Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Fishing Methods used in Caithness (3)
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CAITHNESS_CROFTING_31
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
Alec Thomson
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
41332
KEYWORDS
crofting
crofters
crofter
croft
crofts
audios

Get Adobe Flash player

Alec Thomson was a Thurso fishermen. In this extract he gives detailed descriptions of the different kinds of fishing methods used locally up until the 1960s.

'When ye went til e halibut fishing, this was in the month o March. This was e time o year when e - in the month o March the cod's getting spent now [in poor condition after spawning], an they're, they're away, they're away off the fishing grounds. But in e month o March is e halibut season at comes on then, an ye go over to e Orkney shore, was across til Hoy an Hoy Sound an you come right down then til Torness Point an roundabout, eh, oh as far down as, as e Skerries, Pentlands Skerries, you know, for the halibut, because the halibut's great for lying into e, at e shore at that time o year. The halibut comes tight up til e shore an they're after some kind o ra- rams at some o e inshore fish spawns at e shore, ye see. An e halibut's efter them, ye see, an e fishermen knows is an they're tryin til shot on at grounds ye know?

An that's a great place too, doon on e Swona, Swona, the, the island o Swona; Cletton Bank they call it. There's a bank doon ere at is good for halibut - used to be some big shots. An then it's from there right til e Point o Hoy, Rackwick, especially Rackwick, roondabout Rackwick; all e boats would be workan there, ye know? An then they'd go into Rackwick, ye see, an well they got in for, the tide would get slack, ye know, go ashore an have a look at Rackwick, ye know? It's jist a sandy bay, ye know? An it's a great place for halibut. The Orkney coast is a great place for halibut.

Then they'd go as far down maybe as e Hoy Sound, they went'll Hoy Sound, an sometime they shot them out over Hoy Sound, shot them right up, they shot them like that, an then they'd go intil Stromness for the night, ye know, come oot in the morning an pull - they'd hawl up their lines again, ye know? They'd go further down, down as far as e Westray Firth, doon as far as e, doon til e black island o Rousay, doon at way. An there - but Ah didna go - we niver was farther down an Rousay Ah don't think, but at's e Westray Firth o Rousay, ye see, an it's good for halibut an all. Ye get some good fishings there.'

The simplest kind was line fishing, using long lines with baited hooks to catch cod, ling, haddock and other white fish, and flatfish such as the turbot and halibut. There were two basic types of line fishing - sma'lines used inshore for smaller white fish, and the great lines used in deeper water for larger fish. Lines were often extremely long. The fathom was used as a measure of length, officially equal to six feet but usually the arm span of the fisherman making up the line. Line fishing was very labour intensive and could involve the whole family, with women and children working to gather bait and prepare the gear on shore before the fisherman even put to sea. Herring was often used as bait but in some villages it was customary to gather mussels for this purpose.

In the 1920s seine-net fishing was introduced in the Moray Firth and became the standard method of catching white fish and flatfish along the east coast of Scotland. Wick acquired a large seine-net fleet, with a smaller fleet operating from Thurso. The technique involved shooting and hauling a long net to enclose fish in the water. An important part of the equipment was the dahn or dan-buoy, a pole that floated vertically to indicate the position of one end of the net or, in line fishing, the position of the furthest end of the line.

Fishermen used landmarks such as headlands or prominent buildings to establish their position at sea, essential for locating the best fishing grounds or banks. These marks were also called meezes. Fishermen had their favourite grounds and usually gave them names.

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Fishing Methods used in Caithness (3)

CAITHNESS

1980s

crofting; crofters; crofter; croft; crofts; audios

Highland Libraries

Caithness Recordings: Fishing

Alec Thomson was a Thurso fishermen. In this extract he gives detailed descriptions of the different kinds of fishing methods used locally up until the 1960s.<br /> <br /> 'When ye went til e halibut fishing, this was in the month o March. This was e time o year when e - in the month o March the cod's getting spent now [in poor condition after spawning], an they're, they're away, they're away off the fishing grounds. But in e month o March is e halibut season at comes on then, an ye go over to e Orkney shore, was across til Hoy an Hoy Sound an you come right down then til Torness Point an roundabout, eh, oh as far down as, as e Skerries, Pentlands Skerries, you know, for the halibut, because the halibut's great for lying into e, at e shore at that time o year. The halibut comes tight up til e shore an they're after some kind o ra- rams at some o e inshore fish spawns at e shore, ye see. An e halibut's efter them, ye see, an e fishermen knows is an they're tryin til shot on at grounds ye know? <br /> <br /> An that's a great place too, doon on e Swona, Swona, the, the island o Swona; Cletton Bank they call it. There's a bank doon ere at is good for halibut - used to be some big shots. An then it's from there right til e Point o Hoy, Rackwick, especially Rackwick, roondabout Rackwick; all e boats would be workan there, ye know? An then they'd go into Rackwick, ye see, an well they got in for, the tide would get slack, ye know, go ashore an have a look at Rackwick, ye know? It's jist a sandy bay, ye know? An it's a great place for halibut. The Orkney coast is a great place for halibut. <br /> <br /> Then they'd go as far down maybe as e Hoy Sound, they went'll Hoy Sound, an sometime they shot them out over Hoy Sound, shot them right up, they shot them like that, an then they'd go intil Stromness for the night, ye know, come oot in the morning an pull - they'd hawl up their lines again, ye know? They'd go further down, down as far as e Westray Firth, doon as far as e, doon til e black island o Rousay, doon at way. An there - but Ah didna go - we niver was farther down an Rousay Ah don't think, but at's e Westray Firth o Rousay, ye see, an it's good for halibut an all. Ye get some good fishings there.'<br /> <br /> The simplest kind was line fishing, using long lines with baited hooks to catch cod, ling, haddock and other white fish, and flatfish such as the turbot and halibut. There were two basic types of line fishing - sma'lines used inshore for smaller white fish, and the great lines used in deeper water for larger fish. Lines were often extremely long. The fathom was used as a measure of length, officially equal to six feet but usually the arm span of the fisherman making up the line. Line fishing was very labour intensive and could involve the whole family, with women and children working to gather bait and prepare the gear on shore before the fisherman even put to sea. Herring was often used as bait but in some villages it was customary to gather mussels for this purpose.<br /> <br /> In the 1920s seine-net fishing was introduced in the Moray Firth and became the standard method of catching white fish and flatfish along the east coast of Scotland. Wick acquired a large seine-net fleet, with a smaller fleet operating from Thurso. The technique involved shooting and hauling a long net to enclose fish in the water. An important part of the equipment was the dahn or dan-buoy, a pole that floated vertically to indicate the position of one end of the net or, in line fishing, the position of the furthest end of the line.<br /> <br /> Fishermen used landmarks such as headlands or prominent buildings to establish their position at sea, essential for locating the best fishing grounds or banks. These marks were also called meezes. Fishermen had their favourite grounds and usually gave them names.