Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: For the patient, good flounder fishing is there

By DICK PINNEY April 15. 2018 4:29AM


A lot of people who try to sample the flounders this time of year come away discouraged, but there is a definite possibility of catching at least a meal of them if you fish specific places, notably the warm water flows coming out of bays and rivers.

The flounder will seek these places because that's where they will find most of their own feed this time of year. They love to eat seaworms, but seaworms do not like cold water. Also clams, another favorite food for the flounders to feed on, are apt to be buried a bit deeper in the cold water.

Here on our Seacoast, one of the best places to try for early-season flounders is the mouth of the Merrimack River on the outgoing tide. The tide is very important this time of year because the sun has a chance of warming up the water in the more shallow bays and rivers and the warm water is a magnet for active flounders and also the stuff that they feed on.

If the Dickster were to go after flounder (and we're giving it some serious thought!) we'd have to say that the Merrimack would be our first choice, but because that's several miles from home, there's no doubt we'll be trying the inlet/outlets of bays and streams that flow into the Piscataqua River, and also the mouth of Rye Harbor and the other smaller creeks and bays that flow into the Piscataqua. One great place when conditions are right is the outlet of Chancy Creek where it dumps into the Piscataqua.

Believe it or not, the coves out at the Isles of Shoals can produce some good flounder catches this time or year - even though the water temperatures are colder there than here on the coast. But the coves at the Shoals often have warmed up a bit and will attract feeding flounders.

Although clams are a good bait to use for catching flounder, we think that live seaworms are probably better. But we have no real comparisons, This is just a gut feeling.

Mackerel are another story. It's hard to forecast where and when they'll arrive at the inshore waters. We've never had much luck at early-season fishing for them but occasionally we have caught a few to make it reasonable to try.

In our several decades of fishing both Little Bay and the Piscataqua River, we've rarely had good flounder fishing much before the Fourth of July, Must be because these fish are patriotic!

Personally, we have no qualms about catching and eating harbor pollock. One key to producing an edible pollock fillet is to always keep them on ice, either the fillets or whole fish. Do not let them get hit with the sunshine or you will spoil some very good eating.

We fillet them in the normal routine but then, because the fillets will have a row of small bones running the length of the fillet located just about in the center, we'll run our knife down each side of the row of bones and remove them.

Anyone who would scoff at meal of these boneless fillets would have to be a Communist! Or not be very handy with a fillet knife! We roll ours in homemade-well rolled cracker crumbs-the finer the crumbs the better as far as we're concerned. Frying the fillets in good virgin vegetable oil or especially olive oil finishes the job. Just don't overcook them. A nice golden color will do.

We'll make our own tartar sauce by chopping up a white or red onion very fine and mixing with good mayonnaise and some sweet pickle relish. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it!

We don't mind mixing various fish species! Often we'll have fillets of flounder, mackerel, pollock, sea bass and an occasional eel that is not filleted - only headed and gutted. Don't scoff at the idea of eating an eel! We'll admit that they are hard (we'll say darn near impossible) to remove all the bones from. Those ell fillets make mighty good eating - we like 'em better than the other fillets.

Oops-gotta go. I hear those fillets simmering in the pan calling.

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.


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