Cocks and Hens

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to go cod fishing.  Its funny, but we never called it that, a trip to the fishing grounds was usually just called going out in boat.  I guess the two just naturally went together, I mean why else go out in boat?

Usually cod fishing was done by the old standard hit and miss method of using a cod jigger.  You’d lower the jigger to bottom, and then pull it up a fathom or so and stroke the line back and forth, hoping to hook into a cod.

But other times we’d use a feathered hook, or a baited hook with some orange cloth on it.  Well I’m not sure the orange mattered as much as something to attract the fishes curiosity.  For bait we’d use squid, caplin, herring, or often, cocks and hens.

They are properly a soft shelled clam, but we always knew them by the name cocks and hens, I really have no idea why, maybe someone can enlighten me.  These clam live in the soft muddy tidal flats around the shore line.  For us. we’d usually go to Southwest Brook, near Snook’s Harbour at low tide and walk out on the mud.

The clams themselves live 6-8 inches deep in the mud, you could see where by the little round tube they left in the mud to let water and food in and waste out.  Finding these, we’d dig down with a shovel, generally a little ways away from the hole so as not to smash them.  The shells on these are very soft and easily broken.  Generally we’d dig up a 5 gallon bucket full of them along with some sand and ocean water to keep them moist, and leave them in the cool fishing stage.

On our next trip out in boat, we’d take the bucket, and open a cocks and hen, and put it on our hook as bait to try and catch a nice growler (Dad’s term for a big one that would make the old corded jigging line growl)!

Nothing I loved more than an early morning trip out in boat, spending a few hours on the water.