Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

The Lower and Mid Thames: where and how to fish it Amphlett, Frederick H. 1894

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The University of
British Columbia
Harry Hawthorn Foundation
for the
Inculcation & Propagation
of the Principles & Ethics
of Fly-Fishing m
tiys/sH   J"*?/^    A D VERTISEMENTS.
By Special Appointment to
%i& (Ko^af ©t0gneBB f0eJE>u£e of <BfcmBur00+ (g*<B.
Alfred's Special Thames Pike and Perch Rods, from 10s. 6d. to 63s.
Thames Punt Rods, from 7s. 6d.
Rods for Bottom Fishing, Is. 6d., 3s. 6d., 5s., 5s. 6d„ 7s. 6d„ 10s. 6d„ 12s. 6d.,
14s. 6d.
Alfred's Cane Ely Rods, from 21s.; Flies, 2s. per dozen.
Fly Rods, 7s. 6d., 10s. 6d., 12s. 6d., ]5s., 2ls.,24s., 30s.
Bronze Rotary Plate Winches, from 5s. 6d.   Brass Winches, from Is.
Original Introducers to the London Market of the Patent "Son"'Nottingham Winch.
Wood Winches in great variety, from Is.
Best Prepared Plaited Silk Lines, 2d. per yard; second quality, Id. per yard.
Perch, Bream, <fcc„ Lines, 20 yards, 6d.; 30 yards, 9d.; 40 yards, la.
Gut Lines, 3 yards, 6d„ 9d„ Is. Extra fine and Taper, Is. each., 10s. 6d. per
Alfred's Special Shape Roach Hooks, Is. per dozen.
Gut Hooks, 6d. and Is. per dozen.   Gimp Hooks, Is. 6d. per dozen.
Barbel and Bream Legers, Is. each. Leger Hooks, Is., Is. 3d., 2s. per
Artificial Baits of every description.   Spoons, from 9d.
Alfred's "Bell's Life Spinners," 3s., 3s. 6d., 4s. 6d., &c; post free for
Diagrams-and Illustrations.   Post free 26 stamps.
post free 14 stamps.
20, M00RGATE   STREET,   E.G - Advertisements.
(Third House from Richmond Bridge, and opposite the King's
Head Hotel),
Importers of Silkworm Gut.    Repairs.
Tackle made to Pattern.
Tackle suitable for Fishing with in the Mid and Lower
Thames, as set forth in this work.
(~* AND S. were awarded Special Prize and Two
^^* Government Diplomas of Honour in Division 16
at the Great International Fisheries Exhibition 1883,
being the highest awards given for the most complete
collection of Tackle and Angling Appliances for bottom
fishing, comprising minimum of cost with excellence.
Fitting's for Aquariums, Prepared Shingle, Weeds, Rockwork, and
Ants*  Eggs for   Fish   Food.
cricket lawn tennis, footballs, boxing gloves, golf,
Hockey, Billiard Table accessories, &c.
ORDER AT LIST PRICES. Advertisements.
ANGLING   FOR   COARSE   FISH.    Bottom Fishing,
according- to the Methods in use on the Thames, Trent, Norfolk
Broads, and elsewhere. Illustrated. By JNO. BICKERDYKE.
Price 15.; by post, is. 2d.
ANGLING FOR PIKE.    The most Approved Methods
of Fishing- for Pike or Jack; Spinning, Live-baiting, and Trolling.
Illustrated.   By JNO. BICKERDYKE.   Price 15.; by post, is. 2d.
ANGLING FOR GAME FISH.    The Various Methods
of Fishing for Salmon; Moorland, Chalk-stream, and Thames
Trout; Grayling and Char. Illustrated. By JNO. BICKERDYKE.    Price is. 6d.; by post, is. gd.
ANGLING IN SALT WATER.    Sea-Fishing with Rod
and Line, from the Shore, Piers, Jetties, Rocks, and from Boats;
together with some account of Hand-Lining. By JNO. BICKERDYKE.    Illustrated.    Price is.; by post, is. 2d.
The above Four Books, bound in One Vol., price 5/6/  by post, 5/10.
SEA-FISHING FOR AMATEURS.    Practical Instruc-
tions to Visitors at Seaside Places for Catching Sea Fish from
Pier-heads, Shore, or Boats, principally by means of Hand Lines,
with a very useful List of Fishing Stations, the Fish to be caught
there, and the Best Seasons. By FRANK HUDSON. Illustrated.    In paper, price is.; by post, is. id.
Manual of Practical Instruction on the Art of Making and Using
Sea Tackle; with a full account of the methods in vogue during
each month of the year, and a Detailed Guide for Sea-Fishermen
to all the most Popular Watering Places on the English
Coast. By FREDERICK G. AFLALO. Illustrated. In cloth,
price 2s. 6d.; by post, 2s. gd.
London: L UPCOTT GILL, 170, Strand, W.C.
I   CASH op
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A Record of the Rivers and Lakes of the World, to which is added
a List of Rivers of Great Britain, with their nearest
Railway Stations.
Also Forms for Registering the Fish taken during the year;
as well as the Time of the Close Season and Angling
By I.  E. B. C.
Editor of "The Gamekeeper's and Game Preserver's Account Book and
" Anglers will be thankful to Mr. Horace Cox for publishing in a handy
and compact form the vast mass of facts contained in the 'Angler's Diary
and Tourist Fisherman's Gazetteer.' It is a veritable uade mecum to all who
follow the gentle art, not only in the United Kingdom, but over the world."—
Daily Telegraph.       	
Crown 8vo., profusely Illustrated, price 2s. 6d., by post 2S. gd.
G.   R.   LOWNDES.
I.—Camping as a Fine Art.
II.—Of the Tent Ordinary.
III.—The Gipsy Tent Elementary.
•   IV.—The Gipsy Tent Developed.
V.—The Baulk.
VI.—Pitching and Striking.'
VII.—Of Camp Fires.
VIII.—Of a Permanent Camp.
Amateur Gipsies—A Quiet Backwater—At Shiplake—Interior of a Gipsy
Tent—Our First Tour—On the Way to the Farm—An Anxious Question—In
the Land o' Cakes:—A Visitor—On the Road—Forerunners of the Sunday
Crowd—A Critical Moment.
IX.—A Boating Camp.
X.—Of Vans.
XL—Pack Saddles.
XII.—Cooking Utensils, &c.
XIIL—Bedding and Clothes.
XIV.—Of Joys and Sorrows.
Windsor House, Bream's Buildings, E.C. Advertisements.
230, STRAND,
Special Bods for Thames Fishing. Bickerdyke's Tackle.
Field's Aerating Bait Can. Bowness and Co/s New improved
Brake Reel. Thames Punt and Spinning Eods. Chub and
Dace Flies.
New Illustrated Catalogue Free.
F^IRLOW   & CO.,  LTD.,
191,  STMAND,  LONDON,   W.C.,
Manufacturers  of   first-class
Eods and Tackle.
With, Adjustable Check,
These Winches are made with
a metal rim on the inside of back
plate; also metal inner revolving
plate, which prevents all possibility of warping or sticking,
without adding any perceptible
Catalogue, with 150 Illustrations,
191, Strand, London. Advertisements.
Kingston-on-Thames. A D VERTISEMENTS.
Send Three Stamps for
Largest and most extensive published.
!!   COARSE   FXSXXX3STG-   !!
Cork Handle, Patent Lock Joints, and  Reel Fastener.
The best Pike Rod made, 46/6.
12/6   -to    30/-
Buy Direct from the Maker,   Save 30o/0.
London & North British Works,
-v >J^   \     Sole Manufacturers of
>>^\     CRAWSHAY
3l* ^\\ PATENT
SNAP and
 . ^ > ,- .	
&t. Iprntstait's %OVLM
Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C.
[All rights reserved*] LONDON :
The Thames is held in such high esteem by many-
anglers, that some practical hints on the best mode
of fishing the river and a description of the various
swims will, I feel certain, be of great interest to a
large number of them. It is generally admitted
that the fish of the Thames congregate at certain
portions of the river in larger numbers than at
others, and that .barbel, bream, chub, roach, and
dace have their own particular swims. Of course,
there are occasions when these fish stray from their
usual abode, and this is proved by the number of
barbel which are taken when roach fishing. But
the Thames angler invariably decides upon the
kind of fish he intends to make his special prey
before venturing to the riverside, and it is
therefore absolutely necessary that he should
know those swims where he is likely to obtain
the best sport. My principal object in writing
this book is to supply information which will
guide the angler to those places on the Lower
and Mid Thames where he can use his rod with
the greatest prospect of success. But in doing
this   I   shall   necessarily  be  forced to   compress iv Preface.
my remarks on the use of rod, tackle, and bait ;
and it is just as well that I should do so, because
it would occupy a whole volume to do justice to
such a subject, which has already been exhaustively dealt with. In order that the tyro shall
be able to gain some knowledge of the art of
fishing, I am, however, obliged to give some simple
and practical information which will be of service
to him. I fully recognise that there are a large
number of anglers who are adepts at their craft,
and therefore know how to catch fish. This book
will be of use to them, because they are herein
enabled to tell at a glance where to fish the
Thames, and they will be greatly assisted by the
map of the river, which points out the principal
swims between Kew Bridge and Great Marlow of
which the book gives full information. Everything
is arranged so as to be of immediate use, and is, I
believe, quite " up-to-date."
1894. F. H. Amphlett. w
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham       ...      3
Chapter III.
Teddington to Kingston  .    .        .       ,        .        .17
Chapter IV.
Surbiton to Long Ditton       .        .        .        .        .    23
Chapter V.
Hampton Court to Sunbury .        .        .        .        .28
Chapter VI.
Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, and Laleham .    *   .    37
Chapter VII.
Penton Hook and Staines     .       .        .       .        .44
Chapter VIII.
Datchet and Windsor 53
Chapter IX.
Maidenhead to Great Marlow       . -67 vi Contents.
. Chapter X.
How to Fish the Thames 74
Chapter XL
Trout   .        .        .        . 79
Chapter XII.
Jack 86
Chapter XIII.
Barbel 95
Chapter XIV.
Chub .101
Chapter XV.
Roach         .        . 106
Chapter XVI.
Dace 112
Chapter XVII.
Perch 115
Chapter XVIII.
Bream 119
Chapter XIX,
Conclusion 121
Table of Distances      .        .        .        .        .        .124
Thames Fishery Bye-laws     .        .        .        .        .125 ILLUSTRATIONS.
Richmond Bridge.
•      3
Teddington Weir .
•    17
Surbiton Promenade
Sunbury Weir
.    28
Shepperton Lock .
Staines Bridge
Great Marlow
Trout   .
Barbel .
Chub   .
Roach .
Dace    .
Perch   .
Bream .
119  THE
" My friend is one that would fain be a brother of the
" Happy the man who can take as many days on the Thames
as he will. No happier man than the Thames angler."—
J. J. Manley.
The Thames holds a larger variety of fish than
any other river in the world, and they are, as a
rule, full of fight, thus testing to the utmost the
skill and patience of the angler. The fishable
portions of the river are also within such easy
distances from the Metropolis that some of the
best swims can be reached in less than two or
three hours ; and it is not by any means essential
that to obtain good sport the angler must travel to
the higher reaches. Although large quantities of
fish are taken from the lower and middle portions Introductory.
of the river year after year the supply seems
always equal to the demand ; and if the water be in
good condition, the angler well equipped and
acquainted with the swims, there should be very
little reason for his having a (i blank " day. There
are, it is estimated, 50,000 anglers in London alone,
and the Thames must have a special charm for a
large number of them. But in my opinion nearly half
of these do not properly understand how to fish the
stream, neither have they any special knowledge
of the swims. There are, of course, many anglers
who are well acquainted with various parts of the
river, for if anyone once becomes a successful
Thames angler he seldom strays from his favourite
stream. This is chiefly because he knows where to
catch fish, a knowledge which is only gained by
constant visits to the river and assiduous attention.
I am unable to deal with the Thames from its
source to its mouth, because that could not be
properly done in the space at my disposal, but I
place before my brother anglers the swims in
those parts of the river which can be reached
quickly, and thus those who decide to enjoy a day
on the Thames will not spend the greatest portion
of it in a railway carriage, but will be occupied on
the river or by its side, and I trust with successful
results. Byrne & Co.,']
Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
" From his oozy bed
Old Father Thames advanced his hoary head.
His tresses dropped with dews, and o'er the stream
His shining horns diffused a golden gleam."—Pope.
The fishing from Kew Bridge to Isleworth is
principally confined to fly-fishing for dace. Immediately above the bridge (see Map i) there is
a stretch of water which yields good sport in the
summer months, and is much patronised by anglers.
The fish, as a rule, are not large, but  invariably
B   2 4       Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
reach 6 inches, under which size they are not
allowed to be taken from the Thames. Another
good piece of water for fly-fishing for dace is
situated just opposite to Kew Gardens (2), the
bottom of which is very level, the water deepening
so gradually that the angler who feels inclined to
wade has every facility for doing so in perfect
safety. He will occasionally be disturbed by traffic,
such as steam tugs with heavy laden barges in tow,
but this does not much interfere with sport, as the
fish here are evidentlyused to being rudely disturbed,
and feed just as well afterwards. Fishing should
be commenced about two hours before the tide is
low, and I could not recommend a better piece of
water within such an easy distance of London for
those who desire to learn the art of fly-fishing, and
at the same time be recompensed by the capture of
a few fish. Fly-fishing for dace is excellent sport
for the beginner, because it teaches him to strike
sharp ancLquickens the eye. The experienced fly-
fisher can usually obtain good sport here.
On reaching Isleworth the river Crane joins the
Thames. It is a small tributary of the Colne, and
permission to fish it can be obtained at Brazil
House on the payment of one shilling. But in the
Thames itself one can here obtain good bottom
fishing free, there being a fair supply of roach, dace,
and barbel, though they are not usually so large as
those higher up the stream.     Isleworth Eyot (3) Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
extends from the ivy-towered church, which is on
the Middlesex bank of the river, to Kilmorie House,
and is locally known as Sheen Gull, the whole
length of which is good for barbel fishing, though
they rarely exceed 3ilb. Just before the coarse
fishing begins a few trout descend the river, and
stop here previous to reascending to deposit their
spawn. This is the lowest portion of the river
that trout are known to descend, and although
they have been seen in the "Gull" they have
never been caught there, at least of late years.
We now come to the new lock and weir (4),
which is situated four hundred yards below
Richmond Railway Bridge. It was commenced in
March, 1892, and finished in 1894. It comprises a
foot bridge 348ft. in length, having five arches,,
the three central ones being each 66ft. span, and
under each of these is a suspended movable sluice
which acts as a weir. These sluices are the largest
ever constructed, each being 68ft. long by 12ft.
deep, and weighing about thirty-three tons. By
their use they render the water above the lock half
tidal, and when the tide recedes the sluice gates
are let down in order to hold about 5ft. 9m. of
water at Richmond Bridge, where, on many
occasions of late years during low tide, it has
been possible to wade across the stream owing to
the water being so shallow at this point. The lock
is situated on the Surrey (or tow-path) side, whilst 6       Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
on the Middlesex shore is a boat slide with rollers.
Above the lock (5) bream have already become
located, though they are small. There are plenty
of roach and dace in the St. Margaret swim (6),
which lies two hundred yards above the lock, and
about six or seven yards from the Surrey shore.
This swim extends to the bridge of the London
and South-Western Railway, and in addition to
roach and dace a fair number of barbel are often
taken near the second arch of the bridge (from the
Surrey side) (7). Whilst fishing for roach under
the first arch in the month of July four years ago,
I hooked a barbel in the back fin, and landed it
after, one hour and twenty minutes' | play." The
fish on being weighed at the White Cross Hotel in
the evening turned the scale at nine pounds, and
was in every way a perfect sample of Thames
The following account of the capture was given
in the Fishing Gazette, by a correspondent: "The
fishermen's lament at Richmond is that the barbel
won't feed. Swims have been baited with
thousands of lobs, and anglers have been up with
Aurora, and not vacated the punt until the shades
of evening have fairly set in, but in nine cases
out of ten to no purpose. Immense quantities of
barbel have been seen jumping in the vicinity of the
drains this season; there, no doubt, the fish find an
abundance of food, and thus have no inclination to Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
partake of the angler's lures. Several fish have
been caught at those spots with gentles, but more
have been taken foul, a circumstance which goes to
show how plentiful the Barbus vulgaris must be in
the Thames at Richmond. On Monday, July 28th,
1890, Mr.F. H.Amphlett (of the Silver Trout Angling
Society), whilst roach fishing from a punt near the
railway bridge, hooked one in that way, and had a
very exciting time of it for over an hour. Directly
the fish felt the hook, he rushed pell-mell underneath
the punt, being but a yard from it when ' hit;'
but, by a skilful piece of work, Frank Brown, who
was in attendance upon Mr. Amphlett, let go one
of the poles, and swung the punt's head round and
just got clear. The fish then headed a short
distance up stream, then across the river, and,
owing to the heavy strain on the line, the rope
attached to the second ryepeck was let go, and
barbel, punt, puntsman, and the angler and a friend
were taken off to the middle arch of the bridge.
Here the barbel, who had partially towed the party
thus far, made a stand, and refused to move either
up or down stream. At length, when he did make
a start, Isleworth appeared to be his apparent
destination, for he went in that direction at a pretty
smart rate. By this time I should mention that the
course of events in the punt had not remained
unobserved on the shore, and a considerable crowd,
including numbers of bank anglers, assembled and 8       Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
grew very excited, especially as they could see
neither float nor fish, but only a rod bent double,
and the line being darted hither and thither.
Neither had the occupants of the punt seen any
signs of the fish up to then, and it was quite half an
hour after it had been hooked that Frank Brown
caught a glimpse of it, declared that it was a 71b.
fish, and that it was hooked in the back fin!
Efforts were now made to coax the fish into the
shore, but, just as that feat seemed about to be
accomplished, it headed across stream again. All
this time the crowd had not seen the fish, and when
it showed signs of being exhausted, and came up to
the top, there was a simultaneous shout of, \ Oh,
what a whopper!' from those standing on the
bank. At length the strain on the line became
less severe, and the fish's darts grew fainter. By
and bye he came up to the top in a kind of dazed
condition, and, before he had time to recover
himself, Frank Brown had placed the landing-net
under him, and lifted him into the punt, one hour
and twenty minutes after he was hooked. The crowd
gave a cheer, and Mr. Amphlett was heartily congratulated on his good luck. The barbel was killed
on a fine-drawn gut line and a No. 10 hook, which
we found to be firmly embedded in the fish's back
fin, and on being weighed at the White Cross
Hotel it scaled 91b."
