The Canal....All I know is what works for me.
I use 8 ounces of lead on a fish finder, and wire leader, when fishing bait.
I try to fish the slack. That being said, I got my Striper, Saturday, 45 minutes before slack, And a number of Blues, well into either side of slack on 3 different tides this weekend.
The current is a force, but also a reality.
Regarding loss of tackle...Again reality. Part of that reality is that you must make your own rigs. Any local shop should point you in the right direction.
I would say keep at it, you will be rewarded in the coming weeks.