Dick Pinney's Guidelines: Guides are a huge part of outdoor lifeBy DICK PINNEY May 19. 2018 9:36PM
Guiding and being guided, both professionally and by or for friends, has been a big part of my sporting life for about as long as I can remember.
My dad and older brother didn't have the outdoors bug that this outdoor addict had, so it was to older friends and neighbors that I was indebted to for my early learning hunting and fishing.
Some of them are forgotten but we do remember a neighbor, the late Coleman Pearson, taking me fishing on local trout ponds and once on a woodcock hunt over his pointing dog, which I was in charge of feeding and watering when the Pearsons were away for any length of time.
Arthur Duncan, grandfather of two neighbor kids who were younger than me, but who liked to fish, would bring me along, both enabling me to fish places out of my bicycle range and to help with his kids.
A young man my brother's age, Bob Hartson, used to walk about a mile to pick me up and we'd go hunt bird, squirrel, rabbit and whatever legal game there was at the time. We only had to walk about 200 yards behind my house to get into good hunting territory for all of the above. And, later on in life, an adult mentor that we teamed up with provided wheels and other stuff plus his time to show us the ropes of deer hunting, ice fishing and other great stuff.
After my stint as a New Hampshire Conservation Officer, I and my brother-in-law Jim MacKenzie Sr. applied for and received a New Hampshire guide's license. To my surprise, when they came, mine was No. 1 combination hunting and fishing guide license and Jim's was No. 6!
There's a story to this, my friends. We left Fish and Game under some very suspicious conditions when two fellow officers dropped a court case that I was involved with. I responded with a lot of rebellion and finally walked away from the job of my life. So someone in Fish and Game was quite aware of this happening and was sympathetic to my cause. The Fish and Game guide's license No. 1 was always reserved for the incoming governor!
So, armed with our new guides licenses, Jim and I went about our part-time guiding business specializing in catching striped bass and those once fantastic coho salmon that had energized quite a following here on the Piscataqua River and Great Bay. They were quite difficult to catch but we had them down pat and probably never had a trip when we hadn't scored either salmon or stripers and sometimes both.
We eventually gave up the professional guiding because of the pressure of our real jobs, but we did often take non-paying friends and family out for some good fishing.
But guiding wasn't a one-way deal. We were smart enough to invoke the expertise of other guides to take us out fishing and we still like to use the party boat fleet for our offshore angling.
One of our best results of having a pro guide take us out for some Great Lakes salmon fishing happened kind of by mistake. I and the late Dick Berounsky of Greenland were trying for early-season king salmon on Lake Ontario and we thought we had the key to it after watching what the other successful boats were doing and asking for help from tackle shops.
But we were wrong, big time. The first day out we were doing almost every thing right except for one thing that Lake Ontario Guide got us straight on. Very down at the mouth and sitting at a local watering hole right on a Lake Ontario inlet, I was fingering a lure on the counter that a tackle shop clerk had told me that was the "killer of the day."
Unknown to us, a pair of fishermen sitting near us were listening to our lament about the poor luck today while watching all the other boats limit out. Guide Dwayne Hoefert, who later became a great friend and teacher, came over and sat beside me and introduced himself. He said that they'd "killed 'em" today and that was indeed the lure that was the best producer. When I told him that the lure in my hand never produced a hit, he couldn't believe it and invited me and Berounsky out on a freebie trip the next day! (Having seen my outdoor writer's business card may have prompted this act but it still was a great offer!)
We accepted. And when he set his fishing gear out that next day, I inspected the gear with a fine tooth comb and could come up with only one difference in how he rigged. We had been used to tying our trolling spoons directly to our lines, which curtailed our boat trolling speed so we'd had to fish slow enough to keep those spoons from spinning up our line. He rigged with snap swivels that prevented the line twist and allowed him to troll faster, which was all that was needed to provide some kick-butt king salmon catching along with lots of other Lake Ontario gamefish such as steelheads, brown trout, coho salmon, etc.
Now the very first thing we do when either fishing or hunting a new location, we try to engage a guide for at least the first day. You have to experience it for yourself. It's like having a master's degree in one day and the results are many times worth more than that one day's guide's fee. And in most incidents, we've made a new friendship.
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.