I know it’s been on the market for a few years now, but I thought a review of the Penn Torque jigging reel was in order. Why? Because I’ve covered a lot of Shimano’s gear on the blog, the other day we talked about an Avet (http://www.boats.com/boat-content/2010/04/avet-hx-high-speed-jigging-reel-review/ to read the full article) and I don’t want to leave Penn out fo the loop. And even though the Torque isn’t exactly the hot new product of the day (it was three years back that they sent me one to test; if you want “new,” click on back to my review of the Talica II 10, at http://www.boats.com/boat-content/2010/03/shimano-talica-10-fishing-reel-test-light-tackle-high-speed/ ) the Torque is still a pretty darn sweet piece of equipment.
Here’s a shot of the Torque 300 in action:
If you want a fast reel that’s got plenty of line capacity for speed-jigging tunas or deep-dropping at the edge, the TRQ 300 fits the bill. Both star and lever drag versions are available, but getting the lever drag boosts cost by $200, and this reel already started out in the $400 range – ouch!
After several seasons of offshore jigging I’ve grown to really love this reel; it’s light enough to swing all day without tiring, the grip feels at home in the palm of my hand, and the drag’s as smooth as they come. The Torque hasn’t been problem-free, though; shortly after it went into service, the disengaging pinion broke. Since then it hasn’t given me any trouble, so I’m thinking I just got a bad one out of the box, and otherwise the reel has held up well to the marine environment.
According to Penn the TRQ 300 holds 360-yards of 80-lb braid, but I packed over 400 yards on mine without a problem. The Torque’s open, single-piece frame means casting is an option, and a whopping-big 6.3:1 gear ratio ensures a speedy retrieve, perfect for speed-jigging for tunas, wahoo, and other high-octane species. It also means you can drag tilefish up from the depths faster then usual. And since the Torque has lugs – many speed jigging reel’s don’t – you can strap into a harness, too.
The bottom line? This reel is a pleasure to use, and enough time has passed since the pinion failure that I’m confident the Torque has the beef it needs to stay in service for years to come. If you need a high-speed jigger, check this one out. And just for the record, check out the picture below to see the largest fish caught with the Torque, during it’s test-period.