“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Washington in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

They Had To Go A Fishin’

They Had To Go A Fishin' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, circa 2015
1. They Had To Go A Fishin' Marker
Inscription. The lure of the lake is magnetic and hypnotizing to a true commercial fisherman. It draws him into its embrace from the time he is born to the day he is laid to rest. The lake mesmerizes him with its beauty, strength and sometimes terror. It provides an attraction that satisfies and nurtures his very soul.

To survive, a commercial fisherman learns quickly to respect the lake. He knows it can fill his nets with its bounty or send him back to port with nothing to show for his day's work. He also knows the lake can just as easily steal his nets, sink his boat and take his life. Regardless, he loves fishing and the lake through good times and bad.

Typically the fisherman's day started before dawn and ended after dark. Conditions were usually too hot or too cold but always wet and dirty. His uniform included heavy clothes and waterproof outerwear called oilers. The rocking, pounding and lurching of the boat created balance, a strong stomach, strength and stamina to endure. Even with the advent of machinery to assist in the lifting of the nets, the lake was no place for the weak of heart. Muscle strains, bruises or gashes from a slip of the knife were usually dismissed with a laugh and the knowledge that this was just part of the job.

Long days and short nights were taken for granted by the fishermen and the
Commercial Fishermen Memmorial image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, circa 2015
2. Commercial Fishermen Memmorial
families that awaited their safe return. On a good day nets could be lifted and the fish dressed out on the way back to port. If the lake was capping and the boats had to pound their way in, the day stretched long hours beyond the time the mooring lines were secured and the sky had passed into darkness. The catch had to be off-loaded, wet nets replaced with gangs of dry ones and the boat cleaned up and made ready for another day on the lake.

Once dockside, these hardy fishermen often partook of a pail of beer retrieved from a nearby saloon by one of the many boys that frequented the docks awaiting their time to venture out of the harbor and take their place next to a seasoned veteran of the lakes. Or, as was the culture of the time, the crew might hang up their oilers and stop at their tavern of choice. There among their compatriots stories would flow freely, tales of the lake would be born and the men fortified their courage to face Lake Michigan not knowing what the morrow would bring.

Be she grim lover or seductive siren, a true commercial fisherman cannot turn his back on the love of his life, the lake.

Picture Captions (left to right): Turn of the century trout; Lifting pound nets; Cleaning (Dressing) Chubs; Iced down and unloading (Marker Number 1.)
Location. 43° 23.23′ 
Fisherman Statue image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, circa 2015
3. Fisherman Statue
N, 87° 52.06′ W. Marker is in Port Washington, Wisconsin, in Ozaukee County. Click for map. Marker is located in Rotary Park which is at the end of East Grand Avenue. Marker is at or near this postal address: East Grand Avenue, Port Washington WI 53074, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Art of Commercial Fishing (here, next to this marker); Those That Fished (here, next to this marker); A Lakefront in Transition (here, next to this marker); Of Valor and Sorrow (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Those That Fished (here, next to this marker); Port Washington State Bank Centennial Pavilion (a few steps from this marker); Lake Michigan Habitat (within shouting distance of this marker); Sidewheel Steamer Niagara (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Port Washington.
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
"The Fisherman" image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, circa 2015
4. "The Fisherman"
In fond remembrance, this statue is presented to the City of Port Washington in loving memory of Herbert O. and Beverly F. Smith for the city they loved and called home. Sadly missed, but never forgotten Jim, Jeff, Tori, Chris, Grant, Amy
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 102 times since then and 41 times this year. Last updated on , by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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