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Full text of "The salmon fly : how to dress it and how to use it"

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It is the ONE PLAN and forms the 
ONE EQUIPMENT for all Weathers 


Burberry * Sons' Catalogue, containing 80 pages 
and 150 Illustrations, Post Free. 



Extract from letter dated December 3irf, 1895 : 

" I have had several Gabardine garments and for 
rough work and comfort there is nothing like them 
One coat in part iculnr. which is lined with Came 
Hair, has been a friend in need many a time. 

"G. C. DAVIS. 









(Bmiiuat (5loriam. 














(1) The Rod. (2) The Line. 

(3) The Winch. 

The various methods of Casting, illustrated, &c., &c. 


(1) Silkworm Gut. (4) The Necklace. 

(2) Knots. (5) Fly Boxes. 

43) Twisting Gut for Loops. (6) The Opening Seasons, &c. 




A Salmon's holiday ... ... ... 245 

Air-pump, The 304 

"Abb" Socks 433 

Angler, his Manner at the riverside ... '2-Ki 

Advice, Caution against taking ... 233 

Art and Science ... ... ... ... 3 

Atmosphere ... ... ... ... 391 

Bodies, Mr. Field's departure in Body 

Material ... ... ... ... 41 

Butts 40 

Bodies 40,41 

Boxes 450 

" Book on Angling," The 13 

Body-belt 407 

Cast, The Overhand 316 

Cobblers' Wax 5,31 

Chenilles 41 

Clarified Oil 305 

Colour, Location and distribution of ... 30 

Chatterer vermin Kingfisher ... ... 30 

Casting, where different methods are 

wanted 282 

Costume of H.R.H. the Princess of 

Wales and her Daughters 430 

Cast, The Underhand 327 

Cast, The Spey 334 

Casting ... ... ... ... ... 2 

Close Seasons, Licences, etc. ... 465 to 510 

Catches, Artificial ... ... ... 405 

Dyes 44 

Dyes, Toning down ... ... ... 29 

Dressers, Professional 251 

Days, Dark 244 

Direction to Cast ... ... ... 379 

Delicacy in Casting 394 

" Exaggerations " ... 25 and 26fi to 'J7"> 

Experiments, Results of ... ... 7 

Experiments, Personal 6 

Flies, Conditions to be studied for the 

Invention of... ... ... ... ! 

Flies, Guide Books for Dressers ... 12 
Flies, General and Special Patterns of 14 
Flies, The pleasure of dressing ... H 

Flies, The test before use of 25 

Flies, Classification of ... ... ... 19 

Fly-fishing, Benefits derived from ... 10 
Fly -dressing, A common illustration of 11 
Flies, How to get Life-like motion 

outof 2H 

Flies, Different effects of ... ... 7 

Flies, Advantage of technical know- 
ledge of '. 

Flies, Necessary qualities in ... ... 23 

Flies, Strength and Symmetry in 24, 25 
Flies, Untutored description of ... 9 
Feathers, Groups of 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57 

Flip Cast 371 to 374 

Flies, Long-hackled ... ... ... 242 

Flies in Use, Rotation of 235 

Flaked water 23S 

Fish, "Grubbing ' 33 

fiMng (laittte, The 37 

French Floss-silk 41 

Facts and Fancies in Fly-fishing 259 to 2<W> 
Flies, How to choose ... ... 227 to 271V 

