Whelks and shades
St. Anthony Bight man finds friend’s missing glasses with camera
What started out as a means of upholding a community tradition has turned into a story that Dean Patey will be telling for years to come.
As far back as the St. Anthony Bight man can remember, members of the community would take to the ice during the winter and spring to set pots for a fresh feed of coocoos,” better known as whelk.
And as I was watching it I could see plain as day a pair of glasses sitting on the bottom. Dean Patey
Essentially, residents cut holes in the ice so the baited pots can be lowered to bottom.
“It’s just something the people have been doing here since I was small boy, just get a couple of pots out, catch enough to cook up a fresh feed and take them back up again,” he said.
On March 1, Patey and a friend were cutting through some 16 inches of ice, prep work for the five pots that would be lowered the next day.
And as his friend was cutting out a hole with the “chumper” or ice chisel, a pair of prescription sunglasses flicked off of his head a disappeared into one of the holes.
“The water was really slushy so when it happened it wasn’t something that was noticed,” said Patey.
The next day the pots were set and after soaking for the better part of the day, the two returned to haul the pots.
In the process, Patey, being an avid GoPro user, tied the waterproof camera onto one of the lines to capture the process.
After returning home he reviewed the footage.
“And as I was watching it I could see plain as day a pair of glasses sitting on the bottom,” he said.
So I called up my buddy and sure enough his prescription glasses were missing.
The next day the glasses were recovered thanks to a magnet tied to the end of a stick.
Needless to say, it’s something that will cross Patey’s mind whenever he’s about to set his next coocoo pot.
While recording the whelk fishing process, St. Anthony Bight fisherman Dean Patey inadvertently found his friend’s prescription sunglasses.