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River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:25 am
by Foxe
So, I'm about to move into a house with fishing rights in the adjacent river. I'm not particularly into river fishing and the river is probably too small to provide much sustenance for my family, but I rather like the idea of some experimental archaeology. Can anyone suggest any historical techinques that I might have a go at?

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:54 am
by Fox
Mark Griffin once pretended on Time Team that he knew about histroical fishing; IIRC with wicker traps.

I think Gary Ball from Ty Mawr (History Matters) may have some experience too.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:59 am
by Foxe
I must admit I was thinking wicker traps. I have a large bundle of willow sitting idle.

Now, when I'm summoning Griff do I have to dance round the fire clockwise or anti-clockwise, and is it essential that I'm nude or is that just what he prefers?

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:03 pm
by Phil the Grips
Check with the Water Bailiff first- many old methods are illegal (using gaff hooks for one). It basically comes down to variations of rod, basket, net or spike/hook.

This site shows C18th rod fishing- hasn't changed much from the Medieval era ( for which there is at least one big book that tells all, if only I could remember the name)-
http://www.ballindalloch-press.com/society/angling.html

Otter fishing was a popular later C17th pastime and was considered a fun way to pass an afternoon for a chap. All that's needed is a spaniel or two and a bi/trident.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:05 pm
by Foxe
I suspect I may be able to talk Mrs F. into getting a spaniel...

It will also depend to some extent on exactly what fishing rights I have - I haven't looked at the paperwork yet.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:15 pm
by Fox
Foxe wrote:Now, when I'm summoning Griff do I have to dance round the fire clockwise or anti-clockwise, and is it essential that I'm nude or is that just what he prefers?
:thumbup:
I mourn, once again, for the want of proper <Like> button.

Probably best just do what he prefers anyway, or he'll just make vague moo-ing sounds and then look at you expectantly.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:27 pm
by Fox
I did recall correctly.
The History Matters website tells me that on 28th/29th July 2012 they were at Whittington Castle with a medieval boating and fishing display.

I've done a little naked fire dancing of my own; let's see if Gary appears.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:27 pm
by John Waller
Never read it but I would suggest seeking out The Compleat Angler by Issac Walton. Or that book by JR Hartley :wink:

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:37 pm
by gregory23b
Wait, a treatyse on an angle is late 15th century, a wonderful read, resonates with all anglers throughout the ages.

http://www.luminarium.org/renascence-ed ... rners.html

gems such as the best dye for horse hair lines.

Bait for different fish, and most wonderful, a collapsible rod that you can disguise as a walking stick so not to draw attention to yourself when off to your secret spots.

Oh and instuctions for hooks made of pins and awl blades, a full book.

A really great read.

My bold - this sums up the end result of an unsuccessful day's angling, a no lose situation. Some things have never changed.

For all other maner of fysshynge is also laborous and greuous, often makyng of folkes ful were and colde which many tymes hath ne seen cause of greate infirmities, but the angler maye haue no colde nor dysease nor angre, but yf he be causer hym selfe, for he maye not lose at the mooste but a lyne or an hooke: of which he may haue store plentye of hys owne makynge, as thys simple treatyse shall teache hym. So then hys losse is not greuous, and other greefes maye he not haue sauynge but yf any fysshe break away after yt he is taken on the hooke, or els yt he catch nought whyche is not greuous, for yf he fayle of one he maye not fayle of an other, yf he doth as thys treatyse teacheth, but if there be nought in the water, and yet as the least he hath his holsome walke and mery at his ease, sweet ayre of the sweet sauour of the medow floures that maketh him hungry. He heareth the melodious armony of foules. He seeth the yonge swans, herons, duckes, cootes, and many other foules with their broodes, whyche me semeth better then all the noyse of houndes, the blastes of hornes, & the scry of foules, that hu[n]ters, faukeners, & foulers ca[n] make. And if the angler take fyshe: surely then is there no ma[n] meryer then he is in his spirite. And who so wyl vse thys game of anglyng: he muste ryse early, which is profytable to man in this wyse. That is to wete, most to to the health of hys soule. For it that cause hym to be holy, & to the helth of his body for that it shal cause him to be whole. Also to the encrease of hys gooddes, for it shall make hym ryche; as the olde Englysh prouerbe sayth in this wyse. W[h]o so wyll ryse early, shalbe holy, helthy, & happy. Thus haue I proued in myne entent that the disporte and game of angling: is the very meane and cause that enduceth a man into a mery spyrite,

