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where there are weeds, fish about two feet deep, at mid-water, and sometimes rather lower, (according as they are in the humour to take;): frequently drawing the bait gently towards the Surface, and letting it sink in the slowest manner: bait with the small red-worms, taken out of rotten tan, without any scouring. Should there be no great quantity of mud at the bottom, use small clay balls, with lob-worms, as directed in Perch fishing, and let the bait be six inches from the ground; but where the mud is so deep as to cover the clay balls when sunk, keep to the former method, and bait the spot with bits of lob-worms; when using gentles (which should be near the ground,) throw in some at the taking of every fish, which will not only entice them to bite, but be a means of keeping them together: they should be allowed time in biting, before they are struck. Some use the middle-sized bob or marsh worms, well scoured and dipped in Tar, (which certainly has the property of alluring them,) previously groundbaiting the place with lob-worm and boiled malt, and fishing at bottom. Other baits for this fish, are the wasp-maggot, earth-bob, green-worm shaken from the boughs of trees, paste of brown bread mixed with honey, and of white bread, in which a little Tar is incorporated: the best time for angling is late and early, an hour before and after the rising and setting of the Sun; but in warm, foggy, mizzling weather, with a southerly wind, the Tench will bite during the greater part of the day: the Tench will live long out of water, and may with safety be removed in dry Straw to a considerable distance.
Tench are said to love foul and weedy more than clear water, but situation does not always influence their taste: the Compiler has taken Tench out of Munden Hall Fleet, in Essex, belonging to Mr. WESTERN, which was so thick with weeds, that the Flews could hardly be sunk through them, and where the Mud was intolerably foetid, and had dyed the Fish of its own colour, which was that of Ink, yet no Tench could be better grown, or of a sweeter flavour; many were taken that weighed nine, and some ten pounds the brace; and the Skull and backbone of one preserved at the Hall, which was found dead by the side of the water, when compared in length to any one of those before-mentioned, must have nearly doubled its weight. In a pond at Leighs Priory, the Compiler caught a quantity of Tench, · weighing about three pounds each, of a colour the most clear and beautiful; but when some of them were dressed and brought to table, they smelt and tasted so rankly of a peculiar Weed, that no one could eat them: some that were conveyed alive, and put into other water, soon recovered themselves from this obnoxious Taint; an experiment that will always answer in this kind of fish, where it is suspected that there is a necessity for cleansing them; and the above circumstance is recited to shew, that no decisive judgment can be formed from the external Appearance of the Tench, however prepossessing it may
The Tench that has occasioned most animadversion, is that which the Engraving represents: the unusual size and form are alike impossible to be ac
counted for; its Bulk perhaps exceeds that of any one ever known to be an inhabitant of the most extensive waters of this Country, and the shape, which seems to have accommodated itself to the scanty Space allotted for its residence, together stamp it a Lusus Naturæ. Its history is, that a piece of water at Thornville Royal, Yorkshire, which had been ordered to be filled up, and wherein wood, rubbish, &c. had been thrown for years, was in November 1801, directed to be cleared out. Persons were accordingly employed, and almost choaked up by weeds and mud, so little water remained, that no person expected to see any fish, except a few Eels; yet nearly two hundred brace of Tench, of all sizes, and as many Perch, were found. After the pond was thought to be quite free, under some roots there seemed to be an Animal, which was conjectured to be an Otter; the place was surrounded, and on opening an entrance among the roots, a Tench was found of most singular form, having literally assumed the shape of the hole, in which he had for many years been confined. His length, from fork to eye, was two feet nine inches; his circumference, almost to the tail, was two feet three inches; his weight, eleven pounds nine ounces and a quarter; the Colour was also singular, his belly being that of a Charr, or a Vermilion. This extraordinary fish, after having been inspected by many Gentlemen, was carefully put into a pond; but either from confinement, age, or bulk, it at first merely floated, and at last, with difficulty, swam gently away. It is now alive and well.
To this account some Sceptics have demurred, and
have expressed their doubts, in prose and verse, as follows:
The yellow-bellied TENCH of Thornville House, in Yorkshire, which is supposed to have lain so many Centuries, and lived under the roots of some ancient trees, without water, is to be dressed at that celebrated Mansion, as soon as an instrument is procured in which a proper kettle of fish may be made of this amphibious Animal: it is to be served up with Sauce piquant, at a kind of Arthur's Round Table, to a select Corps of Knights of the Long-bow!
The TENCH of THORNVILLE HOUSE:
A TRUE STORY!!!