New Hampshire announces 2010 deer season changes


New Hampshire Bluefin Tuna

With the herring and mackerel here in June it’s time to get your operation and equipment ready for the arrival of the giant bluefin tuna that will hopefully inhabit our coastal shores for a few months. While there is no time line in their migrations, bluefin will generally show up in late June and feed throughout the summer and into fall. October is usually the month tuna will head to the south following the warm water and feed.

In the early season the feed and warmer water are in the upper levels of the water column, and most of the tuna activity is on the surface. In June the harpoon boats will start to pick up fish far offshore as the schools move shore-ward. As the fish reach the offshore ledges trolling is the preferred method until the warmer water temperatures descend and the mackerel, herring, and tuna follow. Then the chumming method works best, and you will see the boats start to line the edges of ledges.

Historically the first places the “stick boats” will see action is off the Maine coast up around Platts Bank and east of the fingers of Jefferies ledge. The troll boats will start in these places as well, and work their way to the south along Jefferies and Scantum Ledge, out to Pigeon Hill, and down to Wildcat Ridge. Once the fish have settled in the chum fishermen will start to anchor up on the eastern edge of Jefferies from the 13550 line down to the curl. From mid-season, August, everything moves to the middle grounds of Scantum Ledge, Outer Flag and Halfway Rock. In the late summer- early fall the fish generally move onto the beach, and places like Whale back, Friday Night, and the 30 fathom edge will be the place to be.

Upon the arrival of mackerel many tuna fishermen will catch and hydro-gut medium size ones to brine and freeze for trolling baits. Hydro-gutting is done by placing a small high pressure water hose nozzle in the mackerel’s anal cavity and thus blowing the innards out the mouth. This removes the highly acidic parts and helps preserve the fish for latter.

Before the season it’s good to go over your rods, reels, and line you will be using. Most of the 130 class set-ups will have 200 pound test Dacron with 150-300 pound test monofilament. I like to fill the reel 3/4 with the Dacron and the rest mono. Some like to top off the mono with a high strength barrel swivel and a leader of fluorocarbon. A note on this combination. While you can reel in past the swivel I wouldn’t do it while there is a large tuna attached to the hook. If he decides to make a run the swivel will wipe out your roller guides in the process. If I use this set up I only use about 12 feet of leader so as I can stop at the leader and stick the fish.

The Dacron backing is generally good for several seasons if taken care of, but I like to replace the mono each year. Before adding it you need to load your rods into the vessel and head out to sea to wet pack your backing. Once clear of the shore and other boats, with your rods in the holders and the boat just creeping along slow, run the Dacron all the way out and then level wind it back evenly. This is important as if the line is dry, it will bury itself with any pressure from a fish. Once you are done you will have to back fill the mono. This is done by peeling off about 20 feet of Dacron to dry, and then inserting the mono into the hollow center of the backing. To make it easier round over the end of the mono by holding it briefly over a flame and rounding it with your finger. This helps prevent it from piercing the woven sides of the Dacron. You need to back fill to a minimum of 12 feet. I prefer 18. Once it is inserted you must “whip the place where the mono goes into the backing. This is done with waxed sail twine and starts 2-3 inches on the mono and works up the same length on the Dacron. The method if whipping is to start with a hitch and with equal lengths of twine to braid and hitch all the way onto the Dacron.

As to what .test and color mono to use it’s your choice. Generally larger, heavy boats such as draggers will opt for the 300, and lighter sport vessels go with lighter 150 – 220 line.

Setting the drag is important to prevent parting the line. This is done by placing the rod in a rod holder, run the mono through the guides and tie a loop at the end. Then, with the drag lever set at strike, hook a scale onto the line and pull. When you are able to pull the line off the reel note the amount of pounds on the scale. You need to adjust your drag to 45 pounds of pull. This is where the reel must be set while fishing so as not to part the line when the fish takes off with your bait. 45 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is plenty to sink the hook into the fishes jaw.

