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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, May 17, 1908, Image 19

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1908-05-17/ed-1/seq-19/

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*tfn dawn to dark to run off the list. The
oßcrrs acted as judges, starters and timekeep
en, and tataraJSj their decisions were rwpoct
,j. There was a taootins match I • Bare break
♦.<. and alleru-ard came seme running races
m itl> excellent records, as was shown by the
¥iyr da*!i sti 10 4-5 seconds and the mile
in 4:11- -'■>■ In the equipment race the
cantcstar.ls disrobed themselves at intervals
over the course. tiro;ipinsr a leasing here and a
■sasw* 1 (* ri^e th<re. Tht-y •-•': to return fully
flipped, as tirey startt-d. each man picking up
tis eO^ijim^uU pier« by piece, ar.d putting it on.
jix strvszl"* of Xi« den to lace leggings
«c^=ESt time 3-J adjust other articles caused
arausement. Baycnct fencing was
a lively feature and a weird one en account of
lie wStaxncs of 'be contestants. Baca wore
t nionsirous vvir»i mask hclmt-t, a thick body
pal arm guards ;:ni well padded gloves, mak
i-r fcin look like a diver out of ■"■■ element.
A wirp bayonet cev<rcd v.ith rubber and bear
fcs h>'avy rubber Tij>s v.as substituted for the
rfSnlar bayonet. .\n o2icer kept score, standing
tcside the exjntestauts and -" (tins "Touch! "
■srtra a. hit sras scored. Tho bayonet was once
thcraßV.; to be out of date in modern warfare.
but the experts have revised ear opinions and
so Teaci::s Is me of the games in the military
|- 1. T,l rr.adc ,n Fifth avenue last Sunday by Brown Brothers, New York-
The North R.ver often yields 100,000 of these fish in one short season.
Fishermen Lay Scarcity of Shad
to Spa-jm Eating German Fish.
At dawn under the shadow of Grant's Tomb,
when the river is touched with opal tints and the
hum of a waking- city is faintiy heard, the shad
fishermen row their boats with creaking oarlocks
to a line of poles picketing the centre of the
Hudson and draw up nets that sag and shake
with quivering fish. The men are bronzed and
strong and a little sleepy eyed because of the mid
night task of setting these nets at the ebb tide,
but they work with a briskness that is stimu
lated by the brevity of the shad season and the
high pi lees that prevail on account of scarcity.
Only six weeks lasts the shad harvest of the
river, and the fisherman who cannot work day
and night for such a period had better take an
easy land lubber's job. Tons, from Sweden,
and Peter Petrovitch, from Russia; the lad from
Ilelsingfors. "Bill" Thompson, from Barne
get. and a few other labor at the oars, exchang
ing remarks in more languages than some of the
professors in that Columbia University up the
hill could understand. A Norwegian, who grabs
a large wriggling shad behind the entangled
gills, and flings him Into the bottom of the boat,
sees the narrowing vista of the northern Pali
sades glow In the dawn and exclaims that the
scene looks just like the fjord at home. Isaac
Truax. the dean of the river, and vigorous
despite his eighty-one years, compares the shad
conditions of to-day with those of half a century
ago. There Is no use talking, a man could make
an honest catch in the days gone by, even If the
prices were low.
"It's the German carp, the " est hog fish that
Drying and mending nets at the foot of the Palisades on the Jersey shore.
swims, which has et up the spawn in the last
three years and made us ketch nothing worth
while." remarked the man from Long Branch.
"I'd like to know who put that devil into the
water, and what good the Noo York Legislature
Is wli'Ti it spends all its time proteetin' the race
tracks and don't do nothing for us honest fisher
"What rould the legislature do for us?" ob
jected "Bill* Thompson, from Barnegat. "Ain't
we outlaws by su:T"rance like the railroads,
blockadin" United States waters with these poles,
an' if a tug comes along an' tears through $73
worth of nets we don't dast say anything."
"Ifebbe we're outlaws," said the man from
Long Branch, "but I'd like to know what Noo
York'd do for breakfast without us. The Dela
ware shad is larger, but they ain't fresh on the
market like ours. Prob'ly these few we're
ketchin' will be fried up in the St. Kegi.s kitchen
by dinner time. I don't expect the Legislature
to chase the carp out with a harpoon, but they
might give a tip to the fish commission to stock
up the river with shad spawn and make it a
