Графични страници
PDF файл

spawns; and, as I have formerly told you, with the help of the melter, hides his spawn or eggs in holes, which they both dig in the gravel: and then they mutually labour to cover it with the same sand, to prevent it from being devoured by other fish.

There be such store of this fish in the river Danube, that Rondeletius says they may, in some places of it, and in some months of the year, be taken, by those who dwell near to the river, with their hands, eight or ten load at a time. He says, they begin to be good in May, and that they cease to be so in August: but it is found to be otherwise in this nation. But thus far we agree with him, that the spawn of a Barbel, if it be not poison, as he says, yet that it is dangerous meat, and especially in the month of May; which is so certain, that Gesner and Gasius declare it had an ill effect upon them, even to the endangering of their lives.

This fish is of a fine cast and handsome shape, with small scales, which are placed after a most exact and curious manner: and, as I told you, may be rather said not to be ill, than to be good meat. The Chub and he have, I think, both lost part of their credit by ill-cookery; they being reputed the worst, or coarsest, of fresh-water fish. But the Barbel affords an angler choice sport, being a lusty and a cunning fish; so lusty and cunning as to endanger the breaking of the angler's line, by running his head forcibly towards any covert, or hole, or bank, and then striking at the line, to break it off, with his tail; as is observed by Plutarch in his book De Industriâ Ani

(1) Though the spawn of the Barbel is known to be of a poisonous nature, yet it is often taken by country people medicinally; who find it, at once, a most powerful emetic and cathartic. And, notwithstanding what is said of the wholesomeness of the flesh, with some constitutions it produces the same effects as the spawn. About the month of September, in the year 1754, a servant of mide, wlio had eaten part of a "Barbel, though, as I had cautioned him, he abstained from the spawn, was seized with such a violent purging and vomiting, as had like to have cost him his life, Hawkins.

malium; and also so cunning, to nibble and suck off your worm close to the hook, and yet avoid the letting the hook come into his mouth.

The Barbel is also curiou for his baits; that is to say, that they be clean and sweet; that is to say, to have your worms well scoured, and not kept in sour and musty moss, for he is a curious feeder: but at a wellscoured lob-worm he will bite as boldly as at any bait, and specially if, the night or two before you fish for him, you shall bait the places where you intend to fish for him, with big worms cut into pieces. And note, that none did ever over-bait the place, nor fish too early or too late for a Barbel. And the Barbel will bite also at gentles, which, not being too much scoured, but green, are a choice bait for him: and so is cheese, which is not to be too hard, but kept a day or two in a wet linen cloth, to make it tough; with this you may also bait the water a day or two before you fish for the Barbel, and be much the likelier to catch store; and if the cheese were laid in clarified honey a short time before, as namely, an hour or two, you were still the likelier to catch fish. Some have directed to cut the cheese into thin pieces, and toast it; and then tie it on the hook with fine silk. And some advise to fish for the Barbel with sheep's tallow and soft cheese, beaten or worked into a paste; and that it is choicely good in August: and I believe it. But, doubtless, the lob-worm well scoured, and the gentle not too much scoured, and cheese ordered as I have directed, are baits enough, and I think will serve in any month : though I shall commend any angler that tries conclusions, and is industrious to improve the art. And scholar, the long shower and my tedious discourse are

now, my honest

(1) Graves, (which are the sediment of tallow melted for the making of capdles,) cut into pieces, are an excellent ground-bait for Barbel, Gudgeons, Roach, and many other fish, if thrown in the night before you angle.

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, hornets, and humble bees.

In fishing 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 Jand one of twelve inches long.

A lover of angling 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 pot 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, and 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 leagth 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 begins 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 salutations had passed between us, and we were become a little acquainted, I took occasion to 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."


[ocr errors]

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 motion 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

debtor when
you come this


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 youwhat, Sir,” contivued 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 mopping]" 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 obe bíte.” 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 io 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


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 : but 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

« ПредишнаНапред »