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Observations concerning Arlificial Fly-Ang
ling, with proper Directions for the Angler's Rods, Lines, 8c.
TH *HE art of artificial fly-fishing, certainly has
the pre-eminence over the other various methods that are used to take fishes in the art of angling. It requires a great deal of ingenuity and attention, and the variety, which attends it, makes it at once both pleasant and agreeable. The angler is not confined to any particular part of the water in fly-fishing, but roves from one place to another, trying his fortune, by throwing his flies into the different eddics, and the most likely places he meets with, to make a captive of the speckled trout : enjoying at the same time the harmonious warblings of the numerous songsters of the groves ; beholding the diversity of the prospects spread around him, and gaining that health and serenity of mind, not to be purchased by all the riches in the universe. The imitations
of nature, in regard to the flies necessary for use ; suiting the different colours so exactly as to resemble the natural fly; and observing the greatest nicety in regard to its symmetry; contribute to make it still more delightful. Whenever 'he makes a fly, let him have the natural one always before him, which will enable himn to be a competent judge of the materials most necessary to dub it with; a list of which, and of the best way to make the Palmer and May-fly, (which are the ground of artificial fly-angling, I shall give him by and by ;) for if he is not able to make his own Aies, he never will be a good fly-fisher, nor experience that pleasure, which he will receive by taking fishes with one of his own making. He must never think a fly ill made, because it will not kill fishes as well in any other river as that he particularly angles in; because the same flies differ very much both in colour and size in different counties; besides which, flies that will be taken on their peculiar water one year in April, will perhaps not be taken in the next till the iniddle of May, the whole depending on the warmth or coldness of the season. Mr. Taylor in his treatise, where he describes the superiosity of fly-fishing, to the other branches of angling, with great humour observes, that the angler is surprised, at the manner in which the fish take the flies; and by seeing their surprize, when they find they are hooked, by rising at the fries !!! I shall now proceed to give the angler a description of the rods and lines, best calculated for artificial flyfishing ; but before I do, shall make this one observation: that theory, without practice, can never make a man a proficient..
Rods and Lines proper for Artificial Fly
Fishing &c. As for your artificial Aly-rod, the directions given in the first part of this treatise are sufficient, only be careful that the materials which it is composed of are well seasoned, and free from knots, and that the whole is exactly perfect in regard to syinmetry.
The length of the Ay-rod is generally from about fourteen to seventeen feet long; which is long enough for any one who understands fly-fishing to throw twelve yards of line, with one hand, and seventeen with both.
To inake a fly rod, that will be exceedingly neat and pleasant in hand, you must observe the following method.
Procure a nice breadth of ash plank, free from knots, perfectly sound, and about seven feet long; let it be turned in the lath so as to run taper from the but end, which should be so thick and no more than you can with ease grasp in your hand; then have it ferrelled, or bind it to a piece of hazel seven feet long, and in exact taper proportion to the ash. As you may not be able to get a piece of hazel so long, that will run perfectly taper, it may consist of two or three pieces ; then add to the hazel a nice piece of yew (in the same proportion to the hazel as that isto the ash) two feet long, made round, taper and smooth, and to that, piece a bit of small, round, and taper whale-bone, six inches long; then the rod will be completed; and if just symmetry is observed through the whole, it will be a most excellent one.
Some use deal for making the bottom of the rod, because they say it is more light ; but I in answer to that aver, that it is not half so strong and lasting, and that the ash, on account of its strength, may be turned in the lath, or planed down to be every jot as light as the deal, and that the angler, when he has hooked a good fish, need never fear it snapping short, as deal will, because it is the nature of the wood to bend almost double, and will always, if well seasoned, return to its former straitness. Let your rod, thus 'made, be ringed for the line to pass through, with small brass rings, about a foot distant from each other, and at the but end let there be a spike made to screw in, which you will find very convenient ; and you may, if you like to alter the colour of your joint (though it does not signify so much in ash as in deal, whose whiteness would scare the fish) first warm it before the fire, and then dip a feather in aquafortis, put it on the ash, and then chafe it in with your hand, and it will make it a cinnamon, or rather a puce, or flea colour.
Your fly line should be about thirty yards long, and wound on a small brass multiplying winch, which is to be placed on the but of your rod; then you must run the line through the rings before-mentioned, and you may always command the length without the trouble of changing the line, and shorten it when you come to places encumbered with wood. The general length that you should have off your reel must be about four yards longer than your rod, nay, sometimes the line must be twice the length of the rod; for to fish fine and far off is the standing rule for trout fishing. But it will be a long time before you are able to throw a dib line with nicety at the general lengih, yet as you can always lengthen or shorten it by means of the winch, you may, if you are expert, and are a true lover of angling, after some trials