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Full text of "The experienced angler"

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THE 



EXPERIENCED ANGLER. 



COL. ROBERT VENABLES. 



The Experienced Angler, a little book, written by Colonel Robert Venables, is 
now before me. The perusal of it calls to memory the days of youth, the guileless 
scenes of earlier life, spent with innocent companions, in 
" Delightful walks by pleasant rivers, in sweet pastures, and among odoriferous flowers." 

Tlie concluding observation in this little book applies to all readers: "Make 
not a daily practice, which is nothing else but a profession, of any recreation ; lest 
your immoderate love and delight therein bring a cross with it, and blast all your 
content and pleasure in the same.'' 

I mention this entertaining work, becanse Izaak Walton, has prefixed to it, not 
a preface, but an Epistle to the Author, who was personally unknown to him. 
Having accidentally seen the discourse in manuscript, he held himself obliged, in 
point of gratitude, for the great advantage he had received thereby, to tender his 
particular acknowledgement. 

The testimony of so expert an Angler could not fail of recommending it . 

Dr. Zouch, Prebendary of Durham. 



EMBELLISHED WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS OF FISH. 



T. GOSDEN, 

MDCCCXXVII. 



V44 



% 



TO HIS INGENIOUS FRIEND THE AUTHOR, 
ON HIS 

ANGLING IMPROyED. 

Honoured Sir, 

Though I never, to my knowledge, had the happiness 
to see your face, yet accidentally coming to a vieta of this 
discourse before it went to the press; I held myself 
obliged in point of gratitude for the great advantage I 
received thereby, to tender you my particular acknowledg- 
ment, especially having been for thirty years past, not 
only a lover but a practiser of that innocent recreation, 
wherein by your judicious precepts I find myself fitted 
for a higher form; which compression I take the boldness 
to use, because I have read and practised by many books 
of this kind, formerly made public; from which, although 
I received much advantage in the practice, yet, without 
prejudice to their worthy Authors, I could never find in 
them that height of judgment and Reason, which you 
have manifested in this, as I may call it, epitome of An- 
gling ; since my reading whereof I cannot look upon some 
notes of my own gathering , but methinks I do puerilia 
tractare. But lest I should be thought to go about to 
magnify my own judgment, in giving yours so small a 
portion of its due, I humbly take leave with no more am- 
bition than to kiss your hand, and to be accounted 

Your Humble and 

Thankful Servant, 

ISAAC WALTON. 



ivi846418 



MEMOIR 

OF 

COL. ROBERT VENABLES. 



Of the author. Colonel Robert Venables, but little is 
known, and that little not very satisfactory. Among 
the Manuscripts in the Harleian Collection, are several 
Pedigrees of the Families of Venables : particularly in 
that marked M393, f. 39,' where the great ancestor of 
Venables is stated to have been Gabriel Venables, who 
came over with William the Conqueror, and aftenvards 
received the Earldom of Kinderton, in Cheshire, from 
Hugh Lupus. Another Manuscript, No. 2059, recites 
a deed from one of the family, residing at Northwich, 
as early as anno 1260. 

But reverting more immediately to the subject 
of this notice, the Harleian Manuscript * 1993, f. 52.' 
contains a paper, partly in the hand writing of Colonel 
Venables, which furnishes a detailed account of the 
time he served in the Parliament Army in Cheshire, 
and of the pay due to him from 1643 to 1646. From 
this authority it appears, that in 1644 he was made 
Governor of Chester; and from other sources we leara, 
that in 1645, he was Governor of Tarvin. In 1649, he 
was Commander in Chief of the Forces in Ulster, in 
Ireland, and had the towns of Lisnegarvy, Antrim, and 

b 



U MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

Belfast delivered to him. His actions in the sister 
kingdom, are recited in an excessively rare book, en- 
titled 'A History, or Briefe Chronicle of the Chief 
Matters of the Irish Warres,' printed at London, in 
1650, 4to. 

From this period no trace of him is discoverable, 
and it is probable that he was unemployed, until Crom- 
well, at the instigation of Cardinal Mazarine, fitted out 
a fleet for the conquest of Hispaniola, in 1654, when 
Colonel Venables, and Admiral Penn, were invested 
vdth the command of that armament. It appears how- 
ever, to have been undertaken in an evil hour, and a 
contemporary manuscript in the Editor's possession, and 
which has not been printed till now, furnishes the most 
valuable information respecting the disasters which 
they underwent. The manuscript is evidently ad- 
dressed to some one, and it commences : — 

Sir, 

The opinion I was of, in that 

discourse we had at , touching the Western 

Voyage of the English in 1654. I have been since 
abundantly confirmed in, by the perusal of some 
Papers and Memoirs of a Person of no mean character 
thi'oughout that action, whose employment gave him 
opportunity to know all, at least the most consider- 
able of its transactions, and I have reason to be- 
lieve, by the account I have had of him, he was 
sufficiently able to take his measures of them aright. 
The substance of what I gathered from his notes, and 



ROBERT VENABLES. 



from orders of the Councils of War, as well of the 
Commissioners, and from declarations of the Army, 
and letters from persons who held posts in that Army, 
all which I had the favour to inspect, I will here faith- 
fully present you with. For indeed I am very desirous 
to beget in you the same sentiments of that affair, 
which I have, I think, with good reason entertained. 
And the rather, because the course you design to steer 
will give you opportunity of converse with those per- 
sons, who are most inquisitive after, as most concerned 
to know, matters of this nature 5 and yet, perhaps, 
under greater mistakes in this particular, than any 
others. 

It was doubtless, none of the least ends which that 
fox, Oliver, had in that design; to rid himself of some 
persons whom he could neither securely employ, nor 
safely discard : which end seemed chiefly to influence 
the managery of the whole business, as you will per- 
ceive by the story. 

It was pretended at first it should be carried on 
with great secrecy; but the delay was so great, and 
thereby the notice of it so public, as alarmed the Spa- 
niards to provide for their reception. Venables moved 
to have had soldiers for this service drawn out of the 
Irish Army, which he had been well acquainted with; 
but it was peremptorily denied, and they were ap- 
pointed to be drawn out of the army in England, whose 
officers generally gave out of their several companies 
the rawest and worst armed they had. And these being 
hastily shipped off at Portsmouth, the chief of the land 



IT MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

officers, who were to go with them, were never suffered 
to rendezvous, or see together till they came to Barba- 
does, where they arrived January 29, 1 654-5. Here they 
found them to want 500 of the number promised, being 
but 2500 men in all, and not above half of those well 
armed. And though they had been assured they should 
find 1500 arms at Barbadoes, yet they could not there 
make up 200 arms ; and all the help they had was to 
make half-pikes, wherein, and in fixing those arms they 
had, they met with some difficulty, their smith's tools 
being on board their store ships, which were not yet 
come to them. For those ships took in their provisions 
at London, and they were promised should meet them 
at Portsmouth, and there they were told that they 
should reach them at Barbadoes ; which yet they did 
not, nor till at least six months after. So that much of 
the provision, which was defective at first taking in, 
was by that time grown very corrupt. 

While they staid at Barbadoes it was plainly dis- 
covered that not only the inhabitants there were against 
the general design, but that the seamen bandied against 
the land-men, and gave them not that assistance and 
furtherance which was in their power. Notwithstand- 
ing the land-soldiers great want of arms, Penn and the 
sea-officers would not be prevailed with to furnish them 
with any, nor so much as to lend them a pike or a 
lance; though he had above 1200 of the former to 
spare, and great numbers of the latter were put aboard 
on purpose for the army to kill cows with. At their 
leaving that place, the seamen had their full allow- 



ROBERT VENABLES. V 

ance of victuals and brandy on their fish-days ; when 
the land-men had for four days in the week, but half 
their proportions, the other three fish-days, only bread 
and water. 

In this condition they left Barbadoes, March the 
last, 1655. By the way they touched at St. Christo- 
pher's, whence they took aboard a regiment of soldiers, 
who had been raised in that island; among whom they 
were pleased to find two Englishmen, Cox and Bounty, 
who had then lately come from Hispaniola, where the 
former had lived twelve years, and served as a gunner 
in the castle of St. Domingo. 

Now when they were far out at sea, a dormant 
commission, not before discovered, was broken up, 
whereby two others, Winslow and Butler, were joined 
in commission, and equally empowered, with the two 
generals Venables and Penn; and nothing was to be 
done without their joint advice and orders: yea, when 
on shore, Venables, (though he had by his own com- 
mission a command of all the land-forces in chief,) yet 
he was by this commission restrained from acting any 
thing without the concurrence of the commissioners, 
or such one, or more, of them as was present with him. 
A great debate now arose between these Commissioners 
about dividing the lion's skin, before he was caught, 
which occasioned much heat among them, and gave 
great dissatisfaction to the soldiers. There was a clause 
in this joint commission, that all prizes and booties got 
by sea or land should be at the disposal of the commis- 
sioners, for the advance of the present service and de- 



VI MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

sijB^. This the greater part of the Commissioners 
judged was to be extended to all sorts of pillage. Ve- 
nables thought it was meet to interpret it only of ships 
and their lading, and large quantities of treasure and 
goods in towns and forts : and that to extend it to all 
booty, by whomsoever got, would be both impossible 
to put in execution, and hugely disgustful to the sol- 
dier to attempt. When he could not prevail to have 
his sense of this hard clause pass, he propounded a 
middle way: that none should conceal or retain any 
arms, money, plate, jewels, or goods, to his private 
use, on pain of forfeiting his share in the whole, &c. 
but that all should be brought in unto officers, chosen 
by mutual consent, and sworn to be faithful therein ; 
and then distribution to be made to each man accord- 
ing to his quality and desert. And agreeably thereto 
he framed both an order for the Commissioners to sign, 
and a declaration for the officers of the army to sub- 
scribe, testifying their submission to the order, and 
that they would endeavour that all under their re- 
spective commands should observe it; and further, 
that when their several pays should be discharged, they 
would acquiesce in the disposal of the surplus by the 
Commissioners, either in rewards to the deserving, or 
in necessaries for the public service, &c. This the 
Commissioners so far approved as to appoint it to be 
writ fair, and copies made, for each regiment one. llie 
officers and soldiers were also content, and satisfied 
therewith; but when it came to the point, only Vena- 
blee and Penn signed the order, and so the declaration 



ROBERT VENABtES. Vll 

fell too. Which surely was a ^eat oversight in the 
Commissioners who refused, for by this means they 
would have soothed and pleased the army with a fair 
flourish, but in reality had by common consent ob- 
tained the whole to be at their own disposal. 

Then the Commissioners propounding a fort- 
night's pay to the soldiery instead of the pillage of St. 
Domingo, the chief city of Hispaniola, Venables pre- 
vailed with them to be content with six weeks pay. 
But when that would not be yielded to by the Commis- 
sioners, he requested the officers and soldiers, without 
Btanding on any terms, to venture their lives with him, 
and trust to Providence for the issue and reward; 
which they agreed unto for that time, but withal many 
of them declared they would never strike stroke more, 
where there should be commissioners thus to controul 
the general and soldiers, but would forthwith return 
for England. 

By this time they drew near to Hispaniola; the 
land general and officers were for running the fleet into 
the harbour of St. Domingo, but they of the fleet op- 
posed it, Penn assured them there was a bomb which 
would hinder their advance; though Cox, being called 
in, said he believed there was none, yea, declared among 
the soldiers, that he conceived the harbour was incapa- 
ble of any thing of that kind. During the debate 
about this matter. Captain Crispin, who commanded a 
frigate, offered to venture the running in of his vessel 
into the harbour, and bore up so near as to fire on the 
castle of St. Domhigo, and discovered nothing of any 



Vm MEMOIR OP COLONEL 

bomb^ or other obstruction, as he after declared ; yet 
was he commanded off by Penn. Then they of the army 
resolved at a council of war, among other things, that 
one regiment staying to land to the east of the city, 
which fell by lot to Col. Butler ; the rest of the army 
should land some miles distant at the river Hine, the 
place where Drake landed, and force the fort which stood 
at the mouth of it : yet they of the fleet carried the army 
westward to Point Nizas, whence they had to march 
above thirty miles north to the city, through a strange, 
woody, and very hot country, where no water could be 
found, and many of them had but two days victuals 
delivered them from the fleet, none above three. The 
inean while Cox, who was designed to be guide to the 
land forces, had been sent by Penn a fishing, and was 
not returned, nor could be heard of at the landing; in 
the want of him, Venables desired to have had Bounty, 
or Femes, who also was acquainted with the Island, 
but Penn would not part with either of them. 

So soon as they were landed, the Commissioners 
appointed the publishing of an order against plundering, 
and that all pillage should be brought in unto a com- 
mon store ', but therein gave Venables liberty to pro- 
mise the soldiers, in case the city should be taken by 
storm, six weeks pay, or a moiety of the pillage, ex- 
cepting arms, ammunition, and such like : or in case it 
should be surrendered, three weeks pay, or a third of 
the pillage. This was signed by Penn/ Winslow, and 
Butler. 

The soldiers, who were before disgusted, were by 



ROBERT VENABLES. UL 

this exasperated into mutiny. A sea regiment, which 
came ashore, was the first that laid down arms ; and by 
their example all the rest. And much ado Venables 
had in any sort to pacify them ; at last they were per- 
suaded to march, though with much discontent : and 
in that unsatisfied, mutinying humour, they marched 
four days without any guide, tormented with heat, 
hunger and thirst, when they might have landed at the 
place best fitted for attack, fresh on the first day, 

Tlie mean while Col. Buller had, according to 
his order, essayed to land eastward of the city ; but find- 
ing no place for it, was afterwards appointed by the 
Commissioners to land at Hine river, but with express 
order not to stir thence till the army came up. Ac- 
cordmgly he landed on Monday, April 17, and with 
him Col. Houldip, and 500 of his regiment, having Cox 
in their company. At their approaching, the Spaniards 
abandoned the fort near the river mouth, leaving two 
great guns dismounted, and the walls, as much as their 
haste would allow, dismantled. This encouraged Bul- 
ler to pursue them towards the city; but in the narro\v 
passes of the woods, he missed his way, and came to 
some plantations vacant and waterless, purposing there 
to expect the army : yet next morning sent out a party 
to descry the fort St. Hieronimo, who exposed them- 
selves too much to view, and alarmed the Spaniards. 

