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and tell you, in the next place, how you are to prepare your tackling: concerning which, I will, for sport sake,
been caught of two pounds and a half weight: but Roach of any size are hardly to be come at without a boat.
The haunts of Dace are, gravelly, sandy, and clayey bottoms; deep holes that are shaded; water lily leaves; and under the foam caused by an eddy: io hot weather, they are to be found on the shallows, and are then best taken with an artificial fly, grasshoppers, or gentles, as hereafter directed.
Dace spawn about the latter end of March : and are in season about three weeks after: they are not very good till about Michaelmas, and are best in February.
Baits for Duce, other than those mentioned by Walton, are the oak-worm, red-worm, brandling, gi!t tail; and indeed any worm, bred on trees or bushes, that is not too big for his mouth ; almost all kinds of flies and caterpillars.
Though Dace are often caught with a float, as Roach, yet they are not so properly float-fish: for they are to be taken with an artificial gnat, or ant-fily, or indeed almost any other small fly in its season; but in the Thames, above Richmond, the largest are caught with a natural green or dun grasshopper, and sometimes with gentles ; with both which you are to fish as with an artificial fly. They are not to be come at till about September, when the weeds begin to rot; but when you have found where they lie, which, in a warın day, is generally on the shallows, 'tis incredible what havock you may make : pinch off the first joint of the grasshopper's legs, put the point of the hook in at the head, and bring it out at the tail; and in this way of fishing you will catch Chub, especially if you throw under the boughs.
But this can be done only in a boat; for the management whereof, be provided with a staff, and a heavy stone fastened to a strong rope of four or five yards in length: fasted the rope to the head of the boat, which, whether it be a punt or a wherry, is equally fit for this purpose, and so drive down with the stream: when you come to a shallow or other place where the fish are likely to lie, drop the stone, and standing in the stern, throw right down the stream, and a little to the right and left: after trying about a quarter of an hour in a place, with the staff push the boat ahout five yards down, and so throw again. Use a common fy-line, about ten yards long, with a strong single hair next the hook.
It is true, there is less certainty of catching in this way than with a float or ground-bait: for which reason, I would recommend it only to those who live near the banks of that delightful river, betweeu Windsor and Isleworth, who have or can command a boat for that purpose, and can take advantage of a still, warm, gloomy day; and to such it will afford much more diversion than the ordinary inartificial method of fishing in the deeps for Roach and Dace.
In fishing at bottom for Roach and Dace, use for ground-bait bread soaked about an hour in water, and an equal quantity of bran; knead them to a tough consistence, and make them up into balls, with a small pebble in the middle : and throw these balls in where you fish ; but be sure to throw them up the stream, otherwise they will draw the fish beyond the reach of your line.
Fist: for Roach within six, and for Dace within three ioches of the bottum.
Having enumerated the Baits proper for every kind of fish in their respective places, it may not be amiss here to mention one which many authors speak of as excellent for almost all fish; and that is the spawn of Salmon, or large Trout. Barker, who seems to have been the first that discovered it, recommends it to his patron in the following terms :
« Noble Lord, “ I have found an experience of late, which you may angle with, and take great store of this kind of fish. First, it is the best bait for a Trout that I have
give you an old rhyme out of an old fish-book; which will prove a part, and but a part, of what you are to provide.
My rod and my line, my float and my lead,
My hook and my plummet, my whetstone and knife,
My net, and my meat, for that is the chief:
seeo in all my time; and will take great store, and not fail, if they be there. Secondly, it is a special bait for Dace or Dare, good for Chub or Bottlin, or Grayling. The bait is, the roe of a Salmon or Trout. If it be a large Trout that the spawns be any thing great, you may angle for the Trout with this bait as you aogle with the brandling; taking a pair of scissars, and cut so much as a large hazel-nut, and bait your hook; so fall to your sport, there is no doubt of pleasure. If I had known it but twenty years ago, I would have gained a hun. dred pounds only with that bait. I am hound in duty to divulge it to your honour, and pot to carry it to my grave with me. I do desire that men of quality should have it, that delight in that pleasure. The greedy angler will murmur at me, but for that I care not.
