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Fishing Grounds of the Gulf of Maine

Tillies Bank* This bears E & S from Eastern Point Light just dropping Thacher Island Light, then 3 miles farther for best fishing: and E. by S. S. from Thacher Island, Cape Ann, from which the shoal on the center of the ground is distant 18 miles.

This is a small rocky spot with depths of from 25 to 28 fathoms, outside of which the water deepens to 40 fathoms over a considerable area. The length of the entire ground is about 10 miles in an E. and W. direction and the width about 5 miles. At the edge it falls off rapidly to depths of 50 to 60 fathoms before reaching the mud at still greater depths but an area of shoal water connects this ground with West Jeffreys. The bottom is rocky and rough over the greater part of the bank.

Tillies was formerly regarded as one of the best fishing grounds off Cape Ann and is still resorted to for cod and haddock in the spring and fall; for hake in the spring, summer, and fall, and for pollock in the spring and fall. The fishing is mainly by trawling, with the gillnetters operating on the shoal grounds in less than 50 fathoms.

<*NOTE: There has been some speculation as to the origin of the somewhat unusual name of this bank. The writer would note that there was an Edward Tillie in the Company of Captain John Smith when he explored this region in 1614 and a Tilly (perhaps the same person) who operated a fishing station at Cape Ann during the years 1624 and 1625.