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ON ANGLING. BY AN AMATEUR. {Being lately on a visit to a worthy old friend in the country, our conversation turned on the

pleasures of angling, and thus touched a string which vibrated on his mind with peculiar force. He told us this sport had been his favourite pastime for many years, and that he had been induced to pursue it with the greater ardour by a series of Letters, which he had received from an experienced brother of the art, written with so much spirit and accurate knowledge of the subject, as not only to instruct but to relight him. Wishing to communicate the same gratification to others, which he had felt himself, he yielded to our persuasion to allow them to appear in the New Monthly Magazine. We shall, therefore, give them a place in our successive Numbers ; and as they contain many anecdotes and descriptions of beautiful scenery in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as instructions for angling, and various particulars of natural history connected with that amusement, we flatter ourselves they will prove very entertaining to our readers in general.] LETTER 1.

fluity of sweets, and escape the fate of Angling

those who I AM prompted by our long-conti- Die of a rose in aromatic pain. nued friendship to assure you, that as I set a great value upon your health and Moderate your desires then, and mindcomfort, I rejoice to hear that you have ful of my hints, be content with giving resolved to quit your sedentary employ- collect a truism, which although obvithe country. The smoky atmosphere

ous may be repeated to advantage, till of London' will be happily exchanged all mankind have reached the summit for the pure air of the Wiltshire downs, of improvement---that human life is too and when you are once settled there, a

short, and our duties are too nuinerous person of your excellent flow of spirits, and urgent, to allow us to sacrifice great and activity of mind, is not likely to be portions of it to recreations and sports. come a prey to ennui, or to want re

After having said so much in order to sources. You will seldom, if ever, I damp your ardour a little, and keep your trust, cast "a longing lingering look pursuit of this new amusement within behind," and sigh for your deserted oc

due bounds, I shall now proceed to as*cupation, like the retired tallow-chandler sure you, that as you pay me the comwho wished to return to the old shop pliment of applying to me for informaon dipping days. Your paternal acres tion, I will comply with your wishes in will afford you sufficient scope to em

the best manner I can. I have pracploy yourself profitably as an agricul- tised the art of angling for many years ; turíst; and your wish to serve your coun

its pursuit has been the solace of my try, both usefully and honourably, will cares, and the occupation of many a induce you to act as a magistrate. You vacant hour, and it has answered the have in your power

delightful purposes of increasing any Retirement, friendship, books,

fondness for the charms of nature, and

the solitude of the country: as our favourite poet Thomson observes;

But as my skill and knowledge in and I trust, from what I presume will angling are not equal to my love of it, be the tenour of your conduct, that you you must excuse me for not attempting will be rewarded with the blessings contained in the remaining part of that regular treatise on angling: for such a

to communicate to you any thing like a poet's delightful description :

work you must apply to those accomApplauding conscience, and approving Heav'n.

plished adepts in the art, whose works When you communicate to me your are deservedly popular. fears, that you shall have too much lei- In order to please you, I shall adopt sure upon your hands, and are desirous the following plan : l'am just going to to pass your vacant hours in angling, set out upon a piscatory tour, and I propermit me to suggest that neither that mise to correspond with you in the nor any other amusement ought to oc- course of it. From my desultory let

cupy too much time. Excess is an evil ters, and excursive way of writing, you - in all things; in nothing more than in may pick up many a useful hint, that our recreations, especially as their too may make you cheaply wise at the exs frequent repetition destroys our relish pense of the dearly-bought experience for them, and makes a toil of what of myself and others. · I may at least would otherwise be a pleasure. Per- amuse, if I do not instruct yon; and if drir, toujours perdrir, is the complaint I do not display any great ability, or of the surfeited epicure. Avoid a super-. talents, you will, I Hatter myself, give

me credit for my best endeavours to a school-boy, on the arrival of the long make my letters, as far as I am able, wished-for holiday, the enjoyment of it “ Magazines of knowledge and plea- consisted in going a-fishing with some sure."

companions who glowed with the same My letters will contain descriptions of ardour. What pleasure we felt in preall our river fishes, their haunts and baits, paring our tackle! What eagerness in the best rivers and waters in which they searching for baits! What haste in may be found, and the proper seasons running, regardless of the scorching for angling. I shall endeavour to en- sun, or the drizzling rain, to some bank liven these subjects with descriptions near the favourite hole! What compeof places, and anecdotes of persons con- tition of dexterity and alertness in prenected with the subject of the work, paring the tackle! What desire to be that I think may entertain you. That the foremost to dip a line into the water, such digression may be properly intro- and catch the first fish! We were so duced into such a work as this, which absorbed by all the circumstances that modestly aspires to be called didactic, I attended the sport, that we brought may plead the authority of your favourite baits for the fish in plenty but no suspoet Virgil in his Georgics. And, by tenance for ourselves. the bye, perhaps the readers of the Man

