Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

How to catch trout [unknown] 1919

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3 9424 062031791
1919      IOODSAHD
- ■    	
" A delightful little book, and one of great value to anglers. . . .
The work is sound in the essential doctrines of the craft."—Scotsman.
"The advice given by the 'Three Anglers,* whose combined
wisdom is bound within the covers of this book, is always sound."—
" Gives a vast amount of information to beginners, and In which
skilled anglers may find hints and suggestions worth their attention."
—Scottish People.
" As perfect a compendium of the subject as can be compressed
within 83 pages of easily read matter."—Scotch Waters.
" This little work will be of some service in teaching the young
idea, and may even be found to contain a few precious hints for
fishermen who have already acquired the rudiments of the piscatorial
art."—Glasgow Herald.
" Their book is admirable. It is simple and comprehensive, and
any one thinking of becoming a fisherman should begin by reading
what! Three Anglers' have to say."—Bod and Gun.
" It may safely be pronounced as the most practical and instructive work of its kind, and at its price, in the literature of angling."
—Dundee Advertiser.
" Full of valuable hints and suggestions, conveyed in a fashion
which most happily combines conciseness and clearness."—Scottish
"The book will be found eminently useful, not only by experienced anglers, but in the case of beginners it will prove a most
invaluable companion and adviser."—Oban Times HOW TO CATCH TROUT
[All rights nsvreH\  PEEFACE.
This volume contains a series ot essays, by
different writers, on the art of trout-fishing. The
aim of the authors has been to compress, within
the narrowest possible limits, such practical information and advice as will enable a beginner,
without further instruction, to attain moderate
proficiency in the use of every legitimate lure.
In carrying out this design their endeavour has
been to avoid unnecessary technicality, to steer
clear of " fads," and to confine themselves to
statements likely to receive the general assent of
experienced anglers.
To make the work as complete as possible a
chapter has been added containing a brief statement of the Law of Scotland relating to trout-
fishing.    This, which is believed to be a novelty VI PREFACE.
in angling literature, may be of service to readers
who are not versed in legal lore.
Although the authors are most familiar with
the streams and lochs of Scotland, they are not
without the hope that what they have to say
may also be found useful by their brethren south
of the Tweed.
Edinburgh, April 188S. CONTENTS.
I. Wet or Sunk Fly-fishing,
II. Dry Fly-fishing,   .
III. Worm-fishing,
IV. Minnow-fishing,
V. Creeper and May-fly Fishing,
VI. Loch-fishing,
VII. Some Hints as to Tackle,
VHL The Law of Scotland as to Trout
This style of angling is almost universally
adopted in Scotland, and is also common in many
parts of England. Although it may not call for
such minute study of insect life as is considered
necessary by the votaries of dry fly-fishing, it
demands an even greater knowledge of the habits
and haunts of trout; while in point of excitement and variety it falls in no way short of the
rival method.
Eod.—For wet fly-fishing we prefer a light one-
handed rod of moderate stiffness, measuring from
9 to 12 feet in length. For a few of the broadest
rivers, however, where it is sometimes necessary
to cast a very long line, a two-handed rod, 13 or
14 feet in length, may be found more serviceable.
Opinions differ so much as to the best material
for rod-making that we think it advisable to
leave this matter entirely to the taste of the
angler. There is one point, however, as to which
it is impossible to be too emphatic,—and that is,
in warning the beginner against the use of a rod ft Wet or sunk fly-fishin&
in the least degree too heavy. The neglect of
this caution is bound to lead to slovenly and
therefore unsuccessful fishing. The moment the
arm gets tired the casting becomes clumsy, the
interest flags, and if a trout be induced to rise he
is either noticed too late or struck in such a listless fashion that he escapes without difficulty.
Keel.—In selecting a reel it is necessary to see
that it is of the proper weight to balance the rod,
and runs easily. A ratchet of moderate strength
is of great assistance in running a heavy trout, but
if too strong it is a constant source of danger.
Line.—The line may be of hair, silk and hair,
undressed silk, or waterproofed silk; all of these
are good. Its weight and thickness should bear
some proportion to the size and stiffness of the
rod; and except in the case of the very finest
lines, one or two yards of tapered twisted gut
should be spliced to the end. Experience will
show that this is an important aid to casting.
Gut.—The gut casting-line, for a beginner,
should not be more than nine feet long. The
first two or three strands should be rather
thicker than the others, and should taper gradually down from the end of the twisted gut.
The remainder should be of the best quality that
can be obtained, special care being taken to
ensure that its different lengths are perfectly
round and free from blemishes.    As to the thick- WET OK StJNK FLY-FISHING. 3
ness, the angler must be guided by circumstances.
A beginner, however, will find it much easier to
cast with stoutish gut, and if it be of good
quality, and be dropped^ lightly on the water, he
will have more success with it than with finer
gut badly handled. We believe thoroughly, however, in the efficacy of fine gut on all waters
which are much fished, and strongly advise every
angler to accustom himself to its use. It must
not be understood, however, that we consider
drawn gut necessary, or even advantageous, under
all circumstances. Early in the season before the
waters have shrunk to their summer level; later
in the year when the rivers are running full after
a flood; or, even when they are low and clear, if
a strong wind be blowing, good undrawn gut will
be found quite as deadly. By using it, moreover,
time will be saved in landing the trout, and no
fisher need be told how this will affect his take
at the end of the day.
Flies.—We now come to the most important
element in the matter of tackle—to wit, the flies
themselves; and here it is necessary to explain
that in our Lowland streams two distinct types of
artificial flies are used—the winged fly and the
spider or hackle. Of these, the winged fly is
undoubtedly the closer imitation of the natural
insect as we see it playing on the surface of the
water.     One would think that, in competition 4 Wet or sunk fly-fishing.
with it, the spider, which is nothing more than a
few fibres of feather twisted round the shank of
the hook, must be left hopelessly in the rear.
This is not, however, the experience of many of
the most skilful and successful anglers in the
north of England as well as in the south of Scotland. Indeed, for fishing up stream, in comparatively rapid waters, we have no hesitation in saying
that the hackle is the more deadly of the two.
It is of supreme importance that the flies—
whether winged or hackled—should be dressed on
the finest gut, and should not be too bulky. At
She best, the finest feather is clumsy and coarse
compared with the delicate gossamer of the insect
wing, and naturally the more of the former there
is, the more likely is the trout to detect the
deception. The wings should be divided or
" split," as it is technically called, and should, in
the great majority of flies, be dressed so as to
stand well out from the shank of the hook For
the body we do not care as a rule for anything
more than either a strip of quill—which makes
one of the best imitations of the natural insect—
or, even simpler, the coloured thread with which
the hook is tied to the gut. Early in the season,
however, a heavier body is often found advantageous, and this, if desired, can be made of
"hare lug," water-rat or mole fur, floss silk, or
mohair wool.    But in no case should more be WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 5
used than is sufficient to cover the shank of the
hook. For a large or coloured water a little tinsel
may be added, but when the rivers are small and
clear this is unnecessary.
As a general rule it is advisable, in all rivers
which are much fished, to use an artificial fly considerably smaller than the insect it is intended
to represent. When a strong wind is blowing,
however, or the river is running full, a size more
nearly approaching nature may be used.
In wet or sunk fly-fishing the number of
hooks used by experts varies from two to eight,
or even ten, but three or four may be put down
as the average. For a beginner our advice is to
use no more than two, or, at most, three, as he
will find that the hooks have an objectionable
tendency to catch not only each other, but also
the clothes, basket, and other belongings of the
angler. Even for one who has acquired some
skill in casting, we do not think there is much to
be gained by using more than four. The only
important advantage that we can see in a larger
number is that it offers the trout a variety of
choice, and so increases the probability of the
particular fly they are feeding on—if, as too often
happens, they are capricious—being discovered.
But this seems more than counterbalanced by the
difficulty in managing the extra hooks.
As instructions for making up a casting-line, 6 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
with descriptions of different knots, are given in
the chapter on tackle, it is only necessary to give
here a few hints on the subject. The bob-flies,
or droppers, as they are termed, should be attached
at intervals varying, according to the size and
number used, from two to three feet. In no case
must a loop be employed for fastening any of the
hooks—it is clumsy in the extreme, and is apt to
cause an unnatural break or ripple on the surface
of the water. The length of the droppers should
not exceed two to three inches. If longer, the
gut gets twisted round the casting-line, and the
fly is rendered practically useless.
We shall now give a list of flies that we have
found to be good killers throughout the season.
It has, of course, no pretension to being exhaustive, but we believe there are few days, from
April to September, on which one or other of
them will not meet the fancy of the trout.
March Brovm, male and female. A good fly
for a mild day in April.
Blue Dun and Iron Blue Dun. Most reliable
flies during April and May, especially in cold
GreenwelVs Glory.    A standard spring fly.
Woodcock Wing, with (a) hare-lug body;
(b) quill body, and red or black hackle ; (<?) yellow
or orange silk body and red hackle; (d) black
silk body and black hackle.    In one or other of WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 7
these shapes this is, in our experience, the most
reliable of all the winged flies.
Grouse Wing, with yellow or orange silk body,
and red hackle. A favourite in some of the
larger rivers in spring and autumn.
Grouse Spider, with dark red or orange body.
Sometimes kills well in spring and autumn.
Partridge Spider. Made from the ruddy-
brown hackle feather of the partridge. Body,
orange, j^ellow, dark red, or purple silk. We almost
never fish without this fly, and find that throughout the whole season it is a certain killer.
Grey Partridge Spider. Sometimes good in
spring and towards dusk on a summer evening.
Sand Fly. Appears in some rivers early in
May, and is fed upon greedily.
Dotterel Spider, with yellow silk body, and
Cinnamon Fly. Do well in some rivers during
late spring and early summer.
Yellow Dun. A capital fly, from middle of
May to middle of June.
Golden Plover Spider, with quill or dark orange
body.    Good in early summer.
Red Quill Gnat.    Also good in early summer.
Black Spider, with quill, orange silk, or dark
red silk body; and spider made of black starling
feather, with white tip, Both these flies are
good all through the summer, when rivers are
low and clear. 8 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
Autumn Red or Dun. Often very deadly in
Red Spider, with yellow silk body. Best in a
slightly-coloured water.
Teal Wing, with (a) orange silk body and red
hackle (this is known as the Professor); (b) black
silk body and black hackle. Should be used in
a large water when coloured.
