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Angling Requisites

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To place the Angler in a position to be ready at any - moment, to angle in any river of the kingdom, for any description of fish that may happen to lie in season, a considerable variety of articles would be required. But whilst one angler would not think for a moment, of fishing for anything but Salmon, Trout or Grayling; dozens more are perfectly content to basket a few score of Roach or Barbel. I have, therefore, thought it preferable to mention in this chapter, the principal requirements of the Angler, from which he will then be able to select whatever may be necessary for his own particular branch of the science; arranging the requisites in three sections, 1st: - for angling at, or close to the surface of the water, and comprehending Fly-fishing. 2nd: - for angling at about midwater, in eluding Spinning and the different modes of using the natural or artificial fish-bait, 3rd: - for angling at, or near the bottom of the water, with gentles, paste, worms and similar baits.

When collecting the various necessaries, take my advice as a Practical Angler, do not be deluded into purchasing "cheap" tackle, it is invariably the dearest. Buy good articles and pay a fair price; as for the others, as Ephemera remarks in his " Handbook," - "they must be defective in every way, and hence the purchaser meets with little success, much loss of time and money, for, "cheap" things are always the most expensive in the end."

In the first section. The Angler will require for Salmon: - the Fly Rod; this should be in four pieces, the butt of ash, the two next joints of hickory, and the top of lance wood; it should have one spare long top, and an extra top, half the length of the others, to use for fishing with a minnow, or worm. The Joints should fit together with shoulders and tongues, all of which should be brazed. Do not select a rod too pliable, nor go to the other extreme of stiffness, but choose a happy medium. Have one with rings of a good size, should you perchance have a knot in the line, you will find the benefit. It should vary in length from sixteen to eighteen feet, the former for grilse and the latter for large salmon.

There are three sorts of winches; plain entirely; plain with a click, these are termed check-winches; and multipliers, that is, one turn of the handle turns the inner barrel containing the line, three times; these are very useful when quickness in winding up the line is an object.

The materials of the line are,-prepared plaited silk; twisted silk and hair; and plaited silk and hair. The two latter are made tapering, the other the same size throughout.

The casting lines and flies are described in Chapter II.

The Fly Rod for Trout, Grayling, Chub, &c. is of the same material as the Salmon Rod, excepting the tops, these are of spliced cane. As regards the number of joints, there is some difference of opinion; I prefer a Rod in four joints, but those in three joints and five joints have their admirers. The Winch, Line and Flies, are described in Chapter II.

A Fly Book is an indispensable requisite to hold the flies, gut casting lines, &c., russia leather is the best material, as it preserves the flies from moth. A landing net or gaff hook is also needful, I prefer the former for Trout, reserving the other for larger fish.

The Landing Ring should be made to fold up; there are two sorts, the ordinary folding Ring, and the improved spring ring, which when not in use, may be tied in the bag with the rod. I prefer for use, the improved Telescope Handle; this is in two joints, and may either be used the full length, or by pushing in the small joint and turning the screw, can be used half-length, this is extremely useful for Trout fishing, especially when wading; it is also furnished with a small hook so as to hang to the button-hole. The Net may be either silk or the ordinary twine.

All the requisites for the second section comprising: - Rod, Winch, Line, Traces, Flights, Live Bait Hooks, Tin Case to hold tackle, Kettle, &c. will be found fully described in Chapters III. and IV. In addition to these I would recommend the Angler to have a large Fish Bag or Haversack; having a division, so as to form two pockets, the outer one for fish, and the inner one for tackle. He w ill find it considerably more convenient than the Pannier, which always appears to be in the way, while the Fish Bag fitting close to the side, will hold more and when not in use can be rolled up and carried in the pocket.

In the third section, the wants appear somewhat more numerous: - The Roach Rod, as used in the Lea, is from sixteen to twenty feet in length, of the lightest cane, stiff and sharp in the strike; this is fitted together with shoulders only; and has no rings whatever. The Thames Punt Rods are from ten to eleven feet in length, in four joints. Of light cane, for Roach and Dace; of hickory or mottled cane for Barbel, Perch, &c., the winches and running lines will be described in the following Chapters.

The bottom lines should be of the very best silkworm gut, stained a light water-blue, stout in proportion to the particular style of fishing preferred. But always use the very finest gut possible for Roach; some prefer horse hair. Hair lines may be entirely single or twisted half-way down, so that in case of a fracture you save the float.

The Floats are of various materials: Quill, Reed, Cork (on a Porcupine-quill) &c., I prefer the first for Roach and the last for Perch and Barbel.

The Hooks on gut run in sizes from No. 1 to 12, those on hair from No. 7 to 13.

The Leger Line and Paternoster will also be required as well as spare hooks and leads for each; besides Disgorgers, Plummets, a reel to hold the lines and floats, with a tackle book to contain the reel and spare hooks, &c. A landing net and handle is also indispensable; also a bait box and bag.

A Clearing King and a Drag will sometimes be found very useful; nor should spare float-caps and split shot, be forgotten.

The best Gentles are those obtained from a bullock's liver, cut several gashes in it, and then hang lip till well fly-blown, placing under it a tub containing damp sand to catch the gentles as they fall.

The Worms used in Angling are of several kinds; the largest, Lobworms, are found in gardens; on a damp evening in the summer, they may be gathered in great numbers. Marsh worms, are very common, they are next in size to the lob. Brandlings are known by the yellow rings round the body, and are found in dunghills. Red-worms are of a tine bright red color when well scoured. Blood-worms are about an inch long, of a bright blood color, and are found in ponds frequented by cows. The best method of cleaning or scouring worms for use, is to place them on damp moss; to preserve them for a length of time, dip some old clean coarse cloths or sacking into fatty liquor, not salt, and mix them with some mould in a large tub, place the worms on the top, they will soon crawl through to the bottom, feeding and cleansing themselves; if kept in a cool dark place they will keep lively for months; looking over them occasionally, to remove the dead or sickly worms.

Some Anglers while fishing with the Rod and Lino, lay in a Bank Runner; the point of this is stuck firmly in the ground, the reel on the top contains about twenty yards of water cord, at the end of which is fixed a hook swivel, and about two feet up the line is fastened a small bullet; it is used with a live bait and float or bung for Jack; or without the float for Eels, baiting with a lob and letting the bullet rest at the bottom of the water.

Trimmers are also sometimes used in Ponds for taking large Jack. These are set afloat with a live bait in the most likely place, and are so constructed that when a like seizes the bait, the Trimmer turns over and displays a different color, being painted red one side, white the other. Ducks and Geese are sometimes used instead of Trimmers, the line is tied round the body and a strong hook and large bait is used. All these ways, however, are unworthy of the true Angler, who exercises his skill for amusement, and should only use the rod and line.

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