Quodding pole dealt with slippery eels

Quodding pole and trident
Quodding pole and trident

Arundel and the River Arun have been associated with fishing for centuries, with mullet and pike being the most popular catch.

Local fishermen, however, quite often set their minds to catching eels.

Offal thrown into the river by Arundel’s slaughterhouses and possibly ships anchored at port attracted eels upstream.

As a result, the early 20th century River Arun was abundant with eels.

A diverse variety of equipment was used for catching eels. This included eel nets, glaives (tridents), snitch tackles and quodding poles.

I have chosen the latter as my object of the month. The quodding pole on display in Arundel Museum is thought to have been used in the 1920s.

Wooden quodding poles were usually about six foot long. One end would have three curved prongs and a circular ring attached.

Fishing lines, often made from worsted, were threaded through fat, juicy worms or through a small chunk of meat using a large needle. The lines were then attached to the circular ring before being cast into the river.

A tug on the line indicated a possible catch.

The eel or eels would only be holding onto the bail with their teeth, so the pole would have to be hauled in quickly and carefully.