Jersey... I have no idea what your budget is, but know that if you're fishing the suds with any regularity, you'll learn fast and you'll be the one who's "hooked," especially if you start getting into fish. So you could go cheap and end up either going back to the store to get better gear because you're not going to be happy with what you have... or, you'll end up missing big fish you could have landed with a better rod and reel, and maybe damaging what you had beyond repair.
So if you just want to get your feet wet, and don't plan on fishing hard anytime soon, just go to Walmart or Sports Authority, and pick up the best combo you can afford. You'll have a good time, and maybe get lucky and have it last a few years.
But if you can afford it, and plan on making it more than just a pastime.... invest.
I think no matter what path you decide to buy your gear or what kind of fish you want to land ,your best bet is go out with someone who will teach you.From picking out your first reel to casting your first rod.My parents had a boat when I was 7 up until my mid 20's, so my old man taught me the ropes.Good luck with your adventure.Throw up some pics when you land your first Bass.They're out there now.
For local conditions, I go with a 9' St. Croix Mojo Surf rod.
Good Choice! Or even a smaller size- i have a 7ft (or maybe its 7.5??) mojo surf- its perfect for the beach, inlet and even the boat! you will not get the distance or be able to throw heavier plugs with a 7ft... if you want that get the 9
Personally - i find that if your going to spend a little bit of cash- spend more on a good rod... reels tend to come and go- unless you drop the big bucks... a Penn or a Shimano is a good choice...
Lb speaks some words of wisdom , fishing from the beach a 9 ft should be your min , most guys I fish with have 10 s for some distance . 130 on a penn slammer and a rod for 100 is the ticket , a sealine or tsnumia with 15 lb test.
Was very happy with my Penn Slammer for years... 'till somebody stole it, and my kid's bike, right out of my garage two summers ago. Found the bike in a dumpster down the road, but the rod and reel were gone forever.
I agree with walkingonh2o as well... bass/blues/bonito are the quarry most days of the year. Then come blackfish around the rocks in the spring... fluke and maybe speckled trout/weakfish or croakers for fun in the summer.
We used to SLAM blackfish in the lobster pots, especially if it was a trawl we lost that was sitting for a couple weeks, talking like 5 or 6 fish per pot sometimes. Sorry, not hijacking, LB saw your post and it made me think of that.
LB, I have used and think I have finally abused a Daiwa BG to death , although not the most popular I think dollar for dollar these are so simple we can use the word bulletproof. 100 for this reel will give you untold pleasures ,add in a light carbon 9 ft and you have some backbone to land serious fish .