I have a Sage "center axis" 2 weight and while it's not moderately priced, it sure is a blast with small fish. It makes a 6"-10" fish really feel like a much bigger fish. I bought mind from a shop that was unloading their demos. Check around and maybe you can find one that way.
"In our family, there is no clear
line between religion and fly
fishing" Norman Maclean
I am sooo bad, here I go again pushin' those St. Croix Rods again. No, seriously these are some of the best rods for the dollar around. They make a couple of models depending what it is you're after, a 7'6" 2pc 2wt SCIV for $260.00, and a 7'6" 2pc 2wt SCIII for $170.00. Both of these have a unconditional lifetime warranty, and rely are sweet rods at a killer price. Any other mfg. with theis kind of warranty and reputation will cost you double. I build custom rods and use their products every chance I get, I think the customer service they provide is top notch and the blanks have a extremely low failure rate. I can build these rods for the same cost as a factory rod if you want something special or don't like the factory componants. Any of the high performance and quality light (1wt & 2wt) line rods are hard to find without spending a bucket of cash. In the 1-2wt, moderate price range there is not anything I would recomend as highly as the St. Croix.
You might also want to look around for a Sage SPLCA. These are the center axis rods discontinued last year. There are still some around and you can pick them up for around $400. Sounds expensive, but it does include a great reel and the line.
I had the opportunity to try out the Sage lightweights when they were first coming out, and they were a blast on small mountain lake trout and grayling in Alaska. I loved them for their action and the way they handled the tougher little fish. Cast beautifully. Someday I'll have them all!