2022 Season Summed Up & Spring Stoke

I hope my readers, if anyone actually reads this, are having a nice relaxing winter. I think we can all agree it’s been extremely mild one. I, for one, am thinking about early spring Striper stalking: seeking out new spots, urban fishing, often at night, looking for rogue hungry bass. But before we get to that, I’m going to list my observations from last year.

1. We had an excellent early spring locally in our rivers, harbors, estuaries etc. Kickass start, lots of slot fish. Both from shore & boat. First bass on April 4th for me. About right for the modern age in the northeast where we really don’t get a proper winter. The first fish used to be around April 15th. Nasty weather days produced best for me.

2. Weakies! They’re back, right in our local waters, or at least they were this year. It’s well known that the species has been on the up-and-up, but I didn’t really stumble upon them in my haunts ‘til 2022. One could presume that the rise of one species is due to the decline of another’s abundance, maybe the bass. Less bass, more habitat for weakfish and also less predation of juvenile weakies?

3. Warm spring water, temps and The inshore river bite transitioned into an open water bite pretty abruptly. Typically we have a good late spring May-June fishery in the islands but it didn’t materialize this year. Instead the fish were keyed in on bunker which arrived in deep, open water first. I use this term a lot- but the fishing was feast or famine. Lots of fish in concentrated areas, other sprawling areas of dead zones. In this case, as many years, ‘find the bunker and you found the bass.’ Lots of 20 pounders, probably a dozen 30s and a couple high 30s aboard my vessel. My buddies got some low 40s when I was gone for the second half of June. This bite really peaked in late May/early June.

4. The top water and live bunker bite around bunker schools transitioned Into a night chunking bite. Perhaps because of warmer than average water. Fish were really in one central area and word got out. This is the future of fishing I’m afraid, no more secrets, more and more anglers, fish are getting whalloped. Oh well, I’m part to blame for writing this blog.

5. Lazy summer: Summer in the shallows was pretty dead for me. The whole June-September period when typically night plugging is productive as well as sunrise top water sessions, was piss poor for me. I should have Branched out and adapted faster by trying new waters, but I’m stubborn. After all, the name of the blog is Norwalk islands*.

6. Sharks! We have brown sharks, some of them quite large in our local waters. Okay, perhaps I’m using ‘local’ lightly, the sharks are generally closer to the eastern sound and Colregs, but it’s still pretty cool.

7. Epic albie season: Fast forward to mid-September, and we had one of the best albie runs of the last decade. They showed up early, in force, and best of all they were (relatively) close to home. Man, what a blast it was. If I’m grateful for one thing about this last season, this is it. We had Bonito too, very fleeting in the western sound. And, Spanish mackeral, not so fleeting. None of the latter two landed on my vessel, but a handful of ‘wet release’ heartbreakers.

8. Fast forward again to early October, temps cooled down and the bass and bluefish bite was ON. I was very happy with the fall run. Tons of slot fish to 20 pounders. My most memorable day was a pre-work outing in October. I was plucking away at fish in the mid 30 inch range and blues close to the harbor. The wind was steadily picking up and getting nasty. I got a tip off from a friend who was heading in, and made a ballsy move to run downwind in a stiff 2”+ chop and wind in the teens to twenties. What I found was nothing short of insanity, acres of bass and blues smashing bunker. Surface explosions, Birds eating the leftovers, howling wind, and I think only one other boat (another local guide). The bite really stayed good in this particular area and shifted eastward where a lot of anglers followed in herd mentality. But the remnant bite was awesome for weeks in the same area most boats vacated, often times right up In the rivers. It was a bite that was extremely tide-based and cyclical. Fish feeding at the same spot and tide for weeks. The bass and blues kept chewing pretty darn good until mid November when it began to get really cold. Last bass for me was November 26th (on a hunting trip nonetheless.).

9. Bottom fishing: pretty typical. Spring Tog was great the few times I got out in 20 feet and also 60. Found a good pile of fluke late summer. One really awesome sea bassing trip with some monster knuckleheads in 60 feet around fish traps. Oh, my buddies did well in shallow on the summer Tog season. Fall Tog season pretty typical, nothing spectacular to report and fish to about 7 lbs.

3 thoughts on “2022 Season Summed Up & Spring Stoke

  1. Hi James, Yeah I’m out here reading this! This was a great, detailed article, as were the pictures. Beautiful fish. Thank you so much. I’ve been restoring a fishing boat and a skiff for 5 years, and am confident that THIS year I will be in the water at Halloween YC at the earliest club date, and ready to fish mid April. I’ll be watching for your articles, you put out the absolute BEST info. I don’t even bother with the tackle/bait shop and head boat propaganda. Thank you for what you do. Best regards, Jeff C. Stamford CT


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