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making, it is indispensable to procure a stock of “ the raw material,” the collecting and arranging of which are attended with considerable interest, and afford scope for not a little taste and judgment. We shall proceed to enumerate the principal articles required, arranging them under their proper heads, with descriptions and remarks to assist the novice — premising that the fitting place in which to store the materials is a box with two or three sliding tiers or compartments one above the other, made to lift out like the box of a “wandering Jew.” The upper tier should be mapped out into partitions for hooks and other small articles, and the bottom of the box should be appropriated to the larger wing and tail feathers, skins, &c., all wrapped in separate papers duly labeled. There, also, should be kept the store of hackles, in a large book, between the leaves of which the different kinds should be separately and smoothly arranged. Every care should be taken to protect the feathers, &c., from moth; no particles of flesh must be allowed to adhere to them, and musk or bitter apple should from time to time be liberally applied to them. The latter must be used with caution, being poisonous; but it is an effectual preventive and destroyer of these destructive insects.
The bodies of some flies are imitated with this material, either in its floss state or from stout sewing silk prepared by drawing out its two or three separate strands, and using them singly in the manner of floss silk. Silk, however, is not so often used for this purpose as fur, and therefore the stock need not be very extensive. The principal colours are yellow, straw-colour, purple, brown, and claret-colour, and they can be procured at any mercer's. Good silk for tying flies is not so easily obtained. It should be of a sombre colour, such as drab, and very fine, strong, and free from dross. The last is as indispensable for waxing properly as strength and fineness are for the strength and neatness of the flies. The silk used for the finest description of kid gloves answers nearest to this description; and the strands of silk braid, drawn carefully out, are often an admirable substitute.
This material, which is of great importance, is also used to form the bodies of artificial flies, and
is technically called dubbing. It should not be very soft and sappy, so as to imbibe the water too readily, nor so stiff and coarse as to render its winding on a difficulty — although almost the coarsest hair is, by proper preparation, available in the hands of an experienced artist. This preparation, which indeed is almost always necessary, consists of breaking the fur or hair into minute pieces, and must be particularly attended to when furs of different colours are required to be mixed together. Of these, a small portion of each must be taken between the forefinger and thumb of one hand, and, with the forefinger and thumb of the other hand, be repeatedly broken up together till thoroughly incorporated with each other into a uniform mass. The furrier's shop presents the means of procuring a supply of much of this useful material, of which, indeed, a great assortment is only necessary to the fly-maker by trade. As indispensable may be enumerated the brown fur which one's wife or sister's boa : will perhaps readily furnish, albeit at the expense of a scolding if detected at the pilfer; mole and water-rat's fur, which are valuable, and fortunately obtainable without the risk alluded to in the case of the boa; a lighter blue fur than these last, which is found at the roots of the squirrel
and rabbit's fur; flax from a leveret's head and neck; the fur of the martin-cat, which is of unequalled yellow; red and yellow hair of various shades taken from sheep-skin door mats, of which the finest in texture should be selected. А supply of all these will constitute a sufficient variety.
This is the name given to the filaments which spring from each side of the stem of the peacock's tail feathers, and also to the plumlets of those of the ostrich. The peacock's herls should be of a copper-colour, fine in the stem and thick and short in the downy fibre. Of ostrich feathers the most necessary colour is black.
This material, whether of gold or silver, should be very fine, round, and well covered with metal, so as to appear like solid wire.
These are the feathers which grow upon the neck of fowls, and should be taken from the
upper part, immediately behind the poll. Hen's! hackles are preferable for wing-flies, and those of the cock for hackle-flies, such as the palmers. No part of the angler's treasures demands greater care in selection than his hackles, which have most to do with the setting-off of a fly; for, however correct and excellent may be all the other materials of which it is composed, a bad hackle will assuredly spoil the whole, either by destroying its harmony or its neatness, or both. Colour is of first importance, after which rank shape and fineness of fibre. These last are mainly affected by the age of the bird at the time its hackles are plucked. Cocks produce the best hackles when between ten and twenty months old, when the shape of the hackles is regular, and their texture best suited for the fly-maker's use. It is rare to meet with a perfectly shaped hackle, and at the same time good in every other respect. The common faults are, a stiffness and coarseness of the stem and of the plume fibres -- invariably the case with the hackles of an old cock — and a shape broader towards the point than at the quill end. To make a good fly with such a hackle is next to impossibility. It is important that the colour be as nearly as possible the same on both sides, — not greatly lighter on the under part (or