Soon after Buller had marched from the fort 
where he landed, the army came to the other side of 
the river Hme, but could not pass it, wanting a guide 
to- shew them the ford, which induced them to march 

c 



X Ml^MOlR OP COLONEL 

five miles up the river, seeking one ; and at last, the 
day being spent, they were forced to quarter that night 
without either food or good fresh water. Next day, 
after three miles march more, a ford was found, and 
the river passed, and they had not gone far, when a 
farm with water chancing in their way, gave them great 
refreshment. Where making a halt, and consulting 
what was meet for them to do, they resolved to go to 
the fleet at the harbour for provision for their hungry 
men; to which an Irishman, then brought in by some 
stratagem, offered to guide them the shortest way. 
And though Venables was jealous of him, and would 
not have heeded him, yet Commissioner Butler would 
have him followed, and charged them by virtue of their 
instructions so to do; and follow him they did, till a 
fruitless march three or four miles the contrary way, 
proved hun a liar. At last, hearing BuUer's drums, 
they made towards him, and met with him near the 
strong fort, St. Hieronimo, a regular and well fortified 
pier, in the road to the city. Venables being at this 
time in the van, which he had^ldd all their long march, 
went himself with the guide, for the officers being all 
very weary, were willing to be excused; to search the 
woods before the army, and discovered the Spaniards in 
ambush, before they stirred ; who presently, thereupon 
advancing, the English forlorn immediately fired upon 
them too hastily and at too much distance, which gave 
the Spaniards advantage to fall in with them with their 
lances, before they could charge again, and so gave 
them some disorder, and killed some officers ; among 



ROBERT VENABLES. XI 

whom, to their ^eat loss. Captain Cox perished; but 
the English quickly recovering themselves, beat the 
enemy back, and pursued them within cannon shot of 
the city. 

These weary spent men, drawn on by their eager- 
ness to this skirmish, forgot that thirst, which, so soon 
as the pursuit was over, they fainted under; many, both 
men and horse, dying on the place for very thirst. 
Venables, being much endangered at this action in the 
route of the forlorn, was earnestly entreated and pressed 
by the officers not to hazard himself so again, but to 
march with the body. This over, they called a council of 
war, where, considering their want of match, which >va& 
spent to three or four inches, and of provision, which 
all had been without two days, and some longer, and had 
no other sustenance but what fruits the woods afforded; 
they once again resolved to return to their ships, which 
the Irishman's relation, and Commissioner Butler's pe- 
remptory charge had diverted them from, and caused 
them to lose many men and horses with thirst and hun- 
ger in marching back that way, which otherwise had 
been saved. 

Some four or five days were spent at the harbour 
in refreshing the tired, fainting soldiery, and taking new 
resolutions for a second march and charge. Wherein, 
they could not well be more speedy, for Penn and Win- 
slow, two of the Commissioners, keeping at sea with the 
fleet, (which rode some leagues off from the fort by 
Hine river,) and refusing to come ashore, Venables, 
though then ill with the flux, w^s forced to make many 



XU MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

dangerous passages to and from them in small Brigan- 
tines for their concurring counsel, which often differing, 
caused much delay, and gave the Spaniards time to ga- 
ther heart and strength for better defence. The com- 
mon soldiers this mean while, were but ill treated from 
the fleet. Those that by sickness or wounds in the last 
action, were disabled for further service, (they having no 
tents or carriages ashore to dispose of them in) were sent 
a ship board, and there they were kept forty-eight hours 
on the bare decks, without either meat, drink, or dress- 
ing; that worms bred in their wounds, which would 
soon be in that hot country, and some of them by that 
very usage perished, particularly one Captain Levering- 
ton, a brave man. The others ashore being furnished 
with the worst, and most mouldy of the biscuits; no beef, 
altogether uriwatered, and no brandy to cheer their 
spirits ; had their thirst greatly enraged, which that ri- 
ver, even where it was fresh, yet coming from copper, 
rather augmented than assuaged. And this usage and 
diet, together with the extraordinary rains that fell on 
their imsheltered bodies, cast them all into violent 
fluxes ; sorry encouragements and preparatives for a se- 
cond attempt, which yet was at last resolved on. 

Tuesday, April 25. They had with them one 
mortar-piece, and two drakes, in the drawing whereof, 
and carrying of mattocks, spades, and calabashes of 
fresh water, the strongest men were employed till all 
were reduced to almost a like weakness ; and the cruel 
sea-officers offered them no more brandy with them, than 
would be about a good spoonful to a man. One night 



ROBERT VENABLES. XUl 

they lodged in the woods ; the next day they advanced 
toward the fort of St. Hieronimo, which they resolved 
to attack, being in their way, about a mile from the 
town, and not fit to leave at their backs. 

April 26. Adjutant General Jackson had this day 
the command of the forlorn, consisting of four hundred 
men ; in the van whereof, he put Captain Butler, and 
himself brought up the rear. Also he marched without 
any wings on either hand to search the woods, and dis- 
cover ambushes, which was expressly contrary both to 
order, and their daily practice throughout their whole 
march from Point Nizas. With the forlorn thus ma- 
naged, and all ready to faint with thirst, having marched 
eight miles without water, in a narrow pass in the thick 
woods, where but six could well march abreast, they 
fell into an ambuscado of the Spaniards, who suffered 
the forlorn all to march within them, and then charged 
them both in van and flank. Captain Butler with the 
van undauntedly received the charge, and in order, fired 
again, and all Of them stood till he fell ; but the rear ran 
away without abiding a charge, Jackson himself being 
the first man that turned his back. Venables, his regi- 
ment, with Ferguson his Lieutenant Colonel in the head 
of them, being next, charged their pikes on Jackson and 
his flying men ; but they being too well resolved to 
be stopt, first routed that regiment, and then most of 
Heanes's regiment. These all came violently upon 
the sea regiment, which was led by Venables and Good- 
son, then Vice-Admiral, who with their swords forced the 
runaways into the woods, choosing rather to kill, than 



XIV MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

be routed by them. At the same time, which much ad- 
vantaged them, the rear part of Heanes's regiment hav- 
ing opened and drawn themselves on either side into the 
woods, counterflanked the Spaniards, and charged their 
ambuscadoes, which the Spaniards perceiving, and that 
the sea regiment advanced unrouted, retreated. The 
English then charged them afresh, pursued them, and 
beat them back beyond the fort, and so regained the 
bodies of the slain, and the place of fight, which ground 
Ihey kept the rest of that day, and the night following, 
though the guns from the fort all that time, as well as 
during the skirmish, played hotly upon them, and killed 
sometimes eight or nine at a shot. 

In this action, the valiant Heanes, major general, 
and Ferguson before mentioned, and such other officers 
of those regiments as knew not what it was to fly, fell 
by the swords and lances of the Spaniards ; and many 
common soldiers with them. 

The English now about the fort, Venables com- 
manded to assault it, and that to that enxi, they should 
play the mortar-piece against it, and had it drawn up for 
that purpose. But he himself being before brought 
very low with his flux, the toil of the day had so far 
spent him, that he could not stand or go but as supported 
by two ; and in that manner he moved from place to 
place, to encourage the men to stand, and to plant it. 
But the latter he could not prevail on, neither by com- 
mands, entreaties, or offers of rewards. At last, faint- 
ing among them, he was carried off, and Fortescue, who 
succeeded major general, in the stead of Heanes, took 



ROBERT VENABLES. Xf 

the command, who laboured much also to get the mor- 
tar-piece planted, but \^thout any effect. For the spirits 
of the English soldiers were so sunk, by their want of 
water and provisions, the excessive heat, and their great 
sickness occasioned thereby, that not any one upon any 
account could be got to plant it. Night drawing on, 
whilst the soldiers buried the dead, they called a council 
of war of all the colonels, and field officers, where it 
was agreed, no man dissenting, that the difficulties of 
thirst were not to be overcome, and that if they staid 
there, though they beat the enemy, they must perish for 
want of water. Whereupon, it was resolved to retreat 
next morn at sun rise, if the mortar-piece could not 
play before. The morning came, and no place found 
to plant the mortar-piece, nor men that would work, the 
guns from the fort beating them off from every place, 
they buried their shells, drew off their mortar-piece, 
drakes, spades, &c. and making a strong rear-guard, re- 
treated to their ships at the harbour. 

In this attempt against the fort, the common sol- 
diers shewed themselves so extremely heartless, that 
they only followed their officers to charge, and left them 
there to die, unless they were as nimble footed as them- 
selves. And of all others, the planters, whom they had 
raised in those parts, were the worst, being only forward 
to do mischief; men sq debauched as not to be kept 
under discipline, and so cowardly as not to be made to 
fight. 

Being come to the harbour, they betook themselves 
to the examination and punishment of the cowardice of 



XVI MEMOIR OP COLONEL 

some, and of divers miscarriages and disorders of others. 
Jackson was accused. 

1 That contrary to express order, he had marched 
without any to search the woods. 

2. That he took but. few pikes, and those he 
placed in the rear, as if he feared only his own party. 

3. That he put others in the van, and himself 
brought up his rear. 

4. That he was the first man that run, and when 
there was a stop, he opened his, way with both hands to 
get foremost. 

These being proved before a council of war, he 
was sentenced to be cashiered: his sword broken over 
his head : and he made a swabber to keep the hospital 
ship clean, which was executed accordingly. And well 
it might, for sure it was much gentler than he deserved.* 

• The Revolution in England, having necessarily raised great 
numbers of individuals to the rank of oflBcers, from the lowest sta- 
tions, a kind of equality reigned among the soldiery. The following 
instance of that equality is a curious fact, and displays equally the 
republican manners, and uncivilized spirit of that age. 

Adjutant-GeneralJackson, who had been the first to run during 
the engagement, was tried by acouit-martial, convicted of cowardice, 
cashiered with ignominy, and condemned to serve as a swabber on 
board the hospital-ship!! — General Venables, with a naivet^ common 
to the writers of that age, which, though seldom respectable, is always 
pleasing, makes the following observations on this sentence. After 
mentioning the terms of it, he adds, " And justly, — for the benefit of 
the sick and wounded, who owed their sufferings to his mis-behaviour. 
A sentence too gentle for so notorious an otfender, against whom 
some of the Colonels made a complaint (or whoring and drunkenness 
at Barbadoes ; but not being able to prove the fact, he escaped ; 
though considering his former course of life, the presumptions were 
strong, he and a woman lodging in one chamber, and not any other 
person with either , which was enough to induce a belief of his o^'ence , 



ROBERT VENABLES. XVll 

A Serjeant also, who in the skirmish threw down 
his arms, crying, "gentlemen, shift for yourselves, we 
are all lost ;*' and ran away, was hanged. Other offen- 
ces met with meet punishments. 

Now the business was, to consult what was next 
to be done. Commissioner Winslow came ashore to 
press for a third attempt, which the officers of the army 
would not be persuaded to undertake ; for they all, with 
one consent, declared they would not lead on their men, 
saying, they would never be got to march up to that 
place again; or if they did, they would not follow them 
to a charge, but they freely offered to regiment them- 
selves, and to live and die together. Whereupon, the 
Commissioners judging it needful to try to raise the 
soldiers by some success in a smaller exploit, resolved 
to attempt some other plantation, and at last Jamaica 
was pitched on to be the place. 

During this debate, the soldiers on land were in 
great want and streights; for though all their provision 
was spent, yet Pemi forbiade any supply to be sent them 

he, having two wives in England, and standing guilty of forgery; all 
which I desired Major-General Worsley in joining with me to ac- 
quaint his Highness (Crorriwell) with, that he might be taken oflF, and 
not sufifered to go with me, lest he should bring a curse on us, as I 
feared. But his Highness would not hear us. — After this, both per- 
jury and forgery were proved against him, in the case of a Colonel or 
General, at Barbadoes, ruined by him, by that means. Upon the 
complaint, and with the advice of the said General, I rebuked him 
privately ; which he took so distastely, that as it afterwards appeared, 
he studied and endeavoured nothing but mutiny; and found fit matter 
to work upon, as with an army that has neither pay nor pillage, arms 
nor ammunition, nor victuals, is not difficult: but this I came to un- 
derstand afterwards," — Venables' Narrative* 

d 



XVm MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

from the fleet, that their scarcity, yea, famine, grew so 
high, that they ate all the horses, asses, and dogs in the 
camp ; yea, some ate such poisonous food, that they fell 
dead instantaneously. But beyond all this, a motion 
was made, that setting sail for England, the soldiers, 
Vhom they of the fleet usually called dogs, should be 
left ashore to the mercy of the enemy ; which motion, 
Venables in behalf of the land-men, stiffly opposed, de- 
testing so great inhumanity. Yet the soldiers were so 
apprehensive of such a trick, that when they came to go 
aboard, their officers would not suffer the sea regiment, 
which was on shore, to be first shipped, lest they should 
be so left in the lurch. 

The fifth day after they set sail from Hispaniola, 
they came before Jamaica, where remembering the 
cowardice of the soldiers, which if not experienced, 
would scarce have been believed so great in Englishmen, 
they published an order against runaways, that the next 
man to any that offered to run, should kill him, or be 
tried for his own life. Which done, Penn and Venables 
placed themselves in the martin galley, and sailed up 
to the fort, and played upon it with their great guns, as 
it did upon them all the time tliat the soldiers were 
getting into the flat bottomed boats. Which so soon as 
they had done, a fresh gale of wind arose, which drove 
the boats directly upon the fort; this the Spaniards 
seeing, and a major, their best soldier, being disabled by 
a shot from the martin galley, they were so daunted 
that they took to their heels, and left the fort to the 
English. The army finding fresh water here, and fear- 



ROBERT VENABLES. XIX 

ing to advance further, lest (it being then three o'clock) 
they should in a strange country, and without guides, be 
inconveniently overtaken vv^ith night, in some place 
where they might be more exposed to the enemies as- 
saults, and beating up their quarters, they resolved to 
stay at that fort, and landing place that night, and rest- 
their weak and sick men. Next morning they marched 
early, and about noon, came to a Savanna near the chief 
town of the island, St. Jago, where two or three Spa- 
niards appeared at a distance, making some signals of 
civility. The like number of English was sent to them, 
upon which they rode away, but making a stand, one 
was sent to them to know what they desired ; they an- 
swered, * a treaty.* The English, replied, they would 
treat when they saw any impowered thereunto. After 
some time, a priest and a major were sent from the 
town. The English as an introduction to the treaty, 
first demanded to have one hmidred cows, with cassavia 
bread proportionably, sent them immediately; and so 
daily while the treaty lasted. Cows were sent in, but 
no bread 3 that being, as they said, scarce with them. 
Whereupon Commissioners were appointed on both sides 
to treat, and in conclusion, the Spaniards yielded to ren- 
der the island and all in it, and all ships in the havens 
unto the English ; the Spaniards and inhabitants having 
their lives granted them, and such as would, to be at li- 
berty by a certain day to depart the island, but to take 
nothing, save their wearing apparel, and their books,, 
and writings with them. 



