Fishing Lore

Ebb Tide

At Staithes, there was a ban on borrowing salt, and never borrowing anything at all in the morning before noon.

A westerly wind, and a flood tide,

Is more than flesh and blood can bide

Wool must never be wound after 6pm, anyone doing so would be winding a man overboard.

First rains of May brings salmon away

To guard against drowning, men wore ear rings, yet curiously it was considered bad luck to try and save a drowning man.

If the north west bright, as big as a sheet,

No sails will take to hard to neet.

A good catch might be encouraged by fixing cowrie shells to the nets.

At Runswick, any stray cats were killed as the boats were returning.

Cod’ll grow no fatter till it gets a sup of May watter.

At Whitby, there was once a custom of burning the first fish caught.

No boat should put to sea on a Friday as it was considered was the Devil’s Day

If the sun sets bright on a Thursday night, there’ll be a north wind before Saturday night.

The Fishermen of Staithes did not like a new moon on a Saturday as it was regarded as a sign of bad weather for the coming month.


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