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Brendan Sellick, ‘mud horse fisherman’, dies at 86

STOLFORD’s Brendan Sellick, widely known as one of the last of the ‘mud-horse’ fishermen, died today at the age of 86.

Brendan was the fourth generation of his family to use the method, which saw him lie on his belly and push a wooden sledge across the mudflats of Bridgwater Bay in order to catch seafood.

For the time being the tradition is now being upheld by just one man, his 63-year-old son Adrian, who has to work another job because of dwindling catches.

Brendan, who harvested shrimps, eels, cod, sea bass and dog fish, worked for 60 years before ‘retiring’ into the family shop.

He was the subject of numerous documentaries and twice appeared on Blue Peter, among other programmes.

He leaves seven children, including daughter Dawn, who said: “He was the best. He was always there for us.”

 

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Adrian Sellick at work

A mudhorse is a cross between a barrow and a sledge with a flat wooden base and a plank sticking out.

The base is a wooden cage made up of four poles.

The fisherman loads it with buckets and kets and pushes it out two miles into the mud when the tide is low.

To set up the nets at a strategic point, they must have an encyclopedic knowledge of the flats and fish.

It is then a waiting game. When the tide goes out again, there should be a good catch in the nets.

 

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