Fishing the Rocky Shorelinesby Capt. Terry Rand
The beaches and shorelines of the northeast are what you would call rocky terrain. Much of the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts coastlines are covered in boulders, rocks and gravel which creates fantastic habitat for the predator fish and their table fare. While fishing the immediate beaches and their associated rock piles, another man-made rock structure must never be overlooked by the angler.
Jetties are man-made rock structures that have been built for a variety of reasons. One is to curb beach erosion and to quell storm surges. Another is to create a causeway leading into a river or salt pond. But, one thing that they all have in common is that they all will hold fish at one time or another.
Much of the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts coastlines are covered in boulders, rocks and gravel which creates fantastic habitat for the predator fish and their table fare.
Striped bass love fast moving, turbulent waters. One reason for this is that their prey becomes disoriented in the froth making for an easy meal. Other predators like bluefish, weakfish and false albacore will make use of these same water conditions. Jetties will create this type of turbulent water by way of the forceful waves crashing into the rocks prematurely before reaching the beaches where they usually lose some of their power. It is not uncommon to find masses of these predator fish feeding viciously on baitfish right up against the jetties where the water is the most turbulent.
In addition to the above mentioned fish species, blackfish and porgy will also make use of the jetties. Crabs, mussels, periwinkles and whelks all use rocky structures to create their homes. And the scup and tautog will also set up house in these areas for the same reasons; they provide shelter and food. They can roam the stretches of the jetties to feed on the crabs and mussels and they can also hold themselves up in between the rocks to hide from larger predators.
Like the adjacent beaches, it is often best to plan to fish jetties during an incoming tide or at the top of an outgoing tide. Generally, you will find that you have deeper water to work with during this period and fish will also tend to be more concentrated. If the jetty you’re fishing is a part of a causeway leading into a river or pond you will usually find baitfish being chased into the channel during the incoming tide and the opposite on the outgoing tide.