I think what you want to budget for a rod is an important item. If money is no problen then something like a black and blue custom rod is a good way to look, lower the budget a bit and catfish safari probably next in line. If you are looking at the best bang for the buck then I second both the ugly stick and the glowstick as really good rods for the money.
I definately will not say that a glow stick is in the same class as a black and blue rod but I can buy 4 glowsticks for the price of 1 custom rod. I take care of my equipment and do not throw it around and have been pleased with the less expensive rods. I do not earn my living fishing and the less expensive equipment has done everything I have ask it to do.
Fishing is like anything else, take the bass boys for instance, you do not need a 50,0000 dollar boat and 450.00 reels to catch bass! Spend what makes you feel good but you do NOT HAVE TO spend 250.00-300.00 or more on a rod and reel to catch nice fish.
Dear Brother Brian; I like the Shakespeare Big Water 8', Hvy Action, 2-pc while my wife likes the Same Big Water but in 10' length, Med-Hvy Action, 2-pc. I might also mention that I have the 15' Big Water Rod too and am planning on getting the 12' Big Water Rod. I consider the Shakespeare Ugly Stick Big Water Rods to be among the "Best Bang for the Buck" rods out there on the market. I really don't think you could go wrong starting out with one. I use Spinning Rods and Reels exclusively and have yet to be disappointed or run into a "Blue" big enough to cause me to wish I had a Bait Caster setup. Currently I am using a Fin-Nor OFS 95 that I am very happy with and dearly love to use. But, as I said, that is my personal choices. In the end, you must make your own decisions but you could do a lot worse than start out with a Shakespeare Ugly Stick Big Water 8', Hvy Action, 2pc rod. It will handle up to 12 oz that I know of for sure. Hope this helps. Fraternally, Coyote1 [[[[[End of Post]]]]]
I AGREE WITH "COYOTE 1 " ABOUT THE SHAKESPEAR ULGY STICKS BUT I LIKE THE UGLY STICK CAT STIK 8' MH I'VE LANDED SO 35/40lber's WITH THEM:smile2: BUT REMEMBER IT SI YOUR CHOICE AND IF YOU HAVE A FRIEND THAT HAS SOMETHING THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE ,ASK THEM TO LET YOU TRY IT OUT, ALSO YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY IT AT WALMART AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE JUST TAKE IT BACK