THE TIMING is just right to start your annual assault on our tidal and deep sea fisheries.

We haven’t written much about going offshore and fishing around the Isles of Shoals because it’s about a seven-mile ride and can be rough and dangerous if you don’t have enough boat under you. Also, the weather that far offshore can be a lot windier than what you are experiencing when you leave the shelter of our shoreline, Sometimes it’s easy not to notice the size of the waves you are contending with and the wind that’s pushing them.

It’s a good idea to check out the marine weather report. An even better idea is to take a ride along the shoreline and check out the conditions before you launch your boat. My answer to taking a risk when things look chancy is to hook up a day on one of the “party” boats that leave Rye and Hampton/Seabrook Harbors and also sail out of the Piscataqua River.

If it looks like boats that size are pounding a bit on their moorings, it’s time to postpone your fishing trip. When you are out on a party boat there is very little sympathy for seasickness unless there are injuries onboard or conditions are just too bad to take a chance on losing a person overboard, or when everyone onboard is hanging their heads over the rail and doing what we call “puking.” There are always plenty of opportunities to go out to sea when conditions are friendly than to put yourself in a position that you need to go back on shore, which just isn’t going to happen unless everyone onboard, including the skipper, is seasick!

But on those days when the sea is fairly quiet there’s no better place to catch a good bunch of “eating” fish than out around “The Shoals.”

If you take a party boat, believe the Dickster when we recommend taking your own deep sea fishing gear. Not that this kind of gear is supplied for all aboard. But the typical deep sea fishing gear that is supplied is built to survive rough handling of the recreational anglers and in most cases doesn’t have the sensitivity of your own fishing gear. Good sensitivity to light-biting fish can improve your catch considerably and often allows you to catch some of the choicest of the fish as they are apt to be light-biters.

A good idea when fishing on a party boat is to bring your own large cooler with a good supply of ice. Sitting in an open bucket on a sunny day is a good way to make very special fish lose much of their quality! It’s OK to let the crew fillet your catch as they come aboard but we prefer to leave our fish whole and to keep an ice cover over them, draining the melt-out occasionally and trying to keep our catch out of the direct sunlight.

Because the Dickster is a veteran at filleting fish, we prefer to do our own but that’s probably a matter of pride.

Even though the Dickster is a licensed sea captain, we still love to be spoiled by having the help and attention of a good party boat crew. No complaints from us when a crew member grabs our bucket of fish and starts to process them. That leaves me more time to gab with the other anglers and pay more attention to what’s going on at the “business end” of my fishing line.

My suggestion — get out there and try your luck on one of many “party boats” that sail out of Portsmouth, Rye Harbor or Hampton/Seabrook Harbor.

Tell the crew that “the Dickster” sent you.

Good luck and please stay in touch!

Contact Dick Pinney at