Penn Squall Review – Full Range (Buyer’s Guide)

Welcome to our Penn Squall review, a salt water trolling reel that combines great value for money and the legendary Penn build quality. There are four different models in the range and each model has varying sizes, some also have a left hand version.

Penn Squall Review

The Penn Squall reel is the next step in Penn's line of conventional reels used for deep water trolling. However the Squall is not just suited to offshore big game trophy fishing, in the smaller sizes it makes for a very capable inshore trolling reel. 

Penn's build quality is second to none and it has built a very strong reputation among fishermen. This quality does not necessarily come at a high expense, the Penn Squall delivers a range of best in class reels at an affordable price.

The Squall conventional reels have some thing to offer any angler whether they are a beginner or experienced tournament pro. The Squall range provides enough variation to cover the majority of offshore fishing reel needs. ​

If you are looking for a real workhorse reel that can handle the demands of heavy saltwater fishing ​then the Squall Lever Drag or the Squall Star Drag are great no frills choices. 

The Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed is a very high quality ​two speed reel at a very low price point. It may not be a top of the line two speed reel like say an Okuma Makaira but at roughly half the price of the smallest Makaira it offer tremendous value for money.

The Squall Level Wind gives you all of the same ​great features of the star drag plus the addition of a level wind. The difference between conventional reel and a level wind reel usually comes down to personal preferences.

The drag increase from model to model. In order of increasing strength it goes from star drag, lever drag and then the two speed versions. ​

Penn Squall Build​ Quality

Although there are variations in the features available on each of the models the basic design of the Squall reels stays the same.

The frames and side plates are built from graphite. Graphite has the advantage of aluminum when it comes to be more corrosion resistant. That being said aluminum built reels still have an edge when it comes to strength and durability. Even in the biggest sizes the Penn Squall is still an exceptionally strong reel so I wouldn't say they are "weaker" to an aluminum built reel especially at this price point. ​

The spool is the same across the range and is made from ​machines aluminum. The spool is said to be precision engineered and is perfectly balanced. Each of the spools comes with capacity rings that can help keep track of how much line you have out. The line spindle design reduces friction significantly also.


Penn Squall Lever Drag Review

Features​

  • ​Dura Drag system
  • Double Dog anti-reverse
  • 6 stainless steel bearings
  • Stainless steel gears
  • Graphite build for corrosion resistance
  • Switchable lugs on the 50 and 60 sizes
  • Left hand available in 40 and 60 sizes

The Penn Squall Level Drag is probably the most versatile in the range. It can take pretty much anything you can throw at it whether that is trolling for big marlin and tuna or even in need of a new kite reel.  Available in four sizes with the the 40 ad 60 sizes also coming in left handed variations the Squall Lever Drag has most peoples needs covered. 

The Lever Drag handle is nicely positioned below the ​frame which can help reduce the chances of line tangling around it. Another nice attention to detail is the handle adjust-ability. Called Versa-Handle this feature lets you adjust the length of the handle in and out. The further out the handle the better it acts as a level which means more power from every crank which can really help when hauling up from deep below the surface.

Specification Table for Penn Squall Lever Drag

Model

Braid   YD/LB

Mono

Weight

Max Drag 

Gear Ratio 

Left/Right

 30LD

​1025/20 775/30 550/50

390/20 350/25 260/30

18.2 oz

13 lb

6.1:1

Right

 40LD

1075/30 750/50 625/65

490/25 360/30 300/40

20.9 oz

20 lb

5.1:1

Right

 40LDLH

1075/30 750/50 625/65

​490/25 360/30 300/40

20.9 oz

20 lb

5.1:1

Left

 50LD

​1050/50 875/65 750/80

500/30 450/40 310/50

27.4 oz

27 lb

4.3:1

Right

60LD

1050/65 900/80 330/60

500/40 370/50 330/60

28.1 oz

33 lb

4.3:1

Right

 60LDLH

1050/65 900/80 775/100

500/40 370/50 330/60

28.1 oz

33 lb

4.3:1

Left


Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed Review

Features​

  • ​Quick Shift 2-speed system
  • Dura-Drag system
  • Double Dog anti-reverse
  • Forged aluminum spool with line markings
  • 4 shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Graphite build for corrosion resistance
  • Stainless steel main and pinion gear

The Penn Squall Lever Drag Speed 2 features Penn's "Quick Shift" 2-speed gear system. The Quick Shift system allows you to change the gear ratio settings to either give you a quicker yet less powerful retrieval on the higher setting or a slower but stronger retrieval on the lower setting. 

