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when, kicking the water, I strained my line, he gave a plunge, broke my rod and escaped with his prey.'- Ibid., p. 58.
His experiences of fly-fishing are most valuable :
'Should the loch you are fishing contain sea-trout or salmon, ascertain, from any good fisher in the neighbourhood, what are the most killing flies, and tie them for yourself. Should you not be “up to this,” beg, borrow, or buy them from him. In fishing with a long line, from a boat, let the trail be either a sea-trout or salmon-fly; but if throwing from shore, never use the latter except by itself. A two-handed rod, large reel with plenty of line, and the lightest tackle, are necessary.
'If the wind is so high as to cause decided waves upon one of these small lochs, you will succeed much better with the minnow-tackle than the fly: indeed, the best plan then is to troll for pike with a par; they always take best in high wind, but are so capricious that you may have three runs in half-an-hour, and perhaps not one in several apparently favourable days. High wind is prejudicial to fly-fishing in lochs where the trout are large, because it scatters them into unlikely places; and being, of course, much fewer in number than when small, you are not 80 apt to stumble upon them : the waves also prevent their seeing the fly so readily.
When there is a fine even breeze immediately repair to the loch. Begin to fish those parts where the wind blows fairest from the shore; if you know the loch well you have a great advantage. The trout have many feeding-places, and shift from one to another with the slightest change of the wind. Near some one of these they generally keep watching the breeze, which blows them flies and insects. They are usually in companies; so, when the angler hooks one, he should endeavour to get it away from the rest; he will then most likely rise another the next throw or two. He must keep a very sharp look-out for these places, and may generally detect them by the rising of the trout. They sometimes, but not so often, feed singly:'-Ibid., p. 61.
Much has been said and written about the cruelty of wormfishing; and though there are few anglers who do not practise it in secret-for it is a sure bait-few have courage enough openly to avow it. We should be the last to encourage torture, but it is our decided opinion that the corporal sufferance is much over-rated. The martyrdoms to which worms are exposed from the spade and the ploughshare are obvious, and the power of reproducing severed parts indicates a low organic form. We cannot look abroad without seeing cruelty, if so it must be called, openly practised by animals of prey—from a lion to a weasel, from an eagle to a redbreast, from a shark to a perch—as a law of nature. We remember to have seen the case-it literally was no more, except the legs and head-of a respectable cockchafer (Melolontha vulgaris) taking a leisurely evening-walk, with no sign of suffering, after he had been entirely “cleaned out' by a truculent sparrow. Thus much in excuse for Mr. Colquhoun,
who honestly gives the following directions, with a cut, demon. strating the method of baiting :
• Troll as much as possible with the wind, although in fly-fishing it is best to row against it. Take care, when you hook a fish, that your boatman does not strain your line in the former case, nor slacken it in the latter; either of which he is apt to do, by lying upon his oars, watching your proceedings. You must, in fact direct his slightest movement.
'If the loch is frequented by salmon, have one of your rods baited with a par; and, if passing any of his haunts near the shore, take your fly-rod, land, and throw from it, but do not go near the place with the boat. Should no fish rise after you have thrown some time, take off your fly, put on a large bait-hook and two floats, one about six yards from the other; the line is thus prevented from dangling near the hook, which must hang down about four yards from the last float, baited with two large dew-worms in the following manner :-Enter the hook at the tail of one, and bring it out about one-fourth of an inch below the head; pull up the worm upon the gut; then put in the hook about one-fourth of an inch below the head of the other, leaving the same length of worm at the point; this moves about and entices the salmon : pull down the first worm to the other, and your hook is baited. When the float disappears, be in no hurry to strike till the fish has tightened the line; you are thus pretty sure of its head being turned away, and consequently have a better chance of hooking. This should only be attempted where the shores are deep and rocky, on a cloudy day, with a stiff breeze from the south or west, and skiffs of rain. Do not give up hope too soon, for the salmon are generally swimming in small shoals backwards and forwards along the shore ; a little time may thus elapse before they pass where you are fishing.'-Ibid., pp. 64, 65.
