Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Angling
THE art of angling, or of catching fish by a rod and line, J_ is of very ancient derivation. The earliest writer upon it in our country was the Dame Juliana Berners, who wrote a treatise on it in the Book of St Allans, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1496. Between that time and the present there have been nearly a thousand books, or parts of books, written and published upon this subject.
The practice of angling may be arranged under three heads, viz., top or surface, mid-water, and bottom angling. Surface angling includes fishing with an artificial fly, or duping with a live fly or other insect; mid-water fishing includes spinning or trolling with a dead bait and fishing with a live bait; bottom fishing includes angling with worms and other baits, either resting on or travelling with the stream along the bottom. The last is usually the first practised by the angler, and we will therefore take it first.
holidays, usually commences his apprenticeship to the art of angling by fishing for some of the carp tribe in some pond or river near his residence. For this purpose he provides himself with a rod usually of from 12 to 14 feet long, and generally made of bamboo-cane, which is the best for the purpose. A small reel, with 30 or 40 yards of silk line, a light quill float, a yard or two of fine silk-worm gut, and a hook tied on at the end of it, which for general work should be either Nos. 6, 7, 8, or 9 in size, and a few split shots pinched on the line for sinkers. He then plumbs the depth of the water by the aid of a plummet, and fixes his float on the line at such a depth that the hook barely or just touches the bottom. His chief baits are worms and gentles or maggots. The worm (the red dest are the best) is stuck on the hook by being threaded from head nearly to the tail. The gentles, to the number of two or three, being stuck on as may be convenient. For gentles the smaller hooks are used; and the hook being baited, is cast into the water and hangs suspended by the float. When there is a bite the float bobs under, and the angler jerks the rod up or strikes, hooks his fish, and, if a big one, plays it, that is, allows it to swim violently about until tired, when he draws it ashore and lands it. In still- water fishing for carp, tench, roach, &c., the angler uses now and then a handful of what is termed ground- bait to draw the fish round his hook. There are many substances used for this, worms, gentles, grains, boiled barley or wheat, &c., &c., but the best and most general is a mixture of bran, soaked bread, and a little boiled rice worked up together; if with this is mixed a few handfuls of carrion gentles, usually obtained from horse slaughter- yards, there is no better bait. To ensure sport it is often accessary to bait a spot, or pitch, as it is termed, one or two
evenings previously. In still-water fishing this is all that has to be done. In bottom fishing in running water the same preliminaries are observed in taking the depth of the water, baiting, &c.; but when the tackle is dropped into the water the stream carries it along, and the angler, keep ing the top of his rod over his float, follows it down his swim, as it is called, until he reaches the end, or as far as he desires to fish, when he pulls his tackle out, and returns to the head of the swim, and recommences striking at every bob or dip of his float. In stream fishing he must either cast his ground-bait in so far up stream that it will find bottom in his swim, or he must knead it into balls with a stone in the middle or mixed with clay, so as to sink it to the bottom at once. In choosing a swim on the banks of a river, if the angler cannot see a good stock of fish any where, he should choose some spot which fish may be supposed to haunt, a spreading root, or bough, or over hanging bank with a hole under it, a deep hole near banks of weeds, or a deep eddy off some sharp stream. Here the bottom should be pretty level and free from obstructions, arid the stream not too swift nor too slow, so that the float may travel steadily and evenly without hinderance through out. If he cannot decide on any spot, let him look along the bank for places worn by the angler s feet, or where debris of bran, Arc., points out that some angler has previ ously fished and baited the stream. Having baited a pitch one day, it should never be neglected on the next, as the fish will have had time to find out the bait, and will perhaps be collected together there. Of course the choice of a pitch will be guided very much by the species of fish the angler desires to fish for. The places they frequent are noted hereafter. When the angler has hooked a big fish which he cannot lift out without danger to tackle, he uses a landing-net, that is, a bag-net on an iron ring fastened to the end of a pole, which he slips under the tired fish and lifts securely to the bank. When fishing on a river bank the last words in Walton s Complete Angler are to be strictly observed, viz., " Study to be quiet," for violent disturbance or motion is fatal to sport. Having deliberately chosen a pitch and baited it, the angler should not desert it hastily, or if he leaves it for a time for another, he should return to it and give it another trial. In angling from a punt or boat a shorter rod is used than from the bank, from 10 to 12 feet being the limit. In the Thames plan the punt or flat-bottomed boat is fixed directly across the stream by means of two iron-shod poles which are driven into the bottom. The depth being taken, and the ground-bait thrown in, the angler, sitting with his face down stream,, drops his tackle in close to the boat, and allows it to float down stream unchecked as far as the line, which is generally a yard or two longer than the rod, will permit, when he strikes, pulls up the tackle, drops it again in close to the punt, and repeats the operation time after time. Iii the middle of these punts there is generally a well, so that the fish when caught are kept alive in the well until the day s fishing is over. On the Trent the method adopted is different. The punt or boat, if used at all, is fixed diagon ally and not directly across the stream. A very fine and light silk line is employed, which will float easily and docs not sink much at any time. A very easy-going reel or winch is used, which turning on an oiled spindle lets off the line very rapidly, and is set running with the lightest touch of the finger. The rod being held at an angle of 90, the line is allowed to run freely, until the float and bait go sometimes as far as 50 or 60 yards down the stream, a plan which has many advantages, as much more ground is covered than in the restricted swim of the Thames method, and the fish are less shy in biting so far from the boat. The ground-bait is usually thrown in loosely above the punt, and generally consists of chopped worms or greaves (tallow-nielters refuse), and as the swim is so long an one the ground-bait is certain to fetch the bottom somewhere within it. In Norfolk a different plan still is adopted. The punt is anchored lengthwise straight up and down, and the anglers fish on either side of it; but the water being usually very deep the rods are longer and the tackle heavier, and besides the moving float they have another rod, the tackle to which is so heavily weighted that the baited hook rests on the bottom, and is not to be moved by the stream the fish picking up the bait at leisure, and the float showing the bite. This is termed " tight corking." These are the chief methods employed in float fishing at the bottom. But other methods of fishing with a stationary bait without a float are often adopted. The ledger is the chief of these (see fig. 1 in the cut). This consists of a gut line a yard or two long, which runs through a bullet or a lump of lead pierced with a round hole. On the hook side of the line an obstruction is fastened so that the lead cannot slip down to the hook, but the line is free on the rod side of the lead. The hook being baited, the lead is dropped into the water and rests on the bottom, a tight line between the rod top and the lead being kept. The instant a fish bites at the hook, the line being free in that direction, it is felt at the rod top, and the angler, yielding a little line to let the fish get the bait and hook well in his mouth, strikes, lifting the lead, and so Looks the fish. Another method, called the clay-ball, is to tie a bit of stick across the line a little above the hook, which is baited with gentles and greaves, and then to weld a lump of clay and ground-bait on the line round about the bit of stick. This is dropped to the bottom, and the fish, attracted by the ball of bait, come up to devour, and in time find the baited hook and take it most unsuspect ingly. Sometimes the baited hook is buried in the ball of bait, and the fish are allowed to dig it out. Sometimes a float is used in conjunction with a small clay ball to show the bites. Another plan of bait fishing at the bottom is with a free line, with only a very light sinker of a split shot or two on the line. The hook is baited with a worm, and allowed to travel along the bottom, the bite being felt or seen in the action of the line on the water or the rodtop. This is chiefly employed in trout fishing.
