Nice to meet you Greg; thanks for the kind words.
I had the same issue with the dreaded 17's. In fact, I caught two 17" reds and a 17" speck in 15 minutes. All my fish came in less than 3ft of water on a 1/4 oz jig. Sounds like I should have tried the topwater. The red fish bites I got were weird. They would hammer it on the fall, then spit it out, before hitting the bait again and finally hooking up. Not sure what was going on. Maybe they were hitting it so hard intially that it knocked slack into my line and making me think I lost them, but they were on the whole time. Who knows. I ended the day with one other 16" red and a half-dozen TINY specks over by the island.
I did manage to bring home dinner though, a whopping 3 whole blue crabs! Oh well, better than getting skunked, and I did catch several of my target species. Ready for some bruisers now!