Gudgeon Fishing by H. R. Robertson. Source: Life on the Upper Thames. Text and formatting by George P. Landow, [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of Toronto and the Internet Archive and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]

Gudgeon are much used as bait when trolling for jack, and as a live bait for various large fish. When the fisherman requires them for this purpose, he seldom has recourse to the rod and line, but employs the casting-net, which soon supplies him with as many as he wants. Old anglers tell us that the gudgeon are on the decline in the Thames, both as to number and size. They "remember the time" when eighty dozen were to be taken in the day by the party in one punt. "Now, at the present time, in a take of fifteen or sixteen dozen, it is seldom a really sizable fish gets in the wells. If the extremity of the bye-laws of the fishery were carried out, every gudgeon fisher, as he carries away his fish, would be indictable for taking unsizable fish. The gudgeon are largely required as bait for the anglers, and where minnows are not always to be had, they have to supply their place. Thousands upon thousands are annually used as bait for night-lines, and every effort should be made to prevent such an annihilating agency from being employed at all. In addition to the frightful destruction of gfudgeon and other small fry, trout and other valuable fish are caught on the nightlines. Let the fishermen be permitted to lay their weels in any portion of the river, but make the laying of night-lines a punishable offence. The eels themselves consume vast quantities of grudgeon. Some few years ago a fisherman cut open two eels in my presence, and we found nearly a dozen gudgeons in them." (W. H. Brougham. The Fields Sept. 20, 1873.) — Robertson, 133-34


Robertson, H. R. Life on the Upper Thames. London: Virtue, Spalding, & Co., 1875.Internet Archive digitized from a copy in the University of Toronto Library.

Last modified 8 May 2012