Review Summary
19 Reviews
47% (9)
32% (6)
0% (0)
11% (2)
11% (2)
79% Recommend this product (15 of 19 responses)
By Captain
an old design its time has passed...
September 24, 2021
this is one of the oldest Penn reels on the market. They have been making versions of the level wind since the 1940's. Quality is very poor. The older reels were made in the USA and held up very well. The newer reels are made overseas from inferior parts and fail over time. If you want a Penn conversional reel pick a new design with improved parts and mechanisms. This reel will and has failed many times in its current configuration.
By John H.
Bay City, MI
Penn 309
July 8, 2021
I'm a big Penn fan, I have a bunch of their reels. The price point on this one is extremely friendly, but, I just didn't care for it. The overall fit and finish were lacking, the pawl has a bunch of slop in it, and seems to be very poorly fit. The 309 holds a ton of line, and I really wanted to like it. I was disappointed in it, and it's the only Penn that I have ever returned. I'm partly to blame on it, I wanted it to do more than it was designed to be, and that's not the 309's fault.
By Gordon
Beefy reel
May 21, 2021
Paired with Tsunami TTSU-601MH Tuff Tip Stand-Up Rod this is a beefy reel. It's not light, but seems like it will put up to some abuse with big fish on the line. Can't wait to try it out!
By Mark U.
Fred Sanford
August 16, 2020
Purchased 1 , it had clicker issues; refunded it, thought I’d give it another try, THE SAME ISSUE! Very cheaply made, and inadequately constructed......... I’m sorry but I would never recommend this bait caster, I’ll stick with my Arbu Garcia’s. I can’t believe that this product even received more than 2 stars. Penn has some work to do. This thing is the Chrysler of fishing reels, looks good, a lot of bells and whistles, but poorly made and performance was horrible! Breaks after little use. Just junk!!!
ProsLooks fierce and hard.
ConsPoorly made, poor performance.
By Moosecat
Good Vvalue
January 19, 2020
Levelwind didn't work out of the box but overall quality is good.
ProsLightweight and has a fairly large line capacity for its size.
ConsLevelwind was broken out of the box.
By Rick
New Jersey
Tackle Direct was great. The product had issues
January 15, 2020
The first one they shipped had missing screws. Tackle direct immediately replaced it with a new one. The new one had loose screws and after they were tightened the reel jammed. I sent the second one back to Penn and I am waiting to see if it works. A shame as I have used older 9M reels for many years.
By Michael
Mattoon, IL
Just keeps catching fish!
September 8, 2019
These Penn reels will catch fish for a lifetime. The smaller size is on my catfish rods while in the bank holders. They always seem to work.
ProsSolid at a low price.
By Jessie
It's not the taj mahal of reels, but it is a tank.
July 10, 2018
Same with all Penn reels it is perfect at it's price point if you are looking for a beater reel at a fair price and you want it to last you a lifetime. Especially good if your bringing the youngins fishing because she gets the job done, and if it winds up overboard it's not that big of a deal. Bought one of these last year for my little cousin who is 9 and he loves it.
ProsCheap, but effective. Reliable in almost any situation. Great backups if your main reel goes down. Perfect for the kids or inexperienced fishermen that come out with you.
By David
,Warwick RI
Does the job
February 2, 2018
I have had these reels for 2 years now and they work great for fluking, sea bass, and Tataug. Even brought in a nice 20 lbs striper on 15 lb. test.
By Les
Morton Pa
Penn 309
October 29, 2017
Overall I like penn reels. I have had 309 level winds before but this one the second time I use it two screws feel out check the rest and other where loose.
By Kevin
Greer, SC
Closest thing to indestructible
January 15, 2016
I've had my Penn 309 Level Wind for likely over 20 years and have used it since I was about 14 years old. In the span of that time it's never been serviced or disassembled at all and simply rinsed with fresh water after each use. I just respooled it with fresh line and I have no doubt it will continue to work as designed for many years to come.
Pros-Level wind -Large spool capacity -Lasts just about forever
By Reed
Perfect for the money
December 24, 2015
Good value. Going to install in my boat this winter as a teaser reel underneath the hardtop.
ProsSimple, inexpensive.
By Chris
Shirley, NY
Good, reliable party boat reel.
January 10, 2015
Wanted to wait before reviewing this reel. fished it over the last two seasons approx. 15 trips. The reel caught porgies up to 3#, bluefish up to 11#, fluke to 5# and blackfish up to 6#. Not one problem. Can't go wrong for $60.
ProsGreat value at $60. Very smooth drag. Fairly light
ConsDon't use less than 25# mono or you will be picking it from between the spool and frame.
By Tony
Pasadena, MD
Work Horse
October 1, 2014
This reel will stand the stress of everyday trolling and bottom fishing. Great reel and reliable. Never had any issues with it. Easy to use drag system, smooth gears. Only comment to this is no ball bearings. However, due to that this reel can withstand some serious stress.
By Travis
bayville, NJ
use this reel on one of my trolling rods
August 26, 2014
been using with reel on a trolling rod for about a year no issues
By Francis B.
Crown point,ny.
May 1, 2014
I bought a 309m level wind reel about 1960 and used it for over 50 years in the ocean. I probably caught several thousand fish with it but it finally got old and a little tired. I have used this new one 3 times so far and am really pleased with it. You will never find a better Reel for the money and the level wind is a real plus when you are fishing at 200 plus feet of water.
ProsSimple reel and easy to use and maintain with no uneeded options
By Tony
309 Penn
March 5, 2014
I have three of these in the 309 model that I use for trolling in the bay. I have no issues with this reel, great for the money and loud clicker for strikes.
By steve
Lufkin, Tx
Greatest catfishing reel made
May 15, 2013
Drag is smooth, strong gears for the big ones, easy casting
ProsTough and smooth
By Ron
Great Reel
April 29, 2013
The 309 is one of the best reels made. I have four, bought the 1st one 30 years ago and it is still working just like new. Parts are easy to get from Penn and they will repair them at thr factory. Really fine reel for the money.
Proslooks good, easy to use and keeps on working.

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