Fishing Avoiding Cruelty

Oliver Raymond (Rev) - Fishing on the Principle of Avoiding Cruelty

Longmans, Green and Co. 1866

For all its strange title, this is a classic in its way, because it is the first book (and one of the only books) written with the object of instructing fishermen how to be humane to their quarry - as it happens, the author doesn’t restrict himself to fish, but embraces worms and even insects in this compact little tome about how to take care of God’s creatures. By turns hopelessly anthropomorphic and extremely didactic, Raymond instructs the reader to kill his fish as soon as possible after capture, to stun worms by throwing them on the ground before running a hook through them, and of the superiority of the dry fly to the live mayfly. Sixty-nine pages of utterly barking sermonising, mixed with some good advice and a long sunset coda in praise of how being kind to bait will make us all better men in the eyes of our creator.

I can’t say I am a convert, but historically, a reasonably important book. Still available fairly cheaply in the first edition, largely due to total lack of demand.