The Penn Conflict 5000 Long Cast reel falls into the ultra-competitive light surf and estuary fishing market. It has to have something different about it then to get it noticed, so what features make it stand out from a host of other reels available in this category?
The stand out feature for us is the lightness of the reel. Penn is aware that the future way forward is to lighten reels without compromising quality. Therefore, the Conflict series reel body and rotor are formed from RR30 rigid resin. This is a modern engineering resin designed for lightness, stiffness and precision. The material is reinforced to offer a high modulus and polished finish. It is also highly resistant to deformation under stress and very durable. Penn’s own Conflict information quotes that this is the lightest spinning reel they have ever produced, and it does feel exceptionally lightweight.
We tried to flex the reel foot on this reel by holding the body in the left hand and twisting the reel foot side to side. There is no perceptible movement in the reel foot, which stays rigid, proving this amazing resin material’s stiffness and rigidity.
The gears are precision cut using CNC technology, a computerised programme that ensures the gear teeth are cut to the finest machining tolerances, which also helps increase the gearing’s overall strength. The gear ratio is 4.8:1 bringing in 91cms of line for every full turn of the handle.
The reel is exceptionally smooth in operation and very quiet. This is achieved not just by fine machining tolerances but by the precise placement of no less than seven sealed stainless steel ball-bearings. These help spread the overall load on the internals when the reel is put under extreme pressure.
As with so many reels, the Conflict 5000 Long Cast has an anti-reverse lever housed on the main body’s rear. This allows the reel to be switched from the forward motion only to backwind to release line. The latter is something a declining number of freshwater anglers prefer to do. The TSF crew fish both fresh and saltwater so understand why the anti-reverse lever is there, but we find modern drags far more capable of keeping up with a fast running fish than backwinding ever can. If we had our way, the mechanically operated anti-reverse system would be eliminated on all reels designed for saltwater use, but that’s just our opinion. They are unnecessary and an added expense.
The handle has to be fully unscrewed for storage. It does not fold flat for easy transportation. This is a shame as a folding handle would have been an additional selling feature, though it does not detract from the reel’s overall performance. The round-shaped handle grip is a tough lightweight foam material that is very comfy to use, warm and with good grip in cold and wet weather, and ultra-tough. We find it just the right size for us and allows for heavy winching with ease when needed.
The heavy-duty bale-arm is again designed for strength and lightness. The bale-arm is closed manually, which we prefer as it keeps the line tight on the spool and minimises the chance of wind knots when using fine braid line.
The front drag system is, as you’d expect, designed using the proven and ultra-efficient HT-100 carbon fibre drag washers. These give the reel an ultra-smooth drag that yields line on-demand without hesitation. There is no pause while power momentarily builds up before the drag kicks in, its instant allowing the use of lines across a wide variety of breaking strains. The drag system provides a full 6.8kg of direct drag or 15lbs of drag pressure.
The lightweight spool is a long cast type meaning it is a shallow design aimed at retaining the high profile of the line for as long as possible during the cast to maximise casting distance. Loading the line onto the reel straight out of the box you’ll find the line-lay is perfect!
The spool also sports a rubber gasket around its middle arbor. This allows braid lines to be loaded straight on to the spool, the rubber gasket gripping the braid and eliminating the chance of the whole braid slipping around the spool should it come under severe pressure when fighting a big fish. There are also line capacity rings machined into the spool base that tells you during a fight with a fast running fish exactly how much line you have left on the spool.
The line capacity is quoted as 325m of 0.28m line. We loaded with 15lb 0.35m and got around 220yds of line loaded, which is ample for general light surf and estuary fishing.
The graphics of the reel are a very smart looking matt black. The only contrast in colour is the white and silver lettering and the carbon fibre look-a-like trim. We like it!
Fishing and casting ability
Our test Conflict 5000 Long Cast reel was first loaded with 30lb braid and used for some light surfcasting. The reel casts very smoothly with the braid, and even a lighter 2oz lead goes a long way due to the efficiency of the modern long cast spool design.
We replaced the braid with 15lb Berkley mono and went estuary fishing. The same applies. The reel casts effortlessly, and even light leads go a very long way. The retrieve is smooth and powerful, and the gear ratio retrieves a lot of line quickly.
The drag is just, well, a Penn drag and impossible to fault.
But yes, the real stand out feature is the overall lightness of the reel. Matched to a 2-4oz bass rod makes for a very lightweight balanced outfit you can easily hold all day when feeling for bites without fatigue.
It has to be said that this reel has also found a major market within the offshore bass fishing world when combined with a longer 8ft 12lb class boat rod. It can be used for trotting sandeel or small mackerel off the back of the boat, but it’s also ideal for working lures over reefs and even for trolling. Ours has filled in for a bit of carp fishing on 10ft rods too, so it’s a very versatile reel!
Checking for prices online we found the Penn Conflict 5000 Long Cast reel selling for around £170 including post and packing.
- RR30 Rigid Resin body and rotor for lightness
- CNC Technology precise gearing
- 7 + 1 sealed Stainless Steel ball-bearings
- HT-100 drag system
- Heavy-duty Bale-arm
- Line capacity rings
- Spool rubber grip gasket for braided lines
- 477g unloaded