I was using 4/0 Owner circle hooks with a firm drag. For bait I use a whole raw prawn tails which rougly filled the entire gap of the hook.
Distance. The nearest rig was maybe 5m from the beach, so just before the surf starts but most of my casts were slightly further out maybe 15-20m. So at a guess 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the pier into the sea.
My casts out to the end of the pier and further had no results.
When I was trying for the crabs, I started by dropping the net at the end of the pier, then every 20-30 minutes I would check and move it slightly closer to shore. The bait in it was a combination of old Squid and pilchards.
I like seaview, but I am to lazy to open/close all of the gates. They should invest in cattlestops.