FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 27, 2020
The False Hook area at Sandy Hook, NJ has been closed effective October 1ˢᵗ, 2020 for the Army
Corps of Engineers to dredge sand from that location. This closure has completely cut off surf
fishing access to the northern end of Sandy Hook just as Striped Bass, False Albacore, and Bluefish
exit Raritan Bay on their southerly migration. In addition to fish leaving Raritan Bay, Striped
Bass, False Albacore, and Bluefish are migrating south from the Hudson River, Long Island and New
England. The unique geography and location of Sandy Hook places all of these fish close to shore
and, coupled with the presence of large schools of migrating forage fish, makes the fall of the
best times of the year to fish at Sandy Hook.
The Jersey Coast Anglers Association sees several problems with the closure and the way it is being
• Anglers were only informed of this closure about a week before it was set to take effect on
October 1ˢᵗ, but the dates of the closure were known well in advance of the announcement.
• The dredged area shown on the project maps released by Gateway National Recreation Area’s
Sandy Hook Unit shows the site being dredged about 1/10th of a mile in length. The Army Corp of
Engineers is closing one mile of beach for this project.
• The start date of the project is October 1ˢᵗ, but the closure announcement
states that the project will not be completed until late December or early January.
• There is a concern that if the dredging project continues past mid-January it can affect the
winter flounder spawn.
• Anglers, as well as other beach users, are already banned from the Northern Fishing Area at
Sandy Hook for over 6 months to accommodate nesting birds. Adding a 3-month, closure after the
nesting birds’ closure, denies beach users from using the beach for three quarters of the year.
This leaves only the winter months for people to use the beach.
The following is the official position of the Jersey Coast Angler’s Association (JCAA) in relation
to the current dredging project at the False Hook and the resultant area closure.
1. In the future, adequate notice of beach closures must be given to all affected beach users at
least 45 days in advance of the closure.
a. Anglers have purchased annual nighttime fishing passes, but those permits are now devalued
due to the closure.
b. Fishing not only provides recreational opportunities for anglers but supports the local
economy through bait and tackle shops, restaurants, hotels, and many other local business
c. Anglers from out of the Monmouth County area, plan on fishing the False Hook in the fall and
now must change their plans. These anglers may have made lodging reservations that they cannot change or cancel.
d. Coupled with the Covid19 restrictions, the closure of the False Hook fishing access has
further impacted local businesses at a time when they could have extended their season.
2. The size of the closure area must be minimized to meet the needs of beach users while
accommodating safety and security. The size of the current closure area is disproportionate to the
actual work area.
3. Three months appears to be a long timeline for dredging an area approximately one-tenth of a
mile long. The Army Corp of Engineers needs to improve their management of this dredging project
a. Moving future projects to be completed as late in the year as possible so as not to affect
the prime fall fishing through beach closures, increased water turbidity, or disturbance of the
b. Minimizing the duration of any beach closure to this area so that the beach is reopened
c. Scheduling their contractors so that the work is done without interruption and completed
4. The work can effectively be performed in late December or early January without
interfering with the winter flounder spawning. Scheduling future dredging projects later in the
year preserves the surf fishing while allowing anglers to have a better chance to catch fish.
5. When scheduling this dredging project, The Army Corps of Engineers must consider the seasonal
needs of beach users. Fishing access at Sandy Hook should be increased in compliance with
Department of the Interior Secretary issued Secretarial Orders number 3347 and number 3356.