2010-10-18 - New Penn Torque Reels Put to Test on NJ Tuna & Swordfish Trip
On our last trip to the edge, we hosted twp product engineers from the PENN Factory. They brought along the new lineup of International 12’s (VS and VSX), as well as the newly designed Torque Star Drag Series.

Let me start out by saying, that nothing on this trip was hooked on a reel bigger than a PENN 16VSX or a Torque 300. We weren’t field testing either of these reels, but the Torque 300LD has become our dedicated Swordfish outfit, while the 16VSX has been our standard chunking reel for 3 years. We match both to the same rod that the 12’s were on for this trip, an international series 30-80 pound, 6’ roller guide rod. This rod, gives these smaller reels the backbone to make short work of the standard Yellowfin we catch here off NJ.

The smaller/lighter improved Torque Star Drag reels we were testing (15, 30, and 40 series) were mostly matched to the 80-130 class Torque Jigging Rod, which we have put the test for the last 2 seasons and again, does the job quite well on our standard Yellowfin and Bluefin. The first Yellowfin of the evening was hooked on the new PENN 12 VS. We were trying like crazy to hook up another on the jig, but they just wouldn’t respond for us, and as luck would have it, the reason we lost the first fish was the jiggers getting caught up (up on the bow) with the hooked fish(in the cockpit), oh well…. We were sending guys to the bow to jig, since it was so calm, to try to keep the jigs going, but never did hook one. Couple pickups, but nothing came tight. I found the 12 to be perfect honestly. A bit lighter than our 16’s, with plenty of smooth drag, and nice and light.

When the Tunas starting eating the chunks behind the boat in the am, we began to freeline butterfish heads on the new Torque’s and it was game on. I watched Eric from PENN make short work on two fish in a row with the 30 and 40. We had drags set between 12 and 17 pounds depending on the leader we were using. We started with 60 pound and went down to 40 as the morning progressed and the Sun came up. No problems here what so ever. Line capacity, a non issue again, with the reels spooled with 50 and 80 pound braid. It actually seemed to me, that we were able to keep the fish closer, with the Torque’s than the Penn 16’s. These new Torques are noticeably smaller and lighter than the originals, and they are black, giving them an entirely new look. Good stuff, and we didn’t loose a fish on one of these setups.

In retrospect, we’re now sorta re-evaluating the need for 50’s and 70’s at all for the type of dead boat fishing we do as we move forward. Has the time come to go completely light tackle? Sorta seems so. I don’t’ think we’ve had a customer that prefers the heavier tackle. Who would… We need to probably fine tune the rods that all these new reels can be matched with, but there is no doubt that all these reels are up to the challenge. We’d like to see a conventional rod to match the 12’s and 16’s with that was a touch lighter, more in tune with the Torque Jigging series rods, which would balance out those outfits a bit more. But so long as the reels are matched with a rod that can do the job, this is a winning setup as far as I’m concerned. I believe the new reels come on the market in early 2011.

I attached some photos and up to date specs...they have changed some gear ratios from literature that has been published in the past I believe

Tight Lines,