Trout tickling

Trout tickling

Trout tickling is the art of rubbing the underbelly of a trout using fingers. [cite news |first=Oliver |last=Bennett |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= HOW TO... Tickle a trout |url= |work= |publisher=The Independent |date=2004-10-24 |accessdate=2007-09-06 ] If done properly, the trout will go into a trance-like state after a minute or so, and can then easily be thrown onto the nearest bit of dry land. [Brian Morgan. [ Story of the Virgin Soldier (Trout Tickling)] : Part of the BBC's "WWII People's War" Series. 12 May 2005. Article ID A4057706. Accessed on: 16-1-07.] The technique was a common practice used by boys, poachers and working men in times of economic stress, particularly during the 1930s depression-era. [ 1941 U.S. Parks and Wildlife Service article] ] [cite web |author=A.A.Richards |url= |title=Trout fishing-Tickling Trout |accessdate=2007-09-06 |format= |work=] Poachers using the method required no nets, rods or lines or any other incriminating equipment if apprehended by the police or gamekeepers.

Thomas Martindale's 1901 book, "Sport, Indeed", describes the method used on trout in the River Wear in Northumberland: Cquote
The fish are watched working their way up the shallows and rapids. When they come to the shelter of a ledge or a rock it is their nature to slide under it and rest. The poacher sees the edge of a fin or the moving tail, or maybe he sees neither; instinct, however, tells him a fish ought to be there, so he takes the water very slowly and carefully and stands up near the spot. He then kneels on one knee and passes his hand, turned with fingers up, deftly under the rock until it comes in contact with the fish's tail. Then he begins tickling with his forefinger, gradually running his hand along the fish's belly further and further toward the head until it is under the gills. Then comes a quick grasp, a struggle, and the prize is wrenched out of hisnatural element, stunned with a blow on the head, and landed in the pocket of the poacher.

In Scotland the technique is more often called "guddling" or sometimes "ginniling". The practice is currently illegal under most circumstances in Britain. A related method of catching catfish by hand is called noodling in the U.S.A.

In history and fiction

Trout tickling has an ancient history. The Greek writer Oppian writing in his "Halieutica", the greatest work of antiquity on angling, refers to catching trout by hand in the following lines:

Aelian, a Greek writer of about 230 A.D., writes in his "De Natura Animalium" (as published in England in 1565): "If men wade into the sea, when the water is low, end stroking the fish nestling in the pools, suddenly lay hands upon and secure them." While in Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's "Rule a Wife and Have a Wife", a ribald comedy dating from 1624, Estifania remarks "Were comes a trout that I must tickle, and tickle daintily"

The technique is also mentioned in several of Shakespeare's plays: in "Twelfth Night", the servant Maria refers to the approach of the hated Malvolio, head of Olivia's household, with the words "for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling" (Act 2, Scene 5). Maria and others are conspiring to trap Malvolio into acting foolishly by forging a love letter from Olivia.

Trout tickling is also mentioned in later works: Mark Twain wrote about catching catfish in a similar matter while mentioning that salmon and certain other species can also be lured and caught in this way. It is also described as a poaching method in Roald Dahl's classic novel "Danny, the Champion of the World", in Linda Buckley-Archer's science fiction novel "Gideon the Cutpurse", and in the video game "Theme Hospital" as a hobby of many of the staff for hire.


External links

* [ How to tickle trout]
* [ "Catching Fishes with the Hand"] in the The American Naturalist, 1948.
* [ ‘The Art of Tickling Trout & Other Sensual Pleasures’ Video 2003]
* [ Poacher fined for trout tickling]

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