Charles Snart.

Practical observations on angling in the River Trent online

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best are found in tanner's bark thrown up
on heaps after it has been used, rotten thatch,
grafs mown from garden walks after it has
lain some time. Brandlings are found by
the sides of old sewers, marsh or meadow
worms, in marshy ground by the banks of
rivers, and all when scoured are excellent
baits ; they must be kept in mofs as directed
for lobworms, a spoonful of cream sprinkled
now and then on the mofs will greatly re-
fresh them when they grow weak.

Gentles, may be procured at the tallow
chandlers, and should be kept in oatmeal
and bran, as bran by itself is too diy; in
order to prevent difsappointments, coarse
fish, such as chub and roach, may be laid in
an earthen pot in the shade, and will soon
be fly-blown, when the gentles are large
enough (but not before) put some oatmeal
and bran to them, and they will in two days
be well scoured, and fit to fish with, in
about four more they become hard, afsume


a pale red colour, and soon after change to
flies ; do not throw the red ones away, roach
and dace frequently take the pale ones with
a white one in preference to all other baits.
As an angler is not always succefsful, you
will often catch a chub or roach, unfit to
cook, and unworthy of any body's accept-
ance, these may be appropriated to this

Many authors recommend a piece of
bullock's liver, suspended by a stick over a
barrel of clay, into which the gentles fall,
and scour themselves ; this is a very bad
plan, clay will not scour the?n t and they
fall from the liver before they have attained
their full size. The plan I have recom-
mended, will be found preferable, and not
disgusting even to the squeamish angler,
for a short time after the oatmeal and bran
are put to the gentles, the fish in which they
were bred, will be found perfect skeletons,
and may be thrown away.


Pastes. Red paste is made thus : Take
a large spoonful of fine wheat flour, moisten
it with the white of an egg, and work it
with your hands, till it is tough, colour it
with a little vermilion, (as this is dear red
lead will be a good substitute) add a small
quantity of honey, or loaf sugar finely pow-
dered, and knead some cotton wool* spread
equally over the paste, when prefsed flat
with your hand, it must be then well worked
together, to mix the cotton thoroughly,
which will make it hang better upon the
hook; a small piece of fresh butter wil.
prevent it becoming hard, and it will keep
good a week. White paste is made, by
leaving out the vermilion, or red lead, and
yellow, by mixing a little turmeric with it.
Many authors recommend oil of anniseeds
and a variety of other efsential oils, to scent
paste with, these are communicated as se-
crets, and having an air of mystery, are
cagarly sought after by the young angler;

* Some authors reject the cotton wool in pastes,
it is however ncceisary.



I have tried a variety, but never had reason
to suppose they were instrumental in taking
a single fish, and believe them all " wasteful
and ridiculous expence."

Various pastes are recommended, com-
posed of curious ingredients, such as the fat
of a heron, and the flesh of a cat or rabbit's
leg, the clotted blood of a sheep's heart, and
a thousand other fanciful nostrums, the ri-
diculous trumpery of dreaming ignorance.
I shall select a few excellent receipts as they
are called^ to allure and catch fish, extracted
from modern authors. I leave the proba-
bility of their succefs to the judgement of
the inteligent reader.

" Make up a paste with mulberry juice,
" hedgehog's fat, oil of water lilies, and a
" few drops of oil of penny-royal." Brookes,
page 176. A man might rack his invention
some time for such inconsistent ingredients.

" Take nettles, and cinque foil, chop them


** small ; mix some juice of houscleek with
" them; rub your hands therewith, throw it
" into the water, and keep your hands in it,
" and the fish will come to them.'* Best's
Art of Angling*. Who believes this would
be the case ?

