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pure, and without mixture, is well adapted for nourishment, neither can fishes live by pure water, respiration, or sucking in those slender particles of their beloved element alone, without the concurrence and assistance of some grosser and terrene qualities, which are intermingled with those liquid bodies.
Having mentioned that fishes are exposed to numerous enemies, I shall conclude this chapter by giving the reader a poetical enumeration of thein. A thousand foes the finny people chace, Nor are they safe from their own kindred race : The Pike, fell tyrant of the liquid plain, With rav’nous waste devours his fellow-train; Yet, howsoe'er with raging famine pin'd, The Tench he spares, a salutary kind. Hence too the Perch, a like voracious brood, Forbears to make this gen'rous race his food; Tho' on the common drove no bound he finds, But spreads unmeasur'd waste o'er all the kinds, Nor less the greedy Trout and gutless Eel, Incessant woes, and dire destruction deal. The lurking Water-rat in caverns preys; And in the weeds the wily Otter slays. The ghastly Newt, in muddy streams annoys; And in swift floods the felly Snake destroys ; Toads, for the shoaling fry, forsake the lawn; And croaking Frogs devour the tender spawn. Neither the 'habitants of land nor air, (So sure their doom) the fishy numbers spare ! The Swan, fair regent of the silver tide, Their ranks destroys and spreads their ruin wide: The Duck her offspring to the river leads, And on the destin'd fry insatiate feeds : On fatal wings the pouncing Bittern soars,
And wafts her prey from the defenceless shores;
The best Manner of making and chusing
Rods, Lines, Hooks, &c.
"HE best time to provide stocks is in the win
ter solstice, when the trees have shed their leaves, and the sap is in the roots, for after January the sap ascends again into the trunk and branches, at which time it is improper to gather stocks, or tops; as for the stocks they should be lower grown, and the tops the best rush ground shoots that can be got; not knotty, but propora tionable and slender, for if otherwise they will never cast nor strike so well, and the line, by reason of their unpliableness, must be much endangered; now when both stock and top are gathered in one season, and as strait as possible to be got, bathe them over a gentle fire, and never use them till they are well seasoned, which will be in one year and four months, but longer keeping them will make them better: and for preserving ihem when made into rods, both from roiting and being wormeaten, rub them over thrice a year with sallad, or linseed oil; if they are bored pour in either of the
oils, and let thein soak therewith for twenty-four hours, then pour it out again, and it will preserve them from the least injury. In general the length of the rod is to be determined by the breadth of the river you angle in, but a long rod is always of more use than one too short, provided it is truely made; one of about five yards and a half long you will experimentally find to be quite sufficient. When you have taken your stocks and tops from the place that you put them in for seasoning, (where they must have remained sixteen months at least,) match them together in just proportion ; and let the rod consist of five or six pieces ; if you ferrel it, observe that they fit with the greatest nicety, and in such a manner as when put all together they may not wriggle in the least, but be in proportion, and strength, as if the whole rod were but one piece. If you bind them together, it must be with thread strongly waxed, having first cut the pieces with a slope, or slant, that they may join' cach other with the greatest exactness, and then spread a thin layer of shoemaker's wax over the 'slants, or a glue, which I have set down in the arcana for the angler's use; afterwards you must cut about six inches off the top of the rod, and in its place whip on a smooth, round and taper piece of whalebone, and at the top of that a strong loop of horsehair ; then the whole will be completed, and thus made will always ply with a true bent to the hand. Your fly rods may be made in the same manner ; but note, must be much inore pliant than the others, and more taper from stock to top. It is of service to them to lay by some time before you use them, Your top for the running line must be always gentle, that the fish may the more insensibly run away with the bait, and not be checked by its being too stiff.
For all fishes that bite tenderly a rod made of cane, reed, or bamboo, is the best, only be careful when you chuse such a one that it will strike well, and that the medium between the ferrel and the joint that goes in, is not cut too fine; for if it is, when you strike a good fish, it is ten to one you will lose some part of your rod, your line, and of course the fish; a misfortune that has often happened to me, before I was acquainted with the above rule.
A general rod, is one which serves for trolling, dibbing, and the ground; for the former purpose small brass rings must be whipped all the way up it, at about a foot distance, for the trolling line to run through; it may likewise be bored in the stock to hold the tops you are not using; that which you use for the troll must be strong, and have a ring on the top whipped on with a piece of quill, to prevent the line being cut, when the voracious pike runs off with your bait to his hold: one of the others must not be so stiff, which will serve for carps, tenches, &c. and the other fine and elastic for dace and roach fishing. These kind of rods, which are called bag-rods, and go up in a small
coinpass, are to be had at all the Fishingtackle Shops in London.
I with pleasure recommend the Angler to that of Mr. William March, of Fleet Street.
Angling Line. To make this line, first note, that you are to take care that your hair be round and clear, and free from galls, scales, 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; then put them in water for a quarter of an hour, when made into lengths, and you will thereby find which of them shrink; then twist them over again; some in the twisting intermingle silk, which is erroneous, yet a line of all silk may do pretty well, though I prefer hair in every mode of angling, except trolling, and then a silk' line is best. Now the best colours for lines are sorrel, white, and grey; the two last colours for clear waters, and the first for muddy waters, neither is the pale watery green despicable, which is made thus: put a pint of strong alum water, half a pound of soot, a small quantity of juice of walnut leaves, into a pipkin, boil them about half an hour, then take it off the fire, and when it is cold steep your hair in it: or else boil an handfull of marygold flowers, with a quart of allum water, till a yellow scum arises, then take half a pound of green copperas, with as much verdegrease, and beat thein together to a fine powder, and put them and the hair into the alum water, and let them lie in it ten hours or more, then take them out and let them dry. Hair is made brown by steeping it in salt and ale. The best way of forming the hair into lines, is with a new-invented engine, to be bought at any of the shops, and is to be used thus. To twist links with this engine, take as many hairs as you intend each shall consist of, and dividing them into three parts tie each parcel to a bit of fine twine, about six inches long, doubled, and put through the hooks which impend from the machine: then take a piece of lead of a conical figure two inches high, and two in diameter at the base, with a hook at the apex, or point; tie your three parcels of hair into one knot, and to this by the hook hang the weight.