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the butter in his belly if it be possible; if not, then as much of it as you possibly can. But take not off the scales. Then you are to thrust the spit through his mouth, out at his tail. And then take four or five or six split sticks, or very thin laths, and a convenient quantity of tape or filleting; these laths are to be tied round about the Pike's body, from his head to his tail, and the tape tied somewhat thick, to prevent his breaking or falling off from the spit. Let him be roasted very leisurely; and often basted with claret wine, and anchovies, and butter, mixt together; and also with what moisture falls from him into the pan. When you have roasted him sufficiently, you are to hold under him, when you unwind or cut the tape that ties him, such a dish as you purpose to eat him out of; and let him fall into it with the sauce that is roasted in his belly; and by this means the Pike will be kept unbroken and complete. Then, to the sauce which was within, and also that sauce in the pan, you are to add a fit quantity of the best butter, and to squeeze the juice of three or four oranges. Lastly, you may either put it into the Pike, with the oysters, two cloves of garlick, and take it whole out, when the Pike is cut off the spit; or, to give the sauce a haut goût, let the dish into which you let the Pike fall be rubbed with it: The using or not using of this garlick is left to your discretion. M. B. This dish of meat is too good for any but anglers, or very honest men; and I trust you will prove both, and therefore I have trusted you with this secret.

Let me next tell you, that Gesner tells us, there are no Pikes in Spain, and that the largest are in the lake Thrasymene in Italy; and the next, if not equal to them, are the Pikes of England; and that in England, Lincolnshire boasteth to have the biggest. Just so doth Sussex boast of four sorts of fish, namely, an Arundel Mullet, a Chichester Lobster, a Shelsey Cockle, and an Amerly Trout.

But I will take up no more of your time with this relation, but proceed to give you some Observations of the Carp, and how to angle for him; and to dress him, but not till he is caught.


Observations of the Carp, with Directions how to fish for him

THE Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a good, and a very subtile fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalized. It is said, they were brought hither by one Mr. Mascal, a gentleman that then lived at Plumsted in Sussex, a county that abounds more with this fish than any in this nation.

You may remember that I told you Gesner says there are no Pikes in Spain; and doubtless there was a time, about a hundred or a few more years ago, when there were no Carps in England, as may seem to be affirmed by Sir Richard Baker, in whose Chronicle you may find these


Hops and turkeys, carps and beer,

Came into England all in a year.

And doubtless, as of sea-fish the Herring dies soonest out of water, and of fresh-water fish the Trout, so, except the Eel, the Carp endures most hardness, and lives longest out of its own proper element; and, therefore, the report of the Carp's being brought out of a foreign country into this nation is the more probable.

Carps and Loaches are observed to breed several months in one year, which Pikes and most other fish do not; and this is partly proved by tame and wild rabbits; as also by some ducks, which will lay eggs nine of the twelve months; and yet there be other ducks that lay not longer than about one month. And it is the rather to be believed, because you shall scarce or never take a male Carp without a melt, or a female without a roe or spawn, and for the most part very much, and especially all the summer season; and it is observed, that they breed more naturally in ponds than in running waters, if they breed there at all; and that those that live in rivers are taken by men of the best palates to be much the better meat.


And it is observed that in some ponds Carps will not breed, especially in cold ponds; but where they will breed, they breed innumerably: Aristotle and Pliny say, six times in a year, if there be no Pikes nor Perch to devour their spawn, when it is cast upon grass or flags, or weeds, where it lies ten or twelve days before it be enlivened.

The Carp, if he have water-room and good feed, will grow to a very great bigness and length; I have heard, to be much above a yard long. It is said by Jovius, who hath writ of fishes, that in the lake Lurian in Italy, carps have thriven to be more than fifty pounds weight: which is the more probable, for as the bear is conceived and born. suddenly, and being born is but short lived; so, on the contrary, the elephant is said to be two years in his dam's belly, some think he is ten years in it, and being born, grows in bigness twenty years: and it is observed too, that he lives to the age of a hundred years. And 'tis also observed, that the crocodile is very long-lived; and more than that, that all that long life he thrives in bigness; and so I think some Carps do, especially in some places, though I never saw one above twenty-three inches, which was a great and goodly fish; but have been assured there are of a far greater size, and in England too.

