Here’s what went down this season, on and off the water

By Capt. John McMurray

So yeah man…just got done wrapping up the last boat.   The winter work list is set, and it’s time to get down to the usual winter maintenance and the fixing of broken stuff.   

During the last several years I’ve taken stock, doing a full review of what went down during the season.  Not only from the perspective of a small business owner – it helps in planning for the next season – but also because there’s some closure in doing such a review.  As odd as it sounds, it kinda helps me to put the season in the rearview and effectively set my sights on the next one. 

So, let me start by acknowledging that, hell yeah, it was a darn good season.   And the fall in particular?  I mean, it was the best many of us had seen in two decades.  (Note: I do understand that this was NOT the case for everyone). Yet, while I certainly can’t speak for my peers, it was NOT a particularly profitable one. 

We’ll get to all that.    But first, a disclaimer:  A lot of the inferences I make are based on my own observations and those of a network of guides up and down the coast that I communicate with regularly. And, of course, there’s always social media, which may not be the best indicator of current trends, but isn’t the worst, either.  Of course, there are other points of view, which we’ll be happy to entertain in the comments section. 

The point, though, is that yes, some of the assumptions I make are based on anecdotal information, not necessarily science.  And I should also point out that what follows is simply my informed opinion (and my opinion alone) and not necessarily reflective of any position ASGA might take.    

Moving on, I’d like to cover this year on a species-by-species level…but first, some general observations. 

Exceptional fishing, terrible margins

Yeah, there are some outliers, but the general consensus is that the fishing overall, both inshore and offshore was well above average, at least in the context of the last ten years.  Of course, there will always be folks who disagree, but just given general sentiment, it’s hard to argue that overall, this season wasn’t extraordinary.  Whether it was a one-off or not, well, we’ll get into that. 

Absolutely, that sort of extraordinary fishing drives business, but still, it was not a great year for a lot of us.  For one, the weather in April and May was off – cold and windy – preventing most of us from doing near as many trips as we usually do during the two months that generally serve to make back what gets spent over the winter on general maintenance, upgrades etc.  And weather windows in December, a precarious month in any case, were pretty much non-existent. 

But really it was the overhead that seriously hurt bottom lines. 

Without giving away too many industry secrets, to run a sustainable charter business, you need to keep your profit margin at at-least 50%.  Again, I can’t speak for anyone else here, but mine was way below that this year. 

Fuel prices, for the most part, were the driving factor, but not the only one.  Just about EVERYTHING was more expensive in 2022 than it had been in prior years.  Just finding marine parts was tough, and when/if you did, you could expect them to be 20 to 30% more expensive.   

Of course, most of us raised our rates, and/or added a fuel surcharge. But…you can only raise rates so much without driving too much business away, and I think I can acknowledge that we probably lost some business due to the rate hikes we did put in place.  The trick has always been finding pricing where enough people can still afford to go, but you can still turn enough of a profit to stay in business.  I think where we ended up is at a point where we weren’t able to keep the profit margin where it was in prior years, but were still able to keep our collective heads above water. 

I haven’t done a thorough review yet, but a quick look at the books shows that yes, we did pull in more money, yet spent a LOT more for the things we needed to run the business.  I mean, yes, I suppose every business had similar issues this year, but there probably aren’t many small businesses that burn 20k-plus gallons of fuel a year.

While I don’t think any of us are in this for the money, at the end of the day, ya still gotta make a living.    But hey man, I’ve been doing this long enough to understand that every year is different and that you gotta weather what seems like a different storm every year.  No, it wasn’t a banner year, but in hindsight, it wasn’t a terrible one either. 

The important thing is that most of are still here and planning on another season in April. Still, it sucks to admit to yourself that yeah, you worked just as hard or harder than you did in prior years, and still made considerably less.   

But let’s move on. 

Striped Bass

Given the importance of striped bass to the light-tackle guide industry in the mid-Atlantic and New England, it’s a good place to start. 

