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way to cleanse and scour them quickly is, to put them all night in water, if they be lob-worms, and then put them into your bag with fennel. But you must not put your brandlings above an hour in water, and then put them into fennel, for sudden use : but if you have time, and purpose to keep them long, then they be best preserved in an earthen pot, with good store of moss, which is to be fresh every three or four days in summer, and every week or eight days in winter ;5 or, at least, the moss taken from them, and clean washed, and wrung betwixt your hands till it be dry, and then put it to them again. And when your worms, especially the brandling, begins to be sick and lose of his bigness, then you may recover him, by putting a little milk or cream, about a spoonful in a day, into them, by drops on the moss; and if there be added to the cream an egg beaten and boiled in it, then it will both fatten and preserve them long. * And note, that when the knot, which is near to the middle of the brandling, begins to swell, then he is sick; and, if he be not well looked to, is near dying. And for moss, you are to note that there be divers kinds of it, † which I could name to you, but I will only tell you that that which is likest a buck's-horn is the best, except it be soft white moss, which grows on some heaths, and is hard to be found. And note, that in a very dry time, when you are put to an extremity for worms, walnut-tree leaves squeezed into water, or salt in water, to make it bitter or salt, and then that water poured on the ground where you shall see worms are used to rise in the night, will make them to appear above ground presently. $ And
VARIATION. 3 with good store of moss, which is to be fresh every week or eight days.--Ist edit.
* Observe that the lob, marsh, and red worms will bear more scouring than any others. are better for long keeping, and that when changing their moss, particular care should be taken to remove those which are dead or wounded, as they soon become putrid and infect the others.-H.
Naturalists reckon above two hundred.-H. I This practice was one of the common sports of schoolboys at the time Erasmus wrote his Colioguies. In that entitled Venatio, or Hunting, a company of them go abroad into the fields, and one named Laurence proposes fishing; but having no worms, Bartholus objects the want of them, till Laurence tells him how he may get some. The dialogue is very natural and descriptive. “Lau. I should like to go a-fishing; I have a neat hook. Barth. But where will you get baits ? Lau. There are earth-worms everywhere to be had. Barth. So there are, if they would but creep out of the ground to you. Lau. I will make a great many thousands jump out presently. Barth. How? by witchcraft? Lan. You shall see the art. Fill this bucket with water ; break these green shells of walnuts to pieces, and put them into it; wet the ground with the water, Now, mind a little. Do you see them coming out? Barth, I see a miracle; I believe the armed men started out of the earth after this manner, from the serpent's teeth that were sown."
The above exclamation is clearly an allusion to the fable in the second book of Ovid's Metamorphoses; where Cadmus, by scattering the serpent's teeth on the ground, causes armed men to spring out of it.-H.
you may take notice, some say that camphire put into your bag with your moss and worms gives them a strong and so tempting a smell, that the fish fare the worse and you the better for it.
And now, I shall show you how to bait your hook with a worm so as shall prevent you from much trouble, and the loss of many a hook, too, when you fish for a Trout with a running line ; * that is to say, when you fish for him by hand at the ground. I will direct you in this as plainly as I can, that you may not mistake.
Suppose it be a big lob-worm : put your hook into him somewhat above the middle, and out again a little below the middle : having so done, draw your worm above the arming of your hook ; but note that, at the entering of your hook, it must not be at the head-end of the worm, but at the tail-end of him, that the point of your hook may come out toward the head-end ; and having drawn him above the arming of your hook, then put the point of your hook again into the very head of the worm, till it come near to the place where the point of the hook first came out, and then draw back that part of the worm that was above the shank or arming of your hook, and so fish with it. And if you mean to fish with two worms, then put the second on before you turn back the hook's-head of the first worm. You cannot lose above two or three worms before you attain to what I direct you; and having attained it, you will find it very useful, and thank me for it : for you will run on the ground without tangling.