There are, however, other instances where barbel Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
have been taken on roach tackle. In the same
month that the fish referred to above was captured,
though two years later, a Mr. Jackson, whilst roach
fishing at Kingston, hooked a barbel which weighed
iojlb., and landed it after a very exciting struggle.
I am not aware, however, that this fish was hooked
foul. If it were, it is certainly worthy of record,
as a heavy fish which is hooked anywhere but in
the mouth gives the angler more trouble to safely
land. It has also a greater chance of escape, and
if hooked in the back fin it can swim in any direction,
defying the angler to drown him. The fish must
eventually be "tired out" before it will give up
the struggle and submit to the inevitable. The
late Francis Francis once caught a barbel of 6Jib.
on a hair line, the fish being hooked in the back
fin, and an experience of a somewhat similar kind
occurred to Mr. W. Dix, though gut not hair was
used in this instance. Mr. Dix, in relating the
story of the capture, says : " It was in the month
of September, some five or six years ago. We
had not been settled at work five minutes when
I hooked something which felt like a whale. I
was fishing with the finest roach tackle and a
No. 10 roach hook, and after letting go about thirty
or forty yards of line, I saw a great barbel come
up to the top of the water and give an enormous
splash with his tail. My heart fairly came into my
mouth, for I could also see in a minute that I had io     Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
hooked him foul, and therefore he had double power
over me. We had to < up with the punt poles' and
go after him, and a nice dance he led me. I was
three-quarters of an hour landing that fish, and when
I saw him safely in the landing net my feelings
may be better imagined than described. He turned
the scale at 7flb., and I had hooked him in the back
fin. He was a long, lean fish, and if he had been in
condition he would have gone at least 91b." Mr.
G. Westrupp is another angler who has experienced
the pleasure of landing a barbel on roach tackle.
Whilst roach fishing at Windsor in June, 1893, he
hooked a 71b. noz. fish, and succeeded in landing
it. There are a few other instances I could mention,
but the above will be sufficient to show that, even
when roach fishing, the running tackle, as well as
the gut and the hook, should be strong though fine,
or, if by chance a large fish is hooked the probabilities
are that it will be lost.
One singular feature at Richmond is that there
are no jack in the water there, although they are
occasionally caught at Twickenham. Their absence
is due, I believe, entirely to the water being so
much disturbed by tugs, barges, and small craft,
that there are no places of rest for these solitude
loving fish, and they have consequently gone
further up stream. Immediately after passing
through the railway bridge there is a drain on the-
Surrey side, the sewage from which, at one time, Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.     ii
attracted a large number of fish to that spot, but
the drain is now closed, the sewage being turned
into the sewage farm at Mortlake, and consequently
not nearly so many fish are now taken here as there
were two or three years ago.    Cholmondley Walk
(8) is a favourite rendezvous for bank anglers,
roach, dace, and barbel being the only kind of fish
taken, with perhaps an exception in the case of an
occasional eel.    A little further on is another drain
(9) which empties itself into the Thames. This is
the best swim along Cholmondley Walk. The
professional fishermen are generally to be found
near here (10), and their names are J. Brain, J.
Brain, jun., C. Brown, F. Brown, E. Howard, jun.,
H. Mansell, and H. Wheeler. Their charge is ios.
per day for services, and the use of punt, rods,
tackle, and bait. Two or three anglers may avail
themselves of these advantages, but two anglers
and the puntsman are usually considered a fair
cargo. Towards the opposite shore are two eyots,
and near the bridge is an island, the upper end of
the latter (11) being good for roach, dace, and.
barbel, whilst on the shallows (12) there used to be
capital fly fishing for dace at low tide. We now
pass through Richmond Bridge—a fine stone structure of five arches—which was built in 1774-1777.
Very fair bank fishing is to be obtained at Richmond
Deeps (13), and a famous barbel haunt is close by,
and locally known as the Duke of Buccleuch's Hole 12     Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
(14). Many large barbel have been taken here on
ledger tackle. A punt or boat is of much service
to the angler in fishing this swim, but it is possible to
throw the ledger line from either bank, though
there is much disadvantage in doing this on account
of the number of boats which, in the spring,
summer, and autumn, pass up and down this part of
the river. After passing by Messum's boathouse
there is an excellent roach swim (15), and then we
arrive at Glover's Island, off the upper end of
which the fishing for barbel, roach, and dace is
fairly good. Petersham Meadows are on the Surrey
side, and at certain times of the year roach fishing
is good near the bank (16 and 17). Orleans
House, formerly the residence of the Orleans family
during the Second Empire, is a prominent object
from the river, opposite to which (18) there are
good barbel, roach, and dace swims, and sometimes
jack are caught there, one of the latter last year
being taken with a gentle ; it weighed 61b.
We now arrive at Twickenham, the fishing at
which is very good, although it has seen better
days. It is the largest fishing station on the
Thames, there being between thirty and forty fishing
punts ready for hire, and a large number of professional fishermen to attend to the wants of
anglers. The principal ones are J. C. Annessy,
C. W. Brown, H. Chamberlain, S. Cole, J. Coxen,
G.   Coxen,   Jas.   Coxen,   J.   Dunn,   J. Frost,  Pert Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.     13
Hammerton, A. Hammerton, R. Moffatt, and
J. Spong. The fishing in this district will probably
improve in a few years, because the rise and fall of
the tide is becoming restricted by the Richmond Lock
and Weir. Before this was erected the fish had few
places to make their home, but now this has been
practically remedied. Twickenham Ferry, famous
in song, is just below Eel Pie Island, and is two
and a half miles above Richmond. The first swim
met with is just below the island (19) ; roach and
dace are principally taken there; and (20 and 21)
are good for dace, the stream being rapid as a rule.
On the opposite side of the island, in front of the
Swan Hotel (22), there is a well-known barbel
swiiri, and another lies at the head of the island
(23), about six or seven yards off the steps on the
Surrey bank. From here to Pope's Villa (formerly
the residence of Pope, the poet, but now
occupied by Mr. Henry Labouchere, M.P., though
the original house was pulled down in 1708) is the
chief stretch of water for angling purposes at
Twickenham, the portion in front of the villa being
the best (24). There is a large bream hole there
reputed to always be full of large fish. This piece
of water lies somewhat out of the way of general
traffic, which renders it a most sequestered home
for the fish, and there is every reason to believe
that this is why they congregate here in such large
quantities.     Several members of London angling i4     Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.
clubs (there are over 200 clubs in the metropolis)
make this a special hunting ground, and it is not
unusual to see ten or even fifteen punts, each
supplied with two anglers, moored between (23)
and (24).
The opportunities of fishing any portion of the
Thames which is entirely out of the way of heavy
traffic are rare, and probably this is one reason why
Twickenham is so much patronised. The angler
can moor his punt without much fear of being disturbed by the fleet of steam-launches, tugs, and
barges which are continually passing up and down
the river. This heavy traffic appears to be much on
the increase, and fishermen have often just cause of
complaint, especially against pleasure launches,
which invariably travel at such a high speed that
the rye-pecks of the punt are loosened by the wash
from these miniature steamers, the punt swings
round with the tide, and the whole swim is generally
upset. This often happens just after a judicious
amount of ground-bait has attracted the fish
together, and the refixing of the punt causes them
to disperse again. The Thames Conservancy,
however, have framed a bye-law which renders a
launch owner liable to a fine if convicted of
travelling at excessive or dangerous speed. And,
although there are many instances in which this
bye-law is evaded, prosecutions are rare because it
would entail upon the complainant great loss of time rw^i
Kew, Richmond, and Twickenham.     15
and much trouble. But there is yet another grievance
which seriously affects the Thames anglers, viz., the
destruction of spawn and small fry by the "wash"
caused by the larger tugs. It is almost impossible
to gauge the number of fish of only a few days or
weeks old which year after year are washed from the
shallows at the sides of the river high up on to the
dry banks, and there left through the waves caused
by these leviathans. In addition to this, the bottom
of the river itself is often disturbed. In some
places, especially when the water is low, one can
tell that a tug has recently passed up stream,
because the water in the centre of the river becomes
discoloured with mud. This must, of course,
destroy the water plants, and interfere with the
food upon which the fish live. At Twickenham, as
I have already said, the fishing ground lies out of
the main stream, and consequently the fish thrive
The small island on the Middlesex side of the
river affords shelter for the fish in the spawning
season, and small fry may be seen in hundreds and
thousands on the shallows near here a few weeks
before the close season ends. Stoney Deeps (25)
used to be a favourite place for roach anglers, but
it has deteriorated to a large extent. Button's
Hole (26) is a gravel pit much frequented by bank
anglers, who often obtain a fair amount of sport
amongst the  roach, and  a ledger line for barbel 16     Kew. Richmond, and Twickenham.
fishing will be found useful. Strawberry Deeps
(27) are not so productive of sport as they used to
be, though a few small chub may be taken from
under the large willow trees by whipping with
gentles. From Button's Hole to the lock is termed
Teddington Reach, and on the shallows on the
Middlesex side throughout the whole length of the
reach capital dace fishing with a fly may be
obtained when the tide is low. Ik&
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Teddington to Kingston.
" Amidst the whirl of weary life, its worry and its bore,
Comes back   that well-known   lullaby—the old weir's distant
roar "
TEDDINGTON LOCK is about three and a half miles
above the one recently erected at Richmond, and
its construction differs vastly from the latter, the
weir itself having an average fall of 5ft. The
tidal water practically ends here, from which it is
supposed the name of the village was derived,
Tide-end-Town, as it was once called, being now
c Teddington to Kingston.
named Teddington. There is good fishing to be
had in the weir pool (28), the bottom of which is
very foul, with bags of solid cement and concrete
blocks. Anglers who would fish here should
therefore be equipped with a plentiful supply of
extra tackle, in case of accidents. Jack are caught
in the dead water (29), and chub are occasionally
taken at this spot, which is much frequented by
bank anglers, who have plenty of scope for trying
their skill. At low water the angler can get close
to the weir itself, and can wade the shallows below
(30), and obtain good fly fishing for dace. Yearly
tickets to fish from the weir-head, are to be obtained
from the Thames Conservancy at 10s. each, and
they are available for any weir under the Conservancy. Barbel are sometimes taken as heavy as
9lb. or iolb. at (31) and (32), but the average weight
taken from this water is 41b. to 61b., and the same
may be said regarding the weight of jack*. There
is also at times a plentiful supply of gudgeons,
the favourite sportive fish of lady anglers. During
the spring, lampreys and lamperns are sometimes
caught. An unusual incident occurred at Teddington in January, 1894. As one of the professional
fishermen was taking some patrons up to the weir,
his punt pole went through the head of a I2lb.
barbel. The latter was placed in the punt, and afterwards sent for preservation. This is one of the
largest barbel taken from this water of late years. IH
Teddington to Kingston.
What a pity it met with such an untoward fate,
instead of supplying sport to some fortunate angler.
Above the lock there is an excellent stretch of
water, extending from the weir-head to Kingston,
which is good for jack fishing. During the last
three or four years, it has been infested with
"trailers," who have had a large share of fish, but
the recently formed Thames Fishery Bye-laws, which
prohibits trailing, became operative just in time to
save all parts of the river under the Thames Conservancy from being depleted in a similar manner
during the winter season of 1893-4, and henceforth.
There is every probability therefore that, in future,
the fish will increase in numbers and improve in size.
A very favourite abode for Esox lucius is just
above the weir-head (33). About 100 yards on the
other side of the " Danger " board (34), which warns
the oarsman, as well as the angler, of the presence
of the weir, there is a bream and chub swim, but
it ought only to be fished at the fall of the leaf,
when the fish appear to cross from the other side
of the river, in search of food. A writer in the
Fishing Gazette (1893), referring to this swim, says :
" Here, on a summer's evening, the fish cross over
from the overhanging banks under the osier beds
and feed, and many a bonny bream and chub has
found its way into my bag in this well remembered
swim. If the angler can find it, and will ledger
with the tail end of a lob, throwing well out over Teddington to Kingston.
the weeds, he might think he had been put on to a
good thing." What is locally termed the " Half-
mile-tree" is a little further on (35), and is a well-
known spot for barbel and bream. Opposite to the
Albany Club (36) there is a barbel swim, from
which some fairly large fish have lately been taken.
Tateham's Island is a little higher up stream, and
(37 and 38) can be tried for jack. After passing
the Island on the Surrey side, is " Kingston Bend "
(39), so named on account of the bend in the river.
Here is a favourite roach swim, which is suitable
for bank anglers, no fewer than 150 of whom were
one day recently counted along the bank. From
the large number of persons who fish here, one
would be inclined to think that sport was unusually
good. But, although this was the case a few years
ago, I am inclined to believe, from personal observation, that the " bend" is losing its great
reputation, which is much to be regretted, as it is
most conveniently situated for London anglers.
Kingston foot bridge is a point at which many
people indulge in jack, perch, and barbel fishing.
There is a good barbel swim just below the bridge,
on the Middlesex side (40), and jack and perch
are on the Surrey side (41), as a rule. After
passing through the bridge, the towing path
is on the Middlesex shore, and there is a
good roach swim at (42). The Kingston professional fishermen are located on the Surrey side. Teddington to Kingston.
Their names are Johnson, Wilkes, Knight, Bolton,
and Wright, all of whom are reliable men, who
know the water well. They are generally to be
found close to the steps near the baths, at the end
of the town, and are consequently near what is
locally known as Town's End Hole (43), which
holds a good supply of bream. This " pitch " is
immediately in front of the fishing tackle shop
belonging to Mr. Richardson, who has taken a
large number of fish from this spot, and has
also preserved several fine specimens for other
fortunate anglers. Fishing for bream is, however, precarious on the Thames, but if the
angler is fortunate enough to be amongst them
when they are inclined to take the bait, it is usually
so much the worse for the fish. But, in addition
to bream, there are some good barbel holes in this
district; and, in addition to this, there are some
roach swims, which have yielded good sport, one of
the latter being just opposite to the Catholic
Church (44). But this is a difficult swim to fish,
unless the punt is moored in the exact spot where
it should be. A writer in the Fishing Gazette
(Nov. 18, 1893), referring to this swim, says : " My
recollection is that there were two elm trees with
a seat between, and that to be successful one must
fish about a length and a half from the promenade,
and exactly at right angles to the trees. This
particular swim was a favourite one, and often have Teddington to Kingston.
I seen men fish it either a little too high or too low,
and go away disgusted, allowing myself and friend
to drop into the right spot, and have good sport."
Those, however, who can afford the services of a
professional fisherman, will find no difficulty in this
There can be no doubt that if the large number
of swans which have the free run of the river, not
only in this district but in others, were kept away
from the river during the spawning season, the fishing would greatly improve. The swans devour
hundreds and thousands of small fish which, if left
to grow to a fair size, would be able to "take care
of themselves," at least, until they fell victims to
the anglers' lures. Anyone who visits the Thames
will have noticed the ravages which these graceful,
but nevertheless destructive, waterfowl commit.
They appear always to have an insatiable appetite,
and they have a special penchant for fish spawn.
They swim close to the banks, over the shallows,
into every nook and crook in search of food, and it
is particularly annoying to the angler, who is
debarred from pursuing his favourite sport, to watch
these feathered gourmands destroying the spawn
which, if allowed to remain undisturbed, would
supply good sport at some time or another.
Kingston adjoins   Surbiton, the   fishing   at  the -
latter place is dealt with in the following chapter. Taunt & Co.,]
Surbiton to Long Ditton.
" Give me a punt; a rod and line,
A snug armchair to sit on,
Some well-iced punch and weather fine,
And let me fish at Ditton."—Theodore Hook.
The promenade which has been made at
Surbiton has greatly improved the walk along the
riverside, though it is of no practical value to
the angler, because no one is allowed to fish therefrom. This, to me, is unfair to the angler, and partially
so to the public. The latter conclusion is arrived at
after having seen  the   interest with which  those 24
Surbiton to Long Ditton.
who promenade watch the angler at work whilst
moored to the side of the parade, and if fishing
were allowed from the bank, there is no doubt that
few objections would be made to it by the general
public, whilst it would be a boon to the fisher. The
angler at work is admittedly an interesting study,
and even those who do not participate in the sport,
invariably enjoy watching others pursue it. Therefore I trust some day the privilege to fish from
Surbiton promenade will be granted. There are
some good swims there, which afford excellent
sport, especially amongst roach, dace, and barbel.
The most well known swim is that located near
the old sewer (45), which at one time emptied itself
into the Thames, the drain pipe passing under the
parade. The sewage is now stopped, but a
certain amount of sand and other matter washes
into the Thames through the drain pipe, and a large
number of fish congregate there in search of food.
In addition to splendid samples of Thames roach,
bream of 31b. have often been taken there, and
from the same place, a little while ago, a Thames
rarity in the shape of a carp weighing 91b. was
captured. This swim still appears to be very good,
despite the fact that it is much patronised by expert
anglers. The river, a little further up stream, bends
to the right, and is divided by Messenger's Island.
Surbiton Waterworks are situated near, and, though
not adding to the beauty of the landscape, it is the Surbiton to Long Ditton.
next portion of water which deserves the close
attention of the angler. Opposite to the first
grating (46) in the wall of the works, is one of the
best bream holes between Surbiton and Ditton.
Some specimen fish have been taken there during
the past few years, many of which have been
preserved, and grace the walls of angling clubs.
From here to Ditton there is very fair jack and
perch fishing along the side of the wall of the waterworks ; but a boat or punt is necessary to fish this
water. Long Ditton is sequestered and pretty,
the fishing being fairly good. There is, however,
only one professional fisherman there, H. Buttery
by name, but if he be engaged, a punt or boat can
be hired of Messrs. H. Hammerton & Son, boat
builders, and thus save disappointment in this respect.
There are two eyots here, and on the Ditton side
of the first one is a barbel hole, from which as many
as thirty-four of these fish have been taken in one
day. This, of course, is rather unusual, but it
signifies that there is a fair supply of fish there,
and with a judicious use of ground bait no one
should find much difficulty in having a fair day's
sport. On the channel side of the first eyot (47)
there is a barbel swim, and on the channel side of
the second eyot (48) there is dace and roach fishing ; whilst from under the boughs of two or three
willow trees (49), chub are sometimes to be taken.
The bank fishing has not been very good here of late, 26
Surbiton to Long Ditton
but with the use of a punt or boat one can always get
fish. The river Mole joins the Thames on the
Surrey side, and just below the mouth of the former
there is another capital roach swim (50). In the
month of February, 1893, a large dog otter was
shot by Mr Robert Whatford, jun., just below where
the Mole enters the Thames, It measured four
feet from the nose to the tip of the tail, and weighed
281b. It is the rule of the Thames Angling
Preservation Society to give a reward of one guinea
for each otter captured, and Mr Whatford was
rewarded accordingly.
