AndrewA

Sandy Hook Advice

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Hi Everybody,

 

I'm planning on heading out to Sandy Hook this coming weekend to try to catch, well, fish. Whatever fish I can. I just moved to NJ from the Rockies and I haven't done much salt-water fly fishing and none in the mid-Atlantic region, so I'm a total beginner at this. Any advice on what to do once I get out there would be much appreciated, especially what to look for and what to throw at the fish this time of year, and also any recommendations on shops in the area carrying flies and fly gear. I have a few clousers and some shoddy home-tied bunker patterns but if I want to use anything else I'll have to pick them up between now and the weekend. Have a 9 wt with intermediate line.

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Mullet are running now.  Probably peanut bunker as well.  Look for birds and bait fish..Intermediate  line will be fine.  There are no real fly shops any longer in that area.  Just the standard bait and tackle shops. Been blowing hard NE for a while now, which is never good.

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There are good shops up north. Tight Lines is very good. 

There are some clubs in the area. That is a good way to meet some guys and get acquainted with the local scene. 

Sandy Hook is a great place and there are two sides so there is much to explore. 

 

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As you probably already know, Sandy Hook is part of a long barrier island that juts into Raritan Bay, giving you the opportunity to fish the front (the ocean side) or the back (the bay side).  This is really your first choice - I prefer the front this time of year, but it's largely wind-dependent.  Sometimes the wind and surf is just too much for me to fish in enjoyably.  If you're not accustomed to saltwater fly fishing, it'll be that much worse for you.

 

Your second choice is choosing a tide.  People that know more than me prefer the outgoing at Sandy Hook, but in any case, you need to find moving water.

 

Then it's a question of finding the bait.  If you're lucky, you can see it: bubbling bait, diving birds, maybe boiling fish.  I'm never that lucky, so I work to find structure.  Reading a beach is straight forward, but not easy.  Sandbars, jetties, rips, rocks, current seams - all of that is likely to hold fish.

 

Your Clousers should work well.  If you need a fly shop, Tight Lines in Parsippany is my local and they are excellent.  The Urban Angler in the city is probably the closest to Sandy Hook as the crow flies.  The Bears Den ships fast and has an outstanding selection of saltwater flies.  

 

 

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You'll need some kind of basket to hold your line for sure. Choose your locations wisely to maximize your time and effort. Water movement is the key to being in the right place around these parts. If you cast out and retrieve straight back in then you're probably not in teh right spot. 

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You may be able to catch them on a fly gear but you mind as well have a surf fishing rod or two as well. Using cut up bunker, bucktail jigs, or bomber plugs are best from the shore. Often being able to cast far is an advantage. The only striped bass I have caught with a fly was at night of a pier.

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Lots of good advice given, except for that last one. I like to move around at lot, especially at the Hook. Even in areas around structure and moving water, so many times it seems 20 feet in either direction can make the difference. Your flies will be fine, but you'll definitely want some mullet patterns this month. Good luck!!

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Relative newbie at flyfishing the surf, myself (started last November).  From your background, I'm guessing you haven't spent a lot of time in what could be rough surf conditions, so I would caution you to keep your eyes on the breaking waves, and stand so that you're more or less sideways to the break (one foot a little behind you) to help brace yourself and so that the wave isn't hitting you straight on (you're giving it a smaller profile to impact).  Even a pretty small wave can knock you down.  You also need to be aware of the "rip" created when the water is heading back out after the wave crashes - that can knock you down from behind as well.  Not trying to discourage you, just a heads-up, as a fall can ruin your day.  And make sure you keep your phone, key fob, etc. in a ziplock bag in case you do go for an unplanned dunking.  It's a lot of fun, just best to be prepared - good luck!!! 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On 9/21/2020 at 4:04 PM, Gilbey said:

Lots of good advice given, except for that last one.                 Good luck!!

Yes, good luck you will have an enjoyable day looking at the NY Skyline and seeing the Sun Rise Walking the Beaches as waves wipe the beach line Planes heading to NY possibly Newark fly overhead. You may even see Sea Gulls and Terns busy over some bait or a Lonely Seal peering at you while sunbathing. If you decide to take the long hike to the tip of the hook the views are better and might see some large shipping in the Channels The Tides go Ripping by in force in or out, the dropoffs are dangerous Sit awhile and take it all in you are at a space many never see or for that matter get too. Bring a good meal and drink for the energy needed for the return trip to your car, As you are returning reflect on what you saw and experienced as I said not many had that experience. You will notice you may have been by yourself especially with the Fly Rod put that in the back of your mind so you do not make that same mistake again I did not mention Fishing as that is secondary to the Experience you just had. 

Yes, Conventional Surf Caster at times hit it right after spending uncounted hours along the beaches on The Hook Or at very rare moments a Fly caster gets in on the action with the right Lenth & WT Rod and Line. It is by no means a waste of time your fishing not Catching. IMO and many years of Surf fishing with both methods it takes a lot of searching the Beaches in NJ the right spots & the Spots you can even access different times of the year. My advice is to check out the beaches and off the Jettys in Shark River and Manasquan as bait is active followed by Bass - Blues MAYBE. Welcome to New Jersey The East Coast almost Island of the Delaware and Atlantic Opportunities abound------              Good Luck and again Welcome     

Edited by Cheeckakoe

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