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that as these die for want of water, so grass may grow in the pond's bottom, which Carps will eat greedily in all the hot months, if the pond be clean. The letting your pond dry and sowing oats in the bottom is also good, for the fish feed the faster; and being sometimes let dry, you may observe what kind of fish either increases or thrives best in that water; for they differ much, both in their breeding and feeding.
Lebault also advises, that if your ponds be not very large and roomy, that you often feed your fish, by throwing into them chippings of bread, curds, grains, or the entrails of chickens or of any fowl or beast that you kill to feed yourselves; for these afford fish a great relief. He says, that frogs and ducks do much harm, and devour both the spawn and the young fry of all fish, especially of the Carp; and I have, besides experience, many testimonies of it. But Lebault allows water-frogs to be good meat, especially in some months, if they be fat: but you are to note, that he is a Frenchman; and we English will hardly believe him, though we know frogs are usually eaten in his country: however he advises to destroy them and king-fishers out of your ponds. And he advises not to suffer much shooting at wild fowl; for that, he says, affrightens, and harms, and destroys the fish.
Note, that Carps and Tench thrive and breed best when no other fish is put with them into the same pond; for all other fish devour their spawn, or at least the greatest part of it. And note, that clods of grass thrown into any pond feed any Carps in summer; and that garden-earth and parsley thrown into a pond recovers and refreshes the sick fish. And note, that when you store your pond, you are to put into it two or three melters for one spawner, if you put them into a breeding-pond; but if into a nursepond, or feeding-pond, in which they will not breed, then no care is to be taken whether there be most male or female Carps.
It is observed that the best ponds to breed Carps are those that be stony or sandy, and are warm, and free from wind; and that are not deep, but have willow-trees and grass on their sides, over which the water does sometimes flow: and note, that Carps do more usually breed in marle-pits, or pits that have clean clay bottoms; or in new ponds, or ponds that lie dry a winter season, than in old ponds that be full of mud and weeds.
Well, Scholar, I have told you the substance of all that either observation or discourse, or a diligent survey of Dubravius and Lebault hath told me: not that they, in their long discourses, have not said more; but the most of the rest are so common observations, as if a man should tell a good arithmetician that twice two is four. I will therefore put an end to this discourse; and we will here sit down and rest us.
Directions for making of a Line, and for the colouring of both
Rod and Line
PISCATOR. Well, Scholar, I have held you too long about these cadis, and smaller fish, and rivers, and fishponds; and my spirits are almost spent, and so I doubt is your patience ; but being we are now almost at Tottenham where I first met you, and where we are to part, I will lose no time, but give you a little direction how to make and order your lines, and to colour the hair of which you make your lines, for that is very needful to be known of an angler; and also how to paint your rod, especially your top; for a right-grown top is a choice commodity, and should be preserved from the water soaking into it, which makes it in wet weather to be heavy and fish illfavouredly, and not true; and also it rots quickly for want of painting : and I think a good top is worth preserving, or I had not taken care to keep a top above twenty years.
But first for your Line. First note, that you are to take care that your hair be round and clear, and free from bo galls, or scabs, or frets : for a well-chosen, even, clear, round hair, of a kind of glass-colour, will prove as strong as three uneven scabby hairs that are ill-chosen, and full of galls or unevenness. You shall seldom find a black hair but it is round, but many white are flat and uneven; therefore, if you get a lock of right, round, clear, glasscolour hair, make much of it.
And for making your line, observe this rule: first, let your hair be clean washed ere you go about to twist it ; L and then choose not only the clearest hair for it, but hairs that be of an equal bigness, for such do usually stretch all together, and break altogether, which hairs of an unequal bigness never do, but break singly, and so deceive the angler that trusts to them.
When you have twisted your links, lay them in water for a quarter of an hour at least, and then twist them over again before you tie them into a line : for those that do not so shall usually find their line to have a hair or two shrink, and be shorter than the rest, at the first fishing with it, which is so much of the strength of the line lost for want of first watering it, and then retwisting it; and this is most visible in a seven-hair line, one of those which hath always a black hair in the middle.