state's prison crime for any feller to contami
nate the Hudson with them devils of carp."
The camps of the fishermen, consisting of
rough shanties and drying yards for nets, are on
the Jersey beach, north and south of the Fort Lee
ferry. The proprietor, who hires from two to a
dozen hands, may be a hotelkeeper in the non
fishing season, or a .small independent fisherman,
hailing from a coast resort. The red and yellow
shanties are Just about large enough for all
hands to eat in. while the small amount of sleep
indulged in by the workers obviates the need of
much bunk space. Unmarketable varieties of
fish, dressed by the boss and cooked by his wife,
constitute the principal item in the fare fur
nished to the m<-n. along with wages <>f $30 t.j
$45 a month. These wages attract skilled fisher
men who have cast th ir nets in all the waters be
tween the Caribbean Sea and the North S« a, hip
booted, hairy armed mon. who ply the net n<^dl«
and mend rents with the skill of a houswifa
darning stockings. Rome of them have come to
New York from the Florida fishing season too
late to srtj out with the deep water fleets, and at
the close of the shad catching they will seek
jobs aboard mackerel or bluefish smacks.
A period of preparation comes before the open
ing of the shad season, in the first week of April.
Nets and boats must be in order and the line of
posts plnnted across the river. The posts or
stakes, thirty-five to sixty feet in length, are
thrust into the mud of the river bottom at inter
vals of thirty feet. A circular clamp at the up
per end of the stake makes a platform on which
two men, supported by comrades in boats, danes
energetically until their weight ha 3 driven the
pole far enough down. The stakes extend 750
feet in the centre of the river, leaving a 2,000
foot channel on the New York side and half as
much on the Jersey side. The nets are made of
the best linen thread, with a 5Vi-inch mesh,
which is just right to catch the shad by the gills.
There are iron rings to weigh down the lower
ends and cork floats at the top. At least $50©
must be invested in nets, because they test only
about a season and a half, and any time a tug
is likely to come along and carry away a long
stretch of net, with all the fish In it.
The shad, which travel upstream at flood tide
with the notion of depositing their eggs in some
Adirondack creek, do not get any further if they
meet the net, while an occasional big .sturgeon
ploughs through like a rhinoceros negotiating a
suburban villa fence. Small sturgeons of five or
six pounds are captured, and sometimes a forty
pound striped bass gets tangled up. Talking
about sturgeon, the man from Albany tells how
they are caught up there the size of horses:
"Yes, sir; eight feet long and weighing six hun
dred pounds and $125 worth of caviar inside."
The total catch of shad in the North River
amounts to 100,000 in good years, and one outfit
may catch as many as a thousand in a day, but
the output this season has been cut down to one
tenth, probably on account of the unspeakablo
carp. There Is no "cuss" word bad enough for
the carp. Roe shad are selling now around SO
cents and average four or five pounds in weight
while the bucks weigh less and sell for half as
much. The season will end on May 20, when
the stakes will be pulled up and the nets dried
and folded away for next year. In the summer
time you may see some tent camps along the
beach and fellows in boats pretending to angle
the river for weakfish and bass and eels and
crabs, 'but these are not fishermen at ail and it's
mighty little they ever catch. They're amateur
city fellows out for a little amusement and exer
cise. Don't mistake them for fishermen," says
"I.ill" Thompson, from Bamegat.
.Mile. Genee, whose dancing has pleased New
York, was praising American railways. "How
splendid, how fast, your railways are," she said.
"You have no slow trains, have you? Ah, with
us it is different, once, in the spring, on one
of our London suburban lines, a train stopped
■and a passenger leaped out and entered a field
gayly. 'What are you going to do?' shouted the
guard. 'I am going to gather a nosegay.' said
the passenger. 'Km.' said the guard, there are
no Bowers thereabouts.' 'I know," said the pas
senger, taking a packet from his coat, 'but I
have a packet of seeds lure.' "
■^L. Washed, Cleaned, Repaired and Stored.
C Tel. 5447—33. 421 1 11111 AVli.

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