England Banks - The Fisherman

England Banks

2019 2 England Banks
Images courtesy of Navionics

LAT/LON from Saltwater Fishing Guide by Capt. Pete Barrett.
N40 14.087  /  W73 55.762

Legend has it that the England Banks were named as such by early skiff fishermen who launched their boats from the crashing surf; as they rowed fastidiously to the grounds roughly 2 to 3 miles offshore, the distance to get there seemed like they “were rowing to England.”

The England Banks start off of Deal and extend northeast up towards Elberon, roughly 2.5 miles off Elberon Beach, and are a short ride from the Shark River and Manasquan Inlets. Generally, they rest in depths of 52 to 65 feet on the south and east edges but can drop to the 70-foot range in some spots. The basic structure of the England Banks is comprised of mussel beds and glacial rocks that border each side of a trough.

In the old days, the banks used to be an incredible whiting and ling hot spot but as seasons change, so do the fisheries. Nowadays, black sea bass, blackfish and fluke comprise the majority of catches. Many captains prefer to drift over the hardscrabble structure for sea bass rather than anchor as you can cover more ground to pick away at the massive schools hanging on the rocks. Summer months are prime time for sea biscuits.

Fluke tricks revolve around dropping big bucktails as doormat caliber flatfish lie between rock piles, heads into the current as they wait for the tidal influence to wash forage through the passes. Bounce with 1- to 3-ounce bucktails tipped with fluke belly, bluefish or mackerel strips. Tautog hounds can find the spot productive during spring and fall months, when blackfish are moving back in and back out on their migration.

April and May as well as October and November are prime times to hit the England Banks for tog and as the structure isn’t comprised of sharp edged wrecks, you can usually pull-bounce your rigs out if they happen to get stuck between low-lying rocks and mussel beds.

Since the structure at the banks has been around for decades, there is plenty of forage growth that attracts crustaceans, sea worms and thus all sorts of baitfish to the area. During spring and fall months, the area also tends to attract bunker schools and bunker equals striped bass. Try trolling with bunker spoons, Mojo balls or shad bar rigs just above the hard ground as bass lay low in the water column under the bunker schools.

The proximity of England Banks to the Shrewsbury Rocks also makes it a preferred spot to start your striper trolling pattern to cover prime turf. This year, be sure to take a trip to England for some quality catches, bank on it!

 

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