Of recent years Penn released the Big Game Surf series which were great rods with good tapers, a solid build and had the ability to cast large weights good distances. They have recently released a new range of surf/land based rods that they have titled as the Prevail Surf series. There are nine rods in the range in both spin and overhead and they start at ratings of 6kg (8’) all the way through to the 10-20kg (12’) which I have for review. At first glance the prevail appears to be an old-school robust surf rod, but upon closer inspection you find a modern day rod that hasn’t left behind build qualities and performance aspects you may be accustomed to. For starters a two piece all graphite blank with a fast taper replaces the old slow taper glass blank. A graphite reel seat and Fuji guides are used instead of plastic seats and ceramic guides that tend to drop out of the frames. Heat shrink replaces EVA which looks awesome and feels good in the hand whether wet or dry. So while the Prevail presents a little old school in regards to the blank, it has some modern day enhancements that marries the best of old design and new technologies.
First off, hallelujah to Penn for providing a maximum cast weight on these rods. It greatly helps surf anglers who know they will be casting large weights and will not bother with a rod that cannot cast their desired offerings. Generally when I’m targeting gummy sharks or jewfish in the surf I will be casting a 6oz lead and a large bait that’s at least 2oz. Thankfully the Prevail claims it can cast 10oz and this was something I was keen to test out. Using a 5000 size reel with 60lb braid and a 60lb shock leader made casting 8ounces a breeze. The Prevail has just enough whip in the top third and enough grunt in the lower regions to easily cast this kind of weight. A large stripper guide and large guides through to the tip allow heavy braid or mono and line joins to easily pass through without catching. I managed to cast about 30 metres which is about as far as you’re gonna get casting this kind of weight with a big piece of squid that severely lacks any aerodynamics. To really test out its cast ability I tied on an 8oz sinker with a big squid bait and managed to cast about 20 metres. This is pretty bloody good for 10 ounces of weight and I was very impressed. The reel seat is positioned really well for fighting and there is enough length in the butt making casting very comfortable.
When you start fighting fish with rods that go beyond the length of 10’ you are always at risk of the rod putting a bit of hurt on you. Unfortunately this is the trade off for casting distance. The pictured gummy shark was not large enough to really test out the blank but fighting a 25kg clump of weed will put any blank to the test and showed the Prevail to have a fast action that left you a lot of rod to put the muscle on the fish, this however does put a lot of strain on your back when you’re fighting something really large and you’re standing in sand, but is a worthy trade off to easily keep good tension on the fish and tire him out before you go for the gaff shot. It’s a really well designed blank for fighting large fish, really large pests like stingrays and skates and the ever troublesome weed clump that comes along to ruin your day.
This rod is robust, light for its size and casts heavy weights a great distance. You should be able to pick it up most places for under $250 so it’s a great price for the quality of rod you get. Fitted with quality Fuji parts you have no concerns about quality of hardware either! At the end of the day there really isn’t anything on the shelf that can do all this at this kind of price. Penn have done really well to provide a rod for anglers chasing large fish in heavy surf.