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No unexpected inundations spoil
The second river of note is the Severn, which has its beginning in Plinilimmon-hill, in Montgomeryshire, and its end seven miles from Bristol; washing in that space the walls of Shrewsbury, Worcester, Gloucester, and divers other places and palaces of note. It receives greater rivers, and is farther navigable than the Thames, but does not equal it for the quantity and quality of its fish.
3. The Trent (so called on account of the thirty different kinds of fish which are found in it, or because it receives thirty small rivers) has its fountain in Staffordshire, and gliding through the counties of Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, and York, augments the turbulent current of the Humber, the most violent stream of all the isle. The Huinber is not a distinct river, because it has not a spring head of its own, but is rather the mouth or æstuarium of divers rivers meeting together: among which, besides the Trent, are the Darvent and Ouse.
4. The Medway, a Kentish river, rises near Tunbridge, passes by Maidstone, runs by Rochester, and
discharges itself into the mouth of the Thames, by Sheerness: a river chiefly remarkable for the dock ai Chatham, where ships of the first rate are built and repaired for the use of the English navy,
5. The Tweed, the north-east boundary of England, on whose banks is seated the strong and almost impregnable town of Berwick.
6. The Tine, famous for Newcastle and its inexhaustible coal-pits. These, and the rest of principal note, are thus described in one of Mr. Drayton's sonnets:
I. The flood's Queen Thames, for ships and swans is
Crown'd, And stately Severn for her shore is prais'd; The chrystal Trent for fords and fish renown'd,
And Avon's fame to Albion's cliffs is rais'd :
York many wonders of her Ouse can tell:
And Kent will say, her Medway doth excel.
Our northern borders boast of Tweed's fair flood: Our western parts extol their Willy's faine,
And the old Lea brags of the Danish blood.
But let me return to the Thames, of which, and the rivers that fall into it, I shall treat somewhat particularly, as they are more the seat for the diversion of angling than any others. The higher an angler goes up the Thames, if within about forty miles, the more sport, and the greater variety of fish he will meet with; but as few Londoners go so far from home, I shall mention the best places for Thames angling from London Bridge to Chelsea.
But before I proceed any farther on this subject, it will be necessary to lay down some rules which the angler must attend to.
If the air is cold and raw, the wind high, the water rough, or if the wheather is wet, it is totally useless to angle in the Thames.
But when the sky is serene, the air temperate, and the water smooth, success will attend you.
The proper hours for angling, are from the time that the tide is half ebbed, to within two hours of the high water, provided the land floods do not come down.
Always pitch your boat under the wind: that is, if the wind be in south, then keep on the Surry shore; if north, on the London side.
The best places for pitching a boat to angle in the Thames, are about one hundred and fifty yards from York Stairs; the Savoy, Somerset-house, Dorset Stairs, Black-Friar's Stairs; the Dungwharf near Water-Lane, Trig Stairs, and Essex Stairs. On Surry side Falcon Stairs : Barge Houses; Cuper's, vulgo Cupid's Stairs; the Windmill, and Lambeth.
There are very good rouch and dace to be caught at Westminster Bridge, if the weather is favourable in the Autumn; the fifth arch on the north-side is best to pitch the boat.
When you go to angle at Chelsea, on a calm fair day, the wind being in a right corner, pitch your boat almost opposite to the church, and angle in the six or seven feet water, where, as well as at Battersea Bridge, you will meet with plenty of roach and dace.
Mortlake Deeps is the next place where roach principally resort, when the weeds are rotten; and here are good carp very often taken:
From the sides of the Aits opposite to Brentford, Isleworth, and Twickenham, there is very good angling for roach, dace, gudgeons, and perch; very often you
will meet with trout and carp. Teddington Bunks are remarkable for good gudgeons, rouch, &c.
Kingston-wick and Kingston, are famous for barbel, roach, and dace.
At Hampton and Sunbury there is good angling for barbel, roach, dace, chub, gudgeons, and skeggers; and from the Aits, for trout and large perch.
Walton Deeps and Shepperten Pool abound with large barbel and dace.
At and about Windsor is a vast variety of all sorts of fish; but if a man be found angling in another's water, (without leave) he is fined very high by the court of that town, if he only catches a single gud
Of the rivers that empty themselves into the Thames, and of others which are not far from it, I shall begin with those on the north-side.
1. Ilford-river, the upper part of which abounds with roach, dace, and some perch, but between Ilford and the Thames, especially about three miles from the town, there is pike.
2. Woodford-river, stored with perch, chub, roach, and dace.
3. Stratford-river affords the angler good diversion for roach, dace, chub, perch, &c.
4. Bow-river, having the same fish in it as the Stratford-river.
5. Hackney-river, having plenty of large barbel, chub, roach, dace, gudgeon, eels, and lampreys. In
this river the barbels, eels, and gudgeon, are very fine. The river Lea runs here, and the higher you go up it the greater sport you will have: The Rye-house, near Hoddesdon (famous for the plot) is an excellent part to go to for diversion.
6. Waltham-river, besides large barbel, chub, roach, dace, gudgeon, and eels, has good store of fine pike and some carp.
7. The New-river, pretty well stored with chub, roach, dace, gudgeon, and eels.
8. Brentford-river, a good one formerly, but now much abused by poachers; but the angler may meet with some chub, roach, dace, and perch.
9. Hounslow-river, well stored with roach, dace, perch, pike, and gudgeon.
The powder-mill tail, near Hounslow, is a very good place for angling.
10. Colne-river, abounding with chub, roach, dace, perch, and pike.
11. Uxbridge-river, excellent for its large and fat trouts; but as the water is rented, not only leave must be obtained to angle in it; but you must pay so much per pound for what you kill. Denham, near Uxbridge, is a very famous place. Having now done
with the north side, I proceed to the south of the Thames
1. Debtford-river, now very much decayed, and has but a few fish in it, as roach, dace, and flounders; though by chance you may meet with a trout.
2. Lewisham-river in which are some good trouts, large roach, chub, gudgeon, perch, and dace.
3. Wandsworth-river, well stored with gudgeons, dace flound:rs, perch, pike, and some carp and trouts ; very large silver eels are often taken there. 4. Mitcham-river; its principal fish are trouis.