Far from home tuan Bard in general are more pleased We fed on scarlet hips, and stony haws, with his description of the Scythian Or blushing crabs or berries, that emboss winter, and the story of Orpheus and

The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere. Eurydice, than with his explanation of

Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite

Disdains not-nor the palate undepraved the construction of a plough, or his di- By culinary arts unsavory deems. rection for the management of bees. That reader can be neither “courte- ment might damp, but could not ex

If we failed of success, disappointous nor gentle” who does not relish the work of Isaac Walton the more, for in- tinguish our desire, for at the next optroducing the praises of Hawking and ment with the same keen relish, and

portunity we pursued the same amuseHunting, the Milkmaid's song, and her the sanje unabated activity; and the Mother's answer, into his incomparable same ardour inspires the more mature work. My subjects will be miscellaneous, in order to render the Letters more and wind, in the pursuit of his favourite

angler. He endures heat and cold, wet plcasing.

I hope you will not like me the less sport, even to the danger of his health ; because I have sometimes quitted the and makes him forget the hours he has

a run, a rise, or a bite rouses his spirits, tumpike-road line of travelling through waited for it. And if he catches a few my subject, but occasionally

fish, although their real value bear no have stray'd, Wild as the mountain bee, and cull'd a sweet

proportion to his loss of time, and his From every lower that beautify'd my way.

expense, yet they make him ample

amends for all his toil, and with a pleaWith respect to my statement of matters of fact, I shall confine myself in the possession of his prizes.

sure only known to anglers, he triumphs 10 such as have occurred to my own observation, or are confirmed by respect- what is the motive or incentive to this

As a philosopher, you may ask me able authority. Whatever new facts are brought forward are to be consider species of recreation? I shall tell you ed as so many additions to the science plainly, without any flourish or attempt of ichthyology-which you will find, the humble opinion, the motive is com

at an elaborate disquisition that in my more you take pains to investigate, to pounded of the pleasure of pursuit be a very curious and interesting branch which keeps hope and expectation of natural history, The ardour with which the love of alive, and the pleasure of acquisition

which rewards them. angling can inspire its votary, is, I

There is sometimes a state of uncerthink, as great as that produced by any tainty in angling which is found to be other' recreation whatever. A foxhanter or a shot cannot be more en

a source of great pleasure. Suppose you

hook a good fish-he feels heavy and thusiastie than a young angler. The he plunges into the deep water. He school-boy gladly expends all the money strikes towards the bank, your,

line he can save upon a fishing-rod and tackle, and the hope of sport enables slackens, and you fear he is gone. Then him to bear, without repining, the pri- you feel him drawing the line tight vation of tarts and fruits. When I was

Cowper's Sofa. VEW MONTHLY MAG.--No. 73. VOL. XIV.


again---he struggles, but with diminish- " after his study, angling was a rest ed strength, he makes a few desperate to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, efforts, he displays himself, expanding a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unhis gills, and you at length draw him quiet thoughts, a moderator of passion, breathless and exhausted upon his a procurer of contentedness ; and it broadside. At length you land him, begets habits of peace and patience in and survey with admiring eyes your those that profess and practise it.” scaly victim stretched lifeless on the bank.

The next step in your pleasure is to exhibit him, when you reach home, to

On Fish in general. your friends, and your triumph reaches I trust you are not grown so comits climax when your fish is brought to plete a rustic, and so ignorant of what table well dressed and accompanied is passing in the world, as not to know with good sauces, and all the company that every person of the least respectabiunite in exclaiming, “ Fine size! high lity aspires to the character of being season! delicious favour! He who scientific. To be a botanist is, to be caught such a grand fish must be a sure, rather out of date, although a few second Walton."

years ago no lady or gentleman could The great degree of patience requisite appear in company without being able in angling is sometimes thrown out as to talk of the genera and species of the a reproach, as much as to say, that the vegetable tribes, and like King Solomon, patient angler is a kind of a Jerry Sneak, they discoursed on plants from “ the hysa tame and spiritless animal. But does sop on the wall to the cedar of the not patience, in the estimation of phi- forest.” Now we are all grown chelosophers as well as Christians, rank mists, mineralogists, entomologists, geohigh among the virtues ? And is not its logists, or horticulturists, and exert all exercise necessary in almost every pur- possible interest to be elected members suit in life? In winter must we not of some renowned societies. It is my wait for the zephyrs of spring; in spring ambition to make you scientific in my for the flowers of summer; and in sum- own way, and therefore I shall enmer for the fruits of autumn; for they deavour to qualify you to assume the will none of them come at our call. style, title, and dignity of an IchthyoloHow long is the lover content to wait gist. Start not at the strange-looking for his mistress, the miser to gain some word, as such compound Greek terms additional bags of money, and the cour- are at present much in vogue. The tier to dance attendance for a blue rib- Kaleidoscope, it is true, happily for our bon, or a gold stick?