The following is from the same author in
his own words. " I shall now give the
" reader the ne plus ultra of all these kinds
18 of ointments ; which he cannot set too
" high a value upon. Take cat's fat, heron's
" fat, and the best afsafaetida, each two
" drachms ; mummy finely powdered ditto,
44 cummin seed finely powdered two scru-
" pies, and camphor, galbannm, and Venice
" turpentine, of each one drachm, and civet
" two grains. Make them sccunaem artem*
" into a thinish ointment with the chemical
" oils of lavender, anniseed, and camomile,
" and keep it in a narrow mouthed, and well
" glazed gallipot, covered with a bladder
'* and leather, and it will keep two years.
" When you waat to use it, put some into a
K 2


" small taper pewter box, and anoint your
41 line* with it, about eight or nine inches

LC from the hook, and when it is washed off
" repeat the unction, probatum est" Cour-
teous reader what think you of these won-
derful compositions ?

In Brooks is the following receipt. "Take
" goat's blood, barley meal, and lees of sweet
" wine, mix them with the lungs of a
" goat, boiled and pounded fine; make the
*' whole into pills, which throw into ponds
" or pits, and you may soon catch the fish,
" which are intoxicated by eating them. 5 '
A man might very properly exclaim with
the carrier in Shakespere's first part of Hen-
ry IV. act 2, scene i, Ay % when, canst tellf

' How to bring fish together/' Get the
<{ blood of an ox, a goat,"*' aad a sheep, with

* Surely the author has substituted the word
" line " for " bait " or |s it an error of the prefs ?

f It may reasonably be inferred that the author
resided in Wales, as the goat seems some how or
iher, to contribute to these wonderful nostrurrr,


" the dung of the same creatures, taken out
" of the small guts, with thyme, origanum,
" penny-royal, savoury, elder, garlic, lees
" of sweet wine of each a like quantity, the
" fat or marrow of the same creatures, a
" sufficient quantity, beat all these that they
" may mix together ; make the whole into
" lumps, and cast them into ponds, or where
" fish are, an hour before you purpose
"*' to catch them, at which time cast your
" nets upon them." Brookes, page 48..'
Enough! enough] gentle reader I will not
disgust you by transcribing more of these'
fulsome and abominable receipts : I would
ask with what appetite a man could sit down :
to fish fed on these nauseous mixtures, and
they differ little from the food directed to be
given to fish in ponds, such as blood, en-
trails, and dung: As the feeding of fish in
pondsi is usually entrusted to- the care o
servants, and as they will be desirous of
diminishing their labour the food will be
thrown into the pond, without much regard-
to .the size of the pieces, and the* fish being

* 3


unable to feed upon it in this state, it will
of course become putrid, and the pond, in-
stead of that cleanlinefs, ancf purity, so es-
sential to the preservation of the fish, and
which constitutes the principal enjoyment
of the owner, will in a short time, resemble
the offensive slaughter house of a carcase

The best food for carp and tench, (exclu-
sive of what they obtain in a natural way)
is corn of all sorts boiled, till it is soft,
crusts of bread, cut into small pieces, and
soaked in milk or water, and coarse flour
made into paste. Great care must be taken
not to give them more at a time than they
can soon consume, and whatever food is
thrown in, should be distributed in small
quantities in various parts of the pond, and
more particularly in those places difficult of
accefs to poachers. The reader will pardon
this long digression.- I return to the subject
of baits.

Boiled wheat and malt > must be simmer-


ed in milk over a gentle fire in a saucepan,
but it must not be suffered to boil fast, as it
will burst the corns, or it may be set in a
gentle oven all night, and the outward husk
taken off; either wheat, or malt, is an excel-
lent bait for roach, dace, and white bream.

Brown and black beetles, are excellent
baits for dibbling for large trout and chub,
the former have been very scarce for several
summers past, owing I apprehend to the
inclemency of the winters ; they may be
seen flying about in hot summer evenings in
the months of June or July, or found in
the day time, on the oak, maple, or ozier ;.
they must be kept in boxes, with holes to
admit the air, and will live two or three
days on the leaves of the trees they were
found upon. Black beetles are found in
the earth under fresh horse dung,, by remov-
ing the dung, and digging with a trowel i
they creep there to deposit their eggs, and
the holes they make in the ground, will di-
rect the searsh for them ; these must be kept
in an earthen pot, with a little of the earth*


The young brood of wasps and hornets
are good baits for trout, roach, dace, and
chub, they are however very tender ; I omit
a long list of caterpillers and grubs, for the
same reason, they may be had recourse to
in cases of necefsity, but the baits I have
recommended will be found sufficient.

