ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Complete Angler by Izaak Walton

Updated on July 14, 2014

Five Days of Fishing in 1653

Have you ever thought of writing a book on your fishing adventures? I am not talking about the extravagant trip to Russia or Belize, just a description of getting in your truck and going to fish your local bass pond. Included in your book is the equipment, technique, and bait you use. Oh, add to the book a description of the burger joint you stopped at on the way home and the friend you took along who is inexperienced in fishing. This in essence, is what you have in The Complete Angler, albeit circular 1653. No offense, but unless you are an exceptional writer, you would be hard pressed to find a publisher. The Complete Angler was popular upon its publication and has remained so even today. This fact alone might compel you to read the book. If you fish and especially if you are a fly fisher, it is a must read. Izaak Walton makes what would seem mundane come alive. If you like long hikes with friends, fishing cool, clear rivers, taverns, beer, eating freshly prepared fish, singing maidens, and know the value a dead cat, The Complete Angler is for you. By the end of the book you will wish you were fishing in England along side Izaak Walton.

Source: http://www.rawsonandperrin.co.uk
Source: http://www.rawsonandperrin.co.uk

The General Premise

The book is a dialogue between an experience angler (the pole you fish with is called an angle) named Piscator and an experienced hunter named Venator, who is inexperienced in fishing. The two take a five day fishing trip. Keep in mind that in 1653 the commoner walks everywhere in England, so our pair spends a lot of time in dialogue. Piscator is an angler of his times - meaning practically everything is do-it-yourself. Aside from the hooks, nothing is manufactured. Piscator explains to Venator how to construct the angle, line, preparing bait, and tying flies. He also explains the different types of fish, fishing tactics, and recipes for preparing the fish.

Naturally, there are descriptions of actual fishing as Piscator mentors Venator in technique and praises Venator for his successful catches. Clearly, Venator catches the "fishing bug".

The two also spend the nights at inns/taverns in which the fish they caught are prepared for them and for Piscator's old friends they meet by chance in the taverns. The taverns are known for their cooks and the beer they stock. Fish stories are exchanged and singing is the entertainment for the evening. They are up before dawn for the next fishing location.

Some Book Highlights

  • Piscator is incredibly observant. He describes individual fish species, their habitat, habits, and life cycles with a sense of awe and wonderment.
  • Piscator describes and admires the world they walk through, commenting on the trees, flowers, meadows, smells of the earth, rain, and sun. He is a 17th century naturalist.
  • Piscator is not a fly fishing purist, he uses whatever bait works best at the time for the specific species of fish. Some of the bait preparation is rather lengthy ranging from complex kitchen recipes to carefully raising worms at home (a staked dead cat is excellent for attracting maggots). Others baits are caught onsite to include catching flying insects, digging for worms in manure piles, and capturing minnows.
  • Piscator is the classic fly-fisher - he ties his flies to match the seasonal hatches for the respective species of fish. He goes into detail on how to tie the flies, tactics and season of their use.

The Spiritual Side of Piscator

The characters in The Complete Angler are spiritual people. It is, after all, 17th century England. Piscator instills a wonderment and respect for the people they meet and the countryside they travel through. Piscator knows much and could easily come off boastful, but he constantly credits his knowledge and skill from either works he has read or what others have directly taught him, carefully citing each individual and building them up. Both Piscator and Venator are charitable. They commonly catch and keep more fish than they can eat in anticipation of giving some away. In one instance they give fish to a milkmaid and her daughter requesting only that they sing a song in return. Another instance they meet people who are clearly destitute and gladly accept their fish. Piscator frequently thanks his Creator and references scripture; I never connected the dots that fishermen made up the bulk of the professions of the 12 apostles.

My Appreciation of The Complete Angler

I am a 21st century fly fisher. I reflect on how fortunate I am to live with all the modern conveniences and latest technology. Driving my car to fishing locations less than an hour away to using the latest and greatest manufactured equipment, I am thankful for it all. However, The Complete Angler did make me realize that I could enjoy fly fishing at a much earlier time. There is something to be said for making your own equipment. Even more, the tavern scenes of eating your own prepared fish in the company of fishing buddies, locally brewed beer, fish stories, and tavern singing is downright enviable.

By the end of the book, I was wishing I could go back in time and take that five day fishing trip with Isaac Walton. To live in a society that was creation based and did not believe in evolution has great appeal to me. Couple that with the company of a humble man who had great appreciation for nature and humanity - those five days would compliment a lifetime's worth of sermons.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)