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This fish is of a fine cast and handsome shape, with small scales, which are placed after a most exact and curious manner, and, as I told you, may be rather said not to be ill, than to be good meat. The chub and he have, I think, both lost part of their credit by ill cookery, they being reputed the worst or coarsest of fresh-water fish. But the barbel

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affords an angler choice sport, being a lusty and a cunning fish; so lusty and cunning as to endanger the breaking of the angler's line, by running his head forcibly towards any covert, or hole, or bank; and then striking at the line, to break it off with his tail, as is observed by Plutarch, in his book "De Industria Animalium;" and also so cunning to nibble and suck off your worm close to the hook, and yet avoid the letting the hook come into his mouth.

most powerful emetic and cathartic. And, notwithstanding what is said of the wholesomeness of the flesh, with some constitutions it produces the same effects as the spawn. About the month of September, in the year 1754, a servant of mine, who had eaten part of a barbel-though, as I had cautioned him, he abstained from the spawn-was seized with such a violent purging and vomiting, as had like to have cost him his life.-H. The spawn of most fish, particularly sea fish, is found to become poisonous at times; but the cause has never been discovered.-RENNIE. Ephemera, however, doubts the noxious properties of either the roe or the flesh of the barbel, when in season, which is from July to October, inclusive; and quotes Bloch, who says that he and his family had eaten the roe without inconvenience.-ED.

The barbel is also curious for his baits; that is to say, that they be clean and sweet; that is to say, to have your worms well scoured, and not kept in sour and musty moss, for he is a curious feeder: but at a well scoured lob-worm, he will bite as boldly as at any bait, and specially, if, the night or two before you fish for him, you shall bait the places where you intend to fish for him, with big worms cut into pieces and note, that none did ever over-bait the place, nor fish too early or too late for a barbel. And the barbel will bite also at gentles, which not being too much scoured, but green, are a choice bait for him; and so is cheese, which is not to be too hard, but kept a day or too in a wet linen cloth to make it tough: with this you may also bait the water a day or two before you fish for the barbel, and be much the likelier to catch store: and if the cheese were laid in clarified honey a short time before, as namely, an hour or two, you were still the likelier to catch fish. Some have directed to cut the cheese into thin pieces, and toast it, and then tie it on the hook with fine silk and some advise to fish for the barbel with sheep's tallow and soft cheese beaten or worked into a paste, and that it is choicely good in August, and I believe it: but doubtless the lob-worm well scoured, and the gentle not too much scoured, and cheese ordered as I have directed, are baits enough; and I think will serve in any month; though I shall commend any angler that tries conclusions, and is industrious to improve the art. And now, my honest scholar, the long shower and my tedious discourse are both ended together and I shall give you but this observation, that when you fish for a barbel, your rod and line be both long, and of good strength; for, as I told you, you will find him a heavy and a dogged fish to be dealt withal, yet he seldom or never breaks his hold if he be once strucken. And



you would know more of fishing for the umber or barbel,3

1 Graves, which are the sediment of tallow melted for the making of candles, cut into pieces, are an excellent ground-bait for barbel, gudgeons, and many other fish, if thrown in the night before you angle.-H.

2 Moses Browne mentions having caught a barbel of three pounds' weight with a bit of rusty bacon.-ED.

3 Of the haunts of the barbel, the author has spoken sufficiently. Barbel spawn about the middle of April; and grow in season about a

get into favour with Doctor Sheldon,' whose skill is above

others; and of that, the poor that dwell about him have a comfortable experience. And now let's go and see what interest the trouts will pay us for letting our angle-rods lie so long, and SO quietly, in the water for their use. Come, scholar, which


Abp. Sheldon.


will you take up:
Ven. Which you think fit, master.

Pisc. Why, you shall take up that; for I am certain by month after. Baits other than what Walton has mentioned, are, the young brood of wasps, hornets, and humble bees.

In fishing for him, use a very strong rod, and a silk line with a shot and a bullet, as directed for the trout; some use a cork float, which, if you do, be sure to fish as close to the bottom as possible, so as the bait does not touch the ground. In angling for lesser fish, the angler will sometimes find it a misfortune to hook a barbel, a fish so sullen, that with fine tackle it is scarcely possible to land one of twelve inches long.

A lover of angling told me the following story. He was fishing in the river Lea, at the ferry called Jeremy's, and had hooked a large fish at the time when some Londoners with their horses were passing; they congratulated him on his success, and got out of the ferry-boat; but finding the fish not likely to yield, mounted their horses and rode off. The fact was, that angling for small fish, his bait had been taken by a barbel, too big for the fisher to manage. Not caring to risk his tackle by attempting to raise him, he hoped to tire him, and to that end suffered himself to be led, to use his own expression, as a blind man is by his dog, several yards up, and as many down, the bank of the river; in short, for so many hours, that the horsemen above-mentioned-who had been at Walthamstow, and dined-were returned; who, seeing him thus occupied, cried out, "What, master!