After having pointed out the baits best
calculated to insure succefs, I shall conclude
this subject by the following observation :
An angler ambitions of excelling in the
amusement will be convinced, that those
baits are best, which fish obtain in a natural
way, his province is to present them so as
best to hide the deceit, thus the natural fly
will seem fluttering on the surface; the
worm will appear to have dropt gently from
the bank, and to be crawling at the bottom ;
and the minnow to have received some inju-
ry, and exerting its utmost efforts to escape :
he must be an attentive observer of nature,
and his endeavours will be rewarded with,


I intended to have concluded these obser-
vations with a short treatise on artificial fly
fishing, and a list of flies proper for the Trent,
and though I despaired of adding any thing
to the improvements made in this entertain-
ing part of angling, yet I flattered myself I
should be able (by consulting some of the ,
best natural historians) to have given the flies
their proper names, arranged them under
their respective clafses, and to have obviated
many doubts which must arise in the mind of
every reader, on a perusal of all the authors^
who have written on the subject, owing to
the diversity of names given to the flies,
which are (with very few exceptions) arbi-
trary and provincial ; most of the flies in
Walton, Bowlker, and even Taylor's j-
entific treatise, are called after the animal or
bird, whose fur or feathers contribute most
to the formation of the fly, as the dun fox*
the light fox, the hare's far, the wren's tail.
t\\z grouse hackle, the brown rail, and the
woodcock Jly ; several are distinguished only
by colour, as the dark claret, the golden


sooty, and the Hack blue dun, with many
others which it might be thought invidious to
particularize. I do not mean to condemn
or depreciate these authors, whose united
labours in this particular branch of the
amusement, may be consulted with conside-
rable advantage ; but not having sufficient
leisure to accomplish the undertaking, I shall
only suggest the advantages resulting from
it; I relinquish the agreeable task with lefs
regret, as there are not any fish in the Trent
but what may be taken by the mode of
angling I have recommended, and which I
have followed with succefs; I will be
ingenuous enough to confefs, that the cir-
cumstances which have prevented my un-
dertaking it, did not occur, until a consider-
able part of these observations were printed
off. This will appear to have been my
original design from the remark in the
dedication, that angling connected as it is
with natural history, is a study of greater
importance than is generally believed, and
worthy the attention of sensible (and I will


-add learned) men. I am well aware of the
criticisms which will be made by many,
who, not having any taste foi* this rational
recreation, or being susceptible of the tran-
quillity and content it diffuses, will infer
from the performance, that I have endea-
voured to dignify an art, truly insignificant,
and that my time has been misapplied, in
recommending a diversion puerile and

-What art thou whose eye

Follows my pen, or what am I that write ?
Both triflers. Tis a trifling world, from him
That banquets daintily in sleeves of lawn,
To him that starves upon a country cure ;
From him that is the pilot of a state,
To him that begs, and rather begs than works.

I fear there are few amusements (out of
doors) so rational as angling, or which are
productive of that inward peace which it


inspires.* If the smallest blade of grafs ex-
cites our wonder, and mocks our feeble
imitation, what a rich and inexhaustible
fund of delight, must the whole animal and
vegetable kingdom afford when the volume
of nature, is presented to our view arrayed
in, the most captivating drefs.

Not a tree,

A plant, a leaf, a blofsom, but contains
A folio volume. We may read and read
And read again, and still find something new,
Something to please, something to instruct,
E'en in the kumbU weed.

* It is a general observation that anglers are men
of patient and quiet dispositions. Are such men
fond of angling, or has the amusement this influence
on the mind ?