Flies, How to dress 59 to 105 

Fly, New style of 241 

Flies, Old types of >5 

Feathers, Choice and location of ... 51 
Ferrules . i'.HV 



Flics, The Colours of 251 

Flies, How to avoid " snicking " off 323 

Fiddling ... ... 325 

Feathers, How to re-shape and bleach 457 

False Casts, Making 322 

Flies, Characteristics of 29 

Flies, Harmony of Colour and of 

Contrast 30 

Feathers that do not fade 29 

Feathers, Translucent remix Opaque 30 

Flies, The effect of Tinsels and Butts 30 

Flies, Remarks on colour of ... ... 29 

Fly, Presenting the 417 

Flies, One's own invention of ... ... 9 

Flies, Kinds, Qualities, and Materials 16 

Flies, Fallacy of using false feathers 26 

Flies, The choice of ... ... ... 5 

Flies, Features of 27 

Flies, Advice on making Xondescripts 14 

Flies, Proportion of shape 25 

Flies, Nomenclature of Parts ... ... Ifi 

Flies, Diagnosis of 9 

Flies, Movement in some parts of ... 7 

Fly, Analytical diagram of ... ... 17 

Flies, Explanation of parts of 18 

Flies, The variation of 8 

Flies, Advantage derived from a 

proper description of ... ... 10 

Flies, Comparison between Salmon and 

Trout 18 

Flies, Types of 19, 20, 21, 22 

Greenheart 281 

Gut-loops 38 

Glen Grant, Opinions of 336 

Out, Twisting 443 

Grubs, Opinion on 245 

Gut 434 

Gut, Knotting and attaching 441 

Gut-loops, Whipping of ... ... 25 

Governor Cast 358 to 362 

Glossary 433 

Hooks, Double 36, 37 

Hackles, Old and new, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 

Hook, The 32 

Hints on amount of Tying- silk ... 25 

Hearing under- water ... ... ... 7 

Hackles, The play of 7 

Hats, Waterproofing ... ... ... 460 

How to discover lost articles in water 460 

Hooking Foul 395 

.Jackets 430, 432 

" Jock Scott," The reputation of ... 230 

Knife, The Fisherman's 459 

" Kelson " Rod, Experiences with the 286 

"Kimagas" 428 

Loops, Gut rerxiM Metal ... ... 36 

Lines, Dressing 302 

Lines, Splicing or " marrying'' ... 302 

Line, Length of the whole 297 

Line, Qualities of the 293 

Lines 291 

Light, Reflected 244 

Lines, Plaiting rerun* twisting ... 296 

Line, Clearing it from " snags" ... 419 

Lines, " Kelson Enamelled " .. ... 296 

Leather preservative 460 

Lines, Cure for stickiness of ... ... 460 

Mending a Cast 292 

' ' Modifications " 274 to 276 

Midges and Mosqnitos, Antidote for... 460 

Observation, The field of 3 

Principles, Confirmation of ... 233, 234 

" Pull," The line of, explained ... 34 

" Pull," The, illustrated 3*5 

Pig's wool, Management of 4O 

" Pull," The line of 32,33 

Patent lever winch ... ... ... 309 

Patterns, Decided 250 

Pig's wool 244 

' ' Playing " ami ' ' Gaffing " 418 

Physical conditions 249 

Principles, The application of... ... 4 

Principles, Singular confirmation of ... 233 

Places to fish 381 

Presentation 385, 400 

Quick-sand, How to get clear of ... 42!) 

Riverside, Scene at the 313 

Ribbings 41, 42 

Rod, The best style of 279 

Rod, The " Traherne " 285 

Rod, The 277 

Rod, The "Kelson" 285 

Rods, Weights of 28!> 

Rods, Woods and other materials for 287 
Rods, Upward and downward curve 

in 330,332 

Rod, The recovery of a 323 

Rods (Spey), length remit* strength ... 33O 



Rods, "Straining" 
Rods, " Racking " 


Rules of Thumb 


Silicon, The use of 
Standard patterns 
.System, How it is upset 
Salmon, The 


291, 330 

.. 291 



... 389 

... 42 

106 to 223 

... 237 


Sulky fish, The possibility of moving 

235, 401 

Silver Monkey 40 

Sun-flies -'.->3 

Striking Salmon 37 

Snowwater ... .. ... ... 241 

Standard colours 31 

Silks, The best of 31 

" Sateen " for waders 427 

"Shooting" 324 

Salmon, Why they take flies ... 253, etc. 

Systematic Fishermen, Advantages of 2 

Systematise*! knowledge 8 

Salmon, Peculiarities of disposition of 24 

Science cef*#M* Chance ... ... ... 3 

Salmon, "Setting up"... 401 

Science, The road to 3 

Sun, Effects of 7 

Salmon, Habits and tastes of 5 

Sun-flies 15 

System, The need of ... ... ... 1 

Salmon-fishing as a recreation 11 

System rti'-ittx Chance ... ... ... 5 

Salmon obey fixed laws 6 


Salmon, Education of ... ... 13, 15 

Salmon, How changes of taste occur... 13 

Spey Cast 337 to 349 

Switch Cast 362 to 371 

Stone-grubber, The 403 

Striking 409 to 417 

Tag, The 38, 39 

Tail, The 39 

Tag, Varieties followed by the Trade 39 

Thunder, Effect of 239 

Tweed, The ; " presentation " and 

"striking" ...' ... ... ... 38 

Temperature 24n 

Terms and Expressions, Glossary of ... 433 
" The Little Inky-boy," When to use 231 

Trees 400 

Unknown agencies at work 246 

Underlying principles ... ... ... 2 

Vice, The 49 

What is a Salmon-fly ? 254 

Weather 238, 247, 387 

Water, Dark 240 

Winch, The 307 

Wind, Ill-effect of 323 

Winch, The " Moscrop " 312 

Winch, Origin of the Patent Lever ... 308 

Winch, " Sun and Planet " 312 

Wading 329, 426 

Waders, How to keep well in 429 

Winch, Holbrows 312 

Waxing silk ... ... ... ... 4 

Wings, Types of 23 

Wind Cast 349 to 337 


Analytical Diagram of a Fly ... 
Whole feather- winged Fly ... .. 

Topping- winged Fly 

Strip- winged Fly 

Built- winged Fly 

Mixed-winged Fly ... ... ., 

A combination of the preceding types 
A wingless pattern (Grub) ... ... 

Improved Limerick hook 

The "Pull" 

Hackles . 



