Thursday, 30 August 2018


There is nothing here we did not already know and it is galling for today's fishermen to read of the great shoals of yesteryear but I think this passage (with my italics) from Theodore H Mogridge's "Descriptive Sketch of Sidmouth 1836" is worth blogging if only for the sake of Theodore's wonderful purple prose:

"Occasionally however vast multitudes of the finny and scaly nation are caught opposite the town and during the season it is no very unfrequent ocurrence for from five to ten thousand mackerel to be brought to shore at a single haul of the seine,   At such periods to survey the fishermen at their employments and the fruit of their labours is interesting; the eye is rivetted by the diversity of tints, the ever-varying colours, the silver white shaded by purple dyes alternately fading to a light green and a thousand variations marked with exquisite delicacy produced by the agonies of dissolution or, as humanity hopes, by simple muscular contractions of the expiring inhabitants of the liquid world."

This season I have caught none of the finny and scaly nation despite trying.  My son-in-law, with much effort,  has taken a dozen or so mackerel and one bass.  Mogridge was a local doctor; hence perhaps his interest in the death and pain of the fish.