eye-sight, is gone out of fashion; the TeBut the imputation of patience in a legraph is changing for the Semaphore ; degrading sense to an angler, comes, let but you must not be so old-fashioned as me be free to say, with a very ill grace to talk of an Orrery, for the superior from other sportsmen. What patience name is the Diastrodoxon ; if you want a must those exercise who are fond of footman, you are directed to the Therapocoursing, before they can find a hare! legia in Soho Square, where no doubt you In shooting, how many fields must the will meet with a capital one, unless' he best shot sometimes beat, before his dogs has been in the employ of the Greeks in find a covey, or he gets a single point! a gambling-house, and they, you may be And in hunting, how many covers must assured, speak a very

different dialect to be sometimes drawn, before a fox can that which will assist us in the explanabe found! And many are the blank tion of the above-mentioned titles. days every modern Nimrod must reckon But to be serious, and come to the even in a favourable season. Let these point. The branch of natural history gentlemen---the courser, the shot, and which I am desirous to make you acthe hunter, prescribe patience to each quainted with, is called Ichthyology; other, for, believe me, the fisherman this compound word is derived from does not want a larger dose of it than gx Qus, a fish, and Loyos, an account, or they do themselves.

description. I conclude this Letter with the praise Fish form the fourth class of animals given to our darling pursuit by Sir Henry in the system of Linnæus. There are Wotton, one of the most accomplished about 400 species of which we have men of an accomplished age, and a some knowledge ; but those that are most worthy, right skilful, and renowned unknown, and live in the great deep brother of the angle. He said, that unmolested by man, and unassailable by


his methods of destruction, are sup- the right pectoral fin only be cut off, the fish posed to be much more numerous. leans to that side ; if the ventral fin on the The Orders of Fish.

same side be cut away, then it loses its equi

librium entirely: if the dorsal and ventral fins Linnæus divides fish into six orders. be cut off, the fish reels to the right and The principal marks of distinction are left. derived from the peculiar formation at- “When the fish dies, that is when the tending the gills and fins. The first fins cease to play, the belly turns upward. four orders include all those fish that The use of the same parts for motion is seen have osseous, or bony gills, and this when put in action. The pectoral and more

in the following observation upon them fact must be understood as applicable to particularly the ventral fins serve to raise the other characters, which' Linnæus and depress the fish. When the fish desires employs to distinguish these orders.

to have a retrograde motion, a stroke forORDER 1. Apodes, or fish which have ward with the pectoral fin effectually prono ventral or belly fins. This order in- duces it; if the fish desires to turn either cludes all the eel tribes, whether they way, a single blow with the tail the opposite inhabit seas, lakes, or rivers. 2. Jugu- way sends it round at once : if the tail lares, or fish with the ventral placed strikes both ways, the motion produced by before the pectoral fins, as in the bad- the double lash is progressive, and enables dock, whiting, ling, &c. 3. Thoracici, the fish to dart forwards with astonishing or fish with the ventral situated under velocity. When the tail is cut off, the fish the pectoral fins, as in the holibut, loses all motion, and gives itself up to where

the water impels it." plaice, &c. 4. Abdominales, or fish with ihe ventral situated behind the pectoral

Fish in general are supposed not to fins, as the pike, mullet, herring, &c. possess the senses in the same degree of 5. Branchiostegi, or fish whose gills are

perfection as most other animals. Their destitute of osseous matter, as the sun

sense of feeling appears not to be acute. fish, pike-fish, frog-fish, &c. 6. Chondro- Whether they can smell at all is doubtpterygii, or fish with cartilaginous gills,

and that they do not possess the as the sturgeon, dog-fish, &c.

sense of taste, or have it in an imperfect From this full, and I think clear, dis- degree is probable, because the palate of play of scientific arrangement, I proceed

most fish is hard and bony, and conseto general observations; and I acknow

uently they are incapable of relishing ledge my obligations to Dr. Skrimshire different substances, and they swallow for many of them. They are taken from their food without mastication. Whehis “Series of Essays introductory to ther fish possess the sense of hearing is the Study of Natural History,” a work a disputed point. I am rather inclined deserving your attentive perusal

, as it is to think they do not. Monroe, Hunter, written with philosophical precision, and Cuvier, hare claimed the merit of and accurate knowledge of the subject.

