Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

that which grows nearest the skin) than on the upper part. There is never the same kind of gloss on the under as on the upper part, but the difference of colour is sometimes several shades, and this is not desirable. The plume fibres should be fine, glossy, and set close together on the stem, and these requisites are usually met with in the hackles of a game cock of about ten or twelve months old. The chief colour required of cock's hackles is blood-red, for palmers, with a | small portion of black towards the quill. A useful sort, too, for making the same fly, is what is called the furnace hackle, or one having a bloodred ground (if the term may be allowed), with a narrow black line passing from the quill to the point on each side of the stem. It is not easy to obtain either of these kinds in perfection, but when met with they cannot be too highly prized. As to hen's hackles, it must be remembered that they should never be taken from a hen less than two years old—an age when the cock, as a hackle producer, is becoming worthless. Hackles from a younger hen are always brittle in the stem, particularly at the point, and the plume fibres are of too soft and downy a nature. Red, yellow, black, and the different shades of blue, are the most useful colours. Light blue hackles, tinged at their edges with a golden hue, are invaluable for a particular sort of the duns. Hens, unlike cocks, improve for the fly-maker with age, every year adding to the strength of their hackle-stem, and to the fineness of their plume fibres. The best season for procuring hackles is mid-winter, when the fowls are in full plumage. Nature will furnish sufficient variety of colour to obviate the necessity of dyeing, which gives an unnatural character to the feather, and, unless for salmon-fishing, is altogether unnecessary. The different parts of a hackle are shown in the annexed engraving, in which a represents the

Quill, b the point; from d to e the stem; and cc c c the plume.

MATERIALS FOR WINGS.

The wings of artificial flies are most commonly

made with a portion of the feather of some bird's wing, the wings principally used being those of the starling, moorhen, landrail, and thrush. The feathers are always best when newly procured, because they are then suffused with an oily substance which renders them compact and glossy. This shows the desirability of the stock of feathers being frequently renewed. Besides, old feathers are apt to harbour moth, –an enemy to be kept at bay only by the strictest attention and care, especially by the constant examination and turning out of the stock, and admitting into it no single article from an old or ill-kept store. The part of the feather used for wings should be so arranged, in stripping it from the stem, that the under side of the plume fibres stand outside when tied on. The starling's feather may be considered perfect, as regards quality, and it varies in shade according to the age and sex of the bird from which it is taken, the youngest furnishing the lightest. The second, third, and fourth feathers of the wing, counting from the longest outside feather, are best, though all the others are not useless.

[graphic]

WAX.

Common shoemaker's wax, without any preparation, is very generally used for fly-making, and it works freest when not too new, and after good thumbing before a fire. But wax of an improved kind may be made as follows: — Take equal quantities, by weight, of bees' wax and the best yellow resin, and melt them together in a pipkin. When thoroughly dissolved, pour the mixture into cold water, and, after a few minutes, take it out and work it with the fingers till it assumes a silvery appearance. Then take a piece of shoemaker's wax which has been used for a little time, and in quantity equal to this compound, and, with the hand, incorporate the two together before a small fire. If transparent wax, which will not materially alter the colour of the silk waxed with it, be required, the shoemaker's wax must be omitted; the only ingredients necessary, and their proportions, being two parts of resin and one part of bees' wax. But this latter sort is quite unnecessary, and it is far inferior to the other.

SCISSORS.

These should be long in the blades, with fine and sharp points, and should cut very keenly at the extremity — the part most used; and the bows should be large enough to admit the thumb and finger freely.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Artificial flies may, for convenience, be divided into two classes, requiring in their manufacture somewhat different manipulation. One class includes the hackle flies, or palmers, and the other wing flies. The latter admits of subdivision, representing the same kind of insect in two different states —at rest and in motion. In a state of rest the form and colour of the natural insect are attempted to be imitated; and in that of motion the appearance of fluttering is sought to be added. This is done by dispensing with the wing and employing instead a full and flocculent hackle wound close to the head. Flies dressed in this manner, the least employed of any, are called buzz.

There are various methods of fly-making; scarcely any two artists, indeed, working in a precisely similar manner. Some methods are very imperfect, and others are unnecessarily complicated. The method which we employ, and shall now attempt to teach, can be classed in neither category. It admits of every kind of application, no matter what the required size, shape, or material;

« ForrigeFortsett »