Thursday, December 06, 2007

Piking in the past

The internet can be a great place. Out of copyright publications can be read by anyone. Two ancient tomes that mention pike fishing are now available in cyberspace.

The first, A treatyse of fysshynge wyth an Angle by Dame Juliana Berners. was published in 1496 and is reputed to contain the first mention of deadbaiting for pike.

"Take a roche or a fresh hering, & a wyre with a hoke in the ende & put it in at the mouth, & on by the taile down by the ridge of the fresh herying, & than put your lyne of your hoke in after, and draw the hoke into the cheke of the fresh hering, than put a plumbe of lead vpon your lyne a yerde long from your hooke and a flote in mydway betwene, and cast it in a pyt where the pyke vse, and this is the best and moste surest craft to take the pyke. And three maner of taking him there is. Take a frosshe & put it on your hoke at the necke betweene the skin and the body, on the back half, & put on a flote a yerd there in, and cast it where the pike haunteth, & ye shall haue hym."

The second we have found is Izzac Walton's classic, The Compleat Angler. You can skip straight to the pike fishing chapter here.

"And for your dead-baits for a pike, for that you may be taught by one day's going a-fishing with me, or any other body that fishes for him; for the baiting your hook with a dead Gudgeon or a Roach, and moving it up and down the water, is too easy a thing to take up any time to direct you to do it: and yet, because I cut you short in that, I will commute for it by telling you that that was told me for a secret. It is this:

Dissolve gum of ivy in oil of spike, and therewith anoint your dead-bait for a pike; and then cast it into a likely place, and when it has lain in a short time at the bottom, draw it towards the top of the water and so up the stream: and it is more than likely that you have a pike follow with more than common eagerness."

Who said flavoured deadbaits were new?