In addition to these flies, the angler should
have a collection of dun-coloured spiders, of
different shades, made from the small, soft
feathers of such birds as the starling, blackbird,
snipe, water-hen, or sea-swallow. One or other
of these will afford a sufficiently exact imitation
of any dun for which the trout may show a decided partiality.
Casting.—The first, and in many respects the
most important matter to be learned in fly-fishing
is, how to throw out or " cast" the line. It is
difficult to give directions for accomplishing this
apparently simple operation which will suit all
circumstances, but the following general hints
may be found useful:—
Begin with a short line—one of not more than
15 feet in length will suffice. Considerable force
should be used in drawing it from the water so
as to ensure that it is fully extended behind the
angler before the forward motion is begun; and
this backward motion should also have an upward WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 9
tendency, in order that the hooks may be kept
clear of the banks behind. The forward motion
should be begun the very instant—but not before
—the line is fully extended. The force necessary
in this part of the cast depends entirely on circumstances. With a stiff rod, or a long line, or
against a strong wind, considerable exertion may
be required; otherwise, the spring of the rod,
with but a slight motion of the wrist, will suffice
to carry out the flies. As a rule, the forward
impetus should be stopped when the point of
the rod is well up in the air, the rod being
simply allowed to follow the line, or even to
check its motion, until the flies touch the water.
Should it be necessary, however, to cast against
the wind, or if a high bank or trees behind prevent the line being extended backwards, it will
be found better to bring down the point of the rod
sharply to within a yard or so of the water, and
then stop its motion abruptly. To prevent the
line doubling up, the rod should be brought
round the angler's head in a circular direction.
The cast should be made as much as possible
from the wrist, the arm from the shoulder to the
elbow being kept close in to the side: this not
only saves labour, but adds to the grace and
efficiency of the throw. Finally, it should be
kept in view that the rod is intended to aid in
the work,  and its spring should  therefore be
utilised so as to reduce muscular exertion to a
Up and Down Stream Fishing.—As has
been already indicated, there are two modes of
fishing,—up-stream and down-stream, — and it
is now necessary to say something as to their
respective merits. In the former the angler
works his way up the river, casting his line above
him, and never allowing it to float past him: in
the latter the line is cast across or down stream
and allowed to float downwards. It can hardly
be doubted that up-stream fishing is theoretically
the better style to adopt. Its advantages, as
set forth by Mr. Stewart in the Practical Angler,
have never been successfully controverted. As
the trout lie with their heads facing the current,
it stands to reason that they are less likely to be
alarmed if approached from the rear; a shorter line
can thus be used, it is much easier to strike gently
with the current than against it, and in running
a trout it is only the water already fished over
that is disturbed. These are all most important
considerations, but, as usual, there are two sides
to the question. In fishing up stream, the flies
are carried more quickly downwards, and they
are apt, especially in a current of any depth, unless when the trout are on the surface looking
out for the natural insect, to be swept past unnoticed.    Moreover, wading up a large river, or WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 11
even one of moderate size, if slightly flooded,
entails very much greater labour; and the direction of the wind often makes up-stream fishing
impossible. Having thus given briefly some of
the pros and cons on this vexed question, we
shall at present content ourselves with saying
that in our opinion the best plan is to adopt a judicious combination of the two methods of fishing.
Striking.—When a rise is seen or felt the
trout ought in up-stream fishing to be struck at
once. This is done by a 'simple motion of the
wrist, which must be both instantaneous and
gentle. No habit is more easily acquired, and
more dangerous, than that of violent striking,
and every angler should endeavour to keep his
nerves well under control, and so learn to avoid
the startled jerk which so often leads to the loss
of a sonsy trout. In down-stream fishing the
weight of the fish itself, aided by the current, is
sufficient to drive the hook home, and all that is
required is a slight tightening of the line. In
many cases, however, even this will be found unnecessary. A heavy trout will often take the fly
without breaking the surface, and be firmly hooked
at the same moment its presence is felt by the
We think that as a general rule it is better to
keep a finger on the line while fishing. When
this  is done, a gentle pull at the fly is more 12 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
quickly felt, and the effect of the strike is more
instantaneous. It is necessary, of course, to raise
the finger as soon as the trout is hooked; but
after a little practice it will be found that this is
done instinctively. Striking from the reel may
be required when only large trout are to be looked
for, but in most of our Scotch rivers the plan we
recommend is perfectly safe.
Landing Trout.—After the trout is hooked, it
ought, if a small one, to be basketed in the
quietest and most expeditious manner possible.
One of any size, however, cannot be dealt with in
this summary fashion ; indeed the process of running a heavy trout with a small hook and fine
tackle requires the utmost skill and caution. The
moment it is fast the line should be allowed to
run freely from the reel, and the point of the rod
raised to the perpendicular. At first no more
strain should be brought to bear than is necessary
to keep the line tight, but as the trout becomes
exhausted he can be kept more in check. The
exact amount of pressure to be exercised can only
be learned by experience, but it is better to err on
the side of gentleness. A slack line, however, is
to be avoided above all things, as it will almost
certainly enable the trout either to expel the hook
from his mouth or to break the tackle by a sudden
rush. If he should leap into the air the point of
the rod must be lowered at once, only, however, WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 13
to be raised again the instant he regains his native
element. The angler should always endeavour
to keep further down stream than his prey, otherwise he will have to contend against the weight
of the trout plus that of the current.
If a landing- net is carried—and in rivers of
any size it will be found a great convenience—
it should be used in water not less than a foot
deep: a trout, when stranded on a shallow,
struggles in a most dangerous fashion. The net
should further be kept Well below the surface, so
as to avoid startling the fish, and to keep the
meshes clear of the flies. When no net is carried
the trout should be led gently into the side, at a
point, if possible, where the shore shelves gradually down to the water, and his snout brought
closely up to the channel or bank. This done,
he must next be lifted with the hand out of the
water, the line being on no account touched until
he is safe on the shore.
Concealment.—The main secret of success in
all fishing undoubtedly lies in keeping out of
sight of the trout. Casting up stream, as we have
seen, aids greatly in this ; but it is also necessary
to take care that the angler's shadow is not
allowed to fall on the water he is to fish; to keep
off high banks as much as possible ; and to utilise
any natural shelter such as that afforded by
bushes or trees.    It is also possible to keep out 14 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
of sight by throwing a long line; but this should
only be resorted to when all other resources fail.
Management of Line.—It is further of great
importance that the flies should be allowed to
float naturally down with the current. Any
motion of the rod or dragging of the line, which
causes a disturbance on the surface of the water,
should be carefully avoided. As a rule, it is
better to allow the flies, especially if spiders are
used, to sink a little, as when this is done the
trout seem less able to detect the deception.
When they are rising freely to the natural insect,
however, it is often profitable to keep the flies
on the surface. This can be accomplished by
casting frequently, and by raising the point of the
rod as the line floats towards the angler.
In fly-fishing it will be found that a large
proportion of the trout which rise escape—some
without even touching the hooks, others after
nothing more than a gentle pull. This is to
some extent unavoidable, but the number of captures may be increased by using the shortest line
consistent with the necessary concealment, by
quick striking, and by keeping the line as straight
as possible from the point of the rod to the flies.
If the angler be striking from the reel, he may,
if the trout are not hooking well, try the experiment of keeping his finger on the line, and we shall
be surprised if the result do not convert him to WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 15
our way of thinking. Great care should be taken,
especially when fishing still water on the further
side of a strong current, to allow as little of the
line above the flies to touch the water as possible.
When this is not attended to, the middle of the
line curves, and before the effect of the " strike "
reaches the hook the trout has gone on its way
How to Fish a Small Stream.—A river which
can be cast over without wading should under almost all circumstances be fished up stream. The
lower portion of each pool, which is nearly always
smooth and comparatively still, with a glass-like
surface, need only be fished when there is enough
breeze to cause a ripple. When there is a strong
wind blowing, however, the shallow water just
above where the stream breaks should always be
tried, as feeding-trout often congregate there. But
in a bright, still day, the first cast should be made
about the point where the rough water of the
stream comes to an end. The line should be
thrown up and across so that the tail-fly shall
just reach the opposite bank ; the flies, with as
little of the rest of the line touching the water as
possible, should be allowed to float down with the
stream until they are almost opposite the fisher,
when they should be lifted and the same process
repeated—the' next cast, however, being made a
little further up and more into the middle of the 16 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
stream. This done, yet another cast should be
made almost straight up, the flies being simply
allowed to light on the edge of the current next the
angler. It is useless in this cast to keep the line
in the water for any time, as the stream at once
forces the gut back in coils. If a trout rises, but
does not touch the hook, another throw should be
made a short distance above where it broke the
water; and every trout seen rising "to itself"
should be cast over in the same way.
When a strong wind blowing down stream
makes fishing up impossible, the best plan is to
keep well back from the water's edge, and cast as
nearly straight across as circumstances permit.
The line should never, unless when no other
course is practicable, be cast down stream, and
should only be allowed to travel a few yards.
Bivers of this kind, which are generally rapid
running and shallow, and contain great numbers
of small fish, should be fished as rapidly as
possible. Except when a trout has risen but
missed the fly, a cast in any particular spot
should seldom be repeated, and the angler should
walk as quickly as possible from one stream to
another. Where the basket has to be made up of
small trout, quick fishing is absolutely necessary.
How to Fish a Eiver of Medium Size.—
Streams of a larger size, such as can only be cast
over with the aid of wading, ought to be fished in WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 17
much the same way as those we have been describing. In them, however, up-stream casting is
not so essential, and more consideration may be
given to the direction of the wind. With a
favourable, or even a contrary breeze, if light, a
good plan is to fish up the shallow side of the
stream, and then, wading well in, to fish down
the further side, casting close in to the edge.
Special attention ought to be given to all places
where there is a high bank, or bushes on the
opposite side, as the trout in such spots, not
being disturbed by passers-by, are both more
numerous and not so shy as in more exposed
stretches of water.
How to Fish a Large Eiver.—Large rivers
which cannot be fully commanded even with the
aid of wading, are generally best fished down and
across; but the edges of the streams on the nearer
side may often be worked to advantage upwards.
This will depend on the depth and strength of
the current; but as a rule there is sufficient
volume of water in a large river to conceal even
the down-stream fisher, provided he throws a
moderately long line. Bivers of this kind, and
of the class last considered, should be fished
slowly. When the trout are found rising at a
particular place it is well to remain there as long
as the take lasts: by moving from one spot to
another valuable time may be lost. 1$ Wet or sunk fly-fishing.
season of the year.
