Noobie to rods and reels

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To start off let me introduce myself, I'm from an island off mid-coast Maine Have been gone over 20. got my recreational lobster license at 10, fished commercially in zone C and DMI left Maine to go dragging off Georges Banks, boat sold in Jamaica Bay Brooklyn NY, stepped off it and have been in NY ever since(not many of my generation can say they come to NY on a boat).

I have caught pollock almost as big as myself, 5000 lbs of monk, pollack, cod(only kept 400lbs a day), grey soul, dabs, lobster, and who can remember what else at a time , I once caught a whale(obviously accidentally), fish I know rods and reels, I'm clueless. I go back north with my family every summer for a week or 2, this past trip I picked up my late father in laws rig, a 11" graphite tournament Diawa rod and matching reel, old and corroded loaded with what I suspect was 100lb test mono, I damn near hit my own big toe with the first few casts. But unfortunately I was hooked, so 20 min later I had a new Penn Battle2 8000 being overnited from Amazon and some 30lb braid(I mentioned I have no clue what I'm doing right?). spent the evening youtubing casting techniques, next morning put that reel and line on the rod and managed to get out to about 30 yards, at least 3 times my my previous best. so now I'm totally hooked.  I'm a General contractor down in the cityNYC and have a hop farm upstate where I live so GC/Farmer who leaves the house at 5AM every day, plus I'm getting old so I figure I need a good hobby to fill all the negative amount of free time I have, and golfing looks stupid. 

I left the Penn/Diawa rig on the island probably put that reel on a better rod next summer. Now I want to make a baitcaster rig for catching Bluefish off the shore and I could use some advice.

It is extremely important above all to get the farthest casting possible, all off rocky shore with no shortage of seaweed and kelp not too far below surface.

I really like the looks and reviews I have read on the Abu Garcia low profile casters and the St Croix 12" surf casters with the cork handles(the red ones) I will of course tell the wife the rod reel combo was $100 combined.


1) reel what size, what min drag for blues, what return ratio? casting distance above all but needs to be able to handle a blue?

2) rod 12" surf caster is my best for long casting? St Croix from the price and the rave reviews, I assume I cant go wrong there?

3) Line I really like what I have been seeing on youtube this hollow splicable stuff, I can splice rope, cable, how hard can fishing line be, thinking 30 lb hollow with 30 lb mono top and a short steel leader. thoughts? cast distance/ hold a blue are only concerns.

4) tackle, need to cast hella far, but cant sink too fast or ill be in the kelp in no time What should I be casting?

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