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are 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 if you would know more of fishing for the Umber, or Barbel, get into favour with Dr. 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 will you take up?
Ven. Which you think fit, master.
Pisc. Why, you shall take up that; for I am certain, by 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 towards our lodging, and
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 resolve to give you and Maudlin a brace of Trouts for supper, and we will now taste a draught of your red.cow's milk.
Milk-W. Marry, and that you shall with all my heart, and I will be still your debtor when you come this 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 haycock and eat it, and Maudlin shall sit by and sing you the good old song of the Hunting in Chevy Chase, or some other good ballad, for she hath good store of them ; Maudlin, my honest Maudlin, hath a notable memory, and she thinks nothing too good for you, because you be such honest
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.
Observations of the GUDGEON, the RUFFE, and
the BLEAK, and how to fish for them.
HE Gudgeon is reputed a fish of ex
cellent taste, and to be very whole. T
some: he is of a fine shape, of a silver colour, and beautified with black spots both on his body and tail. He breeds two or three times
in the year, and always in summer. He is commended for a fish of excellent nourishment: the Germans call him Groundling, by reason of his feeding on the ground; and he there feasts himself in sharp streams, and on the gravel. He and the Barbel both feed so, and do not hunt for flies at any time, as most other fishes do : he is an excellent fish to enter a young angler, being easy to be taken with a small red-worm, on or very near to the ground. He is one of those leather-mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, and will hardly be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken.
They be usually scattered up and down every river in the shallows, in the heat of summer; but in autumn, when the weeds begin to grow sour and rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get into the deeper parts of the water; and are to be fished for there, with your hook always touching the ground, if you fish for him with a float, or with a cork; but many will fish for the Gudgeon by hand, with a running-line upon the ground, without a cork, as a Trout is fished for ; and it is an excellent way, if you have a gentle rod and as gentle a hand.
There is also another fish called a Pope, and by some a Ruffe, a fish that is not known to be in some rivers; he is much like the Perch for his shape, and taken to be better than the Perch, but will not grow to be bigger than a Gudgeon; he is an excellent fish, no fish that swims is of a pleasanter taste; and he is also excellent to enter a young angler, for he is a greedy biter, and they will usually lie abundance of them together, in one reserved place, where the water is deep and runs quietly; and an easy angler, if he has found where they lie, may catch forty or fifty, or sometimes twice so many, at a standing.
You must fish for him with a small red worm, and if you bait the ground with earth, it is excellent.
There is also a Bleak, or fresh-water Sprat, a fish that is ever in motion, and therefore called by some the river-swallow; for just as you shall observe the swallow to be most evenings in summer, ever in motion, making short and quick turns when he flies to catch flies in the air, by which he lives, so does the Bleak at the top of the water. Ausonius would have him called Bleak from his whitish colour: his back is of a pleasant sad or sea-water-green, his belly white and shining as the mountain snow; and doubtless, though he have the fortune, which virtue has in poor people, to be neglected, yet the Bleak ought to be much valued, though we want Allamot salt, and the skill that the Italians have to turn them into anchovies. This fish may be caught with a Paternoster line, that is, six or eight very small hooks tied along the line, one half a foot above the other : I have seen five caught thus at one time, and the bait has been gentles, than which none is better.
Or this fish may be caught with a fine small artificial fly, which is to be of a very sad brown colour, and very small, and the hook answerable. There is no better sport than whipping for Bleaks in a boat, or on a bank in the swift water in a summer's evening, with a hazel top about five or six foot long, and a line twice the length of the rod : I have heard Sir Henry Wotton say, that there be many that in Italy will catch swallows so, or especially martins, this birdangler standing on the top of a steeple to do it, and with a line twice so long as I have spoken of: and let me tell you, scholar, that both martins and Bleaks be most excellent meat.
And let me tell you, that I have known a heron that did constantly frequent one place, caught with a hook baited with a big minnow or a small gudgeon. The line and hook must be strong, and tied to some loose staff, so big as she cannot fly away with it, a line not exceeding two yards.