Penn handle blanks



Thank you!

To all our customers, family who support us and friends that encourage us, thank you!  2017 was truly a great year for us here at  We want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!  Good luck in 2018 finding that fish of a lifetime!


Shimano 1500LC Trolling Reel

Shimano 1500LC is a great salmon trolling reel.  Direct drive with a line counter.  No longer being made and parts are hard to come by but these old reels are valuable to the salmon angler in the Puget Sound.  Two ball bearings and a simple drag.  Not many parts on these reels.  Bearings need constant attention or you can ruin a good old reel.  This one came in with the head plate spool bearing corroded onto the spool shaft.  It took several hours of heat and cold with penetrating oil to get it off.  Luckily the pinion was not corroded too.  As you can see from the head plate the corrosion is extensive on the plate, put the inside was relatively corrosion free.  New bearing and new carbon fiber drags and she is back in the game!



Nothing is better…

A gentlemen calls today and asks if I can service a reel meant for his son’s birthday.   A Penn 209 pretty dirty but serviceable.  His son’s birthday is Friday and wants to know if I can get his reel up and running before then.   Nothing is better in my opinion than introducing a new angler to the sport.  A Made in the USA Penn 209 is a good old trolling reel for the Puget Sound for salmon.   A good cleaning and some new drag washers and metals and off it goes for another lifetime of fishing!  Another angler is born!


Ultrasonic Cleaning Fishing Reels

Ultrasonic cleaning is a process that uses ultrasound (usually from 20–400 kHz) and an appropriate cleaning solvent (sometimes ordinary tap water) to clean items. The ultrasound can be used with just water, but use of a solvent appropriate for the item to be cleaned and the type of soiling present enhances the effect. Cleaning normally lasts between three and six minutes, but can also exceed 20 minutes, depending on the object to be cleaned.[1]

Ultrasonic cleaners are used to clean many different types of objects, including jewelry, lenses and other optical parts, watches, dental and surgical instruments, tools, coins, fountain pens, golf clubs, fishing reels, window blinds, firearms, car fuel injectors, musical instruments, gramophone records, industrial parts and electronic equipment. They are used in many jewelry workshops, watchmakers‘ establishments, and electronic repair workshops. – Wiki

We use our ultrasonic cleaner filled with water.  In the water we place three jars.  Jar one is Simple Green for all plastic and painted parts.  Jar two is lacquer thinner for metal parts including bearings.  Jar three is vinegar/water for corroded parts.  After a quick cleaning 5-10 minutes all come out and are thoroughly rinsed in fresh water.  After drying the parts are in great shape and every nook and cranny is clean.  Salts, sands, all old grease and oil removed.  Now the parts are ready to be re-lubed and assembled.  No heat is ever used in the water as this could create an unsafe situation with the thinner.

The primary reason we invested in this tool was to reduce the overall time to clean reels. The added bonus is the quality of the work that it does in such a short period of time using the right agents.  Very little post bath cleaning is needed even in the tightest of spots.  One additional benefit that I came about on accident, I had a heavily corroded frame screw that would not come out even after all the tried and true methods.  5 minutes in the ultrasonic cleaner loosened the screw and it came right out.  Hmmm where did I put those Newell frames and cross bars with the frozen screws….

Keep it clean…and green!

Hopefully,  we all have a routine for annual reel service.  For some, it means complete tear down, inspection, ordering parts, oil and lube, drag washers and assembly.  For others, it might be less.  Obviously how the reel is used and how much of that time was in saltwater,  determines the optimal service intervals. Basic after fishing wash down with fresh water, a quick wipe down with a soft rag that has a water dispersent sprayed onto the rag.  Store in cool, dry dark space.img_0778   I would be one of the people that would agree that washing your gear down after every outing in saltwater is mandatory.   In some extreme instances, like kayak fishing, the reels take a beating in the sand and salt.  They need heavy maintenance.  Let’s get started…

I have learned to give myself adequate workspace that has great lighting and no clutter. These steps help keep the process of dismantling, cleaning, inpecting and restoring reels much easier and efficient.  Wayward parts are more easily found when your space is well lite and free from clutter.  I find the light background helps me more easily identify cracks and excessive wear on parts.  I use a simple magnifying glass to inspect parts.

