The Riddler

Bait Shops of the Past

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On 12/30/2018 at 7:07 AM, Angler #1 said:

That is a good account of both Whitey and Harold . Harold used to run the local gambling crew in the shop while they sat and imbibed the spirits 

Harold didn't really run regular clandestine local gambling out of his shop. :laugh: These were just occasional all night poker games between Harold and his military friends, and Whitey and a couple of his buddies.

Usually taking place on a Fri or Sat night when my old friend Phil Spofford (also ret Air Force) was running the shop. Fri and Sat nights were very busy due to the beach buggy and camper crew arriving late on the way to Nauset and p town. Can't describe how busy it was between 9-2am. They'd stop in, grab a couple flats of worms, ice, Coleman lantern fuel, etc then drive to the beach.

Harold was retired military and he'd only invite his military friends. Whitey would bring a couple sales reps with him. No beer as I recall. Scotch and whiskey. Food was deli meat and cheese sandwiches. I can still see Harold's wife making sandwiches for the crew at 2am. Harold would raid the store's cash register a couple times a night due to losing hands. Phil Spofford used to complain to me that he had trouble keeping the store open because Harold was taking the cash as fast as it came in.

The game would break up around dawn. Given all the liquor that was consumed it was amazing anyone could walk, let alone drive. I was 18-19 years old back then and was trusted since I knew how to keep my mouth shut and not discuss what went on. It was so cool to be able to hang out and help around the store, and not only get to witness, but participate in this old part of canal lore.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bob_G

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On 12/31/2018 at 1:36 PM, bob_G said:

Harold didn't really run regular clandestine local gambling out of his shop. :laugh: These were just occasional all night poker games between Harold and his military friends, and Whitey and a couple of his buddies.

Usually taking place on a Fri or Sat night when my old friend Phil Spofford (also ret Air Force) was running the shop. Fri and Sat nights were very busy due to the beach buggy and camper crew arriving late on the way to Nauset and p town. Can't describe how busy it was between 9-2am. They'd stop in, grab a couple flats of worms, ice, Coleman lantern fuel, etc then drive to the beach.

Harold was retired military and he'd only invite his military friends. Whitey would bring a couple sales reps with him. No beer as I recall. Scotch and whiskey. Food was deli meat and cheese sandwiches. I can still see Harold's wife making sandwiches for the crew at 2am. Harold would raid the store's cash register a couple times a night due to losing hands. Phil Spofford used to complain to me that he had trouble keeping the store open because Harold was taking the cash as fast as it came in.

The game would break up around dawn. Given all the liquor that was consumed it was amazing anyone could walk, let alone drive. I was 18-19 years old back then and was trusted since I knew how to keep my mouth shut and not discuss what went on. It was so cool to be able to hang out and help around the store, and not only get to witness, but participate in this old part of canal lore.

 

 

 

 

 

Bob are you saying that you also participated in what these folks did during the evening hours playing a game of chance and drinking alcohol ? or were you using the word in a different frame work ? It is ironic that back in those times when I got wind of what they were doing was all in the late 60s somewhere and that was because of having a close relationship with Whitey who told me all about his brothers infliction  to both gambling and drinking . Whitey lost his shop in Dorchester for the same reason of drinking to much , other wise he was a good person with a heart of gold.  As far as the old part of canal lore goes more shop owners indulged or over indulged which in many cases resulted in a losing business unfortunately. Also the crew  had a say in how some shops were operated as they controlled the sea worm business for a few years . They never made good examples to any young people I new. One of the shops in Dorchester with help from the crew managed to  control the sea worm business and that is how they laundered all of the betting money . I was surprised when i was first told about that by one of the runners of the sea worms to all of the shops they supplied that I stopped going into it to buy any thing at all . That all changed  as folks got wind of how they were cleaning the money , and controlling the sea worm market and some how the District Attorney eventually put a stop to it, but for the most part it was to late for some. I do not recall the final year  when it all stopped , but it was somewhere around the time when Shop across from Cape Cod Charlies went out of business and the area all changed to a restaurant and then the present gas station and dd is located.  

