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dations not being confined to the young of Fish only, for his broods of Ducklings were all secured under water, by the large Eels with which his Canal abounded.
The haunts of the Eel are among the weeds, under roots, stumps of trees, in holes and clefts of the earth, both in the banks, and at the bottom in the plain mud, where they lie with only their heads out, watching for their prey; they are also to be found under great stones, old timber, about bridges, flood-gates, weirs, and old mills*, except when the water is rendered thick by rains, for then they come out, and will bite eagerly. They are in best Season from May until July: a running line should be used, which must be very strong, and the hook No. 3, or 4, with a plumb or pistol bullet upon it. They are to be angled for on the ground, and two or more rods may be employed: (if ground-bait be thought necessary, it should be the same as for the Barbel:) the prime bait is the lob-worm, and they bite eagerly all day, in dark cloudy weather, after showers, attended with thunder and lightning, when the water is high and discoloured; but those who venture upon Night angling, will have far greater success when the weather is warm and the Night dark; they are then to be angled for upon the shallows, where there is a current, or by the side or tail of a stream, with a sandy or gravelly bottom, with the bait on the ground; they will be felt to tug sharply when they seize the bait; give time (which
• Eels frequently get into the Pipes laid for the Conveyance of Water, and there grow until the Current is stopped by their Bulk. An instance happened, November 1804, in Hanover Street, Long Acre, where several very large Eels were taken out of the Pipes, and the spot where these Fish were found is some miles distant from the Reservoir, where the Gratings through which the Water runs are made extremely close to prevent the Eels from passing. A second instance occurred in January 1805, when several of the Inhabitants of London Wall having made complaint to the New River Company that they had no water for several Days; the Turncock was sent to examine the Cause, and upon the Plug-hole being opened, there issued forth above Thirty large Eels, some weighing near five pounds; and a Carp was obliged to be cut before it could be got out of the Plug-hole. In June 1806, an Eel weighing seven pounds was taken from the Pipes in Ray Street, Clerkenwell.
is necessary both in day and night angling,) and there will be no doubt of sport from night-fall until day-break, when they directly flee to their hiding places.
The largest Eels are caught by night-lines; it is of little consequence where they are laid, as they will succeed in streams (where the Eels rove in search of prey) as well as in the still, deep holes of Rivers; and they will take frogs, black snails, worms, roach, dace, gudgeons, minnows, (which two last are the best,) loaches, bleaks, and miller's-thumbs. A sufficient quantity of links of twelve hairs should be doubled, and a hook tied to each link; these are to be noosed at proper distances to pieces of Cord of fifteen feet long; bait the hooks by making an incision with the baiting-needle under the shoulder, and thrusting it out at the middle of the tail, drawing the link after it; the point of the hook should lie upright towards the back of the bait-fish; fasten one end to the bank or a stub, and cast the other into the water, but not to the extent of the line, (as Eels will run a little before they gorge :) the lines should be taken up early in the morning; such of the lines as have Eels at them will be drawn very tight. Dark nights in July, August, and September, are the best for this kind of fishing. Trimmers baited with a live Gudgeon are sure to be taken by Eels. The Wire to which the hooks are fixed should be strong and well nealed, as the Eel struggles hard to free himself. Lines, with from twelve to twenty hooks looped on at different distances, will do well in Streams; but for Standing Waters, Trimmers are greatly to be preferred.
Another method of taking Eels when the water is clear and low, is called Sniggling, and is performed with a stick about a yard long, with a cleft at each end, and a strong needle well whipped to a small whipcord line, from the eye down to the middle. In baiting, run the head of the needle quite up into the head of a lobworm, letting the point come out about the middle; then put the point of the needle into the cleft at either end of the stick, and taking both stick and line together in one hand (some of the line being wrapped round the hand,) put the bait softly into holes under walls, stones, &c. where Eels hide themselves; if there be an Eel there, he will take the worm and needle out of the cleft; draw back the stick gently, (having slackened the line,) and give time
for his swallowing the bait; then strike, and the needle will stick across his throat; let him tire himself with tugging, previous to any attempt to pull him out, for he lies folded in his Den, and will fasten his tail round any thing for his defence. The largest Eels are generally taken about the hollow stone-work of old Bridges, (the Angler being in a boat,) and are sometimes caught in considerable numbers.
A third plan for taking Eels, is by what is termed bobbing, which is best managed in a Boat. This is done by taking a quantity of well scoured lob-worms; have a long needle, with three lengths of worsted slightly twisted together; put the needle lengthways through the worms, and draw them down on the worsted; when there are two yards thus prepared, then fold them up in links, and tie them to about two yards of good twine, and make a knot on it eight inches from the worms; and slipping a piece of Lead, with a hole in it, (weighing from a quarter to three quarters of a pound, according to the Current fished in,) down the line to the knot; fasten the line to a manageable pole, and let the lead lie on the bottom in thick muddy water, when the Tide runs up strong, or near the mouth of some river; when the Eels nibble at the bait, they can be felt; give some little time before it is pulled up, which must be gently, until near the Surface, and then hoist out quickly: the worsted sticking in the Eels teeth, prevents their loosening themselves until the line is slackened by throwing them into the boat, or on the ground; so soon as they are disentangled, throw the bait in again: frequently great quantities are thus caught, especially of Grigs. Eels are also to be snared in the same way as the Pike; and in the Fens numbers are speared by an instrument with three or four forks, or jagged teeth, which is struck at random into the Mud.
Terms used by Anglers explained.
Bawk, a knot in a hair or link.
Bed: hairs bed well when they twist kindly.
Break, a knot in the joint of a rod.
Chine a Salmon, cut him up.
Cock: a float cocks when it swims perpendicularly in the water.
Drag, an instrument to disentangle the line.
Drift, is a term when four or more Anglers are in company together; they are then called a drift. Fin a Chub, cut him up. Frush a Chub, dress him. Gildard, the link of a line.
Gobbet a Trout, cut him up.
Grabble fishing on the grabble is when the line is sunk with a running plummet fast to the bottom, so that the hook-link plays in the water.
Hang a fish: the Angler is said to hang a fish when he has fastened the hook in him.
Kink: a line kinks in trowling, when it is twisted between the top of the rod and the ring.
Leash of fish, three.
Pouch: a Pike pouches when he swallows the bait. Prime: fish are said to prime when they leap out of the water.
Shoal, any great number of fish together.
Splate a Pike, cut him up.
Thrash, any thing which swims down the water and incommodes the Angler...
Trouncheon an Eel, cut him up.
Tusk a Barbel, cut him up.
Veer your line, let it off the reel after striking.
Having thus amply stated the various Modes of taking Fish with the Angle, it remains to say a few words respecting Ponds for breeding and preserving them; and to briefly describe those Nets best adapted to catch Fish, both in stagnant and running