Shetlandic Fish Hooks

By R. Stuart Bruce, published August 1921


In this short article Bruce explains how Shetland fishermen used small pieces of hardwood or a splinter of bone to fashion fishing hooks, a practice that continued after the introduction of iron and steel replacements. He also goes into some detail on the fishing practices adopted by the Islanders and the local words that describe the practices. Much of his information is gleaned from the 1899 book “Shetland Folk Lore” by his friend John Spence.  The shaft had a splinter of wood or bone, 2-4 inches long, held in position by coarse wool. When the fish was felt, a sudden pull rotated the berjoggle across the fish’s mouth.   Inshore and offshore fishing grounds were called after land-marks, discoverer’s name or ground. Lines were set using un-decked sixerns,  heavy to row up to thirty or forty miles offshore. When built these boats were examined by experts to detect the possibility of being blown over on land or at sea.

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Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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