X3t MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

Articles of agreement to this purpose being sign- 
ed on both sides, the Eno^Ush for their true performance, 
demanded and had the Governor of the island, and the 
Spanish Commissioners for hostages; and so they 
seemed to be in a fair way of settlement, with little ado. 
Yet after this, a colonel among the Spaniards, who had 
no good will to the governor, and was a man of inte- 
rest among the commonalty, persuaded them to drive 
all the cattle away to the mountains, and thereby starve 
out the English. Which being understood, one of the 
Spanish Commissioners, Don Acosta, a Portuguese, sent 
his priest, an understanding negro, to dissuade them 
from their purpose. But they being resolute, and in- 
stigated by the colonel, hanged the negro, which en^ 
raged Acosta, and to be revenged on them for the death 
of his priest, whom he loved, advised the English that 
the cattle must necessarily, in a while, come down into 
the plains to drink. And by his direction, the English 
recovered the cattle, and prevented their mischief. 

After this an order was published, that no private 
soldier should go out to shoot cows, which was done for 
two reasons ; first, because the soldiers straggling about 
and gomg single, were often knocked on the head ; and 
next, because they maimed and marred more than they 
killed; for it being a very woody country, unless a beast 
was shot dead, which was but seldom done, it escaped 
its pursuer, though it often died of its wounds 3 and many 
hundreds were found in the woods that had been so slain, 
and very many running about hurt and wounded. Thus 
great destruction was made of them, to no bodies advan- 



ROBERT VENABLES. XXI 

tage, that in the end, they must need have smarted for 
the want of those which had been thus lavishly spoiled 
and lost. Besides, the cattle which at their first com- 
ing, were seen by great numbers, and so tame, that they 
might have been easily managed and driven up, were so 
affrighted by the soldiers disorderly chasing and shout- 
ing after them, that they were now grown wild and un- 
tractable. And therefore, commanded parties with their 
officers were thenceforwards ordered out to fetch in cat- 
tle as there was need; and by that means they were 
sufficiently supplied, and no waste made. But bread 
they still much wanted, for their o^vn store ships not 
having yet reached them, they had no bread but what 
came from the fleet, whence it was very sparingly sent, 
and scarce any but what was bad and corrupt. I find it 
noted, that in seventeen days time, they had but three 
biscuits a man ; that they could seldom get any thing 
from the fleet, unless the Commissioner would sign re- 
mittances for greater proportions than were indeed de- 
livered; that of above a hundred tuns of brandy, which 
was put on board in England for this service, and above 
thirty tuns more taken in at Barbadoes, it could not be 
observed, that the landmen ever had ten tuns to their 
use, between the middle of April and the middle of 
July. So that the soldiers being put to feed wholly on 
fresh flesh and fruits, without either brandy, or any kind 
of bread ; and that after they had been long at a scanty 
diet, upon salt meats, it hugely increased sickness 
among them, insomuch, that after their coming to Ja- 



UXX MEMOIR OF COLONEL 

maica, they died by fifty, sixty, and sometimes a hun- 
dred in a week, of fevers and fluxes. 

Their streights and distresses being so great, put 
them on necessity of hastening to distribute the soldiers 
to plant for themselves, that they might have somewhat 
of their own to subsist on, without depending on the 
courtesy of others. And accordingly several of the re- 
giment were dispersed into several places ; but though 
such was their occasion, each for his particular private 
goods and necessaries, yet they could not without much 
difficulty, and many fruitless labours, obtain to have 
their trunks and stuff ashore to them ; and many never 
had them at all, but they were carried back with the 
fleet into England. 

Some discontents grew among the great ones. 
Venables telling Commissioner Butler of his drunken- 
ness, which he was often guilty of, and in that condition, 
had discovered too much to the Spaniards, and reprov- 
ing him for it, made him his enemy, and to practise 
against him, and thenceforwards he endeavoured to 
make factions, and raise disgusts in the army. 

Penn gave notice of his intentions, suddenly to set 
sail for England, and would not be dissuaded. 

Here the manuscript ends, but in continuation, 
Oldmixon* observes, that "they arrived in England in 
September, when they were both imprisoned for their 
scandalous conduct in this expedition, which would 



* British Empire in America, 1/40, 8vo. 



% 

ROBERT VENABLBS. XxiU 

have been an irreparable dishonour to the English Na- 
tion, had not the island of Jamaica, which chance more 
than council, bestowed upon them, made amends for 
the loss at Hispaniola." Their imprisonment would 
seem to have received general approbation, as in certain 
Passages of Every Dayes Intelligence, from Sept. 21 
to 28, 1655, published by authority, it is said, "Gov. 
Penn and Gen. Venables, would be petitioning his 
Highnes, the Lord Protector for their enlargement out 
of the Tower again ; but it is a little too soon yet ; it 
were not amiss that they stayed till we hear again from 
the West Indies." His subsequent liberation, and the 
particulars of his life after this period, with the time 
of his decease, and his residence when he quitted the 
cares of this world, are alike unknown to the writer, 
and have baffled all attempts at discovery. 







M 



^ w^ 1^ vi^ n^ 1^ 'P '•^ 'P 'P 'P 'P ^n f^ ip Q^ 1% 'P 'P ff\ ff* ff^ 'P 'P yp ^^ 

THE $ 

Experienced Angler : J 

IanglingI 

J IMPROVED. ti 



S BEING ^ 

^ ^ generalDifcourfe of Angling; ^ 

J^ Imparting many of the apteft wayes J^ 

4^ and choiceft Experiments for the ^ 

^ taking of raoft forts of Fiih in ^ 
^ Pond or River. 



1^ LONDON: ^ 

^ Printed for Richard 3Iarriot, and are to be sold ^ 
4& at his Shop in St. Dunstans Church-yard, ^ 
^ Fleet-streeU 1662. ^ 



PREFATORY ADDRESS 

THE READER, 

FROM 
THE EDITION OF 

MDCLXII. 



PREFATORY ADDRESS. 



Delight and Pleasure are so fast rivetted and firmly 
rooted in the heart of man, that I suppose there are 
none so morose or melancholy, that will not only pre- 
tend to, but plead for an interest in the same, most 
being so much enamoured therewith, that they judge 
that life but a living death, which is wholly deprived 
or abridged of all pleasure ; and many pursue the same 
with so much eagerness and importunity, as though 
they had been born for no other end, as that they not 
only consume their most precious time, but also totally 
ruin their estates thereby : for in this loose and licen- 
tious age, when profuse prodigality passes for the cha- 
racteristical mark of true generosity and frugality, 
I mean not niggardliness ; is branded with the ignomi- 
nious blot of baseness. I expect not that this under- 
valued subject, though it propound delight at an easy 
rate, will meet with any other entertainment than 
neglect, if not contempt, it being an art which few 
take pleasure in, nothing passing for noble or delight- 
ful which is not costly j as though men could not gra- 
tify their senses, but with the consumption of their 
fortunes. 

Hawking and Hunting have had their excellencies 
celebrated with large encomiums by divers pens, and 
although I intend not any undervaluing to those noble re- 



11 PREFATORY ADDRESS. 

creations, so much famed in all ages and by all degrees, 
yet I must needs affirm, that they fall not within the 
compass of every ones ability to pursue, being as it were 
only entailed on great persons and vast estates ; for if 
meaner fortunes seek to enjoy them, Actceon^s fable 
often proves a true story, and these birds of prey not 
seldom quarry upon their masters : besides those re- 
creations are most subject to eholer and passion, by 
bow much those creatures exceed a liook or line in 
worth : and indeed in those exercises our pleasure de- 
pends much upon the will and humour of a sullen cur 
or kitey (as I have heard their own passions phrase 
them) \ which also require much attendance, care and 
skill to keep her serviceable to our ends. Further, 
these delights are often prejudicial to the husbandman 
in his com, grass and fences ; but in this pleasant and 
harmless Art of Angling a man hath none to quarrel 
with but himself, and we are usually so entirely our 
own friends, as not to retain an irreconcilable hatred 
against ourselves, but can in short time easily compose 
the enmity; and besides ourselves none are offended, 
none endamaged; and this recreation falleth within 
the capacity of the lowest fortune to compass, afford- 
ing also profit as well as pleasure, in following of 
which exercise a man may employ his thoughts in the 
noblest studies, almost as freely as in his closet. 

The minds of anglers being usually more calm 
and composed than many others, especially hunters 
and falconers, who too frequently lose their delight in 
their passion, and too often bring home more of melan- 



PREFATORY ADDRESS. Ut 

choly and discontent than satisfaction in their thoughts ; 
but the angler, when he hath the worst success, loseth 
but a hook or line, or perhaps, what he never possessed, 
a fish; and suppose he should take nothing, yet he en- 
joyeth a delightful walk by pleasant rivers in sweet 
pastures, amongst odoriferous flowers, which gratify 
his senses and delight his mind ; which contentments 
induce many, who affect not angling, to choose those 
places of pleasure for their Summer's recreation and 
health. 

But, peradventure, some may alledge that this art 
is mean, melancholy, and insipid; I suppose the old 
9Xiswer, de gustibus non est disputandum , will hold as 
firmly in recreations as palates, many have supposed 
Angling void of delight, having never tried it, yet have 
afterwards experimented it so full of content, that they 
have quitted all other recreations, at least in its season, 
to pursue it ; and I do pursuade myself, that whoso- 
ever shall associate himself with some honest expert 
angler, who will freely and candidly communicate his 
skill unto him, will in short time be convinced, that 
j4rs non habet inimicum nisi ignorantem ; and the more 
any experiment its harmless delight, not subject to 
passion or expence, he will probably be induced to re- 
linquish those pleasures which being obnoxious to 
choler or contention so discompose the thoughts, that 
nothing during that unsettlement can relish or delight 
the mind; to pursue that recreation which composeth 
the soul to that calmness and serenity, which gives a 
man the ftdlest possession and fruition of himself and 



IV PREFATORY ADDRESS. 

all his enjoyments ; this clearness and equanimity of 
spirit being" a matter of so high a concern and value in 
the judgments of many profound Philosophers, as any 
one may see that will bestow the pains to read, de 
Tranquilitate Animi, and Petrarch de Uti'iusque Con- 
ditmiis Statu : Certainly he that lives Sibi et Deo, leads 
the most happy life; and if this art do not dispose 
and incline the mind of man to a quiet calm sedateness, 
I am confident it doth not, as many other delights ; 
<;ast blocks and rubs before him to make his way more 
difficult and less pleasant. The cheapness of the recrea- 
tion abates not its pleasure, but with rational persons 
heightens it ; and if it be delightful the charge of me- 
lancholy falls upon that score, and if example, which 
is the best proof, may sway any thing, I know no sort 
of men less subject to melancholy than anglers ; many 
have cast off other recreations and embraced it, but I 
never knew any angler wholly cast off, though occasions 
might interrupt, their affections to their beloved recrea- 
tion ; and if this art may prove a Noble brave rest to 
thy mind, it will be satisfaction to his, who is thy well- 
wishing Friend. 




ANGLING IMPROVED: 



PROFIT AND PLEASURE UNITED. 




CHAP. I. 

WHEN TO PROVIDE TOOLS, AND HOW TO MAKE THEM. 

OR the attaining of such ends which 
our desires propose to themselves, 
of necessity we must make use of 
such common mediums as have a 
natural tendency to the producing 
of such effects as are in our eye, 
and at which we aim ; and as in any work, if one prin- 
cipal material be wanting, the whole is at a stand, 
neither can the same be perfected : so in Angling, the 
end being recreation, which consisteth in drawing the 
fish to bite, that we may take them ; if you want tools, 
though you have baits, or baits, though you have tackle, 
yet you have no part of pleasure by either of these 
singly: nay, if you have both, yet want skill to use 



"Z ANGLING IMPROVED. 

them, all the rest is to little purpose. I shall there- 
fore first begin with your tools, and so proceed in order 
with the rest. 

1. In Autumn, when the leaves are almost or 
altogether fallen, which is usually about the Winter 
solstice, the sap being then in the root ; which about 
the middle of January begins to ascend again, and then 
the time is past to provide yourself with stocks or tops : 
you need not be so exactly curious for your stocks as 
the tops, though I wish you to choose the neatest taper- 
grown you can for stocks, but let your tops be the 
most neat rush-grown shoots you can get, straight and 
smooth; and if for the ground rod, near or full two 
yards long, the reason for that length shall be given 
presently ; and if for the fly, of what length you please, 
because you must either choose them to fit the stock, 
or the stock to fit them in a most exact proportion 5 
neither do they need to be so very much taper-grown 
as those for the ground, for if your rod be not most 
exactly proportionable, as well as slender, it will nei- 
ther cast well, strike readily, or ply and bend equally, 
which will very much endanger your line. When you 
have fitted yourself with tops and stocks, for all must 
be gathered in one season, if any of them be crooked, 
bind them all together, and they will keep one another 
straight ; or lay them on some even-boarded floor, with 
a weight on the crooked parts, or else bind them close 
to some straight stafi" or pole ; but before you do this 
you must bathe them all, save the very top, in a gentle 
fire. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. -3 

For the ground angle, I prefer the cane or reed 
before all other, both for its length and lightness : and 
whereas some object against its colour and stiffness, I 
answer, both these inconveniences are easily remedied j 
the colour by covering it with thin leather or parch- 
ment, and those dyed into what colour you please; or 
you may colour the cane itself, as you see daily done 
by those that sell them in London, especially if you 
scrape ofF.the shining yellow outside, but that weakens 
the rod. The stiffness of the cane is helped by the 
length and strength of the top, which I would wish to 
be very much taper-grown, and of the full length I spoke 
of before, and so it will kill a very good fish without 
ever straining the cane, which will, as you may observe, 
yield and bend a little; neither would I advise any to 
use a reed that will not receive a top of the fore-men- 
tioned length. Such who most commend the hazel- 
rod, (which I also value and praise, but for different 
reasons), above the cane ; do it because, say they, the 
slender rod saveth theline;but my opinion is, that the 
equal bending of the rod chiefly, next to the skill of 
the Angler, saveth the line, and the slenderness I con- 
ceive principally serveth to make the fly-rod long and 
light, easy to be managed with one hand, and casteth 
the fly far, which are to me the considerations chiefly 
to be regarded in a fly-rod ; for if you observe the slen- 
der part of the rod, if strained, shoots forth in length 
as if it were part of the line, so that the whole stress or 
strength of the fish is borne or sustained by the thicker 
part of the rod, which is no stronger than the stronger 



4 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

end of such a top as I did before direct for the ground- 
rod, and you may prove what I say to be true, if you 
han^ a weis^ht at the top of the fly-rod, which you shall 
see ply and bend, in the stiff and thick part, more or 
less as the weight is heavy or light. Having made this 
digression for the cane, I return to the making up of 
the top, of which at the upper or small end, I would 
have you to cut off about two feet, or three quarters of 
a yard at most ; and then piece neatly to the thick re- 
maining part, a small shoot of black thorn or crab tree, 
gathered in due season as before, fitted in a mpst exact 
proportion to the hazel, and then cut off a small part 
of the slender end of the black thorn or crab tree, and 
lengthen out the same with a small piece of whalebone, 
made round, smooth, and taper ; all which will make 
your rod to be very long, gentle, and not so apt to 
break or stand bent as the hazel, both which are great 
inconveniences, especially breaking, which will force 
you from your sport to mend your top. 

