Penn Fierce 3 Spinning Reel Review

Penn Fierce III Reel
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Our Rating:

The Penn Fierce 3 is the go-to entry level spinning reel for many folks. Penn is known for their durability and usability and this reel is no exception. It can handle any type on inshore and nearshore fishing and is also a capable reel for fresh water as well.

The Penn Fierce 3 is an upgrade over the previous model, the Fierce 2.  Most notably is the upgrade to the HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers.  Though if you already own the Fierce 2, it might not be worth upgrading if it still works well and is in good shape.  You can always look into upgrading your felt washers with aftermarket carbon fiber washers if that is important to you.

Penn reals are known for their quality and durability.  Sure you can find some real cheap fishing reels for sale, but don’t expect them to be well made and last.  The Fierce 3 is price attractively for an entry level reel of this quality.

Key Features

  • HT-100 Carbon fiber drag
  • Metal Body
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings (shielded)
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Line Capacity Rings

Carbon Fiber Drag

The Penn HT-100 carbon fiber drag is a nice updgrade to the Fierce line of reels. Carbon fiber holds up longer and exert more pressure, especially when the heat builds up.  They also don’t wear out nearly as fast as oiled felt.  If you’re going to be using this reel around saltwater, carbon fiber is a better option.

Reel Body, Bail Wire, Bearings

This reel has a full metal body and side plate made from aluminum.  This increases the durability over cheaper reels made from plastic or composite material.  If you are using your reel a lot it is going to get knock around a bit and it’s nice to have one that is tough.  Plus the sturdy body help to maintain gear aliment under pressure.

It comes with 4 + 1 stainless steel shielded bearings.  These are improvement over open bearings, but still not as good as sealed bearings.  Though with this not being a sealed body (more on that below), having sealed bearings wouldn’t do anything to protect the rest of the components if water or grit get inside.  Stainless steel ball bearings are more resistant to corrosion than the chrome bearings you find in cheaper reels.

Having good bearings will improve a reels performance (along with several other factors.)  The smooth cast and retrieve makes this a well loved reel by fisherman.

Line Capacity Rings

Line capacity rings are a nice to have feature that gives you an estimate of how much line is left on the spool.  They are a good visual indicator of how much line you have out while you trolling, drifting, or when your fish is running so you don’t get spooled.

Not Fully Sealed For Saltwater

One negative, and it won’t matter to many people, but should be noted. While the Penn Fierce 3 is great for saltwater, it is not a fully sealed reel.  But that is not something you would expect at this price point.  If you get water or sand in the reel it needs to be cleaned out or serviced so it doesn’t potentially lock up on you.  

If you want a fully sealed real, you’ll want to look at upgrading to something like the Penn Spinfisher VI. It’s more expensive, but if you do a lot of Saltwater fishing, it may be worth it.


  • Well built
  • Full Metal Body
  • Great reel for the price
  • Carbon Fiber drag


  • Not a sealed body

Penn Fierce 3 Reel Sizes

The Penn Fierce III comes in a variety of sizes that will suit a wide range of fishing.  There are 8 sizes from 1000 – 8000.  The Larger the number, the larger the size reel.  Smaller reels are better suited to lighter line.  The bigger the reel will heavier line at a higher capacity.  What size reel you need is going to depend on what type of fishing you’re doing and what species of fish you’re going for.

Below is a table of the available Fierce 3 Reel models and some key specifications.

ModelMono Capacity YD/LBBraid Capacity YD/LBWeightGear RatioMax Drag
FRCIII1000275/2 135/4 105/6160/6 130/8 110/107.8 oz5.2:19 lb
FRCIII2000240/4 180/6 125/8210/8 180/10 165/159.5 oz6.2:110 lb
FRCIII2500255/6 175/8 140/10240/10 220/15 160/209.9 oz6.2:112 lb
FRCIII3000200/8 165/10 120/12250/15 180/20 130/3011.8 oz6.2:115 lb
FRCIII4000270/8 220/10 165/12360/15 260/20 185/3012.5 oz6.2:115 lb
FRCIII5000225/12 200/15 135/20420/20 300/30 240/4019.6 oz5.6:125 lb
FRCIII6000335/15 230/20 210/25490/30 390/40 335/5021.4 oz5.6:125 lb
FRCIII8000340/20 310/25 230/30475/50 390/65 345/8028.7 oz5.3:130 lb

Penn Fierce 3 Live Liner Model

The Live Liner model is made with an extra feature for bait fishing.  It has an adjustable drag system that will engage with a handle turn or switch on the back of the reel. This is great when fishing with live bait that you want to run freely.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a great entry level fishing reel that is suited to both salt and fresh water, the Penn Fierce 3 is a great choice.  With proper care and maintenance, this reel should last you a long time.