Me Nerves Are Rubbed Right Raw – Yarns From The Fisherman’s Shanty 

​The first day that I began hiking the Bruce Trail, the route was enormously rewarding and the scenery breathtaking. Large, old trees powered overhead. I marveled at gargantuan limestone boulders that threatend to break off and plummet down high cliffs. I was awed by lovely glades. What struck me even more than the beauty of these vistas is that they were within a mile or two of where I lived in my teenage years. They were there all along, but I had never seen them; my movements and views were confined to an automobile. I saw nature through screens…..

Ironically, I could spend hours captivated at home by glittering TV images of nature but did not bother to walk a mile or two to engage the bountiful beauty in our own backyard”

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

Been a long week. On Monday, the fifty new lobster traps would have looked completed to the untrained eye. 

However, there were still twelve steps to do to each trap yet. Things like cross haulup ropes, bait spike, hinge ropes, escape hatches, which require activities like cutting, drilling, nailing, measuring, or burning rope ends with a torch and twisting  in cardboard to make a nice plastic point that can pass through tightly drilled holes. But we finished. Only cementing ballast remains, and that requires warmer days. 

That put us back on the eel nets. The old ones need replacement, but I’m still waiting for an order of floats to arrive, an order made in January. 

 I stiched the new eel net bodies already. The seven aluminium rings for  each net are being made at the welder shop right now. 

I was rather discouraged  about the process as it takes about six full days to make one eel net and i need thirty five new ones. Working in Africa each year makes it impossible for me to do this kind of work. I simply do not have enough time left after concentration on my lobster gear, our main bread and butter. 

So here I am between the desire  to work on new nets, most of which will never be ready by this season, and repairing old nets that are in bad enough shape that i don’t even want to look at them. My patience is done, gone, no more.

My son and I worked a full day to repair one net of thirty five aging nets. Thankfully the other thirty five are newer and not nearly as time demanding.

Anyway, the temps also dropped for a few weeks, like to -17 C, windchill to about -28C. The temperatures did not enable much outdoor time, though I managed to hike 4.2 km one evening this week.  The whole time i was walking i was thinking about the upcoming East Coast Trail. I’m so out of shape right now I was wondering how on earth I will haul my fat ass 320km, when five km was enough for me to accomplish right now.

The upside is I saved $1100. I bought a 900 ft coil of 3/8 sinker rope at a cost of $365. It is to hang the sinking eel net leaders. I need at least three coils total to complete the new nets. 

My retired uncle happened to be there as I was buying the sinker rope and said he and my dad still had old fall herring nets from years ago. They have three plys of sinker rope in the bottom, and it is just like new  They don’t use this style anymore, so he said I could strip the sinker rope off, if i wanted it.

So, I stopped in and picked  up the ten herring nets at my uncles workshop. Back at my own workshop my youngest son helped me strip two herring nets while the other repaired an eel net. I was glad for the extra help today. 

Each herring net had three ply of sinker rope 100ft long. So i will have 3000 ft for free. Stripped  two herring nets yesterday. Did one more this morning. Seven more to go. Then I can begin to hang the leaders for the eel nets. The bottoms at least, until I get the floats for the top, or the net rings. 

Either way, I have millions of stiches to do on either old nets to repair, or new nets to fabricate, and my eyes are already tired and “me nerves are already rubbed right raw” with the process. I’ll have to “gunner” to get-er all done. 

These new eel nets will take me another year and a half to complete, between my other fishing work.

However, this will save me about $12,000 over buying nets, and in my job, at times, it is more about what you save, versus what you make. What i save benifits me more than what I make at eel fishing so it’s  got to be done. 

“Magine” that, eh!

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