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I bought a Penn 209 Levelwind and no matter what I seem to do it always backlashes to some degree. I'm usually casting at least 8 oz. Anyone have anything to offer?
 

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On the 209, you can tighten the bearing friction on the left side some, but most of the control comes purely from practice and experience, using the thumb lightly on the spool to slow it down just before hitting the water. I use them and really like the way they cast, but it does take getting used to. Type and weight of the line can also caused backlash (ie: too stiff. I use braided myself) Also, with an 8 oz. weight, you may be casting with a little too much force, causing spool overrun. Try different methods of casting and see if it helps. It may also be useful to practice with a 2 or 3 oz sinker until you get the feel of it. Good luck; the Penns are really tough reels.
 

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My first baitcaster is the Penn 209. When I first bought it, I had so much trouble with it. My first birds nest was so bad that I literally just took scissors to the spool and cut cut cut until I worked it all out. Lost about 50 yards of line.

I started casting with a 1 oz sinker. I didn't feel safe doing this, and I didn't feel right with this light of weight. It felt like I was putting enough outward pressure on the spool, and this gave it too much free space to do what it wanted. As soon as I upgraded to a larger weight (5 ounces), and some more practice casting, I can absolutely whip the hell out of the rod and launch it as far as I want without backlash anymore. It took me two fishing trips to get this right.

Here's what I do:

Instead of placing your thumb on the actual spool/line, place it on the left on the extra (empty) spool and stop it that way. I have roughly 1/8" - 1/4" room for more line, but this is the section I use to stop the spool. There is less friction here, which is good because it won't bring you to a direct halt.

As soon as I whip the rod, I give a very, very light thumb on that spot, then let it sail until I literally hear it hit the water. Once it hits the water, I totally stop the spool.

As far as my tension, I have it set pretty loose. Almost to where the weight and bait look like they're free falling when you go to test it.

I hope this helps! And trust me, when you get this down, you will be casting far and like a pro!


- James


PS: Since the Penn has a nice sound to them when casting, you will also get used to the sounds the reel makes. I can actually hear when something isn't going right in the spool, and give it anymore thumb if I need to in order to avoid backlash. As I said, you'll see what I mean soon enough.
 
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I use the #9 a size smaller than the 209 with power pro line I dont need the extra spool size To adjust this reel I hold my rod paralel to the ground rigged like Im gonna fish I adjust screw on left side [spool screw ] all the way tight in free spool i adjust the screw till weight barely desends I loob my reel instead of throwing overhand
Hope this helps
Tom
 

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Swtched both my 209s to PP, braid, made a big difference. Still need to adjust as mentioned above, but much better with braid line.
 

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dont tighten up the ajustments on those penns real tight youll burn um up :crazy: keep it fairly loose like james said pressure right after you let go then as needed. if you want you can get a soft cotton glove and ride the cast out with your thumb, works too but wouldnt do it too mutch without the glove.
 

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three words to the secret to casting a Penn.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

when you learn to cast a Penn, you will be good even if you get stuck with one of those foreign reels! :big_smile:

of course the new Penns are foreign junk too!:embarassed:
 

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Was your #209 new or used?

If the spool is silver colored, it's steel. Mine was horrible about birds nests when I still had a steel reel.
If the spool is black, it's aluminum. Mine is great now that I've switched to the aluminum spool.

If it was used, get a diagram. Take the *whole* thing apart, degrease and regrease it. Take your time too, and pictures. The first time I took my #209 apart it was almost a nightmare.
 

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three words to the secret to casting a Penn.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

when you learn to cast a Penn, you will be good even if you get stuck with one of those foreign reels! :big_smile:

of course the new Penns are foreign junk too!:embarassed:
Only the new ones. Try finding a vintage Penn 209. eBay has some quality vendors who clean, repair and rebuild the USA made gems. I have several. Only the newer reels are junk.
 

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Practice and good thumb control.set spool tension knob up and slight thumb pressure while casting.the spool is made of chrome plated brass and is big/heavy and tends to overspin when slung out hard during a cast.about the hardest reel to cast when i first started using them but now can cast a country mile with the spool tension real loose.
 
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