« ZurückWeiter »
silence you seem to consent to. And for your willingness to part with it so charitably, I will also teach more concerning Chub-fishing. You are to note that in March and April he is usually taken with worms ; in May, June, and July, he will bite at any fiy, or at cherries, or at beetles with their legs and wings cut off, or at any kind of snail, or at the black bee that breeds in clay walls. And he never refuses a grasshopper, on the top of a swift stream,* nor, at the bottom, the young humble bee that breeds in long grass, and is ordinarily found by the mower of it. In August, and in the cooler months, a yellow paste, made of the strongest cheese, and pounded in a mortar, with a little butter and saffron, so much of it as, being beaten small, will turn it to a lemon colour. And some make a paste for the winter months, at which time the Chub is accounted best, for then it is observed that the forked bones are lost, or turned into a kind of gristle, especially if he be baked, of cheese and turpentine. He will bite also at a minnow, or penkit as a Trout will : of which I shall tell you more hereafter, and of divers other baits. But take this for a rule, that, in hot weather, he is to be fished for towards the mid
VARIATIONS. makes him a choice dish of meat, as you yourself know; for thus was that dressed which you did eat of to your dinner.
Or you may (for variety) dress a Chub another way, and you will find him very good, and his tongue and head almost as good as a Carp's : but then you must be sure that no grass or weeds be lest in his mouth or throat.
Thus you must dress him : Slit him through the middle, then cut him into four pieces; then put him into a pewter dish, and cover him with another, put into him as much white wine as will cover him, or spring water and vinegar, and store of salt, with some branches of thyme, and other sweet herbs; let him then be boiled gently over a chafing dish with wood coals, and when he is almost boiled enough, put half of the liquor from him, not the top of it; put then into him a convenient quantity of the best butter you can get, with a little nutmeg grated into it, and sippets of white bread ; thus ordered, you will find the Cheven and the sauce too a choice dish of meat : and I have been the more careful to give you a perfect direction how to dress him, because he is a fish undervalued by many, and I would gladly restore him to some of his credit which he has lost by ill cookery.
Viator. But, Master, have you no other way to catch a Cheven or Chub?
Piscator. Yes, that I have, but I must take time to tell it you hereafter; or indeed, you must learn it by observation and practice, though this way that I have taught you was the easiest to catch a Chub, at this time, and at this place. And now we are come again to the river, I will (as the soldier says, prepare for skirmish ; that is, draw out my tackling, and try to catch a Trout for supper.
Viator. Trust me, Master, I see now it is a harder matter to catch a Trout than a Chub, &c.
2 if he baked with a paste made of cheese and turpentine.—2d, 3d, and 4th edit.
* In the Thames above Richmond, the best way of using the grasshopper for Chub is to fish with it as with an artificial fly; the first joints of the legs must be pinched off, and in this way, when the weed is rotten, which is seldom till September, the largest Dace are taken.-H.
† In “ Practical Observations on Angling in the River Trent," 12mo, Newark, 1801, p. 42, it is said, “Chub will also take small Gudgeons in the way you troll for Pike ; the hook ought not to be so heavy leaded upon the shank; they gorge immediately on taking the bait."-E,
water, or near the top; and in colder weather, nearer the bottom; and if you fish for him on the top, with a beetle, or any fly,
then be sure to let your line be very long, and to keep out of sight. And having told you that his spawn is excellent meat, and that the head of a large Cheven, the throat being well washed, is the best part of him, I will say no more of this fish at the present, but wish you may catch the next you fish for.3
But, lest you may judge me too nice in urging to have the Chub dressed so presently after he is taken, I will commend to your consideration how curious former times have been in the like kind. You shall read in Seneca, his “Natural Questions,”
"* that the ancients were so curious in the newness of their fish, that that seemed not new enough that was not put alive into the guest's hand; and he says that to that end they did usually keep them living in glass bottles in their dining-rooms, and they did glory much in their entertaining of friends, to have that fish taken from under their table alive that was instantly to be fed upon ; and he says they took great pleasure to see their Mullets change to several colours when they were dying. But enough of this ; for I doubt I have stayed too long from giving you some Observations of the Trout, and how to fish for him, which shall take up the next of my spare time.f
PISCATOR. THE Trout is a fish highly valued, CHAP.
both in this and foreign nations. He may be Breeding of the justly said, as the old poet said of wine, and we Trout, and how
English say of venison, to be a generous fish : a
fish that is so like the buck, that he also has his seasons; for it is observed that he comes in and goes out of season with the stag and buck. Gesner says his name is of a German offspring; and says he is a fish that feeds clean and purely, in the swiftest streams, and on the hardest gravel ; and that he may justly contend with all fresh-water fish, as the Mullet
IV. On the Nature and
to fish for him.
