The Caplin Haul (Arthur R Scammell)

Hurry up, Uncle John, you don't want a coat,
The rest of the seine-crew are down in the boat;
So rush your mug-up we mustn't be late,
The caplin are shy and we've got to have bait
      For a crowd of bold sharemen.

Yesterday mornin', up there to the head,
You could cast all you like, so said Skipper Fred,
But they've gone out since that, and they're goin' out still,
"Men, we'll want some more weight on the bunt 'un," cried Phil
      To a crowd of bold sharemen.

Alf Gatehouse's baitskiff is here on the spot,
They've shot the seine twice, but they've got no geat lot;
'Tis foully bottom out here on this reef,
"What say if we tucks 'em aboard of the skeef?"
      Cries a crowd of bold sharemen.

When you'm ready you can heave away seine, Uncle Joe,
There's caplin all 'round us, and caplin below;
Draw in on the arms now and less of your prate,
If the seine don't get foul, we'll have enough bait
      For a crowd of bold sharemen.

Haul away on the foots there, forrad and aft,
And Cecil, keep workin' the spread and the gaff;
"Where's Skipper Tom Hinds? He's out on the punt!"
"Hold on, slack away, boys, he's foul in the bunt!"
      Cries Tom to bold sharemen.

All clear, haul away, but don't close the seine,
I wish we had tied on a little more chain,
Right under the counter you can see the white foam,
"That broken-clawed killick is still comin' home!"
      Roared all the bold sharemen.

Go aisy a minute, and see what he'll do,
"He got her again," cries one of the crew;
Hurry up, close the foots, keep the heads from goin' down,
"Turn 'em out in the bunt, boys," bawled Uncle Joe Brown
      To a crowd of bold sharemen.

Lay hold of a dipnet, and dip away, men,
If that's not enough, why we'll shoot once again;
But if that's sufficient, we'll make for the bawn,
"Look here, Skipper Phil, why this han't a-spawned!"
      Cries John, a bold shareman.

Now where he got foul, there went out, I 'low,
A good winter's diet for Skipper Phil's sow;
"But we've dried up enough in the seine, anyway,
To fatten the dogfish of Notre Dame Bay!"
      Roared all the bold sharemen.

Put the seine on the gallis, one hand share the bait,
Hurry up there, my lads, for 'tis now getting late;
We're all feeling hungry, 'tis time that we ate,
For neither the tide nor the codfish will wait
      For a crowd of bold sharemen.

####.... Arthur R Scammell (1937) ....####
Originally written as a poem in 1937 and published as Payne's Cove Bait Skiff in 1945. Also published with music in Art Scammell's book, My Newfoundland, pp.132-133 (Harvest House, Montreal, 1966).

See more songs by Arthur R Scammell.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Arm - one of the two outer sections or wings of a seine.
Baitskiff - large undecked boat with 5 to 7 crewmen, propelled by oar and sail and employed to catch caplin, etc. for use in the cod-fishery.
Bawn - grassy land or meadow near a house or settlement.
Bunt _ iddle part of a fish seine with the smaller size mesh for drawing up when the arms of the seine are hauled home.
Caplin - small, iridescent deep-water fish (Mallotus villosus) like a smelt which, followed by the cod, appears inshore during June and July to spawn along the beaches, and is netted for bait, for manuring the fields, or dried, salted, smoked, or frozen for eating.
Counter - wide stern of a dory which has the rudder hung down on the outside (outdoors) and a big tiller.
Dried up - localized pronounciation of drawed up, meaning hauled up the sides of the seine to permanently enclose all the fish within the trap.
Foots - bottom or lower parts of a seal-net, fish-net, etc. weighted to sink the device in the water.
Foully - rough or rocky condition of the sea-bed, harmful to fishing nets.
Gaff - type of boat-hook with a usually short wooden handle, used for various fisheries purposes.
Gallis - gallows; a frame of cleanly peeled poles erected 12-15 feet high and used to drape nets and rope over for drying or repairing.
Head - innermost part of a bay, harbour or inlet; the land adjoining the inmost part of a bay.
Heads - top portions of a seal or fish net, often fitted with a head-rope with floats or buoys to suspend the device in the water.
Killick - anchor made up of an elongated stone encased in pliable sticks bound at the top and fixed in two curved cross-pieces, used in mooring nets and small boats.
Mug up - cup or mug of tea and a snack taken between any of the main meals, especially in a pause from work.
Prate - chatter; mostly used in combination as prate-box or pratebox, meaning chatterbox.
Punt - undecked boat up to 25 ft (7.6 m) in length, round-bottomed and keeled, driven by oars, sail or engine and used variously in the inshore or coastal fishery.
Seine - large vertical net placed in position around a school of fish, the foots drawn together to form a bag, and hauled at sea or in shallow water near the shore.
Seine-crew - number of men required to procure fish with a large vertical net placed in position around a school of fish.
Sharemen - members of a fishing crew who receives a stipulated proportion of the profits of a voyage rather than wages.
Shoot - place or set a net or fishing line in position in the water.
Spread - pole used on small sailing craft as a substitute for gaff or boom.

From the Urban Dictionary:
You'm - common bad grammar contraction of "you am".


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