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"A, B, C, and D are drawn the proper size for use. The reason why the weight is made 2 in. shorter than the trap is to allow of a peg or two being run into the ground at each end, to keep rabbits, &c out, and if the weight were the full length, it might catch on these pegs. Rub the spring occasionally with mercurial'ointment to resist the wet, and it will last any length of time. The string, however, being liable to decay, will, of course, require to be renewed occasionally. The point of the spring when the trap has gone off need not fly up more than half an inch beyond the two screw-heads.
"This trap is better adapted for a stone wall country than for any other, though it may be placed with effect against a wall among farm buildings, and may be used also in ditches. It requires no bait; though it is as well, perhaps, to rub the floor of the trap with the entrails of a rabbit, which are an especial attraction to stoats, weasels, &c
"No. II.—This will be found to be a most excellent trap. It should be made of the very commonest outside boards of deal, and be stained (and not painted) so that it may not be at all conspicuous.
"Fig. 1 is the floor of the trap, 22 in. long, 14 in. wide, and £ in. thick. It must be made in two pieces, so as to admit of the trigger being screwed on to the edge of one of the boards, which must then be nailed together with two battens 2 in. wide and \ in. thick. A strip is cut out, 6 in. long and \ in. wide, at a.
"Fig. 2 is the lid, which may be made either solid or in two pieces like Fig. I, but 2 in. shorter; b is a staple to receive the end of the lever; c is a hole to allow the iron stanchion to pass through without grazing; d is a hole 3 in. in diameter, with its centre 43 in. from the hinge end of the lid. An oblong piece is cut out from this hole to the hinge end \ in. wide, so as to allow the neck of the trigger to work. The hinges may be made of pieces of old stirrup leather.
"F1g- 3 is an iron stanchion made of \ in. round iron, flattened at the foot, and having two holes for screws. It must be bent to a radius of 15 in. Half an inch from the other end, it must have a pin riveted in, about the thickness of a quill, standing out at right angles, and about J in. long. The stanchion is screwed on to the floor at e.
"Fig. 4 is the trigger and plate. From notch to /is 4^ in.; from/tog 3 in. The plate is apiece of round sheet iron, 3^ in. in diameter, with a hole punched in, by which it is riveted to the trigger.
"Fig. 5 is a wooden lever, £ in. wide and \ in. thick, to reach from the top of the trigger when set to the staple b in Fig. 2. Two inches from the end, as at h, is a hole for it to slip on to the pin in the top of the stanchion, and at the other end, a lath nail to catch the notch in Fig. 4.
"Fig. 6 is the trap when set.
"Fig. 7 is a round piece of sheet iron, 4 in. in diameter, with four holes punched in it to tie the bait on.
"To set this trap, put the lever on to the iron stanchion, raise the lid till the end of the lever catches under the staple, press the other end down, and let the nail catch the notch in the top of the trigger. Weight the lid with stones. Having tied the bait on Fig. 7, merely place it on the hole d, with the bait downwards, but not too low. The vermin reaching up to smell at it, lets the trap off by setting its feet on the trigger-plate.
"No. 3. The Figure-of-four Trap.—This is an equally good trap, and is made as follows: Fig. I is 13 in. long; from notch to notch 4J in. The reason why one notch is cut rather slanting is to prevent the binding of two broad surfaces. It must be A in. wide and g in. thick. The notches need only be about jV in. deep.
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"Fig. 2 is 6J in. long, i in. wide at the notch end, and jj in. at the other, and § in. thick. The notch must be from I in. to J in. distant from the end, according to the weight of the stone. If a heavy stone, you must have a short notch, and vice versd.
"To cut the slant off the proper side, you must hold the piece of wood resting on its point and the notch underneath, then cut the slant from the right side.
"Fig. 3 is 7 in. long (calculating 3 in. from foot to notch, and 4 in. from notch to the other end), 1 in. wide, and \ in. thick. The notch itself is \ in. deep. To cut this piece of wood properly, hold it on tts edt;c with the fork end from you, and the notch uppermost; then cut the slant (to bring the notch to a sharp edge) from the right. The long slant may begin at I in. from the foot.
"It will be apparent that if these various parts of the ' Figurc-of-four' are not cut as directed, they will not come properly together. The forked end of Fig. 3 is to prevent its being turned round when the trap is set.
