A released fish has an excellent chance of survival when handled carefully and correctly.
Be quiet, be successful... Although we assume the ocean is loud and fish are used to the noise, the cows are very aware of any sound that is out of character.
The popper is made in various shapes and sizes from half ounce versions to 3 ounce versions, they come in wood and synthetic.
Spring Stripers will readily hit artificial lures. You will see and probably use most of your "tin" lures and use them with success.
Are you aware of how visible your terminal tackle is, even in the dark?
If I were to give one tip on the whens of fishing... I would not include tides, weather, barometric pressure or time in the season.
Without question the shade they are most drawn too is RED. I put red eyes on my lure and many times...
Some of the reasons why I find this to be perhaps the best all around artificial from shore is because you can fish it day or night, with a teaser or without, preferably slow but can be retrieved any speed you wish.