ANGLING closely connected with na-
tural history . . . . . . 116

Angler must be an attentive observer of

nature 114

Angler's drefs 83

apparatus 74

Ant fly for dace 58

Appeal to experienced anglers, nott . 78
Artificial flies, the names arbitrary and pro-
vincial 115

hints for a list of, proper for the

Trent 115

-reasons for omitting them 115

Ash used for rods 86

Bad effects of continuing long in the

water 80

Baits recommenced . . . . 102

Bait pans 75

Baiting needles ....... 76

vcfsel 28

120 INDEX.

Barbel, how to angle for .... 28

caution in angling for . . 31

Bamboo cane excellent for fine tops . 86

Basket -fishing, or pannier ... 76

Bleak 59

Bracken clock, an excellent fly for

dibbling 9

Bream carp ........ 54

great quantity taken . . 8

white 55

Brier makes good tops 87

Bullet condemned in barbel fishing, note 33

Canon, or downhill fly 71

Canvas and woollen bags . , . . 75

Carp, how to angle for .... 38
Cautions against continuing long in the

water 80

drinking water or flatulent li- '

quors when hot . . . . . 79
-heating yourself by walking too

fast 79

sitting upon the ground , 80

taking the bark from hazels 88

INDEX. 12t

Caution against winding up lines wet 82

in angling for barbel ... 31

chub .... 43

trout . 66

in trolling for pike ; . . 21

Cement for quill floats ..... 98
Chub their haunts, and method of angling

for . 41

Clearing ring, what 77

Cockchafer or brown beetle, excellent for

large trout and chub ... 41
Cork floats, directions for making . 96
Cotton wool recommended in pastes, note 107

Dace their haunts, and method of angling

for ,56

small, superior to minnows for chub 61

Danger of drinking water or flatulent liquors

when hot 79

Dead gorge for pike 17

Dead snap . , 24

Directions for dibbling . , . 70

feeding fish in ponds . 112

Disgorger, what ...... 77

L 2

122 INDEX.

Drag for flounder lines 46

Dyes where copperas is used, injurious 95

Eels, the method of angling for . . 49

night lines for large .... 49

Eel-pouts 53

prey in the night . . . . 53

Elder sometimes used for tops . . 87
Error in many angle rods .... 85
Extract from Walton on barbel fishing 32

Pish would afford wonderful resources if

protected 32

Fishery, not injured by night lines for eels 52
Fishing by hand, what .... 96

Flannel recommended 79

Fleets, supposed to be the ancient course of

the Trent 73

abound with pike, perch, carp, tench,

eels, roach, and rud, note . . 73
Floats how made ...... 96

Flounders, their haunts and method of an-
gling for . . 44

are fish of prey * . . . 45

INDEX. 123

Flounders, pin lines for . . , 45
Fo*rd and Kirkby's hooks, in high estima-
tion 100

Gentles, how to breed and scour . 105

the common method condemned 106

good baits for roach and dace . 106

Gimp preferable to wire for the dead gorge 1 7
Grayling, their haunts and instructions in

angling for 43

minnows not approved as baits for 44.

Green and grey drake, recommended for

dibbling 71

too tender for the long line 70

Greet river 721

Gudgeons, the method of angling for 60

an agreeable amusement for ladies 60

Hawthorn fly .......... 71

Hair, directions in the choice of . . 92

injured by dyes 95

lines, directions for making . . 92
Hazels, caution against taking the bark

from 8?