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29 mins ago, Angler #1 said:

Bob are you saying that you also participated in what these folks did during the evening hours playing a game of chance and drinking alcohol ? or were you using the word in a different frame work ? It is ironic that back in those times when I got wind of what they were doing was all in the late 60s somewhere and that was because of having a close relationship with Whitey who told me all about his brothers infliction  to both gambling and drinking . Whitey lost his shop in Dorchester for the same reason of drinking to much , other wise he was a good person with a heart of gold.  As far as the old part of canal lore goes more shop owners indulged or over indulged which in many cases resulted in a losing business unfortunately. Also the crew  had a say in how some shops were operated as they controlled the sea worm business for a few years . They never made good examples to any young people I new. One of the shops in Dorchester with help from the crew managed to  control the sea worm business and that is how they laundered all of the betting money . I was surprised when i was first told about that by one of the runners of the sea worms to all of the shops they supplied that I stopped going into it to buy any thing at all . That all changed  as folks got wind of how they were cleaning the money , and controlling the sea worm market and some how the District Attorney eventually put a stop to it, but for the most part it was to late for some. I do not recall the final year  when it all stopped , but it was somewhere around the time when Shop across from Cape Cod Charlies went out of business and the area all changed to a restaurant and then the present gas station and dd is located.  

Carl,

Those were great times and I was fortunate to have experienced them. What I did in the days of my youth is my business, and  none of your concern. 

However, while we're on the subject of irony. I find it ironic that in all the time I spent at Fishermen's Friend, Cape Cod Charlie's and on the canal, I never once saw you nor heard your name mentioned? :headscratch:

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My buddy’s father was the third brother

and he could drink , but I will say very well liked and had a heart of gold. 

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11 hours ago, bob_G said:

Carl,

Those were great times and I was fortunate to have experienced them. What I did in the days of my youth is my business, and  none of your concern. 

However, while we're on the subject of irony. I find it ironic that in all the time I spent at Fishermen's Friend, Cape Cod Charlie's and on the canal, I never once saw you nor heard your name mentioned? :headscratch:

Bob, No matter what is posted you seem to have some way of twisting it around and making it personal that is unfortunate . Had you not been the one to say what you did or did not do in a past life perhaps the questions, as a result of those postings , that you continue to not answer would not get asked? Funny that when it comes to yourself its alright for you to have concerns about others , but not for others to have concerns about you> :heart::theman::beatin:

I spent more time fishing then i did hanging around a bunch of alcoholics or for that matter heavy smokers . :howdy:

Wow you never saw me or heard my name when you were 10 years old by your accounts above , the same could be stated for many including yourself . Why would some one that is 29 be hanging around a 10 year old unless they were a family member . ? What are you eluding to here my friend ?

When we fished the beaches one could say that we also never heard of many who fished the canal and visa versa, but what does that have to do with the price of rice in china , as the saying goes? 

I know I am making a mistake by even posting a reply, as you of late  you seem to like more controversy in the postings , rather then trying to being civil.

Once again I will wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years  

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Carl I'm not going to dignify any of this gibberish with a reply.

However, i will say that while I find your "concern" for me touching, it's totally unwarranted. Sandy and I just fine. However, that said perhaps you should redirect you efforts to things that need attention. Things like saving the whales, piping plovers and the plight of the feral cat might benefit from your attention, because I don't. :howdy:

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1 hour ago, troutworm said:

What's going on in here ? The shootout at the SOL Corral !

Troutworm it is all about fishing as far as I am concerned and how one recalls the early times along the great divide we call the Cape Cod Canal. How is the new year treating you? It is silly to continue to have conversations over nothing , don't you agree?

I will post a new topic to see where it goes/

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I thought this thread was about Bait Shops of the Past? I realize that most "surf" fishermen today think that the Canal has always produced the way that it does currently, relative to other areas, but in fact , I seem to recall it being a location that produced some very large fish at times with 2 or 3 large fish being a good catch , even for the regulars. It is the past 10 or 15 years that have been the "Glory Years" for the Canal, which is longer than most locations hold the top spot, but that too will come to an end. I realize that on-line shopping has been the death of many a tackle shop, but , changing migration patterns and the resulting good or bad fishing that follows are the cause for many of the aforementioned closures. When there are alot of fish around, everyone is a fisherman!