2. To teach the way or manner how to make a 
line, were time lost, it being so easy and ordinary ; yet 
to make the line well, handsome, and to twist the hair 
even and neat, makes the line strong. For if one hair 
be long and another short, the short one receiveth no 
strength from the long one, and so breaketh, and then 
the other, as too weak, breaks also; therefore you 
must twist them slowly, and in the twisting, keep them 
from entangling together, which hinders their right 
plaiting or bedding. Further, I do not like the mixing 
of silk or thread with hair, but if you please, you may. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. I5 

to make the line strong, raake it all of silk, or thread, 
or hair, as strong as you please, and the lowest part of 
the smallest lute or viol strings, which I have proved 
to be very strong, but will quickly rot in the water, 
you may however help that in having new and strong 
ones to change for those that decay -, but as to hair, the 
most usual matter whereof lines are made, I like sor- 
rel, white, and grey best ; sorrel in muddy and boggy 
rivers, and both the latter for clear waters. I never 
could find such virtue or worth in other colours, to give 
them so high praise as some do, yet if any other have 
worth in it, I must yield it to the pale or watery green, 
and if you fancy that, you may dye it thus. Take a 
pottle of allum water, and a large handful of mari- 
golds, boil them until a yellow scum arise, then take 
half a pound of green copperas, and as much verde- 
grease, beat them into a fine powder, then put those 
with the hair into the allum-water, set all to cool for 
twelve hours, then take out the hair and lay it to dry. 
Leave a bought, or bout, at both ends of the line, the 
one to put it to, and take it from your rod, the other to 
hang your lowest link upon, to which your hook is 
fastened, and so that you may change your hook as often 
as you please. 

3. Let your hooks be long in the shank, and of a 
compass somewhat inclining to roundness, but the 
point must stand even and straight, and the bending 
must be in the shank ; for if the shank be straight, the 
point will hang outward, though when set on it may 
stand right, yet it will after the taking of a few fish. 



6 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

cause the hair at the end of the shank to stand bent, 
and so, consequently cause the point of the hook to lie 
or han^ too much outward, whereas upon the same 
ground the bending shank will then cause the point of 
the hook to hang directly upwards. 

When you set on your hook, do it with strong but 
small silk, and lay your hair upon the inside of the hook, 
for if on the outside the silk will cut and fret it asunder; 
and to avoid the fretting of the hair by the hook on the 
inside, smooth all your hooks upon a whetstone, from 
the inside to the back of the hook, slope ways. 

4. Get the best cork you can without flaws or 
Tioles, as quills and pens are not of sufficient strength 

in strong streams; bore the cork through with a 
small hot iron, then put into it a quill of a fit propor- 
tion, neither too large to split it, or so small as to slip 
out, but so as it may stick in very closely ; then pare 
your cork into the form of a pyramid, or small pear, 
and of what size you please, then on a smooth grind- 
stone, or mth pumice make it complete, for you cannot 
pare it so smooth as you may grind it: have corks of 
all sizes. 

5. Get a musquet or carbine bullet, make a hole 
through it, and put in a strong twist, hang this on your 
hook to try the depth of river or pond. 

6. Take so much parchment as will be about four 
inches broad, and five long, make the longer end round, 
then take so many pieces more as will make five or six 
partitions, sew them all together, leaving the side of 
the longest square open, to put your lines, spare links. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. / 

hooks ready fastened, and flies ready made, into the 
several partitions ; this will contain much, and will also 
lie flat and close in your pocket. 

7. Have also a little whetstone about two inches 
lon^, and one quarter square; it's much better to shar- 
pen your hooks than a file, which either will not touch 
a well-tempered hook, or leave it rough but not sharp. 

8. Have a piece of cane for the bob and palmer, 
with several boxes of divers sizes for your hooks, 
corks, silk, thread, lead, flies, &c. 

9. Bags of linen and woollen, for all sorts of baits. 

10. Have a small pole, made with a loop at the 
end, like that of your line, but much larger, to which 
must be fastened a small net, to land great fish, with- 
out which, should you want assistance, you will be in 
danger of losing. 

1 1 . Your pannier cannot be too light ; I have seen 
some made of osiers, cleft into slender long splinters, 
and so wrought up, which is very neat, and exceeding 
light : you must ever carry with you store of hooks, 
lines, hair, silk, thread, lead, links, corks of all sizes, 
lest you should lose or break, as is usual, any of them, 
and be forced to leave your sport in quest of supplies. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



CHAP. II. 



DIVERS SORTS OF ANGLING; FIRST, OF THE FLY. 

As there are many kinds and sorts of fish, so there are 
also various and different v^ays to take them ; and, there- 
fore, before we proceed to speak how to take each kind, 
we must say something in general of the several ways 
of angling, as necessary to the better order of our 
work. 

Angling, therefore, may be distinguished either 
into fishing by day, or, which some commend, but the 
cold and dews caused me to dis-relish that which im- 
paired my health, by night ; and these again are of two 
sorts, either upon the superficies of the water, or more 
or less under the surface thereof : of this sort is angling 
with the ground-line, with lead, but no float, for the 
Trout, or with lead and float for all sorts of fish, or near 
the surface of the water for Chub, Roach, &c. or with 
a troll for the Pike, or a minnow for the Trout; of 
which more in due place. 

That way of angling upon or above the water, is 
with cankers, palmers, caterpillars, cad-bait, or any 
worm bred on herbs or trees, or with flies as well natural 
as artificiid ; of these last shall be our first discourse, 
as comprising much of the other last-named, and as 
being the most pleasant and delightful part of angling. 

But I must here beg leave to dissent from the 
opinion of such who assign a certain fly to each month, 
whereas I am certain, scarce any one sort of fly con- 



ANGLING IMPROVED. ' ^W 

tinues its colour and virtue one month; and generally 
all flies last a much shorter time, except the stone-fly, 
by some called the May-fly, which is ])red of the water 
cricket, creeps out of the river, and getting under the 
stones by the water side, turns to a fly, and lies 
under the stones ; the May-fly and the reddish fly with 
ashy grey wings. Besides the season of the year may 
much vary the time of their coming in; a forward 
Spring brings them in sooner, and a late Spring the 
later. Flies being creatures bred of putrefaction, take 
life as the heat furthers or disposes the seminal virtue 
by which they are generated into animation: and there- 
fore all I can say as to time is, that your own observa- 
tion must be your best instructor, when is the time 
that each fly comes in, and will be most acceptable to 
the fish, of which I shall speak more fully in the next 
section. Further also I have observed, that several rivers 
and soils produce several sorts of flies ; as the mossy 
boggy soils have one sort peculiar to them; the clay soil, 
gravely and mountainous country and rivers; and a mel- 
low light soil different from them all; yet some sorts are 
common to all these sorts of rivers and soils, but they 
are few, and differ somewhat in colour from those bred 
elsewhere in other soils. 

In general, all sorts of flies are very good in their 
season, for such fish as will rise at the fly, viz. Salmon, 
Trout, Umber, Grayling, Bleak, Chevin, Roach, Dace, 
&c. Though some of these fish do love some flies 
better than other, except the fish named, I know not 
any sort or kind that will ordinarily and freely rise at 



10 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

the fly, though I know some who angle for Bream and 
Hke with artificial flies, but I judge the labour lost, and 
the knowledge a needless curiosity ; those fish being 
taken much easier, especially the Pike, by other ways. 
All the fore-mentioned sorts of fish will sometimes 
take the fly much better at the top of the water, and at 
another time much better a little under the superficies 
of the water; and in this your own observation must be 
your constant and daily instructor; for if they will not 
rise to the top, try them under, it being impossible, in 
my opinion, to give any certain rule in this particular : 
also the five sorts of fish first named will take the arti- 
ficial fly, so will not the other, except an oak-worm or 
cad-bait be put on the point of the hook, or some other 
worm suitable, as the fly must be, to the season. 

You may also observe, what my own experience 
taught me, that the fish never rise eagerly and freely 
at any sort of fly, until that kind come to the water's 
side ; for though I have often, at the first coming in of 
some flies, which I judged they liked best got several 
of them, yet I could never find that they did much, if at 
all value them, until those sorts of flies began to flock 
to the rivers sides, and were to be found on the trees 
and bushes there in great numbers ; for all sorts of flies, 
wherever bred, do, after a certain time, come to the 
banks of rivers, I suppose to moisten their bodies dried 
with the heat ; and from the bushes and herbs there, 
skip and play upon the water, were the fish lie in wait 
for them, and after a short time die, and are not to be 
found: though of some kinds there come a second sort 



ANGLING IMPROVED. I| 

afterwards, but much less, as the orange-fly ; and when 
they thus flock to the river, then is the best season 
to angle with that fly. And that thou may the better find 
what fly they covet most at that instant, do thus : 

When you come first to the river in the morning, 
with your rod beat upon the bushes or boughs which 
hang over the water, and by their falling upon the 
water you will see what sorts of flies are there in great- 
est numbers; if divers sorts, and equal in number, try 
them all, and you will quickly find which they most de- 
sire. Sometimes they change their fly; though not very 
usual, twice or thrice in one day ; but ordinarily they 
do not seek another sort of fly till they have for some 
days even glutted themselves with a former kind, which 
is commonly when those flies die and go out. Directly 
contrary to our London gallants, who must have the 
first of every thing, when hardly to be got, but scorn 
the same when kindly ripe, healthful, common, and 
cheap ; but the fish despise the first, and covet when 
plenty, and when that sort grow old and decay, and 
another cometh in plentifully, then they change ; as if 
nature taught them, that every thing is best in its own 
proper season, and not so desirable when not kindly 
ripe, or when through long continuance it begins to lose 
its native worth and goodness. 

I shall add a few cautions and directions in the use 
of the natural fly, and then proceed : 

1. When you angle for Chevin, Roach, or Dace, 
with the fly, you must not move your fly swiftly; when 
you see the fish coming towards it, but rather after one 



12 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

or two short and slow removes, suffer the iy to ^lide 
gently with the stream towards the fishj or if in a stand- 
ing or very slow water, draw the fly slowly, and not di- 
rectly upon him, but sloping and sidewise by him, which 
will make him more eager lest it escape him; for, 
should you move it nimbly and quick, they will not, 
Jjeing fish of slow motion, follow as the Trout will. 

2. When Chub, Roach, or Dace shew themselves 
in a sun-shiny day upon the top of the water, they are 
most easily caught with baits proper for them -, and you 
may chuse from amongst them which you please to take. 

3. They take an artificial fly with a cad-bait, or 
oak-worm, on the point of the hook; and the oak- worm, 
when they shew themselves is, better upon the water 
than under, or than the fly itself, and is more desired by 
them. 



CHAP, III. 

OF THE ARTIFICIAL FLY. 



Having given these few directions for the use of the 
natm-al fly of all sorts, and shewed the time and season 
of their coming, and how to find them, and cautioned 
you in the use of them, I shall proceed to treat of the 
artificial fly. But here I must premise, that it is much 
better to learn how to make a fly by sight, than by any 
written direction that can possibly be expressed, in re- 
gard the terms of art do in most parts of England differ, 
and also several sorts of flies are called by different 



ANGLINO IMPROVED. 18 

names ; some call the fly bred of the water cricket or 
creeper a May-fly, and some a stone-fly ; some call the 
cad-bait fly a May, and some call a short fly, of a sad 
golden green colour, with short brown wings, a May-fly: 
and I see no reason but all flies bred in May, are pro- 
perly enough called May-flies. Therefore, except some 
one that hath skill, would paint them, I can neither 
well give their names nor describe them, mthout too 
much trouble and prolixity; nor, as lalledged, in regard 
of the variety of soils and rivers, describe the flies that 
are bred and frequent each: but the angler, as before 
directed, having found the fly which the fish at present 
affect, let him make one as like it as possibly he can, 
in colour, shape, proportion; and for his better imita- 
tion let him lay the natural fly before him. All this 
premised and considered, let him go on to make his fly, 
which according to my own practice I thus advise- 
First, I begin to set on my hook, placing the hair 
on the inside of its shank, with such coloured silk as I 
conceive most proper for the fly, beginning at the end 
of the hook, and when I come to that place which I con- 
ceive most proportionable for the wings, then I place 
such coloured feathers there, as I apprehend roost re- 
semble the wings of the fly, and set the points of the 
wings towards the head; or else I run the feathers, and 
those must be stripped from the quill or pen, with part of 
it still cleaving to the feathers, round the hook, and so 
make them fast, if I turn the feathers round the hook ; 
then I clip away those that are upon the back of the 
hook, that so, if it be possible, the point of the hook 



14 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

piay be forced by the feathers left on the inside of the 
hook^ to swim upwards j and by this means I conceive 
the stream will carry your flies' wings in the posture of 
one flying ; whereas if you set the points of the wings 
backwards, towards the bending of the hook, the stream, 
if the feathers be gentle as they ought, will fold the 
points of the wings in the bending of the hook, as I have 
often found by experience. After having set on the 
wing, I go on so far as I judge fit, till I fasten all, and 
then begin to make the body, and the head last ; the 
body of the fly I make several ways ; if the fly be one 
entire colour, then I take a worsted thread, or moccoda 
end, or twist wool or fur into a kind of thread, or wax 
a small slender silk thread, and lay wool, fur, &c. upon 
it, and then twist, and the material will stick to it, and 
then go on to make my fly small or large, as I please. 
If the fly, as most are, be of several colours, and those 
running in circles round the fly, then I either take two 
of these threads, fastening them first towards the bend of 
the hook, and so run them round, and fasten all at the 
wings, and then make the head; or else I lay upon the 
hook, wool, fur of hare, dog, fox, bear, cow, or hog, 
which, close to their bodies, have a fine fur, and with a 
silk of the other colour bind the same wool or fur down, 
and then fasten all : or instead of the silk running thus 
round the fly, you may pluck the feather from one side 
of those long feathers which grow about a cock or ca- 
pon's neck or tail, by some called hackle ; then run the 
the same round your fly, from head to tail, making both 
ends fast 5 but you must be sure to suit the feather an- 



ANGLING IMPROVED. Ill 

swerable to the colour you are to imitate in the fly ; and 
this way you may counterfeit those rough insects, which 
some call wool-beds, because of their wool-like outside 
and rings of divers colours, though I take them to be 
palmer worms, which the fish much delight in. Let me 
add this only, that some flies have forked tails, and some 
have horns, both which you must imitate with a slender 
hair fastened to the head or tail of your fly, when you 
first set on your hook, and in all things, as length, co- 
lour, as like the natural fly as possibly you can : the 
head is made after all the rest of the body, of silk or 
hair, as being of a more shining glossy colour than the 
other materials, as usually the head of the fly is more 
bright than the body, and is usually of a different colour 
from the body. Sometimes I make the body of the fly 
with a peacock's feather, but that is only one sort of 
fly, whose colour nothing else that I could ever get 
would imitate, being the short, sad, golden, green fly I 
before mentioned, which I make thus : take one strain 
of a peacock's feather, or if that be not sufficient, then 
another, wrap it about the hook, till the body be ac- 
cording to your mind J if your fly be of divers colours, 
and those lying long ways from head to tail, then I take 
my dubbing, and lay them on the hook long ways, one 
colour by another, as they are mixed in the natural fly, 
from head to tail, then bind all on, and fasten them with 
silk of the most predominant colour; and this I conceive 
is a more artificial way than is practised by many ang- 
lers, who use to make such a fly, all of one colour, and 
bind it on with silk, so that it looks like a fly with round 



16 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

circles, but in nothing at all resembling the fly it is in- 
tended for: the head, homs, tail, are made as before. 
That you may the better counterfeit all sorts of flies, 
get furs of all sorts and colours you can possibly pro- 
cure, as of bear's hair, foxes, cows, hogs, dogs, which 
close to their bodies have a fine soft hair or fur, moc- 
cado ends, crewels, and dyed wool of all colours, with 
feathers of cocks, capons, hens, teals, mallards, wid- 
geons, pheasants, partridges, the feather under the mal- 
lard, teal or widgeon's wings, and about their tails, about 
a cock or capon's neck and tail, of all colours ; and ge- 
nerally of all birds, the kite^ &c. that you may make 
yours exactly of the colour with the natural fly. And 
here I mW give some cautions and directions, as for the 
natural fly, and so pass on to baits for angling at the 
ground. 