is used chiefly for pike and trout, though salmon and other fish occasionally are fished for and taken thus. It consists in drawing along through mid-water a bait so disposed on a series of hooks as to revolve rapidly, thus showing its silvery sides constantly to the fish of prey, and attracting them to run after it and capture it, when the hooks which are about it in turn capture them. A small fish a little trout, dace, gudgeon, or bleak principally, as these are the best fish for the purpose is hung on a range of hooks called a flight. This flight generally or mostly consists of three triangles, or three hooks welded back to back, tied upon gut or gimp at intervals of half an inch or so, a reversed hook near the tail to keep it bent, and above them a sliding hook working in an eye, called the lip hook (see fig. 2 in cut). A fish is then chosen suitable to the length of the flight, the lowest triangle is stuck on the middle of the side of the tail, the reversed hook just above it is then stuck into the fish a little below the vent, so as to keep the tail of the fish bent or crooked. The other two triangles are then stuck into the side of the bait in a straight line towards the fish s mouth. The line is then twisted two or three times round the shank of the lip hook, so as to bring it just to the bait s mouth and to keep it firmly there. The hook is then passed through both lips of the bait, and the bait is ready for use (see fig. 3 in cut); then it is hung on to a tackle called the trace. This consists of a yard or two of gut, single or twisted, or gimp, as may be desired; and at intervals of 18 or 20 inches or so, one or more swivels are placed to permit the bait to revolve freely without also turning the line, which would cause the whole running line to snarl and tangle, and a lead or sinker, so disposed as to promote the same object, is put on just above the swivels, and the trace is complete. (The upper part of the tackle in fig. 3 from swivel to swivel shows the trace). The whole apparatus then being looped on to the main or reel-line, is dropped into the water, and being drawn rapidly through it, if the bait be properly arranged on the hooks, spins with wonderful swiftness, often like one long line of flashing silver. If it does not spin well, but " wobbles," as it is termed, the hooks are not properly fastened into the bait, and either do not lie straight and even along the side, or the head or tail of the bait is too slack or too tight. This must be amended as the bait cannot spin too well. The object of its spinning well is not only to attract the fish, but to con ceal the hooks. The arrangement of the hooks on the flight given above is the one most commonly adopted by Thames spinners, who are the best hands in this branch of fishing, but there are many other arrangements which are sold by tackle-makers, of which the Francis and Pennell tackles are perhaps the chief. The reel-line used in spinning is usually made of plaited silk, dressed with a composition to stiffen it and to prevent tangling; and the line is heavier or lighter according as the bait and tackle to be used is heavier or lighter. In working a spinning-bait, the angler first tries all the nearer water to the spot where he stands, and gradually lengthens his line, allowing it to lie loose on the ground, or in the boat or punt s bottom, in coils at his feet Then with about half as much line as the length of rod hanging down from the rod point, he gently waves the bait backwards to the left or right, according to the side he wishes to cast to, and then suddenly urging the rod forward with a sweep, releases the running line Avhich he has held fast against the rod, and the impetus the bait has acquired by the swing sends it forward from 20 to 40 yards towards the point the angler desires to cast to; then lowering the point cf the rod to allow the bait to sink to mid-water, he holds the rod in the right hand, and draws the line home through the rings with the left hand, allowing it to fall at his feet as before, and raising and dipping the rod at every draw, makes the bait spin and shoot, and rise and fall, as it comes towards him, in a most attractive manner. The line being all drawn in, lies at his feet as before, and lift
ing the bait out of the water again, he repeats his cast in a new direction, and having fished all the water within reacli he moves on. Should a fish run he feels a jerk at the; rod point, or sees the line stop, and he strikes smartly and plays his fish, drawing in line by hand, and taking care that no tangle ensues. To avoid this at any time, he must see that there are no twigs or other obstructions about his- feet where the line rests between each cast, which may catch in the coils and cause a snarl or knot, as this spoils the cast by preventing the line from running. In trout spinning smaller and lighter tackles, rods, and lines are used than are employed for jack. For the big Thames, trout, and for trailing for the great lake trout, similar fashioned but lighter flights and traces are employed; but for spinning the minnow for small river or brook trout a different kind of flight is used. This flight is shown un- baited and baited at figs. 4 and 5 in the cut. The big hook is inserted into the mouth of the minnow, and by a little humouring the point is carried down the body along the back-bone to the tail, where it is brought out, and the lip hook inserted through both lips of the bait; and, if any attention has been paid to the size of the minnow selected, the tail will be nicely bent round on the curve of the hook so as to make the bait spin rapidly. Many anglers do not use any other hooks than these two ; but it is so easy for a trout to run and seize such a bait and to miss being hooked, that to make sure, it is usual to employ in addition the little triangle of hooks, which is inserted half way down, the side of the bait. Even with this safeguard, when fish are running shyly, the angler will find that he misses from one-third to one-half of the runs which he gets. In spinning for small trout various methods are pursued : some fish down stream, some up; and where it is requisite- to wade, and a moderate rod is used, it is best to fish up, wading in mid-stream, and casting on either hand towards the opposite banks, the angler brings the bait diagonally down towards him, with a curving sweep in front. When, however, he can fish from the bank, it is best to fish down, and to cast across, drawing with a diagonal sweep up stream. Usually it is just as the bait is making the bend round that the fish seizes it, and therefore it behoves the angler to keep a sharp look out then. Some anglers cast the minnow over hand, and some under; the best plan is to cast it under, and, taking hold of the reel-line between) two of the rings on the middle joint of the rod with the left hand, to draw a good portion of line off the reel, holding it tight until the cast is made, when it is released, and doubles the length of cast which the angler could make in the ordinary way, as in minnow fishing the tackle is too light, as a rule, to cast off loose line from coils on the ground, and so, ordinarily, little more line than a yard or so more than the length of the rod can be used; by this means, however, nearly double that length can be get out. Of course the weight or sinkers on a minnow tackle will be proportionate to the requirements of the stream, and though the trace will be of lighter gut than it is customary to use. for large trout, the fashion of the tackle is similar. In this, case, also, there are many other arrangements of hooks used, but there are none so good as the one figured in the plate. In the north there is another method of spinning practised, called par-tail fishing, which is used chiefly when and where minnows are difficult to obtain, though some persons. prefer par-tail as a bait to minnow. For this only two hooks are used similar to the two in the figure for minnow fishing, minus the triangle. A par is taken and cut diagon ally in two from the front part of the dorsal fin to the middle of the space between the ventral and anal fins. The tail part being taken, and the tail snipped off, the lip hook is put through the root of the tail, and the big hook stuck into the bait so as to curve the broad end of the bait on to the hook; the bait, if properly adjusted, spins pretty well. Some anglers, however, cut a slice out of the back from before the dorsal fin down to the tail, leaving a small part of the tail and only part of the belly, and by adjust ing this on hooks suited to it, it rather more resembles the natural fish. These baits are used exactly like theminnow.
In fishing for larger trout, as the large lake trout or the Sal mo ferox, the method generally adopted is that of trailing. Here a small trout or par is used on the three- triangle tackle already mentioned above. The line is weighted according to the depth of the water, and the boat is rowed slowly along, some 30 or 40 yards of line being let out, so as to permit the bait to sink and to tow some distance astern. Two rods are chiefly employed for this sport one being placed at each corner of the stern of the boat, and each having on a different bait, weighted differently, and with a longer or shorter line out, so as to give any fish inclined to feed a double chance. The proper line to take for these large trout when moving along the shores of a lake is just where the water begins to go off between the deep and the shallow; and the bait should travel as near to the bottom as it can, without catching in weeds or stumps ; as, though fish will frequently rise some distance to a bait, it is not desirable to compel them to do so. When a big lake trout strikes, he usually runs heavily, and bores down to the very depths of the loch, showing fine sport. They frequently run to a large size, reaching 16 and 18 Ib weight, and sometimes heavier. They are, however, better for the table when 4 or 5 Ib. The small lake trout are spun for by trailing a minnow in the same way, but an shallower water ; and often when the fish are dull at the fly, they take well on the trail. There are various artificial baits used for spinning, some of them imitating fish of different kinds, and made of bone, horn, gutta-percha, mother-of-pearl, glass, and other substances. One of the best and most generally known and used is the " phantom bait/ invented and made by Mr Brown of Aberdeen. It is made of oiled silk, and painted to repre sent a small trout or par ; being cylindrical, when drawn against the stream, it fills with water and plumps out to the size of a fish ; when seized, however, it compresses to a mere rag of oiled silk, leaving nothing but the hooks in the fish s mouth. There are various other spinning-baits which do not exactly imitate any fish, as spoons, otters, kill-devils, &c.