April.—The fly-fishing season begins at a date
varying, with the weather and the country through
which the streams flow, from the beginning to the
end of April. During this month the trout, in
almost every river of any size, are gradually getting into condition. Each mild day quantities of
March browns and other flies are hatched and
greedily fed upon; and during the latter half of
April, when the weather is favourable, large
baskets are often caught. Early in the month
the trout lie for the most part in the deepish and
comparatively gentle currents, and only come to
the surface when the flies are floating down in
considerable numbers. In the afternoon, however, they generally haunt the shallow water at
the foot of pools, where they seem to feed on
larvae or imperfectly hatched insects. At this
time—generally from three to five o'clock—they
can often, especially after a cold day, be captured,
if the surface of the stream be rippled, by allowing the flies to sink more than usual. The time
of the take, however, when the largest and best
trout are to be looked for, is earlier, at a time varying with the appearance of the flies, from eleven
to two o'clock. When the trout are seen rising
in numbers there is most prospect of success by
casting up stream and keeping the flies near, the WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHlNG. 19
Surface of the water; but otherwise we think it
better, at this time of the year, to throw straight
across and allow the flies to float slowly down for
a few yards. As a rule we find that; in spring
and autumn we meet with most success when the
flies are well sunk.
In spring the pools and streams best sheltered
from the prevailing wind, and those to which the
sun's rays penetrate freely, afford the best sport.
Whenever a strong wind is blowing, a sheltered
spot should be sought for. Although a gentle
breeze is rather an advantage than otherwise, a
gale drives the flies off the water, and trout are
rarely on the lookout for this kind of food unless the natural insect is seen in large numbers.
The best flies for April are the March brown,
blue-dun, woodcock wing with hare-lug body
and tinsel, and Greenwell's glory. In bright
weather, with low water, a partridge spider
may be substituted for the March brown, and
the woodcock wing used without the hare-lug.
The size of hook should vary from Nos. 9 to
May.—In the month of May fly-fishing is
general   throughout   the  whole   country.      The
1 The numbers mentioned here are those of Messrs. W.
Bartleet & Son's " Kendal Round-Bends." Should hooks of
another maker or pattern be preferred, the corresponding
number can easily be ascertained. 20 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
trout, gradually increasing in strength, spread
themselves over the strong currents and shallow
water. They have sufficient vitality to withstand
the effects of a cold night; the supply of flies is
not so precarious as during the previous month ;
and sport is altogether more reliable. The take
generally lasts during the greater part of the day,
commencing about nine o'clock and continuing
till about five or six o'clock, with a break, however, of two or three hours some time after midday. The trout being now found in shallower
water, up-stream fishing is most essential, and quick
casting is necessary. The best flies are partridge
spider, woodcock wing (without hare-lug), and
lighter duns than those recommended for April.
Towards the middle or end of May the yellow dun
may be used with great effect. The hooks should
run from Nos. 11 to 14.
June.—With the advent of June fly-fishing in
the early rivers becomes uncertain. When the
May or stone-fly is on the water good sport
may often be had with small artificial fly; but,
as a rule, if reliable fishing of this kind is wished,
it is better to take to the smaller and later streams.
There large baskets may still be had with hooks
of the same kind and size as recommended for
May. On the larger waters a great change takes
place when the May-fly disappears—usually about
the middle of the month.  Except after a flood, and WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 21
often not even then, a general rise is rarely seen.
Flies are hovering over the water in thousands,
but the trout let them pass unheeded. Some
sport, however, may still be had by casting over
stray rising fish, using the very finest gut and
smallest midge flies, or recourse may be had to
dry fly-fishing. When the trout are feeding freely,
the flies mentioned as best for May, with the addition of the black spider, but a size smaller, should
be used. Late in the month it will be found more
profitable to fish with nothing but a selection of
the very smallest dun spiders, of the shades most
nearly approaching those of the insects upon which
the trout are seen to be feeding.
July.—During the day-time in July the trout
feed for the most part on worms and minnows,
and it is only by casting delicately over rising
fish that any sport can be obtained with artificial
Evening Fishing.—But nearly always towards
sunset, and frequently all through the darkness,
especially in warm weather, the trout rise freely.
So long as the twilight lingers small flies should
be used; indeed the tiniest midge will often prove
most successful. After darkness has set in the
rise generally ceases for a short time, which the
angler may employ in putting on larger flies. In
our experience it does not matter much what
pattern is used, but we have found a small lock 22 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
size very successful. A most useful fly for such
fishing is dressed thus: wings, white or brown
owl feather; legs, a few fibres of same; body,
thick floss silk1; tag of wash leather. At night a
cast of two flies only should be used, as otherwise
it is difficult to avoid ravelling. Drawn gut is
quite unnecessary, and as the angler is concealed
by the darkness, he need not throw a long line or
fish up stream. The best places are the shallows
at the foot of large pools, but sport is often to be
got in the deep, still water. The streams, however, are utterly useless, and should be passed
over. The heaviest trout often come close in to
the banks to feed, and the sides of the pool should
therefore be cast over carefully. The best mode
of fishing is to throw repeatedly in different directions, allowing the flies to rest on the surface for
a moment, and then drawing them slowly and
steadily across the current. Every foot of likely
water should be fished over slowly, and all rises
to the natural fly, no matter how insignificant
they may seem, should receive attention. As the
slightest unnatural ripple is sufficient to disturb
the trout in the still, shallow water, where they
are generally found, there must be as little splashing as possible when wading.
August.—The greater part of August may be
set down as a blank so far as river fly-fishing is
concerned.    Sport in the evening is rendered un-
x Yellow or white, WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING. 23
certain by the chill autumnal air which is frequently experienced after sunset; and during
the day the trout resolutely refuse to look at the
most skilfully thrown imitation of the natural
Burn Fishing.—But a heavy basket—it is
better, however, npt to speak of the average—
can be got by making for the nearest hill burn
which has pools large enough to permit of a fly
being thrown over them. This kind of fishing
has its own charms, and may serve to tide over
an otherwise barren time. For a burn not more
than one, or at most two, flies ought to be used,
and all that the angler has to do is to keep out of
sight and get his line on the water somehow. If
he does not make too much splash he may be
tolerably certain of a rise in each pool, and he
will probably be startled at the amount of resistance offered by some little fellow not weighing
more than two or three ounces.
September.—Towards the end of August, and
all through September, good sport is frequently
had with fly, especially if, as is often the case at
this time of the year, the rivers are running full
after a flood. Early in September the trout are
still to be found in the stronger streams, but as
the month glides on they gradually fall back to
the quieter water. The most of what has been
said as to the mode of fishing and flies to be used 24 WET OR SUNK FLY-FISHING.
in April applies to this season; but as the trout
have had the benefit of half a year's experience
of the wiles of men, smaller hooks and finer
tackle are required. The only additional fly that
need be mentioned is the autumn red or dun,
which frequently appears in great numbers
throughout September. CHAPTEB   It
As the season advances and trout become
warier, the method of dry fly-fishing, so much in
vogue in England, may often be useful
We suspect that a prime reason why this
method is so little used here in the North, is not
so much conservatism nor laziness, nor even the
unsuitability of our waters, as an idea that
special tackle and flies must be got for its practice—an idea quite fallacious. Ordinary flies
tied on gut are at least as good for the purpose
as those dressed upon eyed hooks, so far as our
experience goes, except that greater care has to
be taken during the drying process, lest the gut
at the neck of the hook become cracked and the
fly whip off, or even worse, break in the mouth
of—of course a big one.
What is requisite in flies for dry fly-fishing
is as accurate an imitation of the fly on which
trout are feeding as can be made, accurate imitation being an essential in this case; and yet this
need not be made a hard and fast rule, as a pro- 26 DRY FLY-FISHING.
perly dressed spider will usually kill at least as
well as any winged fly, the former being made
with plenty of hackle to make it float.
In other respects the tackle is the same as that
used for wet fly-fishing, the only difference being
that no more than one fly is attached when
using it dry.
The method here employed is generally upstream casting, done thus :—A good fish having
been observed rising, angler approaches the bank
cautiously, and a good deal below his victim,
then after carefully measuring with his eye the
distance, lets out the exact quantity of line required, and before casting dries the single fly
with which his line is armed, by either causing it
to describe three or four slow figures of eight
overhead, or a like number of circles, then with
an underhand or horizontal cast, which is best
adapted for this style of fishing, he aims at a
point some six inches or a foot above the fish.
Now comes the most difficult and most essential part of the whole process. The line ought
to be cast so as to allow of its being somewhat
slack just at the time of the fly touching the
surface ; so that it may cock properly, i.e. sit on
the water naturally, right end up, and next may
float over the fish without any drag from the
line. If the fish rise, he is to be hooked by a
gentle twitch of the wrist, hardly to be called a 1)RY FLY-FISHING. 27
strike; if not, the fly is to be allowed to float
well down before lifting it for another cast, lest
the fish be scared.
A repetition of this process of drying the fly,
and casting over fish which are seen rising, constitutes the somewhat monotonous but certainly
artistic method of dry fly-fishing, which, however, does not call for so intimate a knowledge of
fish nature as the method of fly-fishing ordinarily
pursued here.
A judicious combination of these two styles
may be recommended, the dry fly being used on
still waters and pools, with or without a ripple,
and on slow streams ; whilst the wet is employed to search the more rapid waters.
The angler in this way may attain more success than by a rigid adherence to either method.
We do not attempt to give a list of flies, only
a few of our favourites, close imitation of the
natural insect being the main point to be aimed
1. March Brown.    In spring.
2. Hare Lug and Woodcock, quill body.    All
the season.
3. Hare Lug and Blae Wing, quill body.    All
the season.
4. Hare Lug and Yellowish  Blae Wing, quill
body.    In autumn.
5. Grey Quill Gnat.    All the season. 5 DRY FLY-FISHING.
6. Red Quill Gnat.    From May onwards.
7. Black Spider, quill body or brown silk body.
From May onwards.
8. Starling Tipped Spider, quill body.    From
May onwards.
9. Corncrake Spider, quill body.    From May
10. Dotterel or Snipe Spider, quill body.   From
May onwards.
11. Small Blae  Wing, with dark watermouse
legs, black silk body.    May and June.
12. Olive Gnat.   April and May. CIIAPTEE IIL
Worm-fishing in small clear waters is popular
with most anglers. Although less artistic than
fly-fishing, it requires an equal dexterity, and
even greater knowledge of the haunts and habits
of trout.
