It used to be a good living, fishing. It was all inshore fishing when I was young. You’d have your skiff, your nets. Finding the fish was a trick. They say true ‘the fish has no bells.’ Billy Pretty one of the best to find the fish. Knew the water like the hollows in his mattress. He can name you ever sucker on this coast, that’s the God’s truth.
You worked your cockadoodle guts out, kept it up as long as you could, snatched a little sleep here and there, work in the night by torchlight, sea boils come up all over your hands and wrists, but the work went on. Well, you know, I never got sea boils after I learned a cure. You cut your nails on Monday, won’t have none. Everybody does it now! You know how fast a clever hand can split a fish? No, I see you don’t. It won’t mean anything to tell you thirty fish a minute. Think of it. Clean thirty fish a minute! My sister could do it in her sleep.
— Annie Proulx
The Shipping News