for pike is generally to use either what is termed " live snap or gorge tackle." In the former, the object is to strike as soon as the pike takes the bait into his mouth ; in the latter, to allow him to swallow or gorge it. In both cases a float is used. This is usually a lump of cork nearly as large as a hen s egg, to carry a good-sized bait. The bait used generally is either a small roach, dace, or gudgeon ; failing these, any other that can be obtained. The best kind of snap tackle may be seen in fig. 6. In the cut it consists of a single hook and a triangle. The single hook is hooked through the root of the dorsal fin of a small roach, dace, or gudgeon, and the triangle hangs down at the side of the bait, as shown in fig. 7. Now, when a pike first seizes a bait he takes it across his mouth, so that while the head and tail appear outside his jaws on either side, the whole of the middle parts of the body are well within them ; and, as will be seen from the position of the hooks, they will most probably be within the pike s mouth also; consequently, as soon as the pike has had time to take the bait so arranged into his mouth, the angler strikes smartly, and very often hooks his fish and lands him. It will of course happen sometimes that the triangle is not well in the fish s mouth, in which case either the fish is missed altogether, or, being very slightly hooked, he breaks away. Another method of using the live bait is what is termed the " live gorge." In this case a pair of hooks, tied back to back, are used. The loop of the gimp on which they are tied is hooked into a long needle, called a baiting needle. (See fig. 8, which shows the hooks and the needle.) This is inserted under the skin at the shoulder of the bait, and carried down just under the skin, towards the tail, being brought out just behind the dorsal fin. The gimp is drawn through, and the hooks stand as shown in the illustration. (See fig. 9.) In the illustration the loop is hung on to the trace, and the tackle used as in ordinary live bait fishing ; only, when a pike takes the bait he is allowed to gorge it before the angler strikes, being permitted to go where he will with the bait, and ten minutes being allowed for him to gorge or pouch, as it is termed. This is a tedious method of fishing, and is only used for pike, as often the fish runs the line foul of some weed, and leaves the bait ; or, after mumbling it and killing it, refuses to gorge, and the constant waiting whenever there is a run is wearisome. But as there is less show of hooks, more runs are obtained in clear water than with the live snap tackle. Another method of using the live bait is with the paternoster, though this is chiefly used with minnow or small fry for perch fishing. It is, however, sometimes used for pike, when a gimp tackle is preferred and only two hooks used. For perch fishing, the paternoster simply consists of a line of gut about 4 or 5 feet long ; at the bottom of this is a leaden bullet or plummet to sink it to the bottom ; about 6 or 8 inches above this a hook, on some 6 inches of gut, is fastened ; a foot above this another hook is fixed on, and a foot above that again, a third. This third hook is often a gimp hook, when pike and perch are found in common, and a rather larger hook and bait are used, so that if a pike should come to the bait, there may be a fair chance of capturing him. A minnow being hooked through the lips on each of the other hooks, the tackle is dropped into an eddy where perch are supposed to be, and the three baits swim round and round the main line ; so that, no matter whether the fish are resting at the bottom or searching for their prey in mid-water, they may be attracted. As soon as there is a bite from a perch the angler feels it at the rod-point, slackens line for two seconds to let the fish get the minnow well into his mouth, and then strikes. Should the immediate neighbourhood not afford a bite, the tackle is cast to a distance, and after being allowed to rest for a minute, it is drawn in a few feet, when another cast is made, and then another draw, until the tackle is worked up on the boat or bank, when another cast is made. In the winter, after the floods, veiy many perch are caught in this way on the Thames, from 100 to 200 in a day being not very uncommonly taken. Trolling with the dead gorge is another way of fishing ; and this is employed chiefly when the water is full of thick weeds and rush-beds, which prevent either spinning or live bait fishing, and solely also for pike. An elon gated piece of lead is cast on to a bit of twisted brass wire, which has a couple of hooks similar to those on a live bait gorge tackle at the other end (fig. 10) ; a gudgeon (which is the best bait for the purpose) to suit the length of the lead is chosen ; the loop of the gimp, to which the brass wire is fastened, is slipped into the eye of a baiting needle. The needle is passed in at the mouth of the bait and down along the spine, out at the tail. The lead being drawn into the stomach of the bait, the two hooks lie on each side of the mouth. The tail is tied tightly on to the gimp with three or four laps of silk, to prevent it from slipping (see fig. 11), and the tackle and bait fastened on to the trace used, which is usually a yard of gimp, with one hook or spring swivel to loop the tackle and bait on. This bait is then dropped into holes between the weeds or rushes, and is worked up and down by the lifting and fallin- of the rod-point, the lead within the bait causing it to shoot and dart along as though the fish were alive. When a pike seizes it, ten minutes must be allowed for him to pouch, when the angler must strike firmly, hold on, and get his fish out as well as he can. It is by no means the pleasantest method of fishing, as the waiting is tedious. The fish constantly runs the line foul of the weeds, &c. ; and often, after a tedious waiting, it is found that the fish has rejected the bait after all. Added to these, there is this objection to all gorge fishing, that the angler must kill every fish he catches, as the hooks are in the fish s throat, and small under-sized fish, which ought to be returned to the water, are sacrificed, as well as fair takeableones.
Sometimes grubs and worms are used in mid-water fish ing, being cast up stream and allowed to float down in mid- water. This is chiefly for trout. The angler uses a long, light bamboo rod, and a single shot for a sinker. Two small worms are generally used ; the brandling or gilt-tail is more frequently used (a worm found in rotten manure, &c.) Some use a single hook, some three small hooks tied one above the other. This is called " the Stewart tackle," after the author of the Practical Angler ; and the worms are twined round and impaled on them. Wading up stream, the angler casts before him into every likely stream and eddy, allowing the line and bait to come down towards him in mid-water, and striking the moment he perceives a check. This is a very killing plan, and is adopted with a modification of tackle, to fish with beetles, larvae, palmers, and, in fact, almost any kind of insect ; for the trout is a very omnivorous fish, and will hardly refuse anything that is small enough. The lure is cast overhand, as in fly-fishing, and practice enables the angler to cast nearly twice the length of the rod.
Surface or Fly Fishing.
the artificial fly. The first of these ways is called daping, dibbing, or shade fishing, and consists of iising a long light rod with almost 2 yards of fine strong gut, to the end of which is tied a No. 7 or 8 hook, not too coarse in the wire. A fly, beetle, or insect of some kind is then put on the hook by transfixing the thorax of the insect. Then the angler, having watched the fish rising under some bank or projecting tree or bush, creeps very softly to the place, and, keeping himself out of sight, pokes the point of his rod through some open^spot in the bushes, and allows the insect to drop on the surface, just over or a little above the spot where the fish he wants to catch has been rising. Probably he will not be able to see or to feel the fish rise, and he will have to trust to a third sense his hearing. He will hear a slight " plop," like a bubble coming out of a sub merged glass. A gentle strike then is required, and a tight hand on the fish, as such places are usually near old roots or boughs, in which the fish will try to shelter him self and entangle the tackle. The best fish are frequently taken in this way. Another method of using the natural fly or insect is by casting it. In this case a single-hand fly-rod is used, and it requires great care to avoid whipping the insect off the hook. Having cast the bait to the extent required, the line and bait rest on the surface, and the bait floats down quite naturally unchecked, and the fish rise at it in the ordinary manner. What is called the blow- line is another favourite method of using the live fly. A length of light floss silk is fastened on to the running line with about 2 feet of fine gut and a light hook at the end. Baiting the hook with a fly, the angler turns his back to
the wind, holds the rod (a long light cane one) upright, allows the wind to blow the light floss line as far out as it will go, when he gradually lowers the rod and guides the fly till it touches the water a yard above a fish, when he floats over it. A little wind is required for this kind of fishing. Some insects, beetles, creepers, or larvae of the stone-fly, &c., are used in mid- water, as already noted. A word or two as to the method : a couple of shots being fixed on the line, the bait is cast with an underhand swing, as in minnow fishing, up stream, and allowed to travel down towards where the angler stands. At every stop or check of the line it is necessary to strike, for the bait being tender, whether it be a twig, mud, or fish that arrests it, it will be spoilt ; therefore the angler must always strike on every suspicion of a bite. For full particulars of this kind of fishing, as well as for all relating to trouting in the North British streams, the angler cannot do better than get The Practical Angler, by the late Mr Stewart, one of the best works ever published on such subjects. The best flies used for live-fly fishing are the large ones, as the green and grey drake, the stone fly, known often in Scotland as the May-fly, the big alder, the blue-bottle, and, in deed, any that are large enough. In casting them the angler must be careful to let his line make rather a sweep or circuit behind him, or he will easily flick off or destroy his bait. In using the artificial fly the angler employs either a single or a double handed rod, generally he com mences his apprenticeship with a single one. This is usually made either of hickory, green-heart, or split bam boo tied and glued up in lengths, runs from 10 to 12 feet long, and is tolerably pliant, more or less so, according to the taste of the angler. The linfi used is generally twisted or plaited hair and silk, or fine dressed silk. The first is the lightest. A piece of gut, knotted together until it is about 3 yards long, is termed the cast ing-line, point, lash, or collar. This is fastened to the end of the reel or running-line, and to the other end of it is looped on an artificial fly. Sometimes two or more flies are used; in this case they are called droppers or bob flies, and are looped or tied on to the casting-line about 18 inches or 2 feet apart. The end fly is called the tail or stretcher. The best way of fastening on the drop flies is to whip the gut round with silk a few times, just above one of the knots, to prevent chafing ; then take a fly with only about 5 inches of gut to it, tie a knot at the extreme end of the gut, and then knot on it once or twice, if required, over the whipped silk, and if the gut be moistened and drawn tight to the knot, even when only once knotted, it rarely slips, and the more it is pulled of course the tighter it gets. When it is desired to take the dropper off, a sharp knife slips off the extreme end knot, and the tie comes off easily. The loss of gut is infinitesi mal, and the fly w r ears out before the gut is materially shortened. The angler having his rod and line ready, and his cast of flies selected, begins by letting out a little more line than the length of his rod, waves the rod back over his right shoulder, so as to extend the line behind him, and then, making a slight curve, impels it forward towards the point he desires to reach, letting it fall on the water as lightly as possible ; then he allows his flies to float down the stream as far as they will go, when he draws out and repeats the cast, lengthening out line as he does so until he has as much out as he requires, or can cast comfortably. If in casting he does not make a curve with the rod-point behind him, but returns the line too directly, he will crack his fly off, or so crack the gut at the head of the fly that the first good fish will carry it away. When the angler sees a fish rise at his fly, if he is fishing for small fish, he cannot strike too quickly, if for large ones, he may be a little more leisurely. In fishing over a fish that is rising, the best way is to cast a little above, and to allow the flies, with as little of the line as possible, to eome over or past him. Some anglers fish up stream and some down. In fishing down stream the angler exposes himself more to the fish, and is more apt to miss his fish when they do rise ; and if his tackle is fine and the fish heavy, having the weight of the stream against him is also more apt to break it than when fishing up ; perhaps the best method is to fish diagonally up and across the stream. The angler pursues one of two systems. He either waits till he sees fish rise and fishes over them, wasting no time on intermediate water when he sees no rises ; or he fishes the water out thoroughly, searching every hollow, bank, weed, and stone, that may hide a trout. In burn fishing for small trout the latter method is generally the one adopted. In larger rivers, where the fish are heavy and few, the former is more often preferred. When a good fish is hooked it will often resist strongly, and rush violently about, seeking to hide itself under weeds and roots, which are dangerous to the tackle. The angler must guide the fish as well as he can until it is tired, letting out line from the reel when resistance becomes too severe a strain on the tackle, and winding it in again when opportunity serves, but always keeping a tight line on the fish, as a slack line frequently loses it. When tired the fish should be towed gently to a favourable bank, and the landing-net quietly slipped under him. There must be no dashing or hasty movement with the net, lest the fish be frightened and make another effort to escape, as fish frequently do, and successfully, as it is a dangerous moment in the struggle. In fishing with a double-handed rod the rod is longer and the line a little heavier; in other- respects there is no difference. The rod will vary from 13 to 15 feet for trouting. The left hand grasps it below the reel, and the right hand above ; though, if the angler desires a change, or the necessities of the stream or wind require it, the hands can be reversed. The double-handed rod has several advantages over the single, having more power with big fish, and keeping the line and flies higher aboveobstructions.
