There are lots of people in my situation, full time worker, barely making it paycheck to paycheck sometimes. I ahve 3 small children & a wife who knows I spend too much $ on fishing tackle. Truth me told I have never caught a cat that probably could not have been landed on a cheap $10 rod, but have bought catfish specific rods that I've paid over $150 each for (St Croix Classic Cats). This winter I have decided that for now on I am going to fish with what I like & am comfortable with & not rely so much on what others say, etc.... Now with that being said Gator is currently making me a custom Flathead rod, which I cant wait t get! I personally think the rough conditions we fish for Flatheads from, espically from the bank, a good quality rod is a must, but for boat fishing or any type of Channel cat fishing I think good cheaper rods are easy to find. Below are my thoughts on rod selection for people looking to spend less than $25, please feel free to chime in. As Always good fishing to each of you this year. My #1 "Value" Rod: CABELAS KING CAT PRO- Normally these things were $40, but for several months Cabelas has been selling them for $20. I love these rods. They are two piece rods, which some people frown on (see my post on that). Side by side these rods feel alot like a St Croix Classic Cat. I have 4 of these rods and have Abu 6000's on 2 of them, 1 Abu 6500 & 1 Abu 7000 on one, yes even a 7000. The rods are rated for 1-5oz & 12-30 # test. Others You May Want To Check Out: SHAKESPEARE STURDY STIK-I think I paid $16 for my Sturdy stick. I was not expecting much when I received this rod. I was pleasantly surprised after fishing with it. It can handle big weights under very rough river conditions. If your a Shakesphere fan & need to stay under $20 this rod is for you. I have an Abu 6000 mounted on this rod. ABU GARCIA BRUTE I bought one of these Big rods from my local tackle shop a little over a year ago for $20 or $25, I cant honestely remember. I used this rod for a whil, then gave it away to a teenager just getting into catting. I didnt have any problems w/ this rod. I had an Abu 6000 on it & it felt great. I would have loved to battle a 30# Flattie on it. CABELAS KING CAT This is the regular rod, not the "Pro". I had one of these a couple years ago. This rod was/is priced @ $19.99. I had no problems w/ this rod. I think it would make a nice lake channel cat rod, however I would go with something a little better for fishing for Flatheads in rough conditions. I must say that while Cabelas are running the King Cat Pro's for $20 I would go w/ them over the rg rods anyday. That is not meant to be a knock on the reg rods at all, but more a compliment to the "Pro" rods. I am sure other good quality bargin rods are out let, lets here about them.