Penn International Rods Review – Bent & Slick Butt VI Series

Penn International Rods Review – Bent & Slick Butt VI Series

Anglers dead set on covering ocean miles in search of powerful gamefish need serious trolling rods. And when it comes to offshore trolling rigs, Penn International Rods offer some serious backbone. With several models to inspect in both slick and bent-butt design, Penn uses only the highest quality components. Featuring Aftco roller and Fuji Deep Set line guides with Stuart butts and reel seats, anglers can expect nothing but the best. All fastened on a one-piece tubular glass blank, Penn International Rods are a sure staple for the hardcore offshore angler.

Penn International Rods

Penn International Rods
Penn International Rods w/ Aftco Roller Guides

Product: Penn International Rods, Series V & VI.

Penn International Rods Logo

Overall Ranking: 95 out of 100.

Price: Middle to upper range.

Company/Owner: Pure Fishing, Inc.


Intro To Penn International Rods – V & VI Series Models

Penn LogoWith 13 different models in the new VI series, Penn International Rods make a fine choice for any offshore excursion. There are lighter straight-butt models to extra-heavy bent-butt rods, all with high-quality components. In the likeness of the Penn Tuna Stick, International VI models start with one-piece tubular glass blanks. The result, no matter which model you choose, is a lightweight yet powerful rod capable of handling the pressures of offshore fishing. From stand up deck style to big-game slams on the trolling feather, the name International means business.

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Penn International Rods – Models, Specs, & Features

Penn VI IGFA International Rod Models

• INTVI203066TU     • INTVI203066RS 

• INTVI305060TU     • INTVI305060RS 

• INTVI305060AR     • INTVI50LB64 

• INTVI508060RS     • INTVI508060AR 

• INTVI508060ARBB     • INTVI8013060ARBB



Penn International Rod Specs

Slick-Butt Penn International Rods
Slick-Butt Style

Researching the 13 different models, anglers can immediately break them down into 8 slick-butt and 5 bent-butt options. The slick-butt models are stand up style deck rods that can be used freehand or in combination with a fighting belt. Bent-butt models are for use in a fighting chair when the beasts of the ocean come out to play. All Penn International Rods are one-piece models with either Aftco Roller Guides or Fuji Deep Press guides. They also all feature Stuart aluminum reel seats, butts (whether slick or bent), and gimbals.

Bent-Butt Penn International Rods
Bent-Butt Style

The lightest International VI rods range in power with a suggested line between 20-30 lbs. These are the slick-butt models. They are fast to moderate fast action rods that range in power from medium-light to heavy. They offer lengths of 6′, 6’4″, and 6’6″ and use between 5 to 7 line guides. The heaviest models rate for line between 50-80 pounds. The switch from Fuji Deep Press to Aftco Roller guides happens in all rods with power ratings over 50 pounds. Thus, the 50LB64 uses Fuji as it rates for a straight 50-pound test, but models that rate 50-80 switch to Aftco rollers.

Bent-butt rods feature moderate-fast to moderate action and rate at either heavy or extra-heavy power. Rod length choices come at either 6′ or 7’6″ and line ratings fall between 50 and 130 pounds. All of the bent-butt models, even the lightest 50LBARBB that calls for 50-pound test, use Aftco roller guides. For a visual breakdown of Penn International VI Rods and their specs, check out the video above.

Features Of Penn International Rods

Tubular Glass Blanks

Penn International RodsPenn reaches out to Stuart, Florida where they get not only their aluminum components but also their rod blanks. Blackfin Rods is another company residing in Stuart and Penn partners with them to create a brand new blank. The result is the tubular blank used for Penn International Rods. It’s interesting that the blanks use a more durable fiberglass versus carbon material. The tubular process involves forming the rod blank around a tapered metal mandrel before heating and is used mostly for carbon blanks.

Fuji Deep Press Line Guides

Fuji offers years of excellence in the manufacturing of rod components. In the case of Penn International rods, they have a mixed use. You won’t find any on the bent-butt models, and others use both Fuji Deep Press with Aftco Roller Guides. The deep press feature names the manner of the silicon insert inside the guide ring. It involves a wider ring so that the silicon nitride inserts are set deep in the center.

Aftco Roller Guides

Aftco Roller Guides
Aftco Roller Guides

When anglers hook into the truly powerful species of the ocean, roller guides become a necessity. The speeds that giant marlin or bluefin tuna generate when running line off a reel are spectacular. But they also generate heat, and friction against a line guide won’t do. The answer is a roller guide which spins as the line passes through. Aftco is a top manufacturer of friction reducing roller guides.

Stuart Aluminum Reels Seats

Stuart Aluminum Reel Seat
Stuart Aluminum Reel Seat

Hailing out of the city in Florida from which the company derives its name, Stuart delivers quality aluminum rod components. The Stuart Fishing Website is currently under new construction, but they do have several models up for viewing. Stuart offers the comfort of a high-quality aluminum reel seat. Reels aren’t cheap, especially at this level of fishing, and it’s important they lock and hold on to their rods.

Stuart Aluminum Butt Sections

Again Penn turns to Stuart Fishing, this time for the butt sections of VI International Rods. It makes sense to stay with the same company that makes the reel seats, as it keeps the whole unit together. The reel seat and butt sections don’t mismatch coming from separate companies. Stuart designs both the slick-butt and bent-butt sections for Penn International VI rod models. The rods finish with Stuart components as well with their aluminum gimbals.

EVA Padded Fore Grips 

Though the butts all feature Stuart aluminum, the fore handles use EVA padding for grips. Much better than cork or grip tape that is more sensitive, EVA offers protection and comfort where it’s needed for battling larger fish.

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Pros & Cons Of Penn International Rods


Penn International Rods are packed full of quality features. This means the rods don’t come on the cheap end of the spectrum, but it does bring durability. Not only are quality components more durable, they are more than effective after the hook set. Most rods don’t offer a base that claims a tubular glass blank, but anglers aren’t disappointed. The design of the International rod blank is lightweight while offering all the strength of a solid stick.


Quality fishing rods don’t sell cheap. Even though Penn International Rods aren’t at the top of the trolling style price range, there are less expensive brands. Be aware that it’s always a tradeoff between performance and durability when you go for a cheaper brand. At this level of game fishing, cheaper is not always the best choice.

Best Use For Penn VI IGFA Rods

Penn International VIS Reel
Penn International VIS 12 Single-Speed Reel

Anyone of the models in the Penn International Rod series will work for trolling. It just depends on the size species your likely to encounter. Their intention is for use against large species in an East Coast style, though they work wonders anywhere around the globe where monsters swim. It makes perfect sense to pair one with a Penn International Reel. They obviously go together. Match the right specs for your offshore needs and you’re ready to get set up. Note that VI International Rods are the newer version of the Penn International V rod series.

Penn Rod Support

All Penn rods and reels come with the protection of a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. Penn provides service centers around the globe. Authorized service centers will honor the Penn warranty in the case of a manufacturer’s defect. In other cases, the center will repair or replace your equipment at a fair and reasonable rate for parts and labor.

The Wrap Up – Last Thoughts

95 out of 100 offshore anglers approve of Penn International Rods

Penn International Rods rule over the lager game fish that entice anglers around the world. Paired with an International reel, the rods are capable of battling and landing giant grouper, sailfish, tuna, and more! Although the combination of equipment doesn’t come cheap, within its class the amount is more than generous. Troll the International on the open ocean or pitch bait standing up. When the frenzy occurs, you’ll be fully prepared to do battle.


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