#01726
The Old Newfie Fisherman (John Hollohan) video
#6: YouTube video by G Malone
©2007 ~ Used with permission ~

An old Newfie fisherman just turned ninety-one,
Was spinning some yarns with his great-great grandson;
He got up from his chair, looked out at the sea,
Said, my boy, you don't know how good life used to be.
I can tell you, my son, way back in my time,
There were all kinds of fish if you'd just set your line;
The harbours were full of our motorboats then,
And I wish I could hear those ol' engines again.

So, here's to the fishermen, a breed of the past,
With their oil-skins and boots and their sou'wester hats;
Those boots and those suits won't be seen anymore,
For the fish are all gone from our Newfoundland shore.

I still can remember when I was a boy,
How we'd spread the salt cod on the fish-flake to dry;
We'd go home for a feed when the work was all done,
And leave them to dry in the Newfoundland sun.
There were plenty of caplin, all you could cast,
To throw on your garden or salt-dry to last;
There were squid you could jig and lobsters to trap,
And I still count my blessings each time I look back.

So, here's to the fishermen, a breed of the past,
With their oil-skins and boots and their sou'wester hats;
Those boots and those suits won't be seen anymore,
For the fish are all gone from our Newfoundland shore.

Now those big fishing trawlers could hold a lot more,
And we suddenly found the whole world at our door;
I swear some were like big fish factories on floats,
And we were no match with our small Newfie boats.
The Feds wouldn't listen to the fisherman's cry,
They just left us alone on the island to die;
While they dragged all our waters for fish all day long,
Till most of the cod in the sea were all gone.

So, here's to the fishermen, a breed of the past,
With their oil-skins and boots and their sou'wester hats;
Those boots and those suits won't be seen anymore,
For the fish are all gone from our Newfoundland shore.

Now the wharves are all empty, there's no one around,
Even the seagulls have moved into town;
The boats are on dry land to rot in the sun,
And that is the end of our fishing, my son.
But sometimes at night when I lie in my bed,
I dream that I'm out on the water instead;
Where I'll sit at the tiller or haul in my trawl,
Like I did years ago, back when we had it all.

So, here's to the fishermen, a breed of the past,
With their oil-skins and boots and their sou'wester hats;
Those boots and those suits won't be seen anymore,
For the fish are all gone from our Newfoundland shore.
Those boots and those suits won't be seen anymore,
For the fish are all gone from our Newfoundland shore.

####.... John Hollohan of Summerville and Gander, NL. ©1995 ....####
Recorded by John Hollohan (Island To Island, trk#7, 2006, Sweet Bay Music, Victoria, British Columbia).

See more songs by John Hollohan.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Capelin (Caplin) - small, iridescent deep-water fish (Mallotus villosus) like a smelt which, followed by the cod, appears inshore during June and July to spawn along the beaches, and is netted for bait, for manuring the fields, or dried, salted, smoked, or frozen for eating.
Flake - platform built on poles and spread with boughs for drying cod-fish on the foreshore.
Sou'wester - fisherman's waterproof hat with a broad brim, elongated and sloping at the back, with side flaps tied under the chin; also south-wester, southwester, cape ann, lincoln, oil hat.
Trawl - buoyed line, of great length, to which short lines with baited hooks are attached at intervals.



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