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or to have a haunt; and then wind your line on any forked stick, all your line, except half a yard of it or rather more; and split that forked stick, with such a nick or notch at one end of it as may keep the line from any more of it rayelling from about the stick than so much of it as you intend. And choose your forked stick to be of that bigness as may keep the fish or frog from pulling the forked stick under the water till the Pike bites; and then the Pike having pulled the line forth of the cleft or nick of that stick in which it was gently fastened, he will have line enough to go to his hold and pouch the bait. And if you would have this ledger-bait to keep at a fixt place undisturbed by wind or other accidents which may drive it to the shore-side, (for you are to note, that it is likeliest to catch a Pike in the midst of the water,) then hang a small plummet of lead, a stone, or piece of tile, or a turf, in a string, and cast it into the water with the forked stick to hang upon the ground, to be a kind of anchor to keep the forked stick from moving out of your intended place till the Pike come: this take to be a very good way to use so many ledger-baits as you intend to make trial of. Or if you bait your
hooks thus with live fish or frogs, and in a windy day, fasten them thus to a bough or bundle of straw, and by the help of that wind can get them to move cross a pond or mere, you are like to stand still on the shore and see sport presently, if there be any store of Pikes. Or these live baits may make sport, being tied about the body or wings of a goose or duck, and she chaced over a pond. And the like may be done
(1) A rod twelve feet long, and a ring of wire,
A winder and barrel, will help thy desire
with turning three or four live baits thus fastened to bladders, or boughs, or bottles of hay or flags, to swim down a river, whilst you walk quietly alone on the shore, and are still in expectation of sport. The rest must be taught you by practice; for time will not allow me to say more of this kind of fishing with live baits.
And for your DEAD BAIT for a Pike: for that you may be taught by one day's going a fishing with me, or any other body that fishes for him; for the baiting your hook with a dead gudgeon or a roach, and moving it up and down the water, is too easy a thing to take up any time to direct you to do it. And yet, because I cut you short in that, I will commute for it by telling you that that was told me for a secret: it is this :
Dissolve gum of ivy in oil of spike, and therewith anoint your
dead bait for a Pike; and then cast it into a likely place; and when it has lain a short time at the bottom, draw it towards the top of the water, and so up the stream; and it is more than likely that you have a Pike follow with more than common eagerness.
And some affirm, that any bait anointed with the marrow of the thigh-bone of an hern is a great temptation to any fish.
These have not been tried by me, but told me by a friend of note, that pretended to do me a courtesy. But
The gentry of Shropshire do merrily smile,
But still I must cry,
Barker's Art of Angling: (1) 'The Pike loves a still, shady, unfrequented water, and usually lies amongst or near weeds ; such as flags, bulrushes, candocks, reeds, or in the green fog that sometimes covers standing waters, though he will sometimes shoot out into the clear stream. He is sometimes caught at the top, and in the middle; and often, especially in cold weather, at the bottom.
Their time of spawning is about the end of February or the beginning of March; and chief season, from the end of May to the beginning of February.
if this direction to catch a Pike thus do you no good, yet I am certain this direction how to roast him when he
Pikes are called Jacks, till they become twenty-four inches long.
The baits for Pike, besides those mentioned by Walton, are a small trout; the loach and miller's-chumb; the head end of an eel, with the skin taken off below the fins; a small jack; a lob-worm; and in winter, the fat of bacon. And ootwithstanding what Walton and others say against baiting with a pearch, it is confidently asserted, that Pikes have been taken with a small pearch, when neither a roach nor bleak would tempt them. See the Angler's Sure Guide, 158.
Observe that all your baits for Pike must be as fresh as possible. Living baits you may take with you in a tin-ketlle, chauging the water often : and dead ones should be carried in fresh bran, which will dry up that moisture that otherwise would infect and rot them. Venables.
