Copyright
J. W. (John William) Martin.

Float fishing and spinning in the Nottingham style : being a treatise on the so-called coarse fishes, with instructions for their capture ... online

. (page 1 of 17)
Online LibraryJ. W. (John William) MartinFloat fishing and spinning in the Nottingham style : being a treatise on the so-called coarse fishes, with instructions for their capture ... → online text (page 1 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


PRICE TWO SHILLINGS.



THE NOTTINGHAM

{>TYLE $ Float FisH^




Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 188, Fleet St., E,C.



BERKELEY



LIBRARY I

UNIVERSITY OF I
CALIFORNIA/




FLOAT FISHING! AND SPINNING



IN THE



NOTTINGHAM STYLE.



BOOKS ON ANGLING, &c.

FLY-FISHING SALMON, TROUT, AND GRAYLING. By Dr.

EDWAED HAMILTON. Small post 8vo, handsome paper. Illustrated, and

with a Frontispiece Etching by Dr. SEYMOUB HADEN. 6*.

Also large paper Edition, boards, 10s. 6d.
FLY-RODS AND FLY-TACKLE. Suggestions as to their Manufacture

and Use. By HENBY P. WELLS. Illustrated, small 4to, 364 pp., cloth

extra, 10*. 6d.
FISHING WITH THE FLY. Sketches by Lovers of the Art, with

Coloured Illustrations of Standard Flies, collected by CHABLBS F. OBVIS and

A. NBLSON CHENEY. Square cloth, 12s. 6d.
AN AMATEUR ANGLER'S DAYS IN DOVE DALE. Imperial

32mo, fancy boards, Is. Limp leather-cloth, gilt edges, la. 6d.
AN ANGLER'S STRANGE EXPERIENCES. By COTSWOLD ISYS, M A.

Profusely Illustrated, 4to, 5s.
BRITISH ANGLING FLIES. By MICHAEL THEAKSTON. Revised by

F. M. WALBBAN. Illustrated, crown 8vo, 5.

TROUT-FISHING IN RAPID STREAMS. By H. CTJTLIFFE. 3s. 6d.
NOTES ON FISH AND FISHING. By J. J. MANLEY, M.A. Illustrated,

crown 8vo, 6s.

ANGLING LITERATURE IN ENGLAND. Small post 8 vo, 3s. 6<Z.
FLOAT FISHING AND SPINNING IN THE NOTTINGHAM

STYLE. By J. W. MABTIN. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.
AN EVENING'S FISHING. In 18 Colours. Size, 14 in. by 10 in. After

Oil Painting by TABGETT. 5s.
THE BOOK OF THE ROACH. By GBEVILLE FBNNBLL. New Edition.

Cloth, 2s. post free.
THE BRITISH FISHERIES DIRECTORY, 1883-4. Small 8vo, cloth,

2*. 6(2.

THE WATERSIDE SHILLING SERIES. By RED SPINNEB.
No. 1. WATERSIDE SKETCHES. By "RED SPINNEB" (Wm. Senior).

Imperial 32mo, boards, 1*. post free.
FLY-TYING. By JAMES OGEN. 2. Qd.

FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES. By Col. CHAS. W. STEVENS. Illus-
trated, square crown 8vo, cloth extra, 8s. 6d. post free.
Fifth Edition, Revised and Improved, with 17 other Plates (11 plain and 6

coloured), in post 8vo, 15s., post free.

A BOOK ON ANGLING. Being a Complete Treatise on the Art of Angling
in every branch. By FBANOIS FBANCIS, of the Field.

Ninth Edition, with Twenty Coloured Plates, 8vo, 14s. post free.
RONALD'S FLY-FISHER'S ENTOMOLOGY. With Coloured repre-
sentations of the Natural and Artificial Insect, and Observations and
Instructions on Trout and Grayling Fishing.

