Page images
PDF
EPUB

a fly-line of fourteen yards, but if it is to carry a Reel-line, fourteen feet will be preferable: it is useless to encumber yourself with an unnecessary weight of wood, as the great advantage of a light rod is, that with either hand you can use it, and thus be enabled to cast your fly under bushes, hollow banks, &c. where the best Trout generally lie, without endangering the tackle. The shorter the joints, of course it will be the more portable, but the fewer there are, the better it will open a fly-line: the lower part may be made of any tough straight grained wood, but in forming the upper, too much nicety cannot be observed. In our own country grow various sorts of wood that will well answer the purpose; and as local situations produce advocates for each, they will be hereafter specifically noticed.

Elder, Holly, Yew, Mountain Ash, and Hip-briar, are all natives; the former, prepared as follows, is by some thought to excel any of the latter; a branch of the Elder tree of three years growth is to be cut about the third week in November; it is then with a saw to be separated at every joint: sometimes, when the branch is exactly straight, a length of two joints may be made, for the two shoots which spring from each joint grow alternately from the different sides; these double lengths should be taken from the biggest end of the branch, and will be near three quarters of a yard long; one of these will make the thick end of the top; the other joints are split into four, shaving off the bark and the pith, and every joint tied by itself; the thick end of every piece should be placed towards the But of the rod after

being split, the pieces should be tied together, and kept a year at least to season; when wanted, they should be first planed and rasped taper, and square; the edges then filed off exactly round and smooth; the splice must be rubbed very thinly with Shoemaker's wax, filing the outside of the joint so, that when wrapped close with fine white silk, the splice may not be bigger than the joint is, an inch above it. The Hip-briar is easily found in hedges of old inclosures, which have not been plashed for many years; but it should be thoroughly seasoned before it is split, or the small pieces will be apt to warp in drying; it is cut into lengths of eight or ten inches for tops, spliced or glued together; after which they are properly tapered with planes and fine rasps, finished off with sand paper, and the joints wrapped with silk well waxed; a small piece of whalebone is added to the wood, spliced and wrapped in a similar manner: to this finish, how. ever, some Gentlemen object, and wonder at the prevalent custom of loading rods with eight or ten inches of whalebone at the top, since that particular part should be light and elastic; and they contend, that the Whalebone is dull, heavy, and much too flexible: the Scotch fishing-rod makers use Tortoiseshell at the end of their tops, and it is lighter and springs better than Whalebone,

Yew, especially the white of it, makes a fine top, and the best forest Yew is to be got in Wales; but, unless very well chosen, frequently turns out brittle, from its numerous knots: Holly is liable to the same objection. All kinds of wood should be cut in win,

ter, when the sap is descended into the root, and kept a year or two, oiling them now and then with Linseed oil, and placing them in such a position, that they acquire no bend, which should they do, it may be rectified by holding them over a gentle fire. Of foreign woods, the Hiccory from America will. work into handsome and good tops; but the Bamboo, or hollow cane, from the West Indies, is to be preferred; in making a top of the latter, care should be taken to preserve the outside, that being its most elastic part at the extremity of all tops, there should be a loop of hair or a ring for fastening the line to.

The Reed or Cane rod, on account of its lightness and elasticity, is the best for fishing at the bottom, whether with a running line or float, especially when angling for those fish which bite tenderly, as Roach and Dace; of these some are contrived to go into the But, and make a walking stick, others are composed of many short joints; all of which are inclosed in a bag. The Tackle shops have variety of these; but in purchasing a Reed or Cane rod, be careful that it strikes well, and that the bark which grows round the joints is not rasped into; a very common fault which the rod-makers are guilty of; and the consequence of which is, that it is thereby rendered weaker at the joints than elsewhere, and there being no bark to repel the wet, it soon rots, and whenever a large fish is hooked, certainly breaks: another thing to be observed is, that the medium between the ferrule and the joint that goes in, is not cut too fine; if it is, and a good fish is struck, it is

odds but a part of the rod, line, and fish, are all lost together.

The Angler should proportion the Length and Strength of his rods to the different fish ; but they ought to bend regularly, taper gradually, be light in hand, and spring from the But end to the top, and recover their shape after being incurvated by the exertions of a large fish, which they will do if the materials are good: the great defect in most rods is, that the play is in the middle, owing to that part being too weak, where it bends like a waggon whip; with a rod of this kind, it is impossible to strike or command a fish of any size. For Pike and Barbel, sixteen feet is a proper length; the But ends of the rod may be made of red deal, the middle of Ash, and the tops (which may be shorter than the other joints) of Hazel; for Perch, Chub, Bream, Carp, Eels, Tench, the length may be shortened and size reduced; small rings neatly whipped on for the line to run through, enable you to fish under bushes, and from eminences by the water, and likewise strengthen the rod in its smaller parts. For Roach, Dace, Gudgeons, Ruff, Bleak, eight or ten feet is quite sufficient, and the tops cannot be too elastic: screws in the bottom of joints are not only heavy, and liable to be out of repair, but are unnecessary, as the common way of uniting one joint in another is amply secure, if the work be true; a Spike to screw into the But end will be useful when a large fish is tired; for by retreating from the water, and fixing the rod upright in the ground by the spike, a tight line will be kept, the rod will play with every

lunge he makes, and he may be easily taken out with the landing net.

Rods should not be kept in too dry a room; the practice of steeping them in water before using is bad, and will soon spoil them; the rubbing the Tops with sweet Oil twice or thrice in the Season will preserve them in a serviceable state, and if the rod be hollow, tie a rag to the end of a stick, dip it in Linseed oil, and rub it well about the inside of the different joints.

Lines.

THE next article that presents itself is the Line ; in preparing its materials, much observation is requisite. The Hair that is most proper, is that taken from a young, healthy, grey, or white Stallion, and which is of a pale transparent water colour; that from the middle of the tail is the best. The hairs should be sorted singly, and the biggest, roundest, and freest from blemishes, made up into small bundles; the next sized hairs, and all that are sound and good, are to be alike sorted and parcelled out; they are then to be laid in clean spring water for twelve hours; after that, washed well, and dried either with bran, or by hanging them in a room where the heat of a fire or the sun comes, (they must not be placed too near a fire;) when dry, they should be again sorted, and the best done up five or six score together, with their root-ends quite equal, and tied round with thread at both ends and in the middle, and should be kept in a dry place.

« PreviousContinue »