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The Compleat Angler

Izaak Walton

Book Overview: 

The Compleat Angler is a celebration of the art and spirit of fishing in prose and verse. Walton did not profess to be an expert with the fly, but in the use of the live worm, the grasshopper and the frog "Piscator" could speak as a master. There were originally only two interlocutors in the opening scene, "Piscator" and "Viator"; but in the second edition, as if in answer to an objection that "Piscator" had it too much in his own way in praise of angling, he introduced the falconer, "Auceps," changed "Viator" into "Venator" and made the new companions each dilate on the joys of his favorite sport. (Summary based on Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .sure, according as she sees some little fish come near to her; and the Cuttle-fish, being then hid in the gravel, lets the smaller fish nibble and bite the end of it; at which time she, by little and little, draws the smaller fish so near to her, that she may leap upon her, and then catches and devours her: and for this reason some have called this fish the Sea-angler.

And there is a fish called a Hermit, that at a certain age gets into a dead fish's shell, and, like a hermit, dwells there alone, studying the wind and weather and so turns her shell, that she makes it defend her from the injuries that they would bring upon her.

There is also a fish called by Ælian the Adonis, or Darling of the Sea; so called, because it is a loving and innocent fish, a fish that hurts nothing that hath life, and is at peace with all the numerous inhabitants of that vast watery element; and truly, I think most Anglers are so disposed to most of. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Better than I expected, and made me laugh in several places. Would like to buy an illustrated edition to own.

Comfy Anglo feels

A Classic for a reason. I read this because I wanted to read a book that Samuel Johnson read. The Compleat Angler is a How-To on Fishing written in England in the 17th Century, the first edition came out in 1653 and it has seldom if ever been out of print since that time.
People have always loved t

I really enjoyed the historic view of fishing way back when they were writing the King James Bible. I can't attest to its practicality, but philosophically it's great. All's well that ends well.

A pretty good read, in a dialogue format, between Piscator, Venator, and Auceps, about fishing in particular, and life in general; as meandering as a quiet brook. While it is primarily about fishing, it also celebrates the English countryside and a quiet, peaceful pasttime that is also conducive to

If you want to find an answer to the question what is to be preferred 'angling or hunting' you should have a closer look into this book. In form of a philosophical dialogue the Piscator convinces the Venator (who regards the Piscator as his master) of the superiority of angling. You'll learn about t

This book was written by two authors, Izaak Walton who wrote the larger part, and Charles Cotton, who wrote a section on fishing in Derbyshire.
Walton's section was a charming read, interspersed with poems and anecdotes. Cotton wrote for anglers, and since I am not an angler, I found it boring at tim

this was a delightful read. I think I will have to write a proper review later but I highly recommend it.

Here is the full review https://spreadingthefeast102.wordpres...more

A practical guide to fishing, describing the fish, how to fish, how to prepare fish, how to tie flies, which baits work best, how to build a fish pond, … (Quite a bit of verse and moralizing also thrown in!)
The practical part was wrapped in a story of several men who chanced to meet. Most of the bo

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