Re: River fishing

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:50 am
by Lord High Everything Esle
John Waller wrote:Never read it but I would suggest seeking out The Compleat Angler by Issac Walton. Or that book by JR Hartley :wink:
http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Searc ... eat+Angler

Re: River fishing

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:46 pm
by Neil of Ormsheim
Hand grenades - its the only way. Everything else just takes up too much time. :D

Re: River fishing

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:06 pm
by Alan E
Medieval equivalent of hand grenades (i.e. how to get a load of fish for your feast) was to build a system of ponds supplied by the river and drained back into it; make the sluiceses closeable and the downstream ones caged. When you want fish, just close the upstream sluices and drain the pond: Sort fish that flap in the bottom.

Takes a bit of digging, but then hand grenades take a bit of buying.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:19 pm
by Foxe
I still haven't checked the paperwork, but I imagine that my fishing rights probably don't extend to fishing by grenade or building sluices.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:35 am
by AndyandHelen
Coracle time too...that has to be one to do.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:12 pm
by Henri De Ceredigion
AndyandHelen wrote:Coracle time too...that has to be one to do.
I was going to suggest coracles as well, and I have a very good expert on hand to answer your questions



May I present Geraint Pillock, the world expert on coracles as protrayed in the comedy programme "Barry Welsh is Coming". As you may have guessed Mr. Pillock was recorded in the past talking about coracles and thanks to the video technologies that have emerged since then, he was made to look like a complete idiot, but what you may not realise is that he is a real person

His real name is Denzil Davies and he is a highly respected member of a coracle group from the south of Ceredigion and north of Pembrokeshire who has written several books on the subject of coracles and who I interviewed for an CNN iReport (that was sadly not picked up on by CNN) but I still have the raw video and would be happy to transcribe the interview and see if that helps with your research.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:25 am
by Langley
We have two coracles Ed - one you have met in Brixham. Technique was two with net strung between. One hand for the net, one hand for the paddle. we are planning to play with Gary next year and get a whole mediaeval flotilla going but is your little stream big enough to allow for two coracles or one with a net casting technique?

Re: River fishing

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:44 pm
by Mark Griffin
did somebody call?

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:40 am
by Steve H
A quick word of warning folks you cant fish with nets or traps on rivers as you need special licences and dispesation (even the severn pulcher men and the coracle men in Wales are finding it increasingly harder to obtain these licences despite generations carrying out this activity). Be carefull you dont fall foul of the balifs as heavy fines are inforced even for going equiped (carrying nets and traps).

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:39 am
by Mark Griffin
exactly what I was about to type. Of course the best way to experience medieval fishing is to do just that and enjoy the feudal tomfoolery of the jolly bailiffs.

Fishing rights were jealously guarded and there were thousands of small scale acts of violence against both legal and illegal fishermen and their various structures. Just look at Magna Carta to see the sorts of stuff they were legislating with. Having done a fair bit of historic fishing of various sorts I'll say good luck with the horsehair and rod method. Good for diet contemplation on the banks of rivers but a pain in the *rse and great if you are on a fish diet i.e. the sort where you don't eat any fish.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:54 am
by Langley
You didn't think there weas any danger of us actually catching something in the short space of time before falling in did you? Comment was pretty tongue in cheek but do know enough not to try fishing without a license!

Re: River fishing

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:10 pm
by Mark Griffin
would be a nice scenario to do, coracle fishermen pulling down weirs etc to help navigation, while the weir and trap boys are trashing net racks to preserve their stock.

Re: River fishing

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:39 am
by Langley
Preliminary plans for river expedition in hand with Gaz's mob from Ty Mawr. Watch this space!