On the right bank is the Palace of Hampton. It
was originally erected under the direction of
Cardinal Wolsey, and when completed and
elegantly furnished was one of the most sumptuous
mansions in the country. In order to dispel any
feeling of covetousness on the part of Henry VIII.,
the Cardinal, in 1520, presented the palace to the
King. In 1690, however, the chief portion of the
old palace was taken down, and the present
structure raised under the direction of Christopher
The Park, including Bushey Park, with the
picturesque gardens and the ground on which the
palace now stands, are three miles in circumference.
The gardens consist of 44 acres, and there is a
celebrated vine in the grape house at the Hampton
end of the palace which supplies an abundance of Surbiton to Long Ditton,
fine grapes for the Queen's table. There are
certain days when the general public are admitted
to portions of the palace as well as to the grounds,
and it is a favourite resort of holiday makers. The
fishing at Hampton Court is dealt with in the
following chapter. me 8f Co.,]
Hampton Court to Sunbury.
"A skilful angler    .    .    .    must be prudent, apprehending the
reasons why the fish will not bite."—Gervase Markham.
HAMPTON Court station is fifteen miles from
London, but those who have plenty of time to
spare, or who do not wish to fish the whole day
long, can detrain at Teddington, and walk or ride
across Bushey Park, which derived its name
from the celebrated chestnut trees, and extends
from the entrance of the park at Teddington to the
Lion gates at Hampton Court.    When the trees are Hampton Court to Sun bury.
in bloom they are one of the chief sights which
Londoners make a'point of viewing. Anglers are
allowed to fish in the Home Park Pond, which
holds a number of carp, tench, roach, bream, and
jack. As an instance of the size of the fish taken
from this water, the following is reliable : On
Oct. 6, 1893, a workman captured a carp weighing
1541b., and on the same date another angler took
a similar fish of iolb. The former fish was purchased by Mr Richardson, of Kingston, who has
preserved it. But though we do not as a rule
get carp of this size from the Thames, the river is
the best for general angling purposes. A stone
pavement has been laid in the front of the Palace
wall, from which anglers are allowed to ply the rod
(51). The water is very deep, and hoids trout,
barbel, roach, and jack. Sometimes a few perch are
taken there. The ledger line can be used here to
great advantage, and whilst the ledger is out one
can use float tackle for roach. The swim is well
known, and has been much patronised in consequence of its suitability for bank fishing. The
pavement is surrounded in the rear by a high bank
which enables the angler to enjoy his sport free
from disturbance from either pedestrians or
vehicular traffic. The bank also in the winter
forms a good shelter from the bleak winds. The
fish here average a good size, with perhaps the
exception of roach, which have seldom of late been 3°
Hampton Court to Sun bury.
taken heavier than three-quarters of a pound.
We now pass on to Hampton Court Bridge (sometimes called Molesey Bridge). There is a good
roach and dace swim about thirty yards below the
bridge (52), and.occasionally barbel are taken there.
It is quite a favourite spot of the local professional
fisherman, who are located on the Surrey shore, and
are consequently within two minutes' walk of Hampton Court railway station. Their names are Jas.
Hedger, T. Milbourne, W. Milbourne, and J. Smith.
There are several swims near at hand, so that the
fishermen are most conveniently situated. After
passing through the bridge, the towing-path is on the
Surrey side. There is here a good stretch of water,
extending to Molesey lock and weir. The weir
water (53 and 54) affords the best barbel fishing in
the district, the fish often being a large size. Jack,
too, are caught there j though they are as a rule
under 61b. Trout are also taken from the weir
pool, and one may not be far wrong in stating that
this is the lowest portion of the river where any
pretence is usually made to capture trout. They
have, of course, been taken so far down as Teddington ; but the instances are rare, and it would scarcely
recompense the angler if he attempted trout fishing
further down stream than Molesey. The Lower
Thames Trout Propagation Society has recently been
formed to promote trout fishing and the stocking
of the lower reaches; but to  the hon. secretary's Hampton Court to Sunbury.
appeal for support there has not been a large
response, which conclusively shows that the majority
of Thames anglers do not participate in trout
fishing. The reason for this apathy is doubtless
owing to the prevailing feeling that trout are scarce
in the Lower Thames; and so, despite the fact that
a few years ago 1000 healthy yearlings were turned
into different parts of the river (part at the cost of
Mr. R. B. Marston, editor of the Fishing Gazette,
and the other part at the cost of the Thames
Angling Preservation Society), many anglers are
of opinion that trout fishing below Staines is not
worth a trial. Those anglers that do fish for trout
in the lower waters usually prefer to invest their
money in rods and tackle, with a view of capturing
a few fish throughout the season ; but it appears to
me that they also ought to take much interest in
the re-stocking of this part of the river, which would
in due course repay them by affording better sport.
The trout above referred to would doubtless
have had more chances to live and thrive had they
been two years old. The late Mr. F. H. Dickinson,
of Kingston (when he was vice-chairman of the
Richmond Piscatorial Society), on three separate
occasions collected funds for the purchase of some
two-year-old trout, which were placed in the river
between Richmond and Hampton Court. There,
therefore, ought to be a goodly number of large
fish in the river now.    But to return to the swims. 32
Hampton Court to Sunbury.
The back water at Molesey Weir (55) holds some
jack, though it is of little use going as far as the
shallow water, which is close to the over-fall.
Above the weir, too, jack fishing is fairly good.
Chub and barbel may be taken at (56), trout and
chub occasionally at (57). Roach are taken by
bank anglers, who fish from Tagg's Island; but the
quality of the fishing in this district has greatly
deteriorated during the past two or three years. In
fact, there are very few anglers who can now make a
good bag of fish there, unless the state of the river
is especially favourable. Mr. Tagg recently informed
me that only three men he knew of ever could reckon
on obtaining a fair day's fishing from the island.
These men, I understand, fish in the Lea style. The
reason given for this falling off in sport, is, that the
pleasure launches disturb the water too much, and
in the summer this portion of the river is usually
crowded with sailing boats and other craft. There
are, however, several swims which can be easily
fished from the island, one of the best ones being
at the upper end. Anglers' Eyot is on the
Middlesex side (58), and a few jack and chub are
sometimes taken there. The " Queen's River,"
which passes through Bushey Park, empties itself
into the Thames at (59), through what is locally
known as the Roaring Arch, and in the summer
months roach are caught just below this point.
The "Swan's Nest" Island is above Tagg's Island, Hampton Court to Sunbury.
and the water in this vicinity (60) holds jack, one
of over 2olb. being taken there some years ago.
These specimen fish are, however, a rarity in any
part of the Thames. A favourite roach swim is
opposite to Garrick's Villa (61), and bream may
sometimes be taken there. The angler will see
that from a pipe fixed in the wall some spring water
falls into the Thames. He should fix his boat or punt
just opposite. The great actor lived in Garrick Villa,
which was then called Hampton House. There is
a temple on the lawn which was built to contain
Roubiliac's statue of Shakespeare. The latter is
now in the British Museum. Hampton Deeps,
which hold jack, roach, and bream, extend from
Molesey Weir to Garrick Villa, a distance of 1500
yards ; and there is an eddy under the willow tree
at the end of " Garrick's " lawn (62) from which a
jack or two may sometimes be taken. The term
"'Appy 'Ampton" derived its origin from the
Molesey Hurst races held on the opposite shore,
where, in days gone by, was supposed to be the
place to spend a happy day. This spot was once
the theatre of many a great prize-fight, which could
scarcely be of happy reminiscence to a certain set
of people who were entirely at variance with
Walton's mode of life and enjoyment. Anyone
wishing to cross from the towing path to the quaint
little village of Hampton can here do so, there
being a ferry-boat always available.   Around Plats'
D 34
Hampton Court to Sunbury.
Island (63) there are plenty of withies and other
shrubbery, from under the boughs of which a few chub
have often been enticed. But the best fishing is
on the inner side. At (64) there is a quiet eddy,
nicely sheltered by shrubs, and this is one of the
best places hereabouts for jack fishing; sometimes,
too, perch are taken. If " live baiting" from a
boat, anchor just on the outer edge of the eddy,
let the float descend with the stream ; and, after
allowing the bait the usual distance to travel,
hold the line taut, the float will then work into the
eddy in the most natural way. Close to the shore
the water runs shallow, so that it is preferable that
the bait shall work up the centre of the eddy.
Hampton Waterworks are on the opposite shore,
and hot water (waste from the steam engines on
the works) falls into the river at (65). Here there
is a roach swim, but it is seldom of much use fishing it in the winter months. There are more quiet
nooks which will be noticed near Plats' Island as
one proceeds up the river. These often prove to
be the home of small jack, whilst on the other side,
in the main stream, there is a barbel hole at (66)
The Cherry Orchard swim (67) is situated on the
Surrey side, and derives its name because it is
opposite to a cherry orchard, though the roach
swim is on a parallel to some bushes at the
upper end of the orchard. This, too, is a summer
swim, the stream usually being too strong in the Hampton Court to Sunbury. 35
winter months. From here to Lambeth Waterworks, on the West Molesey side of the river, a few
jack can sometimes be caught in the deep water.
The Grand Junction Waterworks, which have only
recently been built, are opposite, and water from
the lake in Kempton Park falls into the river on
this bank. There is a roach swim near this inflow.
We will now proceed some little distance up stream,
past the Grand Junction intake, and arrive at
Clark's Eyot. There are here some barbel swims,
and jack are occasionally to be met with off the
tail end of the lower islands. We are now entering
the Sunbury district, and the scenery begins to
improve. The main stream is swift, and is
known as " The Race." The fishing also improves
here, and trout become more abundant. There
are two good roach swims off Chelsea Waterworks (68) and barbel are fairly plentiful in
most portions of " The Race." There are also
some good swims suitable for bank anglers
between the waterworks and the lock. Sunbury backwater is somewhat shallow, though
there are deep holes in various places, and roach
are sometimes taken there. In the summer time,
however, it is very weedy, and the water is much
disturbed by boating parties ; the tall trees on the
islands affording excellent shelter from the sun's
rays. After passing by the upper end of Darbey-
House Island, we again join the main stream, and
d 2 36
Hampton Court to Sunbury,
are close upon a very good roach and barbel swim,
which is opposite to the Magpie Hotel. This is
one of the best swims at Sunbury, if we exempt the
weir stream. The water from the lock gates to the
weir pool is good for fly fishing for dace, and there
are several good " pitches" for bank anglers at
(69) and (70). The weir pool itself holds trout,
barbel, chub, roach, and jack. On the Surrey side
the professional fishermen are located. Their
names are, E. Clark, sen., E. Clark, jun., C. Clark,
H. Clark, T. and A. Stroud. T. Stroud, jun., and
J. Stroud. Very often the punt fishing is most
successful near the wall on the Surrey side, where
the weir stream is rather rapid. There are some
good roach and barbel swims there (71). The back
water on the right of the weir is too shallow for
fishing, and is somewhat dangerous for boats to
negotiate. Above Sunbury Lock there is a small
foot-bridge extending from the island to the towing
shore, but the next roach swim of importance is
locally known as " Black Bough" (72). It is close
to a long island on which the Thames Camping
Club hold sway. In mid-stream, too, there is a
barbel hole. Bream and barbel are at (73), and
near the tumbling bay or overfall (74) there are
roach and bream. The scenery along this reach is
pretty, although the banks continue low. There
are no further swims of great importance until
Walton is reached. Byrne & Co.,]
Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, and Laleham.
" Of all the sports and pastimes
That happen in the year,
To angling there are none, sure,
That ever can compare."
Songs of the Chase.
There is a fair supply of all kinds of Thames fish in
the Walton district. A small piece of water on the
Surrey side, known as Walton Sale, holds jack,
carp, tench, and bream. In the summer there are
so many weeds to obstruct angling operations that
the fish are difficult to capture.    Winter fishing for 38     Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, drc.
jack is often productive of good sport, and there
are one or two large fish in this water that have on
several occasions baffled all the efforts of the
angler to land, though they have been hooked. In
the spawning season a large quantity of bream
enter the Sale to deposit their ova, and it is a
pretty sight to watch hundreds of these fish
priming. This can be seen about the latter end of
May from the towing path, which divides the Sale
from the main river. Mr. T. P. Wheeldon says :
" 4 The Sale' is a biggish piece of inland water,
running in from the Thames, very shallow and
weedy at one end, fairly deep at the other, and this
is the way it is generally fished. There are plenty
of jack in it, mind, and big ones, too, but, like all
others of the same family, constantly harried as
they are from day to day with baits of every
description, they are terribly (wide' and wary,
and of each of them might be said, and particularly
with regard to the attention paid to the various
devices exhibited, ' Of ways that are dark, and
tricks that are vain,' the big Walton jack are
' pecooliar.' But why? some one may naturally ask.
Well, I will try to explain, particularly craving
pardon if, during the process, I tread upon anyone's
toes even in the very smallest possible degree. To
start with, it must surely be admitted that the pike
of the present day (except it may be those little
' bottlers' which   unfortunately find  favour  in   so Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, &>c.   39
many people's eyes) are not so easy to catch as
they were years ago. Mr. Jardine will tell you so, and
so also will everyone else who has had anything like
extended experience. Why ? Simply because they
have already obtained—and every day adds to their
store—experience of their own which has certainly
not been thrown away. They have been hooked,
hauled about, and been ' broken away with' at the
hands of clumsy and inexperienced fishermen over
and over again, and consequently either prompted
by that marvellous quality instinct, or else by some
curious reflective power with the possession of
which they are not usually credited, they would
appear to say, and very frequently, too, ' Declined
with thanks.' This is certainly the case with big
fish in public waters, and the Thames in particular." Walton derived its name from Walled
town, and the bridge is the counterpart of
that at Hampton Court. It is just over twenty
miles from Putney, and about twelve miles from
Richmond. In the vicinity of the bridge jack
and perch are occasionally taken. Cowey Stakes,
immediately above the bridge, is noted for roach.
This is the site of the ferry where the Britons
vainly attempted to resist the passage of Caesar's
army across the Thames. Cowey Deeps (75) extend
from the two oak trees on the Middlesex bank
to the West London Waterworks. They are fairly
well stocked with barbel and roach, whilst on the 40    Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, &c.
opposite bank there are boughs which shelter chub.
A little higher up stream there is a small eyot (76),
on the inside of which jack should be tried for.
Only a few years ago one of 2olb. was taken here.
Halliford Reach (77) holds barbel, the water in
some places being 25ft. deep.
The village of Halliford is on the Middlesex shore,
and there is a roach swim immediately opposite
River View House, which can be particularised by
the front being covered with ivy. The professional
fishermen are H. Rosewell, W. S. Rosewell, and
T. Purdue. Heart's-ache Deep is above Halliford,
and holds bream and barbel. The river from here
to Shepperton Lock is renowned for the quality of
its barbel fishing, though one would be inclined to
think that the name Heart's-ache was derived from
inferiority of sport. The Surrey bank is again
studded with withies, which should be fished in the
hope of obtaining a few chub. The lawn of the
Manor House then is reached, opposite to the end
of which is an excellent roach swim (78). The
water a little higher up stream is deep and fairly
rapid, and barbel may be taken there as well as off
Shepperton Point. Shepperton is a rural village,
and is much frequented by anglers, who participate
principally in trout and barbel fishing. The
professional fishermen are G. Rosewell, H. Purdue,
and W. House. There is a backwater by the
boathouse, named Shepperton Creek, and roach are Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, csrc.    41
sometimes taken there in the summer months.
Shepperton Reach is just above what is locally
termed " the old stop tree," where there used to be
an osier bed. It is the only tree here on the
Middlesex side. There is good all-round coarse
fishing here, and occasionally trout are taken. It
may be incidentally mentioned that in 1822 a
Mr. Marshall, of Brewer-street, Oxford-street, took
on a single gut a salmon weighing 21 Jib. in
Shepperton Deeps.
We now come to "Chalk Hole" (79), which is
a noted spot for bream and barbel fishing. A large
number of fish have been taken here during late
years, and it is consequently much patronised by
the professional fishermen of the surrounding
districts. The summer is the best time to fish here,
and so as to localise the identical swim, I may
mention it is just above two willow trees, which
slightly project over the river from the Middlesex
bank. This is not far from the tail end of Doyle
Carte's Island. The inner side of the latter (80)
is the haunt of jack and chub, and extends from
" Chalk Hole " past Gittens Lawn, to Shepperton
Ferry. Between the lock and the new weir (81)
there is a good roach swim, but it is generally
difficult to fix a punt there, unless thoroughly used
to the ryepecks, in consequence of the rapid stream.
The full force of the water, which comes from both
the old and new weir, as well as  that from  the 42 Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, &c.
river Wey, is felt here, but when firmly fixed in this
swim the sport is generally found to be excellent.
It is sometimes called the " City Yard " swim, and,
in addition to roach, plenty of barbel are caught
there. It is advisable to use a ledger line here for
barbel, and after placing the check upon the winch,
commence roach fishing. Below the new weir is
capital water for trout fishing, and from here we
pass on to the old weir. The most noted part of
this backwater is Holiday's Hole (82), which is
celebrated for its barbel and bream, and is near the
Oil Mill, opposite to the bathing hut. The river
Wey enters the Thames near here. Close to the
old weir there are several deep swims, which hold
barbel and trout, It is advisable to fish near either
shore, rather than in the centre of the stream.
Above the top of the weir there are some guard piles,
near to which jack are now and then caught; and
from here we enter the lower part of the Chertsey
Docket Eyot is first met, and then Docket Point
and reach. Sir Charles Dilke's Eyot is higher up
stream, and then we enter a more important portion
of the water—Chertsey Mead, and Doomsday or
Dumsey Deeps. This water is fairly good for all-
round fishing, though the swims here are scarcely of
sufficient importance to particularise. There is,
however, very good bank fishing near Chertsey
Bridge   and  below   the   weir.    The   professional Walton, Shepperton, Chertsey, &c.    43
fishermen are J. Hackett and J. Poulter. The Weir
Pool (83), at the upper end of which the Abbey
Mill River joins the Thames, holds trout and barbel;
whilst chub may be taken here and there under
the boughs. The water above the lock to Lale-
ham is chiefly noted for jack fishing, and there
are plenty of large barbel in the deeps at (84);
roach may also be taken in fair quantities. At
Laleham the fishermen are A. Harris and A. H.
