The fierce are good reels but if you stuck on penn I would spend the extra on a battle or sargus....if you wanna stay in the price range of the fierce take a look at the shimano sahara it may not be quite as "beast" looking but it is much more comfortable has stronger drag than the fierce and much smoother and than most penns.
I first bought 2 Shimano Sedonas for small bonefish and dinnerplate permit in Mexico. I gave a report on them in another thread. In short, one reel got totally submerged in salt water and I purposefully did NOTHING to this reel, except give it the same normal rinse as the other one. Now 6 months later, and that reel is still perfect. I was very impressed by this $60 reel.
I then bought a Sahara, which costs about $20 more than the Sedona. The only difference in the 2 reels is the handle. I can see the Sedona's chromed pot-metal handle, pitting and corroding in time, whereas the Sahara's is solid aluminum and should last.
So I say that Joshua is right on with his assessment, at least as far as the Sahara is concerned. I see no reason to pay the money for the Stradic, much less the Stella. My only concern with Shimano as a whole, is their line capacity. In many cases, where you are in fishing situations where a fish might take hundreds of yards of line in one run, (at least in their past models), it would have been safer to step up one size in Shimano reels, to accommodate for that. In the lighter setups, like for bonefish, tarpon and permit, using the next size up in reels, often made the outfit feel bulky and out of balance. But since the OP is looking for offshore tackle options, I feel the difference should be negligible.
I have never used a Sahara in the larger sizes. But if they perform like the smaller ones and have enough capacity, then I would not hesitate one second.
Last edited by Permit Rat; 03-22-2012 at 11:54 AM.