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likely that you have a Pike follow with more than common eagerness.
And some affirm, that any bait anointed with the marrow of the thigh-bone of an Hern, is a great temptation to any fish.
These have not been tried by me, but told me by a friend of note, that pretended to do me a courtesy; but if this direction to catch a Pike thus, do you no good, yet I am certain this direction how to roast him when he is caught, is choicely good, for I have tried it; and it is somewhat the better for not being common, but with my direction you must take this caution, that your Pike must not be a small one, that is, it must be more than half a yard, and should be bigger.
First, open your Pike at the gills, and if need be, cut also a little slit towards the belly; out of these take his guts and keep his liver, which you are to shred very small with Thyme, Sweet-marjoram, and a little Winter-savory: to these put some pickled Oysters, and some Anchovies, two or three, both these last whole, for the Anchovies will melt, and the Oysters should not, to these you must add also a pound of sweet Butter, which you are to mix with the herbs that are shred, and let them all be well salted: if the Pike be more than a yard long, then you may put into these herbs more than a pound, or if he be less, then less butter will suffice: these being thus mixed with a blade or two of mace, must be put into the Pike's belly, and then his belly
so sewed up, as to keep all 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 mixed 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 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-gout, 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 Thrasimene 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.
Piscator. Iee Carp is the Queen of Rivers: a stately, a good, and a very subtle 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 verses.
Hops and Turkies, Carps and Beer,
And doubtless, as of sea-fish the Herring dies soonest out of the water, and of fresh-water-fish the Trout, so, except the Eel, the Carp endures most hardness, and lives longest out of his 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 Pearch 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. 'Tis said, by Jovius, who hath writ of fishes, that in the lake Lurian in Italy, Carps have thriven to be more than fifty pound 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 con