It depends on what fish your targeting because there are many different rigs you could use and be successful. But a general rule is a long rod like 8 foot to be able to cast further out. The rod should be medium to medium heavy. Personally I would use a medium, but many of my captain friends like a medium heavy.
The reel should be at least 4000 size, my favorite. My captain friends prefer a 5000 or a 6000. Personal preference is a big thing with anglers. So you should go to a local tackle shop and hold all different setups in your hands and see what feels the best for you. Make sure you get input from the local tackle shop employee, because he will know exactly what works best in your area.
Lastly I would use no terminal tackle. I fish off the beaches along the Gulf Coast with very light tackle. The Gulf coast tides, currents and fish are not as strong so I can get away with doing that. But what I would keep exactly the same is the terminal tackle setup. I would use braided line tied directly to a fluorocarbon leader and a loop knot to my hook. No swivels, no snaps, no wire etc... Maybe a split shot if I have to get the bait down in the water column.
I am a serious live bait angler. I just believe that is what fish eat, the real thing (lol). So I like to free line a live bait. I know many anglers on your coast use fish finder rigs for their surf fishing. It is a weight with a red bead, a swivel a leader and a hook. I actually would utilize both methods and see which is more effective.