Newbie question about the difference between surf rod brands
Hi, I'm new here and I have been reading the forums and finding answers to help me select a surf rod and reel for stripers and general fishing. I just moved to Central Maine from Virginia, and I am lucky that I can now fish stripers on the Kennebec river three minutes from my house, or I can go down to the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean / Casco Bay and fish the surf, and there are reportedly plenty of other places to fish in between. I had a great trip last July with my brother in law, where we fished cut bait on a fish finder using 9' and 10' surf rods.
My question is, is a $280 St. Croix Avid remarkably different from a Tica rod at half the price, or is it one of those 'twice the cost for 10% better performance' things? Who among you says it's worth the price, and who says no? I would like to own the best equipment I can, stuff my kids will fight over when I am dead, but at the same time I don't want to be a total gear snob. So, what do you think?
Also, how much harder is it to work a 10' rod vs. an 8'? I'm told an 8' will be more than enough for where I am fishing (steep drop offs), but the Southerner in me is drawn to the 10-12' cannons I grew up seeing on the shore.
Thanks, and I'm glad I found you!