During the summer months the worm is a
very deadly bait; indeed, the accomplished angler
can rely on it for sport with greater certainty
than with any other lure. The beginner will
soon attain considerable proficiency if he make
it a rule always to fish up stream, and be careful
to observe the character of the water in which
trout are lying.
In the first place, we offer a few remarks about
Eod.—The rod should be 14 or 15 feet in
length, and at the same time light and stiff. The
one we like best consists of hollow cane for the
butt and centre, with a top piece made of hickory
and lance-wood.   Besides being easy to cast with4 30 WORM-FISHING.
a rod of this description commands, with a moderate length of line, every variety of water.
Although apparently a small matter to write
about, we here caution our readers against having
their rods highly varnished. At no period of
the angling season is this of greater importance
than at midsummer, as the trout then lie in the
shallowest water, and easily perceive the angler's
approach. To dull the rod a simple process commends itself, viz. to rub it with wet earth or
clay. This dries in a minute, and completely
covers any glitter.
Eeel.—A reel in proportion to the rod not
only looks better, but improves the balance considerably.
Line.—Silk and hair make a capital line, which
lasts a long time.
Casting-Line.—The gut cast should not be
shorter than two, nor exceed three yards in
length. The lower portion should consist of
drawn gut, and above it the best undrawn, tapering towards the reel line, while the addition of a
few feet triple gut or twisted horse hair, will be
found of service in casting. Much, however,
depends on the character of the weather. The
angler will at times require to shorten his gut
cast to suit the wind, while on calm days the
addition of a few strands of finest gut is necessary. WORM-FISHING. 31
Tackle.—The tackle, composed of either two
or three small hooks, is now almost universally
used. Some anglers, however, still hold by the
single hook. For small clear streams we much
prefer the former, but find that the latter does best
in spated waters. If the worms are small enough,
a tackle composed of two hooks should be used,
but three hooks if the worms exceed 2 J inches
in length. Numbers 10, 11, and 12,1 round- or
sneck-bend, are good sizes for the tackle, and
No. 4 or 5 round-bend for the single hook—a
size or two larger being used during a flood. It
is a great mistake to have very small hooks on the
tackle ; the angler may get more bites, but he will
certainly not hook so well as with a larger size.
Baiting.—When baiting, the worm is held between the thumb and forefinger of left hand. The
lowest hook of the tackle is then inserted a
moderate distance from the head, the centre hook
about the middle, and the uppermost near the
tail. The barbs should be freely exposed; this
prevents the bait from coming off, and hooks with
greater certainty. Care is also necessary to have
the worm equally distributed over the tackle, so
that too much of it is not allowed to hang at
either end.
From this description it will be seen that the
i These numbers are from Bartleet's scale for Kendal
tound- and sneck-bend hooks. 32 WORM-FISHING.
head is placed lowest: this is not of much importance ; when reversed the worm is equally
attractive. To bait the single hook the barb is
entered close to the head and worked down the
centre of the worm, without breaking the skin,
to within half an inch of the tail. The bait requires to be frequently examined; if broken or
dead a fresh worm should at once be substituted.
To carry worms we always employ a tin box,
attached round the waist by means of a broad
leather strap. It will be found more secure and
more convenient for baiting than a bag.
Worms.—For a day's fishing a gross to a gross
and a half of worms is necessary. These should
be carried in the basket in a large flannel bag
containing plenty of moss, a supply from time to
time being transferred to the tin box as required.
In this way worms may be kept fresh all day.
Some attention is required to have them in good
condition; they ought to be scoured in clean
moss for a few days, and care taken that it does
not become too dry. We occasionally sprinkle a
small quantity of cream over them. In this way
the fine pink colour is soon acquired, pleasing
both to the eyes of angler and trout. If it is unwise to make use of fresh gathered worms, there
is a danger of running into the opposite extreme
by keeping them until they lose much of their
vitality. WORM-FISHING. 33
We think it unnecessary in this short paper to
describe the various kinds of worms; we simply
advise the angler to use them as small as possible,
except during a spate.
Casting.—In casting, the line is carried back
with an easy swing and urged forward with more
or less force according to circumstances, the rod
top making more of a circle than in fly-fishing.
If a long line is being used, or if the wind is
blowing down stream, the point of the rod must
be lowered almost to the surface of the water.
This causes the worm to fall lightly and the line to
be fully extended. The rod is then slowly raised,
leaving only a few feet of gut in the stream. It
is difficult to perform this last movement, great
delicacy of touch being required, for if done too
quickly the worm is dragged down stream. A
short line does not require the rod to be lowered
to the same extent, and is more easily managed.
On other occasions the rod top requires to be
kept well raised. Take, for example, a cast over
a rough current to quieter water beyond. If the
line is all immersed, the strong rush at once pulls
the worm from the desired spot; whereas, if only
a few feet of gut are permitted to alight, the
intervening current has no power over it. This
is best accomplished by checking the forward
movement of the rod, and not lowering the point
as we have already alluded ta 34 WORM-FISHING.
The angler, it will thus be seen, has often to
vary his style of casting to suit different kinds of
water, and in like manner the length of his line;
but 10 to 15 feet on ordinary-sized streams is
long enough to fish most places.
The Strike. — The strike is easily accomplished ; it consists in tightening the line down
stream. Anglers are usually far too rough. The
small wires forming the tackle are exceedingly
sharp, and take firm hold with a minimum of
force. This pull or strike when using the tackle
must be instantaneous with the first indications
of a bite, but should never be a sudden jerk.
This is sometimes done involuntarily, and should
be guarded against, as it is certain to result in
breakages. If only a small quantity of line is
kept in the water, there should be no difficulty
in the matter. The bite is then easily perceived,
and the point of the rod being always in advance
of the worm, it is only natural to pull down
stream. Beginners should remember to place
uppermost the hand nearest the river; this of
itself is sufficient to ensure the correct direction
of the strike, but it lies entirely with the angler
to estimate the requisite amount of force. We
have said that every bite should be responded to
at once. Now if too much line is kept in the
stream, the angler has no exact knowledge where
his bait really is; a trout may have taken and worm-fishing 35
expelled it, or have swallowed it, without any
perceptible stoppage of the line. Of course in the
latter case the fish cannot escape, but if the take
is on, much valuable time is wasted in cutting
out the hooks. We therefore once more impress
on our readers the advantages of keeping little
line in the water. Although often overlooked, it
is one of the most important rules to remember,
and it makes all the difference between an average
and a first-class worm-fisher.
Time of Year.—Trout take the worm throughout the whole fishing season, but it is only during
June and July that it forms their principal food.
We only advocate its use after the May fly-fishing is over, when trout, glutted with insect food,
betake themselves to bottom feeding. Splendid
sport may then be enjoyed, which can be depended on if the rivers are small and clear, and
the weather settled.
Before worm-fishing properly commences good
takes may sometimes be made during May in the
early morning, if mild. Trout are then feeding
on the creeper, and will occasionally take a worm
quite as readily. The angler, however, should be
provided with both lures.
When June has run for a week or two, worm-
fishing may be pursued at such quarters as
St. Boswell's on the Tweed, and Chirnside
on   the   lower   Whitadder.       At both   thesq IT
places the fishing is early, and lasts for a shorter
period than in smaller streams. Daybreak is
the best time for catching big trout, and the
forenoon can generally be relied on; but fish in
large rivers are very capricious, a slight change
in the weather not unfrequently putting them
off the feed entirely. In small waters such as
Leader and Gala, the take is more certain, and
continues a longer time. These streams are admirably adapted for worm-fishing, and sport can be
depended on from the middle of June to nearly
the end of July. During June, in rivers of this
size, trout feed at nearly every hour of the day.
We mention three distinct takes. The first commences in the early morning, say at two or three
o'clock, if the weather is at all favourable; the
next about eight, which extends more or less up
to one or two P.M.; and lastly an afternoon take,
between four and six o'clock. It will be observed
that as the day advances trout leave the broken
water and lie at the tail ends of pools and
streams. A good breeze is then of great importance.
At the beginning of July there is occasionally
a touch of frost or fog, which spoils the early
morning take; when it is warm, however, trout
still feed freely during the early hours. The
best time of day is now frojn eight to two or
three o'clock, and it is curious to note that the WORM-FISHING. 37
afternoon take is.gradually discontinued after the
first week of July.
Our readers must not suppose that these hours
are kept very precisely. If the weather is
settled, there is little variation from day to day,
but frost, want of sunshine, and many other
causes, may retard the take for hours. Neither
is it to be imagined that trout do not feed except
at the hours mentioned; fairly good sport may
be got in smaller streams all through the day,
but nothing to be compared to what is enjoyed
when the feeding is general.
As July draws to an end, trout show no special
relish for worms unless under very favourable
conditions. For two or three weeks at this
season, or up to the middle of August, they take
fly and worm very badly. May this be owing
to their feeding on the Caddis or immature
autumn flies? Our experience favours this
theory. At any rate, when these flies appear
towards the end of the month, it is certain that
trout take them greedily, and continue doing so
during September.
Where to Fish.—In June and July trout
scatter themselves over the shallows ; in fact
they may be captured in water hardly deep
enough to cover them. This is important to
keep in mind. It points out the character of
water in which the best sport is to be obtained 38 Worm-fishing.
The expert fills his basket in places that are
usually passed over earlier in the season. That
many anglers do so even during the worm months
is clearly shown by their poor takes. They
somehow prefer the deep strong rushes, of all
places the least reliable. The beginner should
miss over no water, however unproductive it may
appear to his eyes.
Weather.—Nothing helps the worm-fisher
more than sunshine; favoured with this, a
moderate breeze, and occasional showers, his
sport is almost a certainty. A close day with
drizzling rain is good, and also one with a cloudless
sky. Trout may be caught in all weathers; even
on what may be termed an unfavourable day, viz.
one with dark clouds and a boisterous wind, the
angler may be successful by adopting the method
explained hereafter for fishing still water.
A good breeze is of great importance; it opens
up stretches of water at other times practically
unfishable. Of course when it is very strong it
is troublesome for casting; yet on the whole we
much prefer moderate wind to calm weather; it
gives the angler a variety of fishing. On still
days he is confined to the streams, but wind brings
into capital order many portions of the river that
afford quite as good sport as the broken water.
We shall now endeavour to describe how best
to fish a river, and for the sake of clearness, Worm-fishing. 39
make our remarks under the two following
1st. Broken water of every kind not dependent on wind.
2d. Still water for the most part only fishable
when there is wind.
How to Fish Broken Water, Streams, etc.
