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In the heart of Striper Country, USA sometimes the toughest task in catching fish in the area is accessing local beaches.
By Allen D. Riley

Beach access has been a highly contentious issue between surfcasters and beach communities for many years. Sea Bright has to be included in the ranks of those shore destinations that are making good-faith efforts to strike a balance between their concerns and the needs of the angling community.

If you are not familiar with Sea Bright, it is a three-mile narrow ribbon of land located along the North Jersey shoreline between the Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook to the north and Monmouth Beach to the south. It is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Shrewsbury River to the west. The striper fishing along this narrow peninsula’s shoreline is some of the best you will find anywhere. Getting to the fish has not always been easy or possible.

Although the Borough of Sea Bright has ten free public beach access points on Ocean Avenue, parking has been a sticking point. Change is in the air. The community has taken an existing low-profile beach access point and made it more visitor-friendly. The refurbished Anchorage access site has a modest parking lot, an impressive walkway over the seawall, a structure housing new restrooms, and a nicely-groomed section of beachfront.

The shoreline in the Anchorage area used to be dotted with many striper-rich jetties. Unfortunately, beach replenishment has covered almost all of the structure in the area but baitfish and their predators always seem to find their way back to the local shoreline every fall. You will find a variety of marine life in the local surf throughout the long fishing season but make no mistake about this: Sea Bright is in the heart of Striper Country. The celebrated Giglio’s Bait and Tackle shop (www.gigliosbaitandtackle.com) which is nearby at 1123 Ocean Avenue can provide you with whatever you need to fish this area and a treasure-trove of free advice on how to do so.

Fishing is best and shoreline access the easiest before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. You can fish any time of the day without competing with bathers for real estate. The situation is a bit more complicated during the high summer season. At that time, several high-end beach clubs near Anchorage are very protective of their turf. Expect to find posted regulations for all of the public access points in the borough during the summer months, rules that are vigorously enforced. Frankly, your best chance of enjoying your time on the beach during the summer is to fish early in the day and in the evening. Whenever you fish these public access sites, follow all the posted rules and regulations. Be considerate of the local people and their facilities so you do not give the foes of public access additional ammo to keep us off their beaches.

The Anchorage public access area is situated on Ocean Avenue just north of the center of town. Coming from the north, continue on Ocean Avenue after passing over the new Highlands Bridge. There are three beach clubs on your left just before Anchorage: Ship Ahoy, the Sands, and the Surfrider. Keep a sharp lookout for the new restroom building on the south end of the parking lot, near the walkway over the seawall. If you are approaching from the south on Ocean Avenue, look for the traffic light for the Shrewsbury River Bridge over to Rumson on the left. The Anchorage access lot will be just after the traffic light on the right. The old Anchorage Apartments that have lent their name to the access point will be on your left.

I understand that Sea Bright will continue to make enhancements to their existing public access sites. The parking slots, restrooms, and walkway over the seawall that are found at Anchorage should be a model that is copied elsewhere in Sea Bright and in other nearby communities. If you log onto www.seabrightnj.org, click onto “Beach/Visitors” and then “Waterfront Public Access Map” you will see that Sea Bright has several public access ways. This one is F Anchorage.

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