A way of life on the bay disappears with area’s last pound netter

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Apr 06, 2011 - 04:34 PM

Photo: Lifelong pound netter Ronald Coles Burroughs, left, of New Point isn’t pound netting these days. Instead he and his mate, Wayne Taylor, have taken up gill netting. Here, they do a bit of maintenance on Burroughs’ nephew’s boat. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Lifelong pound netter Ronald Coles Burroughs, left, of New Point isn’t pound netting these days. Instead he and his mate, Wayne Taylor, have taken up gill netting. Here, they do a bit of maintenance on Burroughs’ nephew’s boat. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

For the second year in a row, Ronald Coles Burroughs isn’t setting pound nets. The lifelong waterman and New Point resident fished pound nets for nearly 50 years, first with his father, the late Walter Coles Burroughs, and then in his own boat, with his own crew. But not now.

Now that he has given up pound netting, a way of life that once employed hundreds of men has disappeared from local waters.

Burroughs said he stopped because he can’t get the seven or eight men needed to do the work. Some fishermen have left for bigger and better things, he said, but for the most part, "everybody that wanted to do this is too old or dead."

For a few years, Burroughs worked his nets with five to six men, then two years ago was down to three men. Since last year, he’s had only one helper—his long-time right-hand man, Wayne Taylor.