most current fishing reports from NH Fish & Game



NH F&G are out stocking heavy this week, and with luck next week as well.

Safe and Sound Boating


It’s finally June and with the water temperatures warming up it’s a great time for everyone to get out on the ocean or lake for some fishing or just a little R&R. New Hampshire operators undergo classes for boating safety which I think is a great idea. I had the advantage of being trained in navigation by the US Navy, and after my discharge before I applied for my Captains license I still took a course just to cover anything Uncle Sam may have overlooked.  Back in those days there was no GPS and we relied on Loran and paper charts to get from point A to point B. IMAGINE THAT?  Before casting off on a voyage one had to acquire all the proper charts and Notice to Mariners, then plot out the courses and dead- reckon out the times and distances. We relied on Loran, land marks, sextants, and set and drift to safely navigate. These days’ modern radar and GPS do all the work making it easy for most anyone to jump on their vessel and cruise out to Jefferies Ledge for a day of fishing or perhaps down to Gloucester for a nice lunch at a waterfront restaurant.  The GPS is nice, but if there should be a problem and it doesn’t function properly or goes out boaters should have some basic knowledge to get back ashore safely (keep in mind you do not follow the compass east to get to the east coast) and thus the requirement for the mandated courses.

As good as the education is there are a number of unwritten rules that if most all were aware of it would make life lots easier and less stressful in what is supposed to be a pleasurable pastime.

The most obvious is courtesy. The growing numbers of vessels every year sometimes makes the waters a busy place and just like rush hour traffic on the streets and highways there are instances of confrontations that can end up in road rage. If everyone would take their time when in and going to and from harbors and rivers it would make things go smoother and faster. Common sense should tell you if you roar up the Hampton River, then cut off another boater for the last place at the fuel dock there is going to be trouble, not to mention the ticket Marine Patrol will give you if they’re around. There ARE speed limits in most all harbors and their entrances.

Watch your wake, even out on the open seas. If there are slower boats or people anchored up and fishing in your path go around them at a safe distance. You wouldn’t want anyone to almost tip you over as they pass, so extend them the courtesy of giving them a wide berth.

Foggy days are a major problem for those without radar. Just because that fancy new plotter shows you pinpoint accuracy as to where you are in the world it doesn’t have a clue as to the position of obstructions or other boats unless you have it interfaced with radar. A big, big mistake many make is to wait in the harbor or at an entrance buoy until a likely fishing vessel with radar comes along and then follow it out to sea. Don’t do this for a number of reasons. First off don’t think that the fog will burn off as soon as the sun gets up higher in the sky, many days it doesn’t, and if you follow a party boat 20 miles out and lose sight of them you’re pretty much up the creek without a paddle. Second, unless you know them and are in radio contact you have no idea what so ever where they are headed or for how long. They may be going out for a few hours just off shore, or they may be going on a multiday trip 100 miles out. You also will be relying on their skills in navigation, safety, and judgment which are a recipe for disaster.  There has been more than one instance where operators in fog have ignored or failed to spot large blips on the screen and tried to cut in front of them.  Smaller low profile vessels, especially sail boats make poor radar targets and if you are being masked by the boat ahead you’ll get run over if another vessel cuts the stern of the one you are following. If you do get radar learn how to use it, especially ranges and bearing drift of targets and target representation. If you see a target and put the curser on it and it follows along the line as it gets closer you are on collision course and will collide if course corrections are not made.  Different vessels make different blips on the screen, so it is wise to learn them.  A double blip almost always means a tug towing a barge and is very dangerous. Keep in mind the tug is using a VERY LARGE ROPE to tow it so cutting in-between them them is impossible as well as usually fatal. Give them a LARGE berth astern as the barge has a cable trailing along behind it the tugs use to stop it before entering a destination.

Leave the commercial and party boats alone. Trust me, some days we are as clueless as you may be.  I learned long ago that a small boat with a few lines in the water can’t compete with a party boat with 40 or 50. They may be wailing on the blues or haddock, but you will be pretty hard-pressed to try and steal their fish away with just a few baits. This rule especially applies in tuna fishing. The commercial draggers catch their own bait and chum by the tons, so if you anchor up beside them in hope of stealing a fish with a box of old herring you’re pretty much wasting your time. If I am out in a sport boat and a commercial boat gets anywhere near me I move because I know I can’t compete with them.  Using common curtsey with this crowd is a good idea because someday you may need something from them (keep in mind they spend most of the year out there trying to make a living) and if you have ticked them off in the past you more than likely will find out how it feels to want.

Finally, listen to the weather reports and NOT the one on a local TV station with the pretty girl smiling and telling you what a nice sunny day it’s going to be. Marine forecasts for your area are readily available online or on your VHF radio. Listen to them; don’t try to make your own interpolation.  If it says “small craft warning” it means you and it’s going to be rough.  Wind is a mariner’s worst nightmare and if you find yourself offshore in 25 knots of it from any direction it’s going to be a long time getting home.

Tight lines,

Capt. Don

Buy Fresh Local Seafood in Seabrook, NH.

A Good Day on Saturday in The Streams

My partner in crime and I fished a remote back water stream up in Barnsted Saturday and had a good time with the Brook trout. There was a couple interruptions from a trio of drake mallards fighting over a hen, and I’m fairly certain I heard a black bear woof somewhere in the dense cover surrounding the marsh. I would have rather dealt with the bear than the um teen million black flies that were in our faces the whole day. Aside from those little dinks there was a major hatch of Dobson flies and the trout were going nuts on them. Neither of us had a fly rod with us, but we did fine with Mepps spinners.