Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: The saltwater fishing this time of year is absolutely 'off the hook'
By DICK PINNEY
This is prime time for a lot of the saltwater species to be on a feeding spree and to move up from their winter quarters into our New England waters, where they will have plenty of opportunities to chow down on several of their favorite prey-species, notably schools of small herring and eels as well as clams and seaworms.
The trick for the Dickster is to fish the outgoing tides in the mouths of bays and creeks that dump into the ocean, as the schools of predatory fish such as stripers and the larger pollock and will gather around these outlets and feed heavily on the baitfish, often ignoring the presence of anglers, both wading and in their boats.
We've seen these "feeding sprees" so intense that some of the predatory fish are so intent on catching their prey that they have unwittingly run right into the side of my boat!
Often they are so intent on chowing down that we've seen times when they would bite the tails of one another by mistaking it for wounded prey.
The key here in loading up on a bunch of fish when they are really "on the bite" is to not be fussy on either your fishing routine or hook removal as this "bite" is not going to go on indefinitely. You need to "make hay when the sun shines," as the old-timers would describe this opportunity to load up with fish.
Three of the more regular predators that you're apt to find during a feeding spree are the larger mackerel and pollock as well as striped bass (they'll eat their smaller relatives during a "blitz").
During this kind of a feeding spree that come so infrequently we are apt to go into a pretty crude but effective method of quickly unhooking fish from our hooks: step on the fish and yank the hook loose.
If you ever do this, you need to know that hooks flying out of a fish's mouth can just as easily end up stuck into your foot, leg or any other part of your body! The Dickster has very gently removed hooks from the corner of an eye, an ear lobe, leg or any other spot on your body.
By the way, we are great believers of wearing eye protection when involved in this "yank and crank" type of fishing! But you gotta "make hay when the sun shines" and catch as may baitfish as you can during a blitz-bite of baitfish.
Nothing could be sweeter than to have a bait tank full of the right-sized herring, eels or other live bait and be right in amongst a feeding school of stripers or bluefish. You want to be sure you have a good set of cutting pliers onboard as hooks set in an arm, leg or even your butt are entirely possible!
Best to have a large insulated cooler full of ice. When it's available we'll put a couple of large blocks of ice in the cooler and top it off with either ice chips or cubes. Make sure you leave the cooler's drain spout open, prop the cooler up so the excess water will drain at the outlet.
I'm psyched! It's been too long between those exciting days at sea when the fish seem to want to commit suicide! Bring it on. The Dickster is ready and (somewhat) able to put a hurt on them.
Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and get you some!
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.