1829E. Griffithtr. ofCuvier’s Animal KingdomIV. 208The Springer Antelope..is the largest of a small subordinate group...The Springer resembles the Dorcas of nomenclators, but is nearly a third larger in size.
2. Any of several species of marine fish noted for their ability to leap out of the water (but particularly Elops machnata). a.Elops machnata of the Elopidae; Cape salmon sense 2; skipjack sense 1.b.harder.c.The sandfish Gonorhynchus gonorhynchus of the Gonorhynchidae.
In Smith and Heemstra’s Smiths' Sea Fishes (1986), the name ‘ladyfish’ is used for E. machnata, and ‘beaked sandfish’ for G. gonorhynchus.
1786G. Forstertr. ofA. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H.II. 285In some of the rivers..there is not a fish to be seen; and in others only a few bastard springers, as they are called, (cyprinus gonorynchus), which are scarcely as big as a common herring.
1797Lady A. Barnard inA.C. PartridgeLives, Lett. & Diaries (1971) 24The lake is famous for a fish called the springer, the very best fish I ever tasted in all my life, the most delicate and the fattest.
1804R. PercivalAcct of Cape of G.H. 44The springer, a flat fish, of a heavy, fat, luscious quality, particularly well adapted for the palate of a Dutchman.
1827T. PhilippsScenes & Occurrences 49The fish caught here are principally of the mullet species...The best is the springer so called from his frequently springing many yards out of the water.
1838J.E. AlexanderExped. into Int.I. 116So much wild fowl at the mouth of the Orange, plenty of excellent fish; as ‘springer’ and ‘harder,’ for the seine.
1860A.W. DraysonSporting Scenes 303There is a fish called a ‘springer’ that makes tremendous leaps out of the water after insects, and would give capital sport.
1887S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 185Mugil multilineatus, Springer, A species of mullet found in the bays and rivers of the colony. Good table fish. Commonly salted or smoked for exportation.
1913W.C. ScullyFurther Reminisc. 245To me the most enjoyable sport was that obtained at night by following the shoals of ‘springers’ in a boat with a lighted lantern hung over the prow.
1937C. BirkbyZulu Journey 149Their nickname is ‘springer,’ of course; and they do spring too. You don’t need a rod at St Lucia when the mullet come in — in a day 30 or 40 are liable to leap right into your boat.
1953R. CampbellMamba’s Precipice 73‘Look, it’s a springer,’ cried Michael, as a beautiful white fish leapt from the water flinging the trace and the sinker and the hook away with a great jerk of his head as it somersaulted back, free, into the water.
1969J.R. GrindleyRiches of Sea 81Mullet or springer (mugil tricuspidens) one of the several species of mugil which are common in estuaries.
1977E. Prov. Herald 13 Oct. 15In our boyhood my brothers and I caught dozens of big springers (mullet) in the Gamtoos River by getting them to jump into a boat.
1982Grocott’s Mail 27 July 10A freshwater springer — Trachystoma Euronotus — caught by local angler Errol Hall.
1985S. Afr. Panorama July 31These lakes are the typical habitat of large mullet, or springer, which is a fine eating fish and traditionally sought after by local residents.
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