1. Go to the trout section and send a private message to French Creek (Pete L) he's the moderator of that sectoin, a guide and one of the most humble resources there is. He'll give you some great recommendations for rods.
2. Spend the extra $$ for a travel rod.
3. After you get Pete's rec's, try the rod at a local shop where they should throw in a casting lesson or two & buy the most expensive rod you can afford.
4. For trout & bass the reel is just a place to store your line, save your money there right now & make sure you get the rod you want.