« ForrigeFortsett »
disparagement? We remember on one occasion having first-rate sport within ten yards of a band of inebriated musicians (pardon the profanation, O Apollo !) who favoured us with a special serenade in a style any thing but dolce e piano half stunning us with the squeak of clarinets, the clang of trumpets, and the thunder of a rolling drum, amid the uproar of a fight among the bystanders. We endured the din with proper equanimity, landing fish after fish at the very feet of our disturbers, without suspecting them of Glenkindie's power to attract our speckled captives, and yet experiencing no contrary effect.
Professor James Wilson -- a brother of the delightful and celebrated “ Christopher North,” and the author of the excellent article on Angling in the Encyclopædia Britannica — alluding to this subject, in that article, says:-" There is no doubt that fishes possess the power of hearing, though merely as a general sense of sound, and in all probability without the power of perceiving any variety or range of intonation. It appears to us that the simple fact of fishes being, as a class, almost, if not entirely, mute, is of itself a logical ground for believing that their perceptions of sound are extremely dull.”
The voracity and omniverous propensities of
fishes are well known. The trout feeds on flies, moths, worms, snails, beetles, larvæ, shell-fish, the spawn of other fishes (particularly that of the salmon, which forms an excellent bait), grasshoppers, smaller fishes of every kind, not even excepting those of its own species—in a word, it devours indiscriminately, and with equal avidity,
every minute thing that swimmeth in the waters.” Nor is it always satisfied with tit-bits and morsels, for even frogs, mice, water-lizards, and (though with less probability) toads, are said to deserve a not inconspicuous position in its 66 bill of fare.”
Flies-- as we have before illustrated — are by far the most nutritious kind of food. Of these beautiful insects there are many hundreds of species, some fifty or sixty of which, at least, comprise the angler's catalogue of “imitations.” We ought, perhaps, to have mentioned earlier that the action made by trout to seize their winged prey, as it floats upon or hovers immediately over the surface of the water, is called, in angling phraseology, “rising."
We shall appropriate the following chapter to a brief account, obtained from the best sources
- of some of the principal flies, concluding the present chapter with remarking (though the cir
INTELLECTUALITY OF FLY-FISHING.
cumstance may be too obvious to require pointing out) that the practice of fly-fishing, in addition to numerous other recommendations, which it would be superfluous to enumerate, presents peculiar facilities for studying some of the most interesting productions of nature. The habits of fishes and of the insects on which they prey - extensive and important sections of the animal kingdom with “many curious and interesting facts,” adds Sir Humphrey Davy, himself an accomplished naturalist and fly-fisher — " are really forced upon the angler's observation;" so that in addition to the enjoyment derived from the practice of angling, the seeds of still more pleasurable and intellectual pursuits cannot fail to be sown, if the soil be of anything like the proper character to receive them.
“Let no presuming impious railer tax
Creative Wisdom, as if aught was formed
FROM the flies, of infinite variety, which haunt the water, the trout makes no invidious selection; all, as their successive genera spring into existence, in the wonderful economy of insect birth, become its greedy and welcome prey. By far the greater portion of those delicate and fragile creatures — those “emblems of human life, and beings of a day" — which form the food of trout, are produced from larvæ which inhabit the water. These are strictly aquatic flies. But not a few species found upon the water are bred upon the land, and are indebted to the wind, or some other accidental cause, for their transition to another element. Among these last are the cow-dung fly, the hazel fly, the ant fly, and many other well known species.
The flies which are most commonly imitated by “ routine anglers” belong to two families of
the aquatic kind, one of which is called by naturalists Phryganide, and the other Ephemeride. The former is included in the order Trichoptera and the latter in the order Neuroptera. The phryganidæ are familiarly termed cad or caddis flies, and sometimes water moths. The different British species, of which there are upwards of two hundred, are known by the names of grannam, sand fly, hare's flax, and from their colour, yellow flies, cinnamon flies, and the like. Flies of this family are distinguished, among other more minute peculiarities, by four large dark-coloured wings, pervaded by numerous veins, through which the blood — or, more correctly speaking, a fluid corresponding to what in animals is called the blood — is said to have been discovered to circulate. The wings are longer than the body of the insect, and when at rest lie flat along its back — the foremost and larger pair being folded over the hindermost pair. The shape and position of the wings, indeed, resemble those of moths, but the downy substance found upon the wings of the latter is altogether wanting. The antenna, or feelers
- which emanate from the front of the head, and appear like horns -- are very long; and the legs are long, dark, and slender.
The females lay their eggs upon the leaves of