JC, 16# of drag on 50 tackle should be enough to get the hook in... it has always been that way for you man and that will not change. Sometime its just not your day and the hook hits bone, in those cases even 30# won't make it penetrate. You won the tourney two years ago with the same rigs, the fact that you recently lost a couple of fish does not makes a hook rig good or bad, its just Murphy's Law... sh!t happens, too bad it happened to you.
If you want to improve in something then get rid of your Mustads and move to Black Bart's Pa 'a hooks, they are the very best and ready to use out of the box. Super strong, needle eye and reduced barb to allow for better penetration...
Never judge the success or failure of your fishing in seconds, minutes, hours, days or even years - but rather by a lifetime of experiences.