Spearman's Shanty

 

 

 

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Fishing House
Smelt Fishing
Snaring Fish
Spearing Fish
Spearman's Shanty

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By Dan Beard

The great drawback to spearing fish through holes in the ice, is the inability of the spearsman to see objects under water, and to keep the cold winds from chilling him through and through as he stands almost motionless watching for his game;

but if the sportsman will supply himself with one of the little wooden shanties used by the fish spearers in the Northwest, he will overcome both these difficulties. The shanty, when the door is closed, is perfectly dark inside, having no other opening except a round hole, about a foot and a half in diameter, in the floor just over the hole in the ice. The only light seen by the fisherman is the bright, shining water, which glows like a full moon underneath him. 

As his eyes become accustomed to the peculiar condition of things, the nebulous objects first discernible in the luminous water resolve themselves into floating grasses and reeds; the bottom, even where the water is quite deep, becomes plainly visible, and every passing fish is distinctly seen by the spearsman, while he, being in total darkness, is invisible to the creatures below. 

This effect can be readily understood when one remembers that the ice, unless it be covered with snow, is transparent, and that the light shining through illuminates the water.  It is as if you were standing outside of a house on a very dark night looking through a window into a brilliantly lighted room.  The fishermen's shanties are provided with small sheet-iron stoves, which require but very little fire to make the house warm enough for one to sit with his coat off.  The stoves are provided with small pipes, which issue through the roof or side of the house.  A bench, camp-stool, or chair complete the furniture.

ABHB

 

 

   

 

 


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Last modified: October 15, 2016.