'"To complete this trap, you require a flat stone or slate about 18 inches square, or a board or boards will, of course, answer the purpose; and having placed a small bit of flat stone under or about the place where the outside edge of the slate will rest, you must put the piece of wood (Fig. 3) with the forked end resting on this small piece of stone, which latter is meant to prevent the weight of the slate forcing the trap into the ground. Be sure to keep the proper side to the front as marked in the drawing; then put the notch in Fig. 2 on the top of Fig. 3, with the end beyond the notch only put under the edge of the slate when propped up on it. Now put the point of Fig. 2 into one of the notches of Fig. 1, and bring up the other slanting notch in Fig. 1 till it holds against the sharp notch in Fig. 3, and the trap is set.
"The bait should be tied on to the end of Fig. 1, but you must be careful not to bait with anything very hard, such as the head of a young rabbit, or it will keep the slate from hurting any weasel that lets it off.
"With the ordinary make of this trap, it was very common to find the stretcher (Fig. 1) slipped down till it rested on the ground, or the upright (Fig. 3) twisted round and out of harm if the trap had gone off. With the plan adopted here, it is next to an impossibility that either can happen, as the stretcher must fall clear on being touched never so lightly; the notch being placed in an entirely different position to that in the old-fashioned plan.
"Be careful that the ground close in front of the trap is a trifle lower than that occupied by the trap itself, or the stretcher will be broken when the slate falls."
The old-fashioned steel trap, though effective enough, is so horribly cruel that it should never be used. We have seen the legs of rabbits in them, the wounded creature having escaped by dragging the tendons from the fractured limbs. Whenever we find a steel trap, we always break it. It is necessary that many creatures should be destroyed, but there is no necessity that they should be tortured. None of these traps which have been mentioned will cause pain if properly used, some of them causing instantaneous death, and the others simply imprisoning the animal without injuring it.
The "gentle art" has been a great favourite, with our countrymen especially, from time immemorial, and among all classes of the community, from the peasant to the peer.
Of all branches of the art of which we are about to treat there is not the remotest doubt that the plan of taking the denizens of the waters with the artificial fly is the most difficult, the most skilful, and at the same time the most enjoyable method. To become really an adept at the art requires the practice and experience of a lifetime; and although proficiency may without doubt be attained without opening a book on the subject, yet, on the other hand, many useful hints may be given and many suggestions made which may materially assist the beginner; and as example, as in most things, is generally more valuable and useful than precept, it is especially so in this, and an hour or two's careful attention to the instructions of a good fisherman will do more than days of study, if those instructions be practically given at the river-side.
As we must all learn to walk before we can expect to run, we think it advisable to defer further allusion to the art of fly-fishing until we have given some little instruction in that of the more common method of angling called "bottom fishing," and to this we shall now beg our young readers' attention. It consists, as its name implies, in taking fish under or at the bottom of the water with a baited hook; and although it bears no comparison with the art of fly-fishing, yet it requires no little skill, practice, perseverance, and patience in order to become a really good hand.
We will now proceed to give our young friends a list of a few necessary articles, in order to enable them to commence their sport, and then, as we proceed, point out in as clear a manner as possible what we consider the best methods of taking the different kinds of fish which may be found in most of our English rivers, and as we proceed in the different modes of fishing, also point out what further articles are requisite.
There are various methods in use among anglers of joining lines, gut, &c, together. The common kind of knot known as the Fisherman's Knot is the most generally in use (Fig. l). When the two ends are drawn tight, it is perfectly secure though easily undone, and this is its greatest recommendation. It may be nicely bound with waxed silk, and if the meshes are left about oneeighth or one-sixteenth of an inch apart, in case of a sudden strain by a heavy fish, the silk between the meshes acts as a kind of buffer, and the line, therefore, is less likely to break. The Sailor's Knot (Fig. 2) is also very useful, though perhaps not quite so neat as the other. It is made in this way: Cross the two ends between the left forefinger and thumb, the end pointing to the left lying at the top of the other; it must be then bent backwards to the other end towards the body, until both ends meet in opposite directions underneath. The Weaver's Knot (Fig. 3) is a more secure knot than the above, though not so neat. It is made in this way: The ends must be crossed between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, but the end pointing to the right must lie at the top in this case; the piece belonging to the opposite end is then carried over the thumb at the back of the left end, and brought between the two ends until it can be held between the finger and thumb; the right end is pushed through the loop, and the knot stands as shown in the engraving.
A good Rod for bottom fishing, not less than 14 feet long, having one or two extra tops.
A plaited Silk Running-line about 40 yards long.
Three or four twisted Hair and Gut Lines, about 4 yards long, to attach to the running-line.
Hooks of various sizes, up to No. 12, tied on the best gut.
A quantity of Split Shot, of various sizes, for sinking the bait.
A pair of small Pliers for putting on the shot.
Some extra Caps, made of quill, for fastening the float to the line.
A piece of India-rubber (which never be without), the use of which will be described hereafter.