Look for water temps at or near 50F. That is probably the 'Start of season' temp. It has to be consistent though.
This is how I do it.
Then, I get a surf report.
If the surf has been kicking up, then it's usually good. If it's victory at sea, you can try, but it's tough going.
Any beach with rocks that get covered with the tide is a good start. Look for rocks. Striped bass are nicknamed "rockfish".
There's an old saying "a fish of a thousand casts." Northern pike are such a fish. Large mouth bass are not. Brook trout are, pickerel are not. Striped bass are, skates and eels are not. It's part of the allure, part of the craft.
Never illuminate the water. constant lights are OK like streetlights, but avoid using a flashlight on the water. I use a red lens sparingly when necessary, and I try to be discrete.
Use two rods, one for bait, one with plugs/lures. Buy a bag of pearl colored storm shads 6". Use that around rocks, and remember: the retrieve should make the rubber fish "look delicious" whatever that means to you. Sometimes a quick dart, sometimes just swimmin, sometimes doing something weird, whatever. don't forget your bait rod! And if you do, don't be surprised to find it missing!
Baits you can use: Clams, sea worms (good choice), frozen mackerel, live eels. Most fisherman will say 'live' bait is best. It is. In the above that means eels and worms. Use eels like a lure, cast retrieve, cast retrieve. Drift everything else with a fish finder rig.
When you do land a keeper you're eat, look inside it's stomach to see what it's been eating. You'll see at least a few crustacean parts and an eyeball or two. If that it what fish from that spot are eating, then that's the way to target them.
If that seems like a bit much, just remember: some guys spend days straight, on the hunt. I've never been known to go more than 15 hours of fishing . . . with nothing to show for it. If you do give up, I'll gladly take your gear off your hands. Cheers.