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9 Apr 2011

Names for nomads



Last year - it was around this time of year, coincidentally - I published a provisional list of names of the sea-trout. At that stage my research was pretty rudimentary, and included a mere 25 terms. Since then I've done a great deal more research into local, obsolete and dialectal names for the sea-trout (and not just Irish sea-trout). The result is a list of 70 terms, which will be published, together with notes on their etymology, distribution, obsolescence and/or spread, in an appendix to Nomads when the book eventually appears. Unfortunately I can't claim the list as complete, and in truth I keep coming across new terms for sea-trout almost every month. Last month, for example, I came across the (beautifully descriptive) term 'slanger', meaning kelted sea-trout, which seems to be localised to Wexford. Here, however, is the list of terms I've been researching. Many terms are now of restricted distribution, i.e. they're strictly dialectal terms, and some are obsolete and/or have been misapplied by history (such as 'gwyniad', which is a name for one of the whitefishes but which is recorded as a sea-trout term by Nall), or 'bull trout' or 'slob trout' (which are both arguably terms for brown trout resident in estuaries, though Coquet anglers would swear that bull-trout are salmon/brown trout hybrids...). Still other terms are spreading in their range ('sea-trout' is ousting 'white-trout' in many parts of Ireland, for example). Anyway, here's the list:

bill, black-fin, black-neb, black-tail, blue-cap, blue-fin, blue-poll, bourge-trout, brith-dail, budge, bull-trout, buntling, burntail, Candlemas-grey, cockivie, cocksper, core/chor, finnock, fork-tail, grael-laspring, gravel, gravelling, grey-trout, harvest-cock, harvester, hepper, herling, herring-peal, gwyniad, junior/Juner, Lammas-man, laspring, last-spring, May peal, moorced, morgate, mort, moudie-trout, orange-fin, peal, pugg-peal, rack-rider, red-fin, round-tail,(salmon-)pink, salmon-trout, scad, scurf, schooler, schovl-peal, sea-trout, sewin, shed, silver-grey, silver-white, skarling/skerling/skirling, skegger (trout)?, slanger, slob trout, smelt, sprag, sprat, sprod, truff, twbs, twb-y-dail, white-fish, white-trout, whitling, yellow-fin

The photo, incidentally, which I've published before but make no apology for reissuing, shows a Donegal sea-trout caught in 2008. Look at the pectoral. You can see why finnock are in certain dialects called 'yellow-fin'.