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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the book ‘Lewis. A history of the island’by Donald MacDonald. 1978.
(Gordon Wright Publishing. SBN: 903065 23 1)
there is a 15 page chapter on Fishing. The following quote is relevant to our interest in bait holes:
‘Rock fishing for cuddies, saithe, mackerel and lythe, with rod and line, was very popular during Autumn and early Winter, and even flatfish, haddocks and herring were once caught this way.
In 1549, Dean Munro recorded “any cove in this country quherein the sea fallis and is twa faddome deepe at the ebb-sea, and four faddome and maire at the full sea. Within this cove ther uses whytteins to be slain with huikes, verey many haddocks, and men with their wands sitting upon the craiges of that cove, and lades and women also”.
For a long time, the common implements of fishing were the rod and the tàrbh. The rod was Dean Munro’s ‘wand’, while the tàrbh was a large pock-net, like an oversized landing-net, minus its handle, bound round a large hoop about six feet in diameter, attached to a long pole. Two men were required to work this implement when fishing for cuddies, one to lower it into the sea, and raise it when necessary, and the other to throw the scrùm, bait, consisting of anything from mashed potatoes to parboiled whelks and limpets, or pulped crabs.
Once a sufficient number of these small but nutritious fish had gathered above the net for the feast, it was gently raised to the surface and swung ashore, where the scrùm thrower was waiting to scoop out the wriggling mass into a sack before repeating the process until a sufficient catch had been made, or the shoal had vanished.’
End quote.
Cuddies are juvenile Coalfish, craigs are crags. Tàrbh is pronounced ‘tarve’.
Although bait holes are not mentioned, the grinding of bait would require something of the sort. I have talked with people on the Outer Hebrides who remember seeing others using the tàrbh at the site of bait hole, up to the 1950’s, possibly later. Also people have described crag fishing using long poles with a short length of line and a hook with a piece of wool attached to act as a lure.



The book has a fine photograph: ‘A fisherman with his poca-chudaig, pock–net, 1930. (Photo: T B Macaulay)’
 

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Fascinating, thanks for posting:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
many thanks Gulp.
This bait holes project is a bit of a gamble - I have no idea whether anybody will be interested, so it's great to have a reply.
 
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