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29 March 2010

Mondays Word - Guddling

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Monday's Word is Guddling.   A Fishing term.  Now it has to be said, the idea of catching a fish by fooling it with a few feathers and then piercing its mouth with a nasty, sharp hook, holds no appeal to me, mainly because I can't help sympathising with the poor creature.  However, 'tickling' a fish, especially if its for food, doesn't seem quite so cruel. This is what Michael Quinion* has to say about the practice.

"Guddlers live in difficult times, since the activity that goes by the name of guddling is illegal in many places, including the UKand most US states.

It's a method of fishing that requires only the bare hands, hencerather too convenient for poachers who find rods and tackle bothcumbersome and revealing. It's also called tickling and is linked in particular with fishing for trout. In parts of North America itspractitioners call it noodling, though they usually reserve it for hunting catfish, a beast so well equipped to fight back that to do so is to engage in an extreme sport.

'Trout guddling requires patience and skill: There had been a swift and noiseless rush underneath the stone; a few grains of sand rose up where the white under part of the trout had touched it as it glided beneath. Slowly and imperceptibly Winsome's hand worked its way beneath the stone. With the fingers of one hand she made that slight swirl of the water which is supposed by expert "guddlers" to fascinate the trout, and to render them incapable of resisting the beckoning fingers.

[The Lilac Sunbonnet, by S R Crockett, 1894.]'

The verb "guddle" has been most associated with Scotland, and maybe derived from Gaelic, though its antecedents are obscure."

I've always known the term as 'tickling'  so 'guddle' was a new word for my personal dicitionary!

*World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2010. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewords.org/