on hooks, and what they mistake them for, has often been asked ; and it is now pretty generally allowed that they take them for flies in the majority of instances, though in others they may mistake them for water-beetles, larvae, or spiders, of which latter insect there are several that inhabit the water. Now, there are two classes of disputants on this matter : one which holds altogether to the fly theory, and therefore strives to imitate each fly that comes out closely; the other, which inclines more to the general insect theory, and merely gives a few flies of different colours, not caring to imitate anything in particular. Pro bably the best fishermen recognise both theories, but bind themselves exclusively to neither. But before entering upon the selection of flies it may be well to point out the difference in the practice of the north and south. We may, perhaps, take the late Mr Stewart as the exponent of the north ; and, perhaps, Mr Francis Francis may be held as the latest exponent of the south. Mr Stewart gives a short list of a bare half-dozen of insects, three of which he calls spiders black, red, and dun and which are what are known in the south as " hackle " flies ; that is, flies dressed with only a body and hackle. The hackle is wound on round the hook, over the body, and is supposed to represent the legs of the fly, there being no wings. Mr Stewart also has three flies of three general colours, yellow, brown, and dark bodies ; but as these may be varied with all sorts of wings and legs, the last may embrace in reality any number of flies which the taste of the angler may suggest. Mr Stewart s standards, however, are dressed thus : (1.) A woodcock wing, with a single turn of a red hackle or landrail feather, dressed with yellow silk freely exposed on the body. For fishing in dark-coloured waters the fly may be dressed with scarlet thread. (2.) A hare- lug body, with corn-bunting or chaffinch wing. A wood cock wing may also be put on the same body, but should be made of the small light feathers taken from the inside of the wing. (3.) The same wing as the last, with a single turn of a soft black hen-hackle, or a small feather taken from the shoulder of a starling, dressed with dark-coloured silk. These, as Mr Stewart says, can be varied to any extent ; but he pins his faith on those mentioned and the spiders : the black spider being a small dark starling feather wound over a brown silk body ; the red one, the small feather outside the wing of the landrail, wound on over a yellow silk body; and the dun spider, the small soft ash-coloured feather from outside the dottrel s wing, with hardly any body but the tying of the hook. This is Mr Stewart s repertoire it is not overburdensome; but in the south Mr Francis says that fish are much less numerous, and are larger and more critical, their feeding-time being much longer and food being more plentiful than in the north, and their taste, therefore, has to be more carefully considered; he therefore gives a list of flies for each month. Space does not permit us to name the whole of them, but we can enumerate a few of the best of them. The duns run through the whole year, and are therefore with the angler the piece de resistance. These comprise varieties of the blue and yellow dun, and should be varied from the darkest slate-blue to the lightest shade yellow, from almost golden yellow up to the lightest fawn, almost a white, and these, slightly combined, go also to an olive. The earlier duns are the blue dun, which comes in in March, and is one of the best spring flies. It is in the water more or less throughout the season. Then there is the small dark iron-blue dun, which appears in April or May, with wings almost as dark as the body ; and the bright yellow dun, with greenish-yellow body and pale slate-coloured wings. If these three be taken as the darkest of their class, and varieties, each of a shade or two lighter in colour, be made, they will take in the whole of this important class of flies. These duns are all imperfect insects, and have another change to go through before they are complete and able to propagate, and when they have completed this they usually die. The fly casts its skin and becomes a perfect insect, brighter in colour and more brisk in its motions. In this . form they are called by the angler " spinners." Thus the blue dun becomes the red spinner, the yellow dun the brown spinner, the iron-blue dun the jenny spinner, and so on. All these flies belong, with several others, to the class or order Neuroptera, or nerve-winged flies flies with clear gaudy wings, intersected with a network of veined markings. They form the most important order for the angler; but there is another order, the Trichoptera, or hairy-winged flies, which is scarcely less important, and which includes a very large number of flies on which fish habitually feed. These flies have soft feathery folding wings, which lie close on the back. They differ from the former order in having one less change to go through, for when they emerge from the pupa state and become flies, they are complete, and have no further change to go through. There are, besides these, which are flies born from water, other orders of land flies, imitations of which are used by anglers, as the cow-dung, hawthorn, and oak flies, the house-fly, &c., but they are comparatively insignificant, and with the exception of the cow-dung, which is a very useful fly, may be dispensed with. It is impossible here to give the dressing of the various flies ; but if the angler poes to any respectable tackle-maker and mentions the names of the flies he requires he will get them. To commence then with the month of—
March, which is early enough for fly-fishing. The earliest fly found on the water is the February red. This, with the blue dun and the March brown, will do well during March, if anything will. The same flies kill well enough also in—
April, and to them may be added the red spinner, the cow-dung, the red and black hackles, the needle brown, and towards the end of the month, or entering on May, the yellow dun and the iron-blue dun.
May.— In addition to many of these, the angler may use the stone-fly, the sedge-fly, and the orl or alder fly—a very celebrated and general fly with the little black gnat and the pale evening dun,—a fly which only comes on in the evening towards dusk, when the fish feed ravenously on it.
June.—In this month the standing dish with the trout in most rivers is the green drake, better known as the May fly, though it rarely appears until May is over. This and its transformations, the grey drake, with the well-known Welsh fly, the coch-y-bondu, otherwise the bracken clock, shorn-fly, &c. ; these, with various light-coloured duns and spinners, may be used through the month with effect, as this is the prime month for fly-fishers.
July, as a rule, is rather an indifferent month. The weather is hot, the water low and clear, and fish do not feed well till the evening, when the white and brown moths may be used. In the day-time the red and black ant flies often kill well, and these, with various light- coloured duns and diminutive green, blue, and grey midges, must make up the bill of fare.
August.—The August dun and the cinnamon now are added to the list, many of the previous flies being still on.
