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let them all be well salted. If the Pike be more than a yard long, then you may put into these herbs more than a pound, or if he be less, then less butter will suffice : These, being thus mixt, with a blade or two of mace, must be put into the Pike's belly; and then his belly so sewed up as to keep all the butter in his belly if it be possible; if not then as much as you possibly can.
But take not off the scales. Then you are to thrust the spit through his mouth, out at his tail. And then take four or five or six split sticks, or very thin laths, and a convenient quantity of tape or filleting; these laths are to be tied round about the Pike's body from his head to his tail, and the tape tied somewhat thick, to prevent his breaking or falling off from the spit. Let him be roasted very leisurely; and often basted with claret wine, and anchovies, and butter mixt together; and also with what moisture falls from him into the
have roasted him sufficiently you are to hold under him, when you unwind or cut the tape that ties him, such a dish as you purpose to eat him out of; and let him fall into it with the sauce that is roasted in his belly; and by this means the Pike will be kept unbroken and complete. Then, to the sauce which was within, and also that sauce in the pan, you are to add a fit quantity of the best butter, and to squeeze the juice of three or four oranges. Lastly, you may either put it into the Pike, with the oysters, two cloves of garlick, and take it whole out, when the Pike is cut off the spit; or, to give the sauce a hogoo, let the dish into which you let the Pike fall, be rubbed with it: the using or not using of this garlick is left to your discretion.
M. B. This dish of meat is too good for any but anglers, or very honest men; and I trust you will prove both, and therefore I have trusted you with this secret.
Let me next tell you, that Gesner tells us, there are no
This he has said
Pikes in Spain, and that the largest are in the lake Thrasymene in Italy; and the next, if not equal to them, are the Pikes of England; and that in England, Lincolnshire
boasteth to have the biggest. Just so doth before, in Chap.
Sussex boast of four sorts of fish, namely,
an Arundel Mullet, a Chichester Lobster, a Shelsey Cockle, and an Amerly Trout.
But I will take up no more of your time with this relation, but proceed to give you some Observations of the Carp, and how to angle for him; and to dress him, but not till he is caught.
Observations on the CARP; with Directions how to fish for him.
Piscator. The Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a good, and a very subtil fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalized. It is said, they were brought hither by one Mr. Mascal, a gentleman that then lived at Plumsted in Sussex, a county' that abounds more with this fish than any in this nation. You may remember that I told
says there are no Pikes in Spain ; and doubtless there was a time, about a hundred or a few more years ago, when there were no Carps in England, as may seem to be affirmed by Sir Richard Baker, in whose Chronicle you may find these verses:
(1) For proof of this fact, we have the testimony of the Author of the Book of Fishing with Hooke, and Line, 4to. Lond. 1590, already mentioned in the Life of Walton; who, though the initials only of his name are given in the title, appears to have been Leonard Mascal, the translator of a book of Planting and Graffing, 4to. 1589, 1599, and the Author of a book On Cattel, 4to. 1596. Fuller in bis Worthies, Sussex, 113, seems to have confounded these two persons: the latter of whom, in the tract first above-mentioned, speaks of the former by report only : besides which, they lived at the distance of seventy years from each other, and the Author of the book of Fishing is conjectured to be a Hampshire man.
Hops and turkies, carps and beer,
Caine into England all in a year. And doubtless, as of sea-fish the Herring dies soonest out of the water, and of fresh-water fish the Trout, so, except the Eel, the Carp endures most hardness, and lives longest out of his own proper element. And, therefore, the report of the Carp's being brought out of a foreign country into this nation, is the more probable.
Carps and Loaches are observed to breed several months in one year, which Pikes and most other fish do not. And this is partly proved by tame and wild rabbits; as also by some ducks, which will lay eggs nine of the twelve months; and yet there be other ducks that lay not longer than about one month. And it is the rather to be believed, because you shall scarce or never take a male Carp without a melt, or a female without a roe or spawn, and for the most part very much, and especially all the
And it is observed, that they breed more naturally in ponds than in running waters, if they breed there at all; and that those that live in rivers are taken by men of the best palates to be much the better meat.
