Your choice of an ugly stick is fantastic. I fish more specialized rods now, but I have owned many ugly sticks over the years, and they are rock solid performers.
For the "small-water" fishing destinations and the species you say you'll be targeting, I would go for something in the 5-7' range - in a light rod power (to use Shakespeare parlance). Moderate to moderate fast action.
As you are a novice, I'd recommend using a heavier line weight than you might use after you have more experience - 10-12 lb test braided line. It has the diameter of something like a 4-6 lb monofilament, but greater strength, sensitivity, and performance overall. Look for a spinning reel that will hold 120 yards or so of 6 lb monofilament and it will hold much more briaded line. I believe Shakespeare offers combos that would probably be perfect. Just make sure that whatever you buy is rated for saltwater
The heavier line will definitely limit how far you can cast very light (<1/4 oz.) lures and rigs, but I think you'll lose fewer fish than if you were using 6lb test line.
With a rig like this you could fish for bluegills or crappie one day, and then fight nice sized stripers the next. And catfish should be no problem.