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Discussion Starter #1
I recently fell in love with beach fishing here in SW Florida. I inherited a few old Penn reels that I have been putting to good use. My favorite has been a vintage Penn 155 Beachmaster. I rebuilt it and replaced the drag washers with carbontex, and it is pulling smooth 18 lb of drag. The learning curve to cast it has been steep, but I have gotten pretty good, and the number of birds nests I get each time out is becoming fewer and fewer. So far I have caught a 33" wide stingray, and a 40" snook. After pulling in some bigger fighters with this setup, I don't think I'll ever be putting big baits on small budget spinning reels ever again. I find these conventional reels pleasing to work with.

I've thought about magging it, but mine is a chrome/brass spool, so to the best of my understanding this won't work. Must be aluminum, the internet tells me....

But I know I shouldn't target sharks with the Beachmaster & 40 lb test. So, maybe impulsively, I found and bought a used Penn Senator Special 113H 4/0 locally for $35. It happened to be spooled with 300+ yards of new 80 lb power pro braid, which made it an excellent deal, and exactly what I was looking for. Overall the reel is in pretty decent shape. Drag pulls smooth at 20 lb, and everything works. Missing one screw on the base plate, but otherwise pretty much ready to fish..... The spool in the Senator happens to also be chrome/brass... Not good for magging, and maybe not the best choice for beach casting either. Tried looking around for an aluminum spool to put in it, but that's another $50.... Which makes this not so cheap anymore if I am buying parts.... But maybe another $50 invested in an aluminum spool is what my circumstances require? Or am I crazy for thinking this is good idea in the first place?

Generally speaking, is the Penn Senator 4/0 with a chrome/brass spool a bad choice for beach casting? Or just a tough choice to throw out again and again? For reference, I will have it on a 10' Daiwa Beefstick. I haven't tried it yet.... Just geeking out on how to get the best results. I would like to believe that with practice and good thumb control, I can cast this beast as is.... And enjoy doing so.... Thoughts? Suggestions? Thank you.
 

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After some hemming and hawing I decided to just go ahead and order an aluminum spool for the 113H Senator reel. I want to surf fish with it, and I read up on the model differences of 113H vs 113HL.... Boat vs Surf casting... I'll be able to mag it now as well.

Now if I can find an aluminum spool for the 155 Beachmaster than I will mag that one as well..... I have a left handed 209 Level Wind with an aluminum spool. Maybe I can just swap spools between the 155 Beachmaster and the 209 Level Wind? I might try this soon unless someone here knows?

It's funny how I love these things for the tanks they are, and the value I get out of them... But I love them so much I want to spend money and upgrade them. Kind of inevitable, I guess....
 

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Yes the Senator is a tank. If it were me, before I tried the cast the Senator from the Beach, I would get a reel more suited to casting. If you want to stay with Penn, see if you can find an old Squidder 140 or 146, or the Surfmaster 200, or Power Mag 970, or 980. They are around and you should be able to get a Squidder for not much more than your aluminum spool. Check Flea bay, Craigs list, and Facebook Market place. The Senators werent made for casting, they are boat reels. Some can do it but not many. Many of us old timers started out on the Squidder.

Oh and another thought, another old reel is Diawa SLSH, aka Slosh, in either 20 or 30, they too are tanks, but they were made for casting and should be available under a hundred bucks. The internals on the 20 and 30 are the same, the 30 is a little wider and has more line capacity.
 

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No bias here, but Catch This is spot on about the Daiwas. The slosh reels (Sealine 20SH, 30SH) cast beautifully and are super durable. If a Senator 4/0 is a 1957 Chevy truck, the 30SH is a 1994 Toyota Pickup- - both last forever with basic maintenance, but the newer one is easier to live with on a daily basis, and will do most everything you need.

Slosh is easier to work on than the Senator in my opinion. I hate dealing with all the side plate screws and posts on the Penns now.

Aside from big sharks or tarpon or Goliath grouper, there's nothing you need a 4/0 Senator to catch from a Florida beach anyway.

If it's gotta be a Penn, again like Catch This said the 970, 980, 990 are great. I believe they used Jigmaster gearing in a smaller package, with a mag brake from the factory. If newer is OK, Squall, 525 Mag, 535 GS, all good options.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok guys, thanks for the input. The Slosh is officially on my radar now.... Maybe that will be the next impulse purchase when I get bored of the Penns'.

