BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. 1885
FISHING ON AN EDGE OF THE GRAND BANKS.
Capt. George A. Johnson, master of schooner Augusta H. Johnson, who has just returned from a fresh-halibut trip to the Grand Banks, tells me that he fished around the edges of the deep-water pocket on the eastern side of the banks in north latitude 44 degrees 3 minutes), which he reported some time ago to the Hydrographic Office at Washington.
A remarkable feature of the fishing in that region is the great abundance of ground-sharks. So plentiful were these that Captain Johnson could not leave his trawl-lines out over night, since, if he did, the sharks would get on the hooks and destroy the gear by rolling up in the lines, breaking them, &c. On one occasion his men caught and killed 46 sharks in one day, one dory getting 18 of them on its trawl. Many of these sharks were of extraordinary size, the men reporting them to be much longer than their dories. As a dory is more than 19 feet long over all, this method of measuring would make some of the sharks from 20 to 25 feet in length. This species of shark is noted for its sluggishness and it is not uncommon for large specimens to be hauled up on trawlines, though I have never before known of its occurrence in such numbers as reported by Captain Johnson.
In the deepest part of this pocket the bottom is muddy. Grenadiers (Macrurus) are abundant, and some very large specimens of Newfoundland turbot (Platysomatichthys hippoglossoides) were taken. The latter weighrd more than 20 pounds on an average, as Captain Johnson thinks, which is an extraordinary size. They generally do not average more than from 5 to 10 pounds. Several icebergs were grounded in the pocket. One, which lay about 3 rniles inside the pocket's mouth, was grounded on the northern side in 125 fathoms, as Captain Johnson ascertained by sounding near it. . "`
Gloucester Mass, July 20, 1885