We’ve all heard a good fishing tale that illustrates how abundant our waters once were. So abundant, in fact, the fish would practically jump into the boat. Well, it turns out this is kind of true. Check out this historic digitized film reel we found through Northeast Historic Film that captures the astounding bounty from a group of men jigging off Mt. Desert Island.
Jigging is the practice of fishing using a jig, which is a type of fishing lure that was commonly made out of lead and covered in a rubber-like body to attract fish.
In the footage we see here, men in a boat off of Mt. Desert Island are seen catching a school of tuna that they likely attracted by dumping large amounts of bait into the water. As the school of tuna ascends on the bait, the men use bamboo poles with hooks on the end to snag the fish and toss them into the boat.
These days tuna, particularly bluefin tuna, are protected and so a fishing expedition like the one we see here from 1947 would simply not happen these days. To learn more about Maine’s fishing history check out the Penobscot Marine Museum’s extensive website.