Tons of treads on this subject, and tons of different answers. Guess it really boils down to what each person personally feels most comfortable with and your price range.
Personally I like an 11' rod, rated 1-3oz or 2-4 oz for plugging.
My favorite is the AFAW Estuary, but they're hard to come by these days. Rated 1-3, but really should be rated more like 1.5 - 4 in my opinion.
For lighter jigs, tins, & small plugs, I reach for a Lamiglas 1321.
That said, there are plenty of great rods out there in the $100 - $200 range. Find a length you're comfortable with and stay within the weight rating for the particular plug/lures/line you intend to throw.