Letter | Published:

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes

Nature volume 110, page 666 (18 November 1922) | Download Citation



PROF. GUDGER'S communication under this heading in NATURE for October 28, p. 572, has brought back to me a vivid recollection of a fishing incident in the north-west of Ireland. About a dozen years ago I spent a week-end at Ballina, County Mayo, and as the express to Dublin did not leave until after midday, I devoted Monday forenoon to a ramble along the banks of the Moy river. Observing several men, with a boat and draw-net, making a succession of fruitless attempts to land fish, I crossed the river and made my way to them. It was true—they had toiled and had caught nothing. They were putting out to make another attempt, and I offered them five shillings for the next haul. They declined. The net was hauled in, and there was not a scrap of anything in it. They put off again, and I repeated my offer, which was rejected, and the net came in empty, as before. With all their futile endeavours the men were not in the least put out. Calmly the boat and net were again got ready, and I was told it would be no use offering to buy the haul. When the net was landed it was found to have brought in one little fish—a sprat in size! Apparently this was looked upon as a good sign—a command to try again, for, still undaunted, the men persevered—they rowed off cheerfully, let out the net, then returned to shore and hauled at the net, but evidently it was harder work than on any previous occasion. When the operation was completed, hundreds—the men said eleven hundred—salmon had been landed! A school from the sea had come up on the rising tide.

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