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those distant periods, when every Individual must have confided in his own personal Exertions for the necessary requisites? It will however here be explained, in what manner those who are themselves anxious that their own Hands should form the various Articles, may supply themselves; and this Account will commence with an indispensable one, that of the
THE WOOD for Rods should be cut about Christmas (and some insist, that if left in the open air for twelve months afterwards, it will season better, than if stowed in a dry place). Hazel is the wood generally procured for this purpose, and of all the sorts, that of the Cob-nut grows to the greatest length, and is for the most part straight and taper; the But end should rather exceed an inch in diameter: but, of whatever wood the rod is composed, the shoots for stocks, middle pieces, and tops, must be of proper size, well grown, and as free from knots as possible. The tops should be the best rush ground shoots, without knots, and proportionally taper; the excrescent twigs are to be cut off, but not close, for fear of hurting the Bark, which ought never to be touched with a knife or rasp; for although they will dress neater, it considerably weakens them: these pieces are to be kept free from wet until the beginning of the following Autumn, when such as are wanted to form a rod should be selected, and, after being warmed over a gentle fire, set as
straight as possible, and laid aside for two or three days, when they must be rubbed over with a piece of flannel and linseed oil, which will polish and fetch off any superfluous bark; they are then to be bound tight to a straight pole, and so keep until the next Spring, when they will be seasoned for use; (some however prefer keeping them from eighteen months to two years, before they are made up :) they are then to be matched together in just proportion, in three, four, or more parts, according to the width of the Water, or the wish of the maker; taking care that the different joints fit so nicely, if ferruled, that the whole rod may move as if it were but one piece. If the parts are not ferruled, observe, that they must be cut to join each other with the utmost exactness, and neatly spliced with glue, boiled very gently in strong quick lime-water, keeping it stirred until it becomes smooth and all alike, and then are to be whipped over the glued part with waxed thread. When the rod is completed, it should be nicely rubbed with the following Varnish :-Half a pint of linseed oil, and a little India rubber scraped fine; put them over a slow fire, and stir them well together, until the rubber is dissolved, then boil and skim it; apply it warm, and do not use the rod until quite dry. The appearance upon the rod will be like a fine thin bark; it will preserve the rod from being worm eaten, and from other injuries, and is very durable. As moisture is at all times destructive to wood, it is essential for the Angler to guard all in his power against its influence on his rod; for, admitting that a shower of rain will not spoil it, yet
if not protected by a Varnish, it may soon be de prived of its Elasticity, which is the chief requisite of any, and more particularly of a Fly-rod. Variety of methods are used in preparing Varnish; the one here mentioned is said to be excellent; half an ounce of Shell, and the same quantity of Seed-lac, powdered fine in a mortar, put into separate vials, with half a pint of good spirits of wine in each, and placed in a sand heat to dissolve: during the process, shake the vials often; when each is dissolved, mix them together in a larger bottle, with half an ounce of Gum Benjamin; increase the heat, and the dregs will subside; then warm the wood, and with a Camel's hair brush apply that part of the varnish which is become fine; the third coat will remain on the surface, and securely protect the rod from injury; the rod composed of the Hazel will not do for Fly fishing, the least wet being apt to warp, and render it crooked.
The Salmon rod is, all but the top, usually made of Ash, as being the lightest wood. The structure
of the Trout or Fly rod has been variously recommended; the most ancient is, the But to be made of yellow deal, seven feet long; next a straight Hazel, of about six feet; and then a delicate piece of fine grained Yew, exactly tapered, and ending in a point of whalebone, both making about two feet: to colour the stock, a feather dipped in aqua fortis, and rubbed into the deal, will give it a cinnamon colour; for a nut-brown colour, a quartern of spirit lacquer, half an ounce of Gamboge, the like quantities of Gum Sandrich and Dragon's blood; the last three to be
powdered very fine, and as much of each of them as will lie upon a sixpence put into the spirit lacquer, which must be kept stirring, until properly mixed; the vial must be warmed as well as the wood, and the mixture gradually laid on with a Camel's hair brush; after it is dried, a second and third coat are to be applied to make the colour redder, put double the quantity of Dragon's blood: to make the rod mottled, get green Copperas and dissolve in spring water; dip a linen tape in the liquid, and while wet twist it round about, and let it remain on the rod eight or ten hours in the cool; unbind the tape, which will be dry, and use the above-mentioned Varnish, which will give the desired effect. The Varnish also preserves' the rings and the bindings that fix them to the rod. To fasten a fly rod of the above make properly, a piece of Shoemakers' wax was rubbed upon each splice; a handle of a knife, or any hard thing, was rubbed over them, until they were smooth; they were then tied neatly together, and were as firm as any part of the rod.
Our fore-fathers were wont to pursue even their amusements with great formality. An Angler, a century and half back, must have his Fishing Coat, which, if not black, was at least of a very dark colour; a black velvet Cap, like those which Jockeys now wear, only larger; and a Rod with a stock as long as a Halbert: thus equipped, he stalked forth, followed by the eyes of a whole neighbourhood: but in these latter days, bag-rods have been invented, which the Angler may easily convey, so as not to proclaim to every one he meets where he is going.
Those for float-fishing were first tried, and the invention was afterwards extended to rods for fly-fishing; the description of such a portable and useful one is here given, in case of the Angler's wishing to become the Artist. It is to consist of four joints, two feet four inches long, and made of Hiccory, or some very tough wood, the largest joint not to exceed the thickness of half an inch diameter; the stock must be of Ash, full in the grasp, of the same length with the other joints, and have a strong ferrule at the small end, made to receive the first joint, which should be well shouldered, and fitted to it most exactly; the top must be Bamboo shaved; a pocket in the lining of the coat will easily conceal and carry such a rod. Rods for general fishing are now made upon this principle; they are fitted up with a trolling top; others of different degrees of strength and stiffness, for Carp, Tench, Perch; and others fine and elastic, for Dace and Roach. Rings are fixed for the trolling line to pass through, and that at the end of the trolling top should have a piece of quill whipped on with it, for the line to run over, which prevents its being cut when the Pike seizes the bait, or in his struggles when struck. The stock is hollowed to contain the different sorts of tops; the whole goes into a bag, and are to be purchased of any length and variety of tops, at all the fishingtackle shops in London.
The structure of a fly rod, says a very experienced fisherman, requires particular attention; the length is perhaps not so very material; one of twelve feet, unless the wind be extremely unfavourable, will cast