I'm a pier guy so can't help much with the boat but I do know of people catching some nice cows near the statue of liberty last year. Jim is probably your best source of info here. I do however fish about 2 hours before and after high tide with good reults last year. I typically just fish a fishfinder rig with either clam or herring/bunker steaks.
I know some people who did really well trolling with wurm rigs but again they were lucky enough to be on a boat ).
Also there is a lot of good bait fish in the water depending on what time of year. But i have caught everything from baby weakfish to false albacore to porgies and snappers. I live line some of those with decent results especially when the blues aren't around.
Thanks. A good read - I have been poring over the site since I found it. What do you recommend as bait/lure and fishing method over the next couple of weeks. One last question - do you have any favorite bait shops up near West Point?