—To fish these to best advantage considerable
skill and method are required. It is easy enough
for any one to take a trout from a good run,
but it is quite another thing to basket half a
The angler must at all times be careful to
approach cautiously, and get as near to the fish
as possible without being observed. Many seem
never to acquire the instinctive knowledge of the
distance to keep from a trout without alarming it The proficient has no difficulty in this
respect; he sees at a glance the best way of
manoeuvring a pool or stream, although he may
be a stranger to the river.
Further, the angle r should always fish from the
shallow or channel side, and disturb the water as
little as possible if wading. If the whole stream
is fishable, he commences at the foot of it; this
is sometimes not practicable owing to the absence
of wind, in which case his best plan is to strike
the water's edge at the place where the ripple
is first apparent.    If he does not attend to this, 40 Worm-fishing.
he drives the fish up stream when walking along
the edge, and alarms those lying above.
The attention of the angler ought in the first
place to be directed to the shallow water next
him, then with consecutive casts at varying
angles let him methodically fish up the whole
The greater proportion of casts are made upwards and across, but the channel side usually
requires to be fished straight up stream. Each
cast is made a little further up, and is spent
where the preceding one began, the object of this
being to keep the bait always moving in unfished
water. The worm is allowed to come downward
with the current in a natural way, and at the
same time the rod top is slowly raised.
All sections of the stream, viz. the opposite
bank, centre current, and shallow water, are in
this way searched as the angler works his way
He should fish with special care all runs beneath the bank, the neighbourhood of large stones,
tree roots, and places where the shallows merge
into deeper water; while eddies and corners, of
which there is great variety, must never be carelessly passed over, however shallow.
No time should be wasted when fishing small
waters: but a large river is different; in it one
stretch of good water for worm takes a long time WORM-FISHING. 41
to exhaust, and may sometimes, if broad enough,
be fished over twice, the angler wading deeper
on the second occasion.
Another favourite place for using worm is the
" flatts," or thinnest description of water. These
usually have a slight current running through
them, which is every here and there diverted by
large stones, or inequalities in the channel. If
close to deep pools, this type of water often contains the best trout in the river. It is difficult
to fish, a long line being necessary to keep the
angler out of sight.
We have often found it an advantage both in
streams and pools to complete each cast with a
gentle draw downwards, the rod top being lowered somewhat before the sweep is given. By
this means many a trout is secured that would
otherwise have been merely touched. Fish often
seize the worm as it is being lifted, which prevents the angler from striking effectively.
How to Fish Pools and Still Water.—
These portions of a river are rather uncertain;
they require a good breeze, as we have already
alluded to ; with it, however, every place of
moderate depth may be fished over, occasionally
with great success. The angler must avoid very
deep water, as in it sport is rarely obtained. The
character of the water we speak of is unbroken,
with or without current, and varying in depth
from one to four or five feet. Tails of pools,
mill-dams, stretches of flat water are embraced
in it, and are to be met with in every river.
The angler may fish such places by throwing
in his bait and allowing it to sink or travel
slowly down stream, if there is any current. We,
however, advise him to adopt another style of
managing his line. It was first shown us several
years ago by a professional angler, and on numerous occasions since we have proved its efficacy.
Casting upwards and across we allow the worm
to rest a second, keeping a little more line than
usual in the water; this is followed by giving the
line a pull or sweep down or across the stream,
lighter or stronger, according to the strength
of the wind and depth of water; then resting
the rod top a second, we complete the movement
by another, but lighter draw down stream. The
angler must always use his discretion as to the
force necessary. In very shallow water the
slightest touch will suffice, while in deeper places,
disturbed by a strong wind, the first sweep should
be of a bold character. Again, we have found
this method very deadly on black windy days,
usually considered the worst for worm-fishing.
Weather of this description is more fitted for the
minnow, and doubtless that lure would succeed
better ; but the worm makes a good substitute if
correctly worked.   It will be found that trout WORM-FISHING. 43
take it boldly, seldom missing their aim. In still
water they usually look at the worm with great
suspicion; we have, however, frequently seen
them dash fearlessly at the bait when we accompanied the cast with a pull down stream.
Tails of pools are well suited for sport in this
way when ruffled with wind. If calm the only
portion of the pool that can be fished is the strong
rush at the neck. This should be done in the
same way as broken water, only fewer -casts will
exhaust it, and these should be made more directly
up stream.
Catching rising fish in calm water affords capital
practice. The angler must be able to throw a
light line, and place his bait at the desired spot.
Whenever a trout has risen he should cast a little
above the place, and give his line the slightest
pull towards the side or down stream. The
smallest worms and thinnest wires, dressed on
cobweb gut, are necessary for this description of
fishing. If there is a breeze it is comparatively
easy to catch rising fish, but in a dead calm it is
extremely delicate work.
From the foregoing remarks it is evident
that trout take a worm in still water with far
greater boldness if there is imparted to it an
artificial or unnatural motion. We may add that
it is a good plan to place a small swivel on the
casting-line; it causes the bait to spin slightly. 44 WORM-FISHING.
Some anglers fish only in the strong water at
the necks of pools and streams; we do not recommend this, unless there happens to be a long
stretch of river to cover. A fine average of
trout may be taken in this way, but wherever the
fishing-ground is limited, as in many of our rivers,
we advise the angler to make the most of each
stream and pool, without wasting time over the
deep water.
Flooded Waters.—Our remarks up to this
point have applied solely to rivers when at their
summer level; we now turn to flooded waters.
In the first place, we advise anglers to be on
the river when it is either rising or falling. During the height of a heavy flood very little sport is
obtained, as trout seek refuge from the current
under banks and stones, or retire to less disturbed
quarters, where they lie until the water commences
to subside. The angler should confine his operations to edges of pools, long stretches of unbroken
water, and, in fact, every quiet corner.
Again, he need not cover much ground; if he
knows a reliable spot where the trout are numerous, he should make for it, and stick to it.
As regards tackle, we have already recommended a good-sized single hook with larger
worms; stronger gut should also be used, and
Binkers consisting either of shot or lead wire.
All  clear - water  fishers  exercise very little WORM-FISHING. 45
patience when rivers are discoloured; it is contrary to their notions of sport; a spate, however,
is useful in cleaning the bed of the stream, and
stirs up large trout to feed more boldly.
Although it is when flooded that the banks of
a river are most crowded, we can assure our
readers it is no true criterion of the best time to
fish; we have enjoyed good sport for a week or
two when the river was small, disturbed only by
an occasional angler. Whenever the rain came
the whole neighbourhood turned out with rods,
every one apparently thinking that the most
favourable opportunity had arrived. On such
days we have seldom found that good takes were
Burns.—Burns are improved with a little extra
water; when small they require to be fished with
much of the skill necessary for the main stream.
Light and accurate casting is of great importance,
and it is necessary to fish more directly up stream.
A shorter rod will be found better adapted for the
narrow channel. Burn trout are never very fastidious, and generally take either fly or worm
greedily; they afford good sport, but rarely equal
in average or quality those met with in streams
running through richer soil The inducement
to burn-fishing consists, to a great extent, in the
invigorating hill air, fine scenery, and splendid
exercise it affords. CHAPTEE   IV.
Minnow-fishing is certainly one of the most
fascinating methods of angling. Eequiring a
little less dexterity than fly-fishing, and somewhat less intimate knowledge of the haunts of
trout than clear-water worm, it surpasses both in
excitement. For it appeals to the appetites of
the largest trout, and these fish, when pursuing a
minnow, do so with a most wonderful mixture of
caution and dash, following the lure until they
imagine that it seems likely to escape, and then
making such a rush at it as is apt to send the
angler's heart into his mouth, and the minnow
into theirs if allowed.
The rod which we prefer is an unsplit bamboo
with greenheart top, moderately stiff, and of
between 13 and 16 feet in length. We prefer a
longish rod because it allows the minnow to be
swung, not flopped into the water; besides, it
gives greater command both over the spinning
and hooking departments. minnow-fishing. 4t
Eeel.—This should be large and easy running,
containing a fair quantity of line; the best for
spinning is waterproofed silk, as it is less apt to
kink than others. The line should taper sufficiently to allow the trace or casting-line to be
affixed directly to it; and this trace should vary
in length and fineness according to the state of
the water when it is to be used. For thick or
flooded water a trace a yard long, with two
swivels, and composed of medium gut, is sufficient;
but for clear, much-fished streams it should taper
from thick trout gut, at the upper end, to the
very finest undrawn gut of which the two or
three strands next the hook should be composed,
and be from 6 to 9 feet in length.
The best tackle, in our opinion, consists of a
long-shanked body hook, with a smaller lip-hook;
in spated water or large rivers a flying triangle
may be found useful.
The size of the large hook should vary with that
of the bait. (Nos. 1 and 2 of Messrs. Bartleet's
round-bends are good general sizes.)    The big 48
hook should be of such length that from the top
of the shank to the bend may equal the distance
from the nose to the vent of the minnow.
We use a modification of this, consisting of a
lip hook with swivel attached, and having a loop
on the shank through which the gut between
large hook and triangle is passed.
By easing the gut and drawing out either hook
or triangle, this tackle can be made to suit any
reasonable size of bait. Another good tackle is
composed of a lip hook and two or three sets of
double hooks so applied as to give the desired
curve to the tail of the bait. As this can be
obtained from any dealer, and the mode of baiting is quite simple, a diagram is unnecessary.
It must be noted that the object of all minnow
tackle is twofold: first, to give a brilliant spin MINNOW-FISHING. 49
to the bait; secondly, to hook securely any fish
that may dash at it.
To attain the former of these objects the tail
of the bait must be well curved and the body
perfectly straight. If the fore-part of the body
is at all bent the result will be not a spin, but a
wobble. Now a minnow when stunned does
often spin, but it never wobbles. At the same
time all fishes in swimming bend the tail from
one side to the other, hence a curved bait is
actually more natural than a straight one.
Our second object—secure hooking—is more
likely to be attained by a single large hook with
its point projecting at the tail (which, in our
experience, is the part aimed at by trout), than
by several smaller ones not in the right place.
At the same time in coloured or large open waters
fish often turn abruptly from the bait just when
on the point of striking at it; hence the use of
the flying triangle in such cases. Of artificial
spinners and artificial baits we have but a poor
opinion, the only artificial minnow with which we
have done fairly well being the quill minnow,
and next to this we would place a small Devon.
Phantoms, though good in lochs, do not seem to
have the ghost of a chance in rivers: this statement is a severe combination of joke and earnest.