Also hearing this feedback just encourages me to continue loving the 155 Beachmaster. I found a used aluminum spool on ebay for it under $20 shipped. I am going to mag it maybe next week and see how that goes.... Even without spool bearings mine spins really nice already. I am optimistic. The Beachmaster in particular has sentimental value to me. It belonged to my grandfather's brother whom was a sailor his entire life. This Beachmaster was on his boat as his primary rod for 40 years and traveled the world. I don't think he ever targeted big game fish, but it was a staple possession in his life. He used it for humble fishing.

Regarding the Senator 4/0: This guy on youtube makes it look pretty easy to throw (start watching at 6:38 to see him test it). Videos like this make me feel pretty confident I have this within my immediate skill set to make work.

I also understand that it is highly unlikely that I will hook up a monster I can't bring in with the Beachmaster as is... But I have had my Florida fishing license now for only 2 months, and I have already been stopped by FWC 3 times. They have gotten hardcore about the legal restrictions.... I live in an area affected by red tide, and all the species have such specific requirements it is an academic exercise to keep it all straight. I went ahead and got my shark tag by taking their mandatory shore-based shark fishing course. And in the course they say it is illegal to target sharks without at least 80lb test on heavy tackle. Illegal. Straight up illegal. So I am not trying to break the law. And I know that if the next time I am approached by an authority while fishing, when they ask "What are you fishing for today?" it is a terrible idea not to be forward and honest. Even pausing on that question gives them the legal authority to search your coolers, your vehicle, and anything else in your possession. I hate feeling like I'm caught with my pants down with these guys... If my hook size is huge and I am throwing out 8 oz chunks of cut bait, I know better. My gear has to match the target or I could be cited. These guys love catching people that aren't seasoned experts and technically savvy. They love it. So I want to be ready with the right gear so I can focus on enjoying my time more. It would be awful to land that medium sized shark, and have the great fight, and bring it in, and then get cited because beach patrol rolled by and checked in on the action. Beach patrol are literally everywhere on the beach since the quarantine period lifted and the beaches opened again.

I would love to hear from more conventional reel users out there!
 

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Hey Everybody, I feel kind of surprised no one else has chimed in IN SUPPORT of beach casting the Senator 4/0. I took it out to the beach yesterday and had no trouble getting some big baits pretty far out there without any modifications. All I did was oil it before heading out. It has a brass spool. Yes, it's heavy, but after so much practice with the Penn 155 Beachmaster, heaving this beast wasn't too much tougher. Here is a VIDEO of me casting a 4oz sinker with a >>4oz fish head. Total weight was somewhere around 8-10oz (estimated--maybe more).

It was my 4th cast of the day. The first 3 casts were good as well, but a little less far. The first few attempts pulled left and down slightly. I tried using a glove at first to avoid thumb burn, but I also tried it without and had no trouble at all once my line was wet. The first 3 casts gave me zero backlash nor birds nest situations. The 4th cast, with some confidence, I heaved further and used less thumb. The line got a little loose by a few wraps, but did not tangle and was quick and simple to let out and tighten up again.

Here are some photos that show the distance of the cast. I heaved it past the last piling. The tide was up as you can see, so the measured distance was ~200 feet. I have never ever cast such a big reel before in my life, and honestly I found this to be quite doable with minimal practice. For anyone fairly new to casting big conventional reels, while there are easier, lighter setups to use, this is totally doable. This isn't as impossible as the internet fishing legends would have you believe. I can't wait to see how this thing casts with an aluminum spool after magging. I can't wait to catch some big game on this.
Ancient Pier Distance Measure for Penn Senator Casting.jpg

67376
 

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That was a great cast with a brass spool Senator, I doubt I could do any better.

It's all relative though, if you ever get to try a slosh/saltist/squall you will see why people aren't casting 4/0s unless they have to.
 

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That was a great cast with a brass spool Senator, I doubt I could do any better.
Thanks!

It's all relative though, if you ever get to try a slosh/saltist/squall you will see why people aren't casting 4/0s unless they have to.
I believe it. It's definitely on my radar now.
 

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I have fished Senator 9/0 from the beach using a kite. If you GOOGLE "NEW ZEALAND KITE FISHING" you will see how to do it. I used a regular toy store kite. This will help you utilize your 4/0.
 
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