Harris. The principal roach swim is just below
the ferry (85), and the punt should be moored near
the Middlesex side. This is a quiet swim, and the
bed of the river is level. There is another roach
swim at (86), and another at (87). One day during
last year I took a bag full of fish from the latter,
though the water and weather were considered very
unsuitable for roach fishing. Several of the fish
were over half a pound, and I was only successful
by adopting the Nottingham style—fine and far off.
This was principally necessary owing to the water
being exceptionally clear, and it was only on rare
occasions that a fish was taken near the punt. I
may add that I was out with a Staines fisherman,
who took me this distance in his endeavour to find
a swim which was suitable for fishing in such clear
water. Bank anglers are also able to obtain fair
sport just here, there being plenty of available
places to fish, such as quiet eddies and lay-byes. taunt & Co.,]
Penton Hook and Staines.
" Anglers are free from those restless thoughts which corrode
the sweets of life."—Walton.
Penton Hook is a famous district for fishing, and
is now much patronised by the Staines professional
fishermen, who usually punt their customers down
to the Hook, well knowing that they will be
rewarded by good sport if the state of the water
and the weather permit. Penton Hook is remarkable
from the circumstances that the main stream, after
a detour of nearly a mile, returns almost to its start- Penton Hook and Staines.
ing point, and joins the navigable portion of the
river close to the lock, at the upper end of which
we have the entrance to the Hook, and at the lower
end of the lock is the termination of the detour
which is here alluded to. Bank anglers have every
opportunity of fishing all round the Island, which
may easily be reached by walking across the
footway on the lock gates. There are, however,
many portions of this water which can be fished
only by using either a punt or a boat, and if any
craft be used it is better to enter the Hook at the
upper end, as the stream is usually very rapid, and
difficult to row against. There are, however,
numerous eddies and lay-byes, which form excellent
shelter for the fish, whilst in the swift portion of
the water there are several well known barbel
holes. Just off the lower end of the lock (88) there
is a very quiet roach swim, though the fish feed
here much better after the lock gates have been
opened for navigation purposes, because this
causes a slight flush of water. Paste may
be used as bait in this swim with successful
results, especially if it be mixed with slightly diluted
whiskey. One of the best barbel holes in the
"district is situated just between the old Tumbling
Bay and the lock (89). Some very fine fish have
of late been taken there, and a visit to this swim
would undoubtedly repay any angler who used his
ledger line with ability, though he must be careful 46
Penton Hook and Staines.
to fish "well out." Immediately opposite to the
Tumbling Bay itself is a bream hole (90), which
holds a plentiful supply of fish, it being no unusual
thing to see a quantity of them "priming" early
on almost any spring or summer morning, evidently
little aware that such a person as a Thames angler
is in existence. A little higher are what are
locally known as the Rocks. They appear to have
at one time been used as a breakwater, and much
care is required even now to negotiate them. The
angler, however, can easily tell where these
miniature rocks are situated, because the stream is
broken, the water highly disturbed, and there is a
slight fall of the water, which is more noticeable
when coming down the stream. Those who are
unacquainted with this somewhat dangerous spot,
should keep near to the Middlesex shore, where
there is comparative safety. On the Surrey side, just
below these rocks (91), there is some very deep
water, which has yielded good sport to the barbel
fisher, and after passing over the rocks there is
some more deep water (92) on the Middlesex shore,
which is most accessible for bank anglers. Chub,
roach, dace, and barbel are taken from this swim.
There is a stretch of shallow water suitable for fly
fishing from here to the Abbey River. The latter
is said to be an artificial cut made by the monks.
The Abbey Mills define the sight of the monastery
and   its   outlying  buildings,  and   the  "stews"  or Penton Hook and Staines.
conventional fish ponds, where the old monks kept
a supply of trout and carp, which were used as a
delectable dish on Fridays and other fast days, are
still traceable.
At the mouth of the Abbey River there are some
overhanging bushes and tall willow trees. On one
of the latter there is a placard, which sets forth
that "new and original" notice, "Trespassers
beware," presumably as a warning to those who
would be so rude as to venture to step on to the land.
But the water, just at this very spot (93), contains
many trespassers in the shape of portly chub, some
of which would obtain a " specimen " prize if only
induced to taste a tempting bait. At (94) there is
a noted barbel swim, the water being swift and
deep. A roach swim, which is a favourite one with
T. Spicer, a Staines professional fisherman, during
the winter months, is on the Surrey side, just above
the mouth of the Abbey River (95). At (96)
there is a quiet eddy which holds jack. It is
sheltered by a large bed of rushes, which divides
the stream, and forms, as it werej a quiet backwater
just below the tail end of these reeds. A very
noted barbel swim, is just below the old weir (97).
The water is very deep, but the professional fishermen are adepts at mooring a punt in the centre of
this swift stream, which is by no means an easy
feat. There is a quiet and deep eddy near an old
fallen tree at (98), which is much fished'by bank 48
Penton Hook and Staines.
anglers, who can throw out a ledger line into the
barbel swim above referred to, and at the same
time enjoy fairly good roach fishing. Trout are
also caught in this locality, and on the shallows
above the weir on the Surrey side of the river (99)
every opportunity is afforded for fly fishing for
dace. Barbel, bream, and a few perch are sometimes taken by bank anglers at (100), this being
very deep water. We have now passed completely
round the Hook, and again enter the navigable
portion of the Thames, though above the lock.
The lock-keeper, Mr. H. Simpson, is a somewhat
interesting person with whom to while away half
an hour, especially if it be a very wet day, he not
busy, and angling at a discount. He has had a most
eventful life, having joined the navy in 1857, ano^
had many engagements with pirates in the Red Sea,
during the time he was engaged in the suppression
of the slave traffic on the west coast of Africa. He
was one of the party of the boats' crews that took the
little "Pioneer" paddle-box boat up the Zambesi river
to Dr. Livingstone. After a sojourn of five months
with this great explorer up the Quillimaine and
Zambesi rivers, he was again engaged in the capture
of slavers, and was present at the blowing up of the
three-masted slave ship the " Sunny South " on the
coral reef at Johanna. When this ship was captured,
she had 875 slaves on board, was afterwards used
as a store ship, and whilst loaded with provisions Penton Hook and Staines.
ran on to the reef, breaking her back. Her position
was perilous to the shipping on this coast, and it
was decided to blow her up. Mr. Simpson served
in the Mediterranean many years, and was on
board the " Agincourt" when she ran on to the Pearl
Rock at Gibraltar. He was also present at the loss
of the "Captain," when she turned turtle in 1871
and 500 lives were lost. Whilst at the Mediterranean station he formed one of a party of nineteen,
who travelled on horseback to Jerusalem, Jericho,
the Dead Sea, and the River Jordan, and has written
a book of poems upon these subjects. For some
years he was assistant lock-keeper at Teddington,
where he was well known, and was promoted as
lock-keeper at Penton Hook a year or two ago.
On the Middlesex side of the river there are
roach swims at (101) and (102) well adapted for
bank anglers, one being able to obtain a seat on the
bank, which is high and rugged. Further towards
the centre of the stream (103) barbel make their
home, whilst chub lie cosy enough at times under
the boughs of the trees which line the Surrey side at
this point (104). In the summer time, however, it
is very weedy just here, and care should be taken
to prevent the chub from rushing into this natural
fish life preserve. Near what is known as the
"Fishing Temple," a small brick building with a
square tower (105), there is a quiet piece of water
which holds a few small  jack.     The   "Temple"
E 50
Penton Hook and Staines.
indicates the half-way between Chertsey and Staines.
Near Whitehead's coal-shed there is a reputable
roach swim, and off Tress's Island there is another.
From here to Staines the bank on the Surrey side
is thickly studded with large willow trees and
withies, from under which chub may be enticed by
whipping with gentles or using a large red or black
Palmer. The latter may also be occasionally tipped
with a live gentle, and chub will, if feeding, take
this bait freely. There is some deep water at (106)
which holds barbel, the swim being opposite to the
new church. We have now arrived at Staines proper,
this portion of the river being about ten minutes'
walk from either the South-Western or Great
Western Railway stations. After passing under
the iron bridge, which here spans the river, there is a
very fair stretch of water suitable for jack fishing at
(107). It extends from the bridge to the Town
Hall, and is on the Middlesex side. Between here
and the County Bridge there are several roach
swims (108), which have often yielded good sport in
days gone by. This water is not now so good for
roach fishing, though the swims are deep, and can
be fished at all times of the year. Between the two
bridges the Staines professional fishermen may
usually be met with when not away on an angling
expedition. Their names are T. Spicer, C. Hone,
J. Keen, sen., J. Keen, jun., G. Osman, and J.
Clarke.    The towing path, after passing the railway TfllRl
Penton Hook and Staines.
bridge,   is on the Surrey shore,   and anglers can
either cross by the ferry, or walk through a portion   of  the town   and   over  the   County  Bridge.
Above the latter there is a barbel swim near the
second arch, and Church Eyot is a little higher up
the stream.    A quiet spot for jack fishing is at (109),
and at the upper end of the eyot a tributary of the
Colne enters the Thames.      The " London Stone,"
dividing the counties of Bucks and Middlesex, may
be seen here,  opposite to which is a bream hole
(no).   Fair sized chub can be taken by " whipping "
on the Surrey side, the bank here being rather high.
Further   on   is   the   gasworks, a  suitable summer
roach   swim   being  at (in).    From   this point to
the   Old   Windsor    Soapworks   is   favourable   for
barbel fishing, and the hole opposite to the bridge
on the towing path holds a goodly number of these
fish.    The Colne joins the Thames on the Bucks
side of the river, and   roach   are taken at  (112).
From here to Bell Weir there is very fair trout fishing.    In the early part of June, 1893, C. Hone had
here three of these fish in one day, weighing respectively 41b.   ioz.,   31b., and 61b.    In the same year,
though in the month of July, E. Keen caught one
which turned the scale at 91b.—a well marked but
stubby fish.    Barbel are also taken in the Weir Pool
(113) in large numbers, and roach at (114).
Before   leaving  the   Staines   district a singular
incident may be mentioned as occurring here one
E 2 52
Penton Hook and Staines.
day in February, 1893. It relates to roach fishing.
An angler struck at an apparent bite, and to his
surprise, on raising the fish from the water, he saw
that it was caught in the line some six inches from
the hook. The line had formed a complete noose
round the middle of the fish. This fact was duly
recorded in the Fishing Gazette, the writer stating
that he supposed another fish had taken the bait
and carried the line round the second fish. This
conclusion makes me think that it was a very poor
roach angler indeed that did not notice the fish
were playing at Jack Ketch with his line. •jJrl-M
' t|SF¥^ ~-j|lll^5K2r*^^fe'• ^
Taunt & Co.,]
Datchet and Windsor.
" Oh, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme !
Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
Strong, without rage, without o'erflowing, full."—Denham.
Bell Weir Lock is two miles seven furlongs below
Old Windsor Lock, and one mile one and three-
quarter furlongs above Staines Bridge.
Immediately above the weir (115) is a large bed
of rushes, the water around which should be tried
for jack ;   it   is,  however,  uncertain whether  the 54
Datchet and Windsor.
angler will take any fish, because the sport varies
to a great extent—sometimes the fish appear to be
ravenous, whilst at others they will refuse the most
tempting bait. Just above the lock cutting there
is a roach swim, and a little further on is Chalk
Hole (-ii 6), famed for its barbel. This hole is wide,
and commences at the varnish works on the Surrey
side; the local fishermen will tell you that "some
rattling good fish " have been caught here, and that
the hole contains plenty now. There are plenty of
boughs on the Bucks side, which shelter chub;
they extend from the weir head to the Ankerwyke
estate, at the lower end of which tjiere is a slight
bend in the river, which causes a quiet eddy. The
latter should be tried for jack, and a trifle further
on will be noticed some water which enters the
Thames from the Ankerwyke estate, this is a very
good roach swim in winter time. Ankerwyke
House was formerly a nunnery of the Benedictine
order, founded in the reign of Henry II., though
few vestiges of the original buildings remain. The
grounds are said to have been the trysting-place of
Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn. One writer says
that King Henry waited there, amidst the scenery
and surroundings of his courting days, to hear the
signal announcing the execution of that unfortunate
lady. We now arrive at another bend in the river,
and the view presented is one of the most picturesque  between   Kew and Windsor.    The  Bucks Datchet and Windsor.
bank   is    studded   with    beautiful    trees,   which
overhang the river.    They form excellent  shelter
from the sun's rays in the summer time, and in
consequence   a large   number  of  boating  parties
make  this  their  special   rendezvous.     The scene
presented on the opposite shore is superb, the low
country in   the  fore-ground  being  relieved  by   a
gradual upward slope, supported in the back ground
by Cooper's Hill.    Denham, writing  of  the  view
which is obtained from this eminence, says :—
" My eye, descending from the Hill, surveys
Where Thames amongst the wanton valley strays.
Thames, the most lov'd of all the Ocean's sons
By his old sire, to his embraces runs,
Hasting to pay his tribute to the Sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity."
On the west side of the hill is the Indian
Engineering College, where students are trained as
civil engineers in India. The river in the " wanton
valley" winds considerably, and in many places
there are eleven feet of water. One particular tree
on the Bucks shore overhangs the river to a greater
extent than the others. Some large chub make
their home under its boughs, but they are practically
safe from the wiles of the angler, because the bottom
is foul with submerged brambles. It is quite a fairy
garden for the chub, but if any attempt were made
to catch them, it would require the whole supply of
a tackle shop to furnish the angler with gut, lines,
&c.;  even then the attempt would prove abortive, 56
Datchet and Windsor.
as the fish would soon disperse after the angler's
first tussle with the brambles, in which the hook is
almost sure to catch. A keeper's lodge will be
noticed on the Ankerwyke estate, and a little higher
up stream there is a roach swim. Very good bank
fishing is to be had from the towing path, and just
off the Windsor road there is a jack flat. Magna
Charta Island, which is in the Wraysbury district, is
supposed to be the place where King John, in 1215,
affixed his signature to the great palladium of
English liberty.
In the little Gothic cottage which is built on the
island, and looks somewhat like a miniature church,
there is the identical stone upon which the charter was
signed, and it bears the following inscription: "Be
it remembered that on this island, in June 1215,
King John of England signed the Magna Charta."
Some writers, however, aver that the council of
King John assembled at Runnymede, and that there
the signing took place. Runnymede is on the
confines of Surrey and Berks. The withies below
the cottage on Magna Charta Island are good for
chub (117), the backwater of the island holds a few
fish, but it is scarcely worth much attention, except
at the lower end, where it again joins the main
stream. The next island we meet is used by the
members of the Royal Indian College for bathing
purposes, the backwater being suitable for it.
On the channel side at (118) there are some rush Datchet and Windsor.
beds from which jack can be taken. The Bucks
shore is now again lined with withies, which hold
chub, and the upper and tail end of the island,
opposite to "The Bells of Ouseley," should also be
tried for jack. There is very good bank fishing from
here to old Windsor Lock. Some steps will be
noticed, and the ledger should be thrown out there
for barbel. Above Mr. Ricardo's house there are
more steps, opposite to which will be found an
excellent barbel swim. A little above are two
drains, which come from Beaumont Lodge, a Catholic
college conducted by the Jesuit fathers. Roach
sometimes congregate here in large quantities
We now reach old Windsor Lock. The lock cutting"
is very good for roach fishing from both banks, but
that on the Bucks side is very thickly lined with
trees, making it rather difficult for the angler to
manipulate his rod; this is one mile above "The
Bells of Ouseley." The river makes a lengthened
detour before the weir is reached, but as this backwater is well stocked with fish a few details
concerning^ it will be useful. When there is a
heavy flush of water, the tumbling bay near to the
lock is a harbour for roach. On the island are the
Royal Tapestry Works, and there is an inlet of
water near here which forms an eddy. Bank
anglers are able to fish it, and good roach have been
taken there. We now come to an island on which
are three clumps of trees.      Immediately above is 58
Datchet and  Windsor.
what is locally known as the Old Ruin (119), and is,
I believe, all that remains of Place Farm, which,
it is said, King John used as a hunting box. This
swim is noted for barbel, and is always visited by
the professional fishermen on August Bank Holiday.
They are thus out of the way of general traffic, and
Spicer tells me that many a ton of fish has been
taken there. It is, in fact, one of the best barbel
swims in this district. A boat or punt must be used
to fish it, and it may be as well to state that here
the stream is very swift indeed. Barbel are also
taken at the culvert opposite to the fever hospital.
Above it will be noticed that the bank is lined with
rush beds, and further on is a square inlet ; both of
these places hold jack. In fact, a good number of
these fish are taken along here, and many heavy
chub have also fallen victims to either cheese paste
or pith and brains. Except where the rush beds are,
withies and bushes line both banks, and, as the
water is not much disturbed, chub are usually " at
home " under the boughs.
The weir water (120) holds a large number of trout
chub, and barbel. Above the weir there are jack
and roach. The latter in the winter time can be
taken just off the tail end of the island above (121).
The backwater is not of much account, though
occasionally jack and chub are caught there.
From here to the Albert Bridge barbel may be
taken, but the best spot is just above the bridge. Datchet and Windsor.
Bank anglers do very well from the towing path at
(122). Datchet Reach, which commences just
above the bridge, and extends to Datchet, is chiefly
noted for roach and barbel. The meadows on the
Bucks side are good for winter roach fishing if
permission can be obtained from Mrs. Fowler.
The "Image" swim (123) is just at the end of her
lawn, and is well known as an excellent place for
barbel fishing. The willow tree at the edge of this
lawn should be tried for chub, and opposite to
Colonel Ellis's pretty riverside residence there is
another roach swim. After passing a small backwater, which is useless for summer fishing, we
arrive at Datchet, a pretty little village close
to the railway station, 23J miles from London.
The professional fishermen here are Keen, Lums-
den, and Hoare. The Berks bank is skirted by
Windsor Park, and spinning for jack can be successfully done from here to the Victoria Bridge.
There is an old drain near the keeper's house,
which has yielded all round sport. The punt or boat
should be fixed just above the drain, and by fishing
in the Nottingham style, i.e., fine and far off, a few
roach are sure to be taken if the water is in favourable condition. It is impossible to fish the Bucks
portion of the river in the summer months, because
the water is shallow, and thick with weeds. Five
or six houseboats are usually lying along here,
giving  a  smart,   bright  appearance to  the   river. 6o
Datchet and  Windsor.
A barbel swim (124) is situated about one hundred
yards below the Victoria Bridge. Just above, there
are one or two roach swims, the principal being
near the archway over a culvert (125). Windsor
Castle, the noblest of Royal residences, can here be
plainly seen. The view from the north terrace is said
to be the finest in the world.    The poet Gray says—
" From the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights, th' expanse below,
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver—winding way."
