A Rum Tale

A short yarn courtesy of John Trotter

I’d forgotten all about the “fish bass” until browsing through the forum. I must confess ignorance of the term’s origin, in fact I always thought it was a Humberside speciality – obviously not! However, the old Hessian carrier bag was so common and useful around Grimsby and Hull that it drew little comment.

I recall departing southeast Iceland with no margin for error for the tide at Grimsby. The weather was favourable for once and we entered the Pentland Firth on a beautiful sunny day, everything going to plan.
Our misfortune was to pass an outward bound ship of the same company. The Skipper got on the blower and asked his opposite number for a bottle of rum.

Sure enough a bottle was dropped into the nightmare of currents and whirlpools that is the Pentland Firth, kept afloat by a trawl can. We spent the next two hours chasing it, narrowly avoiding the Old Man of Hoy on several occasions.
Fishermen don’t give up easily when booze is concerned and the Third Hand, supported by all the deckies, eventually captured the prize with a boathook from the whaleback.

Shortly afterwards, the whole gang appeared at the Skipper’s door with a bottle of rum, “Four Bells”, of course, and, naturally, in a FISH BASS!
The Skipper ungraciously snatched the bag from the Third Hand and, ignoring the Basset Hound stares of the deckies, slammed his cabin door shut. He was next seen as we passed the Spurn Light approximately two hours after the lock gates had closed!

Thanks a lot Skipper B.G.