Now, as the increase of Carps is wonderful for their number, so there is not a reason found out, I think, by any, why they should breed in some ponds, and not in others, of the same nature for soil and all other circumstances. And as their breeding, so are their decays also very mysterious: I have both read it, and been told by a gentleman of tried honesty, that he has known sixty or more large Carps put into several ponds near to a house, where, by reason of the stakes in the ponds, and the owner's constant being near to them, it was impossible they should be stole away from him; and that when he has, after three or four years, emptied the pond, and expected an increase from them by breeding young ones (for that they might do so he had, as the rule is, put in three melters for one spawner), he has, I say, after three or four years, found neither a young nor old Carp remaining.

And the like I have known of one that had almost watched the pond, and, at a like distance of time, at the fishing of a pond, found, of seventy or eighty large Carps, not above five or six and that he had forborne longer to fish the said pond, but that he saw, in a hot day in summer, a large Carp swim near the top of the water with a frog upon his head; and that he, upon that occasion, caused his pond to be let dry and I say, of seventy or eighty Carps, only found five or six in the said pond, and those very sick and lean, and with every one a frog sticking so fast on the head of the said Carps, that the frog would not be got off without extreme force or killing. And the gentleman that did affirm this to me, told me he saw it; and did declare his belief to be, and I also believe the same, that he thought the other Carps, that were so strangely lost, were so killed by the frogs, and then devoured.

And a person of honour, now living in Worcestershire,1 assured me he had seen a necklace, or collar of tadpoles, hang like a chain or necklace of beads about a Pike's neck, and to kill him: Whether it were for meat or malice, must be, to me, a question.

But I am fallen into this discourse by accident; of which I might say more, but it has proved longer than I intended, and possibly may not to you be considerable: I shall therefore give you three or four more short observations of the Carp, and then fall upon some directions how you shall fish for him.

The age of Carps is by Sir Francis Bacon, in his History of Life and Death, observed to be but ten years; yet others think they live longer. Gesner says, a Carp has been known to live in the Palatine above a hundred years. But most conclude, that, contrary to the Pike or Luce, all Carps are the better for age and bigness. The tongues of Carps are noted to be choice and costly meat, especially to them that buy them: but Gesner says, Carps have no tongue like other fish, but a piece of fleshlike fish in their mouth like to a tongue, and should be called a palate but it is certain it is choicely good, and that the

1 Mr. Fr. Ru.

Carp is to be reckoned amongst those leather-mouthed fish which, I told you, have their teeth in their throat; and for that reason he is very seldom lost by breaking his hold, if your hook be once stuck into his chaps.

I told you that Sir Francis Bacon thinks that the Carp lives but ten years: but Janus Dubravius has writ a book Of fish and fish-ponds in which he says, that Carps begin to spawn at the age of three years, and continue to do so till thirty he says also, that in the time of their breeding, which is in summer, when the sun hath warmed both the earth and water, and so apted them also for generation, that then three or four male Carps will follow a female; and that then, she putting on a seeming coyness, they force her through weeds and flags, where she lets fall her eggs or spawn, which sticks fast to the weeds; and then they let fall their melt upon it, and so it becomes in a short time to be a living fish: and, as I told you, it is thought that the Carp does this several months in the year; and most believe, that most fish breed after this manner, except the Eel. And it has been observed, that when the spawner has weakened herself by doing that natural office, that two or three melters have helped her from off the weeds, by bearing her up on both sides, and guarding her into the deep. And you may note, that though this may seem a curiosity not worth observing, yet others have judged it worth their time and costs to make glass hives, and order them in such a manner as to see how bees have bred and made their honeycombs, and how they have obeyed their king, and governed their commonwealth. But it is thought that all Carps are not bred by generation; but that some breed other ways, as some Pikes do. The physicians make the galls and stones in the heads of Carps to be very medicinable. But it is not to be doubted but that in Italy they make great profit of the spawn of Carps, by selling it to the Jews, who make it into red caviare; the Jews not being by their law admitted to eat of caviare made of the Sturgeon, that being a fish that wants scales, and, as may appear in Leviticus xi., by them reputed to be unclean.

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