1 . When you angle with the artifical fly, you must 
either fish in a river not fully cleared from some rain 
lately fallen, that had discoloured it 5 or in a moorish 
river, discoloured by moss or bogs 5 or else in a dark 
cloudy day, when a gentle gale of wind moves the water ; 
but if the wind be high, yet so as you may guide your 
tools with advantage, they will rise in the plain deeps, 
and then and there you will commonly kill the best fish ; 
but if the wind be little or none at all, you must angle 
in the swift streams. 

2. You must keep your artificial fly in continual 
motion, though-the day be dark, the water muddy, and 
the wind blow, or else the fish will discern and refuse it. 

3. If you angle in a river that is mudded by rain. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 17 

or passing through mosses or bogs, you must use a 
larger bodied fly than ordinary, which argues, that in 
clear rivers the fly must be smaller; and this not being 
observed by some, hinders their sport, and they impute 
their want of success to their want of the right fly, when 
perhaps they have it, but made too large. 

4. If the ^vater be clear and low, then use a small 
bodied fly with slender wings. 

5. When the water begins to clear after rain, and 
IS of a brownish colour, then a red or orange fly. 

6. If the day be clear, then a light coloured fly, 
with slender body and wings. 

7. In dark weather, as well as dark waters, your 
fly must be dark. 

8. If the water be of a whey colour, or whitish, 
then use a black or brown fly : yet these six last rules do 
not always hold, though usually they do, or else I had 
omitted them. 

9. Observe principally the belly of the fly, for 
that colour the fish observe most, as being most in their 
eye. 

10. When you angle with an artificial fly, your 
Ime may be twice the length of your rod, except the 
river be much encumbered with wood and trees. 

11. For every sort of fly have three; one of a 
lighter colour, another sadder than the natural fly, and 
a third of the exact colour with the fly, to suit all 
waters and weathers, as before. 

12. I never could find, by any experience of mine 
own, or other man's observation, that fish would freely 

c 



18 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

and eagerly rise at the artificial fly, in any slow muddy 
rivers : by muddy rivers, I mean such rivers, the bottom 
or ground of which is slime or mud 3 for such as are 
mudded by rain, as I have already, and shall afterwards 
further, shew at sometimes and seasons I would choose 
to angle, yet in standing meers or sloughs, I have 
known them, in a good wind, to rise very well, but not 
so in slimy rivers, either the Weever, in Cheshire, or 
the Sow, in Staffordshire, and others in Warwickshire, 
&c. and the Black-water in Ulster 3 in the last, after 
many trials, though in its best streams, I could never 
find almost any sport, save at its influx in Lough Neagh; 
but there the working of the Lough makes it sandy ; and 
they will bite also near Tom Shane's Castle, Mountjoy, 
Antrim, &c. even to admiration j yet sometimes they 
will rise in that river a little, but not comparable to what 
they will do in every little Lough, in any small gale of 
wind. And though I have often reasoned in my own 
thoughts, to search out the ti*ue cause of this, yet I could 
never so full y satisfy my own judgment, so as to conclude 
any thing positively; yet have taken up these two en- 
suing particulars as most probable. 

1. I conjectured the depth of the loughs might 
hinder the force of the sun beams from operating upon, 
or heating the mud in those rivers, which though deep, 
yet are not so deep as the loughs; I apprehend that to 
be the cause, as in great droughts fish bite but little in 
any river, but not at all in slimy rivers, in regard the 
mud is not cooled by the constant and swift motion of 
the river, as in gravelly or sandy rivers, where, in fit 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 19> 

seasons, they rise most freely, and bite most eagerly, 
save as before in droughts, notwithstanding at that sea- 
son some sport may be had, though not with the fly, 
whereas nothing at all will be done in muddy slow rivers. 
2. My second supposition was, whether, accord- 
ing to that old received axiom, suo quaeque, similima 
coslo, the fish might not partake of the nature of the 
river, in which they are bred and live, as we see in men 
bom in fenny, boggy, low, moist grounds, and thick 
air, who ordinarily want that present quickness, vivacity, 
and activity of body and mind, which persons born in 
dry, hilly, sandy soils and clear air, are usually endued 
mthal. The fish participating of the nature of the 
muddy river, which is ever slow, for if they were swift, 
the stream would cleanse them from all mud, are not 
so quick, lively, and active, as those bred in swift, sandy, 
or stony rivers, and so coming to the fly with more de- 
liberation, discern the same to be counterfeit, and for- 
sake it ; whereas, on the contrary, in stony, sandy, swift 
rivers, being colder, the fish are more active, and so 
more hungry and eager, the stream and hand keeping 
the fly in continual motion, they snap the same up with- 
out any pause, lest so desirable a morsel escape them. 
/ < You must have a very quick eye, a nimble rod 
and hand, and strike with the rising of the fish, or he 
instantly finds his mistake, and forces out the hook 
again : I could never, my eye-sight being weak, discern 
perfectly where my fly was, the wind and stream carry- 
ing it so to and again, that the line was never any cer- 
tain direction or guide to me -, but if I saw a fish rise, I 



20 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

use to strike if I discerned it might be within the length 
of my line. 

.,. • Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into 
the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens 
the fish ; therefore draw it back, and cast it again, that 
the fly may fall first. 
/S, When you try how to fit your colour to the fly, 
wet your fur, hair, wool, or moccado, otherwise you 
will fail in your work j for though when they are dry, 
they exactly suit the colour of the fly, yet the water will 
alter most colours, and make them lighter or darker. 

The best way to angle with the cad-bait, is to fish 
with it on the top of the water, as you do with the fly ; 
it must stand upon the shank of the hook, in like man- 
ner with the artificial fly ; if it come into the bend of 
the hook, the fish will little or not at all value it, nor if 
you pull the blue gut out of it ; and to make it keep that 
place, you must, when you set on your hook, fasten a 
horse hair or two under the silk, with the ends standing 
a very little out from under the silk, and pointing to- 
wards the line ; this will keep it from sliding back into 
the bend; and thus used, it is a most excellent bait for 
a Trout. You may imitate the cad-bait, by making the 
body of chamois, the head of black silk. 

I might here notice several sorts of flies, with the 
colours that are used to make them ; but for the rea- 
sons before given, that their colours alter in several 
rivers and soils, and also because, though I name the 
colours, yet it is not easy to choose that colour by any 
description, except so largely performed as would be 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 2) 

over large, and swell this small piece beyond my intend- 
ed conciseness, which are easy and short, if rightly ob- 
served, are full enough, and sufficient for making and 
finding out all sorts of flies in all rivers. I shall only 
add, that the Salmon flies must be made with wings 
standing one behind the other, whether two or four; 
also he delights in the most gaudy and orient colours 
you can choose; the wings I mean chiefly, if not alto- 
gether, \vith long tails and wings. 



CHAP. IV. 

OF ANGLING AT THE GROUND. 

]Vow we are come to the second part of angling, viz. 
under the water, which if it be with the ground-line for 
the Trout, then you must not use any float at all, only 
a plumb of lead, which I would wish might be a small 
bullet, the better to roll on the ground ; and it must also 
be lighter or heavier, as the stream runs swift or slow, 
and you must place it about nine inches or a foot from 
the hook ; the lead must run upon the ground, and you 
must keep your line as straight as possible, yet by no 
means so as to raise the lead from the ground; your 
top must be very gentle, that the fish may more easily, 
and to himself insensibly, run away with the bait, and 
not be scared with the stiffness of the rod ; and if you 
make your top of black- thorn and whale-bone, as I be- 
fore directed, it will conduce much to this purpose : 
neither must you strike so soon as you feel the fish bite. 



22 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

but slack your line a little, that so he may more se- 
curely swallow the bait, and hook himself, which he will 
sometimes do, especially if he be a good one ; the least 
jerk, however, hooks him, and indeed you can scarce 
strike too easily. Your tackle must be very fine and 
slender, and so you will have more sport than if you had 
strong lines, which frighten the fish, but the slender line 
is easily broke; with a small jerk. Morning and even- 
ing are the best times for the ground-line for a Trout, 
in clear weather and water, but in cloudy weather, or 
muddy water, you may angle at ground all day. 

2. You may also in the night angle for the Trout 
with two great garden worms, hanging as equally in 
length as you can place them on your hook ; cast them 
from you as you would cast the fly, and draw them to 
you again upon the top of the water, and not suffer 
them to sink; therefore you must use no lead this way of 
angling ; when you hear the fish rise, give some time for 
him to gorge your bait, as at the ground, then strike 
gently. If he will not take them at the top, add some 
lead, and try at the ground, as in the day time ; when 
you feel him bite, order yourself as in day angling at 
the ground. Usually the best Trouts bite in the night, 
and will rise in the still deeps, but not ordinarily in the 
stream. 

3. You may angle also with a minnow for the 
Trout, which you must put on your hook thus : first, 
put your hook through the very point of his lower chap, 
and draw it quite through ; then put your hook in at 
his mouth, and bring the point to his tail, then draw 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 2$ 

your line straight, and it will bring him into a round 
compass, and close his mouth that no water get in, 
which you must avoid ; or you may stitch up his mouth ; 
or you may, when you have set on your hook, fasten 
some bristles under the silk, leaving the points about a 
straw's breadth and half, or almost half an inch stand- 
ing out towards the line, which will keep him from 
slipping back. You may also imitate the minnow as 
well as the fly, but it must be done by an artist with the 
needle. 

You must also have a swivel or turn, placed about 
a yard or more from your hook, observing you need no 
lead on your line, for you must continually draw your 
bait up the stream, near the top of the water. If you 
strike a large Trout, and it should break either your 
hook or line, or get off, then near to her hole, if you 
can discover it, or the place you struck her, fix a short 
stick in the water, and with your knife loose a small 
piece of the rind, so as you may lay your line in it, and 
yet the bark be close enough to keep your line in, that 
it slip not out, nor the stream carry it away : bait yoiu* 
hook with a garden or lob-worm, your hook and line 
being very strong, let the bait hang a foot from the 
stick, then fasten the other end of your line to some 
stick or bough in the bank, and within one hour, you 
may be sure of her, if all your tackle hold. 

The next way of angling is with a troll for the 
Pike, which is very delightful 3 you may buy your troll 
ready made, therefore I shall not trouble myself to de- 
scribe it, only let it have a winch to wind it up withall. 



24 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

For this kind of fish, your tackle must be strong, your 
rod must not be very slender at the top, where you must 
place a small slender ring for your line to run through; 
let your line be silk, at least two yards next the hook, 
and the rest of strong shoe-maker's thread; your hook 
double, and strongly armed with wire, for above a foot; 
then with a probe or needle, you must draw the wire in 
at the fish's mouth and out at the tail, that so the hook 
may lie in the mouth of the fish, and both the points on 
either side; upon the shank of the hook fasten some lead 
very smooth, that it go into the fish's mouth, and sink 
her with the head downward, as though she had been play- 
ing on the top of the water, and were returning to the 
bottom ; your bait maybe small Roach, Dace, Gudgeon, 
Loach, or sometimes a Frog; your hook thus baited, you 
must tie the tail of the fish close and fast to the wire, or 
else with drawing to and again, the fish will rend off the 
hook, or, which I judge neater, with a needle and strong 
thread, stitch through the fish on either side the wire, 
and tie it very fast: all being thus fitted, cast your fish 
up and down in such places as you know Pike frequent, 
observing still, that he sink some depth before you pull 
him up again. When the Pike rises, if it be not sunk 
deep, you may see the water move, or at least you may 
feel him ; then slacken your line, and give him length 
enough to run away to his hold, whither he will go di- 
rectly, and there pouch it, ever beginning, as you may 
observe, with the head swallowing that first, thus let 
him lie, until you see the line move in the water, and 
then you may certainly conclude he hath pouched your 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 25 

bait, and rangeth abroad for more ; then with your troll 
wind up your line, till you think you have it almost 
straight, then with a smart jerk hook him, and make 
your pleasure to your content. Some use no rod at 
all, but hold the line in links on their hand, using lead 
and float. Others use a very great hook, with the hook 
at the tail of the fish, and when the Pike rises,then they 
strike at the first pull. Others put a strong string or 
thread in at the mouth of the bait, and out at one of the 
gills ; then over the head, and in at the other gill, and 
so tie the bait to the hook, leaving a little length of the 
thread or string betwixt the fish and the hook, that so 
the Pike may turn the head of the bait, the better to 
swallow it, and then as before ; after some pause, strike. 
Some tie the bait-hook and line to a bladder or |;)undle 
of flags, or bull-rushes, fastening the line very gently 
in the cleft of a small stick, to hold the bait from sink- 
ing more than its allowed length, half a yard. The 
stick must be fastened to the bladder or flags, to which 
the line being tied, that it may easily unfold and run to 
its length, and so give the Pike liberty to run away 
with the bait, and by the bladder or flags, recover their 
line again. You must observe this way to turn ofi^your 
bait with the v^dnd or stream, that they may carry it 
away. Some use, for more sport, if the Pike be a great 
one, to tie the same to the foot of a goose, which the 
Pike, if large, will sometimes pull under the water. 
Before I proceed to give you each sort of bait for every 
kind of fish, give me leave to add a caution or two, for 

D 



26 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

the ground-liiie aad fishing, as I did for the natural and 
artificial fly, and then we shall go on. 

