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both ended together: and I shall give you but this observation, that when you fish for a Barbel, your rod and line be both long and of good strength; for, as I told you, you will find him a heavy and a dogged fish to be dealt withal; yet he seldom or never breaks his hold, if he be once strucken. And if you would know more of fishing for the Umber or Barbel, get into favour with Dr. Shel
(1) of the haunts of the Barbel, the author has spoken sufficiently. Barbel spawn about the middle of April, and grow in season about a month after.
Baits for Barbel, other than what Walton has mentioned, are the young brood of wasps, horpets, and humble bees.
In fishiog for him, use a very strong rod, and a silk line with a shot and a bullet, as directed for the Trout. Some use a cork float, which, if you do, be sure to fish as close to the bottom as possible, so as the bait does not touch the ground.
In angling for lesser fish, the angler will sometimes find it a misfortune to hook a Barbel; a fish so sullen, that, with fine tackle, it is scarcely possible to land one of twelve inches long.
A lover of ang!ing told me the following story: He was fishing in the river Lea, at the ferry called Jeremy's, and had hooked a large fish at the time when some Londoners, with their horses, were passing: they congratulated him on his suc. cess, and got out of the ferry-boat, but, finding the fish not likely to yield, mounted their horses and rode off. The fact was, that, angling for small fish, his bait had been taken by a Barbel too big for the fisher to manage. Not caring to risk his tackle, by attempting to raise him, he hoped to tire him, and, to that end suffered himself to be led (to use his own expression) as a blind man is by his dog, several yards up, and as many down the bank of the river, in short, for so many hours, that the horsemen above-mentioned (who had been at Waltham. stow, aud dined) were returned; who, seeing him thus occupied, cried out, " What, master, another large fish?" No," says Piscator, “ it is the very same.”-“ Nay,” says one of them, “ that can never be; for it is five hours since we crossed the river." And not believing him, they rode on their way. At length our angler determined to do that which a less patient one would have done long before; he made one vigorous effort to land his fish, broke his tackle and lost him.
Fishing for Barbel is, at best, but a dull recreation. They are a sullen fish, and bite but slowly. The angler drops in his bait; the bullet, at the bottom of the line, fixes it to one spot of the river. Tired with waiting for a bite, he generally lays down his rod, and, exercising the patience of a setting-dog, waits till he sees the top of his rod move; then begios a struggle between him and the fish, which he calls his sport; and that being over, he lands his prize, fresh baits his hook, and lays in for another.
Living, some years ago, in a village on the banks of the Thames, I was used, in the summer months, to be much in a boat on the river. It chanced that, at Shepperton, where I had been for a few days, I frequently passed an elderly gentleman in his boat, who appeared to be fishing, at different stations for Barbel. After a few salutatiops had passed between us, and we were become a little acquainted, I took occasion tu enquire of him what diversion he had met with. “Sir,” says he, “ I have had but bad luck to-day, for I fish for Barbel, and you know they are not to be caught like Gudgeons.”—“It is very true," an. swered I; “but what you want in tale, I suppose you make up in weight.”
don,' whose skill is above others; and of that, the poor that dwell about him have a comfortable experience.
And now let's go and see what interest the Trouts will pay us, for letting our angle-rods lie so long and so quietly in the water for their use. Come, scholar, which will you take up?
Ven. Which you think fit, master.
Pisc. Why, you shall take up that; for I am certain, by viewing the line, it has a fish at it. Look you, scholar! well done! Come, now take up the other too: well! now you may tell my brother Peter, at night, that you have caught a leash of Trouts this day. And now let's move towards our lodging, and drink a draught of redcow's milk as we go; and give pretty Maudlin and her honest mother a brace of Trouts for their supper. Ven. Master, I like your
very well ; and I think it is now about milking-time; and yonder they be at it. Pisc. God speed you, good woman! I thank you
both for our songs last night: I and my companion have had such fortune a-fishing this day, that we resolve to give you and Maudlin a brace of Trouts for supper; and we will now taste a draught of your red cow's milk.
Milk-w. Marry, and that you shall with all my heart; and I will be still
If you will but speak the word, I will make you a good syllabub of new verjuice; and then you may sit down in a hay
“Why, Sir,” says be," that is just as it happens : it is true I like the sport, and love to catch fish, but my great delight is in going after them. I'll tell you what, Sir,” continued he; “I am a man in years, and have used the sea all my life, (he had been an India captaiv,] but I mean to go no more; and have bought that little house which you see there,” (pointing to it,]“ for the sake of fishing. I get into this boat" (which he was then inopping] “ on a Monday morning, and fish on till Saturday night, for Barbel, as I told you, for that is my delight; and this I have done for a month together, and in all that while liave not had one bite." Hawkins.
