Two sizes of surf rods are needed for the beach. A light rod with 4-6lb test line for sand fishing and a 6-12lb rod for fishing from the rocks. Look for a 7-9' light-action rods. Steelhead, Salmon and Trout rods work well in the surf. Find a rod with a limber tip. Start out by using the longest, most limber trout rod you have. Match it to a 2500 or 3000 size spinning reel loaded with 4 or 6lb mono. Good, inexpensive reels include: Shimano Sedona, Sienna, Penn Battle II and most any multi bearing spinning reel under $100. Don't spend a lot on a reel as it will eventually get sand inside the gears and seize up and stop working.
Octopus hooks work well for small sand crabs and grubs (Gamakatsu 50409, Owner Mosquito "Light" sizes: 1, 2, and 4 ).
Long shank hooks work well for worms, mussel and large sidewinder crabs (Mustad Sproat Worm Hooks sizes 1, 2).
Swivels are used between your leader and the sinker. I like to use black swivels (because they don't reflect the sun like jewelry and scare the big fish. Sizes 10, 12 and 14 work best.
Small beads can be used above the hook as an attractant--larger beads are used as a cushion between your sinker and swivel. Leader beads are generally 2mm and slide along the leader, just above the hook. Sinker beads are 7mm and provide a cushion between sinker and swivel, keeping sand from clogging the sinker and breaking your line.
Sliding sinkers are used with the Carolina Rig. Use 1/8th ounce sliding sinkers when fishing near rocks (to reduce snags). Use 1/4th to 1 ounce sliding sinkers when surf fishing. Sinker rule: The larger the surf the heavier your sinker.Bait Gloves for clams, mussel and ghost shrimp.
A bait keeper for your waist with a belt works best for keeping bait alive and fresh. Use a small piece of kelp to help keep bait cool.
crabs. Small hand nets, calendars, scoops, shovels and your hands all work well. Your goal is to collect crabs and check to find those that have a pliable or "soft" shell. I like to use crabs that have a shell with about the pliability of a soda can. Use crabs that are the size majority in the area you are fishing. Adjust and change your bait often.
Promar gloves...perfect for collecting clams, mussels and ghost shrimp