Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Ye Sport of Pvnte Fyshynge off Rychmonde.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 25

Ye Sport of Pvnte Fyshynge off Rychmonde.


Ye Sport of Pvnte Fyshynge off Rychmonde.

[Wedneſday, Auguſt 22, 1049.]

THIS Day to Richmond, to go a Fiſhing on the River, which Larkyns do tell me is rare Sport, and with me Mr. Itchenbrooke, out of Hampſhire, a cunning Angler, who did mightily deſire to ſee what this Sport ſhould be. So firſt we out in a Boat below Richmond Bridge, where a Dozen or more of Punts full of People a Fiſhing, and rowed among them to obſerve the Manner of doing it, which is ſinking with a Gentle, ſitting upon Chairs, and ſmoking Cigars and Pipes of Tobacco, and drinking cold Brandy and Water, and did move Mr. Itchenbrooke to Laughter. We did note one young Spark lying at full Length, in a Punt's End, aſleep, and did conclude he had had enough of the Fiſhing, or elſe of the Brandy and Water. Some very Blent, and bent on their Sport, but others bandying Fun and Jokes, and ſhouting for Joy and Merriment whenever they caught a Fiſh, which Mr. Itchenbrooke do ſay is not the Wont of a Sportſman. Among the Fivhers I did note with Wonder one or two Damſels; but Mr. Wagstaffe do ſay it is a common Thing for Ladies to fiſh for Gudgeons. Several of them alſo quite old Men; but ſeeming as much taken up with their Fiſhing as Schoolboys, though catching Nothing but little Fiſh not a Span long. So, ſatisfied with looking at the Sportſmen, we to try the Quality of the Sport ourſelves, and did hire a Punt, and Fiſhing Tackle, and a Man to guide the Punt, and bait our Hooks, and did take on board a Stone-Bottle of Half-and-Half Beer, to follow the Faſhion. Pretty, to ſee our Man found the Depth of the River with a Plumb, to reſolve whereabouts on our Lines to place the Float, and glad to have him to put the Bait on, being Gentles, which I was loath to touch. Our Hooks no ſooner dropped into the Water than Mr. Itchenbrooke did pull up a Fiſh about the Bigneſs of a Sprat, though, but for the Punt-Man, he would have thrown it in again, ſaying that he never heard of keeping any Fiſh under Half-a-Pound, and that while ſuch ſmall Fry were killed there would be no good Fiſh in the River. But Lack! to ſee how my Float did bob up and down, and I jerk at my Line, but generally bring up a Weed. Did marvel at the Punt-Man flinging Lumps of Earth and Meal into the Water to entice the Fiſh, which methought would either have driven them away or surfeited them, but did not, and the Trick did much divert Mr. Itchenbrooke. We did catch Roach and Dace to the Number of fifteen, which my Companion did call ſeven Brace-and-a-Half; and I caught the Half: I mean the Half-Brace. Our Fiſhing did laſt two Hours, coſt 3s., and 6d. beſides for the Beer, but we had much Mirth for our Time and Money, though little Fiſh, and yet more Fiſh than ſome our Man did ſhow us, ſaying they had been at it all the Day. So to Dinner at the Star and Garter, where a moſt brave Dinner and excellent Wine, and pretty Diſcourfe with Mr. Itchenbrooke of true Sport in Fiſhing and the Art of Whipping for Trout with an Imitation Fly, made out of coloured Silk Thread and Birds' Feathers, which I do mightily admire, and intend to practiſe if ever I have Nothing elſe to do. But methinks I could catch more Fiſh in a Thames Punt, having only to drop in my Hook and pull it out again. Our Dinner ended, coſt me £1 9s. 0d., went and bought 6d. worth of Maids of Honour at the Paſtrycook's, and did take them Home to my Wife.