This thread reminded me of a bit from Joseph Mitchell's (nonfiction) story "Dragger Captain
," about Ellery Thompson, a fisherman out of Stonington and New London back in the 1930s and 40s and 50s.
". . . All these grounds except the Mouth were entered a number of times during the war by enemy submarines, and Army and Navy
aircraft dropped hundreds of aerial depth
bombs in them, particularly Mussel Bed
. Some of the heavier bombs, mostly six-hundred-and-fifty-pounders, stuck in the mud and did not explode, and are lying there still. They will be a menace for years, like the German mines in French farm land. There are suspect areas in the Hell Hole and the Mussel Bed
that are shunned by draggermen and spoken of as the bomb beds. In the old days, when a winch
creaked and backfired as it began to hoist a net off the bottom, indicating an exceptionally heavy haul, crews were elated and someone always shouted, "Money in the bank!," but nowadays the noise
of a straining winch
makes them uneasy; the net might be heavy with flounders or it might have a bomb in it. Five draggers--the Carl F.
, the George A. Arthur,
and the Nathaniel B. Palmer
--have brought up bombs in their nets. The first four had their nets on the deck
before the bombs in them, hidden by fish
, were discovered. Rather than attempt to dump them back, each went cautiously to the nearest dock
, to which Navy
bomb disposal officers were summoned. The bomb caught by the fifth dragger, the Palmer,
was plainly visible, but it exploded shortly after the net hove out of the water
, while the crew stood staring at it, wondering what to do. It blasted the dragger and three of the four men
in the crew to pieces; the fourth man was freakishly thrown clear."
(pp 541-42 in "Up in the Old Hotel")