Feathering is hard work physically, so if you can use as lighter rod as possible, i use a 2.5lb tc carp rod with 15lb line and a lightweight large spool reel. I can easily hit a 4oz bomb 80yds+ every time.
Far too many anglers i see use heavy beachcasting rods and reels with heavy line, they may get the same distance but it will be much harder physically.
I also prefer to pull the rod sideways as compared to the origional vertical lift once again its just easier physically to do this and it makes little difference to the motion of the feathers. (imho)
Take a selection of different shaped and sized leads, these will work at different depths to search out where the mackerel are.