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On 12/29/2018 at 6:30 AM, Kones1 said:

One of the saddest days of my 60 years was pulling into that lot and seeing it was closed. To this very day it saddens me deeply. The end of an era and a way of life indeed

Kones, couldn't agree more.  Always loved the old pictures of the guys in their beach buggies holding 50lbers and the friendly service before heading out to race point in my Jeep when the fishing was great.  Hadn't been out there in years until last summer and went to stop by with my two young girls to show them the shop and grab some lures and found it was closed.  

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In the spring of 1990 I brought my son on his first trip  out there he was 5. When we walked in the door the sights and smells of Nelson’s,a place he had herd his uncles and grandfathers and dad talk so much about , his face was lit up like Xmas morn. In awe he could only stare and watch in amazement as eels were being counted,reels were being loaded and the chatter of some pretty tuff dudes getting the last few things ready for a few days of hardcore beach fishing filled his ears. Same thing my grandfather and dad did for me in 1964. I remember my first time,intimidated and a bit scared but by that fall I was as excited to go in that shop as I was for that beach. As I write this tears run. I’m older more mellow and a lot softer I guess I get sad easy now. That place was special as were those years. It ain’t the same out there. 

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1 hour ago, Kones1 said:

In the spring of 1990 I brought my son on his first trip  out there he was 5. When we walked in the door the sights and smells of Nelson’s,a place he had herd his uncles and grandfathers and dad talk so much about , his face was lit up like Xmas morn. In awe he could only stare and watch in amazement as eels were being counted,reels were being loaded and the chatter of some pretty tuff dudes getting the last few things ready for a few days of hardcore beach fishing filled his ears. Same thing my grandfather and dad did for me in 1964. I remember my first time,intimidated and a bit scared but by that fall I was as excited to go in that shop as I was for that beach. As I write this tears run. I’m older more mellow and a lot softer I guess I get sad easy now. That place was special as were those years. It ain’t the same out there. 

Before we had Nelsons we had Charley Whitney a place where one could not only find fresh sand eels and eels. But get a custom surf stick built .  Before we were able to obtain 4x4 to ride the beaches we would often take the walk along Herring Cove through the cut at Hatches to get to the light house and fish. Charley was a wealth of local knowledge that shared the experience in most cases with others. There were several others in Pt as well , long gone , no more to rise from the ashes . Some even just opened for one or two summers and were gone. The loss of the fish along this beach front has made the place a ghost town of the past where many business were depended upon the m,any , many families fishing for a living. It all began with the seals for me as we often would fish Nauset and remark how much damage they were doing to the bottom feeding fish, like sand dabs and fluke . When they ran out of them they began working on the sand eels more and our striped bass . I have even witnessed them with sand sharks and huge skate in there jaws. The circle of life we once all cherished, no longer a way of life, as was previous generations of beach fishermen . Kones do you recall Wild Bill in the green Van, he mostly stayed out on the tip all summer, until his death . Or Peg leg he often would pick up tourists who wanted to catch a bass and sell them one after his guide trip did not produced any fish for them? Peg Leg as you can see only had one leg and you never knew when you would see him along the beach, herring cove or down town pt. At times he would have a hard body with him that he picked up in town keeping him company that he traded for with others of similar savory behavior.

Edited by Angler #1

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4 mins ago, Angler #1 said:

Before we had Nelsons we had Charley Whitney a place where one could not only find fresh sand eels and eels. But get a custom surf stick built .  Before we were able to obtain 4x4 to ride the beaches we would often take the walk along Herring Cove through the cut at Hatches to get to the light house and fish. Charley was a wealth of local knowledge that shared the experience in most cases with others. There were several others in Pt as well , long gone , no more to rise from the ashes . Some even just opened for one or two summers and were gone. The loss of the fish along this beach front has made the place a ghost town of the past where many business were depended upon the m,any , many families fishing for a living. It all began with the seals for me as we often would fish Nauset and remark how much damage they were doing to the bottom feeding fish, like sand dabs and fluke . When they ran out of them they began working on the sand eels more and our striped bass . I have even witnessed them with sand sharks and huge skate in there jaws. The circle of life we once all cherished, no longer a way of life, as was previous generations of beach fishermen .

#1,I thank you for the knowledge you share on here and Greatly appreciate you for it. Carl I think. I would cherish a visit with you 

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