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by Gary D. Crawford Everyone likes a great fish story, right? Well, better pull up a chair because this month I offer you three classic tales from the lore of fishing. Like all whoppers, these are true fish stories, of course. No kidding. I’m serious. THE 75-TON CATCH Our first story took place on an August evening in 1951 when nine Tilghman watermen set out for another night of haul-seining. Some of you may be unfamiliar with this brand of fishing, now rarely practiced in the Chesapeake, so here is a brief explanation. [Note: The Gentle Reader knows that yours truly wouldn’t know a haul seine if I fell over one, but

several very patient people who do know what they’re talking about have tried to explain it to me.] Basically, it was night fishing in shallow water along the shore, using a long net to corral a mess of fish. Haul-seiners usually worked in crews of nine or so men, with two workboats and several smaller craft, and a long net with floats on the top line, a heavy bottom line, and “bray” poles at either end. Unlike pound nets, haul seines weren’t planted in the bottom with poles, they were dragged off the net-boat in a big loop, with one end attached to a line that ran from a winder-boat near the shore out across the stream of the tide. The winder hauled in the line at that


October 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times October 2015

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