Times and Seasons.—Fish take minnow best
in the early part of the day; but often good fish SO MINNOW-FISHING.
seem to go minnowrhunting in the afternoon and
late at night. The best hours are, however, at
daybreak and nightfall, as these are the times
when predatory animals of all sorts sally forth.
The time of year best for minnow is from
June till the end of August, but a feW fish may
be taken with it at all times of the year, winter
certainly not excepted.
Now for the application.
Fish on the lookout for minnows have a way
of lying in wait in spots suited for their concealment, near shallows which their prey frequent;
and thence rushing out and hunting down any
unfortunate that seems at all disabled. It is, of
course, impossible to mention all such places, but
the likeliest of all are sudden depressions in the
channel, the edges of deep eddies, the sides of
large stones, tufts of grass and overhanging
banks, and last, but not least, the roots of any
tree that are washed by the current, or spaces
amidst weeds.
These are good at all times, but in a porter-
coloured water there is hardly a spot in any
river fit to hold a trout where you may not spin
Now as to the method of spinning. Select a
proper bait—the best are from 1J to 2 J inches
long—plump and clear (dark-coloured baits are
little use): enter the large hook of the tackle, MINNOW-FISHING. 51
either at the mouth or gills of the bait—we prefer the former if we have a long-shanked hook,
the latter if a short-shanked one—impale it till
the point comes out near the tail, thus imparting
the curve of the hook to the tail of the bait; pass
the lip-hook through both lips, and there you
are! A little care in this will be well repaid, as
the main difficulty lies in getting the bend.
Now carefully approach the stream, and swing
your bait first almost across the current, aiming
it at a point a little above the water, thus allowing it to hang in the air a little before it
descends ; then, letting it sink slightly, draw the
bait by a succession of pulls, with occasional
pauses, slowly in a fast current, more quickly in
a gentle one, but never rapidly, across and against
the current, so that the minnow may spin in a
curve athwart the stream. As your bait passes
any likely spot you may expect a rush at it; but
if not, never mind, simply go on spinning more
and more carefully as it approaches the side, and
then edge your minnow, searching thoroughly the
shore, for we do not think we exaggerate in saying that two out of every three good trout taken
by minnow seize the lure close to the side. When
a fish takes the bait your strike must be firm and
slow; in fact rather a continued strain than a
The great secret of success is to aim at imitat- 52 MINNOW-FISHING.
ing a sick, injured, or frightened minnow ; therefore you must not spin continuously, nor drag
the bait forcibly up stream, which no small fish
could stem, but rather try to make your bait
appear as if striving unsuccessfully against the
current, and making for the friendly shelter of
the margin.
This is the ordinary method of minnow-fishing,
and that most successful in flooded waters and
in large deep streams; but in small, clear waters
the minnow should be cast more or less directly
up stream and spun downwards. Many anglers
will not believe that this is possible, but those
who attempt it, after a little experience of the
ordinary plan, will find it much easier than it
sounds. The tactics here are precisely the same
as those employed in the down-stream method
mutatis mutandis, but the bait is best spun with
a somewhat darting motion, so as to imitate the
action of a frightened fish rushing down stream.
In both these plans it is sometimes necessary
to weight the line, and this is accomplished either
by a pear-shaped lead pushed into the bait's
mouth, or better, by split shot applied between
the two swivels.
In rivers frequented by salmon, parr-tail is
often preferable to minnow1 (or where parr are
1 This is only legal on Tweed and its tributaries, and
there not during April and May. MINNOW-FISHING. 53
not available, the latter end of a small trout will
do), and may be fished with in much stronger
and deeper currents.
It is prepared by trimming off the fins and
tail from a parr, and with a sharp knife cutting
obliquely from the front of the anal to the front
of the dorsal fin.
The lozenge-shaped bit of fish thus cut is used
reversed, i.e. like the brewer's horse, its tail where
the head should be, the large hook impaling it, and
coming out near the farther end of the dorsal
fin, whilst the lip hook pierces the gristle of the
tail. This makes a very tough and lasting bait.
It will sometimes be found an advantage to tie
the end of the bait round the curve of the hook
with thread; this preserves the parr-tail longer.
The best size of parr for use is one from four to
four and three-quarters inches long.
There are other ways of using minnow, which
we may mention: Dead-minnow fishing, in which 5 4 MINNOW FISHING.
a fresh minnow is impaled by means of a baiting
needle on a long-shanked bait hook heavily
leaded,. the needle being entered at the mouth,
and brought out at the tail, so that the leaded
shank of the hook is concealed in the belly,
whilst the bend projects.
A better plan is to use a triangle with three or
four split shot on the line above it. The tail is
trimmed off or not according to taste, and a loop
of the gut passed round the thin part to keep the
bait straight. The minnow is then carefully
dropped into any deep hole or eddy close to the
side, and allowed to dart of its own weight to the
bottom, or near it; then it is slowly drawn up a
foot or so, and this process is continued until all
the edges of the hole have been thoroughly
searched. This plan is very deadly in hot sultry
weather and during floods. It is a method well
fitted for deep running, sluggish waters, with
cavernous banks.
There is yet another way of using the minnow
exactly like clear-water worm-fishing. In this
method rippling streams only are fished, the
smallest and brightest of minnows being impaled
on a medium (No. 4 or 5) round-bend hook. A
long rod and the finest of gut are necessary; the
minnow is cast like a fly, and drawn gently down
stream past all likely spots. The best time for
this method is hot dry weather during July and MINNOW-FISHING. 55
August, and it is sometimes specially good in the
latter month.
We shall say nothing of live baiting, which
we don't like, and don't care to use. It may be
legitimate in rivers too sluggish for spinning, but,
thank Heaven, we have none such in Scotland.
Nor shall we say aught of trolling, which may
sometimes be defensible in lochs, but should
never be attempted on streams. lir"
We are aware that some ultra-fastidious fishers
decry all baits, and look with special aversion on
such lures as creeper, May-fly, cad-bait, etc.
The best thing such persons can do is to skip
this chapter altogether ; they should certainly not
try any of these baits lest they be converted.
Creeper and May-fly are the larval and complete stages of the same insect—the stone-fly of
England, the May-fly and Gauger of Scotland,
Perla Maxima and Perla Marginata of entomologists.
In any fast stream during the end of April
and in May, on lifting a broad flat stone in
shallow water, several ugly customers will be
seen scuttling off, and perhaps one or two may
be found adhering to the under surface of the
stone. Examine one of them; it answers the
popular description, " a rum 'un to look at—a
beggar to go." The usual length is from three-
fourths of an inch to one inch. A small venomous-
looking head, three segments  overlapping  one
another Inverness cape-wise for a chest, and a
body or tail of nine or ten segments tapering
slightly, terminated by two sting-like whisks,
make its appearance somewhat formidable. Legs
—yes, it has legs, only six of them, but they feel
as if their name was legion, so rapidly do they
move. Colour, mottled olive above; yellow below.    Such is the creeper.
The fly is a big, soft, greenish-bodied fellow,
from one to one and a quarter inches long, with
four heavy, soft, drab-coloured wings, laid flat
along its back.
Both are thoroughly harmless, until the angler
renders them otherwise to the trout by inserting
The easiest way to catch creepers is to hire a
small boy; if that useful nuisance is not available, a supply can be obtained by wading into a
stream about six inches deep, holding a small-
meshed landing-net below you, and displacing
the stones with your feet. The slowest way is to
lift stones and chase the insect; this is exciting
but unprofitable. May-flies may be gathered
from under stones near the water's edge, especially on the lee side of the stream.
Tackle.—A long rod, somewhat soft in the
top, is advisable, owing to the tender nature of
both lures.    Any kind of line, and a gut cast of
from seven to nine feet long, ending in three or
four strands of fine drawn gut, are to be used.
The best tackle is made exactly like a small
minnow tackle, i.e. one largish hook, say No. 9 or
10 Bartleet, and a smaller, No. 11 or 12 lip-hook,
just above it. The larger hook may either be
passed along the body, and so be hid by it, or it
may be entered crosswise through it, whilst the
smaller pierces the thorax or chest. A small
single hook is often used, but we prefer the two
hooks at all times and in all places. The tackle
we have mentioned is suitable for either creeper
or May-fly.
Split shot are generally advisable when using
the creeper, both on account of the rapid nature
of the water fished in, and to help in casting the
bait, which is a small and light one in comparison
to the rod by which it is thrown.
The Creeper.—The creeper comes on about
the time that the March brown fly disappears,
viz. the end of April, and continues till the end
of May or beginning of June, when it turns into
the May-fly. During the earlier parts of its
season it is good only in the early morning,
but further on it may be used continuously all
day under suitable conditions. What are suitable conditions ? Well, the water must be low
and clear, the weather warm and bright, or if
dull there must be a mild breeze ; and trout
require to be lying in the strong streams.    The CREEPER AND MAY-FLY FISHING. 59
method of angling is precisely similar to that
used in up-stream worm-fishing, quick striking
being necessary, but a shorter line must be employed, owing to the softness of the bait.
The best places are rough strong currents
full of boulders or rocks, and the greatest care
should be taken in fishing the upper parts of all
streams, as these are the spots where creepers do
most abound. All streamy or broken water
ought to be fished, but less attention should be
given to very shallow places than is necessary in
worm-fishing. The largest and clearest-coloured
baits are best.
There is also an autumn creeper with which
trout may be taken ; it is, so far as we can see,
but little different from the spring creeper ; but
we have not as yet satisfied ourselves as to the
identity of its parent-fly.
Caddis Bait and Screw.—In this connection it may also be well to mention that caddis
bait and the screw, or fresh-water shrimp, may
be used in the same way as the creeper. The
caddis, however, does better in pools than in
streams. A good combination is to use caddis in
the pools, creeper in the streams.
May-fly.—The conditions most favourable to
May-fly fishing are almost the exact opposite of
those for creeper. A porter-coloured water, either
during the rise or fall of a spate, is by far the 60 CREEPER AND MAY-FLY FISHING.
best, and dull days, calm, or with a moderate
breeze. Given such a day in May or June, and a
good supply of bait, the angler may be happy yet.
The method is similar to that used for creeper-
fishing ; the tackle is baited in the same way,
even the shot on the line being often useful in
heavy streams, but greater care is necessary in
casting, as the bait is very tender.
Shade-fishing.—The May-fly may also be
used on very hot days to dape or shade fish with.
