From A Brief History of Pubnico written by Rev. Clarence Joseph d’Entremont (page 25):

Fishing Industry

The main industry in Pubnico is the fishing industry. At first it was primarily the cod fishery. It seems that the 1860s were the most prosperous years in this respect, a direct result of the Treaty of Reciprocity of 1854 between the United States and Canada, which granted fishermen the right to liquidate their catches in the United States without having to pay any duty. Pubnico, like the rest of the province, profited greatly. The fishing industry had developed constantly, peaking at the time of the Confederation.

One would think that the lobster fishery has always been a part of Pubnico but it does not seem to be the case. There was even a time when fishermen used lobster meat as bait to fish cod.

Fishing has changed a lot in Pubnico, as elsewhere, especially since the 1950s when it became mechanized. Although lobster fishing is still very prominent, cod fishing has been superseded to a certain extent by that of scallop and sword fish, which are much more lucrative. Other sorts of fishing being practiced in our region include the halibut, herring, mackerel, smelt, and eel.

Following is a list of items and tools used by fishermen in our region: (Click on each blue link to open item photo)



A bucket or scoop for drawing water and removing it from a boat.

Bait Bag

A bag made of mended twine that holds the bait on the trap’s bait spike.


A light object attached to a fishing line that floats on the surface of the water to keep the bait at a desired depth. In the past these glass bobbers were frequently used in angling, netting and trawling.

Brass rolling parallel ruler

A ruler designed for drawing parallel lines. It consists of two linked edges that remain parallel although the distance between them may vary.


One of the first adding machines, it was also capable of rapid subtraction, multiplication, and division.


Its magnetic needle swings freely on a pivot and points to the north.


A rounded block of wood pierced by three holes that has a groove around its edge. Deadeyes are usually used in pairs to tighten stays or shrouds on sailing vessels.


An early marine inboard engine, also known as a “one-lunger” or a “make & break” engine. It was made by Acadia Gas Engines, Ltd., Bridgewater, NS. It is an 8hp, 2-cylinder design.

Fish Hook

A sharp metal hook used for catching fish.


A wooden block shaped like a heart through which the lanyards of the stays are rove.


Large portable lantern often used as a signal light on a boat.

Lobster Measure

An instrument used to measure a lobster to ensure it is of legal size.


A circular ring measuring 5 to 10 inches. Originally made of wood, it was used to hold the mesh net open, allowing lobsters to enter but preventing their escape.

Patent Horn

A vintage hand-cranked wood encased foghorn with bellows and a brass horn protruding from the side, this was a common horn in which the air was forced through a reed by a piston.


A lead weight used to sink a fishing line or net.

Sounding Lead

The weight used at the end of a sounding line to determine the water’s depth.

Squid Jig

A small hook set up for angling. Squid jigs consist of a painted runner of lead that acts as a lure, furnished at its tip with a crown of fine hooks. It is made to attract a fish’s attention through its jerking motion in the water.

Squid Jigs on a line

A device consisting of a number of fishhooks fastened together by their shanks, the points standing out in different directions. It is used to catch more than one fish at a time. The squid jigs (small hooks set up for angling) are made to attract a fish’s attention through its jerking motion in the water.


An instrument used for viewing distant objects.

Trawler Hauler (roller)

A roller placed upright into the gunwale (rail) of a dory, feeding a long-line trawl over one side to hook codfish, haddock, and occasionally halibut, which made it much easier to pull one’s catch into the dory. After retrieving a batch of fish, they were unhooked, rebaited, and then the line or “gangin” was lowered over the other side of the dory.

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