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Catch of the Day: 1894

Catch of the Day: 1894

1894. "Sport fishing, Palm Beach, Florida. Day's catch." Now where's that frying pan? 8x10 inch glass negative by William Henry Jackson. View full size.


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Although the mustaches are quite epic, I am more impressed that two of the men are fishing wearing a tie!!

Lucky Ties

I never thought about wearing a neck-tie when I go fishing. If I want good luck, I may need to change my attire next time I go to the lake.

Sloop or Schooner?

The vessel they are fishing from has an exceptionally large gaff mainsail -- you can see both gaff and boom, as well as what are probably reef points. The boom is all but certainly being held out to starboard by a boom tackle or preventer, otherwise it would be unwise to leave the bottle standing up where even a slight movement of the boom inboard would knock it over, if not break it.

The way the men at the side are standing, as well as the hatch in the left background of the picture, suggest an extra wide and high cabin trunk with rather narrow side decks. Likewise, the odd control line going into the cabin top just left of center in the photo makes me wonder what it's for. A vessel with such a large cabin trunk would be a shoal draft vessel (not rare in Florida waters) and possibly the line is the pendant for a centerboard. Then the hauling end of the line is behind the photographer, rather than below decks. We sometimes see control lines going through-deck on modern racing boats but it usually means they are meant to be handled from below.

Now we get to ask if it's a sloop or a schooner. If it's a schooner it must be very big indeed, but I've seen both rigs in Shorpy photos of this period from Florida waters. If the mystery line is really a centerboard pendant, it seems too far aft for a schooner, so I suspect the vessel is a sloop. But, I'm sure others will disagree and have good reasons to say it's a schooner.

Holy Mackerel!

It appears our crew has hauled in a nice catch of Spanish mackerel, a couple sheepshead drum, and at least one amberjack.

Moustache to chin ratio = 3:2

(now that I look closer the largest mackerel are probably king mackerel)

The old men and the sea

This was five years before Hemingway was even born but brings his story to mind. Better put those fish on ice if they are going to be eaten. That Florida sun does not enhance the flavor of fresh fish.


There are no railings! AND NO LIFE JACKETS!

The days when men were men!

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