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ART OF ANGLING,
To catch Fishes.
TAKE "AKE Coculus Indicus, which is a poisonous nar
cotic, called also bacca piscatoria, fisher's berries, and pound them in a mortar, then make balls of the paste which will be produced (by adding a sufficient quantity, of water) about the size of a pea, and throw them into a standing-water; the fish that taste of it will be very soon intoxicated, and will rise and lie on the surface of the water ; put your landing-net under them, and take them
Coculus Indicus is a little berry, about as big as a bay-berry, but more of a kidney-shape, having a wrinkled outside, with a seam running lengthways
from the back to the navel: it is of a bitterish taste, being the fruit of a tree described in the seventh volume of the Hortus Malabaricus, under the name of Naslatum, bearing leaves in the shape of a heart, and bunches of five-leaved white flowers, which are succeeded by their berries. They grow in Malabar in the East Indies. They are seldom used in physic, being accounted to be of a hurtful and pernicious nature, but their principal use is for catching fishes: the famous Car
dan's celebrated receipt for this purpose, runs thus : take of the berries of the Oriental Cocus, a quarter of an ounce ; of cumin and boiling water, each two ounces; of cheese, one ounce, and of meal three ounces ; after bruising them together, form them into small balls. Others mix the berries with old cheese, honey, and wheaten meal, of which they form small balls, to be thrown to fishes. Others for this purpose mix a variety of other substances with these berries; but after all their pains there is no necessity for so troublesome an apparatus, since I have known by experience, says Ray, that a simple ball of the powder of these intoxi. cating berries, made up with wheaten meal and water, is equally efficacious for stupifying, and at last killing, fishes; for that fishes, as some assert, are by eating balls of this kind, only rendered vertiginous and stupid for a while, but soon return to their natural state, is not confirmed by experience ; for myown experience, says Mr. Ray, quadrates with the opinion of those fishes spoken of by the learned Condronchius, who affirms that fishes are soon killed by balls of this kind. But I do not know whether, as they assert, they soon become putrid, and fall into pieces, unless they are speedily taken out of the water. If, says. Condronchius, any should object, that, upon taking these balls, the fishes swim up and down with uncommon haste and precipitation, by which means their intoxication, or vertigo, is produced ; I answer, that they, do not ramble thus in consequence of their vertigo, but in consequence of the intolerable pain they feel from that unfriendly substance, just as other animals do, especially men, when they are racked with any intense pain. I readily grant that by these balls fishes are rendered vertiginous, and as it were
intoxicated; but at the same time, I affirm, that they are soon after killed ; for I am not much of opinion that they are rendered vertiginous, and killed by the bitter and acrid, or by some hitherto unknown quality of these berries. I will not, however, take upon me to determine, whether fishes killed in this manner may be safely eaten, but with Condronchius I am of opinion, that no danger attends the use of thern as an aliment, if they are gutted and boiled as soon as taken. That these berries are hot, and by means cold, as all opiates certainly are, as also Matthiolus, and others maintain, notwithstanding their narcotic quality, is sufficiently obvious from their acrid and bitter taste, as also by the other effects produced by them, as Condronchius has evidently demonstrated. This same author is of opinion, that these berries are by no means possessed of a poisonous and deletereous quality, and it is not by this, but by their bitterness and primary qualities, that fishes are killed; but the contrary to me seems plain, from a story related by Arnatus. A certain schoolmaster asking for cubebs from an ignorant apothecary, received these berries in their stead. When the school-master had greedily devoured three or four of them, he was seized with a nausea, hiccough, and anxiety, which symptoms, together with the danger they threatened, were immediately removed by administering a vomit: the reasoning is weak, and more about words than facts, and may be equally said of opium; the absurdity of which is evident to all who know the nature and operation of hypnotics.
This description of the Oriental Cocus, I am indebted to the late ingenious Dr. Cook for, but I must beg leave to make some observations, which seem to have escaped the Doctor, and the great authorities that he has quoted.
1. I know from actual experience, that there needs no other process for making these berries up, than that which I have set down; as for the wheaten-meal, which Mr. Ray mentions, it is to. tally useless, the plain berries pounded, and made into a paste by adding water, being a sufficient preparation.
2. It not only depends upon the size of the fishes, but upon the quantity of the paste which they pick up, which makes these berries kill the fishes, or only renders them vertiginous or intoxicated; if you take them out with a landing.net, and put them into a sufficient quantity of water, those will soon recover who have only had a small share of the paste, and may be eaten when wel. gutted and cleaned, with the greatest safety.
3. That these berries are of a deletereous nature, is sufficiently obvious by what has been said before. A porter-brewer in London, some time ago forfeited a considerable sum for fining his liquor with these berries. It is but necessary to know these secrets; but I am sure no true lover of angling will ever make use of them ; only by being acquainted with them, it will enable him to detect poachers, and I hope, when he meets with any, that he will put in full force the laws against them, so judiciously appropriated to clear the country of such a set of rascals.
To take a Pike as he lies basking in March
or August. Take a long pole or rod, that is light and straight, and on the small end fasten a running
loop of twisted horsehair and silk, of a large compass; which gently draw five or six inches over the gills, and then hoist him to shore as quick as possible. If it is a small one, draw it not on so far, and keep very silent ; you may also take him with a hand-net, by putting it under him very gently, and then taking him up as quick as you can.
Ointments to allure Fishes to bite. As many of my brother anglers may wish to try the efficacy of chemicals, towards encreasing their pastime, I here present them with a few receipts, and leave them to make their trials as they please.
Take gum-ivy, and put a good deal of it into a box made of oak, and chafe and rub the inside of it with this gum. When you angle put three or four worins into it, but they must not remain there long, for if they do it will kill them; then take them out and fish with them, putting more in their places as you want them out of your worm bag. Gum-ivy is tears which drop from the body of large ivy trees, being wounded, and is of a yellowish red color, of a strong scent, and sharp taste ; that which is sold in the shops is counterfeit, and good for nothing. Therefore, to get gurn-ivy about Michaelınas, or in the spring, drive several great nails into large ivy-stalks, wriggle the same till they become very loose, and let them remain, and the gum will issue thereout.
Also slit several great ivy-stalks, at the time, above-mentioned, and visit them once a month, and gather the gum which flows from the wounded part. This will very much improve the angler's
Probatum est. Take assafoetida, three drachms, camphor, one ditto, Venice turpentine, one ditto, pound altoge