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tory of Life and Death, observed to be but ten years; yet others think they live longer. Gesner says, a Carp has been known to live in the Palatine above a hundred years.' But most conclude, that, contrary to the Pike or Luce, all Carps are the better for age and bigness. The tongues of Carps are noted to be choice and costly meat, especially to them that buy them : but Gesner says, Carps have no tongue like other fish, but a piece of flesh-like fish in their mouth like to a tongue, and should be called a palate: but it is certain it is choicely good, and that the Carp is to be reckoned amongst those leather-mouthed fish which, I told you, have their teeth in their throat; and for that reason he is very seldom lost by breaking his hold, if your hook be once stuck into his chaps. I told
that Sir Francis Bacon thinks that the Carp lives but ten years: but Janus Dubravius has writ a book Of fish and fish-ponds,” in which he says, that Carps begin to spawn at the age of three years, and continue to do so till thirty: he says also, that in the time of their breeding, which is in summer, when the sun hath warmed both the earth and water, and so apted them also for generation, that then three or four male Carps will follow a female; and that then, she putting on a seeming coyness, they force her through weeds and flags, where she lets fall her eggs or spawn, which sticks fast to the weeds; and then they let fall their melt upon it, and so it becomes in a short time to be a living fish: and, as I told you, it is thought that the Carp does this several months in the year. And most believe, that most fish breed after this manner, except the Eel. And it has been observed, that when the spawner has weakened her
(1) Lately, viz. in one of the daily papers for the month of August 1782, an article appeared, purporting, that in the bason at Emanuel College, Cambridge, a Carp was then living that had been in the water thirty six years; which, though it had lost one eye, knew, and would constantly approach, its feeder,
(2) Vide, ante, p. 131, &c.
self by doing that natural office, that two or three melters have helped her from off the weeds, by bearing her up on both sides, and guarding her into the deep. And you may note, that though this may seem a curiosity not worth observing, yet others have judged it worth their time and cost to make glass hives, and order them in such a manner as to see how bees have bred and made their honeycombs, and how they have obeyed their king, and governed their commonwealth. But it is thought that all Carps are not bred by generation; but that some breed other ways, as some Pikes do.
The physicians make the galls and stones in the heads of Carps to be very medicinable. But it is not to be doubted but that in Italy they make great profit of the spawn of Carps, by selling it to the Jews who make it into red caviare; the Jews not being by their law admitted to eat of caviare made of the Sturgeon, that being a fish that wants scales, and, (as may appear in Levit. xi.) by them reputed to be unclean.
Much more might be said out of him, and out of Aristotle, which Dubravius often quotes in his Discourse of fishes : but it might rather perplex than satisfy you; and therefore I shall rather choose to direct you how to catch, than spend more time in discoursing either of the nature or the breeding of this fish, or of any more circumstances concerning him. But yet I shall remember you of what I told you before, that he is a very subtil fish, and hard to be caught. And my
first direction is, that if you will fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience, especially to fish for a river Carp: I have known a very good fisher angle diligently four or six hours in a day, for three or four days together, for a river Carp, and not have a bite. And you are to note, that, in some ponds, it is as hard to catch a Carp as in a river; that is to
say, where they have store of feed, and the water is of a clayish colour. But you are to remember that I have told you
there is no rule without an exception; and therefore being possest with that hope and patience which I wish to all fishers, especially to the Carp-angler, I shall tell you
with what bait to fish for him. But first you are to know, that it must be either early, or late; and let me tell you, that in hot weather, (for he will seldom bite in cold,) you cannot be too early, or too late at it. And some have been so curious as to say, the tenth of April is a fatal day for Carps.
The Carp bites either at worms, or at paste: and of worms I think the bluish marsh or meadow-worm is best; but possibly another worm, not too big, may do as well, and so may a green gentle; and as for pastes, there are almost as many sorts as there are medicines for the toothache; but doubtless sweet pastes are best; I mean, pastes made with honey or with sugar: which, that you may the better beguile this crafty fish, should be thrown into the pond or place in which you fish for him, some hours, or longer, before you undertake your trial of skill with the angle-rod; and doubtless, if it be thrown into the water a day or two before, at several times, and in small pellets, you are the likelier, when you fish for the Carp, to obtain your desired sport. Or, in a large pond, to draw them to any certain place, that they may the better and with more hope be fished for, you are to throw into it, in some certain place, either grains, or blood mixt with cow-dung or with bran; or any garbage, as chicken's guts or the like; and then, some of your small sweet pellets with which you purpose to angle: and these small pellets being a few of them also thrown in as you are angling, will be the better.
