I agree with everything what was said above, just want to add one more point.
If price is a serious issue, it is sometimes easier to buy combo, and there are two I'd like to tell:
- for bait fishing (catfish?) it is Ugly Stick combo.
- for artificials - Pflueger President combo.
Both might be found in local stores (Diks, Academy, BPS or Cabelas)
My personal choice is President: i'll join collincountytx on evaluation of President reel - it really is great for the price; and rod(blank) is well made (to my surprise).
You may want to have a look @other combos - it simply (sometimes) makes sense