WHERE TO GO FOR FISHING. See the "ANGLEB'S DIABY AND
TOUBIST FISHEBMAN'S GAZETTEEB" of the Rivers and Lakes of the World.
With forms for registering the fish taken during the year. Crown 8vo, 150
pages of small type, cloth, Is. Gd. t post free.



Established 1877. Every Saturday. Sixteen pages, price 2d. Annual
Subscription, post free, 10s. 6d.

THE FISHINQ GAZETTE, A Journal for Anglers.

Devoted entirely to Amateur Angling and Fish Culture.

Frequently Illustrated, Correspondence on Angling, River Reports, Articles

on all subjects of interest to Anglers, &c.

Send post card for specimen copy.



London: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIYIHGTON,

Crown Building's, 188, Fleet Street, E.G.




a. Angler's right hand holding rod just above the reel

b. Angler's left hand pulling down line in order to mi

Nottingham style. Page 41.



make a cast with light tackle in




a. Angler's right hand holding rod just above the reel.

b. Left hand pulling down two lengths of line in order to make extra long cast.

Page 41



FLOAT FISHING AND SPINNING



IN THE



NOTTINGHAM STYLE.

BEING A TREATISE ON THE SO-CALLED COAESE

FISHES, WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR

THEIR CAPTURE.

INCLUDING

CHAPTERS ON PIKE FISHING, AND WORM FISHING
FOR SALMON.

BY J. W. MARTIN,

THE "TBEWT OTTBB."



1 Ye who stand behind the counter,
Or grow pallid at the loom,
Leave the measure and the shuttle,
To the rippling stream come, come."

The Invitation.



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.
SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND ENLARGED



SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON,

CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET

1885.
\_All rights reserved, ~\



LONDON :

PRINTED BY GILBERT AND BIVINGTON, LIMITED,
ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.



II.




Angler's left hand holding the rod close to reel, with finger on the edge, to

stop the bait.
Angler's right hand holding rod. for making cast from the reel in Nottingham

style. Page 118.



r




PEE FACE.

SOME may say that there is no valid reason for another book on
fishing, there being so many already, but I would explain in
justification that there is a vast army of working-men anglers
in the kingdom, men who can only get a day's fishing occasion-
ally, and that it is to these working-men anglers I am more
particularly addressing the remarks contained in this little
volume. I myself am a working man, but I have had very
considerable experience in all kinds of Trent angling, when I
could spare the time from my work.

The large, standard, valuable books upon angling have of
necessity a vast number of pages devoted to salmon, trout,
and grayling fishing, and as a natural consequence the price
is so much that a working man, as a rule, cannot afford to
buy them. I must confess, being a working man, I was in
the same swim as my fellows in regard to these until two
or three years ago, when, owing to the great kindness of
some gentlemen, particularly R. B. Marston, Esq., the editor
of the Fishing Gazette, I have become the proud and
happy possessor of a few of these grand and valuable books.
I have a notion that a book which contains some practical
information on the art of bottom fishing would be gladly
welcomed by those to whom I have referred, or by the would-
be anglers generally, if it could be published in a cheap form.
Now I am confident enough to hope that this volume will
meet the requirements of such- persons.

The instructions given here are the results of carefully-
conned experience, and as the Trent angler is supposed to be
the most scientific of bottom fishermen in the kingdom, I
trust the novice will derive some profit from the principles I
lay down. I have expended a good deal of time in the
preparation of this work, but this has been given willingly,
the whole task in fact having been a "labour of love." I
have added a chapter on " pike fishing," and in this edition
a chapter is also added on " worm fishing for salmon in the
Nottingham style," under the impression that it also may be
useful and interesting.



289



VI PREFACE.