VARIATION. 3 the next you fish for. And now my next observation and direction shall be concerning the Trout (which I love to angle for above any fish). But lest you, &c.—2d, 3d, and 4th edit.
* Lib. iii. cap. 17. + The haunts of the Chub are streams shaded with trees : in summer, deep holes, where they will sometimes float near the surface of the water, and under the boughs on Die side of a bank. Their spawning-time is towards the beginning of April : they are in season from about the middle of May till the middle of February ; but are best in winter. At mid-water, and at bottom, use a float; at top, either dib, or, if you have room, use the fly-line, as for Trout. They are so eager. in biting, that, when they take the bait, you may hear their jaws chop like those of a dog.-H.
may with all sea fish, for precedency and daintiness of taste ; and that being in right season, the most dainty palates have allowed precedency to him.
And before I go farther in my discourse, let me tell you, that you are to observe, that as there be some barren does that are good in summer, so there be some barren Trouts that are good in winter ; but there are not many that are so ; for usually they be in their perfection in the month of May, and decline with the buck. Now you are to take notice, that in several countries, as in Germany, and in other parts, compared to ours, fish do differ much in their bigness, and shape, and other ways; and so do Trouts. It is well known that in the Lake Leman, the Lake of Geneva, there are Trouts taken of three cubits long; as is affirmed by Gesner, a writer of good credit : and Mercator * says, the Trouts that are taken in the Lake of Geneva are a great part of the merchandise of that famous city. And you are further to know, that there be certain waters that breed Trouts remarkable, both for their number and smallness. I know a little brook in Kent that breeds them to a number incredible, and you may take them twenty or forty in an hour, but none greater than about the size of a Gudgeon. There are also, in divers rivers, especially that relate to, or be near to the sea, as Winchester, or the Thames about Windsor, a little Trout called a Samlet, or Skegger Trout, in both which places I have caught twenty or forty at a standing, that will bite as fast and as freely as Minnows : these be by some taken to be young Salmons; but, in those waters they never grow to be bigger than a Herring.
There is also in Kent, near to Canterbury, a Trout called there a Fordidge Trout, a Trout that bears the name of the town where it is usually caught, that is accounted the rarest of fish; many of them near the bigness of a Salmon, but known by their different colour ; and in their best season they cut very white : and none of these have been known to be caught with an angle, unless it were one that was caught by Sir George Hastings, an excellent angler, and now with God : † and he hath told me, he thought
Variation.] 4 accounted rare meat; many of them, &c.—2d, 3d, and 4th edit.
* Gerard Mercator, of Ruremond in Flanders, a man of such intense application to mathematical studies, that he neglected the necessary refreshments of nature. He engraved with his own hand, and coloured the maps to his geographical writings. He wrote several books of Theology ; and died in 1594.-H.
† Apparently Sir George Hastings, son and heir of the celebrated Henry Hastings, of Woodlands, second son of George, 4th Earl of Huntingdon. Sir George Hastings died 25th October 1651, æt. 63.-Collins Peerage, ed. 1779, vol. iii. p. 97.
that Trout bit not for hunger but wantonness; and it is the rather to be believed, because both he then, and many others before him, have been curious to search into their bellies, what the food was by which they lived; and have found out nothing by which they might satisfy their curiosity.
