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Atlantic Highlands Fishing Information

Atlantic Highlands and the Leonardo State Marinas are located in Sandy Hook Bay. They are 2 of the more popular jumping off destinations due to their close proximity to some of NJ's best fishing grounds. Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay, Flynns Knoll, Romer Shoal, Shrewsbury Rocks, Shrewsbury and Navasink rivers. Altantic Highlands hosts one of NJ largest fleet of Party and Charter boats as well as a full service marina and launch ramp that is run by the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina. Leonardo State Marina has also has a public launch ramp and a snack, bait and fuel store that is accessable by water. There are many bait and tackle stores on the way to the area on Route 36. You can also rent small boats and motors at Atlantic Highlands.

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Fishing Calendar

Depending on the time of year most Party Boats will fish for the following species:
  • March - April: Blackfish, Ling, Cod
  • April - May: Winter Flounder
  • June - September: Fluke, Bluefish, Striped Bass, Weakfish
Many Atlantic Highlands Charter Boats will fish for the same species as the Party Boats and will also fish offshore for Sharks from June - September and Tuna during August through early October.

Some Fishing Tips

  • Surf Fishing Shore Fishing is very limited in and around the Atlantic Highlands. If you are looking to fish from shore try Sandy Hook.

  • Fluke fishing is excellent in and around Raritan and Sandy Hook Bays as well as Earle Naval Weapons Pier. Best fishing starts in early June and will run strong into August. Drifting a combination of a strip of squid and a kellie is the most popular way to fish.

  • Flounder fishing is best in the April and May time frame. Chumming is a necessity to improve your chances of catching a good number of fish. Anchoring is the usual fare dropping down either blood or sandworms. Sandworms stay on the hook better. Raritan Bay areas such as Round Shoal Keansburg are usually good spots.

  • Striped Bass are on the come back in the area and rival the Bluefish populations. As far as quantity is concerned April and May is the best time of year. It's not uncommon to catch in excess of 10-15 fish per person however, shorts will out number keepers by a 20 to 1 margin. On the other hand, Fall is when the trophy size fish come around. They usually start in late Sept and run through early November. Drifting live eels, Chucking and livelinning Bunker or trolling plugs or Bunker spoons usually accounts for the largest fish. The best time to fish in the mid summer and fall is at night. Many Party boats fish for striped bass exclusively at night and run trips from 6pm to 11pm.

  • Bluefish are almost everywhere. It is not uncommon to be able to sight cast jigs to schools of Bluefish chasing schools of baitfish. Diving birds are a sure sign there are Bluefish in the area. The most popular way to fish for Blues is to anchor your boat chum with ground bunker to attract the fish while dropping back cut bunker. Make sure to use a heavy mono or wire leader since these fish a sharp teeth that will make short order of 10 - 15 lb mono. Night time is great for Bluefish as well.

  • Weakfish start to concentrate in the area in July and August and a very abundant. They can usually be found along or in deep channels. Drifting sand worms usually works best. Try putting on a firetail rubber worm in addition to the sandworm. Try to avoid high traffic areas since these fish seem to be boat shy. Catches of 15-20 fish are not uncommon.

  • Blackfish are usually caught in the early spring and late summer. Fishing with Green crabs and Filddler crabs from a drifting or anchored boats works well. Any rock pile in the bay will hold fish at one time or another. Buoy 20, Old Orchard Light and Romer Shoal light are popular areas. Fishing the ocean is some what tricky since the fishing is done by locating wrecks. If your not in the rocks or on a wreck your not going to catch. It's a great way to cure your fishing itch over the Easter holiday.

  • Tuna are targeted in the summer months offshore in the Canyons.

  • Sharks are targeted all through the summer months and can be are usually be caught inshore of the canyons anywhere from 15 50 miles out.