Stocking your boat comes next. Make a list of all the items you will need for each trip and keep them stocked after you return to port. Your list should include sharp knives, a head saw, blankets of some kind to cover your fish, an air mattress to set the fish on, hooks, crimps, crimper, 2-4 pound test mono line, balloons, rubber bands, sinkers, and chaffing gear. This is an important one. Chaffing gear comes in different sizes to match the size of leader. It is plastic tubing that you slide over your leader before crimping it to your hook or swivel. It protects the line from chaff during a fight. Also remember to bring bait needles to sew baits with and to pierce the stomachs of live bait jigged up from the bottom. Mud hake almost always bloat up with air, but just a little poke and it will swim all day long. Always keep a bucket of ice water on hand while fishing for live baits such as herring, and silver hake. The water temperature is much colder on the bottom where these fish live, and if you drag them up and dump them into warm surface water it will kill them from shock. Your live well needs to be kept cool as well. This can be accomplished by using a insulated circular 50 gallon container with a insulated lid. Throw a few shovels of ice in and the bait should be good for quite some time.

Bring lots of ice for the baits, for the food cooler, and to stuff inside your tuna after you gut him out.

Have a proper size anchor for your boat. It never fails that out of the fleet there is always one vessel that breaks it’s anchor off the bottom and drifts down through everybody. You cannot have overkill when it comes to the anchor. For the smaller vessel 18- 28 feet a 25-35 pound Danforth style with 10 feet of ½ inch chain should be good, 30 to 50 feet a 45-55 pound with 20 feet 0f 5/8 and another 6 feet of 3/4 to keep it laying flat to the bottom. Keep in mind also proper amounts of scope for your anchor line. To be able to fish in water up to 300 feet you will need 600 feet of line. The boat needs to be at as much of an angel away from the anchor as possible so as not to break free in the ocean swell, and to keep as much distance between your hooked tuna and it as well. Once you have let out all the line then you need to attach a large poly float to it, and a 50 foot tag line to tie off your boat on. When you tie off your vessel do it in a manner that you can untie as fast as possible. Once you hook up with a fish, one of the first things to do is throw the tag line off to get as far from the anchor as possible. Fish will often run forward when hooked, and if it tangles in the anchor line it’s a chore to get it out.

A couple tips on baits. Always use as fresh bait as possible, and keep a variety of things to put on the hook. At times one will work one place and not in another. An example of this is herring, live or chunked, seems to be the choice for out on Jefferies ledge, while silver and mud hake are preferred closer to the shore. If you are using chunks a good trick is to attach chunks above your hook bait with light mono. This rig is called a chum chain or pu pu platter. Live mud hake can be hooked through the eyes with out killing it, and herring or silver hake can be hooked in back of the dorsal fin and then tie down the eye of the hook by using your sewing needle to sew it into the fishes back. When collecting hook baits for later use first wrap the whole fish in plastic wrap before packing them in ice. This keeps the fish fresh looking because the ice tends to fade the natural colors if it comes in direct contact. Another trick to make a dead fish look alive is to first push a 1 ounce egg sinker into it’s stomach, then run a bamboo skewer from it’s mouth all the way down to just about an inch or two from the tail. This keeps the fish straight. With this done insert a ½ egg sinker in it’s mouth and sew it shut. With a razor sharp knife make a ½ inch skin deep incision just forward of the dorsal fin. Push your hook and line into this slit so it is between the meat and skin. Now sew up the slit with your needle using either dental floss or light mono. Using your razor knife make shallow incision around the bottom of each pectoral fins so they move freely. This will give the illusion of a live fish sitting in the tide. The skewer keeps the bait straight, and the sinkers keep the fish balanced and right side up.

I always have two harpoons. Both are 12 foot water pipes with a basket of 300 feet of sturdy parachute cord and a small poly ball attached. I like the weight because it makes it easier to stick a fish with out putting too much force behind the throw.

Tight Lines.

2010 New Hampshire Deer Hunting Changes.

It’s done. Most all of the changes I listed here several weeks ago are going into effect for the upcoming season. They have passed through all the Fish and Game Offices and only now are being looked over by the state and will be publicly announced in about two weeks.

Most all WMU’s have been reduced in Doe days with the exceptions of M, H1, and H2.

Archery is the big change. Apparently there have been complaints that archery season does not take any responsibility of helping increase the herd, so this is the scoop.

The season dates remain the same, however, the first 16 days, September 15 thru Sept. 30, are bucks only. This is state-wide and includes Unit M. Also know that special Unit M tags are not valid as well. So, don’t shoot any does until October 1, or you’ll be in the dumps.

Have faith in this information as I got it from a very good source.