Squid-Jiggin' Ground

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The Squid Jiggin' Ground written by Arthur Scammell (1928) is a song that describes a traditional way of life of local Newfoundland fisherman. The song is unique in that it describes the method of jigging for squid and the type of equipment and circumstance that revolve around the activity.[1]

The song is sung to the traditional Irish jig Larry O’Gaff.[2]

On 1 April 1949, in ceremonies marking Newfoundland's confederation with Canada, the tune was played as the representative song for Newfoundland on the carillon of Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

It was recorded by Hank Snow on a single for the Canadian market and by Finest Kind for their album Heart's Delight. Stompin' Tom Connors also sang the song back in 1973 at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto Canada, a performance available on his live DVD "Across This Land With Stompin Tom Connors".


A. R. Scammell, Squid Jiggin' Ground Copyright 1944

Oh... this is the place where the fishermen gather
With oil-skins and boots and Cape Anns battened down
All sizes of figures with squid lines and jiggers
They congregate here on the squid-jiggin' ground.

Some are workin' their jiggers while others are yarnin'[3]
There's some standin' up and there's more lyin' down
While all kinds of fun, jokes and tricks are begun
As they wait for the squid on the squid-jiggin' ground.

There's men of all ages and boys in the bargain
There's old Billy Cave and there's young Raymond Brown
There's a red rantin' Tory out here in the dory
A-runnin' down Squires on the squid-jiggin' ground.

There's men from the Harbour and men from the Tickle
In all kinds of motorboats... green, grey and brown
Right yonder[4] is Bobby and with him is Nobby
He's chewin' hard tack on the squid-jiggin' ground.

God bless my sou'wester, there's Skipper John Chaffey
He's the best hand at squid-jiggin' here, I'll be bound[5]
Hello! What's the row?[6] Why, he's jiggin' one now
The very first squid on the squid-jiggin' ground.

The man with the whiskers is old Jacob Steele
He's gettin' well up[7] but he's still pretty sound[8]
While Uncle Bob Hawkins wears six pairs of stockin's
Whenever he's out on the squid-jiggin' ground.

Holy smoke! What a scuffle! All hands are excited
'Tis a wonder to me that there's nobody drowned
There's a bustle, confusion, a wonderful hustle
They're all jiggin' squid on the squid-jiggin' ground.

Says Bobby, "The squids are on top of the water,
I just got me jigger 'bout one fathom down"
When a squid in the boat squirted right down his throat
And he's swearin' like mad on the squid-jiggin' ground.

There's poor Uncle Bille, his whiskers are spattered
With spots of the squid juice that's flyin' around;
One poor little b'y got it right in the eye
But they don't give a damn on the squid-jiggin' ground.

Now if ever you feel inclined to go squiddin'
Leave your white shirts and collars behind in the town
And if you get cranky without yer silk hanky
You'd better steer clear of the squid-jiggin' ground.


  1. ^ "Squid Jiggin' Ground".
  2. ^ "Larry O'Gaff's (Jig) on the Session".
  3. ^ talking
  4. ^ or "over there"
  5. ^ or I'll am sure.
  6. ^ pronounced emphasising "ow" means frenzy
  7. ^ old
  8. ^ healthy

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