Windsor Great Park consists of nearly 2000 acres,
and is on the south side of the Castle; portions of
the latter are open to the public when the Queen is
not in residence ; but the private apartments are
only shown to visitors by very special permission.
The river on the towing path side is very shallow
in the summer time, though it deepens towards
Windsor Lock. There are some fine roach swims
close to the withies on the Bucks shore below the
railway bridge, and some backwater is a little higher
up. It is known as Black Potts, and is dear to the
memory of fishermen as being the place where
Izaak Walton and Sir Henry Wotton used to fish.
A jack of 251b. was caught here (126) a year or two
ago. At the end of the cottage garden on the
Eton side of the river roach and barbel can be
taken.    Windsor Lock cutting provides very good Datchet and Windsor.
roach fishing in the summer months, and is much
patronised by bank fishermen ; though, if the traffic
is heavy, it is very inconvenient. Off the tail end
of Romney Island (127) jack can generally be
taken in the winter. Last year a fair number of
these fish were caught there. The weir stream (128)
affords good fly fishing. The water is about three
feet deep in the summer, but the stream is rapid.
Some fine trout were taken there last year. Capt.
Leigh, of the Grenadier Guards, captured a 6|lb.
fish when fly fishing. It was hooked foul in the
cheek, and had it been in good condition it should
have weighed at least 81b. There is a small island
at the upper end of the stream which is covered with
rushes, and on the Eton side is Stuart's Hole (129),
a very noted place for barbel. Some backwater
enters the Thames here, and forms an eddy, which
should be tried for jack. " The Big Elm " tree is
about 15ft. above "Stuart's Hole." This is a good
all round place for fishing, but is specially noted
for large roach. Eton College is on the Bucks shore,
not far from the riverside. It was founded by King
Henry IV., and its charter dates from 1440. The
tumbling bay near the lock is reputed to be worth
trying with live bait for jack, and perch may
occasionally be taken there with the minnow. It is
very deep water. The weir (130) pool is the best
water to fish near Windsor. It holds trout, barbel,
chub, jack, roach, and dace.    Each side of the river 62
Datchet and Windsor.
is well furnished with withies, and "long corking"
is very profitable to the chub fisher. The cutting
above the lock (131) can be fished from the bank,
the principal fish to be taken being roach.
Below Eton Bridge (132) is a famous barbel
swim, to which I recommend every angler who visits
Windsor to give a trial. A large quantity of fish
are taken here each season. This is about forty-six
miles from London by water, though only twenty-five
and-a-half by rail. Eton Bridge is a structure of
three arches, and connects the small town of Eton to
Windsor. A toll-gate is still in use there, and for all
vehicles that cross the bridge " toll" must be paid.
The following amusing story is told concerning an
"Eton tackle-maker, who went out spinning for jack.
On returning fishless he hung his tackle to dry at
Winter's raft, at Eton. When taking it down some
time after to put it away, the bait was seized by a
terrier dog, which, on being "played" for some
considerable time, was " landed," and the hooks at
once extracted. The dog, however, was none the
worse for the excellent "sport" he afforded. Grey,
Maisey, and Wright are the Windsor fishermen,
though they must be engaged beforehand. After
passing through Eton Bridge there is another well
known barbel swim, and we then pass to the
u Cuckoo" swim (133). This is just above the railway
bridge, and between two arches on the towing path.
The water has an under current, and an eddy is Datchet and Windsor.
formed near the bank. In the winter, jack may be
taken here, and a few roach. The " Lily" swim is
on the Berks side, and generally affords a certain
amount of sport amongst the roach. Clewer Point
(134) is another spot where fish can be taken at all
seasons of the year. The water on the Berks side
forms a large eddy, and the Windsor fishermen
usually place the punt so that when jack fishing a
float can work both up and down stream from
either -side of the punt. This is done by first
throwing a piece of paper on the water to find
out the exact course the water is going. To fish
" up stream " the float is placed on the inner edge
of the eddy, and it will then work up so far as is
desired and return with the stream. To fish down
stream the float is placed so that the stream carries
it away in the usual manner, the line is then held
taut for a few moments, when the float will be caught
in the eddy and worked upwards on the side
nearest the bank. In addition to jack and roach,
sometimes trout are taken here. In roach fishing
the ground bait is " sprinkled" along the whole
length of the punt to attract the fish, and a few
balls of bait are thrown in the centre of the swim
where it is intended to fish. After passing round
the bend of the river, barbel can be taken at the
end of the first island, and then Boveney Lock is
reached. This at one time was a favourite study
for young artists, but owing to improvements which 64
Datchet and Windsor.
have been made during the past few years it has
lost much of its rusticity. Above the lock, on the
Berks shore, is Surley Hall (135), a very renowned
place for all interested in the art of angling. There
is capital jack fishing above the lock, but more
particularly in the quiet water opposite to the
Hall. Last year a jack of 26m. was picked up
near here, with a barbel of i8in. sticking in its
throat. Two members of the Richmond Piscatorial
Society, roach fishing in this water last year with
John Keen, met with an unusual experience. One of
the anglers had a bite, and immediately struck his
fish. Almost, but not quite simultaneously the other
angler's float disappeared, and he also struck, and
was apparently into a fish. It, however, seemed
that by some means their lines had become
entangled, and they both pulled up, and, to their
surprise, they found their lines were quite clear,
but that both their baits had been taken by
the same fish, and each hook was fairly home
side by side in its mouth. The fish was a
roach of about half a pound. Both of the anglers
were experienced fishermen, and it is probable
that the roach, after taking one bait, did not
move the float until it had swallowed bait number
two. Bank fishing is to be pursued at (136),
but the quality of the sport has fallen off somewhat during the past year or two. Down Place,
sometimes   called   Water   Oakley   Park,   is   yet Datchet and Windsor.
another piece of water which holds jack and perch.
Queen's Island is famed for its barbel, there being
good swims at the tail and upper end on the
channel side (137-8). Inside the eyot a few jack
are occasionally taken. Round the next small
island an occasional jack may fall victim to a
lively live bait, and then we arrive at Monkey
Island, the boughs round which are sure to give
sport amongst the chub. Jack of iolb. and nib.
were taken on the inner side of the island last year
(139), and a few smaller fish of the same kind were
taken by bank anglers in the Queen's Deeps with
paternoster and live bait, close to the bank. This is
.where jack can be taken, especially when the
water is high and coloured. R. Plummer is the professional fisherman of this district, and is thoroughly
acquainted with the various swims. Monkey Island
derived its name from a brick summer house built
thereon by the third Duke of Marlborough, who
covered the walls of the interior with groups
of monkeys, and the ceiling was also painted with
monkeys in strange positions. The next eyot is a
small one, surrounded by rush beds, and it is worth
giving the jack a trial here, especially at the upper
end. The lower part of Bray Weir stream is suitable for fly fishing for dace and trout. The latter
fish are often taken in the weir pool (140). Just
below the lock eyot there is a barbel swim, and
the  bank  fishing  in this   district   is   better   than 66
Datchet and Windsor.
usual.     Bray  has   been   rendered   memorable  by
the   accommodating
conscience of one of its
vicars—the Rev. Symond Symonds—and perpetuated in the well-known ballad " The Vicar
of Bray." fCo.l
Maidenhead, Cookham, and Great Marlow.
" Each rising charm the bounteous stream bestows,
The grass that thickens and the flower that blows,
And while the vale the humid wealth imbibes,
The fostering wave sustains the finny tribes ;
The carp with golden scales, in wanton play ;
The trout in crimson-speckled glory gay;
The red-finned roach, the silver-coated eel;
The pike, whose haunts the twisted roots conceal ;
The healing tench, the gudgeon, perch, and bream ;
And all the sportive natives of the stream."—Anon. ■
Maidenhead is on the Berks side  of the   river,
and   is   24J   miles by rail  from   Paddington,   the
F   2 Maidenhead, Great Marlow, &>c.
distance from the river to the station being one
mile. After passing through Maidenhead Railway
Bridge we come to Ray Mead, opposite to which
the water is rather swift, and holds some good
barbel, chub, and occasionally trout; the fishing is
generally very good, and the Maidenhead Angling
Association often place a number of trout in the
river. Just below Taplow Mills there are three
small islands, the backwater of which is navigable,
and supplies good sport. We now reach Boulter's
Lock and Weir, the weir pool (141) holding trout,
chub, and barbel; below the weir lies Taplow Court,
the water, being rather shallow here, can be fished
with a fly. Boulter's Lock is usually very crowded
with boats in the summer time, Sunday being an
especial day of hard work for the lock keepers.
The scenery in this district is charming, the woods
of Cliveden are on the Bucks shore, and extend
about two miles along the banks. There are three
islands before we reach the ferry, the back of
which is good for jack and chub. At 142-3 there
are some rushes, and quiet water, which occasionally hold some large fish; at the upper end of the
island it is very shallow, and the rushes strong, it
is therefore advisable to use the paternoster here.
We next come to Cliveden Springs, near which
there is a cottage, opposite to the latter (144) is an
excellent barbel swim. The withies on the Berks
side should be tried for chub.    Just below Odney Maidenhead, Great Marlow, csrc.      69
Weir stream is another good winter haunt of jack
(145-6); the river divides itself into four channels at
Cookham Lock, and in the quiet water at the end of
each island there are plenty of these fish to be found,
and they are generally caught with very small live
bait. Hedsor Lodge, the seat of Lord Boston, is on
the Bucks side of the river, which winds in a great
curve, the scenery being unique. The weir pool
(147) contains trout, chub, barbel, jack, and roach,
but permission must be obtained from Lord Boston
to fish it. This stretch of water is especially
renowned for its trout. The lock cutting is about
a half mile in length, and is of little, or indeed no
use for fishing. The Odney Weir stream (148) is
good for chub, and the stream on the Berks side (149),
leading to the'mill, holds a large supply of barbel,
especially at the tail of the mill; trout are also
sometimes taken there, and permission must be
obtained from the mill owner to fish it. Immediately below Cookham Bridge (150) there is a very
good roach swim, the bed of the river being level,
gravelly, and free from weeds, the stream exactly
suiting roach fishing. Cookham Church, with its
square ivy-covered tower, is on the Berks side,
opposite to which is a good roach and barbel swim
(151). The over-hanging willows and bushes
which line the Bucks shore should be tried for
chub, whilst at the mouth of the Wyke river (152)
there   is a fine  barbel swim.    In the   winter  the 70      Maidenhead, Great Marlow, &>c.
quiet water just above the entrance of the Wyke
into the Thames should be tried for jack ; in the
season an occasional trout is taken from this water.
The upper reaches of the Wyke are celebrated for
trout, but the water is private. The mills are
locally called the " Glory Mills." Just below
Bourne End Railway Bridge, a wooden structure of
several arches, looking scarcely strong enough to
bear the weight of a train, is Abney House,
opposite to which are some excellent roach
A few years ago the Oxford and Cambridge
crews used to stay at Abney House, and practice
on Cookham Reach previous to the great race.
After passing under the railway bridge there are
some newly erected bungalows, opposite to which
are some good summer roach swims (153). On the
Bucks side, above The Upper Thames Sailing Club
boat house, there are several capital roach swims,
which can be fished from the bank. A little
further on (154) are one or two quiet corners suitable for jack fishing, and then Spade Oak Ferry
is reached. Spade House Reach is very good
for roach fishing, and the withies at (155) should
be tried for chub; the latter may sometimes be
caught close to the high clay banks, by using
float tackle, the water being rather deep. Stone-
house Flat is at (156), but will be more localised
when   stated   to   be   immediately   opposite   to   a Maidenhead, Great Marlow, &>c.      71
black hut on the railway line. Roach and jack
can be taken here by bank anglers, it being one of
the best stretches of water in the vicinity for bank
fishing. Opposite to Stonehouse, which is on the
Berks side, is an island, the tail end of which
(157) should be tried for jack ; some quiet water is
formed by the channel stream and backwater joining. On the inner side of the eyot is " Gibraltar,"
which i$ noted for gudgeon. Quarry Wood is a
delightful spot, and is much frequented by pic-nic
parties. Barbel fishing is fairly good on the channel
side (158), and at (159) jack can be taken after a
flood. Opposite to Quarry Wood House there is a
roach swim, and "Black Hole" (160) holds jack,
both in summer and winter. But the best piece of
jack water is at (161), it lies quite out of the way of
the main stream, and is most secluded. The jack
here lie in wait for any prey which, anxious to escape
from the swift stream, swim into the eddy. T is
water, however, is only suitable for winter fishing,
and even then the utmost care must be taken, as
the bottom is foul with lily roots and sunken
branches. In the summer time the water here
becomes shallow, and is crowded with water lilies—
a picturesque nook indeed, but of no use whatever
to the angler. There is a small stream which flows
from Temple through Bisham, and empties itself
into the Thames in this corner, and carries with it
any refuse which has an inclination to accumulate. 72      Maidenhead, Great Marlow, cjtc.
It is locally known as Quarry Head. A few trout
are also taken here every year.
Mr. F. C. Parker, in an article on " The Thames
Trout/' says Quarry Head is a spot particularly dear
to the jack fisherman, and where many a twenty-
pounder has made his last meal. In one corner of
this a small brook (above mentioned) enters the
main river, and about half a mile up this is a
hatchery where the Marlow Angling Association
used to rear a large number of trout fry. For some
years past, however, this has been discontinued, as
experience has proved it to be much more advantageous to turn in large-sized fish, which, procured
from the Wycombe stream, are usually introduced
here in no niggardly quantities."
At the back of the next eyot gudgeon are
numerous, and chub are sometimes taken from under
the withies. The weir stream at (162) is shallow,
and suitable for fly fishing. The water, however,
deepens at (163) where barbel and trout are taken.
There are two small islands surrounded by rushes
on the Berks side of the weir, the water between
the island and the shore being a favourite spot
for winter jack fishing. The weir pool holds
trout, jack, barbel, and chub, the latter in large
quantities. The lock cutting (164) is level, and
can be fished from the towing path on the Bucks
side. Just before reaching Great Marlow Lock
there is a paper and a flour mill.    The mill stream Maidenhead, Great Marlow, &>c.      73
is especially good for barbel fishing, more particularly near to the concrete wall, but permission
must be obtained of Mr. Thomas Wright. If
permission be obtained a few days previously, one
can ground bait this swim, and the owner, by
withholding leave from others, can thus prevent a
swim which has been so baited from being fished
by any angler who might otherwise fish there, and
reap the reward of another's work. The fishing
from Marlow Lock to the suspension bridge is
barely worth a mention. Mr. C. L. Mathews,
proprietor of " The Ship," Great Marlow, is a
practical angler, and is always willing to afford
any information concerning the fishing in this
district. CHAPTER X.
How to Fish the Thames.
" Oh, Sir, 'tis not to be questioned but that it is an Art, and an
Art worth your learning."—Walton.
A VAST amount of information on the somewhat
difficult question of how to catch fish has already
been published, and those who wish to have minute
details thoroughly described should peruse those
volumes which solely deal with the subject. In the
space at my disposal I can only deal briefly with it,
and this I do so that those who are barely initiated
into the art may understand that Thames fishing,
except for trout, is by no means difficult; although,
under exceptional circumstances, a deeper knowledge of the art is of much value. There are some
capable anglers who have their own particular fads
and fancies, and this I can well understand; •
because, if a certain mode of fishing proves
successful with an individual, he maintains that his
style of fishing is preferable to any other. Such a
contention, however, cannot always be relied upon,
because there are anglers and anglers.    Some have How to Fish the Thames. 75
become proficient in one style of fishing, others have
practised another. It would, therefore, be sheer
folly to endeavour to induce either to adopt the
other's style, because, not being used to it, the efforts
would become practically annulled by the novelty
of procedure. This more especially refers to
casting and spinning. " Practice makes perfect; "
but, unfortunately, much time is required for
practice, and it is mainly owing to this important
item—time—that one cannot, especially if he be
obliged to earn " a living wage," manage to
become an adept in the different styles and their
variations in the art of fishing. When the ordinary
angler (there are extraordinary anglers) first handles
a rod he adopts a certain style of using it, and, if
this is successful, he continues to manipulate it
accordingly. He thus only becomes acquainted, as
it were, with one phase of the subject. After some
practice he can throw well from the reel, but, if he
attempts to coil the line round the palm of his
hand, and then makes his cast in the Thames
style, the probabilities are that a glorious tangle
will ensue.
But why should he who has little time to spare,
and can cast well from the reel, waste precious
moments practising another method, when he
might during the same time be successful in taking
a fish ?
"Casting from the reel," says Mr. J. W. Blakey, 76
How to Fish the Thames.
the editor of the Angler, " has entirely superseded
the old methods of coiling the line upon the ground,
or casting from the hand. The angler stands on the
bank or in a boat, and decides where his bait shall
alight. He turns half round, the point of his rod
being in an exactly opposite direction to the spot to
which he intends to cast. With his finger on the
reel he brings the rod round with a steady swing,
and when he has given the bait the desired
momentum, releases the reel, and the bait shoots
through the air. A finger regulates the speed of
the reel, and checks the line immediately the bait
touches the water. Then the angler reels in again
as fancy dictates, either rapidly or slowly, steadily
or in jerks, but he must keep the bait going so as to
cause it to spin. With a little practice the angler
can drop his bait anywhere within a radius of
fifty or sixty yards, and search every likely bit of
There being many young anglers whose spare
time is limited, I would recommend that, when they
are first initiated into the art of fishing, they should
obtain the assistance of one who has gained much
experience of the various methods, and can, therefore, give them some practical advice on how to do
the right thing the right way. This might with
advantage also be supplemented with book knowledge. A proper beginning is half the battle, and
the few hints which I give in the following chapters How to Fish the Thames.
are for those who are without a piscatorial guide,
and when fishing principally depend upon their
own ideas for success.
I would also recommend all anglers to adopt the
advice given by T. F. Salter in " The Angler's
Guide." He says :—" After a day's fishing make it
a rule to examine your tackle, particularly the lines
and hooks, as some part of the line may probably
be chafed and weakened by rubbing against strong
weeds, the shelves under the banks, or other
causes. Take out any defective part, and replace
it by a new length; never put by your running or
trolling lines until they are dry, but dry them
before you wind up your winch if possible ; if not,
soon as at home, draw them off and dry them
leisurely before you again wind them on the winch ;
also see that the hooks you have used are still
sharp, and tight enough tied to use again. If not,
re-tie them, and occasionally rub your lines with a
little sweet oil, mutton suet, or wax candle, to keep
them from suddenly snapping, which they are apt
to do when too dry. It is best to keep gut and
hair in parchment, moistened with oil of almonds
or salad oil, same as musicians keep their violin
strings in. When your line becomes ragged and
chafed, rub it down with a piece of indiarubber,
which will immediately make it smooth, and also
notice that by rubbing gut or hair which has laid in
coils with indiarubber it instantly becomes straight, 78
How to Fish the Thames.
especially those pieces to which hooks are tied, as
those pieces are usually kept coiled up. Accustom
yourself to use fine tackle, which will sooner make
you a skilful angler, by greater care being requisite
in using it." CHAPTER  XI
" It is a fish highly valued."—Walton.
