Random thoughts... Most (if not all) of the really big stripers I've seen caught on the beach have been caught on very small lures. Hair Raisers, small Kastmasters, small minnow baits, etc... Check out the 38 lb fish on the Cool Photos gallery (zoom in if you want to see what happens if you use cheap hardware). I was catching 8-15 lb left and right that night on a MS Slammer. No one else was catching fish except the one guy who got the 38 lber on a small Bomber. Another dark and stormy night I was throwing all kinds of big lures like MS Slammer, poppers, big wooden divers, and someone next to me got a 35+ lber on a small hair raiser. Maybe just bad luck? The popper bite last year was very good. This year it's been really bad. The main reason I never use pencil poppers is because it's a PITA to make them walk right with baitcasting gear. Regular poppers seem to work just as well, anyway. I had a lot of luck last year using a D.A.M. popper, which actually looks like a fish and is easy to work using baitcasting gear.