First of all, that time of year you're better off fishing at night. Midnight to false dawn is best.
Don't fish alone in the surf and never turn your back to the breakers. They're not all the same size and a "rogue" will surprise you every time.
For fly fishing in the surf, rising tide is most often best and the point where breakers are beginning to pour over the bars is prime.
Scope everything out in the daylight at low tide when you can see the structure where bait is likely to be trapped
Don't think that you need to cast all the way to France to catch fish. Very often they're right in the wash at your feet and casting parallel to the shore may produce best.
Sand eels and silversides are good most of the year and worm flies and crabs produce in the summer dead drifted in the longshore current.
Ed Mitchell has a good number of his older magazine articles on his WEBSITE
, but you might be better off reading his book Fly Rodding the Coast
. Another excellent SW primer would be Lou Tabory's Inshore Fly Fishing
Reading either one would be the best way to get started