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amongst weeds. And yet, I am sure, he eats pleasantly, and, doubtless, you will think so too, if you taste him. And I shall therefore proceed to give you some few, and but a few, directions how to catch this Tench, of which 1 have given you these observations.
He will bite at a paste made of brown bread and honey, or at a marsh-worm or a lob-worm; he inclines very much to any paste with which tar is mixt, and he will bite also Rt a smaller worm with his head nipped off, and a cod-worm put on the hook before that worm. And I doubt not but that he will also, in the three hot months, for in the nine colder he stirs not much, bite at a flag-worm, or at a green gentle; but can positively say no more of the Tench,* he being a fish I have not often angled for; but I wish my honest scholar may, and be ever fortunate when he fishes.6
Piscator. The Perch is a very good, and a very bold biting fish. He is one of the fishes of prey that, like the Pike and Chap. Xii. Trout, carries his teeth in his mouth, which is very On the Perch, large: 7 and he dare venture to kill and devour several other kinds of fish. He has a hooked or hog back, which is armed with sharp and stiff bristles, and all his skin armed, or covered over with thick dry hard scales, and hath, which few
6 Here, in the first edition, the dialogue is continued thus :—
Viator. I thank you, good master: but I pray, sir, since you see it still rains Maybutter, give me some observations and directions concerning the Perch, for they say he is both a very good and a bold biting Ash, and 1 would fain learn to fish for him.
Piscator. You say true, scholar, the Perch is a very good, &c.
7 In the first edition, in lieu of " which is very large, the words "not in his throat" occur.
■ The haunts of Tench are nearly the same with tho^e of the Carp. They delight more in ponds than in rivers; and lie under weeds, near sluices, and at pond-heads. They spawn about the beginning of July ; and are best in season from the beginning of September to the end of May. They will bite all the hot months ; but are best taken in April and May. There are no better baits for this fish than a middle-sized lob-worm, or red-worm, well scoured ; a gentle; a young wasp-grub, boiled; or a green worm shook from the boughs of a tree. Use a strong grass, or gut; and a goose-quill float without a cork, except in rivers, where the cork is always to be preferred. Fish very near the ground : and if you bait with gentles, throw in a few at the taking every fish, which will draw them to your hook, and keep them together.—H.
The Tench appears to be a native of most parts of the globe. Its general length is about twelve or fourteen inches, but, like most other fishes, it is occasionally found of far greater magnitude ; and we are told that it has sometimes been found to measure two or three feet in length, and to weigh no less than eight, ten, or even twenty pounds. See Shaw's Cm. Zool. vol. v. part i. p. 914.—E. In cleansing an old pond at Thornville Royal in Yorkshire, in 1801, there was discovered under some roots what was at first conjectured to be an otter. It proved, however, to be a Tench of most singular form. "having literally assumed the shape of the hole in whicli he had of course been for many years confined. His length from eye to fork was two feet nine inches, his circumference, almost to the tail, two feet three inches; his weight eleven pounds nine ounces. See Daniel's Rural S/orts, vol. ii. p. 263, edit. 1802, where an engraving of the fish is given.
other fish have, two fins on his back. He is so bold that he will invade one of his own kind, which the Pike will not do so willingly; and you may, therefore, easily believe him to be a bold biter.
The Perch is of great esteem in Italy, saith Aldrovandus: and especially the least are there esteemed a dainty dish. And Gesner prefers the Perch and Pike above the Trout, or any fresh-water fish: he says the Germans have this proverb, "More wholesome than a Perch of Rhine:" and he says the River-Perch is so wholesome that physicians allow him to be eaten by wounded men, or by men in fevers, or by women in childbed.
He spawns but once a year; and is, by physicians, held very nutritive; yet, by many, to be hard of digestion. They abound more in the river Po, and in England, says Rondeletius, than other parts : and have in their brain a stone, which is, in foreign parts, sold by apothecaries, being there noted to be very medicinable against the stone in the reins. These be a part of the commendations which some philosophical brains have bestowed upon the fresh-water Perch: yet they commend the Sea-Perch, which is known by having but one fin on his back, of which they say we English see but a few, to be a much better fish.
The Perch grows slowly, yet will grow, as I have been credibly informed, to be almost two feet long; for an honest informer told me, such a one was not long since taken by Sir Abraham Williams, a gentleman of worth, and a brother of the angle, that yet lives, and I wish he may: this was a deep-bodied fish, and doubtless durst have devoured a Pike of half his own length. For 1 have told you, he is a bold fish; such a one as but for extreme hunger the Pike will not devour. For to affright the Pike, and save himself, the Perch will set up his fins, much like as a turkey-cock will sometimes sfit up his tail.
But, my scholar, the Perch is not only valiant to defend himself, but he is, as I said, a bold-biting fish: yet he will not bite at all seasons of the year; he is very abstemious in winter, yet will bite then in the midst of the day, if it be warm: and note, that all fish bite best about the midst of a warm day in winter. And he hath been observed, by some, not usually to bite till the mulberry-tree buds; that is to say, till extreme frosts be past the spring; for, when the mulberry-tree blossoms, many gardeners observe their forward fruit to be past the danger of frosts; and some have made the like observation of the Perch's biting.
But bite the Perch will, and that very boldly. And, as one has wittily observed, if there be twenty or forty in a hole, they