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(says Rondeletius,) than other parts: and have in their brain a stone, which is, in foreign parts, sold by apothecaries, being there noted to be very medicinable against the stone in the reins. These be a part of the commendations which some philosophical brains have bestowed upon the freshwater-Pearch: yet they commend the SeaPearch, which is known, by having but one fin on his back, (of which they say we English see but a few) to be a much better fish.
The Pearch grows slowly, yet will grow, as I have been credibly informed, to be almost two feet long; for an honest informer told me, such a one was not long since taken by Sir Abraham Williams, (a gentleman of worth, and a brother of the angle, that yet lives, and I wish he may:) this was a deep-bodied fish, and doubtless durst have devoured a Pike of half his own length. For I have told you,
he is a bold fish; such a one as but for extreme hunger the Pike will not devour. For to affright the Pike, and save himself, the Pearch will set up his fins, much like as a turkey-cock will sometimes set up his tail.
But, my scholar, the Pearch is not only valiant to defend himself, but he is, as I said, a bold-biting fish: yet he will not bite at all seasons of the
very abstemious in winter, yet will bite then in the midst of the day, if it be warm : and note, that all fish bite best about the midst of a warm day in winter. And he hath been observed, by some, not usually to bite till the mulberry-tree buds; that is to say, till extreme frosts be past the spring; for, when the mulberry-tree blossoms, many gardeners observe their forward fruit to be past the danger of frosts; and some have made the like observation of the Pearch's biting.
But bite the Pearch will, and that very boldly. And, as one has wittily observed, if there be twenty or forty in a hole, they may be, at one standing, all catched one
after another; they being, as he says, like the wicked of the world, not afraid, though their fellows and companions perish in their sight. And you may observe, that they are not like the solitary Pike, but love to accompany one another, and march together in troops.
And the baits for this bold fish are not many : I mean, he will bite as well at some, or at any of these three, as at any or all others whatsoever; a worm, a minnow, or a little frog, of which you may find many in hay-time.) And of worms; the dunghill worm called a brandling I take to be best, being well scoured in moss or fennel ; or he will bite at a worm that lies under cow.dung, with a bluish head. And if you rove for a Pearch with a minnow, then it is best to be alive; you sticking your book through his back fin; or a minnow with the hook in his upper lip, and letting him swim up and down, about midwater, or a little lower, and you still keeping him to about that depth by a cork, which ought not to be a very little one : and the like way you are to fish for the Pearch with a small frog, your hook being fastened through the skin of his leg, towards the upper part of it: and, lastly, I will give you but this advice, that you give the Pearch time enough when he bites; for there was scarce ever any angler that has given him too much.' And now I think
(1) Although Pearch, like Trout, delight in clear swift rivers, with pebbly, gravelly bottonis, they are often found in sandy, clayey soils : they love a moderately deep water, and frequent holes by the sides of or near little streams, and the hollows under banks.
The Pearch spawns about the beginning of March : the best time of the year to angle for him is from the begioning of May till the end of June, yet you may continue to fish for him till the end of September: he is best taked in cloudy windy weather, and, as some say, from seven to ten in the forenoov, and from two to seven in the aiternoon.
Other baits for the Pearch are, loaches, miller’s-thumbs, stickle-backs; small lob, and marsh, and red-worms, well scoured; horse-beans, boiled; cad-bait, oak-worms, bobs, and gentles.
Many of these fish are taken in the rivers about Oxford ; and the author of the Angler's Sure Guide says, he ouce saw the figure of a Pearch, drawo with a pencil on the door of a house near that city, which was twenty-nine inches long; and was informed it was the true dimensions of a living Pearch. Angl. Sure Guide, p. 155.
best to rest myself; for I have almost spent my spirits with talking so long.
Ven. Nay, good master, one fish more, for you see it rains still: and you know our angles are like money put to usury; they may thrive, though we sit still, and do nothing but talk and enjoy one another. Come, come, the other fish, good master.
Pisc. But, scholar, have you nothing to mix with this discourse, which now grows both tedious and tiresome? Shall I have nothing from you, that seem to have both a good memory and a cheerful spirit?
Ven. Yes, master, I will speak you a copy of verses that were made by Doctor Donne, and made to shew the world that he could make soft and smooth verses, when he thought smoothness worth his labour: and I love them the better, because they allude to rivers, and fish and fishing. They be these:
Come live with me, and be my love,
If thou, to be so seen, beest loath
The largest Pearch are taken with a minnow, hooked with a goud hold through the back-fin, or rather through the upper-lip; for the Pearch, by reason of the figure of his mouth, cannot take the bait crosswise, as the Pike will. When you fish thus, use a large cork-float, and lead your line about nine inches from the bottom, otherwise the mionow will come to the top of the water ; but in the ordinary way of fishing, let your bait hang within about six inches from the ground.