Absolutely, there were areas this year that were REALLY good, and some that weren’t so great.  But overall, it’s hard to ignore the abundance and availability in most regions.  The New York Bight seemed to have the most intense concentrations, but from Maine down to Delaware, anglers were describing some of the best fishing they’d had in an awful long time. 

The question we’re all asking ourselves right now is why… and was this just a one-off season?

Honestly, I think the answer to that is no. 

For one, over the last several years there’s been a noticeable and steady increase in abundance/availability.  Yeah, it was extraordinary this season, but it’s not like it went from bad to awesome in the space of a year.  For most of us, there were noticeable increases in the years leading up to this. 

I know there are folks reading this right now, saying, “well, my season sucked”… But with any fishing, there are right-place-right-time considerations.  And it’s hard for the average joe to have the frame of reference that full-time guides do.  While Montauk seemed have an exceptionally good late-spring/summer, their traditional fall run, where most light-tackle participation occurs (Sept into October), was substandard, which I’m sure has led more than one person to assume that we’re in a definitive state of decline.  I should note here, though, that immense numbers of slot-sized fish showed up in Montauk late in October and stuck around most of November. 

The point I’m trying to make here is that, for sure, there’s been some shifting of traditional/seasonal hot-spots (i.e. maybe Montauk didn’t have a great fall run, but Western Long Island/Lower New York Harbor/Northern New Jersey did). But still, overall, there’s seems to be a steady uptick in both size and numbers of striped bass, across the board.

The science, while of course not perfect, is beginning to bear such an increase out too. 

But why?  Striped bass numbers had been in decline for nearly a decade leading up to all this. 

Well, there’s probably more than one cause here, but it’s reasonable to assume that, at least to some extent, constraining management action has helped.  Back in 2015, the Commission responded to an “overfishing” finding by going from a coastwide limit of two fish at 28” to one fish.  Yes, conservation equivalency measures greatly muted the effect, but it still decreased fishing mortality significantly, at least along the coast.  Still, declining numbers of striped bass continued.  In 2019 a new stock assessment told us that overfishing had continued, and the stock had become “overfished”.  And, so instead of raising the size limit the Commission went with a slot size-limit along the coast (28 to 35”). 

While it’s hard to say with 100% certainty, it really does appear to have helped us turn a corner with striped bass. 

For one, well, the number of large fish accessible to the light-tackle angling community certainly seems to have increased.  The amount of 30 to 50 lb fish we’re encountering is no joke, particularly in the New York Bight area, and they are eating plugs and flies, not just bait.  It’s entirely possible that these big fish are available to us in increasing numbers because they aren’t ending up in a cooler in Mass or Rhode Island.  It kinda makes sense – if you don’t kill big fish, then they are still in the water for folks to catch (and release).  It’s important to note here that a lot of the larger fish we were catching had clear signs of being caught before (i.e. scaring on/around the jaw), indicating successful releases. 

All that said…the slot has only been in place for a few seasons, so those big fish, particularly the 50s, had to survive for an awful long time without the protection of an upper size limit.  The question is where were those fish before these last few years?  Were they around and just under a lot more pressure from the folks intent on killing every one caught, thus we weren’t seeing’em in great numbers?  And then, how do we explain the huge aggregation of both schoolies and slot sized fish, particularly later in the season?   

There are probably a number of things in play here.  The fish that are falling into the slot size right now are likely one of the strong Chesapeake Bay year classes (2011, 2015?) recruiting into the fishery.  And those 30 to 50s?  Likely other good year classes – 2001 and 2003s. 

But really, the slot limit’s effect overall is that it’s worked to reduce fishing mortality in general.  In other words, we’re killing fewer fish.  According to the stock assessment update, fishing mortality is down quite a bit from where it was before the slot-limit was put into effect.  And the stock assessment update was clear in its assumption that we’re no longer overfishing.  But it’s clear on the water also.  As a practical matter, it’s just harder to catch a slot fish than to simply catch a fish over 28”, particularly with all those larger fish around. 

