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A day on Clyde page 2


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Dry-fly fishing is at times not without its his comforts, but these are readily forgotten in the excitement of the sport. To the circumstances it is impossible to confine ourselves to rising trout; we might see a rise forty yards ahead, but we would certainly not hurry to put ourselves within casting distance. Too much labour all at once would be thereby entailed, besides which only a short period of lime w ill elapse before we see a trout rising much nearer at hand; in the intervals of waiting for a mark we " fish the stream. '

Imagine us crawling along the face of the bank, sometimes pulling ourselves round a projection, while all the time the rod switches the flies ahead or, by way of variety, stretches them across the current. If they do not fall exactly where we desire them, there is no harm done, for, when a number of trout are rising in a pool, it simply means that the other inhabitants are refraining from doing so from necessity, not choice, that they will rise when there is a fly to rise to, and that fly may be ours.

For a time there is no response, and we are busy considering whether a change to another pattern- would be effective - a change would involve much trouble- - when suddenly, as the cast falls parallel to the bank, two trout rise almost simultaneously and both are hooked. Now we have something to keep us really busy, and we shuffle into a firm foothold, with back pressed against the bank. We must play the fish from where we stand, hold them with an easy pressure, and allow them to exhaust one another.

It is a lengthy struggle and uncertain, the victim of the dropper is the first to turn over, and after what seems an hour, though in reality it is but a few minutes, the other follows. Gently we bring them within reach, luckily they drift close together, and a sweep with the net lifts the pair of beauties to the bank overhead. We throw the rod up after them, and scramble downstream to the first place where we find it possible to leave the water. We bring the creel along as well.

We sit down to rest awhile after these strenuous labours, pleased with all the world. Often have we landed two trout at once; never before have we been forced to stand motionless during the process, and not until now have we so clearly realised the assistance that running water can be made to give in such a case. In a loch, too, there are difficulties which can all be overcome if the angler who would reap the full benefit of his good fortune will exercise great patience and ignore the net altogether, until the lower fish is ready for it.

We find we cannot rest, as the trout below continue to rise; they may cease at any moment, so we toil to our post again. Almost immediately we raise a trout to the dropper, but owing to a short, tight line or an excess of force, or a combination of both, we leave the fly in its mouth. Rather than take the trouble to replace it we continue with the single fly. A fish rises in mid-stream, a fine boil indicative of a heavy trout; we pull off line sufficient to reach it, make a tremendous effort with an over head cast, and succeed in hooking a thistle-top behind us on the bank.

This lapse necessitates a slow walk to the tail again, and involves a loss of time hi repairing the damage, but it is time well spent. It serves to quell our excitement, and we determine to avoid further errors. By slow degrees we work up the edge, getting a little encouragement now and then in the shape of a rise, but the trout, probably now well satisfied, are not rising in the same deadly style, and the great, majority of the offers end disappointingly. Nevertheless by the time the stretch is completed two fine trout are reposing somewhere; on the bank waiting to be picked up, and as the landing of each required caution and restraint, the sport obtained on this long and difficult reach was much greater than may appear.

The day is drawing to a close, but there yet remains one pool to fish, one of the choicest bits of the whole river, one that we cannot think of omitting, so many and so great are the victories we have won there. In some respects it is like the first pool, slow and stately, where only the most delicate work will yield a trophy; in one particular it is different, the gravel bed being steep and crumbling, very trying to walk upon. We are tempted to put on the Badger again, or by way of change a Blue Hen Spider, so eminently suitable a place it is for a dainty hackled fly, but we resolve to retain the Olive which has already done so well. No trout arc visible, but yet we cannot pass it by; so many- fish of the finest quality are here that it will be surpassing strange if we do not come across one willing to accept one fly more.

Over to the far side we cast the flies, and though we lay them softly time after time there is no result. Still we persevere. Off a projecting cape near the head the water is faintly ruffled, both by wind and current, and, deeming it a sure place for a trout to be lying expectant, we throw the tail-fly lightly over it. The rise of the fish and the fall of the fly seem simultaneous; and. the line being tight and the rod in position, the strike succeeds. At once the trout throws itself high above the water, a good three- quarter, and then dashes in headlong flight down the pool, every yard of its course being completed with a wild leap, very trying and exciting tactics; but this excessively agile trout accomplishes its own defeat, for by the time we have come up with it, it is lying exhausted on its side and requires only to be steered ashore.

Such is the day that we thought would prove a lamentable failure, and instead yielded as bonnie a basket of trout as one could hope to get. We are tempted to declare that only the dry-fly could have given it, but we refrain, as every now and then we art; convinced afresh that predictions regarding trout are wholly vain.

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