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set, select a deep pool below a stickle. The movements of the fish themselves will best guide you in this selection, for they rise much more freely and in more open water than trout. They merely break the surface with a sullen sort of movement, and take the flies in a sucking manner — for they are not so voracious as the trout, and have no teeth in their jaw-bones for holding their prey. Nor are they so timid as to be easily frightened by the line falling clumsily upon the water. Throw your flies as near as you can to the rising fish, and allow them to sink a little, at the same time drawing them with a tremulous motion towards and over the place where you expect a rise. Strike the moment the fish rises, and haul ashore without the ceremony of playing — for, being leather-mouthed, there is little danger of the hold being broken. The Autumn fishing vies with that of Spring, and in rivers which are frequented by salmon and salmon-peal it is in some respects even superior to it. The trout are fat and vigorous after their summer feeding, and in favourable weather they are, throughout the day, generally eager in pursuit of food. These remarks apply to October and the end of September, and they are more particularly correct in a rainy season. At such a time the angler has only to select a gloomy day at the clearing of the water after a flood, with a southern or western breeze playing upon the ranges, and raising mimic waves upon their surface, and if he be a good craftsman, and have good “ tools,” the fault will be his own if he return home at “dewy eve” without a well-filled pannier. On such a day we should use a good red palmer (hook No. 4. or 5.) and a blue dun (hook No. 4.) dressed as No. 2. in our first table, or else, perhaps, the willow fly, as our judgment or caprice might lead us. In finer water and a stiller atmosphere we should stick to the autumnal dun, dressed on a No. 1. or 2. hook, and a small red palmer without gold twist—or, in short, any of the flies in our list which we might consider best suited to the water and the atmosphere, or to resemble most any particular fly upon the water to which the fish might be exhibiting a partiality.
Here our instructions cease. We again repeat, that we do not expect them to be efficient unless taken as a whole. In common fairness we invite a perusal of the entire book, and venture to hope that the pupil who reads it for the purpose of acquiring instruction will not be wholly disappointed. There are doubtless passages which to a novice will appear at first obscure, for we do not imagine that we have escaped the common difficulty of communicating what we wish so clearly, in all cases, as to be perfectly intelligible at once and immediately to every comprehension. Whenever our pupils, therefore, stumble upon passages of this sort, we trust that they will not too hastily pass them over. We venture to hope that careful reading and re-reading, both separately and in the context, will soon make clear what at first seemed difficult or incomprehensible. At all events, we have done our best, and our readers, we hope, will pardon all they may consider imperfect. We have written this book from an ardent love of the art on which it treats, and from the desire of enabling others to partake of its manifold enjoyments. In this work-a-day world it is something to find an innocent amusement for oneself, and to contribute to the amusement of others. It is contrary to the mental and physical conformation of mankind to labour or to study incessantly —to be perpetually engaged in any of the ordinary every-day affairs of life, without paying the penalty in the shape of shattered health of body or of mind. People are not yet so much inured to a highly artificial state of society—and never will be — as to be able to dispense altogether with recreation; nor have the woods and fields, the mountain and the stream, the birds and the flowers, and the thousand other objects of all-beauteous nature, yet lost their fascinating influences —however much we may be involved in the intricacies of social life and in the active duties which more or less devolve upon us all. There are times when brain and sinew, mind and muscle, call aloud for rest and change, and need recruiting ere their functions can be properly continued. An amusement which draws its votaries away from the scenes of their labours into contact with external nature, in all its innocence and beauty— which supersedes the too often sensual “pleasures” which can never be its efficient substitute—is a blessing to the individuals who adopt it, and to their connections also, so long as it is consistently pursued. Such an amusement is that on which we have written these chapters. In all ages some of the best and wisest of men have not only been the stanchest advocates of angling, but also have ranked among its best and most enthusiastic O
practitioners. It would give us unfeigned happiness to know, at any time, that our humble labours were the means of extending, however little, the practice of that delightful art—of initiating however few into its guileless mysteries— and thus of enabling them to experience those pleasures which it is capable of affording so largely, and which, from childhood upwards, we have ourselves so abundantly enjoyed.
Spottiswoones and Shaw,