Still, these are just assumptions, and no one really knows for sure.  And I’ve been around long enough to know that on the water, patterns you thought you understood can and do change rapidly, sometimes drastically and without explanation.  So, I really just don’t know what to expect moving forward.      

I’m fairly of certain one thing though.  We’re NOT out of the woods with striped bass…and that this level of abundance we’ve seen not just this year, but really the last few years, likely isn’t the new normal. 

There are very clear recruitment problems in the Chesapeake Bay (by far the largest producer of the fish that join the coastal stock).  Young of the year surveys indicate a definitive decline in productivity.  While we may be seeing a good number of fish from a few good year classes produced a while back, there doesn’t appear to be much behind them,although it’s not impossible that the Hudson and Delaware estuaries may be picking up the slack here.  Really, it’d be good to see an updated analysis of those estuaries’ contribution to the coastal stock relative to the Chesapeake’s, but of course that’s not an easy task to complete.

Lastly, all those slot fish recruiting into the fishery this year (and likely next), well, unless the survey are completely whack, it’s likely we’ll see fishing mortality estimates rise.  And that could very well lead us to an overfishing situation again. 

Stay tuned. 

For now, I’m REALLY hoping for a repeat next year, cause this year was pretty darn good on the striped bass front. 


I certainly don’t have as much to say on bluefish.  Locally, we’ve enjoyed a pretty good slug of large (or should I say long) fish that have been showing up in the flats each spring, doing cool sht like tracking, tailing etc.  It’s actually a lot like stalking bonefish or tarpon on a Florida flat.  Interesting that these fish are almost aways long and skinny, and the ones we’ve killed just about always have empty stomachs.  What the hell they are doing in those flats, I don’t know, but they certainly aren’t eating. 

But since maybe 2016 there’s been a pretty stark decline in availability, especially in their usual haunts.  It’s become somewhat rare to see large swaths of blitzing fish.  There used to be a substantial mid-shore party-boat fishery, which seems to have completely gone belly-up.  I guess I should be thankful we don’t see them offshore anymore because they can really ruin the tuna fishery. 

According to the latest science the stock is overfished/depleted.  Whether that has to do with fishing pressure or some sort of cyclical swing is somewhat debatable.  I tend to think it’s the latter as we didn’t really see a big increase in fishing mortality that might have driven them down.  Still, it’d be foolish to think that harvest didn’t play a part.   

Bag limits went down quite a bit a few years ago, from 15 fish to 3 to address overfishing and the stock was declared “overfished” back in 2019.  Since then a rebuilding plan has been implemented and the stock is on track to rebuild.  An important distinction here between bluefish and striped bass is that because they are managed federally, once the stock was determined to be overfished, there’s a federal requirement that mandates a rebuilding plan within two years of the determination.  And that the stock must be rebuilt within 10 years, or as soon as practicably possible (in this case 7 years).  There is no such mandate with state managed fish, and thus why we had a lot of the foot-dragging with striped bass, but let’s not get into that here. 

I suppose the good news is that this year, we did see more bluefish than last, especially in those historical areas they seemed to have vacated.  Are we anywhere near those 2016 levels?  No way.  But speaking locally again, we did have an awful lot of them in the early fall this year, especially in the back-bays.  Other areas seemed to see an increase in fish too, and that is indeed a good thing. 


Not a lot to say here.  Overfished/depleted since the early 2000s, and really a shadow of what they once were.  Again, it’s not entirely clear what caused the decline, but estimated natural mortality (i.e. predation etc.) has been and still is high.  Of course, natural mortality plus fishing mortality equals total mortality, so we can’t put it all on mother nature here.  But fishing mortality has been pretty low, yet the stock isn’t responding.    

Recruitment appears to be okay, but there’s a one-year bottle neck that juvies just aren’t making it though.  Every fall we see a LOT of spike weakfish (7 to 9”) but they clearly aren’t becoming adults.  Why is anyone’s guess.  It’s easy to point solely to predation.  I mean for sure we see them getting absolutely destroyed by both striped bass and bluefish just about every fall, but then how did they manage a level of abundance back in the 90s when both striped bass and bluefish were super abundant? 

