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A pot-pourri of fly fishing for trout & grayling and of notes on bird life chiefly in Hampshire, Devon and Derbyshire


Sed nunc dilatis averts nepitia curis
Et gratam requiem dona tibi quando licebit
Per totam cesaare diem. Non feneris ulla

Put off all cares, lay business aside, and allow yourself pleasing respite since you may be idle all day long. Let there be no talk of money out at interest.

Probably the last touches given to the average book are the few pages which form the introduction. This is so in the present instance. And an additional fact may be added: that no ' circle of friends ' have ' urged me to publish ' these scattered reminiscences of outdoor scenes. Indeed my few friends - whom 1 have not consulted fit all - would certainly have urged me n an opposite direction. Perhaps this is the only originality connected with the publication.

So far as I have seen, the man born and brought up in the country in England is not the one whose love of outdoor life and of nature in her more natural state becomes the chiefest pleasure of his middle age existence. Too many country born men thirst for the waters of Babylon in lieu of those of Derbyshire or Dartmoor and occasionally become so deeply baptised in the business cares or joys of Walbrook or Conduit Street that they quite forget their old home and its humble and innocent pleasures. It is often to the wearied City man that the river calls most audibly. If once the spirit of the stream can gain his ear for a quiet hour in Spring or early Summer she will whisper a tale of future delights which can soothe the troubles of a twelvemonth. She can tell him more of ease and contentment in a few flashing moments as he lays his head back among the young bracken and closes his eyes than the wealth of the Stock Exchange can ever promise or perform in a life time. The tinkling of even the finniest stream strikes a responsive chord the harmony of which sets a thousand pleasant memories vibrating, which displace for the being all harassing thoughts and worrying topics. To the barrister talking in carbonised courts, to the stock dealer yelling in the heated House or to the ordinary business clerk jaded by eleven months of long hours, long wrangles with his fellows or still longer wrestling with recalcitrant columns of figures, a holiday spent in fishing comes as a holy pleasure. If he does not feel this then he has not been worked to within a dangerous limit of breaking point.

That awful law in London which makes life so galling is absent from angling. Thank heaven, on the river bank Competition is unknown. One has heard of a 'fishing competition ' but like a nightmare it need not be referred to. The real charm, the real rest cure of fishing lies in its comparative solitariness. To be able to say I have not talked for six hours, nor fingered money, nor caught trains, nor bored any of my fellows, nor lied, nor sinned, nor betted, nor breathed used up air, forms at least a comfortable confession, which, when repeated day after day for some weeks cannot but restore health and nerves to a normal Condition.

Then as to age. ' Staleness ' in fishing - as understood by a boxer - is so slow a process that the angler hardly feels it. I met a man at the " Isaac Walton " who was spinning a minnow at the age of 86 and who told me. he had fished the Dove for seventy years. A young and active man can make fly fishing quite a strenuous sport, walk eight miles in heavyish kit, crouch, stoop and crawl until he tires himself out completely even before he faces the long tramp home. A middle-aged man can laze and smoke half the day and yet do well in the basket filling line. Or an old man can take the air by the river-side and still enjoy himself with' very little exertion. To leave a stool or an easy chair in an office after a year's sedentary work and then rush off to Switzerland and tramp for ten hours a day during a three weeks holiday is a poor way - physically, of restoring tone, and in a man past forty it probably does his heart no good, although it will harden his calves.

Like many other City men 1 have had to take my chance on open or club water. No solitudes of Ducal stream stocked with unpricked three pounders have ever floated a fly of mine, so that anything in the form of a red letter day here recorded can be easily rivalled by others after a few years' practice and experience who are similarly reduced to fish in stretches of Hotel or other so called Preserved rivers where the fool at one end of the line is certainly pitting himself against a sharp eye and a slippery skin at the other. And finally if I can interest any reader in just that outside fringe of natural history with which I am acquainted, and induce him to derive pleasure from the same source, and regard with indulgence all references to trivial experiences with birds and flies - with wings and hackle - I shall be glad to have recorded them.

If you seriously intreresting in fishing, read our manual about fishingh here: fishing4everybody.com

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