Penn's are great. 209's&309's - GTI series are pretty much the same but more refined. Cast farther and are smoother. All will outperform even the largest Ambassadeurs. It takes a 9000bg or 10000bg to even approach the power and build of the Penn's. Okuma's are great as well. They more than outperform Ambassadeurs. The Classic series is on sale now on Ebay - 2 for $60.00 Mine has taken at least 75+ sharks to a good 90lbs without failing. Not bad for a reel that was only $50 at the time and is now $30-$35 on the net. Ambassadeurs are really overpriced for what you get. Sure they are reliable. But it is an outdated design. You can get a better made round reel from Okuma/Pflueger/Quantum/Tica... Ambassadeur has JUST now updated their drags. The other companies have BEEN using the latest in drag systems, and corrosion-resistant bearings. I just can't see any real benefit in paying $50-$150 for a real design that is so dated. Come on now, most if not all Ambassadeurs have 2 plastic gears still on the left side. What's up with that?