WHEN IT comes to choosing the different systems and gear for fishing, after 70 years of fishing weâ€™ve figured it out that it doesnâ€™t take a big haul of gear to cover the needs of coastal fishing and inland fishing in New England.
I know how tempting it is when browsing the fishing departments or bait shops to pick up â€śthis, that and the other.â€ť Itâ€™s gotta be a sickness that most fishermen are destined to be infected by!
Owning enough gear to stock a normal fishing department, weâ€™ve come to the conclusion that most of it was bought on impulse and the rest of it was purchased because we forgot we had a stash of whatever we had bought in the past and just had to make sure we had it!
We do have three or four completely different fishing habits that do require some specialty equipment. When you think of coastal fishing you almost automatically think of fishing from a boat, if you have one or have access to one. One of the mandatory things on a boat is a signaling device (a horn, whistle or something similar). Another thing is properly fitting out a boat to satisfy the U.S. Coast Guard regulations â€” safety devices such as adequate Coast Guard-approved life preservers, along with that signaling device.
While it is not mandatory, we always have a large skein of marine-strength line (landlubbers can call it â€śropeâ€ť) and at least three or four bumpers to protect the boat when tied up to a dock or other boats.
If your boat has electricity, (battery) a depth recorder is almost a necessity! Itâ€™s so smart to invest in a â€śship-to-shoreâ€ť type of radio (ship to ship as well). Thereâ€™s nothing more comforting to be able to call for help when a motor stalls or some gear has floated off and you need help to find it!
Much of our fishing is done by trolling. For this we will use a simple method of spooling up with leadcore line that is color-coded so that you can tell how much line you have spooled out. We also have found that reels with line measuring capability are a real help, and also youâ€™ll find that you will lose less terminal gear from snagging on bottom, and catch more fish by sticking with what amount of line youâ€™re getting that action with.
We also use and very much appreciate the use of downrigging gear (aka â€śdownriggersâ€ť) and a depth finder. With those deployed at certain depths, you can determine which of your baits or lures have been the most effective and concentrate your efforts on those depths.
If you ice fish, you need another complete set of gear. An auger or â€śspud, an old-time name for chiselâ€ť for cutting your fishing hole, a skimmer to remove the ice flakes after you get the big chunks of ice cleared off your fishing hole, and a comfy seat to sit on that also can serve as a container for your catch. Add to that a basket or net bag to carry your catch.
But looks like most of the ice is gone so weâ€™ll be able to just not worry about those things.
Although itâ€™s nice to be able to bring home one of what we describe as â€śglamourâ€ť fish: trout, salmon and bass, we have more good eating from bringing home a nice catch of perch, pickerel and crappie.
Pretty soon weâ€™ll be chasing our all-time favorite saltwater species â€” striped bass. Weâ€™ve been brought up on catching â€śstripersâ€ť and have learned the secrets of being successful. And weâ€™re going to pass this on without reservation. Itâ€™s all about one word â€”structure! Keeper-sized stripers are real hunters! They will almost always set up in a â€śfeeding laneâ€ť that allows them to hide behind the structure and feed on baitfish that the currents will sweep by. The one exception of this is when a school of baitfish are found by a gang of feeding stripers. Then â€śall hellâ€ť strikes and a feeding frenzy occurs when the stripers pay scant attention to their surroundings and pound on the baitfish.
Although those occasions seem to be fewer and fewer, we always keep one spinning rod rigged with a floating/diver plug to be able to cast. Itâ€™s still a few months until the striper fishing peaks, so weâ€™ll still be poking around catching some flounders and pollock as well as any mackerel that my appear. The Pinney household has enjoyed the bounties of Great Bay for decades. Why stop now?