And for dyeing of your hairs, do it thus : take a pint of strong ale, half a pound of soot, and a little quantity of the juice of walnut-tree leaves, and an equal quantity of alum: put these together into a pot, pan, or pipkin, and boil them half an hour; and having so done, let it cool; and being cold, put your hair into it, and there let it lie; it will turn your hair to be a kind of water or glass colour, or greenish; and the longer you let it lie, the deeper coloured it will be. You might be taught to make many other colours, but it is to little purpose; for doubtless the water-colour or glass-coloured hair is the most choice and most useful for an angler, but let it not be too green.
But if you desire to colour hair greener, then do it thus : take a quart of small ale, half a pound of alum; then put these into a pan or pipkin, and your hair into
it with them ; then put it upon a fire, and let it boil softly for half an hour ; and then take out your hair, and let it dry; and having so done, then take a pottle of water, and put into it two handfuls of marigolds, and cover it with a tile or what you think fit, and set it again on the fire, where it is to boil again softly for half an hour, about which time the scum will turn yellow; then put into it half a pound of copperas, beaten small, and with it the hair that you intend to colour; then let the hair be boiled softly till half the liquor be wasted, and then let it cool three or four hours, with your hair in it; and you are to observe that the more copperas you put into it, the greener it will be ; but doubtless the pale green is best. But if you desire yellow hair, which is only good when the weeds rot, then put in more marigolds; and abate most of the copperas, or leave it quite out, and take a little verdigris instead of it.
This for colouring your hair.
And as for painting your Rod, which must be in oil, you must first make a size with glue and water, boiled together until the glue be dissolved, and the size of a lyecolour: then strike your size upon the wood with a bristle, or a brush or pencil, whilst it is hot: that being quite dry, take white-lead, and a little red-lead, and a little coal-black, so much as altogether will make an ash-colour : grind these altogether with linseed-oil ; let it be thick, and lay it thin upon the wood with a brush or pencil : this do for the ground of any colour to lie upon wood.
For a green, take pink and verdigris, and grind them together in linseed oil, as thin as you can well grind it : then lay it smoothly on with your brush, and drive it thin; once doing, for the most part, will serve, if you lay it well; and if twice, be sure your first colour be thoroughly dry before you lay on a second.
Well, Scholar, having now taught you to paint your rod, and we having still a mile to Tottenham High-Cross, I will, as we walk towards it in the cool shade of this sweet honeysuckle hedge, mention to you some of the thoughts and joys that have possessed my soul since we two met together. And these thoughts shall be told you, that you also may join with me in thankfulness to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, for our happiness. And that our present happiness may appear to be the greater, and we the more thankful for it, I will beg you to consider with me how many do, even at this very time, lie under the torment of the stone, the gout, and tooth-ache; and this we are free from. And every misery that I miss is a new mercy; and therefore let us be thankful. There have been, since we met, others that have met disasters or broken limbs; some have been blasted, others thunderstrucken: and we have been freed from these, and all those many other miseries that threaten human nature; let us therefore rejoice and be thankful. Nay, which is a far greater mercy, we are free from the insupportable burthen of an accusing tormenting conscience; a misery that none can bear : and therefore let us praise Him for His preventing grace, and say, Every misery that I miss is a new mercy. Nay, let me tell you, there be many that have forty times our estates, that would give the greatest part of it to be healthful and cheerful like us, who, with the expense of a little money, have eat and drunk, and laughed, and angled, and sung, and slept securely; and rose next day and cast away care, and sung, and laughed, and angled again ; which are blessings rich men cannot purchase with all their money. Let me tell you, Scholar, I have a rich neighbour that is always so busy that he has no leisure to laugh; the whole business of his life is to get money, and more money, that he may still get more and more money; he is still drudging on, and says, that Solomon says, “The diligent hand maketh rich'; and 'tis true indeed: but he considers not that 'tis not in the power of riches to make a man happy; for it was wisely said, by a man of great observation, “That there be as many miseries beyond riches as on this side of them.' And yet God deliver us from pinching poverty; and grant, that having a competency, we may be content and thankful. Let not us repine, or so much as think the gifts of God unequally dealt, if we see another abound with riches;