The How-To: Hunt and Forage Your Own

anne doherty

Photograph by Toan Trinh

For many, recreational fishing is a laid-back activity done from the (relatively) safe confines of a boat. Not so for Watertown resident Anne Doherty (pictured)—a four-time women’s U.S. Spearfishing National Champion and the first female North Atlantic spearfishing champ—who is far more comfortable free-diving with a pole spear than reeling in fish from a boat.

“It’s become a passion,” says Doherty, who has been spearing black sea bass, striper, tautog, and more on the North Shore and in Rhode Island and New Hampshire every weekend for close to two decades.

Though Doherty fishes for sport, she acknowledges that there can be delicious spoils—to that end, she’s even taken out local chefs with her to try it. Want to be more enterprising in procuring your own catch? To spearfish* or free dive for lobsters, all you need is a saltwater fishing or lobster permit—$10 for the former, $40 for the latter—which you can find on MassFishHunt’s website ( If you want to bypass the paperwork, Doherty suggests scouting out vegetation like sea lettuce and rockweed the next time you hit the shoreline.


*Note: Spearfishing can be very dangerous. Attempt at your own risk.


Hungry for more?

Check out our complete “Seafood Lover’s Guide.”