Anecdotally, weakfish don’t seem to be terribly resilient.  They certainly don’t seem to survive in fish tanks for very long, as opposed to just about every other local species.  And so maybe there are environmental factors we simply fail to understand that are contributing to their low numbers.  But again, speculation here.    

It’s getting hard to ignore all the reports of folks catching weakfish while tile fishing in 300-plus foot of water.  I can think of no explanation for that, other than they’re somehow evolving. 

It’s very true that we’re seeing some localized pods of abundance in very specific areas (i.e. Fire Island these last two years), and there’ve been more than a few reports of fish showing up in Long Island Sound and southern New England.  But stuff like that definitely isn’t widespread, and every time I start to think we might be seeing weakfish come back, those bites seem to disappear.

Looking way, way back, weakfish abundance has been notoriously cyclical.  But, it’s been almost 20 years since we’ve seen a real fishery.  Beginning to think we won’t, ever again. 

Weakfish aren’t really on my list of targeted species anymore.  Because they just aren’t around in any real numbers. 

False Albacore

Man, I really got to hating those things this year.   From Mid August on, there were so many at the 30-fathom curve that it was pretty difficult to root out a few “real” tuna. 

Of course, albies are awesome when they show up inshore, and man, we book a lot of flyfishing trips for them when/if they do show.  But the last three years they seem to be staying in that 20 to 30 fathom area.  Why is anyone’s guess, but if a ton of bait stays out there, I suppose there’s no reason for them to venture inshore.    

Yes, of course there were some good local inshore runs of these little speedsters (i.e Martha’s Vineyard,  Cape Cod, Montauk, etc.) but otherwise, seems like it was another pretty weak year, inshore anyway.   Is that a function of there possibly being less fish around?  Personally, I don’t think so.  I mean, there are SO many offshore a bit, to the point where you literally can’t get away from them.  But of course, one could argue that with a truly abundant stock you’d have fish both offshore and inshore.  But hey, every year is different, and maybe they will come inshore next year.  I certainly hope so. 

Some interesting things going on, on the management front here.  Albies are more-or-less unmanaged.  There are a number of reasons for that.  For one, it has very little food value, because it tastes awful (no, I don’t want to hear about your unique recipe, I’ve tried it, it’s terrible), and the recreational value hasn’t really been acknowledged until very recently.  And thus, there is very little data on the species. 

To that end, ASGA has embarked on an acoustic tagging project that will hopefully provide some insight on movement, discard mortality etc.  Furthermore, the South Atlantic Council seems to be coming around to the significance of this fishery, and we can expect to see “performance reports” on false albacore in the coming years, which is really just a way to keep closer tabs on the species.  Which could indeed be considered a first step in determining if false albacore does need management. 

Stay tuned and we’ll see how all this plays out.  But for now, let’s hope these things venture back inshore next September.


In the New York Bite, we did NOT have a great bluefin season this year.  At least not compared to the last 10 years or so.  Are bluefin numbers on the decline?  I don’t really think so, but it’s too early to make any assumptions.  Yes, there were good numbers of fish here for a couple of weeks in June, but it seems like they blew right past us and settled in their traditional New England grounds.  Why that is, I don’t know, but it didn’t appear to be a bait issue because we had our usual aggregation of sandeels, whales, dolphin etc.

New England hosted a really good mix of size and age classes, with plenty of recreational sized fish (under 73”) particularly in the Cape.  In years past at least some of those fish would settle in the Mid Atlantic for a couple of months, but not this season. 

I would note that we did get another slug of recreational size bluefin in August around the shipping lanes, which is relatively close, but it didn’t last very long because the entire states of NJ and NY found out about it right quick.    

A ton of commercial-sized fish (73” plus) in New England in addition to the recreational fish, and I guess we had our fair share of them here, but spending the day starting at balloons on 80 and 130s is NOT really a guide thing.  We kind of need those recreational size fish that you can target with spin gear to really make a go of it.   

