Lots of discussion about this recently over at the Mid-Bay board
Consensus (such as fishermen ever agree on ANYTHING ) summary of discussions;
1) many cheapo-rods are just that...including some with "name" companies.
2) Penn Slammer and Penn Long Beach rods fall in that camp. 3 to 6 trips...trial rods There is a reason this winter's deals are you can get a Slammer with Penn reel for the price of the reel alone. And their Long Beach is cheaper !
3) reluctant vote on inexpensive rods: Shakespeare Ugly Stick ~$40
4) Penn Mariner Stand-up ~$70. Do NOT confuse with 'regular' mariner...wholly different rod ...and much cheaper. Mariner Stand-ups referred to as "best value" inshore trolling rods.
5) Penn Senator ~$80
6) Shimano Tallus blue water series ~$100 to $125.
Do not buy too heavy a rod for inshore trolling rod...3/0 class (20-30 lb) is probably enough. 4/0 class (to 50 lb) will be fine for even heavy inshore trolling (with 2 pounds total lead between inline and mojo's)
Short rods are GREAT for trolling. 5.5' is plenty, but are available at fewer places.
I bought 2 more used older Senators on EBay this year for $40 each including shipping. A lot of people think the older, white-shafted Senators are better than the new gray-shafted ones.