I also have a 12" Ugly Stick. This was my first rod and it was a good one to start with. The only complaint that I have was that it was so heavy that I thought my arm was going to fall off after holding it for a while. So now I have my St.Croix which is much lighter and a **** of alot more sensitive. I also agree with Van staal. Loomis makes a great rod also, but its just a little more expensive. If you really plan on going, I would recommend spending the extra $50-100 and getting either a St. Croix, Loomis or Lamiglass Rod. Believe me, you will notice a difference and you will be glad that you did.
St. Croix - Fish don't eat price tags