There are two ways of fishing for Eels, proper and 
peculiar to that fish alone ; the first is termed by some, 
f^ ^sJ^^^ ^ angling for Eels, which is thus : take a short strong rod, 
*^ and exceeding strong line, with a little compassed, but 
strong hook, which you must bait with a large well- 
scoured red worm, then place the end of the hook very 
easily in a cleft of a stick, that it may very easily slip 
out; mth this stick and hook thus baited, search for 
holes under stones, timbers, roots, or about flood-gates; 
if there be a good Eel, give her time, and she will take 
it; but be sure she has gorged it, and then you may 
conclude, if your tackling hold, she is your own. 

The other way is called bobbing for Eels, which 
is thus : take the largest garden worms, scour them well, 
and with a needle run a very strong thread or silk 
through them from end to end ; take so many as that at 
last you may wrap them about a board, for your hand 
will be too narrow, a dozen times at least, then tie them 
fast with the other two ends of the thread or silk, that 
they may hang in so many long bouts or hanks ; then 
fasten all to a strong cord, and something more than a 
handful above the worms, fasten a plumb of lead, of 
about three quarters of a pound, making your cord sure 
to a long and strong pole; with these worms thus or- 
dered, you must fish in a muddy water, and you will 
feel the Eels tug strongly at them; when you think 
they have swallowed them as far as they can, gently 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 2? 

draw up your worms and Eels, and when you have them 
near the top of the water, hoist them amajn to land ; and 
thus you may take three or four at once, and good ones, 
if there be store. 

1 . When you angle at ground, keep your line as 
straight as possible, suffering none of it to lie in the 
water, because it hinders the nimble jerk of the rod ; 
but if, as sometimes it will happen, that you cannot 
avoid but some little will lie in the water, yet keep it in 
the stream above your float, by no means below it. 

2. When you angle at ground for small fish, put 
two hooks to your line, fastened together thus : lay the 
two hooks together, then draw the one shorter than the 
other by nine inches, this will cause the other end to 
over-reach as much, as the other is shorter at the 
hooks, then turn that end back, and with a water- 
knot, in which you must make both the links to fasten, 
tie them so as both links may hang close together, and 
not come out at both ends of the knot. Then upon that 
link which hangeth longest, fasten your lead near a foot 
above the hook; put upon your hooks twodiflferent baits, 
and so you may try, with more ease and less time, what 
bait the fish love best ; and also very often, as I have 
done, take two fish at once with one rod. You have 
also, by this experience, one bait for such as feed close 
upon the ground, as Gudgeon, Flounder, &c. and an- 
other for such as feed a lit tie higher, as Roach,Dace, &c. 

3. Some use to lead their lines heavily, and to set 
their float about a foot or more from the end of the rod, 
with a little lead to buoy it up, and thus in violent swift 



28 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

Streams, they avoid the offence of a float, and yet per- 
fectly discern the biting of the fish, and so order them- 
selves accordingly ; but this has its inconvenience, viz. 
the lying of the line m the water. 

4. Give all fish time to gorge the bait, and be not 
over hasty, except you angle with such tender baits as 
^vill not endure nibbling at, but must upon every touch 
be struck at, as sheep's-blood and flies, which are taken 
away at the first pull of the fish, and therefore enforce 
you, at the first touch, to try your fortune. 

Now we are to speak next of baits, more particu- 
larly proper for every fish, wherein I shall observe this 
method, first to name the fish, then the baits, accord- 
ing as my experience hath proved them grateful to the 
fish ; and to place them as near as I can in such order as 
they come in season, though many of them are in sea- 
son at one instant of time, and equally good. I would 
not be understood, as if when a new bait comes in, the 
old one were antiquated and useless ; for I know the 
worm lasts all the year, flies all the Summer, one sort 
of bob-worm all the Winter, the other under cow-dung, 
in June and July; but I intimate that some are found 
when others are not m rerum natura. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 29 



CHAP. V. 

OF ALL SORTS OF BAITS FOR EACH KIND OF FISH, AND 
HOW TO FIND AND KEEP THEM. 




The Salmon takes the artificial fly very well; but you 
must use a troll, as for the Pike, or he, being a strong 
fish, will hazard your line, except you give him length : 
his flies must be much larger than you use for other fish, 
the wings very long, two or four, behind one another, 
with very long tails ; his chiefest ground-bait a great 
garden or lob-worm. 




2. The Trout takes all sorts of worms, especially 
brandlings ; all sorts of flies, the minnow, young frogs, 
marsh-worm, dock-worm, flag-worm, all sorts of cad- 



30 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



bait, bob, palmers, caterpillars, gentles, wasps, hornets, 
dores, bees, grasshoppers, cankers, and bark-worm ; he 
is a ravenous, greedy fish, and loveth a large bait at 
ground, and you must fit him accordingly. 




.3. The Umber, or Grayling, is generally taken 
mth the same baits as the Trout ; he is an eager fish, 
biteth freely, and will rise often at the same fly, if you 
prick him not. 




The Barbel bites best at great red worms, well 
scoured in moss ; gentles, cheese, or paste, made of 
cheese with suet, maggots, and red worms j feed mucli 
for this fish. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



31 




4. Car1» and Tench love the largest red worms, 



the 




especially if they smell much of tar; to which end you 
may, some small time before you use them, take so many 
as you will use at that time, and put them by them- 
selves in a little tar, but let them not lie long lest it kill 
them ; paste also of all sorts, made with strong-scented 
oils, tar, bread, grain boiled soft, maggots, gentles, 
marsh-worm, flag-worm, especially; feed much and 
often for these fish. 




32 



ANGLING IMPROVED, 



The Pike takes all sorts of baits, save the Fly, 
Gudgeon, Roach, Dace, 




and young frogs in Summer. You may halter him thus : 
fasten a strong line with a snare at the end of it to a 
pole, which if you go circumspectly to work, he will 
permit you to put it over his head, and then you must 
by strength, hoist him to land. 




Eels take great red worms, beef, wasps, guts of 
fowls, and the minnow. Bait night-hooks for him with 
small Roach, the hook must lie in the mouth of the fish, 
as for the Pike; this way takes the greatest Eels. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



38 





GUDGEON 






,^^ 


%^ 


^ 








lte^=^ 


'^-^^^ 




|^jrf^'^=^ 


^^ 


^^ 


^^^^-^^ 


^^»^ 


^^ 



7. The Gudgeon, Ruff, and Bleak, take the 
smallest red worms, cad-bait, gentles, and wasps. The 
Bleak takes the natural or artificial fly, especially in 
the evening. 

8. The Ruff taketh the same baits as the Pearch, 
save that you must have lesser worms, he being a 
smaller fish. 




9. For Roach and Dace take small worms, 
cad-bait, flies, bobs, sheep's-blood, small white snails, 
all sorts of worms bred on herbs or trees, paste, wasps, 
and gnats. 

The Bleak is an eager fish, and takes the same 
baits as the Roach, only they must be less. You may 
angle for him with as many hooks on your line at once, 
as you can conveniently fasten on it. 



•*$4 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



10. The Chevin or Chub, all sorts of earth- 
worms, bob, the minnow, flies of all sorts, cad-bait, all 
sorts of worms bred on herbs and trees, especially oak- 
worms, young frogs, wasps, bees, or grasshoppers, on 
the top of the water -, cheese, grain, beetles, a great 
brown fly that lives on the oak, black snails, their bellies 
slit that the white appear j he loves a large bait, as a 
wasp, colwort-worm, and then a wasp altogether. 




1 1 . The Bream takes red worms, especially those 
that are got at the root of a great Dock, it lies wrapped 
up in a knot, or round clue 3 paste, flag-worms, wasps, 
green-flies, butter-flies, or a grasshopper, his legs being 
cut off. 

12. Flounder, Shad, and Mullet, love red 
worms of all sorts, wasps, and gentles. 

As for the Minnow, Loach, Bull-head, or 



MILLED S THUMB 




*""tBa5:irt'^«^.^^^i^§j£^£^ 



ANOLINO IMPROVED. 



» 



being usually children's recreation, I once purposed to 
have omitted them wholly, but considering they often 
are baits for better fish, as Trout, Pike, Eel, &c. Nei- 
ther could this discourse be general, if they were 
omitted; and though I should wave mentioning them, 
yet I cannot forget them, who have so often vexed me 
with their unwelcome eagerness ; for the 




will have a part in the play, if you come where he is ; 
which is almost every where, you need not seek him : I 
find him much oftener than 1 desire, it is only in deep still 
places which he least frequents, and is not over curious 
in his baits ; any thing will serve that he can swallow, 
and he will strain hard for what he cannot gorge : but 
chiefly likes small red worms, cad-bait, worms bred on 
trees, and wasps. 

The Loach and Bull-head are much of the 
same diet ; but their principal bait is small red worms. 

Having spoken before of pastes, I shall now shew 
how you may make the same ; and though there be as 
many kinds as men have fancies, yet I esteem these best. 

1 . Take the tenderest part of the leg of a young 
rabbit, virgin wax, and sheep's-suet ; beat them in a 
mortar till they be perfectly incorporated, then with a 



36 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

little clarified honey, temper them before the fire into 
a paste. 

2. SheepVkidney suet, as much cheese, fine flower 
or manchet, make it into a paste ; soften it with clari- 
fied honey. 

3. Sheep's blood, cheese, fine manchet, clarified 
honey ; make all into a paste. 

4. Sheep's blood, saffron, and fine manchet; make 
all into a paste. 

You may add to any paste, coculus-indiae, assa- 
foetida, oil of polipody of the oak, of li<^num vitae, of 
ivy, or the gum of ivy dissolved : I judge there is virtue 
in these oils, and gum especially, which I would add to 
all pastes I make, as also a little flax to keep the paste, 
that it wash not off the hook. 



CHAP. VI. 

TO KEEP YOUR BAITS. 



1 . Paste will keep very long, if you put virgin wax 
and clarified honey into it, and stick well on the hook, 
if you beat cotton wool, or flax into it, when you make 
your paste. 

2. Put your worms into very good long moss, 
whether white, red, or green, matters not -, wash it well, 
and cleanse it from all earth and filth, wring it very 
dry, then put your worms into an earthen pot, cover it 
close that they crawl not out ; set it in a cool place in 
Summer, and in Winter in a warm place, that the frost 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 3? 

kill thetti not; every third day in Summer change your 
moss, and once in the week in Winter ; the longer you 
keep them before you use them the better : clean 
scouring your worms makes them clear, red, tough, 
and to live long on the hook, and to keep colour, and 
therefore more desireable to the fish : a little Bol Amo- 
niac put to them, will much further your desire, and 
scour them in a short time : or you may put them all 
night in water, and they will scour themselves, which 
will weaken them ; but a few hours in good moss will 
recover them. Lest your worms die, you may feed 
them with crumbs of bread and milk, or fine flour and 
milk, or the yolk of an egg, and sweet cream coagu- 
lated over the fire, given to them a little and often ; 
sometimes also put to them earth cast out of a grave, 
the newer the grave the better ; I mean the shorter time 
the party hath been buried, you will find the fish will 
exceedingly covet them after this earth, and here you 
may gather what gum that is, which J. D. in his Secrets 
of Angling y calls * Gum of Life.' 

3. You must keep all other sorts of worms with 
the leaves of those trees and herbs on which they are 
bred, renewing the leaves often in a day, and put in 
fresh for the old ones : the boxes you keep them in 
must have a few small holes to let in air. 

4. Keep gentles or maggots with dead flesh, 
beast's livers, or suet ; cleanse or scour them in meal, 
or bran, which is better ; you may breed them by prick- 
ing a bejist's liver full of holes, hang it in the sun in 
Summer time; set an old course barrel, or small firkin. 



38 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



with clay and bran in it, into which they will drop, and 
cleanse themselves in it. 

5. Cad-bait cannot endure the wind and cold, 
therefore keep them in a thick woollen bag", with some 
gravel amongst them : wet them once a day, at least, if 
in the house, but often in the hot weather : when you 
carry them forth, fill the bag full of water, then hold the 
mouth close, that they drop not out, and so let the 
water run from them; I have thus kept them three 
weeks, or you may put them into an earthem pot full 
of water, with some gravel at the bottom, and take 
them forth into your bag as you use them. 

6. The spawn of some fish is a good bait, to be 
used at such time as that fish is spawning : some days 
before they spawn they will bite eagerly ; if you take 
one that is full-bellied, take out the spawn, boil it so 
hard as to stick on your hook, and so use it ; or not boil 
it at all, the spawn of Salmon is the best of all sorts of 
spawn. 

7. I have observed, that Chevin, Roach, and 




bite much better at the oak-worm, or any worm bred 
on herbs and trees, especially if you angle with the 



ANGLINO IMPROVED. ^ 

same, when they shew themselves at the top of the 
water, as with the natural fly, than if you use it under : 
for I have observed, that when a gale of wind shakes 
the trees, the worms fall into the water, and presently 
rise and float on the top, where I have seen the fish rise 
at them, as at flies, which taught me this experience ; 
and indeed they sink not, till tost and beaten by the 
stream, and so die and lose their colour ; the fish then, 
as you may see by your own on your hook, do not much 
esteem them. 

8. There are two, some say three, sorts of cad- 
bait ; the one bred under stones, that lie hollow in shal- 
low rivers, or small brooks, in a very fine gravelly case 
or husk, these are yellow when ripe : the other in old 
pits, ponds, or slow running rivers, or ditches, in cases 
or husks of straw, sticks, or rushes, these are green 
when ripe ; both are excellent for Trout, used as before 
directed, and for most sorts of small fish. The green 
sort, which is bred in pits, ponds, or ditches, may be 
found in March, before the other yellow ones comes in ; 
the other yellow ones come in season with May, or the 
end of April, and go out in July: a second sort, but 
smaller, come in again in August. 

9. Yellow bobs are also of two sorts, the one bred 
in mellow light soils, and gathered after the plough, 
when the land is first broken up from grazing, and are 
in season in the Winter till March; the other sort is 
bred under cow-dung, hath a red head ; and these are in 
season in the Summer only : scour them in bran, or dry 
moss, or meal. 



