Photograph of Ray Morse at North Shields Fish Quay

Ray Morse

Ray belongs to: The Fishermen's Mission

Ray was born in Sunderland into a fishing family. He has fished since the age of 3. He worked from North Shields and Grimsby. Ray is now retired and continues to fish in his leisure time.

Ray was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 8 November 2005. The interview took place at North Shields Fishermen's Mission and lasted 54 minutes and 21 seconds.

Photograph of Ray Morse at North Shields Fish Quay
Photograph of Ray Morse at North Shields Fish Quay

A regular fishing trip

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"Well, a fishing trip starts in the harbour"

Well, a fishing trip starts in the harbour. You’ve got three, four, up to seven men on a boat, so you’ve got to think, this is looking at it from the skipper’s point of view, right, we’ll say there’s four men; right, I’ve got to feed four men, for five days, we’re going out for a minimum of five days, or a maximum of five days, whatever. So you’ve got to order the food, this is in your time off from your previous trip.

You’ve then got to think “well, how much fuel do we need?”, so you’ve got to take fuel. It’s always best to go out with full, full tanks, pardon. Ice, you had to carry ice so ice had to be taken. You basically had to make the boat ready for sea. Make sure you’re gear was in good condition, so you had to check all your fishing gear, you know, wires, ropes, nets; everything had to be checked over. This was all in your time off between trips- this all had to be done and then you’d say, “right, how far are we steaming?” We’ll just say- my average trip used to be round about 70 miles, we’d be fishing around 70 miles off in the summer, so a boat doing eight miles an hour, that’s about eight or nine hours steaming.

So, then you had to, you wanted to be there for early morning the day you were going to start fishing, so you had to think, “right, I want to be there, summertime daylight four o’clock?- I want to be there at latest at five, so you had to think five hours previous- eight o’clock at night, seven o’clock at night. I’ve seen us sail out of here at teatime on a Sunday night to get, so that we’re at the fishing grounds on time. Once you’ve sailed in you boat you see, the time spent steaming is lost fishing time- that’s money not going to the bank, so to speak.

So you had to spend as little time as possible steaming, or there’s no use arriving at the fishing grounds at 10 o’clock in the morning and say, “right lads, we’ll start fishing now” half the day’s gone. So you had to be there for basically first light, start fishing, that was your first day’s fishing. And then you’d fish for four, five days and then come in and maybe have 24 hours in the harbour, but in that 24 hours you had to go through the whole process again. You had to get food ordered, fuel, ice, so by the time you got off the boat, the day you had come in and landed, and you knew you were sailing any time.

Usually I would set the time for about eight or nine o’clock to give the lads a few hours at home, you know. You’d be off the boat at 12 o’clock lunchtime and you’d be sailing again at eight o’clock at night- and that was your time off.

Ray has 17 memories in the memorynet:

This memory has these themes:
Roles and Routines | Work

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