124 INDEX.

Higginbotham,Mr. John, recommended 86
Hints and observations ..... 78
Hooks, directions in the choice of . 100

a table of the various sizes, proper for

angling in the Trent . . , 101

Ford and Kirby's .... 100

Improper to angfe when the river is high 80

ifl stormy weather . 78

Landing nets preferable to landing hooks 75

hooks useful on some occasions 75

Lines hair, directions for making . 92

observations on 91

silk or hemp, directions for co-
louring 95

silk and whipcord, to prevent their

kinking when new .... 91
Links for eel and flounder lines . . 95
Lip hooks, their use ...... 37

Live snap for pike 21

how made . . . 21

Loach, the ........ 60

INDEX. 125


Miller's thumbs 60

Minnows .60

conjectures on the reason of the sue-

cefsof minnows turning quick, note 103

Malt boiled, recommended as a ground bait

for roach and dace .... 56


Natural baits, recommended . . 114
Night lines for large eels how made . 49

how baited . . ^i

. method of laying 51

not injurious to a fishery ,53

Numerous baits rejected . , . . 102

Oak bark, decoction of, to colour silk lines,

recommended 95

Observations on the food of fish in ponds 1 1 i
rods 8,5

lines 91

floats ...... 96

hooks . . , too

baits . . . . . 102

Ointments, their insignificancy . 108

126 INDEX.

Opinion that pike will not prey on tench,

questioned * 54*


Pastes, how made 107

red, taken for a berryor salmon's spawn 102
Peas disapproved as baits for carp . 40

Perch,, their haunts 35

swim in shoals 35

Piety of Walton 48

Pike, their haunts ...... 16

the dead gorge for - - - - - 17

the dead snap ..... 24

tne superiority of, to other

methods .......27

the live snap - - - 21

the most ancient method of

angling for pike .... 23
- September and October the best months

for - - - - * - - - 16

Plumbs for barbel and eel fishing - 76

Plummets to find the depth ... 76

Pocket books for tackle - - - 74


Quill floats, directions for making - 97

INDEX. 127

Quills, to dye red - - - 99-

Receipts, curious, to allure and catch fish,

transcribed from other authors 108

the improbability of their ^uccefs 108

Reason afsigned why the dead gorge is so oft

deserted by pike, note 27

Reels for the running line, note - 12
Roach, their haunts and how to angle for 56

and dace very capricious - $j

, landing net for - 58

Rods, observations- on 85

the best made in London - - $
directions for oiling them - 82

should not be kept in too dry a room 90

the practice of steeping them in water

condemned 90

Rud bred in the fleets - . -73

instructions in angling for - 73

Ruff or pope, their haunts and how to angle

for ,59

Running line, what . - -96

not necefsary for the artificial

fly in the Trent except for salmon r ^

128 INDEX.


Salmon, their haunts and instructions in

angling for - - - 1 1

fry, how to angle for - 15

Sarcasms bestowed on anglers, why - 7
September and October the best months for

pike - ... 16

Shoes should be greased - - 79

Silk lines how coloured 95

different colours used to tie hooks with 76

Silk-worm gut, for bottom links, method of

twisting - - - - 14

Snails, white, a good bait for trout - 68

anecdote of the succefs of 68

Spikes at the but ends of rods recommend-
ed 90
fc _ .good weapons against dogs 90
Stone fly .-..71


Taylor, Mr. his scientific treatise on an-
gling - - . -115
Tench, baits, and how to angle for - 53

their healing nature questioned ,54

Things necefsary and useful for the angler 74

INBEX. 129

Trout, their haunts and baits for - 62

- few caught in the Trent ~ 62

method of angling for with a

minnow - 63

the modern hook for the minnow

condemned 6*6

another used fuccefsfullyby the

author - - -64

the common hook for minnow

fishing - 64

dibbling for 70

Warm weather, the best for making tackle

where wax is used - 81

Wasps and hornets, the young brood of,

good baits though tender - 114
Wax, the beft for making fishing tackle 8 2
Wheat, boiled - H2

Whipcord lines - - - 91

Winch or reel, note - - 12

Wood, various kinds of, used for making

rods .... 86

should be got in winter 87

Wonderful receipts to take fish, transcribed

-130 INDEX.

from other authors - 108

Worms, various kinds of - 104

the belt used in angling - 105

where found, & the method of scour-
ing and preserving them for use 105


Yew used :for tops - 83

5, & I, Ridge, Printers, iNcwark.

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Online LibraryCharles SnartPractical observations on angling in the River Trent → online text (page 5 of 5)