Porgy is not Bess. Another Sort of Menemfish

The entrance to Menemsha Harbor, and to Menemsha Pond beyond, is through a pair of rock jetties.

Those fingers of rock are favored fishing locations.


The fickle finger of stone…and a favorite Menemsha fishing spot.

The first fish I ever caught was a large flounder, in harbor waters, but  most of my early fishing was along the fringes of Buzzard’s Bay. My father would take us out to a particular place, which he could always find by lining up landmarks on the shore.

Where did we go?

To the “Scup Spot”.

(New Yorkers and people from points south call these fish “porgies”, a name that us New Englanders consider impossibly odd. It’s a scup, not a porgy!)

At the Scup Spot, we fished with handlines, the line line of which was impregnated with pine tar. Pine tar’s distinctive aroma never fails to evoke memories of these fishing trips.

On a recent trip to Menemsha, I reached the end of the jetty just as someone pulled in a scup. It was lying on the granite, yet-unhooked, with its final, fatal meal still between its lips.


What struck me immediately was that in sixty years of familiarity with this fish, there was something about it I had never noticed before.

That the fins of the scup are tinged with blue.

An exquisite blue.



3 responses to “Porgy is not Bess. Another Sort of Menemfish

  1. Now didn’t that just bring a rush of long-forgotten sensations. I can remember my own dad lining up the boat in that very spot. Everyone at Greycourt must have known how to find it. Amazing how excited I used to get to catch a fish that’s almost too bony to eat.

  2. could that be the ‘lateral line’ that gives fish the sensation of movement a fishy 6th sense if you will, detailed by John Hersey in Blues.

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