And it is observed that in some ponds Carps will not breed, especially in cold ponds; but where they will breed, they breed innumerably; Aristotle and Pliny say, six times a year, if there be no Pikes nor Perch to devour their spawn,
when it is cast upon grass or flags, or weeds, where it lies ten or twelve days before it be enlivened.
(1) See, in the Life of Walton hereto prefixed, a passage extracted from the book of Dame Juliana Barnes; whereby it appears that in her time there were Carps, though but few, in England. It seems, therefore, that Mr. Mascal of Plumsted did not first bring hither Carps : but, as the curious in gardening da by exotic plants, he naturalized this species of fish, and that about the æra men. tioned in the above distich, “ Hops and turkies," &c. which elsewhere is read thus :
Hops, reformation, turkies, carps, and beer,
The Carp, if he have water-room and good feed, will grow to a very great bigness and length; I have heard, to much above a yard long.' It is said by Jovius,a who hath writ of fishes, that in the lake Lurian, in Italy Carps have thriven to be more than fifty pounds weight: which is the more probable, for as the bear is conceived and born suddenly, and being born is but short-lived; so, on the contrary, the elephant is said to be two years in his dam's belly, some think he is ten years in it, and being born, grows in bigness twenty years; and it is observed too, that he lives to the age of a hundred years. And 'tis also observed, that the crocodile is very long-liv'd; and more than that, that all that long life he thrives in bigness; and so I think some Carps do, especially in some places, though I never saw one above twenty-three inches, which was a great and goodly fish; but have been assured there are of a far greater size, and in England too.'
Now, as the increase of Carps is wonderful for their number, so there is not a reason found out, I think, by any, why they should breed in some ponds, and not in others, of the same nature for soil and all other circumstances. And as their breeding, so are their decays also very mysterious: I have both read it, and been told by a gentleman of tried honesty, that he has known sixty or more large Carps put into several ponds near to a house, where, by reason of the stakes in the ponds, and the owner's constant being near to them, it was impossible they should be stole away from him; and that when
(1) A lady now living, the widow of the late Mr. David Garrick, of Drurylane theatre, once told me, that in her native country, Germany, she had seen the head of a Carp served up at table, big enough to fill a large dish.
(2) Paulus Jovius, an Italian historian of very doubtful authority: he lived in the 16th century; and wrote a small tract De Romanis Piscibus. He died at Florence, 1552.
(3) The author of the Angler's Sure Guide says, that he has taken Carp above twenty-six inches long, in rivers; and adds, that they are often seen in England above thirty inches long. The usual length is from about twelve to fifteen or sixteen inches.
he has, after three or four years, emptied the pond, and expected an increase from them by breeding young ones, (for that they might do so he had, as the rule is, put in three melters for one spawner,) he has, I say, after three or four years, found neither a young nor old Carp remaining. And the like I have known of one that had almost watched the pond, and, at a like distance of time, at the fishing of a pond, found, of seventy or eighty large Carps, not above five or six: and that he had forborn longer to fish the said pond, but that he saw, in a hot day in summer, a large Carp swim near the top of the water with a frog upon his head; and that he, upon that occasion, caused his pond to be let dry: and I say, of seventy or eighty Carps, only found five or six in the said pond, and those very sick and lean, and with every one a frog sticking so fast on the head of the said Carps, that the frog would not be got off without extreme force or killing. And the gentleman that did affirm this to me, told me he saw it; and did declare his belief to be, and I also believe the same, that he thought the other Carps, that were so strangely lost, were so killed by the frogs, and then devoured.
And a person of honour, now living in Worcestershire, * assured me he had seen a necklace, or collar of tadpoles, hang like a chain or necklace of beads about a Pike's neck, and to kill him: Whether it were for meat or malice, must be, to me, a question.
But I am fallen into this discourse by accident; of which I might say more, but it has proved longer than I intended, and possibly may not to you be considerable : I shall therefore give you three or four more short observations of the Carp, and then fall upon some directions how you
shall fish for him. The age of Carps is by Sir Francis Bacon, in his His
* Mr. Fr. Ru.