discovering the organs of hearing in The curious shapes, forms, and struc

some fishes, but observation seems to tures of fish are admirably adapted to oppose their theories with respect to their situations; for to inhabit an ele- fishes in general. Mr. Gowan, who ment so much heavier than air, they kept some gold fishes in a vase, informs want not the expansive wings of birds us, that whatever noise he made he to buoy them up, but being themselves could not disturb them. He hallooed nearly of tKe same specific gravity as the as loud as he could, putting a piece of water which they inhabit, their fins are paper between his mouth and the water all that is requisite to enable them to to prevent the vibrations from affecting move with ease, and steer their course

the surface, and the fishes still seemed at pleasure. The exact use of their insensible; but when the paper was refins, and how accurately their position moved, and the sound had its full play and number are adjusted, will appear upon the water, the fishes seemed inby the following quotation from Paley's stantly to feel the change, and shrinked Natural Theology:

to the bottom. From this we may

learn, that fishes are as deaf as they are “In most fish, besides the great fin, the mute, and that when they seem to hear tail, we find two pair of fins upon the sides, the call of a whistle or bell at the edge two single fins upon the back, and one upon of a pond, it is rather the vibration that the beliy, or rather between the belly and affects the water, by which they are exthe tail. The balancing use of these organs cited, than any sounds that they hear*. is proved in this manner. of the large headed fish, if you cut off the pectoral fins, that is the pair which lies close behind the Elegant Extracts of Natural History, by gills, the head falls prone to the bottom : if R. Heron. Vol. ii. p. 109.

'is the most perfect of their fired in a globular vessel of glass. She senses, and this seems to supply their assured us that they had been carefully want of others. They leap out of the supplied with fresh water every day, for water to catch the smallest Hies in a sum- two months, but no food whatever had mer evening, when it is so dark that we been given to them. Yet they were not cannot discern them. The angler need only alive, but very actively sporting not employ half his ingenuity either about, and seemed to enjoy their existwith respect to tackle, or baits

, or of ence as much as if they were at perfect caution in fishing, if he had not their liberty. They, no doubt, derive sufficient very quick eyes to contend with. Yet nutriment from the microscopic insects, it is probable fish can see objects only with which all water abounds, and every at a short distance, as the crystalline fresh supply of water affords them an humour of their eyes is quite round, like additional feast. that of persons who are near-sighted. Although the duration of the life of You must have observed this humour; fish is not accurately ascertained, yet it is like a pea; it is hard when boiled, some are known to reach a great age. but in the natural state, it is transparent Gesner asserts, that a pike was taken at and soft as a jelly

Hailbrun in Swabia, in 1497, with a Thus fish appear to fall short of ter brass ring affixed to it, proving it to be restrial animals in their faculties, sensa- 267 years old ; and a carp has been tions, and consequently in their enjoy- known to live above a hundred years. ments. They form a sort of middle If the scale of a fish be examined link in the chain of beings between through a microscope, it will be found quadrupeds and vegetables. Their senses to consist of a number of circles, one are incapable of making any accurate circle within another, in some' measure distinctions, and they are impelled for- resembling those that appear upon the ward by a blind instinct in pursuit of transverse section of a tree. You must whatever they can make their prey. reckon one circle for every year of a From the smallest to the greatest from fish's life. By this method Buffon - the minnow to the whale, their exist- computed a carp, the scales of which he ence is one continued scene of hostility examined, to be a hundred years old. and invasion; and they seem to suggest You must not let the astonishing, feto man, by their own actions of con- cundity of fishes escape your observation. tinually preying upon each other, the M. Petit, of Paris, found that the roe desire to prey upon them.

of a carp eighteen inches long, weigh** Many fish live only on the vegetable ed 8 oz. 2 drams, which make 4752 productions of the water, but in general grains, and that it required 72 eggs of They devour their own species, other this roe to make up the weight of one animals, or insects, or the spawn of grain, which gives a produce 342, 144 other fishes. Crabs and other shell-fish eggs contained in this one fish. The Yare often found in the maw of a cod, and tench is more prolific than the carp, rats and even ducks have been found and many other fish are remarkable for in the stomach of a pike. The long ap- their fecundity. parent abstinence that some fish have been known to undergo, or rather the Statement of the comparative Fecundity small quantity or the peculiar nature of

of Fish : the food they have had to support them,

Spawns. have induced some persons to believe,


28,323 that they can derive nourishment from


49,304 water only; no kind of food is found in


81,586 the stomach of a salmon, and no bait


383,252 will tempt a herring or a char. But Your astonishment will be increased they may all derire considerable support when you extend your observation to from the myriads of minute insects, sea-fish. Take the following climax of which we know to abound in fresh and increase as calculated by Lewenhoeck, salt water, and which taken in con

a very accurate naturalist.

The mackatinually, and digested almost as soon as rel produces above 500,000, the founder taken, would discover little or nothing more than one million, and the cod in their stomachs, when examined with more than nine millions of eggs. the greatest care.

The design of the great Creator in You may remember the gold and sil- such an amazing increase is certainly to per fish which we saw at Mrs. R.'s con- furnish food for many of the feathered,


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