40 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

10. Bark- worms are found under the bark of an 
oak, ash, alder, and birch, especially if they lie a year or 
more after they have fallen, you may find a great white 
worm, with a brown head, something* resembling a dore 
bee, or humble-bee, this is in season all the year, especi- 
ally from September until June, or mid-May; the Um- 
ber covets this bait above any, save fly, and cad-bait ; 
you may also find this worm in the body of a rotten al- 
der, if you break it mth an axe or beetle ; but be careful 
only to shake the tree in pieces with beating, and crush 
not the worm : you may also find him under the bark of 
the stump of a tree, if decayed. 

11. Dry your wasps, dores, or bees, upon a tile- 
stone, or in an oven cooled after baking, lest they burn ; 
and to avoid that, you must lay them on a thin board or 
chip, and cover them with another so supported, as not 
to crush them, or else clap two cakes together: this 
way they will keep long, and stick on your hook well. 
If you boil them hard, they grow black in a few days. 

12. Dry your sheep's blood in the air, upon a dry 
board, till it become a pretty hard lump ; then cut it into 
small pieces for your use. 

13. When you use grain, boil it soft, and get off 
the outward rind, which is the bran ; and then if you will, 
you may fry the same in honey and milk, or some strong 
scented oils, as polypody, spike, ivy, turpentine ; for 
Nature, which maketh nothing in vain, hath given the 
fish nostrils, and that they can smell, is undeniable j and 
I am persuaded, more guided by the sense of smelling, 
than sight, for sometimes they will come to the float, if 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 41 

any wax Be upon it, smell at it and ^o away. We see also 
that strong scents draw them together; as, put grains, 
worms, or snails, in a bottle of hay tied pretty close, and 
you will, if you pluck it out suddenly, sometimes draw 
up Eels in it. But I never yet made trial of any of 
these oils ; for when I had the oils, I wanted time to try 
them ; or when I had time, I wanted the oils : but I re- 
commend them to others for trial, and do purpose, 
God willing, to prove the virtue myself, especially that 
ointment so highly commended by J. D. in his Secrets 
of Angling* 



* In the edition of 1613, duod. the receipt here referred to occurs at 
the end of the volume : 

Would'st thou catch fish ? 
• Then here's thy wish ; 
Take this receipt 
To anoint thy bait. 
Thou that desirest to fish with line and hook, ■"■' 

Be it in poole, in river, or in brook, , 

To blisse thy bait, and make the fish to bite, 
Loe here's a means if thou canst hit it right ; 
Take gum of life, fine beat and laid to soak 
In oyle, well drawn from that which kills the oak; 
Fish where thou wilt, thou shalt have sport thy fill, " 
When twenty fail, thou shalt be sure to kill. 

Probattim. 
It's perfect and good 
If well understood 
Else not to be told 
For silver or gold. 
Lauson, who * augmented with many approved experiments,' the second 
edition of the Secrets of Anglings 1652, duod. observes, *This excellent 
receipt divers Anglers can tell you where you may buy them.' On the 
subject of 'gum of life,' he continues, *I have heard much of an oyntment 
that will presently cause any fish to bite; but I could never attain the 
knowledge thereof, the nearest in mine opinion, except this Probatum, is 
the oyle of an ospray, which is called Aquila Marina, the Sea-Eagle. 

P 



42 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

14. When you see ant-flies in greatest plenty, go 
to the ant-hills where they breed, take a great handful 
of the earth, with as much of the roots of the grass 
growing on those hills 5 put all into a large glass bottle, 
then gather a pottle full of the blackest, ant-flies un- 
bruised, put them into the bottle, or into a firkin, if you 
would keep them long, first washed with honey, or 
water and honey; Roach and Dace will bite at these 
flies under water near the ground. 

15. When you gather bobs after the plough, put 
them into a firkin, with sufficient of the soil they were 
bred in, to preserve them ; stop the vessel quite close, 
or all will spoil ; set it where neither wind nor frost may 
ofiend them, and they will keep all Winter for your use. 

16. At the latter end of September, take some 
dead carrion that hath some maggots bred in it, which 
are beginning to creep; bury all deep in the ground, 
that the frost kill them not, and they will serve in 
March or April following, to use. 

17. To find the flag-worm, do thus : go to an old 
pond, or pit, where there are store of flags, or, as some 
call them, sedges, pull some up by the roots, then shake 

She is of body neare the bignesse of a goose ; one of her feele is web'd 
to swim withall, the other hath talons to catch fish. It seems the fisli 
come up to her, for she cannot dive. Some likelihood there is also in a 
paste made of Coculus Indie, Assa-Fcetida, Honey and Wheat-flour; but 
I never tried them, therefore I cannot prescribe.' 

*That which kills the oak,' is expressly said to signify *the Ivy,' 
edit. 1652. 

In a third, and hitherto unrecorded edition of the Secrets of 
Angling, it is said, 'This excellent receipt you may buy ready and truely 
made, at the signe of the Flying Horse, an Apothecaries in Carter- Lane,* 

Editor, 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 43 

those roots in the water, till all the mud and dirt be 
washed away from them, then amongst the small strings 
or fibres that grow to the roots, you will find little husks 
or cases of a reddish, or yellowish, and some of other 
colours ; open these carefully with a pin, and you will 
find in them a little small worm, white as a gentle, but 
longer and thinner; this is an excellent bait for the 
Tench, the Bream, and especially the Carp : if you pull 
the flags asunder, and cut open the round stalk, you will 
also find a worm like the former in the husks; but 
tougher, and in that respect better. 



CHAP. VII. 



OF SEVERAL HADNTS OB RESORTS OF FISH, AND IN WHAT 

RIVERS OR PLACES OF THEM THEY ARE MOST 

USUALLY FOUND. 

This part of our discourse being a discovery of the 
several places or rivers each kind of fish do most 
haunt or covet, and in which they are ordinarily found. 
The several sorts of rivers, streams, soils, and 
waters they most frequent, is a matter, in this under- 
valued art, of no small importance ; for if you come with 
baits for the Trout, or Umber, and angle for them in 
slow muddy rivers or places, you will have little, if any 
sport at all : and to seek for Carp or Tench in stony 
swift rivers, is e(iually preposterous ; and though I know 
that sometimes you may meet with fish in such rivers 
and places, as they do not usually frequent, for no ge- 



44 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

ueral rule but admits of particular exceptions, yet the? 
exact knowledge of what rivers or soils, or what part 
of the river, for some rivers have swift gravely 
streams, and also slow, deep, muddy places j such or 
such sorts of fish do most frequent, will exceedingly 
adapt you, to know what rivers, or what part of them 
are most fit for your baits, or what baits suit best with 
each river, and the fish in the same. 

1. The Salmon loves large swift rivers, where 
there is considerable ebbing and flowing, and there that 
fish is found in the greatest numbers ; nevertheless, I 
have known them to be found in lesser rivers, high up 
in the country, yet chiefly in the latter end of the year, 
when they come thither to spawn, he chooses the most 
swift and violent streams, or rather cataracts, and in 
England the clearest gravely rivers usually with rocks 
or weeds -, but in Ireland, I do not know any river, I 
mean high in the country, that hath such plenty of them 
as the black water, by Charlemont, and the broad water, 
by Shane's Castle, both which have their heads in great 
bogs, and are of a dark muddy colour, and very few 
comparatively in the upper ban, though clearer and 
swifter than they. 

2. The Trout is found in small purling brooks, 
or rivers that are very swift, and run upon stones or 
gravel ; he feeds whilst strong in the swiftest streams, 
behind a stone, a log, or some small bank, which, 
shooting into the river, the streams beareth upon -, and 
there he lieth watching for what comes down the stream, 
and suddenly catches it up. His hold is usually in the 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 4i 

deep, under a hollow place of the bank, or a stone which 
lying hollow, he loves exceedingly; and sometimes, 
but not so usually, he is found amongst weeds. 

3. The Pearch prefers a gentle stream, of a rea- 
sonable depth, seldom shallow, close by a hollow bank ; 
and though these three sorts of fish covet clear and 
swift rivers, green weeds, and stony gravel; yet they 
are sometimes found, but not in such plenty and good- 
ness, in slow muddy rivers. 

4. Carp, Tench, and Eel, seek mud and a still 
water; Eels under roots or stones, a Carp chooseth the 
deepest and most still place of pond or river, so does 
the Tench, and also green weeds, which he likes exceed- 
ingly ; the greatest Eels love as before; but the smaller 
ones are found in all sorts of rivers and soils. 

5. Pike, Bream, and Chub, choose sand or clay : 
the Bream, a gentle stream, and the broadest part of the 
river; the Pike, still pools full of fry, and shelters him- 
self, the better to surprise his prey unawares, amongst 
bull-rushes, water-docks, or imder-bushes ; the Chub 
loves the same ground, but is more rarely found without 
some tree to shade and cover him, in large rivers and 
streams. 

6. Barbel, Roach.Dace, and Ruff, seek gravel and 
sand more than the Bream, and the deepest parts of the 
river, where shady trees are more grateful to them, than 
to the Chub or Chevin. 

7. The Umber seeks marl, clay, clear waters, 
swift streams, far from the Sea, for I never saw any 
taken near it ; and the greatest plenty of them that I 



46 ANOLINO IMPROVED. 

know of, are found in the mountainous parts of Derby- 
shire, Staffordshire, as Dovetrent, Derwent, &c. 

8. Gudgeon desires sandy, gravely, gentle streams, 
and smaller rivers ; but I have known them taken in 
great abundance in Trent, in Derbyshire, where it is 
very large ; but conceive them to be in greater plenty 
nearer the head of that river, about or above Heywood : 
I can say the same of other rivers, and therefore con- 
ceive they love smaller rivers rather than the large, or 
the small brooks, for I never found them in so great 
plenty in brooks, as small rivers ; he bites best in the 
Spring, till he spawns, and little after till wasp time. 

9. Shad, Thwait, Peel, Mullett, Suant, and 
Flounder, love chiefly to be in or near the saltish water, 
which ebb and flow; I have known the Flounder taken 
in good plenty, in fresh rivers ; they covet sand and 
gravel, deep gentle streams near the bank, or at the end 
of a stream in a deep still place : though these rules 
may, and do hold good in the general, yet I have found 
them admit of particular exceptions, but every man's 
habitation engaged him to one, or usually at most, to 
two rivers, his own experience will quickly inform him 
of the nature of the same, and the fish in them. I 
would persuade all that love angling, and desire to be 
complete Anglers, to spend some time in all sorts of 
waters, ponds, rivers, swift and slow, stony, gravely, 
muddy and slimy; and to observe all the differences in 
the nature of the fish, the waters and baits, and by this 
means he will be able to take fish where ever he angles ; 
otherwise, through want of experience, he will be like 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 41' 

the man that could read in no book but his own: 
besides, a man, his occasions or desires drawing him 
from home, must only stand as an idle spectator, whilst 
others kill fish, but he none ; and so lose the repute of 
a complete Angler, how excellent soever he be at his 
own known river. 

Furthermore, you must understand, that as some 
fish covet one soil more than another, so they diflfer in 
their choice of places, in every season; some keep all 
Summer long near the top, some never leave the bottom; 
for the former sort you may angle with a quill or small 
float near the top, with a fly, or any sort of worm bred 
on herbs or trees, or with a fly at the top : the latter 
sort you will, all Summer long, find at the tails of wiers, 
mills, flood-gates, arches of bridges, or the more shal- 
low parts of the river, in a strong, swift or gentle 
stream, except Carp, and Tench, and Eel; in Winter all 
retreat into deep still places ; where it ebbs and flows, 
they will sometimes bite best, but in the ebb most 
usually; sometimes when it flows, but rarely at full 
water, near the arches of Bridges, wiers, or flood-gates. 



CHAP. VIII. 

WHAT TIMES ARE UNSEASONABLE TO ANGLE IN. 

There being a time for all things, in which with ease 
and facility the same may be accomplished, and most 
difficult, if not impossible, at another : the skill and 
knowledge how to choose the best season to angle, and 



48 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

how to avoid the contrary, come next to be handled; 
which I shall do first negatively, viz. what times are un- 
fit to angle; and then affirmatively, which are the best 
seasons. 

1 . When the earth is parched with a great drought, 
so that the rivers run with a much less current than is 
usual, it is to no purpose to angle; and indeed the heat 
of the day in Summer, except cooled by winds, and 
shallowed with clouds, though there be no drought, you 
will find very little sport, especially in muddy, or very 
shallow and clear rivers. 

2. In cold, frosty, snowy weather, I know the fish 
must eat in all seasons, and that a man may kill fish 
when he must first break the ice ; yet I conceive the 
sport is not then worth pursuing, the extreme cold 
taking away the delight, besides the endangering health, 
if not life, by those colds, which at least cause rhumes 
and coughs : wherefore I leave Winter and night ang- 
ling, to such strong healthful bodies, whose extraordi- 
nary delight in angling, or those whose necessity en- 
forceth them to seek profit by their recreation, in such 
imseasonable times. 

3. When there happens any small frost, all that 
day after the fish will not rise freely and kindly, ex- 
cept in the evening, and that the same prove very plea- 
sant. 

4. If the wind be very high, so that you cannot 
gmde your tools to advantage. 

5. When shepherds or countrymen wash their 
sheep, though while they are washing, I mean the first 



ANGLING IMPROVED. fl9 

time only, the fish will bite exceedingly well; I suppose 
the filth that falls from the sheep draws them, as like 
baiting a place together, and then they so glut them- 
selves, that till the whole washing time be over, and they 
have digested their fulness ; they will not take any ar- 
tificial baits. 

6. Sharp, bitter, nipping winds, which most 
usually blow out of the North or East especially, blast 
your recreation ; but this is rather the season than the 
wind, though I also judge those winds have a secret 
malign quality to hinder the recreation. 

7- After any sort of fish have spawned, they will 
not bite any thing to purpose, until they have recovered 
their strength and former appetite. ntn 

8. When any clouds arise, that will certainly 
bring a shower or storm, though in the midst of Sum- 
mer, they will not bite : I have observed, that though 
the fish bite most eagerly, and to your heart's content; 
yet upon the first appearing of any clouds, that will 
certainly bring rain, though my own judgment could not 
then apprehend, or in the least conjecture, that a storm 
was arising, they have immediately left off biting; and 
that has been all given me to understand that a shower 
was coming, and that it was prudent to seek shelter 
against the same. 



50 AN6LINO IMPROVED. 



CHAP. IX. 

THE BEST TIMES AND SEASONS TO ANGLE. 

We now come to the affirmative part, which is the best 
season to angle, that as before, we discovered when it 
would be lost labour to seek recreation ; so now you may 
learn to improve opportunity, when it offers itself to 
best advantage. 

1. Calm, clear, or which is better, cool cloudy 
weather in Summer, the wind blowing gently, so as you 
may guide your tools with ease; in the hottest months, 
the cooler the better. 

