In his youth, when it came to fishing for salmon and trout, Melvin had his family with him, but they didn't enjoy this fishing. However when it came to cod fishing, Sylvia was caught as well.
Cod fishing involves jigging with a weighted, unbaited hook(s) attached to a line and thrown overboard. The fisher jerks the line sharply upward (jigs) and releases it again. The goal is to hook a fish. The fish can be hooked anywhere on their bodies, not just around the mouth. It helps to lower the line into a school of fish where the chances of jigging one greatly increase.
Newman and his wife Shirley are residents of Heatherton, Newfoundland. There they raised their family of five, two girls and three boys. Newman was a fisherman and provided for his family by the various species harvested from the sea. During the summer months, when Melvin and Sylvia spent time at their cabin (cottage) in nearby Robinsons, Newman and Shirley periodically took them cod jigging. (This was in the years before the cod moratorium).
Newman with cod and Melvin with halibut
Sylvia loved this kind of fishing. She loved the process of catching the fish, the product, including the beautiful cod fillet and cod tongues, as well as the time spent with these great friends. She enjoyed on the water as well and felt very safe with a fisher as experienced as Newman. Feeling the weight at the end of the line and the anticipation of what size or type of fish awaited you, were thrilling to her.
Strangely enough, Melvin got sea sick occasionally while he was cod jigging in the small boats. This same man had travelled up and down the eastern seaboard, in a vessel carrying paper from the mill in Corner Brook, without ever being sea sick. The size of the boat made a difference to him.
Time spent with Newman and Shirley was never boring because of the fishing but especially because of the fun had with these great friends. Newman is a story and joke teller extraordinaire. Shirley joins in the fun, edging Newman on, though he doesn't need any encouragement. He has a story for every situation, some of which would turn the air blue. However, you can't help but laugh at the stories.
Newman and Shirley are among the kindest people you could ever know. They are loving parents, grandparents and great grandparents. They are devoted to each other, their family and friends. Anyone who has been lucky enough to know them and spend time with them as Melvin and Sylvia did, are lucky people indeed.
Friends, family, and cod fishing made the time at Robinsons very special for the Smiths. Great memories indeed!