everybody has a story to tell about their life

Wire crab pots

Janet Chadband and Dennis Knight, 2013

Dennis: But then of course, in came the wire pot, as the wire pot came in, it may last for 3 or 4 years and they put a great lump of cement in the middle of those, same shape, 16 ribs, seasoning wire. You see they used to go to the telephone company or the electric company because that wire was all the stays from the telegraph poles, you know you see the telegraph pole and you see a wire stay, well that would be 7 strands but some of them was quite pliable, but if you had some with a bit of stainless in it, a bit hard, terrible job to bend it, they didn’t like that. Softer wire, you see it was all galvanised and they would go down and they would straighten this thing out and then they would tie it to the post right round, right round that pump we saw down there tie it round there with a bit of rope all the seven strands and they would go down to the other end of it, get it more or less straight and then they would tuck six of the strands down their belt or round a bit of rope and then they would take one off and they would have to unwind it ‘cos you know what its like its all wound round like a corkscrew, they’d unwind it all the way until they got back and they would take the next one and time they got all seven of ‘um there would be a great big jumble of wire up at the end and then you would go back and do that little bit and then you had to cut the lengths for the ribs.. Then you would have to cut the lengths. But of course you got this kink in ’em so you’d have to hit ’em with a ‘ammer and straighten every bit of wire out. The fastest man to make a lobster pot was John Glover. If he got on in the morning at 7 o’clock and he took it in by the fire in the evening, he could do four a day but you had to be tooled up, have all the wire ready, everything ready and you know he’d make ’em while he watched the telly and he put it on the floor, a car tyre or something in there, and he’d sit there watching the telly and do the bottoms. He would make enough for himself and to sell but very labour intensive. Then after that the flip top pot came in, ones that flop and you could open the lid up and put the bait in that was a revolution. You imagine trying to get a big crab out of one of those and the bleddy boats rolling and the bleddy crab doesn’t want to come out, you don’t want to break his claw and then the next pot is coming up. They used to use a capstan then, which is a bleddy gearbox for an Austin 10 or something like that, they’d cut the stub off it turn it upright, put the capstan on top they’d have to make three turns on it otherwise it would slide and second gear. They had a wonderful way of improvising, seeing what would work and what wouldn’t. Then of course, in come all these new pots now that hold the fish and the fish don’t get out. They all say there will never be any lobsters left but they still but they still keeping coming every year.


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