THAMES trout fishing commences on April ist,
and ends on Sept. ioth; but the best months for fishing are April, May, and June. The most important
point to observe when trout fishing, is where the
fish are located, and at what time they generally
feed. Having ascertained this, the chances of
success are considerably increased, for it is almost
certain that sooner or later the trout will succumb
to a seductive bait if it be properly placed before
him. The best portions of the Mid and Lower
Thames are between Hampton Court and Great.
Marlow, though, of course, trout are taken higher up
as well as lower down stream. Much has been
done of late years to improve this class of fishing,, 8o
especially in the Mid-Thames, but it has not yet
reached that state of perfection which gives the fly
fisher much hope for sport. Stocking the river is
absolutely necessary, as it has been stated on good
authority that trout do not breed abundantly in the
Thames, the sediment from the water forming a
deposit which is injurious to the eggs. The
quantity of jack which are in the river may also
partially account for the rarity of trout. But those
fish which are taken are of excellent quality, and
the angler who chooses the Thames as a resort for
trout fishing, must adopt as his motto " quality
not quantity." One of the most notable feats ever
accomplished in connection with Thames trout
fishing, was that performed about thirty-five years
ago by Mr. Alfred, the well known fishing tackle
maker of Moorgate-street, who took twelve large
trout in nine days spinning between Chertsey and
Another instance of remarkable good fortune was
that which befel Captain Adams at Teddington Weir.
One day he captured a brace of trout averaging
7lb. each, and the following morning caught another
fish of the same size, which were sent to Mr.
Bowness, of the Strand, to " set up." As an
instance of perseverance, I may state that a certain
angler, after watching a trout on the feed just below
Molesey Weir, determined to capture it if possible.
Being a man of independent means, he had plenty Trout.
of time at his disposal; and, although an expert
angler, it occupied him every day for three whole
weeks before he succeeded in hooking and landing
that fish.
A trout rod should be of East India cane, and not
less than 12ft. long. It should be lighter than a jack
rod, though longer and heavier than, a punt rod.
More of the type of a ledger rod, only larger, and
the "spring" should be distributed over its whole
length. A proper trout rod is graceful in its
dimensions, and should be handled easily and
gracefully. A 4Jin. Nottingham winch should be
used for spinning unless one can gather the line in
the left hand, and cast with ease. The line should
be about 100 yards in length, and of fine plaited silk.
The trace should be of fine salmon gut, furnished
with three swivels and a detachable lead. For
spinning, the ordinary Thames flight with a lip
hook is generally used, though some prefer four
triangles and lip hook, or the Pennell flight. They
are all good, but the bait must be properly placed
on the hooks or the Thames trout will " wink the
other eye." The late Francis Francis says :—" The
tackle with three triangles and a sliding lip hook,
has perhaps the greatest number of admirers. To
bait with this tackle, take a small fish (a dace,
gudgeon, or bleak), stick one of the hooks of the
lowest triangle into the flesh of the tail, bringing
the point out on the same side, so that the shanks
G 82
of the hooks may be in a straight line along the
side of the bait, draw the tail up so as to bend or
crook it, and stick the reverse single hook in so as
to keep it crooked ; insert one of the hooks of the
second triangle in the middle of the side, about or
a little below the vent ; stick one of the hooks of
the third triangle into the middle of the side near
the shoulder. It should, if the bait is suited to the
size of the tackle, go in just below the pectoral
fins ; then, having slid the lip hook down to the
proper distance, so as neither to bend the head of
the bait, nor allow it to be too loose, put the lip
hook through both lips of the bait, the point being
upwards. ... If the bait be put on properly,
the three triangles will be in a straight line along
the side of the bait, and there will be no loose gut
between them. . . . The hooks being all firmly
fixed, if the bait appears to hang straight and fairly
on them, drop it into the water and draw it rapidly
along; if it spins\to suit your mind, proceed to fish
with it. If it does not, tighten or slacken the lip
or the shoulder hooks, or both, as the case may
seem to require, and try it again." There are over
sixty different kinds of artificial baits, most bewildering for the inexperienced to select from, but
the "Bell's Life" Spinner is mostly used. Year
after year new patterns of fancy baits are produced, and there appears no probability of any
limit to this branch of piscatorial invention. Trout.
The chief live bait tackle consists of a lip hook
(either fixed or sliding), and a treble hook. There
are of course other designs, but the above mentioned is the simplest, and chiefly used on the
Thames. The hooks should be mounted on fine
salmon gut, and a small piece of cork should be
fixed on the line, about two feet and a half above
the bait, to prevent the latter sinking too far.
Bleak are much used for live-baiting, and the baits
for spinning are small dace or roach, bleak, gudgeon,
large minnows, and sometimes, when sprats are in
season, one will kill trout, and it forms a cheap
bait. Although, as I have previously mentioned,
Thames trout seldom take the fly, there are exceptions to the rule, and the best flies to use are the
large Palmers as used for chub fishing, and small
salmon flies—the Silver Doctor and large Alexandra.
The trout, having such a quantity of small fry to
feed upon, so seldom touch a fly that it is scarcely
worth while for the angler to try and take them in
this manner. The weir pools often contain a number
of trout, and one should fish the lasher up till about
two or three o'clock, afterwards shifting the punt
lower down stream, because towards the evening
the fish are generally found in shallower water near
the tail-end of the pool. If fishing from the weir
head, work the bait into the eddies behind large
stones, for a trout generally may be found in such
places.    When a fish takes the bait one must be
G 2 Trout.
prepared for a terrific rush down the stream, and
the strength of the running line must consequently
be tested before it is used. It should never be under
eighty yards in length, and no check should be put
upon it in any way, or a "smash up" will ensue.
The angler must also be ready prepared for the fish
again rushing up stream. The line must be quickly
wound up, and, should the fish leap out of the
water, the point of the rod should be slightly
lowered. There are a hundred-and-one emergencies with which the trout fisher must be prepared to cope, as may be imagined from the following
contest, which has been graphically described by the
fisherman-poet Gay:
Soon in smart pain he feels his dire mistake,
Lashes the wave and beats the foamy lake ;
With sudden rage he now aloft appears,
And in his eye convulsive anguish bears;
And now again, impatient of the wound,
He rolls and writhes his straining body round ;
Then headlong shoots beneath the dashing tide,
The trembling fins the boiling wave divide.
Now hope exalts the fisher's beating heart,
Now he turns pale and fears his dubious art ;
He views the trembling fish with longing eyes,
While the line stretches with th' unwieldy prize;
Each motion humours with his steady hands,
And the slight line the mighty bulk commands;
Till tired at last, despoil'd of all his strength,
The game athwart the stream unfolds his length.
The verse, though written concerning salmon, is Trout.
equally applicable to Thames trout, and continues
in the same strain until the fish has been landed,
Stretches his quivering fins, and, gasping, dies.
Or as Thompson aptly says :
At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the bait
With sullen plunge ; at once he darts along,
Deep struck, and runs out all the lengthen'd line,
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,
The cavern'd bank, his old secure abode,
And flies aloft, and flounces round the pool,
Indignant of the guile. CHAPTER XII.
" The pike, my joy of all the scaly shoal,
And of all fishing instruments—the troll.''—Scott,
The jack (or pike) is voracious and greedy,
devouring almost anything edible that he can
possibly swallow, and often attempting to do likewise with fish the size of which almost equals that
of himself. Well may it be said of him that " his
eye is larger than his belly." Walton is very correct
in describing him as " a solitary and melancholy
fish," because he nearly always swims or rests
himself alone, and never swims in shoals, as most
other fish do. A few years ago jack were distinguished from pike by weight only, the latter
always being over 2lb.; under that weight they
were called jack, and very small jack were known
as pickerel.     By Thames fishermen they are now Jack.
termed jack, whether under or over 2lb., and
the probability is that the word pike will eventually lapse altogether amongst the Mid-Thames
anglers. A remarkable instance of the voracity
of jack was reported in the Fishing Gazette
on Feb. 10, 1894. A fish of 2olb., which was
netted on some private water, on being opened
was found to contain a brace of greyhound pups,
which had been thrown into the water a short time
previously. This, however, was not a Thames fish.
The latter are in fact surfeited with the quantity of
food generally at hand, and are consequently not so
ravenous as those fish which find comparatively
little to feed upon. Those who disagree with this
contention ought to try a day's jack fishing, and
he will sometimes find the fish toy with the bait,
and make no pretence whatever of serious onslaught ;
he may even be fishing a portion of the water
known to hold jack, and even then may only get a
brace a day. I am aware that occasionally Thames
jack have been found choked by attempting to
swallow a large fish of another species, but such
instances are rare. Only recently I opened two
fish I caught at Staines, and they must have had a
sincere regard for their digestive organs, because
minnows were the only food I found they had lately
partaken of. There were about twenty or thirty of
these little fish in the stomach of each jack. Both
fish were taken by live baiting with dace, and it is 88
questionable whether or no I should have hooked
them sooner had I been baiting with minnows.
I have often heard it stated, that at Molesey Weir
a number of jack have been taken with minnows,
whilst a larger bait has been unnoticed. Surely
Thames jack are becoming moderate in their appetite, and may possibly have arranged a scheme of
" free education" in this respect.
Jack are in season from October to February.
The best month of the year for fishing for them is
February, when they are in prime condition. They
do not reach a great size in the Thames, one
of 151b now being very rare. This is chiefly
due to " trailing," a kind of poaching procedure
generally known as trailing a spinning bait after
a boat. This cannot be called " sport," as the
fish hooks itself whilst the "angler" is rowing.
But the system was injurious to the fishing, because
so many persons, with no knowledge of angling,
indulged in it. The Thames practically became
infested, and consequently the number of jack
taken was very considerable, thus reducing the
stock in the river and robbing the legitimate angler
of fair sport. Trailing is, however, now prohibited
on the Thames, and the jack thus have an opportunity of averaging a fair size.
Of the various methods adopted for the capture
of jack, that of spinning is very scientific. The
rod   for   such   purpose  should   not   be  less  than Jack.
ioft. or lift., with snake or upright rings and a
rather stiff top joint. The reel should be of the
Nottingham style, and large enough to hold 80 or
90 yds. of strong pure silk plaited undressed line.
Mr. T. P. Wheeldon, referring to these silk lines,
says : " They should be laid for twenty-four hours,
say, in a shallow tin pan three parts full of melted
vaseline, mixed and thoroughly incorporated with
a bit of sheep's kidney suet, or, better still, that
of a red or fallow deer, the mixture being kept
on the top of an oven during the process of soaking
at just such an amount of heat as would prevent it
1 setting.' I put my own lines in, ' wooden winder
and all,' just as they are received from the makers,
and that saves a lot of trouble from possible kinking
afterwards. I then take them out and dab away
every bit of superfluous grease or dressing, with
several relays of rough house flannel lightly used.
I then uncoil them, winding them carefully from
thumb to elbow, thus getting them in long loops,
and next hang them up in a draughty place to get
thoroughly dry, a process which may take a week
or ten days. After that they should be stretched,
as best can be done, while three or four hours' good,
hard work in rubbing them down and smoothing
with relays of fine flannel (bits of an old flannel shirt
are as good as anything) will certainly not be thrown
away. A line thus dressed and properly rubbed down
should turn out firm,  nay,  hard to   the   touch   of 9o
thumb and forefinger, and yet be smooth, polished,
and yielding as a bit of kid glove. It will, moreover,
float on the water for any length of time,
particularly if it be jerked smartly up every now
and again, so as to throw off clinging moisture, while
it lifts. to the stroke of the rod top as quickly as a
telegraph current flashes along the wire." A stout
gut trace with steel loop and swivel at one end, a
swivel in the centre, and loop at the other end must
be fixed to the line (by the loop), and the artificial
bait, of which there are a large number, should then
be fastened to the steel loop, or else a flight of
hooks for dead bait spinning. Of the latter there
are two kinds—one which causes the bait to spin by
curving the tail, the latter hook being placed in the
tail of the bait, the other triangles being fastened in
its side, whilst the lip hook is passed through the lips.
This is called the Thames spinning flight, and is
generally used. If the angler cannot throw from
the reel, he must uncoil a few yards of the line, and,
when the trace and bait are just hanging from the
point of the rod, he should, with a swinging motion,
cast the bait to where he believes the jack are;
and, after allowing it to sink some little distance,
he draws or winds the line slowly in. This causes
the bait to spin, and, unless a jack seizes it, the
cast is repeated ad lib., until the whole water has
been covered.
If a jack is hooked, a gentle strain must be kept Jack.
upon the line paying out or winding in until the fish
is finally landed. Never allow the line to become
slack, or the fish may shake the hooks out of its
Another method of jack fishing much in vogue
on the Thames is live baiting. The same rod and
line may be used, but in this case a "jack " float is
fixed upon the line, so that the bait swims in about
two-thirds of the depth of the water. In choosing a
float for this kind of fishing, never use one that is
too large. One that will just carry the bait is quite
sufficient, and, as dace are the usual Thames bait,
it only requires a moderate sized float. If in a boat
or punt, try to dispense with the " pilot," which
is intended to prevent the line becoming twisted
round the float. " Pilots " may be useful in still
water, but I prefer to be without them when fishing
with snap tackle, as one can strike quicker and—
what is of more importance—surer. For Thames
fishing I prefer to use a strong gut trace in preference to gimp.
When jack were permitted to gorge the bait,
there was some necessity for having gimp, which
the fish could not bite through. But, now that the
fish is struck immediately the float disappears, the
gimp on which the snap-tackle is mounted answers
the purpose. Of course, if a smaller float than
usual is used, the lead must be correspondingly
light,   but   sufficiently  heavy   to   keep   the   bait 92
down, and the gut trace should have an ordinary
swivel in the centre, and a steel buckle one at the
end. The snap-tackle, which must be fixed to the
latter, is so arranged that when a jack properly
takes the live bait—dace, roach, or gudgeon—the
hooks become firmly embedded in its mouth
immediately the fish is struck. The principal kind
of snap-tackle is the improved Jardine, and can be
purchased at any fishing-tackle shop. Another
kind of snap-tackle is known as the saddleback,
which consists of two triangles and single hooks.
The former hang at each side of the bait, whilst
the latter is put through the dorsal fin. I have,
however, always found the Jardine tackle of most
service. "John Bickerdyke" has also invented
a very good snap-tackle; it is similar to the
Jardine, the only difference being an additional
triangle, which is placed on the other side of the
Paternostering is a deadly method of fishing,
when the jack are amongst the weeds. A yard of
stout gut is trimmed with a loop, to which are
attached snap-tackle, and live bait—a small dace
for preference. One bait is quite sufficient. A
bullet is fixed on the gut below the bait, and the
whole is then dropped amongst the weeds, where
it should be allowed to remain for a few minutes.
If there be a jack there, he will, in all probability,
seize the bait, when the angler should not check, or Jack.
frighten the fish, but allow him a few moments, and
not strike until the line begins to steal away.
Paternostering can also be done in the winter,
when the eddies and lay-byes should be tried,
and the bait dropped in between roots of sunken
trees. Jack are generally found there, as there are
no weeds amongst which they can lie and wait for
The snap pattern paternoster tackle, recommended by Mr Alfred Jardine, and used by him,
consists of a single hook (sliding) and a triangle.
The small hook of the latter is put through the base
of the bait's back fin, the single hook through its
lip, and then the length of gimp between the
armature of hooks is adjusted. If only a single
hook is used in this style of fishing, it should
be bound on to ten inches of fine gimp to give the
bait more scope to pirouette in. The hook should
be placed through the under jaw, then through the
upper lip. Mr. Jardine suggests that the hook
should be square bend, which allows the bait to
open its mouth and breathe freely. The bait, he
says, has then an opportunity of living longer, and
it works better. The Limerick hook, however,
serves the purpose very well. In paternostering,
the angler will do well if he pays much attention to
weed beds, rushes, the eddy at the tail end of an
island, or any sheltered quiet nook. Jack are
usually   found   in   such   places.     Some   Thames 94
anglers use gold fish for live baiting, and I have
often heard that it is an excellent bait, responsible
on one occasion for the capture of twenty-seven
jack in one day. CHAPTER XIII.
" The barbel is an evil fysshe to take, for he is so strongly
enarmyd in the mouth that there may be no weake harnesse holde
him."—Juliana Berners.
Of all the coarse fish in the Thames the barbel
affords the most exciting sport, and a large fish, when
hooked, will give the angler considerable trouble and
pleasure to land, especially if he be using fine tackle.
Barbel are very numerous in the Thames, but it is
necessary to be acquainted with the weir pools and
deep holes, where these fish congregate, in order to
attain good sport. I have in the earlier chapters
endeavoured to direct the angler to the best swims
between Kew and Great Marlow, but to succeed in
capturing barbel there ought to be a considerable
amount of ground baiting beforehand, and the
angler must be gifted with a fair share of patience.
The latter quality is absolutely essential, because
the Thames barbel appear only to feed by fits and 96
starts, and although a well-known swim be carefully
fished, the angler may not reap the reward until
some days afterwards. When they are on the feed,
however, the best of sport will be enjoyed, for there
is no Thames fish, with perhaps the exception of
trout, that are so full of fight. They are exceedingly strong, somewhat crafty, and, after being
hooked, make desperate efforts to escape by running under banks or into large beds of weeds,
and at times stubbornly keeping at the bottom
of the river, which is termed " boreing." Barbel
are game to the backbone, and consequently prized
by numbers of Thames anglers, some of whom
are sufficiently enthusiastic to devote their whole
spare time to this branch of the gentle art. I
have already given instances of barbel being
hooked foul, and now quote an authority showing
how this sometimes happens. "The Angler's Guide''
(1825) says : " Barbel are frequently caught foul, that
is, hooked in some part of the body instead of the
mouth without their biting; for when they are
swimming or floating about the ground bait, &c.,
their fins, body, or tail, often strike against the
lower part of the angler's line or hook, which moves
the float like a bite; the angler, supposing it
to be so, strikes, and generally hooks the fish.
