Bottom Fishing(from Shore)

Choosing a Shoreline to fish from

New Jersey's coastal rivers, jetties, piers and bulkheads have always proven to be effective fishing locations. Fishing bottom rigs for fluke & weakfish in the summer months can provide great action and fill your cooler just as fast as if you were on a boat. The secret is to know your spots. A good shoreline fishing location is not always the most obvious. Just because an area is close to parking, or always has fishermen fishing there, does not necessarily mean that the location is the best available. One great way to find a good location is to plan to check out remote areas in and around popular spots during low-tide. By exploring a beach or canal area when the water is at its shallowest can reveal many otherwise hidden features about a potential fishing spot.

Your vantage point from a high pier can clue you in on the depth and the bottom of the sea floor. The intersection of a beach and a jetty can show variances in depth or actual holes that can hold fish during a more opportune tide. Incoming tidal currents can be realized, even at the lowest tide, to tip hand of a trench cut by the current. These are all good examples of nuances that the low water can show you. Jot down a few of these locations, including a reference point on land, so you can find the spots and cast into them during the incoming or outgoing tides.

Areas such as these provide an excellent shoreline habitat for Fluke & Weakfish. Baitfish will gather in these areas below the surface to seek shelter from other mid-water predators or especially strong currents or waves. Shoreline fishing for the right species in the right location at the right time is all you need for a successful day.

Fishing for Fluke from shore

Since fluke are sight feeders, meaning they primarily depend upon what they can see to identify their prey, and when fishing from shore the water is typically not very deep, daylight is the best time to fish. During an incoming tide fluke stack up along the beach feeding on baitfish, calico crabs and sandeels.

When fluke are feeding they are not on the move. They lay in ambush with a quarter inch of sand on their backs and their 2 eyes poking out. When anything swims above them or near enough to strike, the fluke dart out grab the bait then nestle back to the bottom to eat it.

The most important technique an angler can use to catch these fluke is to cast a rig baited with live killies, spearing or sandeels and squid strip, casting as far from shore as possible. Slowly retrieve the line feeling for a strike. Try not to mistake a snare in the line on the bottom as a striking fish. Keep repeating this process in different areas of the fishing spot until you start either getting strikes or hooking fish.

Fishing for Weakfish from shore

You will probably want to bring a sand-spike or rod holder if you plan to fish for Weakfish. These fish will feed all along the outside reaches of jetties along the beach. Set yourself up on the beach side of the jetty.

Since you will be fishing near the rocks, it is best to use a flat or rounded lead sinker to minimize snags. Your rig should have a short 12" to 18" leader, with a piece of wood or cork to keep the bait off the bottom. Sandworms and Bloodworms, live and whole make a great bait for this rig, but the secret to success of this bait is to keep the worm alive as long as possible. a small piece of pork-rind is placed on the hook. Dry off the pork-rind just a bit and lay a generous bead of SuperGlue on the pork-rind. Lay the head and side of the worm, directly on the bead of glue. Be sure to keep the worm on the glue for 10 seconds or so until the glue sets. Now the worm is virtually unharmed, and will stay alive for a much longer time than if hooked.

Cast your rig at the edge of the rocks, place your pole in the pole holder, rather than holding the pole. This will minimize, the pulling action that can jeopardize the worm, and allow the float & rigged bait to drift naturally near the wash on the rocks. Weakfish and Striped Bass will both find the worm by smell & sight. When they strike, they have a tendency to run off the rocks, then back onto them. Pay close attention to your rod tip when waiting for a strike. Keep your drag tight enough as not to give way when pulling the fish off the rocks. This method also works very well off the jetty, however negotiating the landing on the rocks can be hazardous and difficult, especially for Weakfish, since they would need to be lifted onto the jetty, as opposed to being dragged onto the beach.

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