« PreviousContinue »
Much more might be said out of him, and out of Aristotle, which Dubravius often quotes in his Discourse of Fishes but it might rather perplex than satisfy you; and therefore I shall rather choose to direct you how to catch, than spend more time in discoursing either of the nature or the breeding of this Carp, or of any more circumstances concerning him. But yet I shall remember you of what I told you before, that he is a very subtle fish, and hard to be caught.
And my first direction is, that if you will fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience, especially to fish for a River Carp: I have known a very good fisher angle diligently four or six hours in a day, for three or four days together, for a River Carp, and not have a bite. And you are to note, that, in some ponds, it is as hard to catch a Carp as in a river; that is to say, where they have store of feed, and the water is of a clayish colour. But you are to remember that I have told you there is no rule without an exception; and therefore being possest with that hope and patience which I wish to all fishers, especially to the Carpangler, I shall tell you with what bait to fish for him. But first you are to know, that it must be either early, or late; and let me tell you, that in hot weather, for he will seldom bite in cold, you cannot be too early, or too late at it. And some have been so curious as to say, the tenth of April is a fatal day for Carps.
The Carp bites either at worms, or at paste: and of worms I think the bluish marsh or meadow worm is best; but possibly another worm, not too big, may do as well, and so may a green gentle and as for pastes, there are almost as many sorts as there are medicines for the toothache; but doubtless sweet pastes are best; I mean, pastes made with honey or with sugar: which, that you may the better beguile this crafty fish, should be thrown into the pond or place in which you fish for him, some hours, or longer, before you undertake your trial of skill with the angle-rod; and doubtless, if it be thrown into the water a day or two before, at
several times, and in small pellets, you are the likelier, when you fish for the Carp, to obtain your desired sport. Or, in a large pond, to draw them to any certain place, that they may the better and with more hope be fished for, you are to throw into it, in some certain place, either grains, or blood mixed with cow-dung or › with bran; or any garbage, as chicken's guts or the like; and then, some of your small sweet pellets with which you propose to angle: and these small pellets being a few of them also thrown in as you are angling, will be the
And your paste must be thus made: take the flesh of a rabbit, or cat, cut small; and bean-flour; and if that may not be easily got, get other flour; and then, mix these together, and put to them either sugar, or honey, which I think better and then beat these together in a mortar, or sometimes work them in you hands, your hands being very clean; and then make it into a ball, or two, or three, as you like best, for your use: but you must work or pound it so long in the mortar, as to make it so tough as to hang upon your hook without washing from it, yet not too hard: or, that you may the better keep it on your hook, you may knead with your paste a little, and not too much, white or yellowish wool.
And if you would have this paste keep all the year, for any other fish, then mix with it virgin-wax and clarified honey, and work them together with your hands, before the fire; then make these into balls, and they will keep all the year.
And if you fish for a Carp with gentles, then put upon your hook a small piece of scarlet about this bigness, it being soaked in or anointed with oil of petre, called by some, oil of the rock and if your gentles be put, two or three days before, into a box or horn anointed with honey, and so put upon your hook as to preserve them to be living, you are as like to kill this crafty fish this way as any other but still, as you are fishing, chew a little white or brown bread in your mouth, and cast it into the pond about the place where your float swims. Other baits there
be; but these, with diligence and patient watchfulness, will do better than any that I have ever practised or heard of. And yet I shall tell you, that the crumbs of white bread and honey made into a paste is a good bait for a Carp; and you know, it is more easily made. And having said thus much of the Carp, my next discourse shall be of the Bream, which shall not prove so tedious; and therefore I desire the continuance of your attention.
But, first, I will tell you how to make this Carp, that is so curious to be caught, so curious a dish of meat as shall make him worth all your labour and patience. And though it is not without some trouble and charges, yet it will recompense both.
