Pete ‘the Worm’ Newton and Jack Woolmington Chapter 1
I was an angler when I was a kid. I always liked the sea and I started fishing, I suppose, because I didn’t want to go to work! I started fishing for a living when I was about 18, in 1973. That was in Essex. I’d always come down here to West Bay on holiday. I had friends down here and it was just a natural progression to move here. I mean Essex was alright and the eel fishing was good, but basically you’re fishing in rivers and estuaries and it was nicer down here. None of my close family have ever had anything to do with the sea. My Dad can’t even get onto a boat without feeling sea sick and I was born 60 miles from the coast. Recently, though, my Great Aunt did the family tree, on my Dad’s Mum’s side. The only connection she found with the sea was a Captain John Brewster who was a Privateer for the East India Company. So I suppose, I am related to a pirate. He was a famous one too because he had this church built and dedicated to him in Norfolk and his tomb is still there. My Great Aunt saw it before she died. I can’t remember what year he died in, but apparently they had a stately home in the 17 or 1800s. They must have lost all their money before I turned up. Fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs that you can do. You’re always learning. You’re never going to learn everything though, otherwise it would be too easy wouldn’t it? The trouble with fishing is, like with anything, familiarity breeds contempt. You truck on, truck on and truck on and then something out of the ordinary happens and you think, bloody hell that was close. You got to watch yourself. Self-preservation is a great thing. Always respect the sea. Never be complacent. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Well, I’ve never done anything else really. I’ve only ever had a proper job for six months. I also used to shoe horses a bit but then again, horses are another love of mine so that was more of a hobby than work too. I like working on my own. I have the odd conversation with the seagulls, cuss the boat, cuss myself. Some people don’t like it at all, but it doesn’t worry me whatsoever.
Jack Woolmington: I started fishing in 1960. Prior to that, when I was a kid, we used to catch mackerel off the beach with nets, so I’ve always been involved with it. My dad had fishing boats in the harbour before I did. I grew up with it. Originally I went out catching eels in my early 20s. Fresh water eels. And I managed to save enough money, over a four year period, to buy my first boat. I went straight in with a 30 foot boat because I knew what you needed in West Bay. I fished for most of my life, but then the boat was getting older and I was getting older, so it was time to stop. Now I work for Pete for just two months of the year. I enjoy it because it gives me a break from the factory. I like to get my injection of salt and I get paid for it as well.