Penn Squall Review: Levelwind, Star Drag or Lever Drag? [Comparison + Full Guide]

219 0

These conventional reels come with a star drag or a lever drag. Penn offers 4 types of reels in its Squall conventional reels. Let’s take a look at the specifications, features, and sizes of Penn squall reels to help you choose what suits you. You will also learn when a squall reel might be preferred over the other.

The conventional style reels are less prone to creating line twist. The inexperienced anglers with a spinner will often keep cranking the reel even though the drag is pulling that creates line twists. This won’t happen with a conventional reel.

Penn remanufactured their International reel into a graphite framed model and the Squall was the result. Squall reels feature all that the International has to offer and cuts down on weight.

The product line of Penn Squall Series

All Squall models have a graphite frame which helps keep the reels light and not corrode like aluminum frame reels. These reels feature the machined aluminum spool and all models feature line capacity rings for exact line amounts. Check the differences in specifications, features, and weight/drag ranges in different squall models. Click on the model name to check its sizes and review.

ModelDrag
Material
Anti-Reverse
Feature
BearingDrag TypeMax DragWeight
(oz.)
Price
LevelwindHT-100Instant3Star Drag15-20 lb16.2-24.6 Check Price
Star DragHT-100Instant7Star Drag14.4-19 lb14.4-19 Check Price
Lever DragDura DragMulti-Stop6Lever Drag18.2-28.1 lb18.2-28.1 Check Price
Lever Drag 2 SpeedDura DragMulti-Stop4Lever Drag38.5-55.6 lb38.5-55.6 Check Price

All Penn reels come with a one year manufacturer’s warranty. 

Penn Levelwind and Star Drag are similar in anti-reverse feature, drag material, and type. However, Star drag is lighter in weight and Levelwind is cheaper. Both reels are cheaper as compared to Penn Lever Drag. These reels give you better castability as the spool has a tendency to spin more freely. This especially helps you, If you are a coastal fisherman and are throwing iron or live baiting. You will also be able to cast long distances with the free spool. You definitely should choose among these two reels, if you are fishing 30 lbs and underBottom Fishing, Live Lining, and Jigging. These reels are easier to maintain.

Lever Drag reels have a lever that can be moved back and forth to tighten the drag to the desired setting. You can visually see how much drag is on the reel, this is particularly useful if I am fishing with less experienced anglers. With the 2-speed option, you have the ability to push a button typically located in the handle and switch between a high gearing for fast retrieval of the line to a low gearing for hauling in those heavy fish. For fishing 30 lbs and over, Trolling and Kite Fishing, these reels are better to go with.

Squall Levelwind

ModelMono Capacity
YD/LB
Braid Cap
YD/LB
Max DragGear RatioLine Retrieve
(In)
Weight
(Oz.)
Price
SQL15LW320/15
280/17
220/20
580/20
435/30
305/50
15lb4.9:128"16.2 Check Price
SQL20LW415/17
315/20
290/25
865/20
650/30
455/50
15lb4.9:128"16.9 Check Price
SQL20LWLH415/17
315/20
290/25
865/20
650/30
455/50
15lb4.9:128"16.9 Check Price
SQL20LWLC415/17
315/20
290/25
865/20
650/30
455/50
15lb4.9:128"17.8 Check Price
SQL30LW455/25
370/30
285/40
1020/30
710/50
590/65
20lb4.9:135"20.9 Check Price
SQL30LWLH455/25
370/30
285/40
1020/30
710/50
590/65
20lb4.9:135"20.9 Check Price
SQL50LW435/40
320/50
285/60
900/65
775/80
665/100
20lb4.0:132"24.6 Check Price

Level wind is great for anglers who do not know how to manually level the line when retrieving, especially when kite fishing, where one has to constantly let out and retrieve line.

Penn Squall LevelwindThe Penn Squall Level Wind reel is the successor to the GT series reels which have been around for decades and proven themselves on big fish. The Squall LW has all of the proven features of the GT series, with the addition of improved gear ratios and an Instant Anti-Reverse bearing, in a more compact package. Left-hand sizes available in the 20 and 30 sizes.

