Re: GLoomis GL2 vs. Sage Launch
I have actually never cast either rod, though with what raves i've heard about the Launch rods, I'm suprised to hear that the price of the GL2's is so close, given that I've heard rather different opintions of them.
Last I knew, the GL2's were only available in 2 piece, and I would strongly recommend going with the 4 pc version. You may not need the portability of it often, but you'll end up being glad you spent the addt'l $20-30 on the 4 pc rod.
You'd be best off going to that shop, and saying you'd like their help picking out the best rod for you. Even if you're just getting started, they should be able to analyze your casting stroke, and help you select one that is right for you.
While picking the rod that suits you is the priority, I can tell you from experience that the warranty procedures for Sage and Loomis are quite different. With Sage you pay for only shipping, with Loomis it will run you $45 plus shipping at least one direction. The advantage with Loomis is faster turnaround and their ability to get it to remote locations. (read: at the lodge in Alaska/Belize/etc)