« PreviousContinue »
(I mean a little of it) that the white may appear, and so pull off the husk on the cloven side (as I directed you) and then cutting off a very little of the other end, that so your hook may enter; and if your hook be small and good, you will find this to be a very choice bait either for winter or summer, you sometimes casting a little of it into the place where your float swims.
And to take the roach and dace, a good bait is the young brood of wasps or bees, if you dip their heads in blood; especially good for bream, if they be baked or hardened in their husks in an oven, after the bread is taken out of it, or hardened on a fire shovel; and so also is the thick blood of sheep, being half dried on a trencher, that so you may cut it into such pieces as may best fit the size of your hook, and a little salt keeps it from growing black, and makes it not the worse but better: this is taken to be a choice bait if rightly ordered.
There be several oils of a strong smell that I have been told of, and to be excellent to tempt fish to bite, of which I could say much; but I remember I once carried a small bottle from Sir George Hastings to Sir Henry Wotton (they were both chymical men) great present; it was sent and received, and used with great confidence; and yet upon inquiry, I found it did not answer the
expectation of Sir Henry, which, with the help of this and other circumstances, makes me have little belief in such things as many men talk of not but that I think fishes both smell and hear (as I have expressed in my former discourse); but there is a mysterious knack, which, though it be much easier than the philosopher's stone, yet it is not attainable by common capacities, or else lies locked up in the brain or breast of some chymical man, that, like the Rosicrucians, will not yet reveal it. But let me nevertheless tell you, that camphor, put with moss into your worm-bag with your worms, makes them (if many anglers be not very much mistaken) a tempting bait, and the angler more fortunate. But I stepped by chance into this discourse of oils and fishes smelling; and though there might be more said, both of it and of baits for roach and dace and other float fish, yet I will forbear it at this time, and tell you in the next place how you are to prepare your tackling; concerning which I will, for sport's sake, give you an old rhyme out of an old fish-book, which will prove a part, and but a part, of what you are to provide.
My rod and my line, my float and my lead,
My book and my plummet, my whetstone and knife,
My net, and my meat, for that is the chief:
But you must have all these tackling, and twice so many more, with which, if you mean to be a fisher, you must store yourself; and to that purpose I will go with you either to Mr. Margrave, who dwells amongst the booksellers in St. Paul's Churchyard, or to Mr. John Stubs, near to the Swan in Golden Lane; they be both honest men, and will fit an angler with what tackling he lacks.
VEN. Then, good master, let it be at, for he is nearest to my dwelling; and I pray let us meet there the ninth of May next, about two of the clock, and I'll want nothing that a fisher should be furnished with.
Pisc. Well, and I'll not fail you (God willing) at the time and place appointed.
VEN. I thank you, good master, and I will not fail you: and, good master, tell me what baits more you remember, for it will not now be long ere we shall be at Tottenham High Cross, and when we come thither I will make you some requital of your pains, by repeating as choice a copy of verses as any we have heard since we met together; and that is a proud word, for we have heard very good
PISC. Well, scholar, and I shall be then right glad to hear them; and I will, as we walk, tell you whatsoever comes in my mind, that I think may be worth your hearing. You may make another choice bait thus: take a handful or two of the best and biggest wheat you can get, boil it in a little milk (like as frumity is boiled); boil it so
till it be soft, and then fry it very leisurely with honey, and a little beaten saffron dissolved in milk; and you will find this a choice bait, and good, I think, for any fish, especially for roach, dace, chub, or grayling: I know not but that it may be as good for a river carp, and especially if the ground be a little baited with it.
And you may also note, that the spawn of most fish is a very tempting bait, being a little hardened on a warm tile, and cut into fit pieces. Nay, mulberries, and those blackberries which grow upon briars, be good baits for chubs or carps; with these many have been taken in ponds, and in some rivers where such trees have grown near the water, and the fruits customarily dropped into it. And there be a hundred other baits, more than can be well named, which, by constant baiting the water, will become a tempting bait to any fish in it.
You are also to know that there be divers kinds of cadis, or caseworms, that are to be found in this nation, in several distinct counties, and in several little brooks that relate to bigger rivers; as namely, one cadis called a piper, whose husk or case is a piece of reed about an inch long, or longer, as big about as the compass of a twopence. These worms being kept three or four days in a woollen bag, with sand at the bottom of it, and the bag wet once a day, will in three or four days turn to be yellow and these be a choice bait for the chub or chavender, or indeed for any great fish, for it is a large bait.
There is also a lesser cadis-worm, called a cock-spur, being in fashion like the spur of a cock, sharp at one end; and the case or house, in which this dwells, is made of small husks, and gravel, and slime, most curiously made of these, even so as to be wondered at, but not to be made by man no more than a king-fisher's nest can, which is made of little fishes' bones, and have such a geometrical interweaving and connection, as the like is not to be done by the art of man this kind of cadis is a choice bait for any float-fish; it is much less than the piper-cadis, and to be so ordered; and these may be so preserved, ten, fifteen, or twenty days, or it may be longer.
There is also another cadis, called by some a straw-worm, and by some a ruff-coat, whose house or case is made of little pieces of bents, and rushes, and straws, and water-weeds, and I know not what, which are so knit together with condensed slime, that they stick about her