Regardless, it’s interesting that we didn’t get that same run of giants that we had in 2021.  There was a lot of speculation that those fish had always been there, just no one was targeting them.  And maybe that is the case.  However, I think we probably took enough of them in 2021 that they were simply less genetically prone to come back.  Indeed, there were some caught inshore this year (note: quite a few of them NOT legally), but nowhere near the number as last year.  We tried for them a few times during the open season, but got skunked each time.  And let me tell you, it sucks to stare at balloons all day.  I’d rather run far, burn a ton of fuel, beat myself and the boats up to try my luck out deep.  (Note: being cost effective rarely crosses my mind during fishing season).    

Yes, there was a run of recreational and commercial sized fish in December, but the weather was so bad, only those brave (read crazy) enough to go out in that stuff scored.  We didn’t catch one December fish this season, and that’s a bummer because those December fish kind of put a cap on the season for me.  Last year we probably ran a dozen trips and landed a bunch.  But the truth is EVERY trip after Thanksgiving is a gift.  And the Ghost run is anything but consistent. 

According to a 2020 western Atlantic assessment, overfishing hasn’t been occurring, but the overfished status is “unknown”.  Why is a long story that we’re not going to get into here, but of course, you’d have to live under a rock to not have seen or heard about the increasing number of fish available to anglers over the last decade. 

The Eastern Atlantic Stock isn’t doing too badly either.  And clearly there’s some mixing on our tuna grounds, the extent of which is still undetermined. 

The question I’m asking myself right now is. “Are we on our way back down?”  Because again, a truly abundant stock would produce fish in both New England and the Mid Atlantic.  That said, highly migratory stuff like bluefin is tricky because of their extraordinary range and their ability to cover a LOT of ground quickly.  And so it’s way harder to make assumptions like that. 

I’m really hoping this year, and last for that matter, was just a one (ahem, two) off and that they spend more time in the New York Bight in 2023.   


In my experience, when the bluefin thin out, the yellowfin move in.  In years past, this didn’t tend to happen until late July, early August.  Thus, I had always assumed it was due to water temp increases, but in recent years I’ve come think it has more to do with competition. 

In 2018 we didn’t really see any yellowfin at all in that 30/40 fathom area, yet we had recreational sized bluefin around in good numbers from late May all the way into September.  This is 100% speculation, but I think that yellowfin don’t really move into the mid-shore grounds if bluefin are super abundant because of the competition.  Of course, it’s not terribly unusual to catch bluefin and yellowfin on the same trip, but aggregations are pretty much ALWAYS skewed greatly toward one species. 

What I’m getting at here is we had an insane yellowfin year this season, in the mid-shore and offshore grounds, not in spite of the lack of bluefin, but perhaps because of it.  Fish in the 40 to 100-pound range showed up pretty much as soon as the bluefin thing slowed, early in July, and they stuck around well through November.  Of course, there generally aren’t many weather windows after August, but if you could get out there, it was pretty much lock and load behind the draggers, and most of those fish were on the large side.  I mean, it was stupid fishing.  For a good part of the season, really, you could stick as many as you wanted. 

The only bummer about that was the number of fish coming back to the dock.  Yeah, we killed our fair share, but man, boats were limiting out daily, with an obscene amount of fish. 

Is yellowfin in any trouble?  No, not really.  That’s mostly because they are a short-lived, fast-growing fish which makes them kinda hard to overfish.  But still, it was hard to look at sometimes, because it’s difficult to believe there isn’t some (ahem, a LOT?) of waste, or it was just getting sold through back-doors across the Island.  But who knows, man.  I’ve been trying not to let sht like that bother me anymore.  So I’m not gonna harp on it here. 

But wow…really good yellowfin fishing this year, punctuated by a late season extraordinary aggregation of large fish behind the squid trawlers.   