The chance of this way of taking barbel is
increased by putting two hooks on the line,
about  eight, ten, or  twelve   inches  apart."    The
1 Barbel.
latter suggestion I . would not recommend any
angler to adopt, because from practical experience
I have found that in fishing for roach, dace, barbel,
or chub it is preferable to use only one hook. The
best months for barbel fishing are August, September, and October, though they are caught at
the commencement of the season. The average
size of those taken from the Thames is from 31b. to
61b., though a 91b. or iolb. fish is occasionally
landed. One angling authority states that a barbel
weighing over 191b. was caught at Shepperton in
1800, but one of this size is never taken now,
probably because there are more anglers who fish
for them, and the fish are caught before reaching
that weight. Barbel, when once well hooked,
seldom break away, because they are leather-
mouthed fish, and are usually taken in the Thames
on ledger tackle. It must be finely constructed, but
strong. It may be scarcely necessary to describe a
ledger line, but, as I am writing for the benefit of
those but partly initiated, I may say that it consists
of a yard of fine but stout gut, with a number
seven round bend hook, and a bullet or flat lead,
which is placed about nine inches below where the
gut is joined to the line. In order to prevent this
bullet from slipping further down the line, a little
shot should be nipped on to the gut. Some professional Thames anglers dispense altogether with
the length of gut, and join the line, which should
H Barbel.
be very fine, to the gut mounted on to the hook.
They then use the ordinary sized bullet, but the
hole in the centre of it is much larger, and is kept
about thirty-six inches above the hook by means of
the match-trick, i.e., making a slip-knot, passing half
a wooden match through, then drawing the line tight.
I am inclined to think this is the best way to ledger
for barbel, as it allows the line to run more freely
through the bullet when the fish first takes the bait.
The running line ought to be of plaited silk, and
eighty yards in length at least. If a large fish is
hooked, he will probably run seventy yards of it out.
When the fish pulls the line, which it will do'on
taking the bait, it must be struck sharply. Before
commencing to fish, throw in plenty of ground bait,
which should consist of soaked greaves, bran, and
clay when using greaves as bait. If fishing with
a lob worm, a large quantity of worms chopped into
pieces, mixed with bran and clay, should be used as
ground bait, and, where practicable, should be
thrown in a night before. In fact, unless considerable pains be taken to effectually ground bait a
swim, the sport will probably be poor. Particular
attention should be paid in putting the worm on
the hook, so that the skin may not be perforated by
the barb. If the worm be previously dipped in
bran it can be held better, and in using the round
bend hook no difficulty should be experienced in
properly threading it.    Be careful that the point of Barbel.
the hook is not exposed, or the fish will detect it. I
always take as much pains in baiting a hook as in
" playing" a fish. When the worm is dead, discard
it and use a fresh one, for it is absolute waste of
time to endeavour to entice fish with one that is
The poet Gay, alluding to worms, says:
" Cleanse them from filth to give a tempting gloss,
Cherish the sullied reptile with damp moss,
Amid the verdant bed they twine, they toil,
And, from their bodies, wipe their native soil."
" John Bickerdyke " gives some very good instructions on the manner in which lob worms should be
scoured, he says: "A good sized earthenware pot
should be two-thirds filled with damp moss, sphagnum is the best, and the worms put on the top of
the moss. They quickly work through to the bottom.
The moss should be kept damp, and changed every
two or three days, and dead worms removed. In
changing the moss it is not necessary to pick out
all the worms. The plan is to turn out the old
moss and worms on the ground, half fill the pot
with fresh moss, and put the old moss and worms
on the top. The live worms work down into the
fresh moss, and the old moss containing the dead
worms can be easily removed. The pot should be
kept in a dull place. A little milk poured over the
moss is supposed to hasten the scouring process.
In three days the worms are generally ready for
H   2 Barbel.
use. Need I say, that the cleanest and most lively
ones, especially those without knots in them, should
be placed on the hook, and the coarser ones thrown
in for ground bait." Barbel can be taken by using
float tackle, but this method is seldom adopted on
the Thames. In "roving" for barbel, the angler,
having found what appears to him as a suitable
swim, throws in some ground bait, and after taking
two or three fish, moves to another likely spot. Mr.
J. J. Manley, speaking of the pleasures of barbel
fishing, says : " The nervous excitement of the most
pleasurable kind which the barbel angler experiences
is better felt than described, as it transcends that
elicited by the bobbing of a float at the nibbling of
a fish, and may even be compared to that produced
by the splashing rise of a salmon or lusty trout at your
fly, if it does not actually exceed it. Indeed, it is
a piscatorial sensation, partly mental and partly
bodily, which penetrates ad ima medulla, and as
the Devonshire folks say, makes one ' cream ' from
top to toe." nA&y
" A  fish of quicker  sight  than the chub  does  not swim in
English waters."—Cholmondeley Pennell.
With the exception of trout, no fish that swims in
the Thames gives the angler greater hopes or
causes him more disappointment than the chub. It
is essentially a shy and wary fish, but nevertheless
a voracious biter when he sees no danger ahead.
Walton says he is " the fearfullest of fishes," by
which, of course, he means the most timid; and
he will sink down towards the bottom of the
river "if even a bird flies over him and makes
the least shadow on the water." In semi-clear
water, or even if the flood is rolling thickly
down, he will seize any toothsome morsel which
comes in his way. But if the stream be perfectly
clear,   the   sun   warm,   and   the   chub  in   a  lazy 102 Chub.
--mood, then it requires the utmost skill to catch
him. Watch a school of chub basking in the
sunshine on a summer's afternoon under some
favoured bush, from which occasionally a fat caterpillar drops into the water. The splash caused by
its falling perhaps induces the largest fish to turn
and suck in the insect. But these fish have learnt*
a certain amount of wisdom, and if the " gentle
art" is tried upon them, the probabilities will be
that the school of fish will disperse. Even the
shadow of a rod will send them into the depths, and
an hour may elapse before they return again to the
surface. Vibrations on the bank are also fatal to
sport, and it therefore behoves the angler when in
search of chub to be very cautious how he approaches
the water he intends to fish. If he is fortunate
enough to take two or three fish from one swim he
should be satisfied, and move to another, as the
water becomes disturbed, and the other fish consequently take fright. Roving for chub is very profitable, and the best places to fish are under the
boughs, overhanging banks, or some quiet eddy.
If float fishing, the Nottingham style—fine and far
off—should be adopted, and the baits in the warmer
months should consist of either a bit of cheese, tail
of lob worm, a ball of paste, or a prawn. A winter
bait of pith and brains is irresistible, and the
following rules, suggested by Mr. T. F. Salter,
the author  of   "The  Angler's   Guide,"  should be Chub.
useful : " Take some pith of the backbone
of an ox, and cut it into small pieces, nearly
the size of a cherry, to bait the hook. The bullock's brains are to be chewed, and spit out of your
mouth into the water, as ground bait to entice the
chub. Plumb the depth, and fish close to the
bottom, you may kill some at mid-water or a little
lower, but more at the bottom. This method is
practised during the winter, when chub retire to
deep, still holes, where you must angle for them,
and fear not taking very heavy fish, for at this
season chub are immoderately fond of the above
bait. Note.—Chewing and spitting out the brains
into the water for ground bait is called 'blowing'
of brains ; but as many anglers feel great objection
or antipathy to the chewing of raw brains, when that
is the case they should prepare them as follows:
Take as many bullocks', cows', or calfs', or sheeps'
brains as will nearly fill a quart pan, cut them into
small pieces with scissors (and if you pound them
in a mortar afterwards, it will be better) ; now mix
the brains carefully with bran and some house
sand, and cast it into the water in small quantities,
repeat it occasionally whilst you are angling." If
cheese is used for bait, the parings should be
thrown in first, and be followed by the float carrying
the bait. In fishing near the boughs, which is,
as a rule, the best place to catch chub, no rypeck or
weight   should   be   used   to   secure   the  boat  or 104
punt. If there is anyone accompanying the
angler, he should catch hold of a twig or bough,
otherwise the boat should be fastened by the
painter, taking care that none of the branches
are snapped off. This method ensures a certain
amount of quietude, and is consequently not
likely to startle the fish. The angler then throws
in his ground bait, and commences to fish. Let
the float swim close to the bushes, and allow the
line to run easily through the rings of the rod in
order to prevent any dragging or jerking of the
float. After the latter has travelled as far, say, as
twenty-five yards (in clear water), gently wind up
the line, and repeat the operation, if not successful after seven or eight efforts pass on to another
likely swim. It is a very good plan to engage a
boat, and then prevail upon some passing launch
to tow you up stream. All the boughs can then be
fished on the return journey in the manner just
described. In the months of July and August fly
fishing for chub is successful if one can make a long
cast well in under the boughs, or over the shallows.
The best flies are the Marlow Buzz, large red or
black Palmers, or the Coachman, and if tipped with
a gentle, often induces the fish to take the bait. It
requires a certain amount of knowledge as to the
whereabouts of the fish before making a cast. A
large bunch of gentles (for chub are fond of a large
bait), if thrown as a fly, will often succeed during Chub.
the warm weather when all other efforts fail, but
never stand in the boat whilst making the cast.
Another method of catching chub is by using
dead frogs as bait, they should be cast as in jack
fishing, and the bait should be worked after the
" draw and sink fashion." Crayfish tail is also
an especially fascinating bait. Immediately after a
chub is hooked care must be taken to prevent it
from rushing among the weeds, as there is no fish
more likely to attempt to escape by getting the line
hitched into some obstacle than the chub. CHAPTER XV.
" There sat my friend with patient skill,
Attending of his trembling quill."—Wotton.
ROACH are taken from the Thames in larger
quantities than any other fish. They are held in
the highest estimation by a lar'ge number of anglers,
many of whom confine themselves entirely to this
branch of fishing. The London club anglers are
particularly devoted to roach fishing, and competitions on a large scale are often arranged
between the members, who are, needless to say,
much more successful when fishing from a punt.
There are times when roach require much coaxing, and the perseverance, doggedness, and skill
of the roach fisherman is then brought into play.
On some days the float is only disturbed by a
succession of nibbles of the faintest description,
and   it   is   then   that   the   angler   has   to   bring Roach.
all his knowledge into requisition, for if one
of these faint " touches " are missed, the probabilities are that a large fish has escaped being
captured On the other hand there are occasions
when the veriest tyro can go out and fill a bag with
these fish. Such occasions are, however, few and
far between, and now that the Thames is so much
fished, it requires a great deal of piscatorial persuasion to induce them to feed in a right royal
manner. Walton calls the roach "the fresh-water
sheep ; " but, owing to the pursuit to which they
are now subjected, this soubriquet is scarcely
applicable, especially to the fish of the Thames and
its tributaries. The requisites for success are fine
tackle and proper bait. For Thames fishing the
" roach-pole " is only used in quiet eddies and lay-
byes. Some bank anglers prefer a long rod for
fishing any portion of the stream, but the most
successful roach fishing is done from either a boat
or punt. Then a light cane punt rod is used, with a
very fine plaited silk line (undressed) and an easy-
running winch—the Nottingham for preference.
The float should be a porcupine quill with cork
body, capable of carrying about six or seven shots.
This tackle is suitable for fishing the swims in the
channel of the river, where it is requisite that the
bait shall reach the bottom almost directly it is
placed in the water. The angler then gets the
full benefit of each swim   of the float.      In clear io8
water, with only a slight stream, a porcupine may
sometimes be found sufficient. I always enamel
my floats mignonnette green, the colour is very
pale, and when in the water resembles a weed
floating down stream. The hooks should be on
the finest gut—Crystal hooks are the best when
using gentles for bait. Greville Fennell, in his
" Book of the Roach," says :—" These ' Crystal'
hooks are admirable ; they appear, both mechanically and practically, to settle the long mooted
question of the best shape, size, and temper requisite for roach angling; and obviously emanate from
one who has long thought, and thought to the best
results, upon what was most desired, and are
named after my best fisherman, Harry Crystal." If
using a small worm for bait, use also the round
bend hook ; wasp grubs, red worms, boiled wheat,
and the caddis are also good baits. The fish should
be struck immediately the float disappears, and
only a small portion of the latter should be left
above the water, so that a bite can be immediately
detected. Sometimes the fish will only feed at
the end of the swim. Then the Nottingham style
should be adopted, using the lightest running tackle.
This is especially successful in clear water.
It is a very simple matter to breed gentles in the
summer and autumn, and as gentles are, as a rule,
the best bait for Thames roach, one or two hints
will   not  be   out   of  place.     First  procure   some Roach.
bullock's liver, and hang it up in a place where blow
flies frequent. They will lay their eggs on it, or if
a few cuts are made in it with a knife, so much the
better ; the blow flies will then be able to lay their
eggs in the crevices. An earthenware jar should
be placed underneath, and when one or two gentles
have hatched and dropped into the jar, take down
the liver, and place it in the vessel. In two or three
days more gentles will be seen, and then they
should be removed into a jar containing bran, with
a piece of liver on the top for them to feed upon.
By adopting this plan the angler will always have
at hand a plentiful supply of gentles. But there is
yet another bait which the roach of the Thames are
especially partial to, viz., soaked bread crust, cut
into small square cubes and placed on the point of
the hook. This bait should be tried in clear water,
when the fish do not appear to relish gentles. The
ground bait used for Thames roach fishing is of
simple manufacture. A loaf is well soaked, and
then broken up into small pieces, and mixed with
bran and clay. The latter is used to make it sink
quickly, so that the stream does not carry it away.
Sometimes a few gentles are mixed up with the
" mess," and then the whole is rolled into a ball,
and dropped gently overboard. The clay ball
gradually breaks, and the small pieces of bread and
bran escape by degrees. This attracts the fish to
the spot, and the angler must be ready to hook a. Roach.
fish at any moment after the ground bait is in the
water. But the depth must be properly plumbed,
and it is usual to fish near the bottom. Never
forget to carry a plummet. In the summer, when
the stream is slack, more success will be assured if
the punt angler can find a piece of water that
is more rapid than usual. For bank fishing the
stream should not be too fast. Eddies are exceptionally good places for the bank angler to try his
skill. In fishing the cuttings below the locks where
the water is quiet try paste. In such places, of
course, the clay is not required to sink the ground
bait. In fishing the weir pools in hot weather, silk
weed {Conferva rivularis) which can be scraped off
the weirs, is a taking bait. It is twisted round the
hook, and sometimes the fish .will take nothing
better. Ledgering for roach is very seldom
practised on the Thames, the float tackle being a
more fascinating and more successful method.
It goes without saying that more roach are taken
by punt fishing than by fishing from the banks.
This is because the best swims, as a rule, cannot be
reached from the bank. If the services of a professional fisherman are called into requisition, try
and obtain one who is not afraid of work. In some
parts of the Thames one can engage really good
men, though there are a number of persons who
call themselves professional fishermen, but who
have really no sound claim to such title.    I quite Roach.
agree with "John Bickerdyke," who says :—"The
professional fishermen of the Thames are a curious
race. As a rule they know the water well in their
own immediate neighbourhood, but cannot be
depended on as guides away from their homes,
although they will tell you they know every inch of
the water for fifty miles. They are generally civil
and attentive, but averse to hard work. They
sometimes undertake to provide tackle and bait,
but the former is invariably of an inferior description, such as no real roach fisher would tolerate,
and the latter—except in two or three very frequented stations—conspicuous by its absence.
There are many accomplished and attentive Thames
fishermen, but the mere watermen who pose as
fishermen should certainly be avoided, and here and
there one meets with men who are lazy, impudent,
and greedy." CHAPTER XVI.
" Oft swiftly as he swims his silver belly shows ;
But with such nimble flight, that ere you can disclose
His shape, out of your sight like lightning he is shot."'
Michael Drayton.
This lively little fish abounds in the Thames,
and can be caught on the same tackle as used for
roach. They are usually to be found where the
stream flows rapidly, and on the shallows they
afford capital sport to young fly fishers. It is a
very sportive fish for its size, and, though often
taken when roach fishing, they will greedily take
the artificial black gnat, coachman, or governor,
especially in warm weather. There are other small
flies he will' take—little red tag and the sweep—
and if they be tipped with a gentle or small
piece of white kid, it sometimes helps to fill the Dace.
creel. Three flies may be used at the same time,
two nine inches apart from each other, and nine
inches above the one at the end of the collar—
or gut cast, which should be tapered. A light
single-handed stiff fly rod is used ; and when the
flies are cast across stream they should be drawn
gently over the water. If a fish seizes either of the
flies, strike sharply. The exact manner in which
to throw a fly must be learnt by experience, and
there is every opportunity on the Thames for
learning this art in fly fishing for dace. It also
forms a pleasant diversion from float fishing, and
on a warm summer's evening plenty of dace are to
be found on the shallows. Dace will also take a
sunken fly or a single gentle on the hook, thrown as
a fly, and usually called whipping. The lighter the
gentle or fly falls upon the water the more prospects
there will be of the fish taking it.
" Upon the curling surface let it glide,
With nat'ral motion from your hand supplied."
I have already pointed out the shallows at
Kew, Richmond, Twickenham, and other portions
of the river where fly fishing is obtainable. Mr.
R. A. Banfield, a member of the Clapham Junction
Angling Society, took at Twickenham 1171b. 4Joz.
of these sportive little fish in fifteen days, or an
average of 71b. 2|oz. per day. There is no reason
to believe that on the scours between Twickenham
and Teddington the sport has deteriorated, and it
1 ii4
is possible to catch a large number of fish there
provided that the tide is suitable, and the water not
too highly coloured. Now that the professional
fishermen, unless they are assistant river keepers,
are not allowed to use casting nets, there is every
prospect that dace fishing will improve in every
part of the river. CHAPTER XVII.
" Perch, like the Tartar clans, in troops remove,
And urged by famine or by pleasure rove ;
But if one pris'ner, as in war, you seize,
You'll prosper, master of the camp with ease;
For, like the wicked, unalarmed they view
Their fellows perish, and their path pursue."
THAMES perch are renowned for their fine colouring, the back being of a rich olive green, with
greenish yellow sides, and white beliy. They
spawn in April, depositing their ova in the form of a
ribbon round weeds and submerged boughs of trees.
