BARBOLT, (Gadus lota) in its body has some resemblance to an eel, only shorter and thicker; it is very slimy, slippery, and smooth: the head is flat, and shaped like that of a toad; teeth small but numerous. The colour varies; some are dusky, others of a dirty green spotted with black, and oftentimes with yellow; the belly in some is white; but the real colours are frequently concealed'by the slime. This fish abounds in the lake of Geneva, and is also met with in the lakes Lugano and Maggiore. In Britain it is found in the Trent, also in the VVitham. and the great east fen in Lincolnshire. It is a most delicate fish for the table, but of a disgusting appearance when alive.
The barbolt is described by Richard Frank, in his " Northern Memoirs," London, 1694, as " absconding himself in eddies, and sometimes in arches, not far from streams and torrents of water. He that takes him gets a reward; which a well scoured red-worm certainly accomplishes as soon as any thing except the gudgeon, for that is a charm compels him ashore."
Brooks, in his Art of Angling, ed. 1740, calls this fish the eel-pout, or barbolt, and describes it as either having no scales, or they are exceedingly small. In November, 1823. a barbolt wascaught in a small brook at Littleton, Staffordshire, emptying itself into the Sow, and the Sow into the Trent. This fish was eighteen inches and a half in length; girth round the shoulders nine inches; ditto tail, three inches, barb divided; mouth when open two inches and a half; weight two pounds. In the specimen from which the print is engraved no scales whatever were discernible. Its colour was dark spotted ; but the dark colour was easily wiped off, and a mixture of yellow, white, and black appeared underneath. The best time of taking them is in the spring and summer with a night line baited with a large dew-worm. It is singular, as Isaac W alton was a native of Staffordshire, and born within a few miles of the brook where these fish are found, that he should have been entirely unacquainted with them.
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