Page images

shade of an excellent russet brown may be obtained according to the time they remain in the decoction, which should be used cold.

Some further remarks upon Lines will be inserted, when the fish for which they are particularly used are mentioned.


FLOATS are of many kinds; of Swan, Goose, Muscovy Duck, and Porcupine quills; the first is preferable when light baits are used in rivers or deep waters, and the others for slow streams or ponds, where the water is not very deep, and where the baits are pastes, &c. The quills of the Bustard some anglers use, believing that the small black spots with which they are (erroneously) said to be mottled, appear to the fish as so many little flies, and attract them by this deception. For heavy fishing with worm or minnow, and in rapid eddies, the Cork float is best, and is made by taking a cork free from flaws, and with a small red-hot iron bore a hole lengthways through the centre; it is then to be cut across the grain with a sharp knife, about two-thirds of the length, and the remaining third (which is the top of the float) rounded with it, and then neatly finished with pummice stone; the whole resembling in shape a child's peg-top: for Pike, Barbel, and large Chub, the cork should be the size of a small Bergamot pear; for Trout, Perch, Eels, not bigger than a walnut when the green rind is removed; a quill is fitted to the hole, and used formerly to be



[ocr errors]

cut off close to the cork at each end of it. Some direct cork floats to be proportioned to the number of hairs the line is made of, and no larger than a horse-bean for a single hair; but so diminutive a cork is of no use, and the Quill floats will answer better. Some recommend the shape of a cork like a pear, and not to exceed the size of a nutmeg, and the quill that passes through it not to be more than half an inch above and below the cork; they are now made with a cap at the top, and wire for the line to pass through at the bottom. The advantage the cork float has over the bare quill is, that it allows the line to be leaded so heavily that the hook sinks almost as soon as put into the water; whereas, when lightly leaded, it does not reach the bottom until near the end of the swim. In leading of lines great care is needful to balance the floats so nicely that a very small touch will sink them. Some use, for this purpose, lead shaped like a barley-corn, but shot are better; and for fine fishing have a number of small in preference to a few large shot on the line; the lowest of either ought to be nine or ten inches from the hook.

Quill floats are thus made: the barrel part is cut off from that where the feathers grow, the inside cleared from the film, and a small piece of pitch fixed close to the end; a piece of cotton is then introduced, and upon that another piece of pitch, which not only confines the cotton, but assists in making the float discernible in water. A piece of soft wood, the size of the quill, about two inches long, of which nearly one inch is to be introduced into the quill,

after being dipped into a melted Cement of beeswax, rosin, and chalk, in equal quantitics; the lower end of this plug is to be tapered, and with a fine awl a piece of brass twisted wire, with a round eye at the end, is to be passed as a screw into the plug, with a pair of pliers, turning the float round; the line passes through this eye of the wire, and the upper part of the quill is fastened to the line by hoop made of a larger sized quill, so as to admit the thickness of the line, and which ought to fasten nearly an inch from the top of the quill. (These caps should be secured by fine waxed silk, varnished over, which prevents their splitting; and so also should the end of the quill round the plug; which will greatly preserve the float.) These hoops, and the tops of the floats, may be dyed red, (which will render them more conspicuous,) by putting as much powdered Brazil wood into stale chamber-lie as will make it a deep red, which may be seen by applying it upon a piece of white paper: then take some spring water, and put a handful of salt, and a small quantity of Argol, into it; stir them until they are dissolved, and boil them well in a saucepan; when the water is cold scrape the quills, and steep them a little time in the mixture; afterwards let them remain in the chamber-lie for a fortnight, and, after drying, rub them with a woollen cloth, and they will be transparent.

If two quills are wanted to be joined together, it may be done by a plug a little thicker in the middle than at the ends, which are to go into the mouths of the quills; dip the two ends into the above cement

warmed, and fix the quills upon it, or by dipping the ends of both quills, without the plug, into the cement, and inserting one into the other while thoroughly warm, the cement when cold will strongly fix them; rub the float all over with wet coal dust and a woollen cloth, dry it with one of linen, and after that dry coal dust will polish it effectually. Quill floats should be so leaded as to just suffer their tops to appear above the surface, that the slightest nibble may be perceived; if either a cork or quill-float fall on one side, the lead is either on the ground or insufficient to keep them in a proper position.

In fishing with a float the line should be a foot shorter than the rod; if longer, it is inconvenient when a fish is wanted to be disengaged; and the rod should be fourteen or fifteen feet long, light, stiff, and so smart in the spring as to strike at the extremity of the Whalebone.


Ar this period it is of little use to mention how Hooks are to be made; if the Angler is informed of the sort best suited to promote his diversion it will be sufficient, for they are to be purchased for less than, in all probability, he could make them. The excellence of hooks depends on their being tempered so as not to snap, and yet not to bend with the force of the fingers: this art of tempering the Steel Prince RUPERT, (to whom the world is indebted for the invention of scraping in Mezzotinto,) in CHARLES the First's reign, is said to have

communicated to Mr. Charles KIRBY, in whose family the secret has been continued until this time, as Kirby's hooks are still in high estimation. FORD is also a good maker. In the choice of hooks those should be preferred that are longish in the shank, strong, and rather deep in the bed, the point fine and straight, and as true as it can be set to the level of the shank, (which, for Fly making, should be tapered off to the end, that the Fly may be the neater finished,) the point should be sharp, and the barb of a proper length: many experienced Anglers, who have impartially tried both kinds, consider these to be more sure than the crooked hooks; that they cause a smaller orifice, and are less liable to break their hold. At Limerick, in Ireland, the best of these hooks are manufactured. A hook, whose point stands outwards, ought never to be chosen, as it frequently scratches the fish without laying hold: if the points were somewhat shorter, and the barbs a trifle wider, the hooks of every maker would be improved. When hooks are blunt, a small whetstone will restore their sharpness much better than a file, which always leaves them rough and jagged.

When hooks are armed, especially to hair, it should be done with small but strong silk, well rubbed with Shoemakers wax, after having smoothed the shank with a whetstone, to hinder its fretting; from a straw's breadth below the top of the hook, wrap the silk about the bare shank until it comes to the top, which will prevent its slipping, or cutting the line from frequently using; then lay the hair or gut on the inside, and whip with the silk downwards

« PreviousContinue »