Page 33 - A Letter Re: Fr. Jimmy Tompkins and Fr. Moses M. Coady's Relationship, mentioned in Issue 32
ISSUE : Issue 34
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/8/1
there's some difference in those days and today. I've seen my poor old mother get her Sunday dinner all ready. She'd have everything done on Saturday, so there wouldn't be anything to do, not even carry water on Sunday. But it's different today. (Even if there was a good run of fish, they wouldn't go after it on Sunday?) No. All the time, during the time that I lived in Ingonish--well, I lived there all my life--never worked on Sunday. Never fish on Sunday. They never went, what they call handlining, or anything like that. Never did any kind of fishing on Sunday, no. (Was there ever any lack of fish? Did it ever fail?) No. Well, some years, you know, they weren't so good. But in the first years, well, I never saw anything like it. I've seen my poor old father, he had a trawl at that time, you know, when the had? dock would come first. I've seen me go out with him--I was only a kid--and you'd haul it up, you know, and you'd put the bait on the hook and put it over, and then pull till you come to the next hook, and took it over. And by the time that you get out to the other end, get it all baited, and go back--there'd be a fish on every hook. Hardly ever missed. And now, there's not a haddock to be got. And I thought to myself, when I was fishing them: sometimes the last of it • you'd get those little haddock about so long. And you see, a small size haddock like that, you can't get clear of them, because they're not worth bothering with--too small for anything. I've seen when you haul the trap up--she might be half full--you pull her up till you get them up to the head rope, and dump them o- ver the head rope, and let them go. And as far as you could see, perhaps half a mile, you'd see those fish floating on the water. Well, it wasn't only what was floating on the water, but think of the millions and millions of spawn that was into those fish. That was making away with them. And today, you can't get a haddock. That's my idea: what you were catching and keeping, and then those smaller ones--millions and mil? lions of them were chucked overboard and went to waste. Not a trap down there today. Not in North Bay. I don't think there's any in South Bay, as far as I know. There might be a mackerel trap there, but no fish traps any.more. (A mackerel trap is different from a fish trap.) Yeah. I said, if this keeps up, there's not going to be a haddock. And my thoughts were right. I most always fished with my poor old fa? ther-in-law, the last years I fished. But he'd always keep his boat out as long as he could, after the others'd be all tied up. I'd see us get caught out one day--it was nice going out, the ocean was frozen over like a pane of glass. And I said to him, going out. 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