Fishery Law

G. C. Oke, A Handy Book of the Fishery Laws (edited by J. W. Willis Band and A. C. M'Barnet, London, 1903).

[1] As to whether "angling" necessarily implies a rod as well as a line and hook, see the discussion in the law case of Barnard v. Roberts (Times L. R., April 13, 1907), when the question arose as to the use of night-lines being angling; but the decision against night-lines went on the ground of the absence of the personal element rather than on the absence of a rod. The various dictionaries are blind guides on this point, and the authorities cited are inconclusive; but, broadly speaking, angling now implies three necessary factors - a personal angler, the sporting element, and the use of recognized fishing-tackle.

[2] Trolling is very commonly confused in angling writing and talk with trailing, which simply means drawing a spinning-bait along behind a boat in motion.

[3] The precise date when silkworm gut (now so important a feature of the angler's equipment) was introduced is obscure. Pepys, in his Diary (1667), mentions "a gut string varnished over" which "is beyond any hair for strength and smallness" as a new angling secret which he likes "mightily." In the third edition (1700) of Chetham's Vade-Mecum, already cited, appears an advertisement of the "East India weed, which is the only thing for trout, carp and bottom-fishing." Again, in the third edition of Nobbes's Art of Trolling (1805), in the supplementary matter, appears a letter signed by J. Eaton and G. Gimber, tackle-makers of Crooked Lane (July 20, 1801), in which it is stated that gut "is produced from the silkworm and not an Indian weed, as has hitherto been conjectured...." The word "gut" is employed before this date, but it seems obvious that silkworm gut was for a long time used under the impression that it was a weed, and that its introduction was a thing of the 17th century. It is probable, however, that vegetable fibre was used too; we believe that in some parts of India it is used by natives to this day.

Pepys' "minikin" was probably cat-gut.