by John Skinner
Could a new Penn 704Z or 706Z be in your future? Up until very recently, I would have said only if you were willing to drop about $300 on EBAY. That's the average price of the two 706Zs I've sold there in the last year, and other sellers have done much better. I guess Penn took notice. According to Penn Business manager Mike Rice, the 704Z and 706Z are being brought back due to popular demand. These will be exactly the same reels they sold before with the same parts so that the parts can be interchangeable with the reels already in use. This is rather huge for the many current owners of these reels, because parts were beginning to dry up. Rice expects the reels to retail for about $200. There's no firm date yet on when they'll hit the market, but they should be available by the end of the year.
Both of my 11-foot workhorse surf rods have Penn 706Zs on them. I'll be experimenting with replacing my inlet reel with a new Spinfisher SSV 8500 this season, but it's going to have to be a mighty fine reel to push aside the bail-less and relatively lightweight 706Z. To have yet another proven surf reel choice on the market is a big win for surfcasters.
Simplicity is one of the strong points of the Penn 704Z and 706Z reels.