The extent of the pocket of the working-man angler has
been constantly before me when describing his outfit, and
there is nothing mentioned that cannot be bought or made
cheaply. Perhaps, also, the better-class anglers may derive
some instruction from this little book. The plainest possible
language has been used, so that the veriest novice can under-
stand what I mean, and I have been very particular in all
minor details, and in describing the tackle and baits, as to
how to make and find them, and when, where, and how to
use them. The feature of the book is Chapter II., and I
most respectfully request the reader to very carefully study
that chapter, for in it will be found a full description of the
outfit of a Nottingham angler, and a lot of information and
recipes that will be very valuable to the fisherman.

Chapter I. contains some facts connected with the history
of fishing, both ancient and modern, and also some notes on
the natural history of the fish. As stated elsewhere, I am
principally indebted to Mr. J. J. Manley for the latter, and
also to cuttings from various papers, &c. I regret I cannot
give the source in all cases from whence these were taken,
but I hope I shall be pardoned where I have quoted without
an acknowledgment, as the fault must be set down to inad-
vertence rather than design. However, I have mostly gone
by my own experience in the matter, especially in the prac-
tical part of the book, and shall say no more by way of an
apology, allowing my little work to stand on its merits.
Please, Sir Critic, remember, nevertheless, that I am a poor
working-man angler, with a very moderate education.

In conclusion, I must say that^the fact of a second edition
of this book being required so soon is a sufficient proof of
the popularity of the "Nottingham style," and to the esti-
mation in which that style is held by anglers in all parts of
the kingdom ; and I only hope that I have succeeded in my
task of describing the various appliances, and the method of
successfully following this scientific and deadly plan of
fishing.

JOHN WILLIAM MARTIN.

Newark, April, 1885.



CONTENT S.

CHAPTER I.

PAGE

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

CHAPTER II.
TRENT FISHING .... f ... 16

CHAPTER III.
THE CHUB 45

CHAPTER IY.
THE BARBEL 70

CHAPTER V.
THE ROACH 88

CHAPTER VI.
THE PIKE 107

CHAPTER VII.
SALMON FISHING IN THE NOTTINGHAM STYLE . . . 127

CHAPTER VIII.

THE PERCH 139



Vlll CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.

PAGE

THE BKEAM

CHAPTER X.
THE CAEP AND TENCH 152

CHAPTER XI.
THE DACE . . .157

CHAPTER XII.
EELS AND FLOUNDEKS 160

CHAPTER XIII.
THE BLEAK, GUDGEON, RUFFE, AND MINNOW . . .168

CHAPTER XIV.
FEESHWATBE FISHEEIES ACT, 1878 ... . 172

APPENDIX . ... 176
INDEX 179



BOTTOM PISHING IN THE
NOTTINGHAM STYLE.



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

AN old fisherman tells me that thirty years ago, you might
count the anglers of my native place on the fingers of one
hand, while at the present moment they may be counted by
hundreds ; and the same may be said of the other towns and
districts in the kingdom. We may safely say that anglers
have increased a thousandfold during the last half -century ;
and there is no other branch of sport or pastime that has
made such rapid strides in the same time, and 'tis well that
it is so. Civilization in its onward strides has not even
spared the fish ; and they, as time has rolled on, have become
cunning and crafty, and so craft and cunning have now to be
resorted to in order to capture them. Fifty years ago it was
comparatively easy to make a good bag of fish ; but now in
such well-fished rivers as the Trent and Thames, it is only an
artist in the craft that can do so. Then, an angler was a
rarity, met only occasionally, and looked upon as a sort of
rara-avis ; now we see him upon every length and reach,
from the youngster with his cheap rod and primitive tackle,
to the grey-haired patriarch who sits silently ledgering for
roach, and yet the vast army of British anglers are steadily
increasing, as is shown by the ever-growing demand for rods,
lines, hooks, and gut.

