Some of these Tails are from times past. This one goes back to the 1970s, when there was a rich herring fishery on the Island and we were students who spent our long and precious summers here.
To most Manx anglers, eels are a slimy nuisance. To the men of the Dutch herring fleet, they were a delicacy. This provided a useful income to get us through the summer.
Initially we caught the eels in the Sulby River with rod and line. But this was time-consuming and the eels were small. So the Dutchmen lent us some eel traps, complicated and fine-meshed devices with three chambers.
We set the traps in brackish water, using fresh herring as bait. We did not know that eels prefer rotten bait, so there were some frustrating days before we found big eels in the third chamber.
When we went to Peel breakwater with a heavy wriggling sack, the Dutch trawlermen literally drooled, and their gratitude knew no bounds.
What they most wanted to know was where we set the traps. We never told them despite any inducements, and it remains a secret to this day.