this is a great site with tons of helpful people you'll love it.
I just got in to striper fishing in the summer of 2004. What I got for my first set up was a 10' Shakespeare graphite surf rod med action rated for 1-5 oz but, I didn't like the way it cast with lures over 3oz, and a penn 560 slammer reel. The rod is lite weight and great for plugging( which is what I mostly do) and its only a little over $100. The reels great except for getting sand in it if you get bashed by waves, but I feel just about any reel would get sand in it they way I fish (except for a van staal). I recently up graded my rod to a 10' Lamiglas Ron Arra pro rated for 3/4- 2.1/2 oz I think they run around $300, but check ebay and you might be able to find one cheaper.Its a great rod and casts like a cannon. A lot of the guys on here love tica rods but I've never used one so I can't give my opinion on them, their reels are nice though. well hope this helped if you look in other threads you'll find a ton of info