By David Knowles
Kenneth Young knows that fishermen tend to be a superstitious lot. He and his wife, Jeanne, have heard it all: "The best place to fish is off the bow," or "Having women aboard a boat is bad luck for catching lobster." They listen with patient, neutral smiles to the locals' endless debates over which kind of bait (clams, shrimp, or squid) works best. The Youngs' own success is attributable to something less flighty—ample experience.
For more than 50 years, Kenneth has trolled the waters off Ogunquit—first as a commercial lobsterman, and now as the captain of the Ugly Anne, a 44-foot lobster boat. It's a long story, but the boat's eponym is Kenneth's former and "very beautiful" wife (in the words of his current wife). Seven days a week from April through November, the Ugly Anne—which holds 35 people—sets out from Perkins Cove filled with vacationing families hoping to reel in dinner.
Using local mansions as landmarks, Kenneth navigates to tried-and-true spots 10 miles offshore. If nothing's biting, he heads 15 miles farther out to Jefferies Ledge, where schools of dolphins and breeding humpback whales are a common sight. A few years back he chanced upon a whale giving birth. (Bring a camera; maybe you'll be able to sell the footage to National Geographic.) The normal catch ranges from cod to haddock to cusk, the last of which can weigh more than 40 pounds. A six-foot-long blue shark stands as the largest fish reeled in to date.
Two experienced deckhands are there to help every step of the way. They'll bait your hook; they'll advise you on how to keep the big one from getting away; they'll even fillet said fish when you land it. If that's not enough, the Sir Francis Drake restaurant (52 Old Post Rd., Wells; 207/646-1800; dinner for two $25) will cook up your prize for you.
Ugly Anne Deep Sea Fishing Perkins Cove, Ogunquit; 207/646-7202. Four-hour trips $30 per person, eight-hour trips $45, including all bait and equipment; no credit cards. Bring your own food and drink for the full-day trip, and pack a sweater. It gets nippy out on the water.