“ For the angling for the Scale-fish: They must angle either with cork or quill, plumming their ground; and with feeding with the same bait, taking them [the spawos) as under, that they may spread abroad, that the fish nay feed, and come to your place, there is po doubt of pleasure, angling with fine tackle ; as single hair lines, at least five or six length long; a small hook, with two or three spawos. The bait will hold one week; if you keep it on any longer you must hang it up to dry a little : when you go to your pleasure again, put the bait in a little water, it will come in kind again.”,
Others, to preserve Salmon spawn, sprinkle it with a little salt, and lay it upon wool in a pot, one layer of wool and another of spawn. It is said to be a lovely bait for the winter or spring ; especially where Salmon are used to spawn; for thither the fish gather, and there expect it. Ang. Vade Mecum, 53.
To know at any time what bait fish are apt to take, open the belly of the first you catch, and take out his stomach very tenderly ; open it with a sharp penknife, and you will discover what he then feeds on. Venables, 91.
The people who live in the fishing-towns along the banks of the Thames have a method of dressing large Roach and Dace, which, as 'tis said, renders them very pleasant and savoury food; it is as follows: Without scaling the fish, lay him on a gridiron, over a slow fire, and strew on him a little four; when he begins to grow brown, make a slit, pot more than skin deep, in his back, from head to tail, and lay him on agaio : when he is broiled enough, the skin, scales and all, will peel off, and leave the Aesh, which will have become very firm, perfectly cleau ; then open the belly, and take out the inside, and use anchovy and butter for sauce.
Having promised the reader Mr. Barker's recipe for anointing boots and shoes, (and having no further occasion to make use of his authority,) it is here given in his own words.
“ Take a pint of linseed-oil, with half a pound of mutton-suet, six or eight ounces of bees-wax, and half a pennyworth of rosin : boil all this in a pipkin together; so let it cool till it be milk-warm ; then take a little hair-brush, and lay it on your new boots; but it is best that this stuff be laid on before the bootmaker inakes the boots; then brush them once over after they come from him; as for old boots, you must lay it on when your boots be dry."
I have heard that the
But you must have all these tackling, and twice so many more,' with which, if you mean to be a fisher, you
must store yourself; and to that purtackling hath been prized pose I will go with you, either to Mr. at fifty pounds, in the
dwells amongst the inventory of an angler.
booksellers in St. Paul's Church-yard, or to Mr. John Stubs, near to the Swan in Golding-lane: they be both honest men, and will fit an angler with what tackling he lacks. Ven. Then, good master, let it be at
you go any great distance from home, you will find it necessary to carry with you many more things than are here enumerated; most of which may be very well contained in a wicker panier of about twelve inches wide, and eight high, of the form, and put into a hawking-bag. The following is a list of the most material: a rod with a spare top; lines coiled up, and neatly laid in round flat boxes; spare links, single hairs, waxed thread and silk; plummets of various sizes ; floats of all kinds, and spare caps; worm-bags, and a gentle-box; hooks of all sizes, some whipped to single hairs; shot; shoemaker's wax, in a very small gallipot covered with a bit of leather; a clearing-ring, tied to about six yards of strong cord; the use of this is to disengage your hook when it has caught a weed, &c. in which case take off the butt of your rod, and slip the ring over the remaining joints, and, holding it by the cord, let it gently fall; a landing net, the hoop whereof must be of iron, and made with joints to fold, and a socket to hold a staff; take with you also such baits as you intend to use. That you may keep your fis!ı alive be provided with a smal hoop-net, to draw close to the top. And never be without a sharp knife, and a pair of scissars. And if you mean to use the artificial fiy, have your fly-book always with you.
And for the more convenient keeping and carriage of lines, links, single hairs, &c. take a piece of parchment or vellum, seven inches by ten : on the longer sides, set off four inches; and then fold it cross-wise, so as to leave a flap of two inches, of which hereafter: then take eight or ten pieces of parchment, of seven inches by four; put them into the parchment or vellum so folded, and sew up
the ends; then cut the flap rounding, and fold it down like a pocket-book : lastly, you may, if you please, bind along the ends and round the flap with red tape.
Into this case, put lines coiled up, spare links, single hairs, and hooks ready whipped and looped.
And having several of these cases, you may fill them with lines, &c. proper for every kind of fishing; always remembering to put into each of them a gorger, or small piece of cane, of five inches long, and a quarter of an inch wide, with a notch at each end; with this, when a fish has gorged your hook, you may, by putting it down his throat till you feel the book, and holding the line tight while you press it down, easily disengage it.
