with Penn’s new SLS3 rod blank that sandwiches a carbonfiber and glass blank with layers or graphite. The rod has a slower action for improved lifting power and more shock absorption to take the abuse of big fish and low-stretch braided line.

The ground-breaking blank is complimented with high-quality components. Fuji Alconite guides are rock solid and super smooth to resist the high pressure and high temperature produced by braided line being pulled off the reel by a powerful fish. My favorite component is the PacBay aluminum reel seat that keeps the reel from slipping or spinning during a knockdown, drag-out fish fight without adding weight or bulk to the package.

When targeting big drum, cobia and striped bass, I spool the reel with 50 pound test Spiderwire Stealth. I’ve chosen the blue camo color that blends in with blue ocean water and is high-vis out of the water. So, I can see the line but the fish can’t. Then, I add an arm’s length of 50-pound shock leader with a slim beauty knot.

  • Full Metal Body
  • CNC Gear Technology
  • Leveline Oscillation System
  • HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers
  • 8 Sealed stainless steel ball bearing
  • Instant Anti-Reverse bearing
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Braid ready spool
  • Line Capacity Rings


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