I usually tie a snap swivel to main my mainline, then I attach a "crappie rig." I put a 2 oz cannoball or pyramid sinker on the snap swivel end (bottom) of the crappie rig. I then put a #6 or #8 snelled single baitholder hook through the hook arms of the crappie fig. I use pieces of peeled shrimp, mussels, and/or 1 inch Gulp! Camo Sandworms. Catches a ton of surfperch, cabezon, California halibut, greenling, and even small rockfish. Use this setup at night to catch lingcod off the beach (usually 8-16").
If you want to catch big rockfish from the shore, go at night. Use a really noisy topwater (like a jitterbug) or use a Wild Eye Swim Shad in either pearl or Firetiger colors. You can also use grubs or senkos, but I have had the best luck with the shad. Prepare to lose some tackle, though, because you want to get into the rocks where the fish are holding.
As for your last question, if you use curlytail grubs, cast out and let it sink to the bottom. Then either reel super slowly (but constantly) or reel about 1-3 times, let sink, and repeat. Your best bet for catching fish from the shore during the day is with the bait rig.
Be careful if you go out at night, though. I have had a few really close calls jumping around on wet, jagged rocks in the dark. Wear shoes with good grip, coarse rubber-soled socks, or if the rocks are somewhat smooth, go barefoot.