Penn has created a very affordable 2 speed reel​. If you are looking for a 2 speed that can crank with the best of them the Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed is a top contender. On the largest size the gear ratio goes as low as 1.5:1 which will make hauling some serious weight up from the depths easy, although it may take a while!

Specification Table for Penn Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed

Model

Braid   YD/LB

Mono

Weight

Max Drag 

Gear Ratio 

Left/Right

16VS

​1490/30 1040/50 865/65

1090/15 725/20 240/30

38.5 oz

26 lb

4.5:1
2.1:1

Right

30VSW

1995/50 1660/65 1435/80

1395/20 1035/30 595/50

47 oz

32 lb

4.2:1
1.8:1

Right

50VSW

2485/65 2145/80 1835/100

​1550/30 890/50 565/80

55.6 oz

40 lb

2.9:1
1.5:1

Right


Penn Squall Level Wind Review

Features​

  • ​Level Wind system
  • HT100 carbon fiber drag
  • Stainless pinion gear
  • Marine grade bronze alloy main gear
  • Forged aluminum spool with line markings
  • 2 stainless steel bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing
  • Switchable lugs on the 50 size

The Penn Squall Level Wind is a level wind mechanism that is based on the Star Drag model. Like them or love them level wind reels do have their followers.

Being based on the Star Drag means there is a pretty decent range available from the small 15LW up to the 50LW.

The Squall 20LWLC is different from the rest of the Level Wind models in that it comes with a  line counter.​

Model

Braid   YD/LB

Mono

Weight

Max Drag 

Gear Ratio 

Left/Right

15LW

​580/20 435/30 305/50

320/15 280/17 220/20

16.2 oz

15 lb

4.9:1

Right

20LW

865/20 650/30 455/50

415/17 315/20 290/25

16.9 oz

15 lb

4.9:1

Right

20LWLH

865/20 650/30 455/50

​415/17 315/20 290/25

16.9 oz

15 lb

4.9:1

Right

20LWLC

865/20 650/30 455/50

​415/17 315/20 290/25

17.8 oz

15 lb

4.9:1

Left

30LW

1020/30 710/50 590/65

455/25 370/30 285/40

20.9 oz

20 lb

4.9:1

Right

30LWLH

1020/30 710/50 590/65

455/25 370/30 285/40

20.9 oz

20 lb

4.9:1

Left

50LW

900/65 775/80 665/100

435/40 320/50 285/60

24.6 oz

30 lb

4.0:1

Right


Penn Squall Star Drag Review

Features​

  • HT100 carbon fiber drag
  • Stainless pinion gear
  • Marine grade bronze alloy main gear
  • Forged aluminum spool with line markings
  • 6 shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing

The Penn Squall Star Drag reel differentiates itself from other models in the range in that it has shielded bearings and the HT-100 drag System.
The shielded bearings should offer even better protection from the harsh corrosive environment of an offshore fishing boat. 
The HT-100 drag system stands for high tech(HT) and 100 miles. When Penn was testing this drag it ran the equivalent of 100 miles of line against the drag without any degrading of the washers. They claim that if the same test was run on the previous washer material they only would have lasted 20% of what the new HT-100 carbon fiber washers could handle.

The breaking system on the 25N model differs from the rest in that it is mechanical and not magnetic.​

Model

Braid   YD/LB

Mono

Weight

Max Drag 

Gear Ratio 

Left/Right

SQL12

525/15 430/20 320/30

270/12 230/15 160/20

14.4 oz

15 lb

6.0:1

Right

SQL15

​500/20 380/30 270/50

280/15 240/17 190/20

14.6 oz

15 lb

6.0:1

Right

SQL25N

650/30 450/50 370/65

320/20 300/25 220/30

18.0 oz

20 lb

6.0:1

Right

SQL30

625/50 500/65 440/80

​440/20 300/30 250/40

18.5 oz

20 lb

6.0:1

Right

SQL40

725/50 600/65 525/80

350/30 300/40 220/50

19.0 oz

20 lb

6.0:1

Right