Picked up a used, good condition black side plate Penn 115L 9/0 from a friend, Robert Ciminieri. Straight stock inside and out. But I have bigger plans for this reel. Enter “Beast Mode”.
- Motive Fab Drag insert, carbon fiber and ss washers
- Pro Challenger SS Gears and Pinion 2.8:1 ratio
- Cortez Conversions frame with integrated reel foot and stainless steel top cross bar
- Cortez Conversions 10 tooth SS Gear Sleeve
- SS double dogs from Keta’s Kustom Parts via alantani.com
- 5/0 Knob from Alan Tani
- SS Yoke $4.50 Pennparts.com
How does 30lb of smooth drag with a top end around 50lb sound? Yes, you are reading it right. With the upgrades listed you can easily get the 30lb all the way up to water skiing. Better strap in, hold on and pray. I will be spooling it with 80lb monofilament for a land based sharking reel use it to troll.
She was in pretty good shape to start. Some elbow grease and patience and she cleaned up better than I had hoped! Thanks again Robert Ciminieri!
The hardest part of any build are acquiring all the custom parts. As the word custom suggests, each part listed above comes with a different lead time and some you just have to wait for the next small run to get completed which could be weeks or months.
Case in point. The drag inserts are in between runs. Nothing you can really do but wait for the next run and get your name in soon. Full frame from Tom at Cortez Conversions, same challenge. However, these upgrades are what takes this reel from average to powerhouse! Well worth the wait. In the meantime, I will source all the other parts needed and wait!
I started by double dogging the reel. Which requires some additional patience and a steady slow hand with a Dremel carbide bit. This reel comes standard with a single bronze dog. Since we are changing out the gear sleeve to stainless steel, we need to change the dogs to stainless steel. We need to add the space in the head plate to for the second dog and spring.
Next I needed to make sure the dog spring did not move laterally once installed. I used the dremel with a cut off bit and cut the cross above in the plate the thickness of the spring. Next I bent the end of the spring in the shape below. Once installed in the groove and under the bridge it will be trapped and unable to move.
The second dog is ready to go in alternating sequence with the 10 tooth drag sleeve will give very little back play in the handle and be twice as strong and reliable.
Pro Challenger Stainless steel gear and pinion working with the Cortez Conversions SS gear sleeve. These gears are really smooth and tough!
Received a drag insert from a friend and went about some light grinding and sanding to make it fit snug in the main gear. This was the last step on upgrading the business end of the reel.
Next up is the one piece frame from cortezconversions.com with integrated foot and new Stainless steel top bar. I like the black as it has a nice look with the black side plates and and chrome rings.
Lastly I need to order a 5/0 knob from Alan on Alantani.com and the appropriate SS handle from Adam at Motive Fab.