Location: Highlands, New Jersey
Launching out of Twin Lights Marina, Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay and New York Bight are some of the common fishing grounds for Highlands anglers like Capt. Derek Bielitz. Located in the northern most part of New Jersey near Sandy Hook, anglers from this region often fish both New Jersey and New York waters. The striped bass tend to hold close to shore, feeding and migrating through the inland waters across the 6 miles of the bay.
They hold in this area due to high points and rock piles that act as structure and when they are migrating both north (in the spring) and south (late October, early November).
Tides: The bite is definitely tide dependent in this area with it varying day to day but Capt. Derek finds that they bite best on the outgoing tide.
Approach: Look for birds, surface activity and readings on the fish finder. Most often, cruising and searching around will produce fish. From September through November, running and gunning is how you’ll most likely catch these fish whereas throughout the summer, staging yourself up current and drifting down over the structure works well. Holding the boat in one spot while casting and stemming the tide is a great technique, too.
Rigging/Lure Selection: 6-inch Hogy Pro Tail Paddle
Why This Bait? This lure mimics the bait fish. In the spring, bunker and herring move through and in the fall, they start seeing mullet in this area. Match the hatch!
Colors: Purple, blue and white have been the best producing colors but all colors worked well this season.
Retrieve: A moderate retrieve works best. Cast out, let the lure sink to the bottom, hitting the bottom and then work your way back up through the water column. Vertical jigging them works well, too.
Rod: 7.6’ Jigging World Nexus Spinning Rod Medium/Heavy
Reel: Penn Spinfisher V SSV4500 Spinning Reel or Penn SLAIII3500 Spinning Reel
Line: 30lb Berkley X9 Braid
Leader: 30lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon, 3-foot leader