Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Party boats are great, economical, funBy DICK PINNEY August 13. 2017 12:03AM
WE DON'T try to hide our enthusiasm for using so-called "party boats" for much of our offshore groundfishing. We suspect that description of fishing the ocean's bottom was coined many, many years ago and it is a proper description. You fish mostly with your bait or jig dangling just off bottom.
Why do we have such a love of the party boat fishery? It's because we've owned more than one boat capable of fishing those long trips, measured in several miles offshore, and we did have some very productive trips, but we found that we were never completely at ease with the shoreline out of sight and always were thinking about how long it was going to take to get back to shore if a sudden storm hit us or we had a boat or motor failure.
Although we always had a marine two-way radio on our fishing boats, the radios don't do you much good if your battery fails or you are out of range of calling for help!
Another reason we love to fish the party boats is that their skippers are well aware of the location of concentrated schools of groundfish, both by their ability to confer with other party boat skippers as well as their previous fishing trips productivity.
So lacking for "freezer" fish as well as not having enough fishing time logged in, we set up a date to board one of Eastman's Fishing Fleet based in Seabrook.
Now it's tough for an outdoor writer to single out one particular party boat business as we are doing now, as we do have a measurable effect on how our readers react to our choices. But it's often not the catching of fish that we make our choice of boats to go on. The other impacts like having good fishing days with a particular boat in the past being a very strong reason for our choice.
Another reason we'll choose a particular boat is that we've been influenced by a friend who recently had a "great day" aboard the boat we were considering.
Last time offshore on one of the Eastman's boats, we were welcomed aboard with several anglers we'd fished with on prior trips, both on Eastman's and other boats. It was like an old-time reunion for us.
We'll often book a day's fishing with one of the Gauron's fleet with Rocky Jr. or the Yellow Bird fishing boat where we've had a good time with its skipper Ricky. In all of our trips offshore with the commercial party boat fleet, we've almost always been impressed with the skipper's and crew's hard work to put us on fish. On only one trip out of several dozen we've taken, we can remember disappointment we had from the lack of effort by either the skipper or crew to put us on fish and take good care of us while fishing.
What's not to like about an hour or so of cruising offshore, leaving the boat under a professional's skilled hands? And when arriving at our first, and sometimes when the skipper gets lucky, only spot we fish, it's great to see fish coming up over the rail by almost all of those who have dropped their baited hooks down to the bottom!
We've made those several mile-long trips in our own boats that were ocean capable. But there's always that nagging thought of some of the perils of being that far offshore. When we're headed out on a party boat, it's strictly "leaving the worries to the skipper!"
Then there's the camaraderie of being with people you've fished with on several prior fishing trips. There's stories to tell and to listen to as well as some tips on how to fish and how not to fish!
We've always enjoyed the trip back to shore, often several miles. We can watch the crew fillet fish at the stern of the boat, most often attracting all the seagulls within miles to the feast of the fish racks being tossed over the stern. It's also a great time to become acquainted with folks you've never known or fished with. You become a part of a dedicated fraternity of people who are out to have a good time and are willing to share secrets or even fishing gear, if you need help.
Then there's often the economics of a successful offshore fishing trip. Let's say it cost you $60. That covers a long day's entertainment. Along with that, let's say your ended up with about six or eight pounds of good fish fillets as well. The fillets are worth about eight bucks a pound. Eight times eight always was 64. Tell me it's not a bargain!
One tip we need to pass on to those who haven't had their first trip onboard a fishing party boat: If you have fishing gear that is capable of deep-sea fishing, by all means, bring it with you. The rental gear available on these boats feature durability rather than being a sensitive matched rod, reel and line.
Give thanks to the Dickster for motivating you and drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.