John P, In another section on this site, Frank Daignault lists 16 reasons why people catch big fish. He missed one that immediatly comes to mind:"They are there". I used to catch at least one "50" per year from 1975 through 1988 (I missed 1986-spent the year in Florida)from the "Jones Beach to Atlantic Beach Area". I also got a bunch of 50's in Montauk(up to 1985), commercial fishing with Artie Johnson/live eels. During those years, the bays were full of large bunker (menhaden, mossbunker, pogies, etc.) and the big stuff was there to eat.
Last year, there was a good number of 50's taken in Montauk (I know of some boats that had 5 or 6). However, the old resident stock of bunker that lived in the back bays of Long Beach and Jones Beach were wiped out by purse sieners from the Stella Maris Fishing Station (I believe Sheepshead Bay) in 1989-91, that were operating out of Sonny's in Seaford. The bunker were turned into lobster bait.
Much like the seals moving to the Cape because the pair trawlers are decimating the herring, causing the seals to feed where they find an alternate foodsource; the big bass no longer look at your area as "easy pickings".
In order to consistantly catch 50's, you must first be into lots of 30's and 40's.This "class" of fish often feed in a specific area until "something changes". That something could be weather, bait, temperature, season or getting cleaned out/picked over too hard.
I suspect that until you see a large, stable population of big resident bunker return to your area, risking divorce and/or unemployment is (possibly)not worth it. When the big fish return though.........JC
PS-Havn't had a "50" since 1991