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you double your time of eight into sixteen, twenty, or more day's, it is still the better; for the worms will still be clearer, tougher, and more lively, and continue so longer upon your hook. And they may be kept longer by keeping them cool, and in fresh moss; and some advise to put camphire into it.*
Note also, that many use to fish for a Salmon with a ring of wire on the top of their rod, through which the line may run to as great a length as is needful, when he is hooked. And to that end, some use a wheel about the middle of their rod, or near their hand, which is to be observed better by seeing one of them than by a large demonstration of words.
And now I shall tell you that which may be called a secret. I have been a-fishing with old Oliver Henly, now with God, a noted fisher both for Trout and Salmon; and have observed, that he would usually take three or four worms out of his bag, and put them into a little box in his pocket, where he would usually let them continue half an hour or more, before he would bait his hook with them. I have asked him his reason, and he has replied, “He did but pick the best out to be in readiness against he baited his hook the next time : ” but he has been observed, both by others and myself, to catch more fish than I, or any other body that has ever gone a-fishing with him, could do, and especially Salmons. And I have been told lately, by one of his most intimate and secret friends, that the box in which he put those worms was anointed with a drop, or two or three, of the oil of ivy-berries, made by expression or infusion ; and told, that by the worms remaining in that box an hour, or a like time, they had incorporated a kind of smell that was irresistibly attractive, enough to force any fish within the smell of them to bite. This I heard not long since from a friend, but have not tried it; yet I grant it probable, and refer my reader to Sir Francis Bacon's “Natural History," where he proves fishes may hear, and, doubtless, can more probably smell : and I am certain Gesner says, the Otter can smell in the water ; and I know not but that fish may do so too. 'Tis left for a lover of angling, or any that desires to improve that art, to try this conclusion.
* Baits for Salmon are: lob-worms, for the ground ; smaller worms and bobs, cad-bait, and, indeed, most of the baits taken by the trout, at the top of the water. be made of the most gaudy colours, and very large. There is a fly called the horse-leech fily, which he is very fond of: they are of various colours, have great heads, large bodies, very long tails, and two (and some have three) pairs of wings, placed behind each other: in imitating this fly, behind each pair of wirigs, whip the body about with gold or silver twist, or both, and do the same by the head. Fish with it at length, as for Trout and Grayling. If you dib, do it with two or three butterflies of different colours, or with some of the most glaring small flies you can find.
I shall also impart two other experiments, but not tried by myself, which I will deliver in the same words that they were given me by an excellent angler and a very friend, in writing : he told me the latter was too good to be told, but in a learned language, lest it should be made common.
“ Take the stinking oil drawn out of polypody of the oak by a retort, mixed with turpentine and hive-honey, and anoint your bait therewith, and it will doubtless draw the fish to it.” The other is this: “Vulnera hederæ grandissimæ inflicta sudant balsamum oleo gelato, albicantique persimile, odoris verò longè suavissimi." “ 'Tis supremely sweet to any fish, and yet assafætida may do the like.” *
But in these I have no great faith; yet grant it probable ; and have had from some chymical men, namely, from Sir George Hastings and others, an affirmation of them to be very advantageous. But no more of these; especially not in this place.f
I might here, before I take my leave of the Salmon, tell you that there is more than one sort of them, as, namely, a Tecon, and
At the end of the Secrets of Angling, by J. D., is the following recipe of "R, R.," who possibly may be the “R. Roe" mentioned in the Preface to Walton :
Wouldst thou catch fish?
To anoint thy bait.
R. R. The following recipe for catching pikes occurs in an old MS. on vellum, written about the year 1550, and now in the possession of Dr Bliss :
A CRAFT TO TAK PYKS, ETC. Tak asafetida of the fattest an ownce, Stanch gryme di quarter of an ownce, Gunie arabek lik myche, Blak berys iij or inj small brokeri, The yolk
of an egge rostit harde like myche, Then take iij or iiij dropis of olium benedictum, To temper thies togedre lik past, And rubbe and anonyte the end of the lyre that the hooke ys hopon.
