Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Flounder fishing need not be hardBy DICK PINNEY April 21. 2018 10:41PM
It's getting closer and closer to when we can expect some flounder, mackerel and stripers coming into our coastal waters and we wouldn't be a bit surprised right now if you couldn't catch a few flounders in the harbors, especially Rye and Hampton Harbor.
One thing great about fishing for flounder is that sophisticated fishing gear, although a help, is not a necessity. A lot of people, including the Dickster, caught their first flounder on a hand-line, using part of a clam for bait. These very basic hand lines were sold right at the entrance road to Peirce Island (more noted for its great Portsmouth municipal swimming pool.)
The Fish Market there run by Garland Hatch had hand line set-ups that, if my memory is right, sold for 50 cents! And for another 50 cents he would provide enough clams for bait for you to fish several hours. The nice thing was that on good warm days you could take a dunking in the swimming pool right there or go for a few dives off the diving board at the pool!
The flounder were almost always within shore or bridge fishing depths and, as you got more and more proficient at using them, you could toss your baited lines out several yards into the current. By watching the old-timers do it, we could eventually mimic their casting methods. Also, we would upgrade our handline gear by adding a few yards of mono leader to our rigs and a variety of lead weights, depending on the depth of water and the current flow.
We eventually found that the first couple hours of the outgoing tide was kind of the hot time for hitting the flounder as they would congregate and set up a feeding station where the tide would allow a lot of flounder to drop back into the mainstream of the Piscataqua River from the shallower flooded feeding flats.
We didn't know or didn't care if there was a size or bag limit for flounder at that time and eventually we found out that there were neither. It didn't matter that much because at our ages from 10 to 15 years old we thought we had plenty of leniency from the law (which was true!).
The Dickster can remember one day waiting to be picked up by my mother at Peirce Island at a predetermined time. She had kindly delivered me to my favorite flounder fishing spot and we had agreed on a picking-up time.
Resting on a roadside railing and waiting for Mom to come, a young conservation officer stopped and we chatted. When he asked to take a look at our bag of fish, he shook his head and explained to me that there was a size limit for flounder and quite a few of my fish were under it. But that was it. No taking of my catch and no scolding - just a suggestion and going over the rules with me. His name was David Dupe (spelling?) and was very kind and patient and had several suggestions for me to make it easy to measure the size of my fish. Which we took with some sincerity, separating the legal-size fish from the illegal-size fish and putting our "legals" on a stringer and hiding our "illegals" in our bundled-up raingear. We were taught to do this by our older-teenage friends we fished with.
Life was a ball my friends; we wished it never would end!
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. and get out there and get you some.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.