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Mystery Island

At its peak, the club had 26 fishing stands all around the island. A record was kept of the daily catch recording the number and weight of fish caught. An island boy was assigned to each fisherman to “chum” the fishing place. The boy would bait the fisherman’s hook with a piece of lobster, which was very common at the time and considered a lowly creature best used as bait. The lobster’s body was broken up and used as “chum” to attract the fish. Some believe the word “chum,” meaning a helpful friend, came from this island tradition.

Many famous American industrialists and politicians were members of the fishing club, including President Grover Cleveland, railroad magnate Henry Flagler, International Harvester’s William McCormick, and the president of Standard Oil Company, J.D. Archbold. A diamond-studded fishhook was given each fishing season to the lucky angler who caught the biggest fish.

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About

Susan Dewey is the associate publisher and editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. She lives in Centerville on Cape Cod and enjoys gardening, sailing, walking on the beach, gallery hopping, cooking with fresh seafood, and exploring Cape Cod and the Islands from shore to shore.

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