Mike...Greetings! I've got a good friend who specializes in shark and tuna...Capt Bill Brown has been chartering out of the Watch Hill, RI, area for ages and does the show circuit. He really knows his stuff and puts alot of stock in "the new guy" doing a charter or two while taking good notes on the specifics necessary for success. Give him a call at (860) 741-3301 (CaptBillB@aol.com)...(tell him I sent you)...I'm sure that he can suggest books, credible sources, and perhaps a chance for "hands-on"...
Personally, I prefer to spend some ca$h for a charter to get a good foundation...Once "educated" the application of fundamentals speeds the learning curve and the freezer will soon witness the rewards.
Re-inventing the wheel takes time and money and can be very frustrating and disappointing...A trip or two with a pro puts you in the "fast lane" and gives you the basic experience to grease the wheel and get it rolling in the right direction. GOOD LUCK!
p.s. I'd be happy to volunteer to cut bait and clean up the mess!
A 12wt will do for the smaller critters but a 15wt will handle the sharks and big-boys...bullet proof drags and lots of backing...technical rigging and "blue-water 101" will be in order...Come visit the YAC and we can talk about it over a cool one!