-- Last Updated: Jul-15-12 4:14 PM EST --
If you avoid the cheapest equipment available, you'll have no problems unless/until you put a huge number of hours into fishing, which even for hardcore people takes years. Get a rod that's rated for the weight you wish to cast (even if you plan to troll, you'll no doubt end up casting at times). Longer rods have all the advantages already mentioned, PLUS they will handle a much broader range of lure/bait weights, so you won't struggle as much when working outside your normal weight range (whether that's lighter or heavier that the rod's ideal rated lure weight). If you opt for a lightweight rod, chances are the guides will be too small to allow easy casting (a lightweight rod I got shortly after the lightweight craze hit (that dates me, huh?) didn't cast worth a crap until I installed new guides). In fact, a LOT of rods are sold with guides that are too small, so large guides (especially the two that are closest to the reel) is a good feature to look for. The modern trend in spinning reels is small size - much smaller than they were decades ago, and today's standard reel is yesterday's lightweight. Today's smaller-diameter spools definitely reduce casting distance, and if long-distance casting is a huge priority, I'd look for a reel that's larger than what you "need". For average casting, a reel "rated" for your type of use (mostly the strength of the line) will be fine. Finer details aside, you really can't go wrong nowadays as long as you pay attention to the line and lure-weight ratings.