Penn handle blanks



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.


Penn 210 Fishing Reel

$5 estate sale find from today.  Cleaned up great!  Installed some new carbon drags and new steel drag washers and Boom, nice little trolling reel that came with a Shimano Titan Down Rigger Rod.  Should make some trolling fisherman very happy this salmon season!  4:1 gears.  Two spool ball bearings and Jigmaster sized drags.  Bronze gear with a Stainless Steel Pinion.  Plenty strong for a 20lb mono.

  • Precision, stainless-steel pinion gear.
  • Alloy main gear.
  • Sealed oil ports for quick, easy lubrication.
  • Side plates reinforced with metal rings.
  • Chrome plated brass exposed metal components for corrosion resistance.
  • Stainless steel ball bearings.
  • HT-100 multi-disc star drag system.
  • Loud, durable, easy-to-service clicker.
  • Stainless Steel spool

Chrome parts go into the vinegar jar and the rest into the Simply Green solution.  Place them into the Ultrasonic Cleaner for 10 minutes.

Rinse in hot water and let dry.  A little elbow grease and some marine grease, TSI-321 oil and you end up with this outcome.

Penn 980 Mag Tuned Reel

Recently got in a Penn 980 Mag reel.  I have to say that I am impressed with this reel.  Let’s take a quick look at what I found.  First some basic stats:

  • 4.25: 1 gear ratio
  • SS Gear and Pinion
  • Two SS Ball Bearings for the spool
  • One adjustable rare earth magnet for spool control

Second is the beefy spools.  Here is a comparison between a jigmaster spool and the 980 spool.  The Penn 980  is 1.6 mm thicker on the spindle.

Next is the gear.  Jigmaster 5:1 on the left, 980 on the right.  The 980 is beefy!


This reel is being used in Alaska jigging for halibut so we will throw in a new stainless steel drag sleeve from ProChallenger and SS dog from Keta’s Kustoms with Bryan Young’s Ultimate Upgrades 5+1 carbon drag kit.


Theses upgrades will add some top end to the drag range and smooth out the drag.  In addition I will install a Delrin washer under the main gear and on top of the drag stack.  Looks like a smooth 18lb of drag with some more room to go.


All in all, I would say this is an excellent reel with plenty of drag, steel where it matters and magnetic spool control for easy problem free casting.  Just might have to put a couple of these into the arsenal soon!

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!



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.


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.