Take a Carp, alive if possible; scour him, and rub him clean with water and salt, but scale him not; then open him; and put him, with his blood and his liver, which you must save when you open him, into a small pot or kettle then take sweet marjoram, thyme, and parsley, of each half a handful; a sprig of rosemary, and another of savoury; bind them into two or three small bundles, and put them into your Carp, with four or five whole onions, twenty pickled oysters, and three anchovies. Then pour upon your Carp as much claret wine as will only cover him; and season your claret well with salt, cloves, and mace, and the rinds of oranges and lemons. That done, cover your pot and set it on a quick fire till it be sufficiently boiled. Then take out the Carp; and lay it, with the broth, into the dish; and pour upon it a quarter of a pound of the best fresh butter, melted, and beaten with half a dozen spoonfuls of the broth, the yolks of two or three eggs, and some of the herbs shred: garnish your dish with lemons, and so serve it up. And much good do you!
Observations of the Bream and Directions to catch him
PISCATOR. The Bream, being at a full growth, is a large and stately fish. He will breed both in rivers and ponds: but loves best to live in ponds, and where, if he likes the water and air, he will grow not only to be very large, but as fat as a hog. He is by Gesner taken to be more pleasant, or sweet, than wholesome. This fish is long in growing; but breeds exceedingly in a water that pleases him; yea, in many ponds so fast, as to overstore them, and starve the other fish.
He is very broad, with a forked tail, and his scales set in excellent order; he hath large eyes, and a narrow sucking mouth; he hath two sets of teeth, and a lozengelike bone, a bone to help his grinding. The melter is observed to have two large melts; and the female, two large bags of eggs or spawn.
Gesner reports, that in Poland a certain and a great number of large breams were put into a pond, which in the next following winter were frozen up into one entire ice, and not one drop of water remaining, nor one of these fish to be found, though they were diligently searched for; and yet the next spring, when the ice was thawed, and the weather warm, and fresh water got into the pond, he affirms they all appeared again. This Gesner affirms; and I quote my author, because it seems almost as incredible as the Resurrection to an atheist : but it may win something, in point of believing it, to him that considers the breeding or renovation of the silkworm, and of many insects. And that is considerable, which Sir Francis Bacon observes in his History of Life and Death (fol. 20), that there be some herbs that die and spring every year, and some endure longer.
But though some do not, yet the French esteem this fish highly; and to that end have this proverb, 'He that
hath Breams in his pond, is able to bid his friend welcome'; and it is noted, that the best part of a Bream is his belly and head.
Some say, that Breams and Roaches will mix their eggs and melt together; and so there is in many places a bastard breed of Breams, that never come to be either large or good, but very numerous.
The baits good to catch this Bream are many. First, paste made of brown bread and honey; gentles; or the brood of wasps that be young (and then not unlike gentles), and should he hardened in an oven, or dried on a tile before the fire to make them tough. Or, there is, at the root of docks or flags or rushes, in watery places, a worm not unlike a maggot, at which Tench will bite freely. Or he will bite at a grasshopper with his legs nipt off, in June and July; or at several flies, under water, which may be found on flags that grow near to the water-side. I doubt not but that there be many other baits that are good; but I will turn them all into this most excellent one, either for a Carp or Bream, in any river or mere: it was given to me by a most honest and excellent angler; and hoping you will prove both, I will impart it to you.
1. Let your bait be as big a red worm as you can find, without a knot: get a pint or quart of them in an evening, in garden-walks, or chalky commons, after a shower of rain; and put them with clean moss well washed and picked, and the water squeezed out of the moss as dry as you can, into an earthen pot or pipkin set dry; and change the moss fresh every three or four days, for three weeks or a month together; then your bait will be at the best, for it will be clear and lively.
2. Having thus prepared your baits, get your tackling ready and fitted for this sport. Take three long anglingrods; and as many and more silk, or silk and hair, lines; and as many large swan or goose-quill floats.
Then take a piece of lead made after this manner, and fasten them to the low ends of your lines: then fasten your link-hook also to the lead; and let there be about a foot or ten inches between the lead and the