September brings the whirling dun and the willow-fly, and this closes the angler s fly-fishing for trout.
and with the list here given the angler should have no diffi culty in killing fish anywhere. Most of the smaller trout- flies are dressed on hooks that range from the sizes No. 10 to 17 in the scale of hooks given in fig. 12 in the cut the larger flies, as the May-flies, stone-fly, the moths, &c., running up to sizes 6, 7, and 8. There are, besides these flies, which are definite imitations of insects, a few of such general make and colour that though they do not strictly imitate one fly, may have a general likeness to several, and which are called general flies, and are often used when the angler is in a difficulty in knowing what to put on his cast. Among the best of these are the Hoffland, the Francis, the governor, the coachman, the soldier palmer, the wren-tail, the grouse and partridge hackles, &c. As a rule, the smaller flies are used in the day-time, the size being increased as the evening and night come on. In some waters, owing to the excessive fishing, the trout get so wary that after the May-fly there is very little chance, unless the day be particularly favourable, of hooking a trout before the evening, and fishing is often carried on till ten or eleven o'clock at night. Of course at such times the angler has to trust more to his senses of feeling and hearing than sight. In the majority of instances it is the custom to let the tackle soak, and when fishing to allow the fly to sink a little under the surface to fish with a "wet fly," as it is called; in others, where the fish are more wary, in order to imitate nature more closely yet, it is the custom to fish with a dry one that is, to make the fly and line rest on the surface, without becoming sub merged. To this end, when the fly and line become wet, they are waved to and fro from the rod-point in the air to make them become dry again. The fly should always be allowed to float down stream, as natural flies do, and should not be jerked or " played," as it is termed, unless the angler is fishing down stream and drawing his fly against it, when he will allow it to sink under water, andin that position it may be supposed to represent some quick darting larva. So far, stream fishing only lias been dealt with.
Lake Fishing differs in its practice materially from stream fishing, and though some flies which are used on streams will also kill on lakes, yet, for the most part, there is a fancy repertoire in this respect which differs wholly from that employed in streams. Lake-trout flies, particularly in Scotland, are made with wool bodies, the prevailing colours being red, claret, orange, yellow, green, and black, with a light spiral up the body of gold or silver tinsel. The hackles are chiefly either black or red, or red with a black centre ; the wings are either of teal, mallard, or woodcock. Here and there the white tip feather in the drake s wing is a favourite wing for flies. They are usually dressed on 7, 8, or 9 hooks ; the same flies a size or two larger do equally well for sea-trout flies.
Lake-trout fishing is conducted either from a boat or from the shore. The best depth of water in which to fish for trout varies from 6 or 8 to 12 or 14 feet, and between these depths the best sport is obtained; and the angler should therefore fish over them for choice, though occa sionally fish may be caught in both deeper and shallower water. In lake fishing it is always desirable to have a good ruffling breeze, as the fish do not rise or take well in a calm. The best places are in sheltered bays, by rocky points or islands, or where burns flow in; drifting along by these, and casting ahead and shorewards, the angler watches every break in the water. While drifting along in his boat, it may happen that, the wind being high, he drifts too fast to fish thoroughly and properly over the ground. To obviate this a stone or an anchor is cast over and allowed to drag along the bottom, so as to check the way of the boat, and to give time to the angler to fish. A good boatman and netsman is here a great desideratum, and much of the chance of sport depends upon him. The great fault of most boatmen is that they go too quickly over the casts ; and it requires a man with a knowledge of the lake, as well as experience in managing the boat, so to conduct matters that the angler has the best chance of sport. When rowing to his ground, or from point to point, the angler should always put out the spinning minnow, and thus he may take one or two of the best fish. As fish do not always lie in the same places, wind and weather have to be sedulously consulted. In fishing from the shore the angler seldom gets the best sport, and often has to wade to reach fishable water, while the best casts are often beyond his reach; and therefore, whenever a boat can be employed, it is to be preferred for lakes.
FIG. 21. The Salmon.
the angler essays his art, and fish from 40 to 50 Ib in weight, and sometimes of even more, are occasionally taken by the rod and line ; though for the ordinary purposes of sport, fish from 7 or 8 Ib up to 20 are far more generally taken. When a salmon in good condition is
first hooked he makes a strong and violent resistance, dashing through the water frequently for a distance of 60 or 70 yards or more at a time, and compelling the angler to let so much line off the reel; springing out of the water, often to a height of several feet, several times during the struggle ; and finding that force is unavailing to break the line or withdraw the hook, he will often have recourse to cunning, and cut the line or rub the hook out of his nose against some rock ; or, hiding himself at the bottom behind big stones and boulders, he will sulk and remain immovable for a long time. Occasionally he will run up or down rapids or falls in his terror and rage. To control all these vagaries, to combat his cunning, the angler, with his bending rod and practised skill, lets him take out line when his struggles are dangerous, cautiously winding it back again when he is able to do so safely, and thus keep ing a certain strain upon the fish he gradually tires him out and wears his strength down, and at last, when un able to resist any longer, he is led in towards the shore, where upon some convenient rock or strand the attendant gaffsman stands or crouches, with a sharp-pointed steel hook attached to a short ashen staff called a gaff, waiting his opportunity. As the salmon is led past or near him, almost on the surface of the water, the hook is extended beyond the fish, the gaffsman makes a short sharp stroke with it, and digging the hook into the side of the salmon, with a sudden and instantaneous pull drags it out of the water to the land ; a rap on the skull from a stick or stone terminates the poor salmon s life, and henceforth he be comes mere provender. Sometimes a large landing-net is used to land the fish, but though this prevents the spoiling of a portion of the fish by avoiding the need for making a hole with the gaff, it is less convenient and of more risk to the safety of the fish. The most favourite plan of fishing for salmon is with the fly, though in many places they will also take both worm and minnow freely, and are thus fished for. The salmon-fly is a most wonderful conglo meration of feathers, silks, and tinsels, and oftentimes is as brilliant as the most glittering humming-bird. What the salmon mistakes it for is not easy to say, for there is nothing like it in nature. Probably a semi-transparent shrimp or prawn reflecting the gorgeous tints of the sur rounding sea vegetation may be the nearest approach to it. The manufacture of the salmon-fly is given hereafter. They are made of various sizes, the longest for the early spring when the rivers are much swollen and very turbid, when hooks of 3 inches in length, and sometimes even longer, are employed ; and from this extreme size they diminish gradually to a large sea-trout size, which is about in accordance with the hooks numbered 6 and 7 in the scale given in the illustration. These are used when the rivers have sunk down to their summer level, and are very clear and still, and the flies in the intervening sizes are carefully adjusted to suit the size and clearness of the water. There is a great difference in the method of using the trout and the salmon fly. In salmon fishing there are certain spots in the river upon which salmon are known to rest and to feed, and these are called salmon-caste, throws, lodges, or stands. They may be but a few yards in length, and comprise a favourite ledge, or a rock or two, behind which salmon like to shelter, for a salmon always has his lair or resting-place behind some projecting rock or stone; or they may extend for 100 or 200 yards. or even more. There are, too, in many rivers plenty of places where salmon may be seen sporting and jumping about, but where, owing to the depth of water or some other reason, they never feed or at least take the fly. The angler, therefore, who knows thoroughly the cast he is about to fish, has a great advantage, for he knows where the big stones and the particular eddies are in which a salmon may be expected to rise, and how the fly should be drawn over the fish so as to show itself in the most tempting manner; whereas the angler who has not much knowledge is often apt to dwell upon spots that are comparatively barren, and to pass quickly over those that would perhaps repay particular attention. In fishing a cast, the angler casts diagonally across down stream, and draws the fly up stream towards him, softly raising and lowering the top of the rod so as to check and loosen the fly alternately, and to make all its fibres open and shut so as to counterfeit life. When a salmon rises to the fly he either makes a big bulge or boil in the water, or, if he is unusually eager, he throws his head and half his body above the surface, rolling over like a porpoise in his endeavour to seize the fly ; but a salmon very often misses the fly in his eagerness, and when he does, the very worst the angler can do is to pull it away from him, as after such a miss it is not at all un common for a salmon to turn round hastily and to make a second snatch at the fly, which he then rarely misses ; but if the fly is whipped away from him, he is frightened and disgusted, and goes down sulkily, refusing to rise again. It is therefore the safest plan to wait till you feel your fish, and then to strike, and even then it is not desirable to be too rough. A violent stroke is not the best one, a slight elevation of the rod so as to fix the point, and then a steady strain, enough to force the barb of the hook home in the next minute, is the best way of getting a firm hold. Many fishers strike the moment they see the boil of the fish, under the belief that the boil is made by the tail of the salmon as he turns to go down, and that they do not see him till he gets the fly in his jaws. This is true, pro vided he does not miss his aim altogether ; if he does (as he certainly often does, for it must be remembered that the fly is constantly in motion, which of course renders it not very easy to see), then to strike is to pull the fly away and to deprive the salmon of another chance. When he has hooked a fish, the angler should look round and study what dangers there are which may prove destructive to his hopes, and determine if possible so to manage his fish as to avoid them. He must, therefore, always retain his coolness and presence of mind ; flurry and confusion are often fatal to success. If a salmon jumps out of water the point of the rod should be lowered, so that the line be slackened, for if it be tight the sudden weight is apt to pull it out of the fish s jaw. If he sulks, the only way is to frighten him out of his hole by poking a long pole into it, or by throwing stones, or by some other device. If he runs for the edge of a fall or rapid, it is often a very good plan to let out a lot of loose line, and the salmon, fancying himself free again, will not go over, but will head round and face up stream again. As the devices of the salmon to escape are numerous, they cannot be dealt with fully here. No two salmon-casts are alike, and therefore no two can be fished in the same way ; each one must be fished tosuit the particular capabilities it possesses.