1 Dr. Gilbert Sheldon, warden of All Souls' College, chaplain to King Charles the First, and after the Restoration, Archbishop of Canterbury. He founded the theatre at Oxford, died in 1677, and lies buried under a stately monument at Croydon, in Surrey.

viewing the line, it has a fish at it. Look you, scholar! Well done! Come now, take up the other too; well! Now you may tell my brother Peter at night, that you have caught a leash of trouts this day. And now let's move

another large fish?" "No," says Piscator, "it is the very same." "Nay," says one of them, "that can never be; for it is five hours since we crossed the river;" and not believing him, they rode on their way. At length our angler determined to do that which a less patient one would have done long before; he made one vigorous effort to land his fish, broke his tackle, and lost him.

[Salter knew of a barbel in Hampton Court Deeps, in 1816, that had several times broken away from the hook, and weighed, it is supposed, about thirty pounds. From his bold and piratical practices, he was nicknamed Paul Jones.]

Fishing for barbel is, at best, but a dull recreation. They are a sullen fish, and bite but slowly. The angler drops in his bait, the bullet at the bottom of the line fixes it to one spot of the river: tired with waiting for a bite, he generally lays down his rod, and exercising the patience of a setting dog, waits till he sees the top of his rod move; then begins a struggle between him and the fish, which he calls his sport; and that being over, he lands his prize, fresh baits his hook, and lays in for another.-H. [This is somewhat overdrawn. After liberal ground-baiting over night, they will often bite eagerly in the morning at gentles, brandlings, or paste. The writer has seen them taken to the extent of twenty or thirty in two or three hours.-ED.]

Living some years ago in a village on the banks of the Thames, I was used in the summer months to be much in a boat on the river. It chanced that at Shepperton, where I had been for a few days, I frequently passed an elderly gentleman in his boat; who appeared to be fishing at different stations for barbel. After a few salutations had passed between us, and we were become a little acquainted, I took occasion to inquire of him what diversion he had met with. "Sir," says he, "I have had but bad luck to-day, for I fish for barbel, and you know they are not to be caught like gudgeons." "It is very true," answered I; "but what you want in tale, Ι suppose you make up in weight." "Why, sir," says he, "that is just as it happens; it is true, I like the sport, and love to catch fish, but my great delight is in going after them. I'll tell you what, sir," continued he;

I am a man in years, and have used the sea all my life" [he had been an India captain], "but I mean to go no more; and have bought that little house which you see there," [pointing to it] "for the sake of fishing: I get into this boat" (which he was then mopping) "on a Monday morning, and fish on till Saturday night, for barbel as I told you, for that is my delight; and this I have sometimes done for a month together, and, in all that while, have not had one bite."-H.

[The barbel-angler has, however, sometimes occasion to exult at the sport which he finds. As recently as August 9th, 1807, at one of the deeps near Shepperton, which had been prepared by baiting the preceding night, a party of four gentlemen, named Emes, Atkinson, Hall, and Moore, separated

toward our lodging, and drink a draught of red-cow's milk' as we go, and give pretty Maudlin and her honest mother a brace of trouts for their supper.

Ven. Master, I like your motion very well; and I think it is now about milking-time, and yonder they be at it.

Pisc. God speed you, good woman! I thank you both for our songs last night: I and my companion have had such fortune a-fishing this day, that we resolved to give you and Maudlin a brace of trouts for supper, and we will now taste a draught of your red-cow's milk.

Milkw. Marry, and that you shall with all my heart, and I will be still debtor when you come this your way: if you will but speak the word I will make you a good syllabub, of new verjuice, and then you may sit down in a hay-cock and eat it; and Maudlin shall sit by and sing you the good old song of the "Hunting in Chevy Chace," or some other good ballad, for she hath store of them. Maudlin, my honest Maudlin, hath a notable memory, and she thinks nothing too good for you, because you be such honest men.

Ven. We thank you, and intend once in a month to call upon you again, and give you a little warning, and so good night! Good night, Maudlin. And now, good master, let's lose no time; but tell me somewhat more of fishing, and if you please, first something of fishing for a Gudgeon.

Pisc. I will, honest scholar.

into two boats, began fishing between ten and eleven in the fore-
noon; in about five hours they caught the following quantity:-


2 Fish, weighing.







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20 lb. 2 Fish, weighing




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Total, 87 fish, weighing 150 lb.-ELLIS.]

1 The milk of a red cow, fed on sweet grass, was formerly in great repute in cases of consumption.

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