It is strange that Walton has said so little of Trolling; a method of fishing for Pike which has been thought worthy of a distinct treatise; for which method, and for the snap, take these directions; and first for trolling :
And note, that in trolling, the liead of the bait-fish must be at the bent of the hook; whereas io fishing at the snap, the hook must come out at or near iris tail. But the essential difference between these two methods is, that in the former the Pike is always suffered to pouch or swallow the bait; but in the latter you are to strike as soon as he has taken it.
The rod for trolling should be about three yards and a half long, with a ring at the top for the line to run through ; or you may fit a trolling-top to your Hy-rod, which need only be stronger than the common fly-top.
Let your line be of green or sky-coloured silk, thirty yards in length, which will make it necessary to use the winch, as is before directed, with a swivel at the end.
The common trolling-hook for a living bait consists of two large hooks, with one common shank, made of one piece of wire, of about three quarters of an inch long, placed back to back, so that the points may not stand in the right line, but incline so much inwards as that they with a shank may fora, an angle little less than equilateral. At the top of the shank is a loop, left in the bending the wire to make the hook double, through which is put a strong twisted brass wire, of about six inches long; and to this is looped another such link, but both so loose that the hook and lower link may have room to play. To the end of the line fasten a steel swivel.
To bait the hook, observe the directions given by Wallon.
But there is a sort of trolling-hook, different from that already described, aod to which it is thought preferable, which will require another management : this is no more than two single hooks tied back to back with a strong piece of gimp between the shanks. In the whipping the hooks and the gimp together, make a smail loop; and take into it two links of chain of about an eighth of an inch diameter, and into the lower link, by means of a small staple of wire, fasten by the greater end a bit of lead of a conical figure, and somewhat sharp at the point. These hooks are to be had at the fishing-tackle shops ready fitted up.
This latter kind of hook is to be thus ordered, viz. put the lead into the mouth of the bait-fish, and sew it up; the fish will live some time; and though the weight of the lead will keep his head down, he will swim with near the same ease as if at liberty.
But if you troll with a dead-bait, as some do, for a reason which the angler will be glad to know, viz. that a living bait makes too great a slaughter among the fish, do it with a hook, of which the following paragraph contains a description:
is caught is choicely good; for I have tried it, and it is somewhat the better for not being common. But with
Let the shank be about six inches long, and leaded from the middle as low as the bent of the hook, to which a piece of very strong gimp must be fastened by a staple, and two links of chain; the shapk must be barbed like a dart, and the lead a 'quarter of an inch square: the barb of the shank must stand like the fluke of an anchor, which is placed in a contrary direction to that of the stock, Let the gimp be about a foot long; and to the end thereof fix a swivel. To bait it, thrust the barb of the shank into the mouth of the bait-fish, and bring it out at his side near the tail : when the barb is thus brought through, it cannot return, and the fish will lie perfectly straight, a circumstance that renders the trouble of tying the tail unnecessary.
There is yet another sort of trolling-hook, which is, indeed, no other than what most writers on this subject have mentioned; whereas the others, here described, are late improvements : and this is a hook, either single or double, with a long shauk, leaded about three inches up the wir with a piece of lead about a quarter of an inch square at the greater or lower end : fix to the shank an armed-wire about eight inches long. To bait this hook, thrust your wire into the mouth of the fish, quite through his belly, and out at his tail; placing the wire so that the point of the hook may be even with the belly of the bait fish; and then tie the tail of the fish with strong thread to the wire: some fasten it with a needle and thread, which is a beat way.
Both with the Troll and at the Snap, cut away one of the fins of the bait-fish close at the gills, and another behind the vent on the contrary side; which will make it play the better.
The bait being thus fixed, is to be thrown in, and kept in constant motion in the water, sometimes suffered to sink, then gradually raised; now drawn with the stream, and then against it; so as to counterfeit the niotion of a small fish in swimming. If a Pike is near, he mistakes the bait for a living fish, seizes it with prodigious.greedines, goes off with it to his hole, and in about ten minutes pouches it. When he has thus swallowed the bait, you will see the line move, which is the signal for striking him; do this with two lusty jerks, and then play him.