The method of casting the salmon-fly is similar to that adopted with the double-hand trout-rod ; the only differ ence being that the rod is larger and heavier, running up to 21 feet, and even more sometimes, and seldom less than 16 or 17 feet. The line is stout, well-dressed, 8-plait silk ; the casting-line a yard or two of treble-twisted gut, and a yard or two of stout single salmon gut. Having mastered his rod well, the angler will find it comparatively easy to cast up to 20 yards of line ; from this up to 30 yards every extra yard he can throw proves him more and more a good fisherman, while every yard he can cast "beyond 30 shows him to be a master of his craft. The angler should never cast more line out than he can work and fish comfortably ; if he does, he has a slack line when he requires a tight one, and he will often raise and scratch fish, and spoil his own sport and other people s, when a yard or two less of line would have enabled him to catch his fish. Very long throws are only necessary under un usual circumstances ; 25 yards will generally cover fully all that the angler really needs to fish.
We may give a short list of general salmon-flies such as the angler will find it useful to have always by him, and which he can employ if he does not know the general flies used on the river, and every river has some pet fly, some different combination of feathers and fur from its neighbour. The flies given are all standard flies, and may be had at any respectable tackle-maker s. The method of dressing them is the one which experience has shown to be the best for attracting the notice of the salmon.
The Claret.—One of the most useful general flies. Beginning the dressing at the bend of the hook, which is the tail end of the fly, a turn or two of gold twist and golden-coloured floss silk is taken, for the tag ; above this is lashed on a tail formed of a golden phea sant topping and some strips of blue and red macaw. Over tho stump of the tail is fastened the but, a sort of ruff made of two or three turns of the herl or strands of a black ostrich feather. Then comes the body first three turns of orange floss silk, then reddish claret pig s wool wound on to the top of the body ; over the wool spirals of stout gold thread ; and, beginning halfway down the body, a hackle of reddish claret to the shoulder, and at the shoulder two or three turns of black hackle. The wing is made first of tippet feather of the golden pheasant, which forms a sort of short under wing ; above that is a mixed wing of fibres from the golden pheasant tail, turkey, bustard, and peacock wing, with a few fibres of green and red parrot ; above all a single topping, with a rib to either wing, of blue macaw fibre, the head of the fly being black, either ostrich, herl, or chenille. This fly may be used of various sizes, and is a very general favourite in most waters.
The Black and Teal.—Another very general favourite, the lead ing points^of which are a black body with silver spirals of twist or tinsel ; a single topping for the tail ; black hackle up to the shoul der, over which either a teal feather or a gallina feather (with the large spots), and a wing of teal or rather pintail, and over it two jungle cock feathers with or without a topping. This fly also may be used of all sizes ; dressed small, it is good for either lake or sea trout.
The Blue Doctor.—Tag, a few turns of fine gold twist ; tail, a topping ; but, scarlet crewel or wool ; body, pale blue floss silk, with a hackle a shade darker, or a blue jay s feather ; silver tinsel (in large flies with silver twist beside it) ; grouse, partridge, or bustard hackle at the shoulder ; a blue jay feather or blue hackle over it. The wing is mixed of fibres of the bustard, dark turkey, argus pheasant, claret, blue, and yellow fibres of dyed swan ; some times a topping over all and a head of scarlet crewel.
The Silver Doctor.—Also a very great favourite. Tag, silver tinsel ; tail, a topping ; but, a turn of red crewel ; body of silver tinsel entirely ; hackle, blue, with brown hackle at the shoulder, and a small speckled gallina feather hackled on over it ; wing chiefly pintail, with a few red and blue fibres and a topping ; head, red crewel.
The Butcher.—A. very killing fly, and generally used. Tag, gold twist and dark orange floss ; tail, a topping ; but, black ostrich herl ; body, two or three turns of scarlet. The same of a medium blue, then of red, and lastly of dark blue pig s wool ; broad silver tinsel ; a medium red claret hackle with a gallina at the shoulder ; under wing a tippet and rump feather of the golden phea sant, and over them strips of brown mallard, .bustard, or peacock wing.
The Parson.—If a gaudy fly is required, there are few more showy ones than this. Tag, silver tinsel and mauve floss ; tail, two toppings, a few sprigs of tippet, and a green kingfisher feather ; body, two turns of gold floss silk, golden pig s wool merging into orange ; silver twist ; golden orange hackle, red orange hackle above it; three or four short toppings tied on at the breast ; wing, a tippet feather of the golden pheasant, a strip of pintail on either side, seven or eight toppings, and a couple of kingfisher feathers at the shoulder on either side ; black head. A more subdued parson may be made by using a jay s hackle at the shoulder instead of the short toppings, by reducing the number of toppings in the wing, and adding some darker fibres of golden pheasant tail, bustard, &c.
The Drake Wing.—Tail, tippet sprigs and a yellow toucan feather ; body, orange red and black pig s wool ; silver tinsel ; hackle, a coch-y-bondu stained of a dark orange red ; a lavender hackle at shoulders ; wing, two strips of drake or pintail. Bodies of orange, claret, dark blue, and black pig s wool graduated up to the head, are very great favourites, and, wedded to various hackles and wings, kill extensively.
The Orange and Grouse.—Flies with orange or golden floss silk bodies, and various hackles and wings, also kill widely. The above
fly is tied with a tag of silver tinsel. Tail, a topping and king fisher feather ; but, black ostrich herl ; body, three turns of magenta floag, and the rest of light orange iloss ; hackle, grouse with the tips snipped off not on the back with three or four toppings over the long grouse fibre for wing ; blue jay tied sparely at the shoulder ; blue macaw ribs ; a black head.
A very good series of plain flies, very much used, can be made thus:—Tag, two turns of tinsel ; tail, a topping and some tippet sprigs ; body, a turn of bright orange brown followed by yellow in the centre, and the rest of lightish blue pig s wool ; a broadjsh silver tinsel, the wool rough and picked out, with a black hackle, and wings of peacock wing, sometimes with a tippet in the centre or a topping over. By varying the wing or hackle, a very taking series of flies can be had.
With this list of flies the angler ought to be able, in default of knowing the special ilies suited to the river, to fish any river with confidence, and, if the fish are in the humour to rise, to get sport in it. The colour, and particularly the size of the fly, are things to study in catering for a willing salmon. Too large a fly often causes a false rise ; when this is found to occur, the size should be reduced.
Next to the salmon ranks in value for sport the sea-trout. Of these there are two kinds : 1st, The salmon-trout (Salmo trutta) ; and 2d, The bull or grey trout (Salmo eriox). The former is much the better fish for sport and for the table, the latter being coarser for the table and rather shy of the angler s lures. Sea-trout abound in several rivers in the north, and many are tak en in the tributaries of the Tweed and other northern rivers; but they are perhaps more abundant and show better sport to the angler in some of the western Irish waters. The salmon-trout usually average below 4 Ib each, perhaps from 1 to 2 Ib being the prevailing size, though now and then much larger fish are taken. The bull-trout often runs up to a far greater size, and fish of above 20 and even up to 30 Ib are not very uncommon. The salmon-troiit, called in Ireland the white trout, and on Tweed and the northern rivers the herling or silver white, is a smart, bold-rising fish ; it takes freely at times, and plays with wonderful agility, frequently when hooked springing from the water like an acrobat many times in succession, and trying all the angler s skill to bring it into the basket. In lakes they frequently abound in profusion, and a hundredweight of them, and sometimes more, are or have been often taken in one clay. The tackle, of course, is lighter than that used for salmon, and somewhat heavier than is used for the common trout. The flies are also of a size between those used for the other two; bodies of claret, yellow and orange, green, blue, and black, either of silk or fur, are the favourites. In Ireland they prefer a mixed wing, chiefly made up of fibres of yellow, red, and green parrot, with bustard and other dark feathers; the hackles being suitable. In Scotland they prefer plain wings of drake, teal, woodcock, and the black and white tip from the wild drake wing ; but the fashion of the dressing is not a very important matter, so that the colour is right. At times sea-trout rise very badly, and the angler will get a number of rises, but succeed only in hooking a very few fish ; but when the fish are taking well, few branches of the sport show better amusement than a day s sea-trout fishing. They also, unlike the salmon, take a spinning bait well while still in the salt water, and many are thus captured in the estuaries and salt-water lochs of Scotland while they are making their way to the mouths of the rivers up which they eventually would run to deposit their spawn.
