Can't get that smell off me

Friday night, south shore, 8pm-2am...big surf, good winds, nice clean water.  Bait is still around...although not like it was in weeks past.  I fished a couple spots.  The first had lots of white water, and I was a super hopeful...but after 3 hours of walking up and down the shore, I didn't get a hit!  So I headed to one of my favorites.  I found good current with big rollers....and no fish!  Not even a schoolie bump.  I went back to the fist spot to test a lower tide height, where I could reach some deeper water with some mussel beds....nada.
SP minnow for scale at the top

Well that could be because I was use the lures above, and others of similarly giant proportion.  I am hedging my bets with big fish now.  I'm sure you're reading all the same sites and blogs I am, and I'm sick and tired of reading about the SP minnow and other little plugs.  I'm, we're, never going to catch big fish with those plugs.  Numbers?  Yeah.  And sometimes, sure, I just want to go catch 20 fish, and put a tug in the line.

But, if I'm honest?  I am genuinely concerned about the future of the fishery, and I feel the weight and gravity of having only tied into a limited number of big fish.  How long will 40 and 50lb fish be around?  When will 30lbs be rare?  Indeed, I would argue I haven't even caught more than a couple truly big fish.  That's really not sitting well with me suddenly.

Not to say there's anything wrong with catching teen bass, and after the past few weekends, I'd be ok with catching a couple 15lbers.

Anyways, I went out saturday too.  It was completely different, moderate surf with very little wind.  I started in the light (rare for me) and threw pencils for a while.  I actually saw an adult menhaden jump out of the water...that got my blood pumping.  Out came the 9" swim shad, but I couldn't throw it far enough.  I tried a nice RM metal lip that is such a dead ringer for a bunker, I don't know how 50's weren't throwing themselves at it.

Anyways, fished there long after dark, and it just kept getting calmer and flatter.  I didn't get a hit.  I talked with 1 of only 2 fisherman I've ever seen here.  A local that sounded like he was from that "baby whale" video.  He gave me some good information, and I couldn't help but reciprocate with some RI information.  I kinda regretted after, but I doubt he'll remember a damn thing I said- he did most of the talking.

I then went to a new location I've never been to.  I found excellent parking, super secret.

I guess the fish were being super secretive too, because they eluded me as well.  I had 0 hits.  Well, I'll be honest.  I found tons of small schoolies busting on tiny bait right at my feet.  I stood in the dark watching them for a while, throwing themselves onto shore at times after what I'm assuming was sand eels but never got a good look.  These fish were maybe 20" long.  I moved on, but when I came back almost 2 hours later, and they were still there, I popped on a 9" sluggo, took 2 casts, hooked one of these little guys, maybe 10ft from shore.  I just backed up to the edge, unhooked him in the water, and watched him speed away.  I didn't take another cast, and walked away from the sound of little fish busting on bait...

So I guess I didn't technically get skunked?

I gotta get my mojo back...October has been terrible.