The Finnan Haddie

The Finnan Haddie


A four page article about the Finnan Haddie from an early 20th century booklet.



A five page article about the Finnan Haddie from "The Gentlemen's Magazine written in the 1890's.








An 1898 Local Newspaper Article.

Whatever happened to the humble Finnan Haddie?  

You won�t find them off the coast of Findon any more yet the haddock remains a mainstay of the North Sea fishing industry. As far as our local coast is concerned we should rename the fish �Find a Haddie�.  

The Finnan Haddie still exists but mainly on internet sites promoting recipes or restaurants and in that respect we should be thankful that the legend lives on. If you follow the instructions for these recipes you will be rewarded with a fine tasting fish but the Finnan Haddie claims aren�t strictly correct. For a real Finnan Haddie taste, the fish should be cleaned, lightly salted, hung to dry and then smoked on an open fire fuelled by the peats cut from Findon or Portlethen Moss. Nowadays it�s going to be nearly impossible to create a true Finnan Haddie due to a shortage of two key ingredients � Haddock caught near Findon and lack of peat available from either Findon or Portlethen. 

The shortage of haddock along our coast set me thinking about fishing trips of years gone by and trying to remember the last time I had a haddock on the line. I recall the distinctive mark of their thumbprint above the pectoral fin and have vague memories of gutting and boxing them on journeys home from the fishing grounds however it took a recent conversation with my father to convince me again that we did actually catch them at all. It appears that we had more luck catching them at the fishing ground known locally as �The Jock Hutcheon� about three miles directly east of Portlethen Village, than we did at the �Ness� just off Findon.  

When fishing on a boat with a hand line it�s possible to tell the kind of fish that you�ve caught as soon as you get a �bite�. When you have a Cod on the line there�s a satisfying and distinctive thud that stays with you as you haul the line up � if you foul catch a big Cod through the tail you�ll know all about it! With a Saithe there is a much lighter and jerkier motion and the feeling of a Pollack falls somewhere in between a Cod and a Saithe. Catch a ling and you�ll feel an initial thump but thereafter it�s a steady dead pull without much of a fight. If you are fishing with a line of flies and hit a shoal of Mackerel you�ll know the feeling right away as they wriggle, flutter and swim away with the line, it�s so distinctive that you can almost count them as they take the hooks and count them falling off again before you get them to the surface. As far as Haddock are concerned I have no recollection whatsoever of how that would feel on a fishing line. Can anyone remind me? 

From time to time I visit some of the Angling and Sea Fishing forums and not once have I seen a haddock mentioned as part of a catch caught from the rocks so I guess we�ll have to make the assumption that nowadays the real Finnan Haddie has became extinct. 

Now whatever happened to the humble Whiting��.