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visible all knots and other imperfections in the wood, to conceal which, it is more than possible, black varnish is sometimes daubed on. But again, the colour of yellow rods is imparted by means of aqua fortis, which probably operates injuriously upon the wood. So much pro and con. The advantages are decidedly in favour of black rods, and this would seem to be a pretty general opinion, for a yellow rod is now very seldom seen in the hands of any fly-fisher. The rings of the rod, through which the line passes from the reel, are of more consequence than some may imagine, inasmuch as correctness and comfort in throwing depend somewhat upon their perfection. • It is not only necessary that the rings be brazed neatly and strongly, but also that the metallic loops by which they are fastened to the rod be of good material. That generally used is the fine copper on which watch dials are formed, but perhaps small brass or copper wire would be found more durable. Whenever a ring is lost, particularly from the top joint, it should be replaced before the rod is again used, or a strain or fracture may be the result; to say nothing about the inconvenience of fishing with the line hanging loosely at the place where the ring is wanting. The rings on the butt should be rather larger than those at the other extremity; or, to be more correct, they should diminish in size gradually from the butt upwards. The binding of the loop of brass with which the top of the rod is terminated should be whipped neatly over with very fine brass wire, in order to prevent it from being worn by the friction of the line. When the rod is laid by for the winter, it should be rubbed over with either salad or linseed oil, and hung in a dry place. A coat of varnish, too, in the course of a couple of seasons, or oftener if the rod be much used, is very desirable. Copal varnish, is recommended by some, and it is said to answer very well; but that compounded from the following recipe, given in “Daniel's Rural Sports,” is preferable for many reasons: — “Shell-lac and seed-lac, a quarter of an ounce each, finely powdered and put into separate phials, with a quarter of a pint of the best spirits of wine each; to be placed in a sand heat and shaken often till dissolved. When each is dissolved mix them together, in a bottle sufficiently large, with a quarter of an ounce of gum benjamin. Increase the heat and the dregs will subside. Warm the wood, and, with a camel-hair brush, lay on a thin coat.”
A three-joint rod of the kind we have endeavoured to describe, and of the best possible materials and workmanship, may be purchased for about a guinea, and a four-joint one for about twenty-four or twenty-five shillings. The prices, of course, vary in different places, and many “tackle-puffers” (as Stoddart aptly designates them) profess to sell the best rods at something less than what would really be the cost of best materials. To such worthies and such wares, however, we cannot be suspected of having alluded.
“Bring the rod, the line, the reel !
WE shall in this chapter complete our description of the fly-fisher's tackle — his line, reel, hooks, and so forth, in the selection of which the same care and attention should be paid as we have shown to be so essential in the case of the rod; and for the same reason — namely, that future success very materially depends upon the good quality and adaptation to each other of these different articles. The materials for fly-making, and all that relates to the manufacture of flies, will follow in a separate chapter. With the Line the same adaptation to the rod must be observed as we have seen to be so essential in that of the rod to its wielder. It may be taken as a general rule that the stiffer the rod, the heavier and stouter should be the line, and vice versa. Like the rod, too, the line should taper with almost mathematical precision — not throughout its whole length, but in that part of it which is mostly thrown out upon the water; for as the rest will remain wound up in the reel, in reserve for an extraordinarily far cast, or for playing a powerful fish, it may be of one uniform size. If, therefore, the tapering of a twenty-five yard line commences about the middle, it will be quite enough. Although we have used the terms heavier and stouter, they must, of course, be regarded only as relative, for it is evident that the line must never be of such a size as to disturb the water in using; though there is a difference in the construction and weight of different lines sufficient to justify the use of these terms, in the absence of others more literally correct. There are three different kinds of lines—those of horse-hair, of silk, and of both these materials spun together. The silk line is totally useless; it imbibes the water too readily, and thus becomes over heavy. The silk-and-hair lines are generally considered best, and when they contain only a very small proportion of silk, they certainly have very considerable claims to that distinction; especially the London patent lines, which are very evenly and beautifully spun. But for the style of rod which we recommend—namely, a light and stiff one — there is perhaps nothing