That is to say, the angler stalks special fish in
the pools, taking advantage of the shelter of trees
and bushes to approach. The line is wound
round the end of the rod and uncoiled until just
sufficient line has been let out to allow the fly to
paddle about on the top of the water, as near as
possible to the intended victims' haunt: very
large trout are sometimes taken in this way by
those anglers who have patience for such proceedings. CHAPTEE VI
Although loch-fishing does not require the
same amount of skill as river-fishing, it is still
a most enjoyable pastime, the great attraction
being the superior size of trout to be caught.
The best rod in our opinion for fishing from a
boat is one of 11 or 12 feet in length, light,
stiffish, and which can easily be used with either
hand. Should the angler intend fishing from the
shore, his rod is better to be 12 to 14 feet long,
as he often requires to cast further than is necessary while angling from a boat. The wood we
recommend for a rod of this description is green-
heart entirely, or bamboo cane with a top piece
of greenheart. The best line is one of silk and
hair, or waterproof silk, the latter, for choice, of
a yellowish brown colour, and 40 or 50 yards
in length. It is always advisable to have the
line tapered off with 3 feet of twisted gut;
this should be spliced to the line so that it may
not catch on the rings of the rod while being
reeled in, f
Next comes a most important part of the outfit,
the reel, which should balance the rod. The best
reel is an easy-going ratchet, with the spring
just sufficiently strong to prevent the line overrunning. Most ratchets are much too stiff, and
if a heavy fish is hooked on fine tackle with one
of these, it is almost a hopeless case; there are
probably more fish and tackle lost by a stiff-
running reel than by any other cause the loch
angler has to contend with.
The fishing-book should consist of two parts,
the one composed of large pockets for made-up
casting-lines, and the other constructed in the
ordinary manner for holding flies.
A landing-net is a necessity while angling from
a boat. It should be 2 feet deep, the circumference of the ring 3| feet, and the handle 4 feet long.
Of casting, which has already been described
in the chapter on river-fishing, we shall say little,
simply noting that it is necessary to cast in the
same direction as the boat is drifting, viz. with
the wind. It should be borne in mind that it is
much better to cast lightly and straight, 6 or 8
yards (which in most cases from a boat is quite
sufficient) than 12 or 14 yards, that go down on
the water zig-zag, leaving the line so loose that a
fish rising cannot be hooked. If there be only
one angler fishing from a boat he should try and
cover as much water as possible by casting first LOCH-FISHING. 63
to the right, then straight forward, and then to
the left.
The casting-line should be from 8 to 10 feet long>
and attached to the line by a loop, the flies being
put on as described in the chapter on tackle.
The number and size of flies to be used must be
ruled entirely by the state of the water and weather.
If it is very calm two small river flies, 3 feet
apart, should be used on a casting-line of the
finest undrawn gut. If there is a fair ripple on
the water use three flies, 3 feet apart, Nos. 9 or
10 (in April and May a size larger may be required). Again, if the waves are of a moderate
size, four flies, never more, 2 feet apart, may be
used, Nos. 7 or 8. The above numbers are
W. Bartleet & Son's Kendal round-bends.
For angling in northern lochs such as Tay,
Vennacher, Earn, Awe, etc., these flies are at
least a size too small. We think, however, that
many anglers make the mistake of using too large
flies, more especially on artificial lochs, which as
a rule require flies of a small size. In cloudy
weather, or when trout are feeding freely on the
surface, dull-coloured flies, imitating as nearly as
possible the natural insect, may generally be used
with advantage ; while, in bright weather, silver-
bodied flies, such as the " Butcher," are often
One of the most important things to be learned
is the different manner in which the fly should ifff
be worked under varying circumstances, and
this can only be found out by experience; but
we shall try to explain the modes we approve of.
When the breeze is light, trout generally rise
best if the flies are drawn slowly and directly
against the ripple. When we say slowly, we
mean just sufficiently fast to keep the flies on
the surface of the water. If the waves are fairly
large and choppy, the flies should be drawn
slowly sideways between them. Again, if there
is more of a swell than a wave, it is advisable to
let the flies * sink slightly, and draw them sideways. There are, however, exceptions to every
rule, so that the various ways should be tried
alternately until a fish is taken. In very stormy
weather it often happens that the only place to
get fish with fly is immediately in the lee of the
boat, where the surface is more or less sheltered
from the wind.
In angling from the shore, if the breeze is
light, the angler will require to cast frequently,
and draw the flies towards the edge. If there is a
good breeze, the flies should be allowed to drift for
about 3 feet, and then be drawn slowly inwards.
To avoid fishing over the same water twice, a step
should be taken after each cast. Angling from
the shore is in many respects like river-fishing, as
the trout lie beneath trees, near reeds, boulders,
etc.; and these places must be carefully fished LOCH-FISHING. 65
The next subject is one on which there are
great differences of opinion—" When and how to
strike :" this we think depends greatly on the
state of the water, and how the fish are rising.
Striking should be done entirely by the wrist
being brought up sharply but gently in the direction of the shoulder, without moving the arm.
On a calm day, when the fish are rising shyly,
we believe in striking immediately the surface of
the water is broken. If the fish are rolling over
the fly, porpoise fashion, the strike should be
delayed until the fish has turned. Again, if
the fish are rising out of the water and taking
the fly on the downward course, the line should
be kept taut, and the fish allowed to hook themselves.
More than half the battle in loch-angling is
knowing the ground on which the feeding fish
lie. Unless this is known the best plan is for
the boatman to row very slowly and quietly
against the wind, whilst the angler, with a long
line, casts at right angles from the stern of the
boat. Should he get a rise, or see fish rising, let
the boatman row on about 100 yards, and then
turn and drift as nearly as possible over the spot
on which the fish were seen feeding. If he finds
that this manoeuvre succeeds, let him take several
short drifts about the same place until the take
comes to an end.   There is no doubt that in many 66 LOCH-FISHING.
lochs the fish go in shoals, so that the angler
should be in no hurry to leave the spot on which
the fish are feeding on the supposition that he
would do better elsewhere. Beginners frequently
change too often from one drift to another, and.
owing to this, probably miss the take when it is
As to the various depths of water to be fished
during the season, the following general rule will
be found useful:—March, April, and September
6 to 8 feet; May and June 4 to 8 feet; July and
August 3 to 6 feet.
An easy way to find the depths is to sound
occasionally with an oar. In such lochs as Tay
and Earn the only fishing-ground is near the
shore, so that the angler must be careful not to
let the boat drift into too deep water.
When playing a fish the rod should be kept
almost perpendicular, and the line never allowed
to get slack except in the case of a leap out of
the water, when the point of the rod should momentarily be lowered. One thing to be done
immediately a large fish is hooked is to try and
take it to windward. If this is not attended to in
stormy weather, the boat is almost certain to drift
over the line and entangle the flies. Great care
must be taken when using the landing-net to sink
it well, and whenever the fish is seen to be safely
within it, the point of the rod should be lowered. LOCH-FISHING. 67
The day on which sport may be looked for
with the greatest certainty on most lochs is one
with a gentle south-westerly breeze, a dull sky
and occasional showers. Probably the most unfavourable day is one with a cloudless sky and
no wind. Between these extremes there are states
of weather in which the take appears to depend
on the caprice of the trout. On Lochleven, which
in some respects is a rule unto itself, the best
sport is had when there is a steady easterly
breeze accompanied by a drizzling rain.
Trolling with fly is sometimes practised with
success. This is done by letting out 35 or 40
yards of line from the stern, and having the boat
rowed very slowly and quietly. The flies should
be a size larger than would otherwise be used,
and the gut stouter to meet the extra strain.
The following is a list of flies which we have
proved to be successful in a variety of lochs :—
Teal wing, with red, green, yellow, or blue body.
Mallard wing, with red or black body.
Woodcock wing, with hare-lug, red, or yellow body.
Blae wing, with black or water-rat body.
Grouse wing, with claret, green, or orange body.
March brown.
Hecham Pecham, with red, yellow, or green body.
Corncrake wing, with yeUow, or dark orange body.
Bustard wing, with red or yellow body.
Black Palmer, with red tip (Zulu).
The £t$9her (crow wing, bright silver body), 68 LOCH-FISHING.
Trolling with minnow is often successful,
although we do not advise its use, unless the fish
cannot be taken with fly. The rod should be 14
or 15 feet in length, and built entirely of green-
heart. The best line is waterproofed silk, and it
should be at least 100 yards long. It is advisable
to have it marked off at various lengths with a
few turns of different coloured threads varnished
over; for instance, red at 30 yards, white at 40
yards, blue at 50 yards.
It is necessary to find out at what depth the fish
are feeding, and this can only be done by letting out
various lengths of line from 30 to 50 yards. Thus,
if a fish is taken when the line is out to the extent
of the white thread (40 yards), let the line again
out to the same length, and so on. In trolling
with minnow the boat should be rowed zig-zag
and rather faster than when trolling with fly.
The artificial minnows most deadly are the
phantom and angel, the former if the loch is
shallow, and the latter if deep. Eegarding size
and colour we prefer the blue and silver or brown
and gold phantom of about lj inches in length;
the best angel is one entirely white, or brown and
white, and of the same size as the former. Natural
minnow is sometimes very deadly, and should be
used on a two-hook tackle, as described in the
chapter on minnow-fishing. There are numerous
kinds of minnow tackles, but the above will be LOCH-FtSHiNG. 69
found the best and simplest. The trace or casting-line should have two or three swivels, and be
made of stouter gut than would be used in river-
Trolling is occasionally successful on a calm
day with bright sunshine, but, as a rule, the best
sport is obtained when a boisterous wind is
There still remains another branch in loch-
fishing, and that is angling from the shore with
worm, which in very bright or very stormy weather
occasionally does fairly well; we only recommend
its use, however, when all other resources fail.
Large worms should be used on a single bait-
hook, of which there may be two on the casting-
line—one about 2 J feet above the other, and put
on in the same manner as a fly. The best places
are near burn mouths, if they are flooded, or
where the water deepens rapidly. As long a line
as possible must be cast, and the bait allowed to
sink to the bottom: this done, the line should be
drawn slowly, in very short jerks, towards the
shore. Should a fish bite the line is allowed to
rest a moment until it is again felt, when the
angler should strike. CHAPTER VII.
The angler's equipment having been touched
upon in each of the preceding chapters, we have
only to add a few hints regarding it.
Gut.—The finest undrawn is difficult to procure,
and for that reason drawn gut is now largely employed. The latter is strong enough when carefully handled to land large trout, but more skill
is required to cast it properly.