The chapter on fishing in the salt-water lochs, which bears the stamp of acute observation and matured practice, commences in a style through which the author's patriotism shines, and it becomes him well :
The sea-loch has a character peculiarly its own-no wooded islands, no green or pebbly margin, Jiko its inland sister, except perhaps for a short time at full-tide ; and the dark mountain more often rises abruptly from its side in craggy and bold relief. It is a novel sight for the traveller, whom the refreshing evening breeze has tempted out of the neighbouring inn, at the landlord's recommendation, to try his fishing luck with such a clumsy rod and tackle as he had never dreamt of before. The awkward-looking herring “skows,” well-matched with their black or red sails, scudding in all directions; the nasal twang of the Gaëlic, as they pass the bow or stern of his boat, shooting their nets; the hardy, weatherbeaten face of the Highlander, always civil in his reply, and courteous in pointing out the most likely ground to the “stranger"-reiterating his injunctions (when his stock of English extends no further) “to keep on the broo," yet plainly showing that he expects the like courtesy in return, and that the least slip on your part would immediately make him change his tone, -all this can hardly fail to impress on the mind of the imaginative that the spirit of the Highlands, though dormant, is not dead, and to carry back his fancy to the old times of clans, catarans, and claymores.'-Ibid, pp. 72, 73.
Nor can we omit the note :
'It is often amusing to see how easily the warm blood will boil, even in those whom years and hardship might have cooled. The following characteristic instances occur to me:-A spruce young gentleman and party of friends, in crossing a ferry, had only one boatman, nearly eighty years old, tugging away at both oars. The young spark, who rather piqued himself upon his performance, offered to relieve him of one. “Na, na,” says old Donald, whose manner was the extreme of respect, “ve'll no be accustomed to this wark.” “Me!” says the youngster, “I'll row any man in your country.” The Highlander instantly faced him with a look and tone of perfect equality.--" I've seen the day when ye wad hae been sair pushed !” The other case was that of an old “grannie” in defence of her rights and privileges :- An efficient and benevolent magistrate, who had been very active in his endeavours to stop the progress of the cholera, was inculcating the necessity of cleanliness. Grannie listened with a sort of half-consenting air, which seemed to say, “We must submit to all this for the good that's to come”-until he mentioned the necessity of removing the dunghill from before the window. Her Highland blood could not endure so audacious an inroad upon her freedom: she determined to make a stand upon this odoriferous ground, proverbial for inspiring pluck even into the craven. With an attitude of defiance, and her fists firmly stuck in her sides, she bawled out, “Decd, Major, ye may tak our lives, but ye'll no tak our midden !!”!—Ibid, p. 73, note.
Both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Colquhoun cannot help referring, with some show of feeling it, to the well-known ban attributed to Dr. Johnson. If the doctor did utter it, he is worthy of the figure which they have set up by way of a statue of him at Lichfield. A physical defect prevented the possibility of the great lexicographer having any more notion of the pleasures which await the angler, and the glorious scenery among which his sport leads him, than a man sightless from his birth has of colours. What could he have known of the thrill that runs through the spectator when his eye embraces hill and valley, wood, rock, lake, and stream, in wild but harmonious confusion; as if the giants had in sport tossed rock and mountain about, and the fairies had afterwards come to make the broken land beautiful. To such impressions Johnson was high-gravel blind.
We leave Mr. Colquhoun with regret, for the present; for bis Moor is, if anything, even better than his Loch; and now, though last not least, we call upon Richard Penn, F.R.S., to come into court
Reverend Izaak well observed that angling is something like poetry—men are to be born so;' and true it may be that no mere directions will ever make a man a proficient. But, if he have a grain of the good seed in him, these · Maxims and Hints for an Angler'—no Mr. Penn—not by a Bungler,' though it pleases your worship to say so—will, if attended to, make his piscatory fortune. If the precepts are not all new-how little is !--they have the air of novelty, and charm by the pregnant brevity, sly sarcasm, and oily raciness, with which the truth is at once conveyed and impressed.
