Spring Run Season in Review 2017
At the time, I’m about a month late In writing my season report. I’ll start it off by saying it was one for the books. As always, there were some real monsters caught in the western sound and islands this season from May to early July, but this year there seemed to be even more numbers of big fish. A few notable catches include a 49 pounder caught by Colin Kelly live lining bunker schools in the western sound. I don’t know many guys who fish as hard as he does, well deserved!
Jason Coleman hauled in a 40 inch striper on a soft plastic in some very skinny water in the islands. Very impressive! Another likely even bigger fish straightened out a hook in this same spot the next day. That one hurts…
Your author even managed to join the 40 pound club with a striper caught chunking the June new moon. I missed the mark by 2 pounds last year, and I was clearly thrilled to hit the benchmark this year.
Season in Review
We had a lot of bunker schools this year. Lot of bunker, lot of nice stripers. One difference this year is that the schools of bunker with fish on them stayed out in the middle of the sound. A lot times around the far ends of the Norwalk islands you find schools getting harassed early mornings. While it happened sometimes this year, it wasn’t nearly as common. I wasn’t able to make a pattern out of it. We also had a colder than average spring, with more rain, which kept action going for awhile. Some say rain pushes the bait out. I noticed this year sometime after a heavy rain (which we had a lot of) the bunker were thick in the harbor, which sort of debunks that theory.
All of that isn’t to say that big fish weren’t caught in tight to the islands. They were there, just not pushing bunker schools around. While there were some rumors of sand eels, I can’t say I’ve been able to substantiate that rumor myself.
It’s no secret that August slows down for sure. I have managed to have days with a ton of stripers though. Small fish (16-24 inches) for the most part, on a mix of flies, topwater, and small bucktails or soft plastic jigs. It’s a great time, and I see no reason to stop fishing in the dog days (or better yet, early mornings) of summer. There are also some quality bass to be had if you put your time in. We have a TON of small bait in the islands. Add to that snapper blues and crab hatches, and you have a rounded diet for bass and blues to keep them here through the end. Bottomfishing has also been pretty solid. Fishing jigs, rock piles and channel edge will yield some nice fish for the table.
Late Summer Norwalk Islands Striped Bass Strategy
Daytime: I recommend cycling between two groups of lures. The first is sub surface (as deep as you want depending on retrieve speed and weight). This includes small swim shads, 1/2 oz bucktails with trailers, or other soft plastics with jigheads. The second group is topwater. I like smack-its, creek chub poppers, doc spooks, or gibbs polaris poppers. The bass will take of these groups depending on their “mood.”
On the fly side, i like small folded foam poppers. I also like mushmouth flies in blue and white, and the classic clousers and deceivers, all on intermediate line.
Nighttime: Nighttime I switch over to swimmers on the spinning rods. Typically bomber Long As, SP Minnows, and a variety of smaller Rapala X raps and other swimmers. Bring a dark and light color of each, and you’ll figure out what they want. It’s integral you have both, some days they literally will not take a dark lure, but will hit white with reckless abandon. SLOW DOWN the retrieve at night!
On the fly side, I use the same flies as daytime except skip the poppers. Again, SLOW the retrieve once the sun goes down.
Tight lines mates. For questions, reports or input, email firstname.lastname@example.org .