Now for the Minnow or Penk : he is not easily found and caught till March, or in April, for then he appears first in the river ; nature having taught him to shelter and hide himself, in the winter, in ditches that be near to the river ; and there both to hide and keep himself warm in the mud, or in the weeds, which rot not so soon as in a running river, in which place if he were in winter, the distempered floods that are usually in that season
VARIATION. 6 For the Minnow or Penke, he is easily found and caught in April, for then he appears in the rivers; but nature hath taught him to shelter and hide himself in the winter in ditches that be near to the river, and there both to hide and keep himself warm in the weeds, &c.-1st and 2d edit.
* The running line, so called because it runs along the ground, is usually made of strong silk; but many prefer hair, thus fitted up. About ten inches from the end, fasten a small cleft shot; then make a hole through a pistol or musket bullet, according to the swiftness of the stream you fish in ; and put the line through it, and draw the bullet down to the shot: to the end of your line fasten an Indian-grass or silkworm gut, with a large hook. Or you may, instead of a bullet, fix four large shot, at the distance of eight inches from the hook. This line is used for Trout, Grayling, and Salmon-smelts; and is proper only for streams and rapid waters.
would suffer him to take no rest, but carry him headlong to mills and weirs, to his confusion. And of these Minnows: first, you are to know that the biggest size is not the best ; and next, that the middle size and the whitest are the best ; and then you are to know that your minnow must be so put on your hook that it must turn round when 'tis drawn against the stream ; and, that it may turn nimbly, you must put it on a big-sized hook, as I shall now direct you, which is thus : Put your hook in at his mouth, and out at his gill; then, having drawn your hook two or three inches beyond or through his gill, put it again into his mouth, and the point and beard out at his tail; and then tie the hook and his tail about, very neatly, with a white thread, which will make it the apter to turn quick in the water ; that done, pull back that part of your line which was slack when you did put your hook into the minnow the second time; I say, pull that part of your line back, so that it shall fasten the head, so that the body of the minnow shall be almost straight on your hook : this done, try how it will turn, by drawing it across the water or against a stream; and if it do not turn nimbly, then turn the tail a little to the right or left hand, and try again, till it turn quick; for if not, you are in danger to catch nothing : for know, that it is impossible that it should turn too quick. And you are yet to know, that in case you want a minnow, then a small loach, or a stickle-bag, or any other small fish that will turn quick, will serve as well. And you are yet to know that you may salt them, and by that means keep them ready and fit for use three or four days, or longer ; and that, of salt, bay-salt is the best.
And here let me tell you, what many old anglers know right well, that at some times, and in some waters, a minnow is not to be got; and therefore, let me tell you, I have, which I will show to you, an artificial minnow, that will catch a Trout as well as an artificial fly: and it was made by a handsome woman that had a fine hand, and a live minnow lying by her : the mould or body of the minnow was cloth, and wrought upon, or over it, thus, with a needle ; the back of it with very sad French green silk, and paler green silk towards the belly, shadowed as perfectly as you can imagine, just as you see a minnow: the belly was wrought also with a needle, and it was, a part of it, white silk; and another part of it with silver thread : the tail and fins were of a quill, which was shaven thin : the eyes were of two little black beads : and the head was so shadowed, and all of it so curiously wrought, and so exactly dissembled, that it would beguile any sharp-sighted
Trout in a swift stream. And this minnow I will now show you, look, here it is, and, if you like it, lend it you, to have two or three made by it ; for they be easily carried about an angler, and be of excellent use : for note, that a large Trout will come as fiercely at a minnow as the highest-mettled hawk doth seize on a partridge, or a greyhound on a hare, I have been told that one hundred and sixty minnows have been found in a Trout's belly : either the Trout had devoured so many, or the miller that gave it a friend of mine had forced them down his throat after he had taken him.