# The following extract of a letter which appeared in one of the London papers, 21st June 1788, should operate as a general caution against using, in the composition of baits, any ingredieni prejudicial to the human constitution : “Newcastle, June 16. Last week, in Lancashire, two young men having caught a large quantity of Trout by mixing the water in a small brook with lime, ate heartily of the Trout at dinner the next day: they were seized, at midnight, with violent pains in the intestines; and though medical assistance was immediately procured, they expired before noon in the greatest agonies."-H.
another called in some places a Samlet, or by some a Skegger ; but these, and others which I forbear to name, may be fish cf another kind, and differ as we know a Herring and a Pilchard do,* which, I think, are as different as the rivers in which they breed, and must, by me, be left to the disquisitions of men of more leisure, and of greater abilities than I profess myself to have.
And lastly, I am to borrow so much of your promised patience, as to tell you that the trout, or Salmon, being in season, have, at their first taking out of the water, which continues during life, their bodies adorned, the one with such red spots, and the other with such black or blackish spots, as give them such an addition of natural beauty as, I think, was never given to any woman by the artificial paint or patches in which they so much pride them. selves in this age.t And so I shall leave them both; and proceed to some observations of the Pike.
PISCATOR. The mighty Luce or Pike is taken to be the CHAP. VIII. On tyrant, # as the Salmon is the king, of the fresh the Luce or Pike. waters. 'Tis not to be doubted but that they are bred, some by generation, and some not; as, namely, of a weed called pickerel-weed, unless learned Gesner be much mistaken, for he says this weed and other glutinous matter, with the help of the sun's heat, in some particular months, and some ponds apted for it by nature, do become Pikes. But, doubtless, divers Pikes are bred after this manner, or are brought into some ponds some such other ways (as is past man's finding out, of which we have daily testimonies.
VARIATION. 6 It is not to be doubted but that the Luce, or Pickrell, or Pike, breeds by spawning : and yet Gesner says that some of them breed where none ever was, out of a weed
There is a fish, in many rivers, of the Salmon kind, which though very small, is thought by some curious persons to be of the same species ; and this, I take it, is the fish known by the different names of Salmon-Pink, Shedders, Skeggers, Last-springs, and Gravel Last-springs. But there is another small fish very much resembling these in shape and colour, called the Gravel Last-spring, found only in the river Wye, and Severn; which is, undoubtedly, a distinct species. These spawn about the beginning of September: and in the Wye I have taken them with an ant-fly as fast as I could throw. Perhaps this is what Walton calls the Tecon.-H.
† This passage occurs in the first edition. Several allusions to the fashion of women wearing patches occurs in Pepys' Diary. “ August 30, 1660. This is the first day that ever I saw my wife wear black patches since we were married." “October 20, 1660. dined with my Lord and Lady (Sandwich], he was very merry and did talk very high how he would have a French cook, and a master of his horse, and his lady and child to wear black patches." "4 Nov. My wife seemed very pretty to-day, it being the first time I had given her leave to wear a black parch.”. Speaking of the Queen, he savs,
But my wife standing near her with two or three black patches on and well dre-sed, did seem to me much handsonier than she." Pope also ca ls Pikes “The tyrants of the wat'ry plains."
Sir Francis Bacon, in his History of Life and Death, observes the Pike to be the longest lived of any fresh-water fish ; and yet he computes it to be not usually above forty years; and others think it to be not above ten years : and yet Gesner mentions a Pike taken in Swedeland, in the year 1449, with a ring about his neck, declaring he was put into that pond by Frederick the Second, more than two hundred years before he was last taken, as by the inscription in that ring, being Greek, was interpreted by the then Bishop of Worms.* But of this no more; but that it is observed, that the old or very great Pikes have in them more of state than goodness; the smaller or middle-sized Pikes being, by the most and choicest palates, observed to be the best meat : and, contrary, the Eel is observed to be the better for age and bigness.
All Pikes that live long prove chargeable to their keepers, because their life is maintained by the death of so many other fish, even those of their own kind; which has made him by some writers to be called the tyrant of the rivers, or the fresh-water wolf, by reason of his bold, greedy, devouring disposition ; which is so keen, as Gesner relates, A man going to a pond, where it seems a Pike had devoured all the fish, to water his mule, had a Pike bit his mule by the lips; to which the Pike hung so fast, that the mule drew him out of the water; and by that accident, the owner of the mule angled out the Pike. And the same Gesner observes, that a maid in Poland had a Pike bit her by the foot, as she was washing clothes in a pond. And I have heard the like of a woman in Killingworth pond, not far from Coventry. But I have been assured by my friend Mr Segrave, of whom I spake to you formerly, that keeps tame Otters, that he hath known a Pike, in extreme hunger, fight with one of his Otters for a Carp that the Otter had caught, and was then bringing out of the water. I have told you who relate these things; and tell you they are
called Pickrell-weed, and other glutinous matter, which, with the help of the sun's heat, proves, in some particular ponds, apted by nature for it, to become Pikes.—Ist edit.
