Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: It's peak season for coastal fishingBy DICK PINNEY September 01. 2018 11:33PM
We're coming into prime time for coastal fishing as most of the highly sought after species should all be available "for the catching."
We're talking flounder, mackerel, white perch and stripers.
"White perch," you may ask. Yup, we're talking regular white perch that are very happy in both fresh and salt water and probably the happiest in tidal water that has a lower salt level than pure ocean water.
Because there seems to be plenty of tidal water white perch, we're sharing a secret about them. Just about all of the freshwater creeks or rivers that flow into Great Bay's tidal water hold nice numbers of white perch that on average are quite a bit larger than their freshwater relatives. And to the Dickster's taste, seem to be a bit more delicious.
Because we're a bit limited walking long distances, we usually fish for them from our boat, which we'll launch wherever it's convenient and closest to where we'll be fishing.
We will not pinpoint those places but we will advise you to keep your coastal white perch fishing to spots that provide feeding opportunities for the perch, which are opportunistic enough to know that the baitfish will usually seek in-the-water structure such as bridge or dock pilings that break up the currents so the perch can ambush their prey from a place where they won't use up their precious energy.
These are usually in the several tributaries of the Piscataqua River and all the Great and Little Bay tributaries.
White perch are not that fussy about their diets so you can catch them on regular garden worms (even in salt water), sea worms, clams, cut bait of almost any fish species and live or dead shiners. They are also suckers for artificials such as spinners, metal lures and small plugs. We've often used our first caught-on-lure white perch that we'll cut into small strips as these fish don't worry too much about being cannibalistic!
Along with catching tidal white perch, you're apt to hook on to other species such as eels, small or large stripers and an occasional fluke. Best to check the current regulations about all of the tidal fish you intend to keep for size restrictions and bag limits! These can change from year to year.
White perch can be tough to process for eating. Scaling them or skinning them whole is not the way to go! Even though some of the fillets will be on the small side, we promote filleting and skinning the fillet as the best way to process them for cooking, and we also promote rolling the skinned and boneless fillet in flour or flour and crumbs and frying them in hot vegetable oil.
Serving the cooked fillets just out of the pan with some rice and veggies "don't get much better" unless also served with some locally available wine, be it red or white.
When entertaining friends or family with a meal of white perch cooked that way, tell 'em that the Dickster told you. And please stay in touch.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.