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This fish, that carries a natural balsam in him to cure both himself and others, loves yet to feed in very foul water, and amongst weeds. And yet I am sure he eats pleasantly, and, doubtless, you will think so too, if you taste him. And I shall therefore proceed to give you some few, and but a few, directions how to catch this
of which I have given you these observations.'
He will bite at a paste made of brown bread and honey, or at a marsh-worm, or a lob-worm; he inclines very much to any paste with which tar is mixed, and he will bite also at a smaller worm, with his head nipped off, and a cod-worm put on the hook before that worm: and I doubt not but that he will also in the three hot months, for in the nine colder he stirs not much, bite at a flag-worm, or at a green gentle, but can positively say no more of the tench, he
1 The Tench is certainly one of our best fresh-water fish, especially when taken from a clear stream, such as the Colne, in which river I have caught them of a large size. An eel-pot, decorated with flowers, and a small bright brass candlestick, attract tench into it. They will remain quietly in the pot for a long time, but if it is lifted out of the water when tench are in it, and placed back again, the fish become restless, and are sure to escape. Tench wander much in the evening, which I have always found the best time of angling for them. The baits recommended by Walton are very good.-ED.
2 The haunts of the Tench are nearly the same with those of the carp. They delight more in ponds than in rivers; and lie under weeds, near sluices, and at pond heads.
They spawn about the beginning of July; and are best in season from
being a fish that I have not often angled for, but I wish my honest scholar may, and be ever fortunate when he fishes.
the beginning of September to the end of May. months but are best taken in April and May.
They will bite all the hot
There are no better baits for this fish than a middle-sized lob-worm, or red-worm, well scoured; a gentle; a young wasp-grub boiled; or a green worm shook from the boughs of trees.
Use a strong grass, or gut; and a goose-quill float, without a cork, except in rivers, where the cork is always to be preferred.
Fish very near the ground. And if you bait with gentles, throw in a few at the taking every fish; which will draw them to your hook, and keep them together.-H.
OBSERVATIONS OF THE PEARCH, AND DIRECTIONS HOW TO FISH FOR HIM.
Pisc. The Pearch is a very good, and a very bold-biting fish. He is one of the fishes of prey that, like the pike and trout, carries his teeth in his mouth, which is very large; and he dare venture to kill and devour several other kinds of fish. He has a hooked, or hog-back, which is armed with sharp and stiff bristles, and all his skin armed or covered over with thick, dry, hard scales; and hath, which few other fish have, two fins on his back. He is so bold that he will invade one of his own kind, which the pike will not do so willingly; and you may therefore easily believe him to be a bold biter.
The pearch is of great esteem in Italy, saith Aldrovandus; and especially the least are there esteemed a dainty dish. And Gesner prefers the pearch and pike above the trout, or any fresh-water fish: he says, the Germans have this proverb, more wholesome than a pearch of Rhine:" and he says the river-pearch is so wholesome, that physicians
allow him to be eaten by wounded men, or by men in fevers, or by women in child-bed.
He spawns but once a year, and is by physicians held very nutritive; yet, by many, to be hard of digestion. They abound more in the river Po and in England, says Rondeletius, than other parts, and have in their brain a stone, which is, in foreign parts, sold by apothecaries, being there noted to be very medicinable against the stone in the reins. These be a part of the commendations which some philosophical brains have bestowed upon the fresh-water pearch: yet they commend the sea-pearch, which is known by having but one fin on his back, of which they say, we English see but a few, to be a much better fish.
The pearch grows slowly, yet will grow, as I have been credibly informed, to be almost two foot long;' for an honest informer told me, such a one was not long since taken by Sir Abraham Williams, a gentleman of worth, and a brother of the angle, that yet lives, and I wish he may. This was a deep-bodied fish, and doubtless durst have devoured a pike of half his own length; for I have told you, he is a bold fish, such a one as, but for extreme hunger, the pike will not devour: for to affright the pike, and save himself, the pearch will set up his fins, much like as a turkey-cock will sometimes set up his tail.
But, my scholar, the pearch is not only valiant to defend. himself, but he is, as I said, a bold-biting fish, yet he will not bite at all seasons of the year; he is very abstemious in winter, yet will bite then in the midst of the day, if it be warm and note, that all fish bite best about the midst of a warm day in winter, and he hath been observed by some, not usually, to bite till the mulberry-tree buds; that is to say, till extreme frosts be past the spring: for when the mulberry-tree blossoms, many gardeners observe their for
1 Pearch do not so much increase in length as in thickness. A pearch was taken in the canal at Brades, near Birmingham, which weighed six pounds. Col. Montagu says he saw a pearch taken in the Leven in Wiltshire, which weighed eight pounds; another was caught in Dagenham Breach of the same weight; and Pennant mentions one caught in the Serpentine river, Hyde Park, which weighed nine pounds. Some friends dined with me a few years ago, to whom I gave a pearch weighing five pounds and ten ounces, caught in the Colne at Hampton Common. It was in high season, and in flavour like a John Dory.-ED.
ward fruit to be past the danger of frosts; and some have made the like observation of the pearch's biting.
But bite the pearch will, and that very boldly; and as one has wittily observed, if there be twenty or forty in a hole, they may be, at one standing, all catched one after another; they being, as he says, like the wicked of the world, not afraid, though their fellows and companions. perish in their sight. And you may observe, that they are not like the solitary pike; but love to accompany one another, and march together in troops.2
And the baits for this bold fish,
are not many: I mean he will bite as well at some, or at any of these three, as at any or all others whatsoever; a worm, a minnow, or a little frog, of which you may find many in hay-time: and of worms, the dunghill-worm, called a brandling, I take to be best, being well scoured in moss or fennel: or he will bite at a worn that lies under cowdung with a bluish head. And if you rove for a pearch with a minnow, then it is best to be alive, you sticking
The Pearch swallows the bait so voraciously that it becomes difficult to dislodge the hook; it is therefore recommended to keep about you a piece of small hollow iron (or strong reed) about six inches long: thrust this down his throat till you feel the hook (keeping your line straight, lest it catch again) and draw out your hook and the instrument, carefully, together.BROWNE.
2 Pearch are gregarious during a great portion of the year.-ED.
3 Observe to keep this bait from making to the shore, which it will be always attempting.-BROWNE.