by Stainer and Winter Have I been a fisherman long, Sir? Aye for sixty-three Summers or more Why I fished with a bent pin and cotton, In a slop-pail before I was four I’ve caught plaice and skate from the sea-shore From Piers I’ve caught congers and dabs And even when I went out boating, I was always catching of crabs. In the wet I’ve got many a hake sir When the rain has been pouring full pelt And even if I fished in the sewers I’ll bet I’d catch fishes that smelt I’ve sat and gazed over the boat-side, Right down to the sea’s rocky bed Where lobsters crawled by in their thousands That the water was tinged a bright red. You want my most thrilling adventure? Well it happened in nineteen fifteen I was after a mighty great trout sir Which at times by my pals had been seen It kept to one pool in the river By all fishermen round it was feared For they noted whenever ‘twas spotted Some poor angling chap disappeared. Now I’d long been determined to land him I’d made my arrangements for years So I dashed off by train for the spot sir When the news of his coming I hears I’d long kept a special great lob-worm Which for thickness would take quite a cake I’d fed it on port-wine and Bovril Till it grew quite as big as a snake. I arrived at the place in the evening And resolved that next day I’d begin So I looked up my pals and we drifted To drink my success at the Inn As we drank I fetched down on the table A stuffed salmon trout from the wall. And for two hours I studied each detail To help me in making my haul. Well I started next day for the river Where I soon had a sight of my mark But I’m bound to admit I was scared sir For it’s size was as big as a shark It suddenly leapt from the water And barked with a ‘orrible din Then flopped back again with a wallop Which wet me right through to the skin. If a Billingsgate porter had seen it ‘Twould have coloured his language a bit ‘Twould have frightened the life out of Jonah Or giv’n Isaac Walton a fit I went straight for my worm in a jiffy But he didn’t quite like my fierce look He bit me and fought like a viper Till I had him at last on the hook. Then I heaved him right into the river At the moment the trout rose again He gobbled it down in a moment And I pulled it with might and with main But Lor sir my strength was as nothing Beside this phenomenal fish In a flash I was jerked off my feet sir And pulled through the waves with a swish. Then he stopped and he turned in his tracks sir His evil eyes gleamed in his head And his horrid great mouth was wide open And his teeth were all dripping red Then I knew what had happened to others And I said, “Here’s the last of Bill Jones” For as I looked into his gullet I could see human skulls and great bones. He paused for a moment then darted Towards me with lightning pace So I prayed to St George and Sam Isaacs And closed in a deadly embrace Down, down through the water we battled I could feel I’d got many a wound Till at last I was fairly exhausted My breath was all gone and I swooned. I was found late at night at the Inn sir With my arms round the stuffed salmon trout But how I had managed to get there Is a puzzle I’d like to find out.
The end