Give yourself easy access to all needed tools, oils, greases and chemicals.  Speaking of chemicals, I try to have a minimal impact on the environment by using Simple Green for primary my cleaner with Dawn dish soap.  Vinegar is used to remove the green corrosion on chrome plated brass parts.  I use cloth rags instead of paper towels. I use washable containers instead of paper cups and trays.  Reels are separated into stainless steel trays for cleaning.

Dismantle reel and move small parts to small cup.  Large parts into stainless steel tubs for either soaking in detergent or vinegar.  In severe cases where large amounts of old grease I  will use brake cleaner spray to expedite the cleaning process.  It does not take much to remove all the parts from metal parts.  No plastic parts in this solution as they will be destroyed quickly.   Bearings into separate containers to soak in lighter fluid.  I generally let the reels soak in detergent over night.  Then hot water bath and dry.  If additional cleaning is required  I use Simple Green and wipe clean.  Then a good rinse in hot water and wipe dry again.

Inspection is a critical part of the process.  Gears, pinion, drag washers, gear sleeves, side plates, anti reverse dogs, etc…  Use a magnifying glass to look at the parts.  Small cracks and dings in gears is much easier to identify with a good light and magnifying glass.  Pay special attention looking for corrosion.

What gets greased verses oiled?  What type of grease goes where?  I use several types of grease for different reels and conditions.  Screws and screw holes, plates and interiors get a marine grade grease that stays where you put it.  A light coat is needed to prevent corrosion.  Drags get a different grease.  I use Cal’s the old stand by.  I use it on all Carbon drag washers.  Better to be safe than sorry.  Saltwater intrusion under the drag washers destroys washers and main gears.  Fast oil such as TSI-321 is used on all spool bearings.  I grease all others with a marine grade grease.

Lastly, use the right tool for the job.  In many small reels and spinning reels, the screws are tiny and soft.  Using the right fitting tool makes a world of difference and can either make your maintenance a success or utter frustration when removing a stripped screw.  A good indicator when considering buying a used reel is to look at the condition of the screws.  If they are mangled and marred chances are the previous owner did not have the right tools.  Or worse yet, who ever he paid to do service on it did not use the right tools.  Be cautious as this could be an indicator of what is on the inside.  That being said, I have seen reels that appear to be unused on the exterior, only to find that the interior has been completely corroded from a lack of grease and oil.   Good luck and keep it clean, and green!


Pro Gear 255 Fishing Reel

The Pro Gear 255 appears to be the same size as a Penn 146, but with some really nice upgrades.  First the two piece frame is really nice and strong.  The tolerances are outstanding and using braid will be no problem.  Pro Gear 255 Schematic,  the gears and drags are the same as a Penn 500 series.

She came in pretty beat up.  Bearings shot and some light corrosion and wear from the eccentric lever hitting the side plate on top.  The internals were in good shape, just needed a good cleaning and re-lube.  Flushed the bearings, new Bryan Young 5+1 drag kit, and “Bam” fishing machine.  Free spool is amazing.  10-12lb drag easily up to 15-17lb with a new SS gear sleeve.  Awesome small reel!



Newell 646-3 Reel

Newell’s still amaze me on their strength and weight.  Even this big 646-3 weighs only a fraction of what a comparable Penn weighs.  Got a couple of 300’s and 200’s in with a big 646-3.  I will put some upgrades into the 646-3 to bring it up to speed.

Build List:

  • Bryan Youngs Ultimate Drag Upgrade 7+1 System
  • New Bearings from Boca Bearings
  • Cortez Conversions SS 10 Tooth Drag Sleeve
  • Cortez Conversions Clicker Kit





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.


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.