The great majority of our anglers belong to the working
class. Thousands who toil in our workshops and factories,



2 BOTTOM FISHING IN THE NOTTINGHAM STYLE.

stand by the flaming forge, or busy shuttle, and are slowly
poisoned by the foul, smoke-polluted air, are glad to get away
to the river side, and breathe the pure breath of heaven.
These are the men who feel the blessings of the river side,
and there is no wonder at it, after being " cabin 'd, cribb'd,
confined " in unhealthy workshops in the heart of our large
towns. These men see the beauty of the country in their
brief sojourn by the water side, where country-bred people
would fail to observe it. Probably they often wondered why
the poet-priest wrote

" Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Are clad in living green,"

when there are such beautiful fields, and sweet scenes in this
vale of tears, without having to cross the mysterious border-
land to find them. What health and vigour again have they
not drawn into their lungs, arid how invigorated do they not
feel ! and how much better can they not cope with the cares
of the world, when they go back to its duties after a day's
fishing ! These are the men, I say, who feel the benefits of
the water-side, and it is to these thousands of my fellow
working-men anglers to whom I am more particularly writing.
I am one of yourselves, only my lines have been cast in
pleasant places, and a splendid river flows as it were past my
door, so that I have had every facility for following my
favourite pastime, and I am willing to convey a little of this
knowledge to my less fortunate brethren ; in fact, it will be
their own faults if they do not know as much as I do after
following me carefully through these pages.

Most works upon angling, I have heard, are nothing but
learned discussions on the natural history of the fish (which are
all very well in their way), and when our tyro has read them
carefully, he does not know then the best way of taking the
various fish. Moreover, most works upon angling, as I have
before hinted in my preface, treat so fully of salmon, trout,
and grayling, that they don't do justice to the so-called
coarse fish. Salmon, trout, and grayling are utterly beyond
the reach of thousands of our humbler anglers, so I shall
content myself by only giving a short chapter on worm or
bottom fishing for salmon, as it is practised on the Trent, in



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 3

the hope that it may prove interesting and instructive to
those anglers who can indulge in this branch of sport, but
the so-called coarse fish will be dealt with in a most com-
plete manner. Little things connected with the natural
history of the various fish will be referred to, and they will,
I think, instruct and interest the tyro, so that he may be
able to know the habits and haunts, and also recognize the
fish when he sees it. I would also have him bear in mind
that the instructions laid down here are the results of careful
experience, from which, perhaps, the better class of anglers
who only get an occasional day by the river side may also
derive profit.

We will look for a few minutes at Sheffield, as T believe
it will be interesting to many anglers at that town, which is
the very stronghold of bottom fishers, and it is necessary to
go back twenty years or so. A busy and clever community
of nearly 200,000 souls existed then, which had made its
home in a position of unrivalled healthiness and natural
beauty ; hill and valley gave Sheffield a variety of surface ;
which lends its aid to sanitary arrangements, the rivers Don
and Sheaf meet here and mingle their waters, the town was
then not crowded, it spreads itself over twenty thousand acres
of ground, stretching ten miles in one direction and four miles
in the other. There was then actually an inhabited house
for every five inhabitants of the town. Add to this the fact
that Sheffield possessed even then a public supply of pure
water, unequalled in quality by any other town in England ;
and any one would have said at that time, " Surely here is the
place where the working man may enjoy life, uncankered by
disease, and stretching out to its natural length," yet, what
was the state of affairs then 1 There was a death-rate of
thirty-four in the thousand, ten or twelve per thousand more
than London with all its overcrowding, and double that of
the percentage of country districts throughout England ; two
or three thousand souls were killed annually in Sheffield by
unsanitary conditions, as certainly as though that number
had been gathered once a year in some horrid " black hole,"
and suffocated in their own poisoning exhalations. One
could see the alleys from which reeking and undrained cess-

