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corks nicely adjusted, and both Leads and Corks of a length and size that will prevent their getting through the Meshes of the Lint in any Direction, and entangling it. Where the Fish run very large, the mesh of the lint may be extended, always recollecting that in Thread nets the materials for the lint must be three twisted, and cannot be too strong or too fine.
In Carp fishing, drawing with Flews is the most killing mode yet devised; they slide so lightly over the Mud, and hamper the Fish in their progress through the Water, which the drag-net does not. The quantities of Carp which the Compiler has taken by this plan out of the Fobbing Fleets were prodigious; at one draught a Flew of twenty yards was so loaded that nine persons could scarcely so ease it up the Bank as to prevent its being broken to pieces from the number of Carp, of which the smallest did not weigh less than seven, and many of them as much as eleven pounds each Fish; and it was supposed that the Bulk together was upwards of seven hundred weight.
In Waters where Carp have been much used to Nets, they become so shy, that the instant they find a Net behind them, they endeavour to leap over the cork line. By drawing a second Flew about three yards behind the first, they drive headlong into it, after escaping from the first. Mullets might perhaps be more numerously taken by this Plan than any other, as they constantly leap the Nets.
When fishing with Flews, either in Rivers or Ponds, it is most ridiculous to be plunging in and
beating the Water. (Some employ a rope tied to a Horse's skull, others have poles for the purpose, with old shoe soles nailed to the end.) Pike, Tench, and Perch, will more readily strike the Flew when the Water is undisturbed and at rest, than from all the Violence that can be exerted, and Carp flee to and keep in their Harbours at the least Noise. Flews do more execution at night than in the Day, for two reasons, that the Fish are then roving about upon their Feed, and, that there is no Uproar in the Water to make them conceal themselves from expected danger*.
* At HUDSON'S BAY, the Indians have a Mode of setting their Nets under the Ice, by which they supply themselves with great quantities of Fish. They first ascertain its exact length by stretching it out, a number of holes are then cut in the Ice at ten or twelve feet distance from each other, and sufficiently numerous to extend the Net its full length; a Line is then passed under the Ice, by means of a light Pole, which is first introduced at one of the end Holes, and with the aid of two forked Sticks this Pole is easily conducted or shoved from one hole to another, under the Ice, till it arrives at the last. The Pole is then taken out, and both ends of the Line being properly secured, is always ready for use. The Net is made fast to one end of the Line and hauled beneath the Ice, a large Stone is tied to each of the lower Corners, which keeps the Net expanded, and prevents its rising from the bottom. In order to search a Net thus set, the two holes at the extremities are opened, the Line is veered away by one person, and the Net hauled from under the Ice by another; after the Fish are taken out, the Net is easily drawn back to its former Station, and there secured as before for future Examinations.
may be successfully employed in a certain depth of water, viz. Gudgeon-Net at four, and large meshed Casting-net from six to eight feet: in the making, great attention must be paid to putting in the Widenings, or the Net will never open freely, however skilful the person that throws it. In preparing it for Casting, it is not to be taken upon the shoulders so short as to prevent the Leads having their proper Swing, which is to be aided by the corresponding Turn of the Caster's body, at the exact moment of delivering it from his Arm; and the first object is, to let the Leads all break the Surface at once. Many persons jerk one part of the Net high in the Air (which assists the spreading,) whilst the other part of the lead-line drops close to the Caster's foot, making a variation of some seconds in the fall of the different leads into the water: Fish must be very crowded, or extremely sleepy, if they remain within the curtailed range and slow sinking of a Net so cast. The nicety of the Art is, to be able to cover any particular Spot, and to shape the Net accordingly; and no one can be deemed a Proficient unless he is an Ambidexter, and throws from either Shoulder, as the turning and holes in a River may require.
For Carp, or large Fish, the mesh should be an inch and three quarters, and the circumference of the lead-line not less than twenty-four yards, and from that to twenty-eight: if made of Silk it will sink
more speedily, and of course will admit to be thrown with success in deeper water and over weeds. By baiting a place in Ponds with grains, worms, or greaves, the Fish the Fish may be collected, and the Castingnet thrown over them: should there be much Mud, let the Net remain quiet some minutes, and the Fish will rise from the Mud, into which they may have sunk themselves at the noise of the Net.
N. B. A piece of crumb of bread put into the Stomach of either Carp or Tench suspected to be tainted with the Mud will absorb all the disagreeable Taste, and which should be taken out before they are sent to Table.
is a very destructive Engine. For large and deep Waters, the mesh should be inch and three quarters, the length full nine feet, and the hoops (of which that in the Centre should be iron, rounded like a Curtain rod, and painted red, to prevent its rusting) should be strong, and three feet high. In laying Hoop-nets, place them where the Water gets tolerably deep from a gravelly Scour. All the infallible Attraction of brass Candlesticks, yellow Ribbands, flowers, and looking-glasses, are superseded by the Arcanum of encircling a live fish brought from other waters in each Hoop-net: whether the old Inhabitants approach the Stranger out of Vengeance or Curiosity remains a mystery, but that they will run into the Hoop-net to get at him the Compiler positively insists. It was a
Secret, which a Game-keeper would not impart, until after being in his Service for many years. Old Jonathan always requested to have the Management of the Hoop-nets left to himself, and would allow of no Assistant, and his Plan (the above) always proved successful.
are very useful in catching Carp or Trout, when they flee to the Banks. They should be made of very strong Twine, inch and quarter mesh, be nine feet long, with cork and lead-line; upon which there should be plenty of each: a few widenings should be thrown into the middle, so that there may be a little appearance of a bag; the Net is then to be firmly fastened (so that it stands from lead to cork, three or four feet deep) to two Ash pitch-fork handles, shod with Iron spikes at one end. In surrounding a Stub, one spike is to remain fixed in the ground, whilst the other is thrust underneath the Stub: the Fish thus annoyed, try to regain the deep water, and strike into the bosom of the Net, which is then hoisted up, the Fish taken out, and the Net put down for other trials. If the Stubs are very jugged, both Spikes are to be stuck in the ground as close as possible to the Harbour, and the parties grope with their Hands, and those fish which escape their fingers are caught in the stub net.