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The privilege of rod fishing conceded to the Angler after the close time, will, I am convinced, also be attended with good results, as his presence will prove a great restraint on the operations of the poacher, and the few fish which he may capture will be comparatively of little consequence; and as a matter of course he will return all unclean fish to the water.
TRAWL, OR DRAG-NET, FOR SALMON
This net is used after sunset, and through the night, if the weather be fine and suitable; it is most effective for taking salmon and salmon-trout. The best time to commence operations is when the tide is beginning to flow. Four men are required to draw the net ashore. The spots in the loch resorted to by salmon and salmon-trout, at the rise of the tide, are those close to the shore, where any burn or rivulet empties itself; and these must be approached in your boat as silently and cautiously as possible, so as not to alarm or disturb the fish. Two men will get into the water on one side near the shore, with one end of the net, one having the upper, the other the lower rope; you will then row to the other point which
you wish to make, and let the other two men down with the other end of the net; all parties will then commence simultaneously dragging the net ashore. You will very soon know whether you are successful or not, by the leaping and splashing of the fish enclosed. The person remaining in the boat, as there must be a fifth, will follow the net as closely as he can, in order that he may be ready to lift it off any stone or sea-weed with which it may chance to become entangled.
Before commencing this sport, it will be necessary, during the day, to reconnoitre perfectly the scene of your intended operations, so as to be thoroughly conversant with the nature of the shore; by which means you will know exactly where you may let your men down into the water; and sometimes it will be necessary to remove branches of trees, and other obstacles, which may have been brought down accidentally by the fresh water, as these, although small, if allowed to remain, might not only defeat your manoeuvres, but tear and damage your net. Do not attempt to enclose too large a space, or commence in too deep water, as the fish might escape by the sides before you have time to enclose them.
LONG LINE FOR COD, HADDOCK, CONGER EEL, ETC.
This line is productive of excellent sport in any loch where cod and haddock abound. The season for these fish commences in November, and extends through the winter months. As the season advances, these fish gradually approach the mouth of the loch and proceed out to sea as far as the nearest bank, where they may be as easily taken as in the loch, subject of course to the suitableness of the weather. In the loch, in ordinary weather, a small well-built boat of from ten to twelve feet will be perfectly safe, especially if built expressly for this purpose; but in the open sea a much larger and stronger boat will be requisite. The long line may be from five to six thousand feet in length; one of six thousand feet would take five hundred hooks, and these must be twelve feet apart. The lines to which the hooks are attached are called snoodings, made of strong whipcord three feet in length; the hooks the ordinary size sold for cod fishing. The best bait is fresh herring. If you cannot get these, then salt onee, after being well soaked, will be a tolerable substitute. One herring will make three baits. The head must never be used.
It will require time to bait this line and arrange it properly in a basket for setting. Two buoys will be wanted, one at each end of the line, attached by a separate cord. The best time for setting this line, if fish are abundant, is at break of day, allowing it to remain in about three hours; if, however, fish be scarce, then it may be set in the evening and taken up the first thing in the morning. You cannot be too particular in this respect, as you may have taken some large conger eels; and although they may have remained perfectly quiet till morning, yet as soon as daylight appears they commence their endeavours to liberate themselves; in which attempt they are very likely to be successful, greatly to the prejudice of your line.
Having ascertained the best place for setting your line, and having it baited and properly arranged with your two buoys, with a cord to each end of a hundred feet in length, or more, according to the depth of the loch, and two good-sized stones of sufficient weight to keep your line steady when set, you will proceed with your boat with two men, as one man would not suffice if there were anything of a sea. When arrived where you intend commencing, you will set one of your buoys afloat, it having been previously well filled with air and attached to one of the cords; to the extreme end of which you will fasten One of the stones and the end of the line, letting the same gradually down till it reaches the bottom, when the men may commence rowing the boat in the direction you desire as fast as the letting out of your line will admit of, taking care to keep the line tight during this operation. When you reach the other extremity of your line, you will fasten the other stone to it, and, after having attached the cord to it, to which the other buoy is appended, you will let the stone gradually down, and then as you row off you may set the buoy afloat; it will soon find its proper position.
If the two stones are of the proper weight, the line will lie steadily between its extreme points, and offer sufficient resistance to hook the fish when they bite. Be very particular in fastening the stones securely. When you return to take up your line, you can proceed to either buoy, being guided in this respect by wind and tide; and having secured one, draw in the line over your hand till you reach your main line with the hooks, you will then draw up the stone, and, having removed it, fasten the end of your line to the side of the fish-basket or box; you will then commence gradually drawing up your fish, the man or men rowing keeping the boat in the position you wish.
Do not allow your line to become slack; and as you draw it in, place it carefully and regularly in the basket, after the fish have been removed. The