Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 4 > Page 3 - This was Swordfishing

Page 3 - This was Swordfishing

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/5/1 (1636 reads)

got a few like that. Sometimes we didn't have a-rig or anything • just down in the bow of the boat. Then after a while they started putting stands on the little boats. Get a few. They weren't worth a great lot. Nothing was in them days. And everybody hunted in close to the shore, right in. A mile, two miles out from the shore • and that was about where they thought all the swordfish was. Somebody would stick some and everybody would hang around and by and by somebody else would stick some • there would be some fish there all right. But around Glace Bay, in the rum-running days, the rum-runners were out about six miles, you know? Anchored there. They had to be out three miles then, so they stayed out six • they anchored and stayed there till they got rid of their load. And some of those fellows out more for rum-running than anything else, they used to get some swordfish. They got more swordfish than anybody else did. Sometimes they did pretty good at that. So after that the swordfish fleets started going out looking for them further off. The Newfoundland boats were coming over already. They fished Glace Bay. Not very big The bronze dart was commonly called the lily iron. One end of the warp (100-125 fa? thom of rope) went through the dart. Most fishermen were never satisfied with the shape of the purchased dart, so they'd hammer more bend in the tail. The iron at the end of the 16-18 foot pole would be greased and slipped into the dart. It was meant to come out easily. The dart was actually held in place by the warp drawn back and snug, tucked into the becket near the rear of the pole. From the becket the warp was usually tied in a slip knot at a rung of the iron stand where the sticker (the har- pooner; stood (also called the chair, it was about 12 feet out over the bow), and tied again in another slip knot before the fore riggiiy; of the vessel. The rest of the warp was coiled in a dish on deck, the end tied to a keg. The pole itself had"a separate bib line tied securely to the stand. Vtfhether stuck or thrown, the iron comes back, leaving the dart in the fish. If stuck, the sticker often pulls th'e tuck from the becket. Otherwise, when the fish takes oft it frees the tuck and the series of slip knots, taking warp from the dish. The keg is thrown over as a bouy. Then' man was put out m a dory to pull on the rope, turning the dart crosswise and drag- giiyg the fish backward, forcing water into the gills to drown him. Cape Breton's Magazine/3
Cape Breton's Magazine
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