2022 Surf Season

2022 Surf Season

By Jared Wood


This surf season was full of highs and lows up and down the coast. Spots regularly fished in the past saw a few good days but no consistency that a pattern could be fished. Lots of grinding it out to find fish was becoming a regular occurrence for some. Other spots had a consistent pattern that if you showed up under certain conditions you found fish willing to take your offerings. Keeping a log of your outings will help with nailing down a bite but some spots do become over fished as well as conditions out of our control force the fish to move from where you have caught them in years past.

This year I devoted a lot of time to a location I had been driving by for years. The first week in this spot I found some fish willing to play. I started to pick apart the structure to figure out where the fish were staging during certain parts of the tide. I had come to the conclusion after fishing it for two months this location was great from an hour into the incoming tide until slack. I had consistent action on metal lip swimmers with fish to 30 pounds not out of the equation. The homework I had done here was thrown out the window when I showed up for a week straight seeing a pile of dead eels just off the path. These eels had been fished and had the tell tale signs of large bass tearing them up. These eels were being fished the opposite tide I must have been fishing.

I decided to fish both tides at this location for 5 days on the next moon phase. The first two nights I had the spot to myself. I had a steady pick of fish on the incoming danny plugs and darters. When the tide turned I had one slot fish for two nights of fishing the outgoing. On the third night during slack an older gentleman I had never seen before starts coming down the rocks and proceeds to an area in this location I had deemed not productive because of the lack of white water, current, and no visible structure. He makes his first cast and I hear the tell tail splat of an eel hitting the water. I am thinking to myself this is the guy who is fishing all those eels I had been seeing. On his third or fourth cast I can see he is into a large striped bass. For the next two hours every time I looked over he was tight to a good fish. At this point I know I just learned a valuable lesson. Do not write off any piece of water until you truly fish every aspect that will affect the outcome.

After the tide the other angler and myself started talking in the parking lot. He was nice enough to pass along some information that I had been missing about that location. The bass in that spot were staging in a pocket digesting their meal. They were not hitting plugs because they are getting a clean look at them but a live eel thrown in there got you tight. The next two nights we fished live eels together with fish from 30 to 41 pounds.

The sand beaches saw small sand eels earlier than years past. The larger sand eels did not show up until the middle of October. Years past the beginning of September we see an influx of 6 to 9 inch sand eels. That was a little disheartening not seeing them for the beginning of the fall run. The fish that had not migrated found them and made for a fun couple weeks.

Bunkers were everywhere this season. They showed up early and in large numbers. Not every bunker pod had bass on them though. It was a game of chance fishing the bunker pods. If you did not hook up after 20 minutes it would move on to the next spot hoping the pod there had bass on them. In the surf finding bunkers that get trapped by the bass tight to shore made for great top water action during the day. These spots made for good fishing until the tides got weaker and the bunkers were able to escape the onslaught.

The rocks fished really well this year. The water was cooler in the rocks which I think helped the bass. The sand beaches seemed to heat up quicker this year and stayed warmer longer. The water definitely was out of the striped bass comfort range. I think this is going to be a continuing trend with the ocean getting warmer earlier and staying warmer than normal later into the season. I found myself fishing in shorts a lot this season over wearing the

wetsuit because of how warm the air and water were. The water temp played a factor into where larger striped bass were being caught compared to past seasons. I record water temperatures in my log book and the water temp from 10 years ago for the end of August this year was one degree to three degrees warmer each day.

The size class of fish caught this season was a pretty good representation of the state of the fishery. There is definitely overfishing occurring up and down the coast. The smaller schoolies that normally show up all over the place were missing. These fish are the future and the numbers of these guys in the surf

was a little discouraging for the future outlook. Stripers from 26 to 32 inches were abundant. They were willing to hit most plugs thrown. They were in their usual spots most of the season which made heading out for a day of fishing in the surf fun. The 30 to 40 pound bass seemed to move further north this season. Fishing productive spots from past seasons panned out really well for catching large bass in the surf this season. There were a couple 50 pound bass caught in the surf in proximity to areas I was fishing. As a whole the striped bass fishery is on the decline with size class and numbers in the classes represented.

As I sat down to write this I am still out there grinding out every bass I can catch before the season is over. I did accomplish some goals I had set out for myself this season and fell short on some. Going until the wheels fall off the bus this season whether it is the bass or me time will tell.

Jared Wood is a surfcaster who fishes from Maine to Connecticut. Targeting Striped Bass, Bluefish, Albies, and Bonito in the surf. He can be found on

Instagram as surfcaster_jared. For any questions he can be reached at jaredwood25@gmail.com.

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