Penn handle blanks



Handles and Knobs

A friend and fellow angler here in the Pacific Northwest has introduced a new upgrade for Penn Jigmasters and 113H/349.  Some of you may have already seen some of his other awesome upgrades.  I wrote about Tank Tops and eccentric levers that come in a range of colors in a previous post. (Penn 113 Narrow) To start, the handle blanks will be black, silver or red, with green and blue coming shortly after.  The Eva knobs are also customizable by color and aluminum end caps too!  Lots of color options available.  The quality and craftsmanship of all the product I have seen from Tank Tops is top notch!  Comfortable cranking power!IMG_1244



The Tank Logs are made proudly in the good ol’ USA!  Look for them on sale at in February!


New Partnership

Effective today you will be able to drop your reels off and pick them up at Outdoor Emporium in Seattle, 7 days a week!   Invoicing and communication on estimates will be handled through


Outdoor Emporium is the largest independently owned and operated sporting goods store in Seattle with a huge selection of the finest reels, rods and tackle in the area.   We are thrilled with this opportunity to partner with such a fine organization and look forward to adding value to our mutual customers.

We service and repair reels from most of the major manufactures.  So if you have a couple of reels that are in need of professional attention please drop by Outdoor Emporium!

Outdoor Emporium

1701 4th Ave S

Seattle, WA  98134

(206) 624-6550

Since 1975 Sportco & Outdoor Emporium have offered customers the largest selection of outdoor related products at affordable everyday warehouse pricing. We feature over 60,000 different items in hunting, fishing, camping, athletics, hiking, clothing, footwear and security vaults.

Sportco & Outdoor Emporium are warehouse style sporting goods stores that are located in Fife and Seattle, Washington respectively. We have an optional yearly membership program that offers substantial saving throughout the year. We feature annual Outdoor Tent Sales in April and August and you can find us at the Western Washington Sportsman’s show. Our mission here at Sportco & Outdoor Emporium is to offer our customers the largest selection of outdoor related products possible at affordable everyday low warehouse pricing. Our goal is to have customers who are totally satisfied with the quality, price and availability of the products we carry.

Sportco & Outdoor Emporium are a division of Farwest Sports, Inc., a Washington State corporation established in 1965. Farwest Sports also owns and operates Sports Service, the largest wholesaler of outdoor related sporting goods in Washington State.


Climax 40 Fishing Reel…

Things were made simple long ago.  This reel has three parts on the inside.  Direct drive all the way.  Tiny sized reel, no bearings or bushings.  Drag was your thumb.  Simplicity!  Estate sale find of the week.  $2.00




Size comparison to an Abu 5501…

After a little love…


Penn Long Beach 60 Reel

Denise Lopes from Manetca, CA etched his name in the foot of this early LB 60 in December 1946.  For a 71 year old reel I would say this is in pretty darn good condition.  No saltwater corrosion anywhere, just the signs of average use.  After an enjoyable lunch and conversation with my friend Ted, he presented this to me on a one piece split bamboo casting rod that was from the early 60’s, also in excellent condition.  That Ted is quite a guy!


I will be doing a bit of research on the reel to identify its approximate date of manufacture.  There are no numbers on the foot or interior parts.  Tail plate has the fisherman and lighthouse.  Flat adjustment knob.  The handle is butterscotch and the counterbalance has no lines.  The plastic spool is what is throwing me off.

There are no markings of any kind on the rod.  Solid wooden handle with a round rubber butt cap.  50 year old bamboo rod the this as straight as the day it was sold!  Thanks again Ted!  They will become part of my permanent collection!



Penn Senator 111 2/0 Fishing Reel

Next up is the Penn 111 2/0 fishing reel.  Single dog, steel gear and pinion, metal three piece spool, three stack drag, and low and slow gears 2.25:1.  Seems like it would make a great live bait reel.  Upgrades needed for this reel are as follows:

  1.  SS gear sleeve (98-60A)
  2. Carbon drags washers set (
  3. SS drag washers set
  4. SS spool (29M-60)
  5. SS power handle
  6. Power knob (

These little reels set up with an upgraded drag sleeve and good handle and knob can really crank at 2.25:1 ratio.  The Penn 2/0 and 3/0 are the same reel except the 3/0 is wider.  Like the 1/0 the 2/0 fits nicely in the palm of your hand.  Nothing fancy just good torque and a decent drag with upgrades.


Black Senators

9/0, 6/0, 4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 1/0 Black Penn Senators.  This has been fun!  Started with a stock 1/0  and went through the whole upgrade process.  I was so impressed with what these old reels are capable of I kept going slowly finding used reels at very reasonable prices.  Here are some of the upgrades available:

  • Handles and Knobs
  • Stainless steel gear sleeves
  • Steel or stainless steel gears and pinions, yokes etc.
  • Drag inserts and multi drag washer upgrades
  • Stainless steel dogs
  • Custom aluminum frames
  • Aluminum Spools
  • Aluminum cross bars
  • Stainless steel cross bars
  • Custom eccentric levers

All in you can invest a considerable amount in a reel that is 30+ years old.  Most parts are still available for most models.  Considering the vast number of upgrades available it really speaks to the engineering and reliability of these iconic reels.


Tanked Penn 115 9/0 Fishing Reel

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”.


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 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 and the appropriate SS handle from Adam at Motive Fab.



Custom Penn 113 4/0 Black Side Plates Narrow Fishing Reel

The Penn 113 4/0 fishing reel is slow, heavy, and the drags are weak as compared to modern standards.  In the stock version the line capacities are as follows:

650/20 Mono
440/30 Mono
370/40 Mono

Three  versions of spools came out for the reel, two stainless steel and heavy, one black aluminum and better for casting.  The main gear on this one is steel with a steel pinion.  A single dog is standard with a brass gear sleeve.  Drag is rather weak considering the size and capacity of the reel.  Gear ratio is 2:1

Here is the build list to convert it to a narrow “Grouper Special”

  1.  Source a Long beach 66 Spool
  2.  New “Tank Top” and base from Ted on
  3. Gears 2.5:1 from
  4. Pinion from 66
  5. Drags from
  6. SS Dogs from Keta on
  7. SS Gear Sleeve Alan Tani
  8. SS handle from Motive Fab
  9. Knob from Pro Challenger

This build will improve the gear ratio, narrow the 4/0 width, improve the strength, and improve the drag.

Penn Reels Before and After

Penn 49 Super Mariner LH


Penn 350


Penn 350M

Penn 209 LH

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