I just picked up a Ross essence FC 11wt. I am also new to the salt, and have not caught anything on this rod yet (stuck in CO!), so take my advice with a huge grain of SALT! Ha! I love dumb puns.
I did get to take the rod to the park though for some distance casting on a windy afternoon.
I was able to hit the 80' mark several times, coming within a few feet to the end of my tape measure. So... I think it is fairly accurate, and pretty easy to cast. I was double hauling a 10wt WFF line and having a blast! I have only cast a 10-11 wt a few times on the water, but for $160 I'm happier than a pig in schlitz.
I found an Orvis battenkill V for $160 to match it. In principle, I am kind of opposed to Orvis' shops and their style (ie they only sell their own, and kinda snooty). But, it is a respectable brand with some longevity, so I thought I would forgo my principles to get a nice affordable large arbor with a good warranty; it was found via a fly shop closeout site.
Side note: I went into the local orvis store to check it out, the guy gave me the up and down, must have decided I was not their target audience, and ignored me. In a town of 100,000 with 2 locally owned fly shops, these guys post up and try to edge in. Not very classy, kind of like a starbucks. The reel is schweeeeet though...