It is seldom the good fortune of the Thames
angler, especially in the lower and mid portions of
the river, to have a really "big day" amongst
them.    They have been so rarely met with during
I 2 n6
late years, that many anglers have altogether
given up the idea of spending time in an endeavour
to take them. But there can be no doubt Thames
perch are gradually but surely becoming more
numerous, and these fish, as a rule, are seldom
under a " takeable " size. A 21b. fish, however,
is considered a decent fish, whilst he who takes
one of 2^1b. should have it " set up " in memory
of the occasion. The best baits for perch fishing
are lob worms, red worms, and minnows, and
they often take a spinning bait. Some portions
of the Thames are better stocked with these fish
than others, but though there is no hard and fast
rule that can be definitely laid down concerning
their whereabouts, they may be found near old
piles, bridges, in deep holes, and in the water
just above the weirs. The weir pools sometimes
holds them, and occasionally they are taken
there when barbel fishing. The paternoster is
the recognised style of fishing for them in the
Thames, but two hooks should be used in this
instance. The lower should be baited with the
tail end of a lob or a small red worm, and to the
top hook, which should be placed nine or ten inches
above the other, a minnow should be fastened by
placing the hook through the upper lip. With a
paternoster a large amount of ground can be
covered, and if the angler takes a fish he should
try the same place again, as perch swim in shoals. Perch.
If using float tackle, only use one hook, and do not
let the float be large. One which will carry seven
or eight shots is sufficient. If baiting with minnows,
give the fish a few seconds before striking, so as to
ensure his getting the bait well into the mouth.
Izaak Walton says: "The perch is 'valiant to
defend himself,' " and if a good sized fish is hooked
this is perfectly true ; but in worm fishing the bait
is generally swallowed, so that the angler need not
fear losing a fish if he knows how to handle his
rod, and has good, though fine tackle.
A large number of perch have lately been taken
at Kingston, Staines, Datchet, and Marlow. One
London angler took thirty of these fish at the first-
named place, and there can be little doubt that, if
perch fishing was more pursued, the reports from
the Thames would show that a quantity of them
would be caught, especially if the paternoster was
used, the modus operandi of using which is thus
described by Mr. H. Cholmondeley Pennell: " The
rod should be a longish one, and moderately pliant.
The leaded line should be dropped under the point
of the rod, or gently swung out into the spot it is
desired to fish, and the lead allowed to rest on the
bottom. The line between the lead and the point
of the rod should always be kept taut, in order that
the bite, which is perceived only by the touch, may
be more readily detected, and the probability of
hooking increased.     When a bite is perceived^ the n8
bait should not be pulled up immediately ; on the
contrary, it is better to drop the point of the rod
slightly, so as to slacken the line a very little, and
prevent the biter being prematurely pricked. After
two or three preliminary twitches or nibbles, a
decided downward tug or pull will generally be
experienced, and this is the moment for the
fisherman to pull in return, which should not be
done suddenly, or in any degree striking-wise, but
by a firm and steady upward movement of the rod.
The chances of hooking the fish are increased in
proportion to the shortness of the line between the
point of the rod and the lead." I can recommend
no better advice for paternostering than that given
by Mr. Cholmondeley Pennell, though, perhaps, I
should not be inclined to allow so much time to
elapse between the bite and the moment of striking. CHAPTER XVIII
" The treacherous quill in this slow stream
Betrays the hunger of a bream."
(15/ Ed. of *' Walton")
Bream fishing in the Thames is very precarious.
Sometimes the angler will obtain good sport,
whilst at others the fish do not appear to feed for
several days at a stretch. They are generally to be
found in deep holes in the river, and are to be
taken as low down as Twickenham. They are,
however, seldom taken in large quantities in the
upper portions of the river, and it is difficult to
account for this, as the water is eminently suitable for them. A 51b. fish is a very good size
for those of the Thames, but some years ago
one of 71b. was taken at Datchet.   Mr. J. J. Manley, 120 Bream.
in his " Notes on Fish and Fishing," says that
bream are a comparatively recent introduction
into the river, and expresses his opinion that
they originally got into the Thames from some
overflowing of the Wey. " Not long ago," he
says, " two consignments of fine bream were
brought from the Bedfordshire Ouse, and safely
deposited in the Thames in the deep water above
Boulter's Lock at Maidenhead, through the kindness of the Bedford Angling Club." An average
sized bream will afford very good sport, and as he
must be taken on fine tackle, there is more charm
in the catching of him. The same tackle as used
for roach will do, but the bait should be well on the
bottom of the river. The early morning is the best
time to fish, and the bait should be the tail end of a
lob. There are other baits which bream will take,
but the one mentioned will generally be found the
best for Thames angling. When bream take the
bait, the float, as a rule, first lies on the top of the
water, and then slowly disappears. The fish must,
therefore, on taking bait, temporarily raise their
heads, which lessens the weight of the shots on the
float, and the latter consequently lies flat on the
water for a second or two. For ground bait use
lob worms, which should be cut up into fragments
and thrown in as for barbel fishing. In ledgering
for bream use fine tackle, and a small hook, as
these fish have small mouths. CHAPTER   XIX.
"The dainty gudgeon, ruffe, the minnow, and the bleak,
Since they but little are, I little need to speak."—Drayton.
The small fry, such as bleak and minnows, need
scarcely any reference. They can be caught by
almost anybody and almost everywhere in the
Thames. Gudgeon are to be found in rather rapid
waters that flow over a gravelly bottom, also in
weir-pools and near bridges or camp-shedding.
The Gibraltar swim below Great Marlow is perhaps
one of the best portions of the Mid Thames. They
are taken there in enormous quantities during the
season. They are special favourites with the lady
anglers in consequence of the easy manner in which
they can be caught, and the charm of quantity is
also another element that render them agreeable
to the gentler sex. Roach tackle should be used,
and they will take a small worm or a gentle. A
rake is sometimes used to stir up the bottom of the
river and attract the fish, which can be caught
during any month of the season, though August and
September are the best two. Conclusion.
The bleak is a small silvery fish, which is easily
taken by whipping with a gentle, or using a small
fly. They are to be found in the summer months
near the surface of the water, and often cause
disappointment to the dace or chub angler who is
fly-fishing, by taking a bait intended for the larger
fish. They make excellent spinning-baits on account
of their brightness, and they are much used as live-
bait for trout fishing, the Thames trout being
particularly partial to these little fish. Their scales
were once used in the manufacture of imitation
mother-o'-pearl, and as this caused an immense
destruction of fish it is matter for satisfaction that
another substitute has been discovered. Minnows
are interesting little fish, and are of most use to
fishermen as bait for larger species.
The brief instructions given in the previous
chapters are the result of considerable experience
in Thames fishing, and, though perhaps some of the
minor points are omitted, the object in view, namely,
to give hints to those who seldom visit the Thames,
has, I hope, been achieved. The map of the
Thames should enable the reader to discover without any difficulty where he will be best able to
obtain good sport, and thus avoid waste of time in
searching for suitable swims. The table showing
the distances between the bridges and the locks
will afford him the opportunity of determining
whether he has sufficient time to spare to travel Conclusion.
from one portion of the river to another, and the
publication of extracts from " The Thames Fishery
Bye-Laws," which in their revised state only came
into force last ye^ar (1893), will save him from the risk
of committing any illegality. Taking into consideration the rapid increase in the number of
anglers during the past few years, I do not feel
called upon to render any apology for making
this addition to the extensive collection of angling
literature, more especially as it deals with a
branch of the subject so distinctively important and
interesting as the Lower and Mid Thames. 124
Table of Distances.
Locks and Bridges on the Lower and Mid Thames.
This  table   shows   the   distances   of the  various   locks from
Teddington, and bridges from Richmond :
M. Fur. Ch.
M. Fur. Ch.
Molesey   ...
4     6     5
4    3     5
Sunbury   ...
Hampton Court...
11    3    8
12     0    3
Chertsey   ...
13    3    7
IS    7   8
Penton Hook
15    3    3
Staines   ...
J9   7   4
Bell Weir...
18    2    0
24   4   9
Old Windsor
21    1    4
Victoria ...
26   0   8
Romney   ...
24    1    4
27    2    2
Boveney   ...
26   4    0
33    6   5
29    5   4
37    0   4
Boulter's  ...
31    6   4
Marlow  ...
41    0   0
Cookham ...
33    7    1
—        _        —
38    1    3
—        —        —
To find the time of high water in the tidal portion of the
Thames at those places where the best fishing is to be obtained,
one must first ascertain the time of high tide at London Bridge,
and then add 55 minutes for Kew, 75 minutes for Richmond,
80 minutes for Twickenham, and 85 minutes for Teddington.
Example.—If it is high water at 2 o'clock at London Bridge,
it will be high water at Teddington at 3.25, or 85 minutes later.
N.B.—A strong wind up-stream accelerates the tide very
much, and one down stream retards it. Illegal Offences.
" No person shall allow any rod and line, or line to which any
bait or hook, natural or artificial, is attached, to be drawn or
trailed from any vessel on the River Thames."
Live  and Dead Gorge Fishing.
" No person shall fish for pike with any device or tackle that
does not admit of the pike taken therewith being returned to the
water without any serious injury."
Snatching or  Snaring of Fish.
" No person shall use any rod and line, hook, wire, snare, or
other device, either alone or in connection with a rod and line, or
in any other way so as to take fish by means of foul hooking,
snatching, or snaring in any part of the River Thames."
Night  Lines and Fixed Hooks.
" No night hook, night line, nor fixed hook or line shall be
used in the River Thames above London Bridge."
Illegal Device.
" No spear, gaff, strikehawl, or other instrument of a like
nature, or any other device used in the manner such instruments
are usually employed, shall be used in any part of the River
Thames, provided that this Bye-law shall not apply to any person
using a gaff, or auxiliary to angling for pike with a rod and line." i26 Information to Anglers.
Illegal Possession of Fish.
" Any person who shall have in his possession, on, near, or
adjoining the River Thames, any fish of less dimensions than
those specified in the last preceding Bye-law shall be deemed to
be guilty of an offence against such Bye-law, unless he prove to
the satisfaction of the Court before which he is tried that he was
lawfully in possession of such fish."
Obstruction of Fish.
" No person shall put down in any part of the River Thames
at the mouth of any brook, creek, river, or back-water, communicating with the River Thames, or running into the said
River, or at any mill, sluice, race, or branch of the said River,
any net or device whatever to stop, catch, or hinder any fish,
spawn, or fry of fish from coming into, or going out of the River
Fixed Nets.
" No net in any part of the River Thames shall be fixed or
attached to the soil, or made stationary in any way, and a net
held by any person or persons in a boat or boats, that is or are
moored or anchored, shall be deemed to be a fixed net for the
purposes of this Bye-law."
Sizes of Fish.
Pike or jack (all extreme length), i8in.;   perch, 8in.;  chub,
ioin.; roach, 7m.; dace, 6in.; barbel, i6in.; trout, i6in.; bream,
loin.; carp, ioin.; tench, 8in.; rudd, 6in.; gudgeon, 4m.
Close Season.
" In that part of the River Thames as is situated above London
Bridge, no person shall fish with or use any rod and line between
the 15th day of March and the 15th day of June, both inclusive,
except a rod and line for taking trout and fished with an artificial
fly, or with a spinning or live bait." Information to Anglers.
" No fish found in the part of the River Thames above London
Bridge may be taken between the 15th day of March and the 15th
day of June following, both inclusive, except trout, and roach,
dace, gudgeon, bleak, and minnows, taken as herein provided, as
bait for trout."
Season for Trout Fishing.
From the 1st day of April to the 10th of September inclusive.
Bait for Anglers.
" Roach, dace, gudgeon, bleak, or minnows for use as bait,
provided that no person shall be entitled to have in his possession
or under his control more than fifty of such fish for use as bait at
any one time, or to take by himself, his servants, or agents, more
than fifty of such fish, on any day."
Limit  in the Number of Rods.
" No rod and line shall be used except when fished with either
a natural or artificial bait in a proper manner, and no person shall
fish with more than two rods and lines at the same time."
Nets  allowed to Anglers.
" The following nets and no other may be used by all persons
for all fish : a minnow net, a landing net, and a hand or well net."
" A landing net by a person angling, or by an assistant to a
person angling, and as auxiliary to angling with a rod and line,
to land fish hooked on a line by the person fishing."
" A minnow net by a person angling, or about to angle, or his
servant, or agent, for the purpose of providing minnows for bait,
to be used for angling in the River Thames."
Use of Bait Net.
" A casting or bait net may only be used by Assistant
River-keepers, in obtaining bait to be used by persons for angling
in the River Thames." 128
Night Fishing Limited to Bank Anglers.
" No person shall fish for, take or attempt to take by any
means whatever, in that part of the River Thames as lies above
the City Stone at Staines, nor from any vessel in that part of the
River Thames as lies between the City Stone and London
Bridge, any fish between the expiration of the first hour after
sunset, and the last hour before sunrise."
Taking of Fish for Scientific Purposes.
I Nothing in these Bye-laws shall prevent any person, provided he has the previous consent in writing of the Conservators
under their common seal, from obtaining fish for the purpose of
artificial propagation, and other scientific purposes, from any part
of the River Thames, or from having in his possession salmon roe
or trout roe for any of these-purposes, or from taking or attempting to take salmon gg trout when spawning or near the spawning
Abolition of Netting.
Section 9 provides there shall be no nets used by the netsmen,
" except in that part of the River Thames as lies between
Isleworth Church Ferry and London Bridge."
I Any person acting in contravention of the foregoing Bye-laws
or any of them, shall, for every such act be liable to a penalty not
exceeding £$, and may, on the direction of the Court, forfeit any
net, engine, device, apparatus, or fish, found in his possession or
control. Every such penalty shall be recovered in manner prescribed by the Summary Jurisdiction Act, and shall be applied in
manner directed by the Thames Acts 1857 to 1885."
Will be given by the Thames Angling Preservation Society
on the conviction of offenders. Advertisements.
THE      CLUB      HOUSE.
125 to 127,  ZETTSTOUST   IRO-AJD,
BAG-S, and Tackle of every description.
A Speciality for Finish, Lightness, and Durability not to be equalled.
Any length and build, and for any purpose.
■7/6   to   21/-.
Being an Importer of Canes, I am in a position to build and sell Rods
at a much lower rate than other retail firms.    Customers can be
supplied with Canes in the rough, 14ft. to 22ft. long each,
3d., 6d., gd., is., is. 6d., to 3s.
My Split Cane and Greenheart Rods are not to be equalled
at the price.
For Thames Dace Fishing with Fly, I can  confidently recommend
my 10ft. SPECIAL ROD.    It is really a little wonder for the money.
Made of the very best and thoroughly seasoned wood, the Action and
Balance are perfection.
Hickory, with Lancewood or Greenheart Top      6s. 6d.
All Greenheart, a most serviceable rod    10s. 6d.
(   The  numerous  Testimonials  I have received for these
\   Rods show very plainly their genuine worth.
quality), on Finest long Gut      per doz. 5d.
WOODFIELD'S ditto        „     3|d.
Casting Lines, 3 yards, from i£d. each.
A Tested Cast, 3 yards, 3d. each, fine or strong.
Very finest Roach Casts, 6d. and gd., best in the market.
Very best quality NOTTINGHAM REELS, removable
Checks, Centre Plates, and Handle Collets   3ain. 5s. 6d.
Ditto ditto ditto ditto   4m.   6s. od.
Ditto ditto ditto ditto   4^in. 6s. 6d.
The above nvill give an idea of my prices, which are
All Articles are Warranted of the very best quality.
Abbreviated list free on application.   Fully Illustrated list and Catalogue,
Post free, two stamps.
K Advertisements.
All Tackle of the very best quality, combined with reasonable
prices. Anglers visiting Richmond for a day's fishing are
respectfully asked to give E. RIPLEY'S goods a trial.
Every description of Birds, Animals, and Fish artistically
lib. fish in case
IO     O
Send your Catch  to  E. RIPLEY to   be  Mounted,
and You Will be Satisfied with the Result.
N.B.—Lord Randolph Churchill entrusted the whole of
his South African trophies to Everard Ripley for preservation
and mounting, including a magnificent lion and lioness, which
were mounted entire. Advertisements.
(ESTABLISHED     1876)
It   contains   articles   on   every   branch of fish  and
fishing by well-known writers, and has a world-wide
is the angler's official organ, and is the oldest established angling journal in the world. Weekly reports
are given from
and all the other principal rivers in the United
St, Dunstan's House, Fetter Lane, London, E.G. Advertisements.
Price   Is.  6d.
Post free to any address on receipt of postage stamps value Is. *7d.
Printed in Sixteen Colours,
«U evejuib'S FisflHiG."
The picture represents a brace or two of trout just caught, after
the Original Painting by the late T. G. TARGETT in
possession of the Editor of the Fishing Gazette.
St. Dunstan's House, Fetter Lane, London, EX.,
And all Booksellers. Advertisements.
F.   T.   WILLIA IS   &   CO.,
lO,   GKRELA.T    QTJEEl^    ST.,   LOnSTDOIN",   "W.C.
The most successful Hooks of the Century are
VJ Vjm
No. 6 ij 8 9 ion 12 14
On Fine Gut, lOd. per dozen; on Drawn Gut, Is. per dozen.
These Hooks are unsurpassed for penetration, and never miss fish. They
have justly become famous, which has caused many worthless imitations to
be sold under their name. We warn all anglers who desire the genuine Hook
that they can only be obtained through us, the inventors.
Williams's New Patent Detachable Leads, instantly put on and taken
off, without disconnecting tackle, 2s. 6d. per set of six sizes.
Williams's White Cane Roach Rods, i8ft., ios. 6d., for lightness, strike,
durability, and cheapness are unequalled.
All the latest improvements in Fishing Tackle.    Terms cash.
Catalogue forwarded on application.
Boat, puqt, aqd Caqoe Buildeift
Pleasure Boats, Punts, and Canoes TO BE LET, by the Day, Week,
or Month.
Gentlemen's Boats taken care of, Repaired, and Housed.
Not responsible for loss by fire unless specially agreed. Advertisements.
16 Plait Enamel Dressed Spinning
Trout and Jack Lines,
As used and recommended by Mr.
Francis Francis, Mr. Senior (of the
Field), Mr. Marston, Mr. Pennell,
Mr. Frank Buckland, and all noted
These lines are warranted
to wear well.
Should send two stamps for
Established over Half a Century.
i&.it.<#. ^&c 3>uke of (gotnburgh.
SILVER MEDALS', 1877, '80 & '82.
PRICE   LIST   ON   APPLICATION. .Advertisements. Advertisements.
„        CASTS.
C. L. MATHEWS Proprietor.
The Angler's House in Marlow is " The Ship," being specially-
run for Anglers by an Old Angler and Angling Writer. Angling
friends meet with a hearty welcome, and every attention.
C.L MATHEWS ("c^Kma"&o.
'Chlima,")   "THESHIP,"
MARLOW.     ~uw««wM;iSMn
3 9424 04541237*


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