Now for Flies; which is the third bait wherewith Trouts are usually taken. You are to know that there are so many sorts of flies as there be of fruits : I will name you but some of them ; as the dun-fly, the stone-fly, the red-fly, the moor-fly, the tawny-fly, the shell-fly, the cloudy or blackish fly, the flag-fly, the vine-fly; there be of flies, caterpillars, and canker-flies, and bear-flies; and indeed too many either for me to name or for you to remember. And their breeding is so various and wonderful that I might easily amaze myself and tire you in a relation of them.
And, yet, I will exercise your promised patience by saying a little of the caterpillar, or the palmer fly or worm ; that by them you may guess what a work it were, in a discourse, but to run over those very many flies, worms, and little living creatures, with which the sun and summer adorn and beautify the river-banks and meadows, both for the recreation and contemplation of us anglers ; pleasures which, I think, myself enjoy more than any other man that is not of my profession.
Pliny holds an opinion, that many have their birth, or being, from a dew that in the spring falls upon the leaves of trees; and that some kinds of them are from a dew left upon herbs or flowers ; and others from a dew left upon coleworts or cabbages : all which kinds of dews being thickened and condensed, are by the sun's generative heat, most of them, hatched, and in three days made living creatures : * and these of several shapes and colours; some being hard and tough, some smooth and soft ; some are horned in their head, some in their tail, some have none; some have hair, some none : some have sixteen feet, some less, and some have none : but, as our Topsel hath with great diligence observed,+
* The doctrine of spontaneous or equivocal generation is now universally exploded; and all the phenomena that seem to support it are accounted for on other principles. See Derham's Phys. Theol. chap. 15, and the authorities there cited ; Mr Ray's Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of the Creation, 298, and Franc. Redi, De Gen. Insect. - H.
* In his History of Serpents.
those which have none, move upon the earth, or upon broad leaves, their motion being not unlike to the waves of the sea. Some of them he also observes to be bred of the eggs of other caterpillars, and that those in their time turn to be butterflies; and again, that their eggs turn the following year to be caterpillars.* And some affirm that every plant has its particular fly or caterpillar, which it breeds and feeds. I have seen, and may therefore affirm it, a green caterpillar, or worm, as big as a small peascod, which had fourteen legs; eight on the belly, four under the neck, and two near the tail. It was found on a hedge of privet ; and was taken thence, and put into a large box, and a little branch or two of privet put to it, on which I saw it feed as sharply as a dog gnaws a bone : it lived thus, five or six days, and thrived, and changed the colour two or three times, but by some neglect in the keeper of it, it then died, and did not turn to a fly : but if it had lived, it had doubtless turned to one of those flies that some call Flies of prey, which those that walk by the rivers may, in summer, see fasten on smaller flies, and, I think, make them their food. And 'tis observable, that as there be these flies of prey, which be very large ; so there be others, very little, created, I think, only to feed them, and breed out of I know not what; whose life, they say, nature intended not to exceed an hour; † and yet that life is thus made shorter by other flies, or accident.
'Tis endless to tell you what the curious searchers into nature's productions have observed of these worms and flies : but yet I shall tell you what Aldrovandus,f our Topsel, and others, say of the Palmer-worm, or Caterpillar : ' that whereas others content themselves to feed on particular herbs or leaves; for most think, those very leaves that gave them life and shape, give them a particular feeding and nourishment, and that upon them they usually abide; yet he observes that this is called a pilgrim or palmer worm, for his very wandering life, and various food; not contenting himself, as others do, with any one certain place for his
VARIATION, 7 but yet I shall tell you what our Topsel says of the Canker, or Palmer-worm, or Caterpillar.-Ist edit,
* Whoever is desirous of knowing more of Caterpillars, and of the several flies produced by them, may consult Joannes Goedartius De Insectis with the appendix of Dr Lister, Lond. 8vo, 1685.-H.
That there are creatures "whose life nature intended not to exceed an hour," is, I believe, not so well agreed, as that there are some whose existence is determined in five or six.
Ulysses Aldrovandus, an eminent physician and naturalist of Bologna; he wrote one hundred and twenty books on several subjects, and a treatise De Piscibus, published at Francksort, 1640.-H.