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then take sweet-marjoram, thyme, and parsley, of each half a handful; a sprig of rosemary, and another of savory; bind them into two or three small bundles, and put them to your carp, with four or five whole onions, twenty pickled oysters, and three anchovies. Then pour upon your carp as much claret-wine as will only cover him; and season your claret well with salt, cloves, and mace, and the rinds of oranges and lemons. That done, cover your pot and set it on a quick fire, till it be sufficiently boiled: then take out the carp, and lay it with the broth into the dish, and pour upon it a quarter of a pound of the best fresh buter, melted and beaten with half a dozen spoonfuls of the broth, the yolks of two or three eggs, and some of the herbs shred: garnish your dish with lemons, and so serve it up, and much good do you!
Pisc. THE Bream, being at a full growth, is a large and stately fish. He will breed both in rivers and ponds; but loves best to live in ponds, and where, if he likes the water and air, he will grow not only to be very large, but as fat as a hog. He is by Gesner taken to be more pleasant, or sweet, than wholesome: this fish is long in growing, but breeds exceedingly in a water that pleases him; yea, in many ponds so fast, as to over-store them, and starve the other fish.
He is very broad with a forked tail, and his scales set in excellent order: he hath large eyes, and a narrow sucking mouth; he hath two sets of teeth, and a lozenge-like bone, a bone to help his grinding.' The melter is observed to have two large melts, and the female two large bags of eggs or spawn.
1 Fish do not grind their food, but swallow it whole. -ED.
Gesner reports, that in Poland, a certain and a great number of large breams were put into a pond, which in the next following winter were frozen up into one entire ice, and not one drop of water remaining, nor one of these fish to be found, though they were diligently searched for; and yet the next spring when the ice was thawed, and the weather warm, and fresh water got into the pond, he affirms they all appeared again. This Gesner affirms, and I quote my author, because it seems almost as incredible as the resurrection to an atheist. But it may win something in point of believing it, to him that considers the breeding or renovation of the silk-worm, and of many insects. And that is considerable which Sir Francis Bacon observes in his "History of Life and Death," folio 20, that there be some herbs that die and spring every year, and some endure longer.
But though some do not, yet the French esteem this fish highly, and to that end have this proverb, "He that hath breams in his pond, is able to bid his friend welcome." And it is noted, that the best part of a bream is his belly and head.1
Some say, that breams and roaches will mix their eggs and melt together, and so there is in many places a bastardbreed of breams, that never come to be either large or good, but very numerous.
The baits good to catch this
1 Connoisseurs commend the head of a carp, the back of a tench, the middle of a bream, and the tail of a pike.-BROWNE.
are many. First, paste made of brown bread and honey, gentles, or the brood of wasps that be young, and then not unlike gentles, and should be hardened in an oven, or dried on a tile before the fire to make them tough; or there is at the root of docks, or flags, or rushes, in watery places, a worm not unlike a maggot, at which Tench' will bite freely. Or he will bite at a grasshopper with his legs nipped off, in June and July; or at several flies, under water, which may be found on flags that grow near to the water-side. I doubt not but that there be many other baits that are good, but I will turn them all into this most excellent one, either for a carp or bream, in any river or mere; it was given to me by a most honest and excellent angler, and, hoping you will prove both, I will impart it to you.
1. Let your bait be as big a red-worm as you can find, without a knot: get a pint or quart of them in an evening in garden-walks, or chalky commons, after a shower of rain, and put them with clean moss well washed and picked, and the water squeezed out of the moss as dry as you can, into an
valued at 20d.; and he also states, that, in 1454, "A pie of four of them, in the expenses of two men employed for three days in taking them, in baking them, in flour, in spices, and conveying it from Sutton in Warwickshire, to the Earl of Warwick, at Mydlam in the North Country, cost xvjs ijd."-Hist. Warw. p. 668. Whatever our forefathers may have said, there is no doubt that a bream is now held to be the worst, most insipid, and most disagreeable fish that can be met with. It is even worse than a barbel. A French cook might possibly dress a bream so as to make it palatable, but I should be sorry to partake of it.-ED.
1 Evidently an error; it should read bream.-ED.
2 In a shallow, sandy bottom of a river, which leads into any deep, still hole, throw four or five handsful of marsh worms cut in pieces, which will soon drive down into the hole. Use a long rod, of good strength, a proportionable line, a small hook tied to an Indian grass, without a float; fix a cut shot six inches above the hook, and next to it a small bored bullet. The use of shot is to prevent the bullet slipping lower. Fish with a short well scoured marsh worm; throw into the shallow, and the stream will drive it into the hole. By this method, an experienced angler says, he has caught more bream in two hours than he could carry away. When you find a deep quiet hole, near the bank, plumb it over night, and ground bait it with grains well squeezed. Next morning early choose a stand, out of sight; bait with a large red worm, and drop it gently into the hole. Observe whether the water be risen or fallen since you plumbed it, and make allowance accordingly.-Browne.
3 Mere is old English for a lake, and is still retained for several of our lakes, as Buttermere, Grassmere, Windermere, &c.-ED.
earthen pot or pipkin set dry, and change the moss fresh every three or four days for three weeks or a month together; then your bait will be at the best, for it will be clear and lively. 2. Having thus prepared your baits, get your tackling ready and fitted for this sport. Take three long angling-rods, and as many and more silk, or silk and hair, lines, and as many large swan or goosequill floats. Then take a piece of lead made after this manner, and fasten them to the low-ends of your lines. Then fasten your link-hook also to the lead, and let there be about a foot or ten inches between the lead and the hook; but be sure the lead be heavy enough to sink the float or quill a little under the water, and not the quill to bear up the lead, for the lead must lie on the ground. Note, that your link next the hook may be smaller than the rest of your line, if you dare adventure, for fear of taking the pike or perch, who will assuredly visit your hooks, till they be taken out, as I will show you afterwards, before either carp or bream will come near to bite. Note also, that when the worm is well baited, it will crawl up and down, as far as the lead will give leave, which much enticeth the fish to bite without suspicion.
3. Having thus prepared your baits, and fitted your tackling, repair to the river, where you have seen them to swim in skuls or shoals in the summer-time in a hot afternoon, about three or four of the clock; and watch their going forth of their deep holes and returning, which you may well discern, for they return about four of the clock, most of them seeking food at the bottom, yet one or two will lie on the top of the water, rolling and tumbling themselves whilst the rest are under him at the bottom; and so you shall perceive him to keep sentinel: then mark where he plays most, and stays longest, which commonly is in the broadest and deepest place of the river, and there, or near thereabouts, at a clear bottom and a convenient landingplace, take one of your angles ready fitted as aforesaid, and sound the bottom, which should be about eight or ten feet deep; two yards from the bank is best. Then consider with yourself whether that water will rise or fall by the next morning, by reason of any water-mills near, and according to your discretion take the depth of the place, where you mean