Cons: Pinion gears have a tendency to strip out, leaving level wind dead in the water. The pinion bearing is permanently attached to side plate so you can not replace the bearing when it goes out. You have to buy a whole new side plate. If pinion gear goes out while on the water. You can get by with removing gear & level wind from the reel and use it as a conventional reel. you will lose the “clicker” function. (do-able, but a pain to do out on the water)

Squall Star Drag

ModelMono Capacity
YD/LB
Braid Cap
YD/LB
Max DragGear RatioWeight
(Oz.)
Line Retrieve
(In)
Prices
SQL12270/12
230/15
160/20
525/15
430/20
320/30
15lb6.0:114.428" Check Price
SQL15280/15
240/17
190/20
500/20
380/30
270/50
15lb6.0:114.628" Check Price
SQL25N320/20
300/25
220/30
650/30
450/50
370/65
20lb6.0:11840" Check Price
SQL30440/20
300/30
250/40
625/50
500/65
440/80
20lb6.0:118.540" Check Price
SQL40350/30
300/40
220/50
725/50
600/65
525/80
20lb6.0:11940" Check Price

Penn Squall Star Drag

The Squall Star Drag comes in 5 different models from size 12 up to the size 40. It is a compact open frame casting reel as there is no level wind used to lay the line back onto the reel. The reel features a machined and anodized aluminum spool with what is called a Free Floating or Live Spindle design. The live spindle allows you to cast greater distances as the spool spins independently of the spindle and pinion gear thus reducing the friction.

The model SQL12 and SQL15 feature the magnetic casting that helps avoid a tangled line. The magnetic brake will help you spend more time casting and less time unknotting backlashes.

Squall Lever Drag

ModelMono Capacity
YD/LB
Braid Cap
YD/LB
Max DragGear RatioWeight
(Oz.)
Line Retrieve
(In)
Prices
SQL30LD390/20
350/25
260/30
1025/20
775/30
550/50
13lb6.1:118.237" Check Price
SQL40LD490/25
360/30
300/40
1075/30
750/50
625/65
20lb5.1:120.937" Check Price
SQL40LDLH490/25
360/30
300/40
1075/30
750/50
625/65
20lb5.1:120.937" Check Price
SQL50LD500/30
420/40
310/50
1050/50
875/65
750/80
27lb4.3:127.435" Check Price
SQL60LD500/40
370/50
330/60
1050/65
900/80
775/100
33lb4.3:128.135" Check Price
SQL60LDLH500/40
370/50
330/60
1050/65
900/80
775/100
33lb4.3:128.135" Check Price

The Lever Drag is great as it’s low profile keeps out of the way of the line. The rings inside the reel are nice too as you can tell how much of line you have left on the reel.

Penn Squall Lever DragThe models SQL40LDLH and SQL60LDLH are left-handed reels. The top of the lever handle is flush with the outside of the reel so that slack line will not get caught in between the lever and the spool.

One of the cons that this reel has is the clicker. You can not free spool if the clicker is set.

Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed

ModelMono Capacity
YD/LB
Braid Cap
YD/LB
Max DragGear RatioWeight
(Oz.)
Line Retrieve
(In)
Prices
SQL16VS1090/15
725/20
540/30
1490/30
1040/50
865/65
26lb4.5:1 / 2.1:138.539/18 Check Price
SQL30VSW1395/20
1035/30
595/50
1995/50
1660/65
1435/80
32lb4.2:1 / 1.8:14741/18 Check Price
SQL50VSW1550/30
890/50
565/80
2485/65
2145/80
1835/100
40lb2.9:1 / 1.5:155.633/17 Check Price

Super loud clicker and the graphite makes it really light compared to the all-metal internationals.

Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 SpeedWhen targeting fish above 50 lbs you are typically going to either have a fish that takes a lot of line off the spool or in the case of bottom fishing is an anchor that you are trying to reel to the surface. In either of these cases, you not only want to lean towards the lever drag for the aforementioned reasons but also probably want to take a look at Penn Squall 2-Speed Lever Drag.

With the 2-speed option, you are able to push a button typically located in the handle and switch between a high gearing for fast retrieval of the line to a low gearing for hauling in those heavy fish.

 

Alternatives

Penn Squall vs fathom

The graphite frame vs metal frame is the major difference between Squall and Fathom. Because of its graphite frame, squall is slightly lighter. Squall has the magnetic/mechanical brake as compared to the centrifugal brake of Fathom. Fathom has a greater max drag. Both reels share a very similar design but Penn Squall design falls on the simpler side. Fathom also features a backup silent pawl.

Within both series, there are star drags, level-winds, single-speed lever drags, and 2-speed lever drags. To get the best answer, it would be best to narrow it down to one specific model from each series.

All that said, in the majority of cases it is better to go with a metal reel if the increased cost is not an issue. Also, If you are targeting big fish in heavy current or deep water off a boat, You must go with features and a sturdier reel design offered by Penn Fathom.

 

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *