PENN Pursuit 3 Review – Making a Classic Spinning Reel Even Better

Spinning Reel worth Checking Out

Penn Pursuit 3 spinning fishing reel

As an angler, I am always interested when I see a new fishing reel released by one of my favorite manufacturers.

I admit I was excited when the PENN Pursuit 3 became available.

The reel is an excellent value if you are on a budget and is extremely durable.

What I like the most is the high-end drag system.

The availability of different sizes is ideal for a variety of different fishing circumstances.

Overall, the PENN Pursuit 3 is a good reel with a lot of benefits.

It even made our list of the top 11 Best Fishing Reels.

PENN Pursuit 3 Spinning Reel Overview

This reel is serious. After using it, it’s not a reel that will break on you after one or two uses. You receive good serviceability and value.

The design is ideal for a wide variety of different fishing situations. The Pursuit 3 should work for fresh or saltwater fishing.

Whether you typically fish in rivers, lakes, streams, or ponds you should find the reel equipped to handle the challenge.

The PENN Pursuit 3 will work for saltwater fishing as well. I enjoyed using my reel for some light surf fishing.

You can easily work the features and gutters close to shore for whiting, pompano, and flounder. The casting manners of the reel are excellent for light surf, fun, and sport.

If you like kayak fishing, you should find the size of the reel perfect for your needs. It’s lightweight and smaller than some other reels in the same class.

Features and Benefits

The PENN has packed a lot of features and benefits into this spinning reel which I feel makes it worth recommending.

I have relied on the drag technology of PENN for years but the new Pursuit 3 includes impressive upgrades from the previous models.

HT 100 Drag Technology

The Penn Pursuit 3 has the HT 100 drag system.

The key upgrade is the addition of the predictable and reliable HT 100 drag technology making this reel extremely competitive. It’s a tough drag system that should hold up well and keep you from having to spend much on repairs.

The main benefit of the HT 100 drag system is its smooth operation, even while under heavy use. The system is able to pick up the line quickly and efficiently even with a large fish hooked.

The performance increase the Pursuit 3 has brought to the table over its previous iterations is quite remarkable, especially at the price range the reel is offered at.

Gear Speed

I commend PENN for increasing the gear ratio to 6.2 from the 5.2 of the previous model. If you just casually fish you might not notice the update.

If you’re serious about your craft or are into competitive angling, but still budget-conscious like me, you will be impressed.

The benefit is you will be able to pitch and flip much more effectively with no compromise in working your cranks at a good speed.

The 6.2 gear ratio is available on the 2500, 3000, and 4000 sizes. The 5000, and 6000 sizes have a 5.6 gear ratio. While the 8000 maintains a 5.3 gear ratio.

New Reel Size

A 2500 size is now available with the PENN Pursuit 3.

According to the user reviews, I have read, it seems the new size was added to the line up due to customer demand.

I feel this addition deserved to be mentioned.

The 2500 is extremely light, but I find it suitable for finesse style fishing and smaller classes of fish.

Super Line Gasket

Penn Pursuit 3 is equipped with a superline spool

I admit this is a fairly small addition but I find it very useful for braided lines. The key benefit is the prevention of frustrating line slippage when you are spooling up.

The super line gasket also eliminates your need to have a mono backing.

When I first used the PENN Pursuit 3, I ended up in a long battle with a fish. About halfway through the fight, I ended up with most of my line being pulled out by the fish. Despite that though, I didn’t notice any line slippage which impressed me.

Even though the majority of the other PENN upgrades are internal, I appreciate having the ability to put line slippage out of my mind and concentrate on what I am doing.

The Graphite Body

The new graphite body is resistant to corrosion and is nice and lightweight.

I have always been a fan of graphite bodies for several reasons. Not only does this reduce the price and weight of the reel, but it also increases longevity and durability.

I find the aluminum spool and full metal side plate work well with the graphite body. The metal side plate was designed for the protection of the gears and to make certain they remained aligned.

Stainless Steel 4+1 Bearing System

The PENN Pursuit 3 has good credentials for saltwater. Your reel will still be subjected to dirt ingress and water. The good news is if you take proper care of your reel you will extend the longevity.

I have found diligent and thorough cleanings are the only way to stop corrosion.

The main gear has two bearings with two more on your pinion gear. The result is a crank with a feeling of strength and smoothness.

The gears feel both strong and tightly meshed.

The instant anti-reverse and bearings work together to provide a feeling similar to the expensive spinning reels I have used in the past.

Instant Anti-Reverse

This is one of my favorite features because back-play is removed. Your hook-up will be a lot more secure.

I believe this feature is so important it should be included on every spinning reel.

I have to give PENN a few extra points for including it on a budget reel. I have used expensive reels with an anti-reverse nowhere near as good.

The Smooth and Solid Feel

I have been using PENN reels for a long time.

Every reel has had the same smooth and solid feel. This is one of the main benefits of a PENN reel and one of the reasons I have so much confidence in the brand.

All of the PENN reels are robust, but the Pursuit 3 has a more refined and stealthy appearance to it.

The Aesthetics of the Reel

Visible line capacity rings on the reel.

The pursuit still offers almost the same aesthetics as the previous models.

The reel is stylish, with a black and multi-tone color scheme. I was impressed with the appearance of the line capacity rings, the alloy spool, and the porting. 

The bail wire’s oversized look further enhances the PENN Pursuit 3’s aesthetics. 

In addition to the appeal of the cosmetics, your bail wire will hold up to the pressure, scrapes, and bumps much better than with a thinner gauge.

PENN Pursuit 3 3000 Size Specs

The Pursuit 3 specs vary from size to size, but for this review we’ll be showcasing the specs of the 3000 sized reel.
  • 5.4 kg maximum drag
  • 335-gram weight
  • 89 cm retrieval
  • Instant Anti-Reverse
  • 200 yard, 81 pound mono capacity
  • HT-100 drag system
  • Stainless steel 4+1 bearing system
  • Line Capacity Rings
  • 6.2:1 ratio
  • Lightweight graphite body with corrosion resistance
  • Superline Spool
  • 250 yards, 151-pound braid capacity
  • Double anodized, machined aluminum spool

Pros and Cons List

Top FAQs

Yes. The reel is available in the following sizes:

  • 2500
  • 3000
  • 4000
  • 5000
  • 6000
  • 8000

Yes. Obviously, this will depend a lot on what kind of angling you’re doing and what fish you’re going after.

Yes, that should work fine. Depending on the size bass you’re going after you’d probably want to get the 2500 or 3000 size reel.
Yes, the Penn Pursuit 3 would work great for that. You’ll probably want to go with the 4000 or 5000 size.
Yes, at that weight you’ll probably want to go for the 5000, 6000, or 8000 size reel.
When you are reeling in, the reel is completely silent. You will notice an audible drag when you are pulling out your line.
Yes, the Pursuit 3 is saltwater rated. Make sure you clean your reel well with fresh water after using it for saltwater fishing to help extend the life of the reel and corrosion.

Closing and Final Thoughts

The Pursuit 3 spinning reel being used by an angler.

I use the PENN Pursuit 3 and can say it has experienced a substantial improvement from the old felt drag system of the previous models. The addition of the HT 100 by itself makes this reel worth the money.

There is a marked improvement from the previous models.

If you are still new to fishing or are on a tight budget, I recommend the PENN Pursuit 3 for both the performance and value. I have found this is the best fishing reel currently available for this low of a price.

This is a great reel for all anglers.

Not only will it improve your experience, but the pricing is excellent. The upgrades on this model are excellent and offer you a good experience.

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