Agree with everything Slabjig said. Would also add the tired old (but don't you dare ignore it cause it can save your life) advice to NEVER EVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN, AND DON'T TRY STANDING ON OR CLOSE TO LOGS AND THINGS IN THE SAND!!! Sneaker waves and the sand getting sucked out from under your feet can lead to impromptu baptisms or worse.
OK, now that that is out of the way...sand shrimp, mole shrimp and berkly sand worms in camo are my personal favorite baits for surf fishing. Like Slab said, prawns and squid works also. If you go with sand shrimp/ghost shrimp (two names for same thing as far as I know), get some thread to wrap around them and hold em to the hook. Lost of vids on line. For bait fishing either surf or rocks, I tend to keep it simple and use high low rig (Sinker on bottom with hooks 18 inches or so above the sinker, seperated by another 18inches or so), with two hooks. Weights depend on conditions. I like to use 2 or 3 oz coin or disc sinkers for rocks (and yes you will lose gear to the rock gods. Its a fact of life so just accept it), and pyramid, claw, or sputnik sinkers for surf fishing. Jig heads with curly tail grubs, white is solid choice, seem to work better for me when targeting Ling cod and black rock fish.
Hope it helps