Ok, I'm getting close. First, thanks to all of you for your input on selecting a surf rod. My next decision is which reel to get. I believe I have narrowed it to two; Shimano Baitrunner 8000 and Ultegra xtd 5500. I like the baitrunner feature, as I predominately fish bait, but am also excited about the potential distance gained by the Ultegra. How big of a difference would you anticipate between the 2 reels? I would like to thank all of you experienced individuals for your feedback and help as I inch toward the final selection!!