Mr. Penn's experience has apparently been confined to the south; and, indeed, we doubt whether he is yet thoroughly familiar with Thames trout-fishing on a large scale. It requires great patience, skill, and tact; but these are often rewarded by the finest fish. When Mr. Wilson talks of his 'glorious threepounder' (p. 197), what would he say to the great Thames trout of eight or nine pounds weight-they have been taken as high as fifteen pounds—which comes at the spinning gudgeon
as if it were a mastiffe dog at a beare.' We cannot trust ourselves here; for it is exciting to see the rippled surface ploughed by one of these noble fish, his back-fin ever and anon appearing above the water as he drives the glittering small fish before him, often within a few yards of your boat, and they make desperate leaps into the air to avoid their fate, whilst he recklessly throws himself out after them, shining like silver. A well-timed and skilful cast on such an occasion will often terminate by the welcome introduction of the great pursuer into the boat's well. Nor is it in fishing streams alone-which can only be well done in the Thames from a punt suffered to drop down from haunt to haunt, and anchored by a weight-that sport is to be expected. The bright sun draws the fish up to the weirs and the great trouts after them; and there, when the cloudless day makes any other fishing almost hopeless, if the fisherman can trust his head upon the dizzy footing of the weir-beam, high above the roaring, tumbling, flashing waters beneath, he may with little other skill hook very large fish; for, if his trace be well fitted, the rapidity of the current alone spins his bait beautifully. But we are reviewing books, and not writing treatises, nor ought we to detain the reader any longer from Mr. Penn's arch · Hints and Maxims.' We begin with,
1.–Are there any fish in the river to which you are going ?
II.-Having settled the above question in the affirmative, get some person who knows the water to show you whereabout the fish usually lie'; and when he shows them to you, do not show yourself to them. *IV.- Do not imagine that, because a fish does not instantly dart off
on first seeing you, he is the less aware of your presence; he almost always on such occasions ceases to feed, and pays you the compliment of devoting his whole attention to you, whilst he is preparing for a start whenever the apprehended danger becomes sufficiently imminent.
"V.-By wading when the sun does not shine, you may walk in the river within eighteen or twenty yards below a fish, which would be immediately driven away by your walking on the bank on either side, though at a greater distance from him.
.VI.- When you are fishing with the natural May-fly, it is as well to wait for a passing cloud as to drive away the fish by putting your fly to him in the glare of the sunshine.
VII.-If you pass your fly neatly and well three times over a trout, and he refuses it, do not wait any longer for him : you may be sure that he has seen the line of invitation which you have sent over the water to him, and does not intend to come.
"VIII.-If your line be nearly taut, as it ought to be, with little or no gut in the water, a good fish will always hook himself, on your gently raising the top of the rod when he has taken the fly.
‘IX.-If you are above a fish in the stream when you hook him, get below him as soon as you can; and remember that if you pull him, but for an instant, against the stream, he will, if a heavy fish, break his hold; or, if he should be firmly hooked, you will probably find that the united strength of the stream and fish is too much for your skill and tackle.
X.-I do not think that a fish has much power of stopping himself if, immediately on being hooked, he is moved slowly with the current, under the attractive influence of your rod and line. He will soon find that a forced march of this sort is very fatiguing, and he may then be brought, by a well-regulated exercise of gentle violence, to the bank, from whence he is to be instantly whipped out by an expert assistant, furnished with a landing-net, the ring of which ought not to be of a less diameter than eighteen inches, the handle of it being seven feet long.
"XI.-If, after hooking a tront, you allow him to remain stationary but for a moment, he will have time to put his helm hard a-port or a-starboard, and to offer some resistance. Strong tackle now becomes useful.
‘XII.-Bear always in mind that no tackle is strong enough, unless well handled. A good fisherman will easily kill a trout of three pounds with a rod and a line which are not strong enough to lift a dead weight of one pound from the Hoor, and place it on the table.
XIII.-Remember that, in whipping with the artificial fly, it must have time, when you have drawn it out of the water, to make the whole circuit, and to be at one time straight behind you, before it can be driven out straight before you. If you give it the forward impulse too soon, you will hear a crack. Take this as a hint that your fly is gone to grass.
XIV.- Never throw with a long line when a short one will answer your purpose. The most difficult fish to hook is one which is rising at three-fourths of the utmost distance to which you can throw. Even