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Lastly. Take a common bottle cork, and into the sides, at equal distances, cut three grooves; and placing it so as to receive each division of hairs, begin to twist. You will then find the links twist with great evenness at the lead: as it grows tighter shift the cork a little upwards, and when the whole is sufficiently twisted, take out the cork, and tie the links into a knot, and so proceed till you have twisted links sufficient for your line, observing to lessen the number of hairs in each link, in such proportion that the line may be taper.
Never strain your hairs before they are made into a line, if you do they will shrink when used.
Your links thus prepared, tie them together into a water knot; then cut off the short ends, about a straw's breadth from the knot, and then whip some waxed silk about the knots, which is much better than inclosing them with wax.
Never, either at ground or fly angling, fix any hooks to a line that consists of more than three or four links at the most ; but always make a small loop at the top and bottom of your line; the use of the one is to fasten it to your rod, and of the other, to affix or remove your armed hooks. The line should always be leaded according to the rapidity or quietness of the river you angle in; therefore, as nearly as you can guess, always lead it in such manner as will sink the bait to the bottom, and per. mit its motion, without any violent jogging on the ground. Carry the top of your rod even with your hand, beginning at the head of the stream, and letting the bait run downwards, as far as the rod and line will permit, the lead dragging and rolling on the ground. No more of the line must be in the water than will perinit the lead to touch the bottom;
for you are to keep the line as strait as possible, yet so as not to raise the lead from the bottom. When you have a bite, you may perceive it by your hand and the point of your rod and line: then strike gently and upwards, if you cannot tell which way the fish's head lics; but if you can, the contrary way from where it does; first allowing the fish, by a little slackening the line, a small time to pouch the bait. This is called angling by hand, and is very killing for trout, grayling, &c.
I shall treat of Float Fishing under the description of each fish.
As for your Fishing hooks, they ought to be made of the best tempered stec wire, longish in the shank, and somewhat thick in the circumference, the point even, and strait; let the bending be in the shank. For setting on the hook, or more scientifically speaking, arming it, use strong but small silk, lightly waxed with shoe-maker's wax; and lay the hair on the inside of the hook, for if it be on the outside, the silk will fret and cut it asunder. There are several sizes of hooks, large ones and small ones, made according to the fishes they are designed to take, which, when I come to treat of the different fish, the number of the hook proper for each will be fully expressed.
Ford and Kirby's hooks are excellent ones, but the best I ever had were from Red-bridge in Hampshire.
Floats, for angling, are of divers kinds: some made of Muscovy Duck quills, which are the best for slow waters, but for strong streams, sound cork, without flaws or holes, bored through with an hot iron, into which is put a quill of fit proportion, is preferable; pare the cork to a pyramidal form, grind it smooth with a pumice stone, then colour
it according to your fancy. Floats, whether quill or cork, must be poised with shot, when on the line, as to make them cock; that is, stand perpendicular in the water, that the least nibble or bite may be apparent.
When a float is split or bruised, there is no remedy for the mischance, but getting a new one, but you may save the plug, and it will serve for another. But if the water gets in at the top
your float, a little sealing-wax will prevent it: if the plug of your float is loose, pull it out, and fasten it with one of the following cements.
Take bee's wax bruised small, chalk scrased fine, and black rosin powdered, of each an equal quantity; melt them in a spoon, or any small tin vessel, and see that they are well mixed; or, take brick-dust sifted very fine, and common rosin, pulverised; put one part of brick-dust to two parts of rosin, and melt them as before directed; dip your plug in either of these, and put your float immediately upon it. When you join two floats together, let the plug be a little thicker in the middle than at the ends, which ends are to go into the quills; dip one end into the cement, and put one quill upon it; then do the like by the other, and you have a double float: or, you may make it by dipping the ends of both quills, when prepared, in the cement, and fixing them together, which, when the cement is cold, will be very strong.
To dye quills red, which for still waters are better than any other floats, take what quantity you please of urine, and put in it as much powder of Brazil-wood as will make it redden a piece of white paper; then take some clean water, into which put an handful of salt, and a little argol, and stir them till dissolved: then boil them well in a sauce-pan.
When the water is cold, scrape your quills, and steep them in it for ten or twelve days, then dry them, and rub them with a woollen cloth.
The materials most necessary for an angler to have out with him, and which may be all carried in his pockets, are, lines coiled up. Spare links. Two worm bags, one for brandlings, &c. and the other for lob-worms. A plummet to fix the depth of the water, of a pyramidal form. A gentle box. Floats and spare caps. Split shot. Shoe-makers wax in a piece of leather.
Silk. Hooks, some whipped on and some loose. A clearing ring, which is of use to disengage the hook when entangled. A landing net, to land large fish with. The disgorger, which when a fish has gorged the hook, by putting it down his throat, till you touch the hook, at the same time pulling the line, it will easily come away:
The general Baits used in Angling, where
found, and how preserved.
"HE reader being furnished with the best rules,
relative to his rods, lines, books, &c. I shall give him a list of the baits in general of use in angling; but must desire him to observe, that fish take all sorts of baits, most eagerly and freely, when he presents them to them in such order and manner, as nature affords them, or as they themselves generally gather them.
The Lob-xorm, Dew-worm, Garden-worm,
Twatchel, or Treachet, Found in a garden or church-yard, late in a summer's evening, with a lanthorn; when the summer proves a very dry one, they may be forced out of their holes with the liquor produced by bruising walnut-tree leaves in water: the best of these are those which have a red head, a streak down the back, and a broad tail, from which they derive the name of squirrel-tails.
This is a principal worm for Salmon, Chub, Trout, Barbel, and Ecls of the largest size.
Brandtings, Gilt-tails, and Red-worms, Found in old dunghills, rotten earth, cows dung, hogs dung; but the best are those to be met with in tanner's bark after it is thrown by.
These, especially the two first, are for Trouts, Grayling, Salmon-smelts, Gudgeon, Perch, Tench, and Bream; the three last take the red-worm, wellscoured, exceedingly well.
Marsh, or Meadow-worm, Found in marshy ground, or the ferrile banks of rivers; are a little blueish, require more scouring than the brandling or gilt-tail, and are taken from Candlemas until Michaelmas.
This is a choice worm in March, April, and September, for Trouts, Salmon-smelts, Gudgeon, Grayling, Flounder, Bream, and Perch.
Tag-tail, Found in marled lands, or meadows after a shower of rain, or early in the morning in March or April,