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very fast, usually in the middle of the river near the ground, and more at night than in the day, resting at convenient places, under bushes, weeds, banks, or stones, and then the whole Shoal run again. Salmon bite best from six until eleven in the Forenoon, and from three in the Afternoon until sun-set, especially when there is a moderate breeze upon the water; the chief months to angle for them are March, April, May, and June, though they will take a fly until October, but they are then out of Season; they are to be fished for with lob-worms and minnows, but a large artificial fly is the most killing.
The rod should not be less than fifteen feet, longer according to the breadth of the river, limber yet strong, with wire rings, from the top to within three feet where the Reel is fixed, with a good runningline, without knots, made of either silk or hair, (the former is to be preferred,) and the reel must be large enough to contain four score yards, or at least as much as will reach more than across the river fished in. Wherever the running-line is directed, the reel is proper to be used; they are of various sizes, and may be proportioned to the coarseness or fineness of the line. The being enabled to give the Salmon, when hooked, plenty of line, is of great advantage to the Angler; for the fish will at first run swiftly, and afterwards leap and plunge, so that he must be humoured, and the line slacked and wound up again with great skill, until he is quite subdued, when he may be led to some shallow, where on his belly, touching the bottom, he will turn on his side, and be so jaded, that he may be
taken out by the gills*. (Salmon Anglers however are generally provided with what is called a gaff, which is a stick something pliable, with a large barbed hook at the end, and which can be thrust into the head or gills of the fish, to lift him from the water; for which purpose a landing-net is too small.)
* A Brother Fisherman thus describes the Capture of the Salmon in Verse:
But when in View the rolling Stream
And now his silver Body shows;
But at my feet a Captive lies.
His tail I grasp with eager hand,
And hurl, with Joy, the prize on Land.
The line from the Reel, after being run through the rings, is to be joined to the foot or gut length, which must be looped at each end, the one to fasten it to the reel line, the other to the fly; this foot-length must be made of three strong silk-worm guts twisted together, three lengths will be sufficient, as only one fly is used, the link to which the fly is fixed should be looped on the same way, for the convenience of changing it, if the fish refuse one sort of fly, and another is wished to be tried. It has been said, that the colour of the fly is of little consequence, provided it be large, and ribbed with gold or silver twist: the following account of Salmon flies, and the manner of making them, is however introduced, as having been successful in the long practice of an experienced Salmon Angler.
The Flies for the Spring season must be framed much larger, but not so splendid as what are used in Summer. The hook should be No. 1.; the feather for the wings, the darkish brown speckled part of a Bittern's wing, stripped off from the stem; the head is to be the same colour as the body, which is the reddish brown part of Hare's fur, and deep copper-coloured mohair; the tail forked, with two single strips of the same feather as the wings, and a Bittern's hackle over the body, for legs.
To make the above fly, take three lengths of good strong silkworm gut, properly twisted, and with brown silk well waxed, whip it round the gut a few times near the end, to prevent the shank of the hook from galling it; then take the hook, and put the end of the shank nearly to the top of the silk so whipt, for the gut to be on the inside, and begin to whip the hook to it: after half a dozen rounds, lay a proper quantity of feather for the wings, on the back of the shank (keeping it close and even as possible), with the right side next the hook, and the but-end downwards, leaving the other end, when turned back again, full as long as the hook; then proceed with the
silk, and whip it round the feather, hook, and gut, sufficient to make it fast, and cut away what remains of the but-end of the feather, avoiding to hurt the gut, which must be opened and twisted round the shank of the hook: the whipping is to be continued until it comes nearly opposite the point of the hook: but the ends of the gut must be cut off if too long, before they come quite so low down; next put on the strips of feather for the fork at the tail, with the fine points downwards, leaving them both to stand open about an inch and half, and make two laps round with the silk; then take the hackle (which must have the downy part at top stript off, and the feather cut across on each side close to the stem, and near to the point, or by drawing the fibres back prevent any of them from being bound down by the silk), and whip in the point of it two or three times round, leaving the largest end hanging downwards, and the right side uppermost, make one lap between it and the fork, and one below all round the bare hook close to the fork, and cut off the superfluous ends, if any remain in sight; wax the silk afresh, and having the stuff for the body well mixed, twist it gently round the silk, leaving it fine next the hook, but gradually thickening upwards; make one lap below the fork, and one or two between that and the hackle, working gradually upwards, until close up to the feather for the wings: if any of the fur remains on the silk, after the body is thus formed, take it off, and wind the silk lightly a little upwards to be out of the way; then take the Hackle by the end of the stem, and rib it neatly, lapping it thicker until brought up to the wings, where it is to be closed, and if any of the fibres remain, strip them off from the stem, and, unwinding the silk to its proper place, make two or three laps to fasten the hackle, and cut away what remains of the stem; the feather for the wings, which has hitherto lain back, is to be turned downwards towards the Tail of the fly, and holding it between the finger and thumb, clear from all the parts of the hackle, whip it very tight three or four times round with the silk just over the feather, and then two laps close above it; wax the silk again, and take a small bit of the same stuff used for the body, and twist it round the silk; whip this up to the end of the shank, bringing the silk neatly back again, so as to fasten by noosing it between the head and the wings; the operation thus finishes with completing the Head of the fly, without one fastening
throughout the whole, except the last, which renders the flies neater than is practicable by any other method.
Though the fly be thus completely made, it remains to be put in natural order, first by holding back the wings, then with a needle stroking the hackle for the legs upwards, and placing them properly, and if any irregular part remains in the body, pick it loose, and draw it away with a pair of Tweezers, or cut it off, as it will leave the appearance most natural; allow no superfluous hairs to be seen among the legs, letting the fork at the tail be as before observed, and placing the wings to stand sloping towards it.
The wings of all LARGE flies are best undivided, and to stand together on the back, as above described.
fly, No. II.
The hook to be the same size as the former; the wings, the mottled feather of a Peacock's wing, intermixed with that of any fine plain dusky red; the mixture for the body, the light brown hair of a Bear next the skin, sable fur, and gold-coloured mohair, gold twist, a large black Cock's hackle, and a red one a little larger; and for the head, a bit of deep red mohair.
To make this fly, proceed as in the first, until opposite the point of the hook; then lay in the ends of the hackles and turn them together, the red one under, and the twist at top; and, after whipping them there, make one lap below them; wax the silk afresh, twist on the dubbing for the body, and go on as in the former; next take the twist, and rib it up to the wings, each lap about twotenths of an inch from the other; then wrap the Hackle upwards between the laps of the twist, rather lower than the middle of each space, and,bring it twice round, close together, at the top of the body, and bringing on the red hackle in the same manner, work it very neatly just above each lap of the black one, and finish it the same way, contriving to leave the twist merely to show itself between the hackles; and then complete the fly as before directed.
This fly may be forked, if thought proper, with two or three hairs of a Squirrel.