(1) Dr. Gilbert Sheldon, warden of All Souls College; chaplain to king Charles the First; and, after the Restoration, archbishop of Canterbury. He founded the theatre at Oxford; died in 1677, and lies buried under a stately monument at Croydon, in Surrey.
cock, and eat it; and Maudlin shall sit by and sing you the good old song of the Hunting in Chevy Chace, or some other good ballad, for she hath store of them; Maudlin, my honest Maudlin, hath a notable memory, and she thinks nothing too good for you, because you be such honest men.
Ven. We thank you; and intend, once in a month, to call upon you again, and give you a little warning; and so, good night; good night, Maudlin. And now, good master, let's lose no time : bút tell me somewhat more of fishing; and, if you please, first, something of fishing for a Gudgeon.
Pisc. I will, honest scholar.
Observations on the GUDGEON, the RUFFE, and the BLEAK; and
how to fish for them. Piscator. The Gudgeon is reputed a fish of excellent taste, and to be very wholesome. He is of a fine shape, of a silver colour, and beautified with black spots both on his body and tail. He breeds two or three times in the year; and always in summer. He is commended for a fish of excellent nourishment. The Germans call him Groundling, by reason of his feeding on the ground; and he there feasts himself, in sharp streams and on the gravel. He and the Barbel both feed so: and do not hunt for flies at any time, as most other fishes do. He is an excellent fish to enter a young angler, being easy to be taken with a small red worm, on or very near to the ground. He is one of those leather-mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, and will hardly be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken.
They be usually scattered up and down every river in
the shallows, in the heat of summer : but in autumn, when the weeds begin to grow sour and rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get into the deeper parts of the water; and are to be fished for there, with
your hook always touching the ground, if you fish for him with a float, or with a cork. But many will fish for the Gudgeon by hand, with a running line upon the ground, without a cork, as a Trout is fished for; and it is an excellent way, if you have a gentle rod, and as gentle a hand. '
There is also another fish called a Pope, and by some a Ruffe; a fish that is not known to be in some rivers : he is much like the Pearch for his shape, and taken to be better than the Pearch; but will not grow to be bigger than a Gudgeon. He is an excellent fish; no fish that swims is of a pleasanter taste. And he is also excellent to enter a young angler, for he is a greedy biter; and they will usually lie, abundance of them together, in one reserved place, where the water is deep and runs quietly; and an easy angler, if he has found where they lie, may catch forty or fifty, or sometimes twice so many, at a standing.
You must fish for him with a small red worm; and if you bait the ground with earth, it is excellent.
There is also a Bleak, or fresh-water Sprat; a fish that is ever in motion, and therefore called by some the riverswallow; for just as you shall observe the Swallow to be, most evenings in summer, ever in motion, making short and quick turns when he flies to catch flies, in the air, hy which he lives; so does the Bleak at the top of the water. Ausonius would have him called Bleak, from his whitish colour: his back is of a pleasant sad or sea-water-green; his belly, white and shining as the mountain snow. And doubtless, though he have the fortune, which virtue has
(1) In fishing for Gudgeons, have a rake; and every quarter of an hour rake the bottom of the river, and the fish will flock thither in shoals.
in poor people, to be neglected, yet the Bleak ought to be much valued, though we want Allamot salt, and the skill that the Italians have, to turn them into anchovies. This fish may be caught with a Pater-noster line;' that is, six or eight very small hooks tied along the line, one half a foot above the other: I have seen five caught thus at one time, and the bait has been gentles, than which none is better.
Or this fish may be caught with a fine small artificial fly, which is to be of a very sad brown colour, and very small, and the hook answerable. There is no better sport than whipping for Bleaks in a boat, or on a bank, in the swift water, in a summer's evening, with a hazel-top about five or six foot long, and a line twice the length of the rod. I have heard Sir Henry Wotton say, that there be many that in Italy will catch Swallows so, or especially Martins;' this bird-angler standing on the top of a steeple to do it, and with a line twice so long as I have spoken of. And let me tell you, scholar, that both Martins and Bleaks be most excellent meat.
And let me tell you, that I have known a Hern, that did constantly frequent one place, caught with a hook baited with a big minnow or a small gudgeon. The line and hook must be strong: and tied to some loose staff, so big as she cannot Ay away with it: a line not exceeding two yards.
(1) A rosary, or string of beads, is used by the Roman-Catholic devotees to assist them in numbering their Pater-nosters, or prayers; a line with many hooks at small distances from each other, though it little resembles a string of beads, is thence called a Puter-noster line.
(2) This is a common practice in England also.