The area of present day Brielle, New Jersey was originally founded as a section of Shrewsbury Township, one of the original townships of Monmouth County. Rich, fertile soil and convenient local waterways immediately made this a successful agricultural region. Further development enhanced the area with many cottages and hotels, attracting many visitors. In 1881, the town was renamed by investors after an area of coastal villages with similar geography in Holland. Since then, Brielle has become a popular summer destination for many residents of New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. The natural surroundings of waterways makes travel to these other states extremely convenient, and many of Brielle’s inhabitants commute to their careers in other places; but the local industry remains tied to the waterfront.
Though located slightly inland, Brielle is only a quick drive or bike ride away from beautiful white sand beaches in neighboring Manasquan and Point Pleasant. The Manasquan River, a major waterway in central New Jersey, widens greatly as it passes by Brielle and flows into the Atlantic Ocean via the Manasquan Inlet. Such proximity to the River, Inlet, and Ocean makes fishing the number one attraction in this area. Brielle’s marinas host more than 200 commercial and charter fishing boats which take passengers and anglers into the Atlantic Ocean and some of the best fishing holes off the Jersey Shore. Whether you want a peaceful fishing trip along the Manasquan River and its waterways and bays, or the bigger thrills of deep-sea fishing, you can find a boat leaving Brielle’s port to suit your needs. Trip lengths vary from a few hours in the morning, afternoon, or evening – even at night- to a full day on the water, and even longer, overnight jaunts farther out into the Atlantic.
While the Manasquan River is home to a variety of fish, of particular interest to many local anglers are Sea Run Brown Trout. Raised at the nearby Pequest Trout Hatchery, these fish migrate downstream to Manasquan Inlet after a period of freshwater residence. Once they grow to a size of two to four pounds or larger, they return to the freshwater Manasquan River every fall, providing great angling for locals and visitors alike. Seasonal influx of good-sized Striped Bass and Fluke further complement the fishing along this watershed. Fluke start moving towards Manasquan Inlet early in the spring. They gather in the Inlet and near the beaches early in the season, then into deeper water as the season progresses, remaining in close range of Brielle all summer long. Also in early spring and summer Bluefish provide great battles throughout the inshore waters. Winter Flounder is another popular species in the Manasquan waters, especially during their spawning runs in November and December. There is a pocket of the Inlet along the beach at the base of the jetty, where baitfish get pinned during fall runs; this results in high action of Striped Bass and Weakfish, among other hungry saltwater predators. Tuna charters and other offshore trips reach farther out into the Atlantic, with many staying overnight to haul in loads of big fish, especially giant Yellowfin Tuna, Longfin, Wahoo, Dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi), Tilefish, even Sharks, Swordfish and Marlin. Six world records have been caught in these waters, including Cod, Pollock, and Sea Bass.
Many attractions throughout the Brielle area provide constant entertainment and distraction for the many yearly and weekend visitors who continue to make this a very popular New Jersey getaway destination. Museums and historic sites pay tribute to the town’s long and significant history, while wineries in the countryside and parks make for tastefully fun options for families and children. But it’s the great fishing in this fortunate confluence of waterways and deep-sea access that keeps the locals happy, and tourists coming back again and again.