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sail, and, from her peculiar construction, will stand a heavy sea. She is very broad and flat at bottom, and therefore equally safe and convenient for taking in nets or long lines, and maintains her equilibrium with one or two persons moving about in her; and this solidity is quite requisite, as, in taking up the large long line, two persons must be at the same side of the boat at the same time, both rather leaning over—one drawing in the line, the other gaffing the fish; and as there is sometimes a little excitement at these moments, as well as considerable movement, a narrow-built, light boat would not only be unsuitable but dangerous. In hauling in nets it is equally essential that the boat used for the purpose be very stable and solid,—in fact, for all sorts of fishing.
During the summer months on a cloudy day, or early in the morning, or towards the evening on any fine day, very good sport is to be had with the hand-line; and two or three persons may partake of the same amusement at the same time, out of the same boat, each with his own hand-line. The most favourable moment is when the tide is rising, especially if it be towards sunset, or immediately after sunrise.
The hand-line is on a reel, made of any common wood, about 8 inches square, so that you may let it out or wind it up at pleasure. The length will depend upon the depth of those parts of the loch in which you are in the habit of fishing; about 60 feet will generally suffice. The best places for this sport are not in deep water, but upon sand-banks, which are to be found in all lochs; these being the spots to which almost all sorts of fish generally resort, especially such as you wish to take with the hand-line. The end of the line is fastened to the centre of a strong piece of whalebone, about 18 inches in length, the thickness of your little finger, at each extremity of which you must have a strong piece of gut, from a foot to 18 inches in length, with a moderate sized hook at the end. A piece of lead must be attached exactly to the centre of the whalebone, about 3 inches under the fastening, so that when you let your line down the whalebone may descend horizontally: the lead will inform you when your hooks have reached the bottom, and will also acquaint you with the nature of the bottom on which you are fishing. You must raise your hooks gradually and frequently from the bottom to a short distance, allowing them as gradually to descend, holding the line steady, so that you may be aware the moment a fish commences to bite; the time to hook him a little experience will soon teach you.
The best of all baits is the mussel. When that cannot be had, periwinkles boiled, as they are then drawn easily out of their shells by the end of the hook; and when put properly on, cannot be removed by the fish without his being hooked.
Flounders, whiting, haddock, codlings, and even large cod are fond of the mussel. Thus your sport with the hand-line may sometimes not only be very amusing from its variety, but satisfactory from its usefulness. You should always be provided with a gaff, in case you should hook a large fish—which will not unfrequently be the case—as you would incur the risk of losing him, and of breaking your line by attempting to lift him out of the water, without the aid of the gaff. Frequently large skate will take the mussel, which you could not possibly get into your boat without using a gaff; and it is hazardous to attempt to handle them. These fish frequently break the line from their great weight, adhering with all their strength in the first instance to the bottom; so much so, that you occasionally fancy that your hooks are fast upon a rock.
In pursuing this sport you must be provided with a good anchor, which you will throw out when you reach a favourite spot; and if you have a long rope, you may change your position without drawing your anchor up, by allowing your boat to drift with the tide.
When the fish do not bite freely, it is a good plan to bait the ground by throwing out mashed potatoes, either boiled or raw: this will attract a multitude of fish together; but if the tide be running strong at the time it cannot be managed, as the ground-bait will be carried away. It will be well to be provided with a pair of waterproof overalls, and a light macintosh, as, in drawing up the line on each occasion, a quantity of water will unavoidably come over you, and soon completely saturate your dress, without this protection. The small common shellfish which may be picked up along the shore, make an excellent ground-bait when mashed up with some potatoes. Some fishermen boil their muscles before using them, as they adhere better to the hook, and are not so easily taken off; this is not a bad plan where whitings are abundant, as the smaller ones are rather more difficult to hook than other kinds of fish. Gurnet and codlings are very voracious, bite greedily, and are easily hooked; flounders also bite freely. On a fine and favourable day two or three persons may each take several dozen of fish, especially if the whiting be in season.
ROD FISHING WITH WHITE FLY, FOE LEITH, SEITH, AND HEERING.
This sport, in my opinion, is by far the best and most amusing of all the fishing which the sea lochs afford, although it requires no skill. The best time for pursuing it is just before sunset on a fine summer's evening, till ten or eleven o'clock—in fact, as long as the fish will rise and you can see to catch them; if there be a little wind so much the better. As this sport cannot be pursued single-handed, you must have a man to row your boat. He must row you over the favourite spots, and these you will soon discover from experience. You must have five or more rods—in fact, as many as you think you can manage; the greater the number of rods the greater the number of fish which will follow your boat—long and light; the commonest will answer every purpose; the line not quite the length of the rod, so that on hooking your fish you can lift him at once into the boat without touching the sides. The line should be of strong horsehair, with a strong piece of gut at the end; the fly, a white one—merely long wings made from the tail and under feathers in the white seagull's wing, fastened on with red silk, and with gimp, or with anything bright and showy. Five rods on a favourable evening will keep one person