Does PENN Regiment Black Ops II hold it’s own? Alistair Arkell explains.

It’s always a pleasure to be involved in the pre-production testing of a new rod range, as the manufacturers are always looking for feedback to improve the rod action specific to your fishery.

Building a new series or, in this case, improving on and adding to the range takes typically about 12 months from conception to 1st samples, to 2nd samples, which then get rigorously tested on the water for approx three months before final sign off on actions and graphics to the factory and then production begins.

The first thing I look at on any rod when I pick it up is the componentry they use. Immediately this tells you what level of quality you are dealing with. The new Penn Regiment Black Ops II rods come with a Fuji K Alconite guide train, so you know you are in good hands. Next, I like to understand the look and feel of the rods – mainly the aesthetics and decide in my mind if I still like this rod and want a full quiver or not. Of course, this is subjective and personal, but the Penn Regiment is a hot-looking rod series, and the eight rods I own look good in my fishing room or loaded on the boat, ready for action.

All the two-piece rods come with Penn rod wraps out of the box – it’s a nice touch and not typically found in rods around the $200 mark. The Eva’s are all streamlined and thinned to perfection. The best way to ruin a good rod is by putting big bulky EVA’s on them with no sense of balance. Being a lure rod series, as you’d expect, Penn has minimized all the bulk of EVA’s as well, given a near-perfect shape for holding and fighting fish. Nice.

At this point, I’m getting quite serious about liking these rods, and my next step is to test how fast the blank is and see what the blank recovery is like – the higher quality the carbon, the better the casting and fish fighting ability you have. The off the water testing all got a big tick, and the next step was to fish them.

My first testing day came during the 2021 Surtees Boats annual measure and release comp. For team PENN, this was two days of casting into the shallows looking for mega reds! Putting in well over 100 casts a day, catching many fish in the process, including a 75cm snapper and fishing buddy Sam winning the comp with a 79cm fish, told us all we needed to know about these rods – they are outstanding!

The High-performance SLS3 blank construction creates a fast action rod with excellent blank recovery. Also with its dual-layer of graphite reduces any blank twisting, giving you much greater casting distance and direct lifting power on big fish. In simple terms – These are great rods that perform far above the RRP price point that they sit.

The bulk of my land-based fishing is casting small soft baits for Auckland snapper or small stick baits for Kahawai. The exercise is all about relaxation instead of catching fish, and I usually spend an hour or two on a summer evening with an ebb tide casting lures – great rest for the mind. The Regiment 9’2 gives me excellent casting distance with small stick baits and is light and breaks down easily for my car. Sometimes I catch nothing for my efforts, but it’s still one of my most enjoyable fishing methods, and I get some exercise while I’m at it.

With 21 lure rods in the series, the PENN Regiment Black Ops II should be high on your to-view list whether you are buying a new set or need a replacement rod. The new Penn Regiment rods will take some beating on value for money, performance, and aesthetics.


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