Another really good year for these things.  I don’t want to jinx it, but for a few weeks each year we can count on good numbers of 15 to 30lb fish from late August on, and NOT just offshore.  We’ve been able to find them on structure as little as 5 miles off, and of course they are all over the Canyon, and everywhere in-between.    

At least to some extent we can attribute this to the fairly recent additions of data collection buoys, each one serving its own particular purpose.  Some collect data for potential wind farms, others collect weather information, and others monitor whales.  But each one they put in is bound to hold mahi at some point in the year.  And then there’s the lobster pots, or any floatsam you manage to come across, you’re likely to find mahi under all that stuff. 

Are there more fish around, or are we just benefiting from all the man-made structure that seems to be going in the water with more and more frequency?  One would have to assume the latter.  I suppose we can also attribute their abundance to water quality.  If you don’t have blue water, well, you won’t find mahi.  And during the past several years, we’ve had blue water pretty close to shore.  Why that might be I can’t even guess.

While there is no formal assessment for mahi, scientists generally assume populations are abundant because they are extraordinarily fast-growing and short lived, and they are highly productive. 

Pretty difficult to overfish a species with those life characteristics, although certainly not impossible. 

In conclusion    

Yeah, I’m kinda disappointed we didn’t have a great year, at least not from a money perspective.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m not worried about next year, continued inflation and even the possibility of a recession, and whether my business model is even sustainable in the long run. 

And hey, I’m definitely not getting any younger.  This sh*t is hard, and whether or not I have another 10 years in me is questionable.   And I guess what I’m really worried about is what happens when it’s over.  Because I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how well adjusted I am to life on land anymore. 

But I’m looking back at this season right now as a good one, and I’m proud of how hard me and my crew ran.  And darn if we didn’t share a lotta stoke.

I’m certain we created a ton of memories for a lot of good people.  

And I guess that’ll keep me going for now. 

So, the nose is going back to the grindstone… And I’m about to go get my hands dirty. 

REALLY looking forward to April!

Thanks for reading. 

5 Responses

  1. I fish Cape Cod. The bay fishing was poor. Hard to find fish during the spring run let alone big fish. This is roughly the third year. On the past the bay held lots of fish from mid-May to early July.
    The rips off Monomoy were very productive in the spring and early July although there weren’t as many slot fish and big fish as in past years.
    Most troubling was the missing school in the Atlantic off of Chatham. That school was reliably there from August to November. It was a huge school in a hundred plus feet of water. It was heavily targeted by the commercial guys. Used to be hundreds of boats. I once met a guy who sold cold drinks and beer to them. He would fill his old whaler with ice and drinks. Sell… return to dock where his wife would load him up again. It was that crazy.
    Once the filled the quota they would be gone and some of us would fish that school in the fall.
    That was then…no more.
    The Cape used to have the best bass fishing. Now I hear anecdotally that there is better fishing Boston Harbor and North. Maine seems to have had a recovery.
    The bay used to be absolutely loaded with blue fish. Didn’t at h a single blue in the bay this year.
    I wonder what has changed the pattern other than overfishing.

  2. John I agree with your striped bass observations. I had a great season guiding and the fishing was better than it’s been in years. I’m very fortunate to have fish on the Potomac River relatively close to the marina. Overall the gas prices didn’t cut too deep into my operating costs and I was able to keep my rates affordable.

    As good as the fishing was with quality 20-30″ fish I am very concerned with the lack of smaller fish. I feel a crash in the stock market is coming for the striped bass in the next couple years. We just don’t have the 12-18″ fish to replace the current stock of keepers. While I’m grateful for the success I’ve experienced the last few years, I’m very cautious to declare any victory on the recovery of the stripers.

