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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
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.
Is of nothing ; or, that which is nothing worth.
Piscator. My purpose was to give you some directions concerning Roach and Dace, and some other inferior fish which make the angler excellent sport; you
know there is more pleasure in hunting the hare than in eating her : but I will forbear, at this time, to say any more, because you see yonder come our brother Peter and honest Coridon. But I will promise you, that as you and I fish and walk to
morrow towards London, if I have now forgotten any thing that I can then remember, I will not keep it from you.
Well met, gentlemen; this is lucky that we meet so just together at this very door. Come, hostess, where are you? is supper ready? Come, first give us drink; and be as quick as you can, for I believe we are all very hungry. Well, brother Peter and Coridon, to you both! Come, drink; and then tell me what luck of fish: we two have caught but ten trouts, of which my scholar caught three: look! here's eight; and a brace we gave away. We have had a most pleasant day for fishing and talking, and are returned home both weary and hungry; and now meat and rest will be pleasant.
Pet. And Coridon and I have not had an unpleasant day: and yet I have caught but five Trouts; for, indeed, we went to a good honest ale-house, and there we played at shovel-board half the day; all the time that it rained we were there, and as merry as they that fished. And I am glad we are now with a dry house over our heads; for, hark! how it rains and blows. Come, hostess, give us more ale, and our supper with what haste you may: and when we have supped, let us have your song, Piscator; and
the catch that your scholar promised us; or else, Coridon will be dogged. Pisc. Nay, I will not be worse than my
shall not want my song, and I hope I shall be perfect in it.
Ven. And I hope the like for my catch, which I have ready too: and therefore let's go merrily to supper, and then have a gentle touch at singing and drinking; but the last with moderation.
Cor. Come, now for your song; for we have fed heartily. Come hostess, lay a few more sticks on the fire. And now, sing when you will.
Pisc. Well then, here's to you, Coridon; and now for my song
O the gallant fisher's life,
It is the best of any;
Breeds no ill,
In a morniug up we rise,
Ere Aurora's peeping;
Then we go
As the Thames,
When we please to walk abroad
For our recreation,
Where in a brook
For a bit,
We have gentles in a' horn,
We have paste and worms too:
None do here
And watch our quill;
If the sun's excessive heat
Make our bodies swelter,
Where, in a dike,
Or we sometimes pass an hour
Under a green willow,
Where we may
Are but toys,
* This, in its kind, is a good song. The following, taken from Cotton's Poems, 8vo, is to the same purpose; and well deserves a place here.
All your tackle out-look,
See that all thiugs be right,
For 'twould be a spight
For the same will not do
And full well may you think,
If you troll with a pink,