For most New Englanders, the magnificent Atlantic Ocean is just a short drive from home.
The term “diversity” somehow seems inadequate when describing the Atlantic’s inhabitants, and a trip out on to the ocean can easily prove productive and fascinating.
Most commonly sought-after fish species are Atlantic cod, haddock, bluefish, striped bass and pollock. But, the best thing about dropping a line overboard is you just don’t know what might end up on the end of your line, as wolf fish, sea robins, mackerel, tuna, bonita and sharks also are ever present in these same waters.
There are a variety of fish to catch in the Atlantic.
Fish attractors for bottom fishing are among the simplest, and most Northeast saltwater fishes are caught on either jigs or some kind of bait.
Variety Of Jig Sizes
For cod or haddock you will want a Norwegian or Diamond jig in a 1/6-ounce or 1/8-ounce size; for Pollock or mackerel your best bet is a Christmas-tree rig equipped with a 3/8-ounce or 1/2-ounce to 2-ounce bucktail jig; and for stripers (striped bass) or bluefish, a 1-1/2-ounce to 2-ounce bucktail jig or Kastmaster are the tops in hardware.
Baits are interchangeable for all North Atlantic gamefish, and whether you choose clams, cut or whole bait, being fish or squid, the only thing you need to consider is the size of your hook. For smaller fish, such as pollock or mackerel, you will need a 1/0 size or smaller bait-holder hook. For larger fishes, a size 5/0 or larger hook will be necessary to haul your monster to the surface. If filling a freezer with tasty fillets is your incentive, the hooks, bait and the equipment you use will make all the difference.
The vast majority of us do not own a boat that is truly seaworthy so the next best thing is to book passage on a charter vessel. In New Hampshire there are some of the best party charters to be found on the East Coast.
Out of Hampton Harbor, you can take a one-half-day or full-day fishing excursion with Smith and Gilmore, or from Rye Harbor you will find the Atlantic Fishing Fleet. Both companies offer a variety of excursions at reasonable rates. Each of these charters also offer bait for sale as well as jig and tackle rentals.