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Ok, here is my two cents. Always use a leader because the scales/fins/rocks/etc will fray the leader. Don't be shy about a strong leader. At least 30 lb and up to 50. If your using a lighter lure a heavy leader may impeed action somewhat. Blues will try and bite the lure/bait out of the mouth of the fish on the hood and they will bite through lighter lines. I use 40 lb and sometimes 60. I prefer lures to bait because I am not calm enought to bait fish. Bait will almost always catch more but for me it is not as much fun. Many of us use two rods, put one out for bait and cast with the second. Your rig sounds good. I have several Penn Sportfish Big Game surf (9,10 ft) which are really great for the $. I prefer my Loomises. What is the lure weight and line spec on your rod? I fished 20lb all summer on my lighter rods but really prefer 30 esp. if you're heaving bait and weight. I two oz lure is ok with 20 but the same rod/line with a 2,3 oz weight and bait might break on you when casting. If you don't use it within those specs it won't perform well. Eels are great too. As far as tide, depends on where you are. If you fish on inlet both are good. However, right now the water temp in the bays is alittle high for the bass so an inboud might be better. Good luch. Onthefly
 

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It sounds like you bought a really nice outfit and it just right for the surf. I use a similiar outfits. My only addition was a rod that was 1 - 5 oz. Most of my lures are under 2 oz except for heavy spoons & gigs. I think you're set! Don't forget about Breezy Point if you have 4wd
 
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