If the angler makes up his own tackle he
should be provided with two hanks of gut, drawn
and undrawn; with these he can vary his casts
during the season to suit all weathers.
Various dyes may be employed to stain gut.
An infusion of logwood, with the addition of a
very minute piece of copperas, gives a bluish
colour. If afterwards steeped in strong warm tea
the gut takes on a duller shade, and loses much
of its glitter. Copperas must always be used
sparingly, otherwise it rots the gut.    Unless the SOME HINTS AS TO TACKLE. 71
angler is accustomed to dye gut, he is safer to
purchase it stained the colour he wishes.
To preserve gut, it should be wrapped in
chamois skin, or any soft, close material: when
exposed to the light for anytime it becomes brittle.
Before making up a cast, steep the gut in
warm water, then lay the ends of two strands
side by side, form a loop, pass the gut through it,
and draw tight.
Single Water Knot.
The diagram shows the single knot; the double
knot is made by passing the ends through twice.
The | Fisherman's Knot" is also well known;
hold the gut as before, with the short ends make
half hitches round the line, either single or double,
draw them tight, and pull together.
Single Fisherman's Knot.
Where single knots are  used, the waste ends
should not be cut away too close. 72
Various methods are employed to fix on
droppers :   we give a few of them :—
1st. Lay dropper parallel with casting-line,
above a knot, fly pointing upwards, make a
double half-hitch round the cast with gut end of
dropper, and pull tight.
2d. Tie on dropper to cast with a single knot,
draw it tight, then, pointing fly downward, make
a hitch round the line, and pull upwards. This
also requires to be placed above a knot on the
Sd. Make a running loop on cast, insert gut of
dropper, and with slight jerk draw both ends of SOME HINTS AS TO TACKLE.
casting-line in opposite directions. It will then
be found that the dropper is quite secure. Both
fly and casting-line require to be well soaked for
this attachment.
tth. The gut of droppers may be used to form
part of the main line, as the diagram will explain.
This is a neat and secure way of making up the
cast, but care should be taken that the gut of
dropper (a) and casting-line are of the same
The gut cast may be attached to the reel-line
in the following way.
After a day's fishing the wet  portion of the
line should be unwound and dried.    To prevent
F f
ravelling it should be coiled round the back of a
chair or flat piece of wood, or a winder made for
the purpose may be used.
Eeels, more especially those with revolving
plates, are easily injured; the anglers must therefore be careful to prevent them coming in contact with any hard substance, and must also
avoid laying them down near sand. If the plate
does not run smoothly it should be unscrewed
and well cleaned.
Eods, either when mounted or in their covers,
ought never to be placed against a wall, as they
are apt to warp.
The rod cover should always be kept dry, and
it is therefore better to carry it about as little as
To prevent the joints of the rod slipping it is
safer to tie them together with waxed thread,
small catches being usually lapped on the rod for
this purpose.
As breakages may occur, the angler should
never go a-fishing without some well-waxed cord
or narrow linen tape.
A strong knife is indispensable, and a pair of
folding scissors will also be found usefuL
Wading boots and waterproof fishing-stockings
require looking after, the former to be oiled, and
the latter turned inside out after use to allow all
dampness to escape, and then re-turned. SOME HINTS AS TO TACKLE. 75
It. is sometimes necessary to carry a landing-
net. We prefer one with solid metal ring, of
moderate depth, and with a handle from 3 to 3 J
feet in length. For loch-fishing a larger size is
necessary. CHAPTEE  VIII.
It must be admitted that a legal disquisition
seems somewhat out of place in a book devoted
to sport, but the rights and grievances of anglers
have of late received so much attention that a
brief statement of the law relating to trout-fishing may prove both interesting and useful As
this chapter is not written for members of the
legal profession, the simplest possible language
will be used, and the pages will not be cumbered
with references to authorities. To prevent confusion it may be well to state at the outset that
we only propose to deal with the law of Scotland,
and that what we have to say does not apply to
In the tidal portions of public navigable rivers
trout may be fished for by every one. This right
does not extend beyond the high-water mark of
ordinary spring tides, and in exercising it the
banks of the stream, where they are private
property, must not be trespassed upon. THE LAW OF SCOTLAND AS TO TROUT-FISHING.     77
It has been decided that the right of trout-
fishing in private rivers—that is, in all rivers
which do not practically form part of the sea—
passes as a pertinent of the adjoining land. Put
into plain English, this means that the proprietor
of every piece of ground intersected or bounded
by a stream has, without the necessity of any
written grant, the privilege of angling for trout
in that stream, in so far as k washes his
estate. If he possess the ground on both sides,
he is entitled to fish the whole breadth of the
river; if, on the other hand, only one of the
banks should belong to him, his boundary, beyond
which he may not wade, is an imaginary line
drawn down the centre of the stream. Some
authorities hold that in the latter case he cannot
even throw his line into his neighbour's half of
the water; but this has not been decided by the
Scotch Courts, and seems open to question.
It has been laid down by the Court of Session
that no one has any right to angle in a private
river without the consent of the proprietor; that
such a right cannot be inferred from the fact that
members of the public have actually fished a
particular piece of water without let or hindrance
for any length of time; that even where there is
a right of way by the riverside, fishing from the
road or path can be prevented by the proprietor;
and several judges have expressed the opinion IF
that a tenant has no right to fish in a river or
loch upon his farm without the consent of his
landlord. These decisions show that it is only
at the pleasure of the lairds that a line can be
thrown upon any private river throughout the
length and breadth of Scotland.
The rules as to fishing in lochs are slightly
different from those which apply to rivers.
Where a loch is situated wholly within one estate,
then, as before, the proprietor has the exclusive
right. When it is bounded by different properties, however, and the matter is not regulated by
the respective titles, each landowner can fish over
the whole loch; but in doing so he must not
trespass upon his neighbour's ground. Following up this principle, it was decided that a proprietor on the shores of Loch Kannoch was entitled to confer on a purchaser of a portion of his
estate all the privileges he himself enjoyed, including that of angling. This decision, followed
to its logical conclusion, would seem to confer on
the owner of a small strip of ground on the
margin of any of our inland seas the power to
multiply indefinitely the number of persons entitled to fish in its waters; but if a case of this
kind were to arise the court might interfere to
protect the interests of the other proprietors.
Although the landowners have, as we have
seen, the exclusive right of fishing in non-tidal AS TO TROUT-FISHING. 79
waters, they have no right of property in the
fish themselves. To use the legal term, trout
are ferae naturae, and the rule is that so long as
they retain their natural liberty they belong to
no one. The practical result of this is that an
angler who has captured trout by rod and line
is entitled to retain them, even although he
may have been fishing without permission.
A proprietor who finds any one angling in his
water is entitled to order the offender off, and, if
necessary, to use force to compel him to leave.
It must be kept in view, however, that if more
violence is employed than the occasion requires,
there may be a claim for damages. If any one
fish in the knowledge that the proprietor objects,
and still more if, after being warned off, he
persist in returning, the remedy is to raise an
action of interdict. If the suit be successful,
the defender will generally be ordered to pay
the costs; and disregard of the interdict, when
granted, will be treated as contempt of court,
and punished by fine or imprisonment.
Even the most careful angler may occasionally
find himself unwittingly fishing in forbidden
waters. In such a case the proper course is at
once to apologise, and explain that the trespass
was unintentional, and leave the river. It is
probable that under these circumstances an
application for interdict would only succeed if i
there was reason to doubt the bona fides of the
So much as to questions of right between proprietors and the public: we have still to consider
what modes of fishing are legal and what illegal.
Until the passing of the Acts after referred to,
trout could be taken at any season of the year
and by any means which neither interfered unnecessarily with the salmon-fishing, if it belonged
to a separate person, nor injured the trout-
fishing of the neighbouring proprietors. But to
prevent certain unsportsmanlike practices which
were only too common, Parliament stepped in,
and passed two Acts, one in the year 1845,
and the other in 1860. By the second of these
Acts, which is practically an extended edition of
the first, it is declared illegal for any one, not
being the proprietor of a fishing, or having his
permission, " to fish for trout or other fresh-water
fish in any river, water, or loch in Scotland, with
any net of any kind or description, or by what is
known as double-rod fishing, or cross-line fishing,
or set lines, or otter fishing, or burning the
water, or by striking the fish with any instrument, or by pointing, or to put into the water
lime or any other substance destructive to trout
or other fresh-water fish with intent to destroy
the same." This list of offences seems wide
enough to prohibit the capture of trout in any
way except by means of rod and line, or by the
more primitive, but, to some people, the equally
enjoyable process of " guddling."
These earlier Acts did not apply to persons
in right of the fishing, but by the Act of 1902,
to which reference is made below, these once
favoured individuals are put in the same position
as the general public, except that they are allowed
to use the net for scientific, breeding, or restocking purposes. Proprietors are further prevented, at common law, from acting in such a
way as to interfere with the neighbouring fisheries. Under this last principle such operations
as the erection of weirs, or the introduction of
poisonous or polluting matter into the water,
may be prevented. There are Acts of Parliament
dealing with pollution, but this is too large a
subject to be entered upon here.
Two points in the Salmon Acts must be kept
in view by all trout-fishers who wish to avoid
getting into trouble. The first of these is the
enactment which declares it to be illegal to use
any fish roe as a bait, or even to possess it without a satisfactory reason; and the other is the
prohibition of the capture of parr or smolts, or,
broadly speaking, the young of any migratory fish
of the salmon kind. This latter provision is only
in force, so far as the Tweed and tributaries are
; concerned, during the months of April and May, 82   the law of Scotland as to trout-fishing.
but throughout the rest of the country it is
operative all the year round.
In our earlier editions attention was called to
"a grievous blot on the law of Scotland as
regards trout-fishing,—the want, namely, of a
close time." After years of delay, Parliament
happily found time to remedy this defect, and
by the Freshwater Fish (Scotland) Act, 1902, it
was provided that " between the fifteenth day of
October in any year and the twenty-eighth day
of February in the year following, both inclusive, there shall be an annual close time for
trout in Scotland, during which it shall not be
lawful" to fish for, possess, or expose for sale
common trout. The only exception to this
enactment is one which permits owners, lessees,
and occupiers to take trout during the annual
close time for scientific, breeding, or restocking
Although the close time might, perhaps, have
been extended with advantage, the Act is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, and will
help to increase the stock of trout in many
stretches of open water throughout the country.
Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty
at the Edinburgh University Press  /fT
University of British Columbia Library
ET«6      BP 74-453


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