Fishermen pursued swordfish with patience, skill and cunning. Sliding quietly through the water under the power of sail, the swordfishing schooner approached swordfish, spotted just below the water's surface by a lookout at the mast head. Far out on a platform extending from the schooner's bow, a harpoon was ready to be plunged into the swordfish with deadfly accuracy.
This painting recaptures a glimpse of our North Atlantic nautical heritage, a time when men pursued fish with sailing vessels. Even after the arrival of gasoline engines, schooners held an advantage for pursuit of swordfish: silence. With no throbbing engine noise, the swordfish was not aware of the schooner sliding silently toward it, until the man with the harpoon, on a plank far out ahead of the bow, was able to thrust his harpoon into the swordfish.