2. When the floods have carried away all the filth 
that the rain had washed from the higher grounds into 
the river, and that the river keeps his usual bounds, and 
appears of a whey colour. 

3. When a sudden violent shower hath a little 
mudded and raised the river, then if you go forth in, or 
immediately after such a shower, and angle in the 
stream at the ground, with a red worm chiefly ; if there 
be store of fish in the river, you will have sport to your 
own desire. 

4. A little before any fish spawn, your own ob- 
servation will inform you of the time, by the fulness of 
their bellies, they come into the gravely, sandy fords, to 
rub and loosen their bellies, and then they bite very 
freely. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 51 

6. When rivers after rain do rise, yet so as that 
they keep within their banks, in swift rivers the violence 
of the stream forces the fish to seek shelter and quiet 
ease J in the little and milder currents of small brooks, 
where they fall into larger rivers, and behind the ends of 
bridges that are longer than the breadth of the river, 
making a low vacancy, where the bridge defends a small 
spot of ground from the violence of the stream, or in 
any low place near the river^s side, where the fish may 
lie at rest, and secure from the disturbance of the rapid 
stream -, in such a place, not being very deep, and at 
such a time, you will find sport : as regards myself, I 
have ever found it equal to the best season. 

6. For Carp and Tench early in the morning, from 
sun rising, until eight of the clock, and from four after 
noon, till night ; and from sun set, till far in the night 
in the hot months. 

7. In March, in the beginning of April, and at the 
latter end of September, and all Winter, fish bite best 
in the warmth of the day, when no winds are stirring, 
and the air quite clear. In Summer months, morning 
and evening are best, or cool cloudy weather: if you 
can find shelter, no matter how high the wind be. 

8. Fish rise best at the fly, after a shower that has 
not mudded the water, yet has beaten the gnats and flies 
into the rivers ; you may in such a shower observe them 
rise much, if you will endure the rain ; also the best 
months for the fly, are March, April, May, and part of 
June ; in the cooler months, in the warmest time of the 
day^ or in warm weather, about nine in the morning, 



52 ANGLING IMPROVED. 

three in the afternoon, if any gentle gale blow ; some- 
times in a warm evening, when the gnats play much. 

9. Also after the river is cleared from a flood, they 
rise exceedmg well ; I conceive that being glutted with 
ground-baits, they now covet the fly, having wanted it a 
tune. 

10. A Trout bites best in a muddy rising water, in 
dark, cloudy, windy weather, early in the morning, from 
half an hour after eight, till ten ; and in the afternoon, 
from three, till after four, and sometimes in the even- 
ing ; but about nine in the morning, and about three in 
the afternoon, are his chief and most constant hours of 
biting at ground or fly, as the water suits either; 
March, April, May, and part of June, are his chief 
months, though he bites well in July, August and Sep- 
tember. After a shower in the evening, he rises well 
at gnats. 

11. Salmon, at three in the afternoon, chiefly in 
May, June, July, and August, with a clear water and 
some wind. He bites best when the wind is blowing 
against the stream, and near the sea. 

12. Carp and Tench, morning and evening, very 
early and late, June, July and August, or indeed in the 
night. 

13. AChevin,from sun rising or earlier, at snails 
especially ; for in the heat of the day he cares not for 
them, in June and July till about eight, again at three 
in the afternoon at ground, or fly; and his chief fly 
which he most delights in, is a great moth, with a very 
great head, not unlike to an owl, with whitish wings. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. JSSi 

and yellowish body, you may find them flying abroad in 
Summer evenings in gardens, when some wind is stir- 
ring, in large rivers chiefly, streams or shade. He will 
take a small lamprey, or seven-eyes, an eel-brood, either 
of them about a straw's bigness. 

14. Pike bites best at three in the afternoon, in a 
clear water, accompanied by a gentle gale, in July, 
August, September, and October. 

15. Bream, from about sun rising, till eight, in a 
muddy water, a good gale of wind; and in ponds, the 
higher the better, and where the waves are highest, and 
nearer the middle of the pond, the better ; from the end 
of May, June, July especially, and August. 

16. Roach and Dace all day long; best at the top, 
at fly, or oak-worm principally, and at all other worms 
bred on herbs or trees, palmers, caterpillars, &c. in 
plain rivers or ponds, under water-dock leaves, or under 
shady trees. 

1 7. Gudgeon from April, and till he have spawned 
in May, and a little after that, till wasp time, and then 
to the end of the year, all day long. 

18. Flounder all day in April, May, June, and 
Julv. 



54 ANGLING IMPROVED. 



CHAP. X. 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. 



1 . Let the Angler's apparel be sad dark colours, as sad 
grey's, tawny, purple, hair, or musk colour. 

2. Use shoe-maker's wax to your silk or thread, 
with which you make or mend either rod or fly; it 
holds firmer, and sticks better than any other. 

3. Into such places as you use to angle at, once a 
week at least, cast in all sorts of corn boiled soft, grains 
washed in blood, blood dried and cut into pieces, snails, 
worms chopped small, pieces of fowl, or beast's guts, 
beast's livers ; for Carp and Tench you cannot feed too 
often, or too much ; this course draweth the fish to the 
place you desire. And to keep them together, cast 
about twenty grains of ground malt at a time, now and 
then as you angle ; and indeed all sorts of baits are good 
to cast in, especially whilst you are angling with that 
bait, principally cad-bait, gentles, and wasps, and you 
will find they will snap up yours more eagerly, and with 
less suspicion; but by no means, when you angle in a 
stream cast them in at your hook, but something above 
where you angle, lest the stream carry them beyond 
your hook, and so instead of drawing them to you, you 
draw them from you. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



55 



4. Destroy all beasts or birds that devour the fish 
or their spa\vn,* as the 




• THE OTTER'S ORATION. 

Why stand we beasts abasht, or spare to speake 1 

Why make wee not a vertue of our need? 

We know by proofe, in wit wee are to weake, 

And weaker much, because all Adams seed, 

(Which beare away the waight of wit indeed) 

Do dayly seeke our names for to distaine, 

With slanderous blotte, for which we Beasts be slaine. 

First of my selfe, before the rest to treate. 
Most men cry out, that fishe I do deuoure. 
Yea some will say, that Lambes (with mee) be meate; 
I graunt to both, and he that hath the powre. 
To feede on fish that sweeter were than sowre. 
And hath yong flesh to banquet at his fill. 
Were fonde to fraunche on garbage, graynes or swill. 

But master Man, which findeth all this fault. 
And streynes deuise for many a daynty dishe. 
Which suflFreth not that hunger him assault, 
But feedes his fill on euery flesh and fishe. 
Which must haue all, as much as witte can wish, 
Us seely Beasts, deuouring Beasts do call, 
And he himsefe, most bloody beaste of all. 

Well yet me thinks, I heare him preach this Text, 
How all that is, was made for vse of man: 
So was it sure, but therewith followes next. 
This heauy place, expound it who so can : 
The very scourge and plague of God his Ban, 



56 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



&c. and endeavour, whether in authority or not, to see 
all statutes put in execution, against such as use unlaw- 

Will light on such as queyntly can deuise. 

To eat more ineate, then may thir mouthes snffise. 

Now master Man stand forth and here declare. 
Who euer yet could see an Otter eate, 
More meate at once, then serued for his share? 
Who sees vs beasts sitte bybbing in our seate 
With sundry wynes, and sundry kindes of meate? 
Which breede disease, yfostred in such feastes, 
If men do so, be they not worse than beasts? 

The beastly man, must sitte al day and quaffe, 
The Beaste indeede, doth drincke but twise a day, 
The beastly man, must stuffe his monstrous masse 
With secrete cause of surfeiting alway ; 
Where beasts be glad to feede when they get prey. 
And neuer eate more than may do them good. 
Where men be sicke, and surfet thorough foode. 

Who sees a Beast, for sauery Sawces long? 
Who sets a beast, or chicke or Capon cramnie? 
Wiio sees a beast, once luld on sleepe with song? 
Who sees a beast make venson of a Ramme? ^ 

Who sees a Beast destroy bothe whelpe and damme? 
Who sees a Beast vse beastly Gluttonie ? 
Which man doth vse, for great Ciuilytie. 

I know not I, if dyuing be my fault. 
Me thinks most men, can diue as well as I : 
Some men can diue in Seller and in vault. 
In Parlor, Hall, Kitchen and in Buttery 
To smell the Roste, whereof the fume doth flee : 
And as for games, men diue in every streame, 
All frawdes be fishe, their stomacks neuer squeame. 

So to conclude, when men their faults can mend, 
And shnnne the shame, where with they beasts do blot, 
When men their time and treasure not mispend. 
But follow grace, which is with paines ygot. 
When men can vice rebuke, and vse it not: 
Then shall they shine, like men of worthy fame. 
And else, they be but Beasts well worthy blame. 

Noble Art of Venerie, 1611. ito. pp. 201-203. 



ANOLINO IMPROVED. 57 

ful nets, or means to take fish; especially bar-netting 
and night-hooking. 

5. Get your rods and tops without knots, they are 
dangerous for breaking. 

6. Keep your rod dry, lest it rot, and not near 
the fire, lest it grow brittle. 

7. In drought, wet your rod a little before you 
begin to angle. 

8. Lob-worms, dew-worms, and great garden 
worms, all one. 

9. When you angle at ground, or with the natu- 
ral fly, your line must not exceed the length of your 
rod. For the Trout at ground, it must be shorter, and 
in some cases, not half the length as in small brooks or 
woody rivers, either at ground, or with the natural fly. 

10. When you have hooked a good fish, have an 
especial care to keep your rod bent, lest he run to the 
line, and break your hook, or his hold. 

11. Such tops or stocks as you get, must not be 
used till fully seasoned, which will not be in one year 
and a quarter, but I like them better if kept till they be 
two years old. 

12. The first fish you take, cut up his belly, and 
you may then see his stomach ; it is known by its large- 
ness and place, lying from the gills to the small guts ; 
take it out very tenderly, if you bruise it, your labour 
and design are lost -, and with a sharp knife cut it open 
without bruising, and then you may find his food in it, 
and thereby discover what bait the fish at that instant 



58 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



takes best, either flies or ground-baits, and so suit 
them accordingly. 

13. Fish are frightened with any the least sight or 
motion, therefore by all means keep out of sight, either 
by sheltering yourself behind some bush or tree, or by 
standing so far off the river's side, that you can see 
nothing but your fly or float; to effect this, a long rod 
at ground, and a long line with the artificial fly, may be 
of use to you. And here I meet with two different 
opinions and practises, some will always cast their fly 
and bait up the water, and so they say nothing occurs 
to the fish's sight but the line; others fish down the 
river, and so suppose, the rod and line being long, the 
quantity of water takes away, or at least lessens the 
fish's sight ; but others aflfirm, that rod and line, and 
perhaps yourself, are seen also. In this difference of 
opinions I shall only say, in small brooks you may angle 
upwards, or else in great rivers you must wade, as I 
have known some, who thereby got the sciatica, and I 
would not wish you to purchase pleasure at so dear a 
rate ; besides, casting up the river you cannot keep your 
line out of the water, which has been noted for a fault 
before ; and they that use this way confess, that if in 
casting your fly, the line fall into the water before it, the 
fly were better uncast, because it frightens the fish ; 
then certainly it must do it this way, whether the fly fall 
first or not, the line must first come to the fish, or fall 
on him, which undoubtedly will frighten him: my 
opinion is, therefore, that you angle down the river, for 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 



69 



the other way you traverse twice so much, and beat not 
so much ground as downwards. 

14. Keep the sun, and moon, it night, before you, 
if your eyes will endure, which I much question, at 
least be sure to have those planets on your side, for if 
they be on your back, your rod will with its shadow of- 
fend much, and the fish see further and clearer, when 
they look towards those lights, than the contrary; as 
you may experiment thus in a dark night, if a man come 
betwixt you and any light, you see him clearly, but not 
at all if the light come betwixt you and him. 

15. When you angle for the Trout, you need not 
make above three or four trials in one place, either with 
fly or ground-bait, for he will then either take it, or 
make an offer, or not stir at all, and so you lose time to 
stay there any longer. 




Pkarch bites exceedingly well at all sorts of 
©arth-worms, especially lob-worms, brandlings, bobs, 
oak-worms, gentles, cad-bait, wasps, dores, minnows, 
colwort-worm,and often at almost any bait, save the fly. 

He bites well all day long in seasonable weather, 
but chiefly from eight in the morning till after ten, and 
from a little before three in the afternoon till almost five. 



60 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 




16. A Chevin loves to have several flies, and of 
divers sorts, on the hook at once, and several baits also 
at once on the hook, as a wasp and col wort-worm, or an 
old wasp, and young dore, or humble, when his wings 
and legs are grown forth, or a fly and cad-worm, or 
oak- worm. 

1 7. Take for a Trout, two lob-worms well scour- 
ed, cut them into two equal halves, put them on .your 
hook ; this is an excellent bait. 

In a muddy water, a Trout will not take a cad- 
bait, you must therefore only use it in clear water. 

If you desire to angle in a very swift stream, and 
have your bait rest in one place, and yet not over bur- 
then your line with lead ; take a small pistol bullet, 
make a hole through it, wider at each side than the 
middle, yet so open in every place, as that the line may 
easily pass through it without any stop ; place a very 
small piece of lead on your Ime, that may keep this 
bullet from falling nearer the hook than that piece of 
lead, and if your float be made large enough to bear 
above water, against the force of the stream, the fish 
will, when they bite, run away with the bait as securely. 



ANGLING IMPROVED. 61 

as if there were no more weight upon your line, than the 
little piece of lead, because the hole in the bullet gives 
passage to the line, as if it were not there. 

18. When cattle in Summer come into the fords, 
their dung draws the fish to the lower end of the ford ; 
at such time angle for a Chevin, with baits fit for him, 
and you will have sport. 

19. Before you set your hook to your line, arm 
the line by turning the silk five or six times about the 
link, and so with the same silk set on your hook ; this 
preserves your lines, that your hook cut it not asunder, 
and also that it will not, when using the cast fly, snap 
oflf so easily, which it is very subject to do. 

20. In very wet seasons Trouts leave the rivers 
and larger brooks, and retreat into such little brooks as 
scarce run at all in dry Summers. 

21. To all sorts of pastes, add flax, cotton, or 
wool, to keep the paste from falling off your hook. 

22. Deny not part of what your endeavours shall 
purchase unto any sick or indigent persons, but willing- 
ly distribute a part of your purchase to those who may 
desire a share. 

23. Make not a profession of any recreation, lest 
your immoderate love towards it, should bring a cross 
wish on the same. 




J. Joboson, Printer, Brouk Street, Holborn. Londoa. 



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