Unusual Abundance of Cod on Brown's Bank
By Captain J.W. Collins, May 30, 1885.

The hand-line cod-fishermen who have arrived recently report fish unusually abundant on Brown's Bank, though they are scarce on George's, as is generally the case at this season.

Capt. William Dempsey, master of schooner Clara F. Friend, who has had upwards of twenty-five years' experience in the George's cod-fishery, arrived last Monday--May 25--from a trip to Brown's Bank. He was absent from home eighteen days, seven days of which were spent at anchor on the Bank. In this time, with a crew of 10 men, a fare of 37,000 pounds of fish was caught, 1,400 pounds of which were fresh halilbut, the remainder being salt cod. The schooner lay in 45 fathoms, about south-southeast from the ''Shoal-water," in north latitude 42 degrees 46'.

Captain Dempsey says he never before saw cod so abundant on Brown's Bank, at this season, in all his experience. Not only were they plentiful near the bottom, but they appeared to be numerous nearly to the surface of the water. Many fish were caught "up in the water", and on one occasion Captain Dempsey hooked a pair of fine cod not over 10 fathoms from the surface. "High -course" tides prevailed while the vessel was om the ground, and they ran so strong that much difficulty was experienced in making the gear "tend" bottom. After a little while, however, it was found more profitable not to veer out any more line after once getting bottom, for, as the swift-running current gradually lifted the leaden sinkers from the ground, fishermen were more liable to catch pairs of fish than if they exerted themselves to pay out their lines at intervals, which is the usual method when fishing in a tide-way.

These cod were in spawning condition, according to Captain Dempsey, who tells ine that the milt ran freely from the fish after they had been landed on deck. Before he left the Bank, several schooners came there from George's, where they reported finding fish very scarce.
Gloucester, Mass., May 30, 1885.