« PreviousContinue »
all snap-fishing should be with a smart stroke, and directly contrary to the course the Pike appears to take; the line must be kept tight, and the landingnet should be used, as the throwing out a large Pike by force will certainly strain the sockets of the rod.
Some use only one large long-shanked hook, whipped to gimp, with a swivel at the upper end; the hook baited with a Gudgeon under the back fin, or through the upper lip, with a float as above, that will swim the Gudgeon; fish at mid-water, and allow a minute after the float is sunk before striking: by this method Perch may be taken, if the bait be a Minnow or very small Gudgeon.
A variety of hooks are used for the dead snap, as the Engraving represents; and this mode of catch. ing Pike is well adapted to both shallow and deep waters, to the still and rapid parts of the river; will take Pike at all seasons of the year, supposing the water and weather favourable; and it will be no trifling recommendation that the idea of cruelty, which the use of a live fish naturally impresses, is by this substitute completely removed. The Rod should be longer than that for trolling; the line fine, strong, and twenty yards in length; the hook by some most preferred is like that for the common live snap; the length of the gimp, on which the hook is tied, should be regulated by the size of the bait, and should be rather longer than the distance from the back fin to the mouth; that the looped end may be hung on a strong swivel, tied neatly to about a foot more of gimp, with a noose at the other end, to hang it upon the line, fastening a piece of lead
of the shape of a barley-corn, and weighing about an ounce, with a hole through it two inches above the swivel. The bait should be a middle-sized dace: insert the baiting needle close behind the back fin, letting it come out of the mouth; draw the gimp to which the hook is tied after it; the short hook must stand with the point upright behind the back fin ; the others will consequently be on each side; then hang it upon the swivel, and try if it will spin: if it does not, move the bait a little to the right or left, (which may be done without moving it from the hook:) the whole Success depends on its quick turning when drawn against the Stream; and when it does it appears like a fish unable to escape, and becomes too tempting a morsel for the Pike to resist: this method will not only enable the Angler to fish a greater extent of water than the others, but is more certain to secure the Pike. The large ones, though bold in seizing the bait, are very cautious in gorging it most Trollers have experienced that after running out a considerable length of line the bait has been mumbled to pieces and deserted; a disappointment here remedied, for a Pike has but to seize the bait and he is caught.
At both Troll and Snap some persons have two or more, swivels to their line; by which means its twisting is prevented, the bait plays more freely, and to the dead bait in Rivers it certainly is an.improvement in ponds or still waters one will answer the purpose.
Another way of taking the Pike is with an artificial fly: many have asserted that they are not to
be caught at all with a fly, but, as a convincing proof to the contrary, the Engraving of the skeleton of the head of a Pike is given, which is the biggest taken by a line, or perhaps ever known in this Country, and which was caught in Loch Ken, near New Galloway, in Scotland, with a common fly, made of the Peacock's feather; it weighed seventytwo pounds; the Skeleton of the head is at Kenmore Castle; the Jaw at the top is that of a Pike, weighing twenty-five pounds: a Scale is annexed by which the respective proportions of the two may be ascertained, and which will convey some idea of the largest Pike ever seen in Great Britain *.
The Pike fly must be made upon a double hook, fastened to a good link of gimp, and composed of very gaudy materials; such as Pheasant's, Peacock's, or Mallard's feathers; the brown and softest part of Bear's fur; the reddish part of that of a Squirrel, with some yellow Mohair for the body. The head
* If the following Account however be fact, which is given as a Note in WALTON's Complete Angler, 6th Edition, 1797, the abovementioned Pike is but a Minnow, in comparison; for it is there said that in January, 1765, at Lillishall Lime-works, near Newport, a pool of Water about nine yards deep, and that had not been fished in the Memory of Man, was let off by means of a Level brought up to drain the Works, when an enormous Pike was found, which was drawn out amidst hundreds of Spectators, by a rope fastened round his head and gills; he weighed above 170 pounds, and is considered the largest ever seen in this Country. By way of Addenda, it is asserted, that some time before the Clerk of the Parish, who was a dextrous Troller, had his bait taken by this Leviathan, and himself, by a sudden jerk, pulled into the water, where, but for his expertness in Swimming, he might have become a delicious morsel to the voracious Animal.
is formed of a little fur, some gold twist, and two small black or blue beads for the eye; the body must be framed rough, full, and round; the wings not parted, but to stand upright on the back, and some smaller feathers continued thence all down the back, to the end of the tail; so that when finished they may be left a little longer than the hook, and the whole to be about the size of a Wren. A fly thus made will often take Pike, when other baits are of no avail, especially in dark windy days; the fly must be moved quick when in the water, and kept on the surface if possible. Several sorts of these flies are to be had at all the Fishing-tackle shops.
Pike are also taken with a live bait, fixed to a certain place, termed a ledger bait: if a fish is to be used the hook is to be run through the upper lip or back fin; if a frog, (of which the yellowest are the best,) the arming wire is to be put in at the mouth, and out at the gill, and tie the leg above the upper joint to the wire; fasten the wire to a strong line, about twelve or fourteen yards long; the other end being made fast to a stake or stump of a tree, a forked stick is to be placed near the surface, through which the line is to pass, and suspend the bait about a yard in the water, by a notch made the fork; but which, when the bait is taken, will easily slip out; but the best way is to have a wheel or an iron spindle to stick into the ground.
Huxing Pike is with large bladders, blown up and tied close; at the mouth of each fasten a line, (longer or shorter according to the water's depth,) with an armed hook baited; launch them with the