And if you should chance to break your top, or any other part of your rod, take the following directions for mending it: Cut the two broken ends with a long slope, so that they may fit neatly together; then
some wax, very thin, on each slope ; and with waxed thread or silk, according as the size of the broken part requires, bind them very neatly together. To fasten off, lay the fore-finger of your left hand over the binding, and with your right make four turns of the thread over it; then pass the end of your thread between the under. side of your finger and the rod, and draw your finger away; lastly, with the fore-finger and thumb of your right hand, take hold of the first of the turns, and, gathering as much of it as you can, bind on till the three remaining turns are wound off, and then take hold of the end which you had before brought through, and then draw close.
for he is nearest to my dwelling. And I
let's meet there the ninth of May next, about two of the clock; and I'll want nothing that a fisher should be furnished with.
Pisc. Well, and I'll not fail you, God willing, at the time and place appointed.
Ven. I thank you, good master, and I will not fail you. And, good master, tell me what BAITS more you remember; for it will not now be long ere we shall be at Tottenham-High-Cross; and when we come thither I will make you some requital of your pains, by repeating as choice a Copy of Verses as any we have heard since we met together; and that is a proud word, for we have heard very good ones.
For whipping on a hook take the following directions: Place the hook betwixt the fore-finger and thumb of your left hand, and with your right give the waxed silk three or four turns round the shank of the hook; then lay the end of the hair on the inside of the shapk, and with your right hand whip down; when you are within about four turns of the bent of the hook, take the shank, between the fore-finger and thumb of the left-hand, and place the silk close by it, holding them both tight, and leaving the end to hang down; then draw the other part of the silk into a large loop; and, with your right-hand turning backwards, continue the whipping for four turns, and draw the end of the silk (which has all this while hung down under the root of your left thumb,) close, and twitch it off.
To tie a water-knot : lay the end of one of your hairs, about five inches or less, over that of the other; and through the loop (which you would make to tie them in the common way) pass the long and the short end of the hairs, which will lie to the right of the loop, twice; and, wetting the knot with your tongue, draw it close, and cut off the spare hair.
(1) In some former editions of this book, the author has, in this place, mentioned Charles Kirby as a maker of excellent hooks; of whom take the following account: He was famous for the neatness and form of his hooks; when, being introduced to prince Rupert, whose name frequently occurs in the history of king Charles the First's reign, the prince communicated to him a method of tempering them, which has been continued in the family to this time; there being a liveal descendant of the above-named Charles Kirby now (1760) living in Crowther's-well-alley, near Aldersgate-street; whose hooks, for their shape and temper, exceed all others. This story is the inore likely to be true, as it is well known that the German nobility, in the last century, were much addicted to chemistry, and that to this prince Rupert the world is indebted for the invention of scraping in mezzotinto. See a head of his scraping in Evelyn's Sculpturu.
Pisc. Well, scholar, and I shall be then right glad to hear them. And I will, as we walk, tell
whatsoever comes in my mind, that I think may
hearing. You may make another choice bait thus: take a handful or two of the best and biggest wheat you can get; boil it in a little milk, like as frumity is boiled; boil it so till it be soft; and then fry it, very leisurely, with honey, and a little beaten saffron dissolved in milk: and you will find this a choice bait, and good, I think, for any fish, especially for Roach, Dace, Chub, or Grayling : I know not but that it may be as good for a river Carp, and especially if the ground be a little baited with it.
And you may also note, that the SPAWN of most fish is a very tempting bait, being a little hardened on a warm tile, and cut into fit pieces.' Nay, mulberries, and those blackberries which grow upon briars, be good baits for Chubs or Carps: with these many have been taken in. ponds, and in some rivers where such trees have grown near the water, and the fruits customarily dropt into it. And there be a hundred other baits, more than can be well named, which, by constant baiting the water, will become a tempting bait for any fish in it.
You are also to know, that there be divers kinds of Cadis, or Case-worms, that are to be found in this nation, in several distinct counties, and in several little brooks that relate to bigger rivers; as namely, one cadis called a piper, whose husk or case is a piece of reed about an inch long, or longer, and as big about as the compass of a two-pence. These worms being kept three or four days in a woollen bag, with sand at the bottom of it, and the bag wet once a day, will in three or four days turn to be yellow; and these be a choice bait for the Chub or Chavender, or indeed for any great fish, for it is a large bait.
(1) See the Noto in page 202.