The Penn Fathom Star Drag, with the revolutionary Live Spindle design, is the most castable reel in the market place. The improved configuration allows the spool to spin independently of the spindle and pinion gear, which significantly reduces friction experienced from the extreme acceleration of the spool when casting. Other reels using a ''fixed spindle'' design slow the rotation of the spool and reduce casting distance. Additionally the Live Spindle improves the retrieve of the reel because the spindle and pinion do not need to turn relative to each other during heavy loads, unlike a ''fixed spindle'' reels that result in a difficult retrieve and erratic drag.
Penn Fathom Star Drag features:
Full metal body and sideplates keep precise gear alignment under heavy loads
Machine-cut marine grade bronze main gear with hardened stainless steel pinion
Versa-Drag system with HT-100 washers. By rearranging the sequence of the keyed metal washers and eared HT-100 washers the reel can be set up for fishing a wide range of drag settings without additional parts.
Live Spindle Design with free floating spool
Internally adjustable centrifugal braking system
Line Capacity Rings eliminate the question of how muchline you have left when fighting a fish. The three lines on the spool flange let you know when you have 1/3, 2/3 or a full spool of line. These lines also give you a benchmark for backing your superlines with monofilament.
5+1 shielded stainless steel bearing system
Instant anti-reverse bearing with silent back up ratchet
Use this for Tuna and Yellowtail on the West coast and for replacing some older Sealines. This reel works great super smooth yet similar to the Sealines in the best ways.
January 28, 2019
Very smooth casting and well made reel.
ProsGreat reel for the price with spool spool.
Great for surf
June 13, 2018
I have 3 of these. Strong drag and cast a mile. No complaints
New York, NY
Good bottom fishing reel
January 9, 2018
Bought it.for bottom fishing and it served that purpose well. Obviously it has no level wind so you will have to pay attention to the line lay will retrieving but otherwise no issues.
Fast spool great surf reel cast's well
November 23, 2016
I bought these reel for surf fishing on beaches for shark very lively spool but casts really well once you adjust the centrifugal brakes a bit. overall easy to clean loud clicker.
November 12, 2016
This is a all around great reel from fluke to tog can do it all I now own 4
ProsVery smooth reel well assigned great drag system
May 21, 2016
I got to use it snapper fishing in the gulf and hooked a very large shark 220# ...no problems It replaced an ageing sealine h600 and i will be replacing the other five sealines also..
ProsGreat feature is defined click on the drag and spool tension knobs Smooth and strong drag presure
Consnone great reel
April 1, 2016
I've been using Penn for a long time and they hit a home run with this reel! The Penn Fathom FTH12 has a nice compact feel but loaded with enough power to tackle large saltwater species! Don't let the 6-1 gear ratio fool you, this reel packs a lot of torque. I recently winched in a 4 foot dog fish ( sand shark), 18 pound tog and a 23 pound cod. It handled the fish effortlessly. It's freespool is amazing, makes a great casting reel as well.
ProsCompact, castable, loaded with power.
Great Bass/Blackfish reel
March 25, 2016
Use this reel for both Blackfish and Bassing on a Lamiglass rod - the reel is like butter, drag is great and completely capable of handling big Togs or 30+ lb bass.
Great reel for the price !!!
March 2, 2016
Smooth drag with plenty of power.
ProsIts all good
Nice Conventional reel
December 1, 2015
Great reel for inshore fishing. Has a stronger drag system then the Squalls for fighting larger fish. Reel is smooth and handle is position nice for cracking down while fighting the fish.
By Alan B.
September 28, 2015
Was pleased with weight, size and solid drag system. Bought for Blackfishing but broke in on sea bass and summer codfish. A lot of guts for a small non metal real. Looks like good value at this $$.
ProsLight weight but feels solid.
Boynton Beach, FL
April 28, 2015
Good for bottom and live bait
Lake worth, FL
April 22, 2015
this is my go to trolling reel for big dolphin and tuna in south florida
Great reel! Hesitation from free-spool into gear = normal
February 3, 2015
I got the Penn Fathom 15 star drag, and I am real pleased with it! Had to buy it online, so never had the reel in hand before I ordered it. The local stores don't carry ANY salt water products here.... Anyway, the reel feels really solid, a touch heavy, but that's to be expected with the solid metal frame. I think it will outlast the light weight graphite reel (Squall).
