Gudgeon, in Ichthyology, is a species of the Barbus, or Barbel ; which see. It inhabits most running waters, small streams, such as the river Lea, and is found in great abundance in the New River, near London. Though small, this fish Is highly esteemed for its fine flavour.
Gudgeons generally hide themselves under weeds, in rough water, and among the sedge growing at the sides of rivers, particularly during the spawning season, which commences about the middle of April, and terminates with the month of May. When full of spawn, they are of a superior flavour, and this period includes the latter part of March, and the first half of April.
The proper season for taking gudgeon is in the months of March, April, and May, but the rods, lines, baits, etc. differ in several material respects, according to the particular time of. the year fixed upon for angling. In general, however, the rods should be of a small size, and the line a single horse-hair, or that of a goat may be substituted. The hooks should also be very small, three or four of which must be affixed to each line, at the distance of six inches from each other; and the depths at which the sportsman is to angle, vary according to the season of the year, the nature of the water, and other circumstances. The most general bait for gudgeons are, blood-worms and white-paste.
On taking his stand, the angler may throw in bread as a ground-bait ; but the common method of disturbing the bed of the river with a rake, should be adopted only in warm seasons. Sometimes it is attended with good effects to plumb the bottom, or at least to drop the plummet rather deep. A curious double plugged float, and small shot, fixed at about three inches from the hook, is generally used with success in catching these fish.