The other way of taking Pike, viz. with the Snap, is as follows:
Let the rod be twelve feet long, very strong and taper, with a strong loop at the top to fasten your lipe to. Your line must be about a foot shorter thau the rod, and much stronger than the trolling-line. And here it is necessary to be remembered, that there are two ways of
snappiug for Pike, viz. with the Live and with the Dead-snap.
For the Live-snap, there is no kind of hook so proper as the double spring hook. To bait it, nothing more is necessary than to hang the bait-fish fast by the back fin to the middle hook, where he will live a long time. See the paragraph above.
Of hooks for the Dead-snap, there ar many kinds; but the one, which after repeated trials has been found to excel all others hitherto known, we subjoin the description and use of it as follows, viz. Whip two hooks, of about threeeighths of an inch in the bent, to a piece of gimp, in the manner directed for that trolling-hook. Then take a piece of lead, of the same size and figure as directed for the trollisg-hook above-mentioned; and drill a hole through it from end to end. To bait it, take a long needle, or wire; enter it in at the side, about half an inch above the tail, and with it pass the gimp between the skin and the ribs of the fish, bringing it out at his mouth : then put the lead over the gimp, draw it down into the fish's throat, and press his mouth close, and then, having a swivel to your line, hang on the gimp.
my direction you must take this caution, that your Pike must not be a small one, that is, it must be more than half a yard, and should be bigger.
First, open your Pike at the gills, and if need be, cut also a little slit towards the belly. Out of these, take his guts; and keep his liver, which you are to shred very small, with thyme, sweet marjoram, and a little winter-savoury; to these put some pickled oysters, and some anchovies, two or three, both these last whole, for the anchovies will melt, and the oysters should not; to these you must add also a pound of sweet butter, which you are to mix with the herbs that are shred, and
In throwing the bait, observe the rules given for trolling ; but remember, that the more you keep it in motion the nearer it resembles a living fish.
When you have a bite, strike immediately, the contrary way to that which the head of the Pike lies, or to which he goes with the bait : if you cannot find which way his head lies, strike upright with two smart jerks, retiring back wards as fast as you can, till you have brought him to a landing-place, and then do as before is directed.
There are various other methods, both of trolling and fishing at the spap, which, if the reader is desirous to know, he may find described in the Complete Troller, by Ro. Nobbes, 12mo. 1982, and the Angler's Sure Guide, before-mentioned.
As the Pike spawns in March, and before that month rivers are seldom in order for fishing, it will hardly be worth while to begin trolling till April: after that the weeds will be apt to be troublesome. But the prime month in the year for trolling is October; when the Pike are fattened by their summer's feed, the weeds are rotted, and by the falling of the waters the inarbours of the fish are easily found.
Choose to troll in clear, and not muddy water, and in windy weather, if the wivd be not easterly.
Some use jo trolling and snapping two or more swivels to their line, by means whereof the twisting of the line is prevented, the bait plays more freely, and, though dead, is made to appear as if alive; which io rivers is doubtless an excellent way: but those who can like to fish in ponds or still waters, will find very little occasion for more than one.
The Pike is also to be caught with a minnow : for which method take the following directions :
Get a single hook, slender, and long in the shank; let it resenible the shape of a shepherd's crook; put lead upon it, as thick near the bent as will go into a mionow's mouth; place the point of the hcok directly up the face of the fish. Let the rod be as long as you can handsomely manage, with a line of the same length. Cast up and down, and manage it as when you troll with any other bait. If, when the Pike hath taken your bait, he run to the end of the line besore he hath gorged it, do not strike, but hold still only, and he will return back and swallow it. But if you use that bait with a troll, I rather prefer it before any bait that I know. Venables.
In landing a Pike, great caution is necessary; for his bite is esteemed veno. mous. The best and safest hold you can take of him, is by the head; in doing which, place your thumb and finger in his eyes.