The trout (Salmo fario) has already been fully dealt with as regards the means employed in capturing him, and very little more needs to be said. He may be caught on the surface by the natural and artificial fly, by spinning a minnow, &c., in mid-water, by a live minnow, by casting a beetle or grub also in mid-water, and by fishing with a worm at the bottom. There are very few fish that have so wide a range as the trout. From the poles to the outside boundaries of the tropics they are found on every continent, either in running or still waters, for neither comes amiss to them. From the huge lake trout, vying with the salmon in size and strength, the species dwindles down to the small burn fish of six or eight to the pound. There is hardly any way of using the rod that is not more or less suitable for their capture ; and though salmon fishing is held the nobler pursuit of the two, yet far more skill is required to make an expert trout fisher, so cunning and wary do they become when much fished over.
FIG. 22. The Common Trout.
The greyling (Salmo Thymallus] is not so widely dis tributed as the other members of the Salmonidse. It is found in comparatively few rivers in England ; in only ono in Scotland, the Clyde, into which it was introduced some years ago; and not at all in Ireland. It is a useful fish for the angler, inasmuch as it comes into the best rivers just as the trout is going out. It is a handsome fish, of graceful shape, very silvery sides and belly, with small black spots. It supposed to smell of thyme when first caught, hence its name. It is seldom known to run much above 4 ft) in weight, and even that size is not at all common, from |- or 1 B> to 1 J Bb being the average takeable size. It rises very freely to the fly, and will take other bait; but is less carnivorous than the trout, so that minnow is rarely used as a lure for it, small insects, as gentles, caddis, &c., may be used with advantage. The flies it prefers are usually small bright duns and spinners, such as are used for trout in clear waters. The longer dorsal fin of the greyling allows it to rise from greater depths more rapidly than the trout, and deep still reaches often hold the best fish. Unlike the trout, a greyling will often rise and refuse the fly four or five or more times in succession, and yet will perhaps take it after all. The mouth being tender, the fish must be treated more gently than the trout, or it may break away. There is one way of fishing for greyling practised in the midland rivers which is worth notice. It is called " grasshopper fishing," though the lure is totally unlike a grasshopper. A lump of lead of an elongated pear shape is welded or cast on to the shank of a No. 5 or 6 hook. This is covered with wool or worsted wound on to it in rings of different colours green, yellow, and sometimes red. To make the bait more attractive, sometimes two or three gentles are put on the hook, and the bait is cast into a greyling eddy, and worked up and down smartly until taken by a fish. The angler strikes at every suspicion of a bite. Large baskets of greyling are taken thus.
bottom fishing with the float, as before described. The roach has been termed the river sheep, from his supposed unsuspiciousness of guile, but that can only be when he is never fished for. About London, where he forms a great attraction to a numerous body of anglers, he is particularly sharp; and nothing but the finest tackle, such as a single almost colourless horse hair, will take him, even gut being refused when he is much fished for. A very light quill float and a few sinkers are desirable. Roach weighing 2 Eb are not at all common, from 1 fi> to 1| Bb being the usual limits. The best hook baits for roach are gentles, greaves, red worms, a plain paste made of flour and water or worked up bread crumb or pearl barley. Of course there are a multitude of other baits which are sometimes preferred, but these will rarely fail if the fish are at all inclined to feed. The best general ground-bait is that already men tioned in bottom fishing, though all sorts of other matters as grains, barley-meal, pollard, boiled wheat, &c. are sometimes used. Roach, when feeding near the surface, will sometimes take a fly, as indeed will most fish. Sizeof hooks required, 10, 11, and 12.
FIG. 23.—The Roach.
The dace (Cyprinus leuciscus) is frequently found in common with the roach, though often abounding in trout streams. Where there are no roach, it takes the same baits as the roach in all respects, save that it runs much more freely at the fly. In the months of July, August, and September on the Thames, large numbers of dace are taken with the fly from the water between Isleworth and Teddington with small black and red palmer and other flies tipped with a gentle or a piece of Avash leather in imitation, and it is not uncommon for an angler to take ten dozen of them in a tide. The dace runs quickly, and requires very quick striking. The Jews are very fond of dace for their feasts, and pay a high price for them. Size of hooks required, 10, 11, and 12.
The chub (Cyprinus cephalus) is perhaps the least valuable fresh-water fish for table purposes, though probably the barbel may almost be put on a level with him, albeit Izaak Walton contrived to make a tasty dish of it; but at best the flesh is rather vapid, watery, and abounding in bones. It is a fair sporting fish, however. In addition to his taking all kinds of baits in bottom fishing, he will take both natural and artificial insects on the surface boldly, and many are taken by dressing a cockchafer, humble bee, or small frog, or by casting imitations of the same, artificially prepared, under the boughs where the chub lies waiting. A big artificial humble bee or cockchafer, or a fly made of a silver tinsel body, coch-y-boudu hackle, and turkey wing, with sprigs of green peacock in it, are about the three best lures for him, though many prefer red and black palmers. The chub often lies also in deep heavy streams, and will frequently in such cases take a live or a spinning minnow pretty freely. Among bottom baits cheese and greaves are special favourites. The chub rarely exceeds 6 or 7 Bb in weight, though specimens have been known to attain 9 Bb. Size of hooks, 3, 4, and some times larger.
FIG. 24.—The Chub or Skelly.
The barbel (Cyprinus barbus), so termed from the wattles or beard depending from the sides of the mouth, is a very game fish for the angler, frequenting deep and rapid streams, and often turbulent and broken waters, as at the tail of mill Avheels, weirs, &c. They go in large shoals, so that when the barbel are got upon the feed the angler often takes from 20 to 50 or more in a day. They require a good deal of ground- baiting, however, worms, gentles, greaves, &c., being often used in large quantities two or three nights before fishing to induce them to feed freely, and even then the angler is as likely as not to be disappointed. A clean red lob-worm is, upon the whole, perhaps the best bait for a barbel, and next to that a bunch of gentles or greaves, though they Avill sometimes take freely a number of things, including fat bacon and raw beef. They are fished for in seA eral ways by the ordinary and travelling float method, by the ledger and the clay-ball principally; and it often happens that they Avill take pretty well in one of these ways and refuse the others. The barbel nibbles a little at the still bait before biting, but Avhen a good double tug is felt, the angler may strike firmly. Owing to its great expanse of fins, and its rounded body, the barbel is a very stout fighter, and makes a most prolonged resistance; and though it is not so active as either salmon or trout, it is more troublesome, and takes longer to subdue. In the spring months the large barbel will frequently take a spinning bait freely, and when spinning for large trout in a weir the angler frequently receives severe disappointment by hooking a big out-of- season barbel. They run up to 10 Bb weight, but one of 12 Ib is not caught eveiy day. On the Thames the average is from 1 to 4 Bb. They are a A ery curious fish, some years biting freely, and during others hardly at all. Size of hooks for Avorms, 1, 2, 3; for other baits smaller.
The bream (Cyprinus brama). It is said that there are two kinds of bream, the small Avhite bream (flat) and the big olive-coloured bream. Much that applies to the barbel applies also to the bream. The same baits and the same methods of fishing must be adopted, but if possible finer tackle is required. Perhaps if there is one bait the bream likes better than another, it is two or three brandlings or red worms stuck on the hook. Otherwise his taste re-
FIG. 25.—The Bream or Carp Bream.
caught in the same swim, but bream like to have a deep quiet eddy to lie in. They are a curious fish, suddenly appearing in places where they have never been seen before, and after stopping for a year or two, as suddenly disappearing. They run up to 7 lb, and in the Thames average from 1 lb to 4 lb. They are a very fair fish for the table, and fry well. Size of hooks, 4, 5, 6.
The carp (Cyprinus carpio) is described by the Dame Juliana Berners as a "deyntous dish." Unfortunately the decline of knowledge in the matter of fish feeding and rearing in ponds, &c., renders it difficult to realise the dame s assertion, an ordinary carp from an ordinary pond being poor in flesh and muddy in flavour, but it is quite possible that the flesh, which is so susceptible of taking the nasty flavours exhaled around it, would, under better management, with better food and purer water, be both delicate and "deyntous." Of all fresh- water fish, the carp is one of the most cunning and difficult to catch where he is much fished for, though, singularly enough, they take much better in rivers than in still water. In still water, even if you can induce a good carp to pay attention to your bait (which you cannot always), he will nibble, and turn it about, until he either sucks it off the hook without touching the hook, or he discovers the hook on the line, becomes alarmed, and swims away. Very fine tackle, therefore, is required in carp fishing; but as he is big and lusty, it should be round and strong. There are various baits which more or less attract him. Paste sweetened with sugar or honey is one of the best; but he will at times take gentles, greaves, and red worms. Some affect boiled green peas, some beans, and many are taken with parboiled potato, which is one of the best of baits in some places for large fish. The best ground-baits are those recommended already, of bran, rice, bread, &c. If the fish are very shy, float tackle is to be avoided, and a very light ledger on a pistol bullet used instead. As the line rests on the ground, the carp does not see it, and takes the bait without suspicion. A clear bottom, however, is desirable. Carp run up to a heavy weight, sometimes between 20 and 30 ft, and they live to a great age. Size of hooks, 5, 6, 7.