* Walton probably quoted from memory. The story is in his favourite writer, Hakewill, who in his “ Apologie of the power and providence of God," fol. Oxf. 1635, P. I. p. 145, says, “I will close up this Chapter with a relation of Gesner's, in his Epistle to the Emperor Ferdinand, prefixed before his booke De Piscibus, touching the long life of a Pike, which was cast into a pond or poole neare Hailebrune in Swevia, with this inscription ingraven upon a collar of brasse fastened about his necke. Ego sum ille piscis huic stagno omnium primus impositus per mundi rectoris Frederici Secundi manus, 5 Octobris, anno 1230. I am that fish which was first of all cast into this poole by the hand of Fredericke the Second, governour of the world, the fift of October, in the yeare 1230. He was againe taken up in the yeare 1497, and by the inscription it appeared he had then lived there 267 yeares."-E.
persons of credit ; and shall conclude this observation, by telling you, what a wise man has observed, “ It is a hard thing to persuade the belly, because it has no ears.” *
But if these relations be disbelieved, it is too evident to be doubted, that a Pike will devour a fish of his own kind that shall be bigger than his belly or throat will receive, and swallow a part of him, and let the other part remain in his mouth till the swallowed part be digested, and then swallow that other part that was in his mouth, and so put it over by degrees; which is not unlike the Ox, and some other beasts taking their meat, not out of their mouth immediately into their belly, but first into some place betwixt, and then chew it, or digest it by degrees after, which is called chewing the cud. And, doubtless, Pikes will bite when they are not hungry ; but, as some think, even for very anger, when a tempting bait comes near to them.
And it is observed, that the Pike will eat venomous things, as some kind of frogs are, and yet live without being harmed by them; for, as some say, he has in him a natural balsam, or antidote against all poison. And he has a strange heat, that though it appear to us to be cold, can yet digest or put over any fish-flesh, by degrees, without being sick. And others observe, that he never eats the venomous frog till he have first killed her, and then as ducks are observed to do to frogs in spawning-time, at which
Bowlker, in his Art of Angling before cited, page 9, gives the following instance of the exceeding, voracity of this fish : “My father catched a Pike in Barn-Meer (a large standing-water in Cheshire), was an ell long, and weighed thirty-five pounds, which he brought to the Lord Cholmondeley; his lordship ordered it to be turned into a canal in the garden, wherein were abundance of several sorts of fish. About twelve months after, his lordship draw'd the canal, and found that this overgrown Pike had devoured all the fish, except one large Carp, that weighed between pine and ten pounds, and that was bitten in several places. The Pike was then put into the canal again, together with abundance of fish with him to feed upon, all which he devoured in less than a year's time; and was observed by the gardener and workmen there, to take the ducks, and other water-fowl, under water. Whereupon they shot magpies and crows, and threw them into the canal, which the Pike took before their eyes : of this they acquainted their lord; who, thereupon, ordered the slaughterman to fling in calves-bellies, chickens-guts, and suchlike garbage to him, to prey upon : but being soon after neglected, he died, as supposed, for want of food."
The following relation was inserted as an article of news in one of the London papers, ad Jan. 17557
Extract of a Letter from Littleport, Dec. 17. "About ten days ago, a large Pike was caught in the river Ouse, which weighed upwards of 28 pounds, and was sold to a gentleman in the neighbourhood for a guinea. As the cook-maid was gutting the fish, she found, to her great astonishment, a watch with a black ribbon and two steel seals annexed, in the body of the Pike: the gentleman's butler, upon opening the watch, found the maker's name, Thomas Cranefield, Burnham, Norfolk Upon a strict inquiry, it appears that the said watch was sold to a gentleman's servant, who was unfortunately drowned about six weeks ago, in his way to Cambridge, between this place and South-Ferry. The watch is still in the possession of Mr John Roberts, at the Cross-Keys in Littleport, for the inspection of the public."
In Dr Plot's' History of Staffordshire, 246, are sundry relations of Pike of great magnitude; one in particular, caught in the Thame, an ell and two inches long.