(!) When I got the reel, I played with it for a bit. Engaging the free spool, and than back in gear. And, when I put the reel back in gear.... there is a "grinding" sound feeling almost before it finally clicks into gear. It almost takes for you to reverse the handle to have it "click" back into gear. So, naturally, I was concerned and called the seller right away, and they were really good and refunded me, and I re-ordered the same reel.
(!) On some of the fishing forums, I brought this issue up. Someone asked me if I had line on the reel when this occurred. I didn't. He said it's normal for that to happen if there is no line or weight/resistance applied. The little bit of weight from the line will make the reel click right back into gear. Something I din't know and thought of before hearing about it on this forum. Disadvantage of online shopping I guess. So, it's normal. The new re-ordered reel does the same thing,
Prosstrong, solid fast retrieve great casting, with free spindle looks great
Conswish they had a lefty, but can make due Penn should advice about noise and resistance when switching gears without line. Could cause "false-alarms"
When will these original Fathom FH15 reels be in stock? Best little reels ever for Fluking! Don?t like the new heavier FHII series.
Unfortunately we will no longer be carrying these models.
Submitted by:Rebecca Redington on February 5, 2020
Most Helpful Answer
from New York asked:
February 11, 2018
I want to pair the fathom 40 with a rod primarily for diamond jigging and using live-lining bunker for striped bass and bluefish from a boat. Which rod do you recommend. 7-foot long or so rods are a good length to work around my outbords. Thank you.
I'd suggest looking into either the Shimano Tallus. St. Croix Mojo Salt, or Penn Carnage II.
What is the max drag on these reels? The order chart says 25lb and in the video the guy says 30lbs. Also what does he mean by "cheating" with 80lb braid? Also is a bronze main gear better than a stainless main gear like in the Fathom lever drag model?
Brian, the max drag can range from 25 lbs with a full spool to 30 lbs with a low spool. He means that the reel can handle 80lbs braid when he says "cheating". The Bronze gear is a little stronger and little more corrosion resistant.
I am torn between the Fathom and the Squall 15 star drag for a double duty surf fishing and boat reel. Mostly tog, fluke, and striper off the boat. And striper and blues from the beach using bait. I haven't picked any rods yet but don't want to spend a fortune as I will need two rods eventually. We will focus on the boat fishing first. Any thoughts on which reel to purchase for my intended uses? Thanks
For an all around, go with the Fathom. It has a better drag system and is more substantially built.
Submitted by:Customer Service on September 2, 2014
Most Helpful Answer
The Fathom is a quality reel, no doubt about it! I just got mine, and is feels like a SOLID reel! Not to bad-mouth the Squall, as it is a great reel as well. There are just slight differences. The Fathom is built stronger than the Squall, but is a bit heavier therefore as well. The Squall does have "cast-control" on the #12, #15. So if that is something you need/want, than that can make a difference. Nutshell: Squall is bit more of a lightweight compared to Fathom, but does have "cast-control" Hope that helps
Submitted by:Michael on February 3, 2015 from Ottawa
Hey guys, I'm looking for a rod in the 7 foot range to pair with the Fathom 12. I looked at a few Shimano trevalas and was looking to see what you all recommended besides them. I am going to be fishing for smaller reef fish with it like snapper, scamp, grunts, black sea bass, porgies, triggerfish, etc. As it is, I fish for these fish with a penn international 965. My grouper rod that use is a shimano talica 12II and I would use it for these fish but, it is way too heavy. I'm looking to fish 30-40 lb braid for these fish. Thanks
Sean, thanks for the question.Take a look at these rods. Both are extremely light but powerful and would pair up really nicely with the Fathom 12 reel. GLoomis Pro-Blue (GLO-0225) 7' ,15-30# line. Lamiglas Inshore (LAM-0073) 7', 15-30# line.
I am looking for a good bait rod in the 8ft range to pair with the Fathom 15 and will also use it for occasional jigging because it casts so great. Do you have any recommendations? Fishing in San Diego area for Calico Bass and Yellowtail in and around the kelp beds and Coronado Islands.
The Penn Legion Inshore Casting Rods would make a great combo for this reel. I would recommend looking into the 7' medium through heavy models, depending on the size of the fish you are expecting to encounter.
Submitted by:Customer Service on February 18, 2014