I suspect your main target species would be Snapper. They are school fish and swim around a bit, so even if you are using the right bait you might not catch anything.
There is quite a range of baits which work well for Snapper, good quality pilchards are probably the most popular. But other baits like squid, trevally would also work at times. You could also purchase a few Softplastic crabs. Sea Worms are not common bait, but it is possible to gather them yourself, I have never done it. Same people swear by it.
I normally use a 4/0 Owner circle hook and behind that a ball sinker for Snapper fishing.
There are exceptions, but generally high tide at evening is when the best Snapper fishing occurs. I know a few Nelson locals and they only fish at dawn and dusk.