Get Rigged Up with a Basic Rod and Reel Combo
Ideally, the well equipped angler would hit the water with a selection of rods and reels, each suited to a specific location or maybe a targeted species of fish. That's not really very practical, so most folks start out with a basic "multi-purpose" outfit and build their arsenal over a period of time.
As a starter outfit, it's hard to go wrong with a 7-foot spinning rod, mated to a 2500 to 3000 series spinning reel. The rod should be fairly stiff, designed to handle weights from 1/4 ounce up to one ounce. This rod will easily handle most of the lure or bait and weight combos used in this area.
Load the reel with either 12-pound test monofilament or 15-pound test braided line. I like the braid. Even though braided line is very thin, it's easy for fish to see, no matter what color line you choose. Fix this by tying a 24-inch piece of monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to the end of the braid. The strength of the leader may vary from 20 to 40-pound test. Twenty pound test works great for speckled trout and redfish, but 30 to 40-pound test is recommended for snook or Spanish mackerel because they have sharp gill plates or teeth that might cut the light leader.
A Uni-Knot is an effective knot for connecting leaders to your line. Learn to tie this versatile knot at www.netknots.com, a helpful site for tying all types of fishing and boating knots. The Uni-Knot is also featured in my surf fishing book.
This line and leader combination will work for casting a lure, fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork, or presenting a piece of cut bait on the bottom.