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and feel like a fine file; the head is dusky, the covers of the gills are of a glossy green, yet when in prime perfection, these parts are blackish, (differing in this respect from all other fish, being least beautiful when most in Season;) the back is of a dusky green, inclining to blue; the sides of a fine silvery grey, (from which it derives the name;) yet when first taken, they seem to glitter with spangles of gold, and are marked with black spots irregularly placed. The side line is nearly straight; the scales are large, and the lower edges dusky; forming straight rows from the head to the tail, which is much forked; the large dorsal fin is spotted, the other fins are plain: it is rather hog-backed, and, from the nose and belly touching the ground together, it is conjectured that this fish feeds mostly at the bottom. In length, the Grayling seldom exceeds sixteen inches. Mr. PENNANT mentions one taken near Ludlow, above half a yard long, and weighing four pounds six ounces, as a rare instance. One was caught near Shrewsbury that weighed full five pounds.
Thymallus is a name bestowed upon the Grayling, on account of an imaginary Scent proceeding from it similar to that of Thyme; the name of Umbra, which this fish also bears, has a far better derivation, for it is so swift a swimmer, as to disappear like the passing Shadow.
Graylings are in great esteem, and their flesh is white and palatable all the year; they are in season from September to January, (some say are best in October, others in December,) and cannot be dressed too soon after they are caught. Graylings lurk close
all the Winter, and begin to be very active, and to spawn in April, or early in May; at which time, and during the Summer, near the sides, and at the tails of sharp streams, they will take all the flies that Trout are fond of: they rise bolder than the Trout, and if missed several times, will still pursue; yet, notwithstanding they are so sportive after the fly, they are an inanimate fish when hooked, and the sides of the mouth are so very tender, that unless nicely treated, when struck, the hold will frequently be broken. In September they retire in shoals to the lower end of still holes, just where the water becomes shallow, where they will take a fly at the at the top, which should be small; the Camlet-fly is perhaps the best, and the hook No. 7 or 8.
When the water is not proper for flies, and they are angled for below the surface, use Gentles (which they eargerly bite at,) Wasp-grubs, or well scoured Worms, as near the ground as possible. The Cadbait, and other small Insects which hide themselves in husks, they greedily feed upon, and have often been observed rooting up the gravel, and catching at every thing of this kind. Some in fishing with gentles have two or three hooks, and fish with them as with an artificial fly; others recommend the bait, or at least the lead above it, to drag on the ground, as they will rather take it there than ascend to do so, and use a running line; while others prefer a cork
* So called, because it runs upon the bottom; it should be as long as the rod, or nearly so, and strong: about ten inches from the end fasten a small cleft shot, and through a hole made in a small or
float, insisting that the Grayling is more apt to rise than descend, and on that account keep the bait eight or ten inches from the bottom.
WALTON has said the Grayling will take a Minnow, and his authority is not to be lightly questioned; but Anglers of great experience have never found this bait successful. Graylings bite during the whole of cool, cloudy days; but the preferable times, in Spring and Summer, are from eight in the morn
large bullet, according to the current, put the line, and draw the ball down to the shot; to the extremity of the line fasten a grass or silk-worm gut, with a large hook: some use only four large shot eight inches from the hook. Another kind of running line is, at the end, where the hook is looped in a common line, a cleft bullet is to be fastened, and half a foot above, a link ten or twelve inches, with a hook baited with a worm; and six inches over the former, a second fixed and baited in the same manner, with a worm of a different sort. By this means the true bottom will be found, which, with lead fixed otherwise, cannot be so well ascertained. A third mode, which WALTON much recommends, is with a line a yard and half longer than the rod, with single hair next the hook (which must be small,) and for two or three of the adjoining lengths, and one, No. 5, shot, at top; the smaller brandlings, well scoured, are to be the bait, of which one only is to be placed on the hook, by putting the point of it in at the tail, and running up the body of the worm quite over all the arming, and an inch at least upon the hair, the head and remaining part hanging downward: with this fish, in clear water always in and up the stream, casting the worms before as if an artificial fly, with a light pliant rod, and keeping it in motion by drawing it back as in fly angling. The Worm is frequently taken upon or near the Surface, and almost always before the light shot can sink it to the bottom. According to WALTON, this is superior to any other mode of angling with a worm for either Grayling or Trout, especially in bright water.
until twelve, and from four in the afternoon until after Sun-set; and from September to January, in the middle of the day.
THAT this common fish has escaped the notice of all the Ancients, except AUSONIUS (who celebrates it more for its beauty than fine flavour) is, says Mr. PENNANT, matter of surprise; nor is it less singular, that so delicate a Species should be neglected at a time when the folly and extravagance of the Table was at its height, and that the Epicures should overlook a fish that is found in such quantities in their neighbouring lakes, when they ransacked the Universe for Dainties. The milts of Murana were brought from one place, the livers of Scari from another, and Oysters even from so remote a spot as our Sandwich; but there ever was (and still continues) a Fashion in the article of good living. The Romans seem to have despised the Trout, the Piper, and the Doree; and it is believed Mr. QUIN himself would have resigned the rich paps of a pregnant Sow, the heels of Camels, and the tongues of Flamingos (though dressed by the cooks of HELIOGABALUS,) for a good jowl of Salmon, with Lobster sauce.
The general shape of Trouts is rather long than broad: in several of the Scotch and Irish lakes and rivers, they grow so much thicker than in those of England, that a fish from eighteen to twenty-two inches will often weigh from three to five pounds. The Trout is a fish of prey, has a short roundish
head, blunt nose, mouth wide, and filled with teeth, not only in the jaws, but on the palate and tongue : the scales are small, their back is ash-colour, the sides yellow, and when in season, is sprinkled all over the body and covers of the gills with small beautiful red and black spots; the tail is broad.
There are several sorts of Trout, differing in their size, (for in many of the smaller streams there are Trouts that always continue small, but are very great breeders,) shape and hue; but the flesh of the best is either red or yellow when dressed: the female fish has a smaller head and deeper body than the male, and is of superior flavour. In fact, the colours of the Trout and its spots vary greatly in different waters and at distinct seasons, yet each may be reduced to one species. In Llyndivi, a lake in South Wales, are Trout called Coch-y-dail, with red and black spots as big as sixpences; others unmarked, and of a reddish hue, that sometimes weigh nearly ten pounds, but are ill-tasted. In Lough Neah, in Ireland, are Trout called Buddaghs, which rise to thirty pounds; and some (probably of the same species) are taken in Ulls-Water, in Cumberland, of still greater weight; and both these are supposed to be similar with the large Trout of the lake of Geneva, a fish, says Mr. PENNANT, which I have eaten of more than once, and think very indifferent.
A Trout taken in Llynallet, in Denbighshire, which is famous for its excellent kind, was singularly marked and shaped; it measured 17 inches in length, depth 3, and weighed one pound ten ounces; the head thick, nose sharp, both jaws, as well as the