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ELBERON ROCKS, NJ

The Elberon Rocks are, generally, the grounds are a 2.5-square mile area off of Elberon, Deal and Long Branch.
By Nick Honachefsky
ELBERON ROCKS, NJ

All I know is that when I want to target doormat fluke during the summer months, I immediately head to the Elberon Rocks. Sure, I know I am going to lose some gear, but to put a fat 6- to 10-pound flattie in the cooler, it's worth the trade-off.

The Elberon Rocks are also known as the Takanasee Rocks and may be loosely referred to as the area off the "Red Church." Generally, the grounds are a 2.5-square mile area off of Elberon, Deal and Long Branch, comprised of sandstone known as greensand, shale, boulders and mussel beds - basically all types of snaggy structure. A few shipwrecks are dotted within the structure, most notably the Rusland and Adonis, aka the Dual wrecks, which lay right alongshore, while the W.J Stairs sits on the north end of the rocks. Add to the fact that a lot of lobster pots minefield the area and you can see why you will be donating a lot of bucktails and rigs to the spot.

You'll be working depths that range from 25 feet right in about 1/8-mile to the beach out to around 50 feet just a mile off. Fluke fishing takes top billing here, especially in the summer months from June through August when summer flounder stick themselves between the rocky ledges to ambush prey. Larger 2- to 5-ounce bucktail rigs tipped with a long strip of fluke belly or 6-inch Berkley Gulp! grubtails attract hits from large model flatfish.

The key to bottom fishing the area correctly is to always try to have an up-and-down approach, meaning to try to stay vertical with short drifts or quick power drifts and forgo the long, sweeping drifts that create a sharp scope angle of line where you inevitably get snagged and lose your rig. During May and June, you'll find plenty of striped bass and bluefish during the spring run as they corral bunker schools around the rocky structures. Troll the area with bunker spoons and shad bar rigs to hook up both species.

Though fluke are the main attraction in summer, do not overlook sea bass fishing as the aggressive predators line the rocks July and August and eagerly inhale squid strips or clam bits on hi-lo rigs. Come fall, look for speedsters like false albacore and bonito to make an appearance in the area as trolled feathers and spoons can dial them in.

Also during the fall, be sure to drop a few green crabs on the rocks as blackfish inhabit the rocky terrain in full force. Without a doubt, you'll be hearing of the Elberon Rocks once again this summer as some of the largest fluke of the year are taken from its snags and crags.

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