  3. i’ll try and write you an outer cape season at a glance.

    the best one word for the outer cape this year was bizarre.

    thru june and july there were more schoolie bass (the vast majority in the 20-25” range with the occasional school of slot fish) than i have aeen in hears. between the pamet and race point it was honestly nearly solid fish. some bluefish mixed in too. believe it or not, the bluefish were almost hard to target with all the bass, but you could find more than enuf to keep the smoker smokin.

    meanwhile, across the bay, there were gigantic schools of over slot bass – big ones – with humpbacks everywhere (in close) feeding on gigantic bunker pods. so many super big bass guys were beating their pb fish one after another day after day.

    for the first time in a many years there was a july 4th influx of school bft off the outer cape like i have never seen. they were everywhere. after a week of some of the best whale watching in years – suddenly – surprise july 4th weekend – there were bluefin busting everywhere from the highlands up to the NEC of stellwagen bank.. and they were biting.

    we were out bass fishing when we saw something “unisual” (for where we were at that time of year). we spent the test of that afternoon fighting 40-45” bluefin on bass gear.

    after an epic week, the school bluefin bite finally thinned out – but what emerged at the regal sword east if chatham was nothing short of extraordinary. a large aggregation of school bluefin had moved in above a very large school of giants. again, a lot of whales.

    on a good weather day – 200 boats of all manner – if you could get there – would just drop a jig to the bottom, 5 cranks, two of three “bounces” and hook a gIant.

    needless to say this created a frenzy and a lot of “safely released” giants. the quota pretty much tells the story written by those who could keep a giant.

    in august, everything changed except the sword. that giant massacre kept on strong. the whales and big fish left the plymouth side when the first big blow brought in some cold water. some bigger fish came around the outer cape but not really. the best run of bigger fish off the outer cape was in september mixed with big schools of large bluefish.

    the outer cape school bluefin moved offshore and didn’t really come back until they were on butterfish in October. they did stick around very late – into december – but were their finicky on butterfish selves – “the bite from of 100 casts” .

    all in all – very bizarre. so many bass. so many school bluefin so early (july 4th weekend is very early for that sort of epic showing) and the sword – so many giants in one area – and biting. bizarre. a really great year, but bizarre.

    i would agree the bass slot is making a difference. like you, i think there were the most big bass i have ever seen – just all around plymouth/marshfield/green harbour. i fear the giant massacre that occurred in the ny bite in 2021 followed by the massacre at the sword in 2022 may have made a big dent in the fiant population – but do believe the overall school bluefin population has been steadily increasing the last several years.

    i am lucky and get to fish with friends out of barnegate nj and fire island inlet and agree – over the last few years the bluefin was epic – surprisingly light this year but yes, replaced with an unreal yellowfin bite.

    i’m very much looking forward to 2023. even though i’m concentrating more on just going fishing, charitable (i take deserving fisherman out pro bono – like wounded warriors) and for charity (i offer a trip for $$ and all proceeds go to a charity) i’m still doing some “relief and cover” for buddy captains (broke motor?, sick, “other”, overflow/big group) and def agree – 2022 was a huge increase in the expense side and squeezed margins hard.

    hope this makes sense. see you out there – and tight lines.

  4. Fished with you guys twice this year and it was EPIC both trips! Living on the Eastern Shore of MD Choptank River we have a seen a serious decline in the 20-30” fish that used to roam every flat and tidal pond mouth. What i did see this year was tons of 15-20” fish in their place. Spring was better than the fall and there just wasn’t much bait to see the traditional fall blitzes i grew up with. On another note Redfish and Speckled Sea Trout fishing was a good in the marshs for 15-24” fish. Can’t wait for spring!

  5. As usual, you have gone above and beyond in your time given, to help the cause. Thanks for that. Since I don’t have been relegated to “part-timer”, I don’t have much to offer here. One thing seems to be sure, The NY bight offers consistency that the rest of the island does not.
    For the first time in over 20 years, I chose to skip the flats season for paid trips. Ofcourse that meant that most of my guide buddies said “it’s the best flats I’ve ever seen”! Classic Irish luck,huh?!
    Got to do some albie fin clipping and tagging thanks to you guys at ASGA. Can’t wait to see results
    Lastly, there was a word “stoke” I couldn’t find in the dictionary. What does that mean? 😉 thanks again pal. You are the standard bearer and I appreciate it
    Brendan Mccarthy

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