Page images

cessity for their being removed during Summer, the Night is the only time for doing it with any chance of safety: large Carp and Tench will move best upon clean, dry, wheat Straw; the fish to be laid flat upon it at the bottom of a Carriage, or in flat-bottomed Baskets; but large fish will not bear to lie one Tier over another for any considerable distance, nor is it worth the risk; those who know the Value of fullgrown fish will bear willingly the Expence of a second Journey to convey them safely, rather than by packing them too close, destroy one half of what they carry. The sooner fish that are to be moved are stowed in the Carriage or Baskets, after being taken from the pond, the better; they will be more able to bear the deprivation of their Element when just taken from it, than when exhausted by their gasping and struggles on the Grass. For very small fish Water carts may answer, and preserve them well, but the mere jolting of the water in the Cask must drive large fish either against the sides of it, or against each other, with such Violence as to be extremely injurious, and generally fatal to more than one half

the Cargo: the Cask must be replenished in its progress, wherever fresh, clean Water can be had; and in taking the fish out, Hoop-nets should be held underneath the Stream, from the opening whence the fish are to issue, and after receiving a few, empty them into the water for which they are destined.



Of these there are great Varieties; and almost every Individual believes he has a peculiar plan of forming them superior to his Neighbour: no set of Men are more bigotted to their own Opinions upon this subject than the London Net-makers, some of whom, however neat their work, and apparently well disposed for the intended purpose, are so far from being competent Judges, as scarcely ever to have seen many of the kinds of Net they deal in, ever set in Water during their lives; it is not extremely probable that under such disadvantages, they can know more than their Customer's order tells them, which generally consists in desiring a Net such a number of Yards long, and so many Feet in depth; respecting the hanging of the Net, both parties are usually silent, and perhaps from the same Cause. As a practical net-fisher, the Compiler (than whom few Men have seen, or in the water assisted more) ventures to give a few hints, which his brother Sportsmen may not find unworthy of Trial.

In the making a Drag-net, the size of the mesh should never be less than one inch and a quarter; there should be an extent of three times in length, and twice in depth, of the plain net, before it is hung upon the Cork, and Lead lines, (that is, if the drag is meant to be twenty yards long, and twelve feet deep, there must be sixty yards of Net in length, and twenty-four feet in depth, for a sheet drag; if made with a Cod, it must be let in with great care as

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to the widenings, so that in fishing it keeps a proper open Centre.) As Drag-nets are usually hung, any one who is in the water when they are used, will feel, when the lines are hauled, the lead line above the calf of his leg, and frequently above his knee, and that continued to very near the bosom of the Net. There is no occasion to remark upon the chance of Success such an Implement affords.

Always use two, if not three, Flews with the Drag; one or two flews can then be kept forward, for the drag to force to; and in fishing every hole, back the drag with a flew, that is, after the Drag approaches close to the first flew, of course that will be pulled on one or other side of the River; if any fish are in it they should be taken out, and so soon as the Drag-net has passed let the flew be drawn back into its former Station; the fish that are disturbed by the Drag (from the deficient manner in which their lead lines have been shewn to keep a regular Sweep at the bottom) soon perceive an Opening to escape beneath it, and in striking rapidly to their old Harbours, run headlong into the back Flew; the Discolouring of the Water from the trampling of the people in, together with the motion of some part of the Drag upon the Mud, all contribute to the Success of this Expedient, by which the best fish will always be captured.

A Drag-net should always be used up the stream; however low the water in a River may be drained for the convenience of those fishing in it, there will still be a Current sufficient to preserve the Water clear enough for stumps and hangs of various de

scriptions to be avoided; besides, the drain of the water keeps the meshes of the Net extended, and enables it to fish with every advantage: on the contrary, when drawing down the stream, the mudding of the Water progressively prevents the discovery of Stubs, &c. that would injure the Net, and aids the Escape of the fish, and moreover drives the Net into folds, which the leaves of the Weeds turning the same way not a little assist.

Never allow the fish that a drag-net brings to land to be indiscriminately destroyed: the largest of the inferior kinds, such as Roach, Dace, &c. may be distributed to the Assistants, and to the Poor, who always most gladly receive them: the smaller of all sorts should be returned into the River for future draughts. This precaution is superfluous to the real Sportsman if present, but it is an essential Order to be delivered to, and strictly obeyed by, his Servants, in his Absence.


may be described as of two kinds; the one for drawing, the other to be placed either as a Stop to a drag net, or to be set and left quietly standing in a Pond or River to intercept the Fish. Those for drawing should be made of stouter materials, and the Lint of all should be silk: the expence is greater at the first; but the Compiler has had silk flews of both sorts, where the lint has outlasted three sets of walling, and still remained perfectly good; it must however be understood that great care was observed in

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the washing and drying his Nets, for Silk has no peculiar power any more than Hemp, to defend itself against the Heat, which a few hours will generate, when thrown together full of mud and weeds, and both, by such slovenly Inattention, are as quickly spoiled: yet carefully managed, a silk net will endure to the utmost wishes of the Proprietor; and such is the quality of silk when wet, that the Fish which touches it is sure to be entangled, the Texture is so pliant, that a Fish is enveloped before being sensible of it, and the more he struggles the faster he is confined.

For a dragging Flew, the lint, two inches and a quarter mesh, seventy meshes deep, and fifty-two yards in length, (to be hung twenty yards long, and eight feet deep ;) it will take four pounds and a half of silk.

For a Setting Flew, of a similar mesh, and ninety deep, with the same length of lint, and depth of hanging, five pounds and a quarter of silk; from these may be calculated any larger or smaller size. Never tan or colour Flews; it renders them easier to be discerned by the Fish.

The Walls or trammels of Flews should be at least eighteen inches square (but two feet is preferable;) those of nine or twelve inches, hung diamond fashion, are only calculated to receive a Fish that strikes point blank; it is impossible for a good-sized Fish to get in sideways (whereby they are more entangled than by touching the Flew in any other direction,) besides these small wallings render a Net more cumbersome, and are for the most part useless. Flews should be very lightly leaded, the Floats or



« PreviousContinue »