How to use:
The Maurice River Reaches Map is easy to interact with the simple controls and features provided.
Listed below are the key features and descriptions of how they can be utilized.

Working with the controls
The map is fully draggable. Simply click anywhere on the map and begin dragging your mouse to move the map to specific areas.
move up click to navigate the map "up".
move down click to navigate the map "down".
move left click to navigate the map "left".
move right click to navigate the map "right".
zoom in click to "zoom in" for a closer look.
zoom in click to "zoom out" to back away from the map.
default map setting click to get back to the "default" map setting.
red buoy click to learn more about that reach.
Maurice River Recollections Project
River Reaches
Debra A. Barsotti
Research Journalist
Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River
and Its Tributaries, Inc.

The Maurice River Reaches Project
Mud Haul
Reach #15

"Sometimes you might get a boatload of fish - two to three hundred pound of fish," said local waterman Richard Weatherby. "And sometimes you might not get what you laid the net out for." Weatherby was talking about the prospects of success on each trip to the areas known as Mud Haul and Little Haul. "It all depends on where the fish were moving. It all depends on the time of the year it is," he said.

The tides were definitely a factor. Weatherby explained, "You always have an eddy when the tide falls one way or another. An eddy is where the tide swirls, and that makes the back flow. The tide can be flowing right down the river. On this shore where this eddy forms, the tide is actually running back up shore; it is actually like a whirlpool," he explained.

Weatherby went into detail: "What happens is that when the tide is running full, the fish will lay in this current  - because it is an easy place to swim and stay. If they are migrating up the river, they will stay in an eddy instead of the main stream. They’ll hang on this eddy while the tide's falling." Weatherby said that the fish behave the same when they make their return to the bay.

 Weatherby described the process of netting or hauling the fish. "You lay a net off in that around that eddy," Weatherby said. The fishermen also stretch the net to the banks of the river, laying out both a land line and a sea line. "You lay the length of 72 fathom of haul seine," Weatherby said. "You might have 300-400 feet of land line and 600-700 feet of sea line." He described a chaotic process where experience, quick actions, and muscle power netted a good haul.

Weatherby explained that the boaters would row around and then through the eddy, dragging the net as they rowed into the current. The net would be pulled in from the shore, by hand. This process was not an easy one, Weatherby said.

Before "outboards," boaters would row to a certain depth and to a certain destination. On a fishing outing, a group would work together to get the day's catch. "They would come from a different direction," he explained, adding that before starting out, they'd let everyone know the day's destination. "We'd say we'd make a haul or a  mud haul." Weatherby said that those terms haul and mud haul referred to what was dragging in the nets.

Richard Weatherby explained that this reach became known as "Mud Haul" because the net would be dragged down with the weight of the mud it had collected at this reach. As Weatherby put it,  "A lot of times, the dead line on the net was mud-in…and it would be a hard pull. That is why they called it Mud Haul."

Weatherby also talked about the hauls that earned a living for the watermen. "We caught catfish in the river. We caught rockfish in the river. We caught perch and carp and shad and herring."  Springtime brought the herring, he said, adding that the Maurice River was a busy place during herring season.

Each family passed those skills to the next generation. Richard Weatherby's father taught him the ways of the river. To the family, the Maurice River was a way of life, and a way to earn a living. 6/06

Radio Shorts To learn more about the Maurice River, check out CU's podcasts.