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Directions how to dress a Trout and Grayling.
Piscator. Oh, Sir, are you return'd? you have but just prevented me. I was coming to call you. .
Viat. I am glad then I have sav'd you the labour.
Viat. You shall see that, Sir, presently; look you, Sir, here are three brace* of Trouts, one of them
* Spoke like a the biggest but one that ever I killed with a fly in my life; and yet I lost a bigger than that, with my fly to boot; and here are three Graylings, and one of them longer by some inches than that I took yesterday, and yet I thought that a good one too.
Pisc. Why you have made a pretty good morning's work on't; and now, Sir, what think you of our river Dove?
Viat. I think it to be the best Trout-river in England; and am so far in love with it, that if it were mine, and that I could keep it to myself, I would not exchange that water for all the land it runs over, to be totally debarred from't.
Pisc. That compliment to the river, speaks you a true lover of the art of angling. And now, Sir, to make part of amends for sending you so uncivilly out alone this morning, I will myself dress you this dish of fish for your dinner: walk but into the parlour, you will find one book or other, in the window, to entertain you the while: and you shall have it presently.
Viat. Well, Sir, I obey you.
Viat. Believe me, Sir, that you have; and it looks so well, I long to be at it.
Pisc. Fall to then : now, Sir, what say you, am I a tolerable cook or no?
Viat. So good a one, that I did never eat so good fish in life. This fish is infinitely better than any
I ever tasted of the kind in my life. 'Tis quite another thing than our Trouts about London.
Pisc. You would say so, if that Trout you eat of were in right season : but pray eat of the Grayling, which, upon my word, at this time, is by much the better fish.
Viat. In earnest, and so it is. And I have one request to make to you, which is, that as you have taught me to catch Trout and Grayling, you will now teach me how to dress them as these are drest, which, questionless, is of all other the best
way. Pisc. That I will, Sir, with all my heart; and am glad you
like them so well as to make that request. And they are drest thus :
Take your Trout, wash, and dry him with a clean napkin; then open him, and having taken out his guts, and all the blood, wipe him very clean within, but wash him not; and give him three scotches with a knife to the bone, on one side only. After which take a clean kettle, and put in as much hard stale beer, (but it must not be dead,) vinegar, and a little white wine, and water, as will cover the fish you intend to boil: then throw into the liquor a good quantity of salt, the rind of a lemon, a handful of sliced horse-radish root, with a handsome little fagot of rosemary, thyme, and winter-savory. Then set your kettle upon a quick fire of wood : and let your liquor boil up to the height before you put in your fish: and then, if there be many, put them in one by one, that they may not so cool the liquor as to make it fall.
And whilst your fish is boiling, beat up the butter for your sauce with a ladle-full or two of the liquor it is boiling in. And being boiled enough, immediately pour the liquor from the fish: and being laid in a dish, pour your butter upon it; and strewing it plentifully over with shaved horse-radish, and
a little pounded ginger, garnish your sides of your dish, and the fish itself, with a sliced lemon or two,
A Grayling is also to be drest exactly after the same manner, saving that he is to be scaled, which a Trout never is : and that must be done either with one's nails, or very lightly and carefully with a knife, for fear of bruising the fish. And note, that these kinds of fish, a Trout especially, if he is not eaten within four or five hours after he be taken, is worth nothing.
But come, Sir, I see you have din'd; and therefore, if you please, we will walk down again to the little House, and there I will read you a lecture of Angling at the bottom,
C H A P. XI.
Of ANGLING AT THE BOTTOM for Trout or Grayling.
Viator. So, Sir, now we are here, and set, let me have my instructions for angling for Trout and Grayling at the bottom; which though not so easy, so cleanly, nor (as 'tis said) šo ģenteel a way of fishing as with a fly, is yet, if I mistake not, a good holding way, and takes fish when nothing else will.
Pisc. You are in the right, it does so: and a worm is so sure à bait at all times, that, excepting in a flood, I would I had laid a thousand pounds that I did not kill fish, more or less, with it, winter or summer, every day throughout the year; those days always excepted, that upon a more serious account always ought so to be. But not longer to delay you, I will begin, and tell you, that Angling at the bottom is, also, commonly, of two sorts (and yet there is a third way of angling with a groundbait, and to very great effect too, as shall be said hereafter,) namely, by hand; or with a cork or float.
That we call Angling by hand, is of three sorts.
The first with a line about half the length of the rod, a good weighty plumb, and three hairs next the hook, which we call a running-line, and with one large brandling, or a dew-worm of a moderate size, or two small ones of the first, or any other sort, proper for a Trout, of which my father Walton has already given you the names, and saved me a labour; or, indeed, almost any worm whatever; for if a Trout be in the humour to bite, it must be such a worm as I never yet saw, that he will refuse; and if you fish with two, you are then to bait your hook thus : You are first, to run the point of your
hook in at the
head of your first worm, and so down through his body till it be past the knot, and then let it out, and strip the worm above the arming, (that you may not bruise it with your fingers) till you have put on the other, by running the point of the hook in below the knot, and upwards through his body towards his head, till it be but just cover'd with the head, which being done, you are then to slip the first worm down over the arming again, till the knots of both worms meet together.
The second way of angling by hand, and with a running line, is with a line something longer than the former, and with tackle made after this same manner. At the utmost extremity of your line, where the hook is always placed in all other ways of angling, you are to have a large pistol or carabine bullet, into which the end of your line is to be fastened with a peg or pin, even and close with the bullet; and, about half a foot above that, a branch of line, of two or three handfuls long, or more for a swift stream, with a hook at the end thereof, baited with some of the fore-named worms, and, another half a foot above that, another arm'd and baited after the same manner, but with another sort of worm, without
lead at all above: by which means you will always certainly find the true bottom in all depths; which with the plumbs upon your line above you can never do, but that your bait must always drag whilst you are sounding (which in this way of angling must be continually), by which means you are like
have more trouble, and peradventure worse success. And both these ways of angling at the bottom are most proper for a dark and muddy water, by reason, that in such a condition of the stream, a man may stand as near as he will, and neither his own shadow nor the roundness of his tackle will hinder his sport.
The third way of angling by hand with a ground-bait, and by much the best of all other, is, with a line full as long, or a yard and a half longer than your rod; with no more than one hair next the hook, and for two or three lengths above it; and no more than one small pellet or shot for your plumb; your hook, little ; your worms, of the smaller brandlings, very well scoured; and only one upon your hook at a time, which is thus to be baited: the point of your hook is to be put in at the very tag of his tail, and run up his body quite over all the arming, and still stript on an inch at least upon the hair; the head and remaining part hanging downward. And with this line and hook, thus baited, you are evermore to angle in the streams, always in a clear, rather than in a troubled water, and always up the river, still casting out your worm before
you with a light one-handed rod, like an artificial fly, where it will be taken, sometimes at the top, or within a very little of the superficies of the water, and almost always before that light plumb can sink it to the bottom; both by reason of the stream, and also that you must always keep your worm in motion by drawing still back towards you, as if you were angling with a fly. And believe me, whoever will try it, shall find this the best way of all other to angle with a worm, in a bright water especially. But then his rod must be very light and pliant,