Salmon Arm Observer/Shuswap Market News
All about that fishin’ boat ShuSwAp OutdOOrS
It’s not likely that many anglers of today who own a good aluminum trolling boat, or a punt for fly fishing, can recall ever stepping into a spruceplanked rig, seams gummed up with tar and oakum. Oakum is comprised of soft fibre material, placed into the seams of old sailing ships and cast iron plumbing joints. But back in the day, as the saying goes, many of us fishers with silver or grey hair, can recall rowing, or putting out with that old 3-hp Johnson or Evinrude on a Interior lake, on a Proctor-built wooden craft caulked with tar, to get that evening raise, as travelling sedge popped to the surface of a still lake. The Proctor family lived on the South Mabel Lake Road past Shuswap Falls. Duke went off to war and was highly decorated. Another brother ran a small sawmill, powered by a Pelton wheel in the nearby stream, flowing down from the Silver Hills to the east. It was here he selected the best spruce logs, then sawed them into one-inch planks to form his boats in the large workshop. Many a brisk November morning, each season, while walking down that stream counting spawning coho, I would stop to reminisce, seeing the stacked boards, the still shop a quiet place, silver birches swaying in the wind – knowing it was a bygone era. Founding owners from 40 years ago, Stan Stadnyk up at Pinaus Lake, Oyama Lake and Dee Lake, had Proctor-built boats. We had two at Postill Lake and had gone to fibreglas boats by then. Many South Cari-
boo lake resorts used that old standby, Proctor spruce-built boats. Harry Marriot, an Englishman who came up to the Cariboo via Ashcroft by train in the early years, had met Andy Stobie after breakfast in the Ashcroft Hotel. Andy was managing the famous Gang Ranch at the time, until his death in 1921. It took three full days by a heavy horse team, loaded with supplies, to reach the ranch. Harry did a good job dealing with the ranch’s 3,000 head of Hereford’s, and was then offered the job at Crows Bar down on the east bank of the Fraser River. Harry then spread out buying an outfit of his own near Big Bar. Harry was also courting a pretty school ma’am teaching at the 70 Mile school. On Saturday’s he’d ride Snoozer, his sharp little saddle horse, to Peggy Price’s place and they’d spend the week-ends together. Finally they married and made house in a log cabin at Big Bar Lake. After coming in from checking livestock, Harry noticed a small group of Americans camped by the cabin. Harry was quite perturbed, asking them to leave. One person commented that some dumb Canadians, don’t see the potential in a few cabins and boats, for the wonderful fishing for trout the lake held. Although money was tight, and prices for cattle were way down, Peg pondered the idea, then worked on Harry for $300 to buy six boats to start a fishing lodge. It was an immediate success. As word got around, many Americans came to relax and fish. Many said they hated cooking and would Peg do
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Mahoney, from Shelburne, NS, claimed to have constructed 10,000. With flat bottom and flared sides, and painted the traditional Bay of Islands bright orange, locals still build them. The Dory Shop Museum in Shelburne , builds a few as does Lowell’s boat shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts, who claim it was the birthplace of the dory.
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the job? The boats were made in Clinton, using spruce planking. Peg said the boats weighed a ton each. Another boat, handcrafted for Newfoundland and Novia Scotia, of course, was the Dory. Designed to be stacked on the schooners, and out to the Grand Banks, fishing the abundant cod, they were the world’s most popular boat. Sidney
Friday, August 18, 2017 Page A21
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