And your paste must be thus made: take the flesh of a rabbit, or cat cut small; and bean-flour; and if that may not be easily got, get other flour; and then, mix these together, and put to them either sugar, or honey, which I think better: and then beat these together in a mortar, or sometimes work them in your hands, your hands being very clean; and then make it into a ball, or two, or three, as you like best, for your use: but
must work or pound it so long in the mortar, as to make it so tough as to hang upon your hook without washing from it, yet not too hard: or, that you may the better keep it on your hook, you may knead with your paste a little, and not much, white or yellowish wool.
And if you would have this paste keep all the year, for any other fish, then mix with it virgin-wax and clarified honey, and work them together with your hands before the fire; then make these into balls, and they will keep
all the year.
And if you fish for a Carp with gentles, then put upon your hook a small piece of scarlet, the sixth of an inch square, it being soaked in or anointed with oil of petre, called by some, oil of the rock: and if your gentles be put, two or three days before, into a box or horn anointed with honey, and so put upon your hook as to preserve them to be living, you are as like to kill this crafty fish this way as any other: but still, as you are fishing, chew a little white or brown bread in your mouth, and cast it into the pond about the place where your float swims. Other baits there be ; but these, with diligence and patient watchfulness, will do better than any that I have ever practised or heard of. And yet I shall tell you, that the crumbs of white bread and honey made into a paste is a good bait for a Carp; and you know, it is more easily made. And having said thus much of the Carp,' my
(1) The haunts of the river Carp are, in the winter months, the broadest and most quiet parts of the river; but in summer, they lie in deep holes, nooks, and
next discourse shall be of the Bream, which shall not prove so tedious; and therefore I desire the continuance of your
attention. But, first, I will tell you how to make this Carp, that is so curious to be caught, so curious a dish of meat as shall make him worth all your labour and patience. And though it is not without some trouble and charges, yet it will recompense both.
Take a Carp (alive if possible); scour him, and rub him clean with water and salt, but scale him not: then open him; and put him, with his blood and his liver, which you must save when you open him, into a small pot or kettle: then take sweet marjoram, thyme, and parsley, of each half a handful; a sprig of rosemary, and another of savoury; bind them into two or three small bundles, and put them to your Carp, with four or five whole onions, twenty pickled oysters, and three anchovies. Then pour upon your Carp as much claret wine as will only cover him : and season your claret well with salt, cloves, and mace, and the rinds of oranges and lemons. That done, cover your pot and set it on a quick fire till it be suffici
reaches, near some scour, and under roots of trees, hollow banks, and, till they are near rotting, amongst or near great beds of weeds, flags, &c.
Pond Carp cannot, with propriety, be said to have any haunts: only it is to be noted, that they love a fat rich soil, and never thrive in a cold bungry water.
They breed three or four times a year: but their first spawning-time is the beginning of May.
Baits for the Carp are, all sorts of earth and duoghill-worms; flag-worms; grasshoppers, though not at top; ox-brains; the pith of an ox's back-bone; green peas; and red or black cherries, with the stones taken out.
Fish with strong tackle, very near the bottom, and with a fine grass or gut next the houk; and use a goose quill Acat. Never attempt to angle for the Carp in a boat; for they will not come near it.
It is said there are many Carp in the Thames, westward of London; and that, about February they retire to the creeks in that river; iv some of wbich, many above two feet long have been taken with an angle. Angler's Sure Guide, p. 179.
Carp live the longest out of the water of any fish. It is a common practice in Holland to keep them alive for three weeks or a month, by hanging them in a cool place, with wet moss in a net, and feeding them with bread steeped in milk; taking care to refresh the animal now and then by throwing fresh water over the net in which it is suspended.