B 2



4 BOTTOM FISHING IIS THE NOTTINGHAM STYLE.

pools spread the pestilence which walks by night, and rests
not by day from its mysterious work of destruction. We
heard of young men growing prematurely old, with dirty
white and sallow faces, with " dropped wrists," with an ever-
present feeling of illness, strange blue lines encircling their
teeth, shortness of breath, stooping and bent frames, and of
consumption and paralysis. We heard of children driven to
the "hulls," to learn to work before they had time to learn
to play ; we heard of death in certain trades when the workers
reached thirty or thirty-five, and in others, though they lived
somewhat longer, they were robbed of twenty or twenty- five
years of natural life. All these things make such a picture
that we never forget it, and we have or seem to have a vivid
conception of the strange results of British freedom and civi-
lization, and we could seem to see then baby faces in the
agonies of premature death ; sixty-one poor innocents out of a
hundred under five years of age dying in one year in Sheffield
was a ghastly chorus to the song of that empire on which
the sun never sets. But now we find a great change has
come over Sheffield, though there is still room for improve-
ment. We cannot wonder that the men of Sheffield with
such a picture as I have described thrust before their faces,
should try by every means in their power to better their con-
dition, physically speaking, and we cannot wonder that they
should take to fishing to counteract the evils I have just
spoken of. But great difficulties lay in the way of the
Sheffield anglers. There was no stream near that place in
which they could ply, or that fish could live in, and so they
had to go further afield, and a vast majority chose the Trent
and the Witham as their hunting-ground. In spite, how-
ever, of all the difficulties they had to contend with, perhaps
in no other town in England has angling and its attendant
associations made such rapid progress as in Sheffield ; we hear
that there are over two hundred and twenty angling clubs
there, and that the anglers themselves have been estimated at
nearly ten thousand. This fact alone speaks volumes for the
popularity of angling ; the social and sanitary condition of
Sheffield have altered for the better since the time of the
gloomy picture I have drawn, and one of the brightest signs



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

of the social elevation of the workers of Sheffield are these
numbers of angling clubs that have sprung up in all direc-
tions, in which they can tell one another of their various
exploits, and plan some fresh adventure. Now, as I pointed
out further back, the vast majority of these anglers are bottom
fishers, and some of them are considered to be the best roach
and dace fishermen in the country, and they spend a lot of
time in their avocation. But by far the greater number are
those who can only steal a day occasionally, and with these a
visit to the river side is like the visit of an angel, remarkably
infrequent.

Not only Sheffield boasts of this, but most other populous
towns share in the general advancement, from "John o'
Groat's " to Land's End, and from the coast of Lincolnshire
to the Isle of Man.

I am afraid I have made a terrible digression, but my
readers must forgive me, for I could not help alluding to the
social condition of Sheffield and its connection with the
angling world.

The history of angling seems to go a long way back, and
to be nearly lost in the mists of antiquity, for we read of it
in the earlier sections of the Bible, and in the records of
ancient Egypt and Assyria, the seat of powerful empires
and a civilized people. The story of Antony and Cleopatra
is of course known to most anglers, wherein Cleopatra sent
her own diver down to hang a dried fish on Antony's hook,
which he pulled up to his utter confusion. Shakespeare, it
will be remembered, immortalizes this incident in his play,
" Antony and Cleopatra." I have read also somewhere that
the Chinese practise this plan habitually. The rocks and
stones at the bottom of the sea on the Chinese coast, it
appears, are covered with small shell fish ; two men go out
to fish one holds a line, attached to which is a baited
hook; the other, a diver, takes the hook and a hammer,
and dives to the bottom, and there he begins cracking and
knocking to pieces the masses of shell fish. The fish draw
round to feed ; the diver selects his fish, and literally
thrusts the hook into its mouth, and his friend above pulls
it up.



6 BOTTOM FISHING IN THE NOTTINGHAM STYLE.

It seems to be difficult to determine when angling really
did not exist, for in the Book of Job we read, "Canst thou
draw out leviathan with a hook 1 or his tongue with a cord
which thou lettest down 1 Canst thou put an hook into his
nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?" (By this
last word we should presume that hooks were then made of
hard wood, or at least some of them.) In the prophet
Habakkuk also we find fish being taken " with the angle,"
and in Isaiah of "those that cast the hook into the
river."

