First, get a map showing artificial reefs. We have one on our site, but you can sure find them in a lot of places besides ours. Rather than starting with dragging metal or baits, you might start bottom fishing for grouper and snapper. It's solid sport, great table fare, and productive.
If you want to drag lines, go with a guide once. Pick a local that people you know have used. Pick a guide that loves to teach -- the goods ones all love it, and will spend the entire day teaching you everything from why the fish in one direction or another, how they trail baits, everything.
The reason you ain't catching fish is either because a) not fishing where they are, or b) you're dragging bait in a way that makes it look unusual. That's very, very easy with hoo.