When I didnt know much I caught tons of fish with a Silistar rod and a well worn open faced spinning reel.
The setup was a Mitchell 302 and a $15 - 10' silistar rod from Modells.
Then I graduated to Shakespeare ugly sticks and a Penn 7500 which eventually gave way to the Penn 700s and Z series reels. Most of my fishing was bait and wait.
My favorite rod was a 30 dollar no name from Modells (probably made in China) that was broken by the car door.
The point here is that the rod and reel doesnt t catch the fish, the terminal tackle and the presentation does. How you get it to them is half the fun.
My feeling is that the perfect setup for bait and wait is a med to heavy 10 to 12 foot rod that will throw 4 to 8 ounces and a spinning reel that can handle 200 yards of mono. Used ebay is fine. As long as it is cleaned oiled and cared for.
This method kept me fishing in good stead for 15 years until i thought it was time to upgrade and learn a little bit about casting and lure presentation.
Now my feelings on the perfect bait and wait setup is a good med to heavy chunking or casting stick with either a baitrunner (shimano) or a Penn 704 reel. I have all types of both spinning and conventionals but my preference is those mentioned above. The baitrunners are great for fishing cut bait.
PS the 704 is an excellent reel for plugging in the surf. IMO. 21 ounces (intermed weight)