Fig. 26.—The Common Carp.
The tench (Cyprinus tinea) very much resembles the carp in his habits, feeding on much the same matters, though neither paste nor any vegetable baits are to be recommended for tench. The best bait that can be put to him is a red worm, or two or three gentles; and for ground-baits, chopped worms and gentles are preferable. Tench bite best in the morning and evening, when there is hardly light enough to see the float; for float tackle is best for the tench, though he nibbles and mumbles at the bait exactly as the carp does and often, like him, leaves it after nibbling off all the tail of the worm that is beyond the point of the hook. When the tench is so shy his eagerness may be stimulated by very gently drawing the float and bait away a few inches, when he will often rush at the bait and seize it at once. Tench are a very quiet, unobtrusive fish, and may exist in a pond for a long time without being known to be there. They are very capricious in biting, sometimes biting well for a day or two, and again refusing all baits for weeks without any apparent reason. If taken from clear waters, the tench is a very good table fish second only to the eel. Size of hooks, 6, 7, and 8.
FIG. 27.—The Tench.
The eel (Anguilla acutirostris). The eel is scarcely an angler s fish, but it is often taken in angling, and it is a most excellent and luscious table fish. It takes various baits, as worms, small dead fish, which are the best for it, and takes them better when they are still than when moving. Thus, night-lines are the best way of capturing the eel. Occasionally float tackle is used for the purpose, when the roughest tackle, with a float-hook and worm, suffices. Sniggling for eels is an amusing way of taking them. A stout needle, lashed to a long string, is concealed in a worm ; the point of the needle is stuck lightly in the end of a long stick. This is then introduced into the mouth of a hole in which an eel is supposed to shelter. As soon as the eel sees it he secures it, pulls it from the stick, and devours it. The string is lashed to the middle of the needle, so that when the angler pulls at it the needle turns crosswise in his gullet. The angler pulls with a steady strain at the line, until at last the eel, unable to resist longer, comes out and is caught. Clotting for eels, by means of a big bunch of worms strung upon worsted and gathered up into festoons, is another way. The eels entangle their teeth in the worsted, and are lifted out and dropped into a pail. A hundredweight in a night has been caught in this way. They are chiefly caught, however, by baskets, nets, or traps set in mill-weirs, when they are migrating, and in some places, at such times, tons of eels are caught in a night. Fresh-water eels run up to a large size. They have been known to exceed 20 Eb, but 4 or 5 5) are more common, and the average is from 1 to 2 ft. Hooks any size that is suitable from 4 to 8.
young angler s first quarry. This little fish abounds in large shoals in the Thames and other rivers, six or seven dozen, or even more, frequently being taken at one pitch. No ground-bait is required to attract them, but the bottom being disturbed and harrowed by a heavy iron rake, the fish flock to the spot to search for food in the debris, and they will continue to bite for some time, when another rake renews their avidity. A light cork float and a small 1 or 1 1 hook, with a fragment of red worm, is all that is needed for so eager are the little fellows, that they pull the float down with a dash, so that the angler rarely misses his prey. A dish of gudgeons, gently fried, crisp and brown, is by no means to be despised. With the gudgeon the pope, or ruffe (Perca cernua), is often found. It is little worth for the angler, and is not very abundant. All that applies to the capture of the gudgeon applies to the pope. The bleak also (Gyprinus albu-rnus), a lively little fish, but hardly worth the angler s notice ; it may betaken either with bait or fly, as is the dace.
The various methods of fishing for the pike (Esox lucius) have already been detailed spinning, live baiting, pater- nostering, the live and dead gorge, being the principal, though the pike will take a big fly at times made of peacock s feathers and other showy matters. Pike grow to a very large size, where the water is favourable even to 70 or 80 fi> : but pike of half that weight are not common. and one of 20 ft is a prize to a London angler.
FIG. 23. The Pike.
The perch (Perca fiuviatilis) has also been partially dealt with, paternostering being about the best way of taking perch, though at times a float and worm will take better still, and even the ledger will take them. In big rivers perch in the winter get into the eddies and stiller waters. ont of the floods, in shoals, and here, as the water begins to clear, they may be taken to the number of several dozen ; often two or three at a time. They are excellent fish for the table. They run up to 4 Ib weight, though heavier ones are sometimes taken. Hooks, 4, 5, and 6.
TIG. 29. The Perch.
On Tackle and Fly-Making.
It is exceedingly desirable that the angler should be able to make and repair his own tackle. This will probably save him quite one-half of his outlay, and has the satisfaction of knowing that he can trust to the tackle, which he cannot always when he buys it ; while, in case of accident, he can repair without delay, when the impossibility of doing so might peril his day s sport. The art of tying strands of gut together and of whipping on a hook may be learnt in a minute ; and there is scarcely a book on angling that does not thoroughly explain it. Fly-tying, however, requires more notice.
The simplest form of trout-fly is the hackle, or palmer-fly. Having whipped the gut on to the hook with strong but fine silk, finishing at the bend of the hook, take two or three strands from the peacock s tail, known as harls, lay the ends together at the bend of the hook and whip them on with the silk, wind the silk on two-thirds up the hook, and then tie on the tip of a cock s hackle. Fig. 13 (page 38) shows the position. Should it be desired, however, to run the hackle all over the body, it may be tied on along with the peacock s harls. In that case, first wind on the harls round the hook side by side, avoiding the hackle, until they reach the head of the hook, when they must be tied down and cut off; then wind the hackle on likewise up to the head, pressing it down so as to make the fibres point all towards the tail ; and having reached the head, tie that down too and snip off the waste, when fig. 14 is finished, and the hackle or palmer-fly complete (see fig. 14). If it be required to produce a winged fly, a little less hackle must be employed, and two slips of some suitable feather placed together as a pair of wings, and whipped on as in fig. 15 (see fig. 15). Should a tail be desired, two or three wisps of some suitable feather are whipped on at the bend of the hook before tying on the harls, and if tinsel be needed, that is tied on with the harl, and wound on over the body. Fig. 16 shows the complete fly, with tail, tinsel, and all complete. Various matters are used for bodies, as silk, wool, fur, <fcc. How to put on fur will be told in tying the salmon-fly.
The method of tying a salmon -fly is rather more complicated than that used in the trout-fly. Take a short piece of twisted gut or gimp, double it and lash it on so as to leave an eye at the head, as in fig. 1 7 (see fig. 1 7) ; then take a short fragment of tinsel or twist, and tie it on as shown; wind this round the bend of the hook two or three times ; this forms the tag, and may be seen com plete in fig. 18 (see fig. 18); over this tie on the tail, composed of fibres or a topping, <tc., also shown in fig. 18 (see fig. 18) ; then tie in the silk or wool, or whatever the body is made with, also the tinsel, if needed ; having tied it in, cany the silk on until the spot where the hackle is to commence is reached, then tie that in, and work the silk on to the shoulder. The result of these preparations is shown in fig. 18 (see fig. 18). Then wind on the silk or wool body evenly until it reaches the shoulder, when fasten it off: next, wind on the tinsel in even spirals, and fasten that off in the same way ; next, the hackle, which may be stripped on one side, if it be required, thinly, or prepared by pressing the fibres together, so as to make them point as far as possible in the same direction. Having fastened off the hackle, the fly appears as in fig. 19 (see fig. 19). Then having carefully left a bit of the hook for the purpose, tie on the wing, which is composed of fibres or strips of feathers laid together. This is a nice operation, and requires a delicate but firm hand. After this, if it be needed, a head can be wound on over the stump of the wing, and for that purpose a fragment of chenille is the best substance. A few turns of the silk fixes the loop and finishes off, and a touch of varnish secures it. The complete fly is shown in fig. 20. In using fur or pig s wool for a body, the long coarse fibres should be picked out and rejected ; the rest should be pulled into fragments, and then laid in a small ridge along the palm of the hand and rolled over and over, as cigarette makers do their tobacco ; and having obtained sufficient coherence, it should be laid along the silk, and the silk being twirled round rapidly, is incorporated with the fur, which can then be wound on the hook to form the body of the fly. Various colours may thus be employed in thesame fly.
- 37ie Practical Angler. A. & C. Black, Edinburgh.
- A Hook on Angling. Longmans & Co., London.
- The pointed feathers on a cock s or hen s neck are called hackles, but any small feather with a soft shortish fibre may be used as a hackle.
- Some flies have over this a couple of turns of ostrich harl or other feather, which is called the but. It is not necessary, and serves no purpose, but it is sho sn in the complete fiy in fig. 20.