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Eomans certainly were
anglers, for passages from the writings of some of the
most ancient authors indicate the fact. Homer tells us,

" Of beetling rocks that overhang the flood,
Where silent anglers cast insidious food,
With fraudful care await the finny prize,
And sudden lift it quivering to the skies."

It would thus appear that the tackle used in those days was
very strong, or it would not have stood this sudden strain
which the lines quoted above would give us to understand
occurred.

(It is of course a familiar sight to see youths just beginning
their fishing career, when they have hooked a small fish,
heave it out as though their very lives depended on sending
it flying into the next meadow.)

Oppian says also,

" A bite ! hurrah ! the length'ning line extends,
Above the tugging fish the arch'd reed bends,
He struggles hard and noble sport will yield,
My liege, ere wearied out he quits the field."

And the ancients, too, were fly-fishers as well as bottom
fishers, as the following interesting passage from Julian
shows :

" The Macedonians who live on the banks of the River
Astreus are in the habit of catching a particular fish in that
river by means of a fly called hippurus. A very singular
insect it is ; bold and troublesome like all its kind, in size a
hornet, marked like a wasp, and buzzing like a bee. These



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 7

flies are the prey of certain speckled fish, which no sooner
see them settling on the water than they glide gently beneath,
and before the hippurus is aware, snap at and carry him as
suddenly under the stream as an eagle will seize and bear
aloft a goose from a farm-yard, or a wolf take a sheep from
its fold. The predilection of these speckled fish for their
prey, though familiarly known to all who inhabit the dis-
trict, does not induce the angler to attempt their capture by
impaling the living insect, which is of so delicate a nature
that the least handling would spoil its colour and appearance,
and render it unfit as a lure. But adepts in the sport have
contrived a taking device to circumvent them ; for which
purpose they invest the body of the hook with purple wool,
and having adjusted two wings of a waxy colour, so as to
form an exact imitation of the hippurus, they drop these
abstruse cheats gently down the stream. The scaly pursuers
who hastily rise and expect nothing less than a dainty bait,
snap the decoy, and are immediately fixed to the hook."
Indeed, hundreds of years before Antony and Cleopatra
amused themselves by angling, the craft was practised in
different countries, for representations of fish and fishing
have been found upon some of the oldest temples, and most
venerable remains. In savage and uncivilized countries also
instruments of angling are found very rude, but still effective
for the wants of those employing them, thus showing that
the various arts used in fishing must have had a primitive
and almost universal invention. Enough has been said about
ancient angling, and I will now therefore turn to a more
modern period. Angling can claim the distinction of being
one of the first subjects treated of in a printed book, for
within ten years of the first book printed in England by
Caxton there appeared the famous " Boke of St. Albans,"
attributed to Dame Juliana Berners, or Baines, Prioress of
Sop well, near St. Albans. It was published by Wynkyn de
"Worde in A.D. 1486, and contained chapters on hunting,
hawking, horses, and coat-armour, and also one on fishing,
which was thus introduced, " Here begynnyth the treatyse
of fysshynge with an Angle." This was the first contribu-
tion to angling literature ; and I believe it was not until an



8 BOTTOM FISHING IN THE NOTTINGHAM STYLE.

interval of a hundred years that any other work made its
appearance, which came then in the shape of Leonard
Mascall's " Booke of Fishing with Hooke and Line," about
the year 1590. A few more writers of more or less note
followed Mascall, until the year 1653, when the well-known
work of Izaak Walton was first published under the title of
" The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Kecrea-
tion." During Walton's lifetime five editions of his book
were published. (A few years ago, at a public sale, these


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryJ. W. (John William) MartinFloat fishing and spinning in the Nottingham style : being a treatise on the so-called coarse fishes, with instructions for their capture ... → online text (page 1 of 17)