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Tying on the wing.—Holding the hook firmly in your left hand, take the portion of feather thus prepared, by the point b, with the finger and thumb of your right hand, and lay it along the back of the hook in the position shown in fig. 24. While doing this, and - o t, before loosening your Soo hold of it, take the hook at the head of the shank with the tips of the same fin- Fig. 24. gers, and support the hook in this way while you shift your left finger and thumb up close to the end of the wing, that is, getting the whole of the fly between the points of your finger and thumb, except the shank-top and the superfluous portion of the wing projecting beyond it. Pass the tyingsilk over the wing, at the place which you had previously indented with your thumb-nail in preparing the wing, viz. at b, fig. 24. Draw the silk tightly down, and the fly will appear as fig. 25. Take another turn and throw a half hitch. Then, with the scissors, cut off, very Fig. 25. £ cleanly, the superfluous end of the feather close to the head of the hook, and wind the tying-silk neatly over, fastening off with another half hitch or two, as directed for finishing the palmer.

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The tying on of the wing is by no means an easy operation, and we advise our pupils not to attempt it till they have attained considerable proficiency in all the other operations.

Before concluding this subject, we should perhaps remark that all our diagrams are purposely drawn on a large scale, with the view to their being the more clearly understood.

Angler! in the present and two preceding chapters thou hast instruction for the purchase and manufacture of all thy piscatory gear. Provide it, and betake thyself to the clear and limpid stream which onward flows so playfully this balmy April morning, — joining its murmurs with the song of birds, the hum of insects, the breeze which plays among the branches, and all the other instruments that tune forth Nature's music | There, with patient mind, and eager hand, and anxious eye, commence thy gentle pupilage. May thine be speedy progress and proficiency full soon! Go on with sober earnestness and more and more enthusiasm, -absorbed not wholly by thy fascinating art, but finding room, amid thoughts engendered by Creation's beauties, for wider sympathies and upward aspirations !

124 DISPUTES OF THE “ DOCTORS.”

CHAPTER VII.

“When doctors disagree,
Disciples, then, are free.”
OLD ADAGE.

IN this chapter we shall present our readers with what we deem an ample list of flies for all the rivers in the kingdom, and also with a full enumeration of the various materials of which each particular fly should be composed, premising a few remarks on imitation, a subject upon which much diversity of opinion exists. We have quoted, in our second chapter, the theory of Professor Rennie, which is directly opposed to the notion of exact imitation, and to that of the fish taking an artificial fly in mistake for a peculiar species of its own natural prey. The grounds on which that theory is founded, namely, the defective vision of fish, and consequently their physical inability to distinguish the different species, even if they had a preference for particular kinds, are also given at length; and on this point we have, in the same chapter, ventured briefly to remark. We now resume the subject, but without pretending to enter into an examination of the different notions entertained, much less those of any particular author. We shall simply write what our experience has led us to consider true, and what we believe to be not opposed to nature and to reason. At the outset, then, we unhesitatingly say that much of the exact imitation system appears to us very much like quackery. We have been for twenty years mixed up with anglers of different grades of intelligence and skill, and have invariably found that what is commonly called imitation namely, an old-womanish fastidiousness about the minutest colours, the most daguerreotype copy of some fancied fac-simile of nature, selected as a “pattern fly,”— is by no means a proof of the existence of a commensurate amount of practical skill and consequent success. As a general rule, and for ordinary circumstances, we believe that a very few sorts of flies (say the red palmer and the duns) are sufficient for every useful purpose. But there are peculiar circumstances, arising from the natural fastidiousness of trout in the waters of England, at all events, and also from the variations in the state of the water and of the atmosphere, which occasionally render necessary a greater variety. But first we must explain what we mean by imitation. Believing it impossible to fabricate an exact imitation of a natural insect with any materials in use, or, if otherwise, taking for granted the difficulty, if not, in most cases, the impossibility, of imitating, in the process of fishing, the motions and attitude of a natural fly upon the water, our first object is to make as near an approach to these as we are able, and to conceal, by the effect of art, the imperfections which must be obvious to every one. And this we would do, with reference to fly-making, on the same principle as that on which an artist would paint a tree ; for instance, he would not dream of copying in detail every separate leaf and spray,+ first, because it would be manifestly impossible, and, secondly, because the proper effect would be produced by representing the general features of leaves and sprays, their groupings, roundness, height, flexibility, and the like. And so, as regards flies, we conceive the main points of imitation to be size, colour, form, character, and more important than all, action, — which last depends, of course, upon the angler, and not upon the fly-maker. Many anglers (fanciful ones and

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