Lots of the catfishing guys swear by the Pro Angler rods. I just picked up 2 of the 7 1/2 footers this weekend. Haven't used them yet, but just going by looks, it's a lot of rod for the money. They also have the new 10 footers that should work great for the surf for just a little more $$$. Hard to beat --- quality 10 foot rod for under $50. If you are in the Dallas area, there's several independent dealers which will save yu a lot on shipping.
They also have a proangler reel that is under $60 that is about like the Garcia 6500.
Check it out here:http://www.Proanglertackle.com/CatfishRod.htm http://www.proanglertackle.com/CatfishReel.htm
If you have the time, keep checking Craigslist for the older Swedish-made Garcia 7000. I have picked up 4 for about $60 to $75 each. Don't get the new Chinese 7000 --- poor quality from a lot of reports.