The original Penn International 30 reel was first manufactured in 1967. It was followed by the Penn International 30T and 30TW (wider spool). These were single all speed reels. Penn introduced the Penn International II 30SW in the 1980’s; it was Penn’s first two-speed 30’s series reel. It was replaced by the newer, lighter 30S model in 2001. The 30s was 6 ounces lighter it was also narrower. Like all good things this model continued to evolve. In 2002 Penn introduced the Penn International 30VSW (single speed) which included Penn’s exclusive bio-drive retrieve system. It was soon followed by the 30VW. The current model in production today is the Penn International 30VSX will set you back about $530 new.
Penn International VSX models are constructed to achieve the extreme drag ranges expected by anglers fishing with super-braids. Unlike other products that advertise their high-potential drag settings but fail to inform you that these drag settings result in drag curves that are anything but angler friendly, and have a high potential to pop lines, pull hooks, and result in lost fish, Penn VSX models have been engineered to achieve these extreme drag settings while maintaining an appropriate and smooth drag curve throughout the entire range of the drag-lever. Simply put, Penn Engineering at its finest.
I owned a single speed Penn International II 30sw. I purchased it new and set it up on a stand up rod with the intention of using it to target schoolie Bluefin Tuna a few years back. Many of the schoolie Bluefun at the time were in the 50-100lbs range. The 30SW was suitable for these fish but as time passed we were seeing many larger fish in the schools (100-200lbs) and this was the tipping point for this reel. The bigger fish overpowered the 30SW drag and as a result I lost a few. I ended up selling my 30 and replacing it with a two-speed Shimano 50 IILRSA. I liked the 30SW for standup fighting as long as the fish were under 100lbs but anything bigger and you run the risk of being overpowered. It cost enough money as it is to target big game fish so why take that risk. I’d rather have more power than I need than less.
Penn International II 30VSX
- Machine-Cut, Heat-Treated Stainless Steel Main and Pinion Gears, and Drag Cam
- Powerful Double-Disc Drag with 150-Degree Drag Quadrant
- Graduated Push-to-Turn Preset
- Four Aircraft-Grade, Sealed, Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
- Machined, Gold Anodized One-Piece Frame
- Forged & Machined Spool and Side Plates
- Stainless Steel Reel Stand