Friday, August 12, 2011

Fishing Writing's Founding Father?

Izaac Walton: The World's First Fishing Writer?
Did you know it was Izaac Walton's birthday this week? Do you know who Izaac Walton is?

Born in 1593, Izaak Walton was arguably the world's first full time fishing enthusiast and as the first person to write a book on fishing could be considered the granfather of all fishing writers. Called The Compleat Angler and first published in 1653, Walton's book celebrating his love of fishing and was still in print 350 years later!

The Compleat Angler included various poems about fishing, including this one:

Oh the gallant Fisher's life,
It is the best of any,
'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife,
And 'tis belov'd of many:
Other joyes
are but toyes,
only this
lawful is,
for our skill
breeds no ill,
but content and pleasure.

In a morning up we rise,
Ere Aurora's peeping,
Drink a cup to wash our eyes,
Leave the sluggard sleeping:
Then we go
to and fro,
with our knacks
at our backs,
to such streams
as the Thames,
if we have the leasure.

When we pleas to walk abroad
For our recreation,
In the fields is our abode,
Full of delectation.
Where in a brook
with a book,
or a Lake,
fish we take;
there we sit,
for a bit,
till we fish intangle.

It comes as hardly a surprise that even 400+ years ago recreational fishermen were starting early, and given that coffee was not widely drunk in Europe until about 50 years after the poem was written, we dare say there was something stronger in the cup he drank.

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