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    Re: Voyaging the traditional way
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2004 Nov 4, 22:10 +0000

    When I wrote this about my taffrail log-
    >> It normally stays trailing from the taffrail unless I feel the need to
    >> trail a mackerel line, as the two are incompatible. I've used it when my
    >> nav was by DR and radio DF bearings, and also later, in conjunction with
    >> GPS.
    Bill responded-
    >Enlighten me, what is a mackerel line?  Fishing?
    I think Bill must have led a somewhat sheltered life. Don't Mackerel exist
    in US waters? Perhaps they go by another name there. Perhaps Bill does his
    navigation in fresh water?
    In UK waters, mackerel are a small predator fish about 12 to 18 inches
    long, which are very prevalent in UK coastal waters in Summer,tending to
    swim in shoals near the surface. They are despised, to some extent, at the
    fishmongers because they are rather oily and don't keep well. My old
    mother, who came from a seafaring family and enjoyed many maritime
    superstitions, would never eat mackerel, describing them as "scavengers of
    the sea" and asserting that they "ate drowned sailors". What they lived on
    when there were no marine disasters on hand was never made clear. But I
    remember that saying from the days of the 1939 to 1945 war, when there was
    indeed no shortage of drowned sailors.
    Straight out of the water, though, mackerel are delicious, especially
    pan-fried, and the smaller ones are the best. I'm no fisherman, and get
    little enjoyment from the fishing itself. Mackerel fishing is no sport
    anyway, the fish being quite undiscriminating. They go for any sort of
    spinner or a coloured lure such as a feather, so there's no bother about
    bait. Towing such a lure from the transom, at my normal cruising speed of 4
    knots or so, I can usually promise to haul in what's needed for the pot
    within an hour. Any surplus can (and should) be pickled straightaway.
    Occasionally, some other species, such as whiting ar garfish, manages to
    hook on. Garfish, a member of the mackerel family but with a long narrow
    "beak", and bones that turn a brilliant green when cooked, are even tastier
    than mackerel.
    That's all I have to tell about the mackerel, one of life's little
    pleasures when cruising our waters.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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