Concerning which you are to take notice, that it is reported by good authors, that grasshoppers * and some fish have no mouths, but are nourished and take breath by the porousness of their gills, man knows not how : and this may be believed, if we consider that when the raven hath hatched her eggs, she takes no further care, but leaves her young ones to the care of the God of nature, who is said, in the Psalms, “to feed the young ravens that call upon him.” And they be kept alive and fed by a dew; or worms that breed in their nests ; or some other ways that we mortals know not. And this may be believed of the Fordidge Trout, which, as it is said of the stork, that he knows his season, so he knows his times, I think almost his day of coming into that river out of the sea; where he lives, and, it is like, feeds, nine months of the year, and fasts three in the river of Fordidge. And you are to note, that those townsmen are very punctual in observing the time of beginning to fish for them ; and boast much, that their river affords a Trout that exceeds all others.
And just so does Sussex boast of several fish ; as, namely, a Shelsey Cockle, a Chichester Lobster, an Arundel Mullet, and an Amerly Trout.
And, now, for some confirmation of the Fordidge Trout : you are to know that this Trout is thought to eat nothing in the fresh water; and it may be the better believed, because it is well known, that swallows, and bats, and wagtails, which are called
5 That there is a fish that hath not any mouth, but lives by taking breath by the porings of her gills, and seeds and is nourished by no man knows what, and this may be believed of the Fordidge Trout, &c.—2d, 3d, and 4th edit.
* It has been said by naturalists, particularly by Sir Theodore Mayerne, in an Epistle to Sir William Paddy, prefixed to the translation of Mouffet's Theatr. Insect. printed with Topsel's History of tour-footed Beasts and Serpents, that the grasshopper has no mouth, but a pipe in his breast, through which it sucks the dew, which is its nutriment. There are two sorts, the green and the dun; some say there is a third, of a yellowish green. They are found in long grass, from June to the end of September, and even in October, if the weather be mild. In the middle of May, you will see, in the joints of rosemary, thistles, and almost all the larger weeds, a white fermented froth, which the country-people call Cuckow's Spit; in these the eggs of the grasshopper are deposited ; and if you examine them, you will never fail in finding a yellowish insect, of about the size and shape of a grain of wheat, which, doubtless, is the young grasshopper. A passage to this purport is in Leigh's History of Lancashire, page 148.-H.
half-year birds, and not seen to fly in England for six months in a year, but about Michaelmas leave us for a hotter climate, yet some of them that have been left behind their fellows, have been found, many thousands at a time, in hollow trees, or clay caves, where they have been observed to live, and sleep out the whole winter, without meat. And so Albertus + observes, That there is one kind of frog # that hath her mouth naturally shut up about the end of August, and that she lives so all the winter : and though it be strange to some, yet it is known to too many among us to be doubted.Ş
And so much for these Fordidge Trouts, which never afford an angler sport, but either live their time of being in the fresh water, by their meat formerly gotten in the sea, not unlike the swallow or frog, or, by the virtue of the fresh water only ; or, as the birds of Paradise and the cameleon are said to live, by the sun and the air. 11
There is also in Northumberland a Trout called a Bull-trout, of a much greater length and bigness than any in these southern parts ; and there are, in many rivers that relate to the sea, Salmontrouts, as much different from others, both in shape and in their spots, as we see sheep in some countries differ one from another in their shape and bigness, and in the fineness of the wool : and, certainly, as some pastures breed larger sheep; so do some rivers, by reason of the ground over which they run, breed larger Trouts.
Now the next thing that I will commend to your consideration is, that the Trout is of a more sudden growth than other fish. Concerning which, you are also to take notice, that he lives not so long as the Pearch, and divers other fishes do, as Sir Francis Bacon hath observed in his History of Life and Death.
And next you are to take notice, that 8 he is not like the
* View Sir Francis Bacon, Exper. 899.
† Albertus Magnus, a German Dominican, and a very learned man. Urban IV. compelled him to accept of the bishopric of Ratisbon. He wrote a treatise on the Secrets of Nature, and twenty other volumes in folio; and died at Cologne, 1280.-H.
I See Topsel on Frogs. Edward Topsel was the author of a History of four-footed Beasts and Serpents, collected out of the works of Gesner, and other authors, in folio, Lond. 1658. In this history he describes the several kinds of frogs; and in page 721 thereof cites from Albertus the fact here related.--H.
See Chap. VIII. || That the Cameleon lives by the air alone is a vulgar error, it being well known that its food is fies and other insects.-H.