. 22 
. 32 
. 35 
45, 46 

Splitting the Jay 49 

The "Stop" 66 

The "Catch" 67 

Nipping the loop... ... ... ... 69 

Instruction Fly 71 

Instruction Fly 7.5,82,89,91,93 

The Stop and the Catch 77 

Doubling the Hackle "8 

Spinning Seal's fur 80 

Mixed Wings 93 

New method of fixing mixed wings ... 95 

Instruction Fly 96 

"Humping" 9" 

Double white-winged Fly ... ... 241 

Greenheart logs ... ... ... ... 281 

The Line Drier 298 

Mr. W. Wells-Ridley, J.P 300 

Splicing Lines 302 

The Air-pump 306 

The Winch 309, 311 

The Overhand Cast 317 

Major Traherne 321 

On " shooting " line 324 

Mr. Henry Kclsall 326 

The Underhand Cast 328 

Colonel Rocke ... . 331 

Major and Mrs. Grant ... 

The Spey Cast 

Mr. Henry J. Davis 

The Wind Cast 

Action of the wrist 
The Governor Cast 
Mr. Barclay Field 

The Switch Cast 

Hon. Sir Ford North ... 
Mr. F. M. MacKenzie ... 

The Flip Cast 

Direction of a Cast 
Water Gauge 

The Dancer 

Mr. L. J. Graham-Clarke 

The Gaff 

Correct method of Gaffing 

Inconect method of Gaffing . 

Waterproof Jacket 

(Jut Manufactory at Murcia 

The Silk-worm ... 

Gut Stores at Redditch... 

Knotting Gut 

Knotting Gut to loop ... 
Twisting Engine... 
Splicing Machine . . 

The Frail 

Tying up Salmon 

The " Quicksure " Net ... 

The Necklace 

Mr. J. C. Haslam, of Carlogie . 
Mr. R. W. Cooke-Taylor 
Miss Kelson and her gillie 

Fly Boxes 

Fisherman's knife 
Specimen Fish ... 
Limerick Hooks ... 

... 335 
338, 339, 340 

... 351 

... 354 

... 355 

... 361 

... 363 

:W(i, 367 

... 369 

... 373 

. . . 375 

... 378 

... 393 

... 397 

... 403 

... 421 

... 423 

... 424 

. 432 

... 435 

... 437 

... 439 

... 441 

... 442 

... 443 

... 444 

... 446 

... 447 

... 448 

... 449 

... 451 

... 453 

... 455 
458, 459 

... 459 

... 461 



l-.M'IMi I'.UiK 


The Black Ranger. 
Tlie Champion. 
The Infallible. 
Jock Scott. 
The Black Dose. 



Thunder and Lightning. 
The Lion. 
The Baron. 
The Harlequin. 
John Ferguson. 
The Silver Doctor. 



The Dirty Orange. 

The Dawson. 

The Durham Ranger. 


Taite's Fancy. 

The Wilson. 




The Chatterer. 

The Dandy. 

The Captain. 



I'.U'IM; PAliB 

1'I.ATE V. 

Rocke's Fancy. 
The Silver Grey. 
The Popham. 
The Butcher. 
John Campbell. 



The Gordon. 
Traherne's Wonder. 
The Silver Ardea. 
The Cockatoo. 



The Wasp Grub. 

The Hop Dog. 

The Blue Boyne. 



The Ghost. 


The Inver Green. 



Rocke's Grub. 
The Mystery. 
St. Bernard. 
Beauly Snow Fly. 
The Fairy King. 
The Little Kelly. 
Skirrow's Fan<y. 
The Bronze Pirate. 



THIS book is published " by request." It aims at filling up a gap in 
angling literature, and is designed to stamp out the common fallacy that 
no one can learn how to make a fly " from written instructions." In 
truth, I know of no volume on the subject at all sufficiently clear, 
instructive or exhaustive. 

In illustration of the leading statement I may perhaps be allowed to 
quote the following from amongst many similar requests made to me : 
" I envy your being able to tie such flies," says a well-known Angler, in 
a letter dated 1888, " Tell me how you get the silk body so even. . . . 
You certainly turn out the best fly I ever saw and I hope some day to 
see you at work. Why do you not write a plain, concise, little book on 
the subject? Think over this." So I thought over it. 

Onerous editorial duties stood in the way of my accepting many such 
written and oral promptings, but finally a friend's offer of assistance 
induced me to assume the task. I acknowledge my great obligations to 
the late Mr. A. H. Gribble for the part he was able to take in the 
mechanical details of fly-" tying," for, as his Mentor, I have, I believe, 
been able to achieve a success in fly-dressing with novices in a way that 
has not hitherto been compassed. During the progress of instruction in 
the art of "dressing," for which other than personal lessons have seemed 
inadequate, the opportunity was carefully taken to make notes in detail 
of the measurements, manipulation and methods employed to avoid or 
lessen the obstructions in the novice's road to excellence. The notes 
were all new to my friend ; for me they had an unexpected value ; and 
whoever, from practice through long years, has eyes to observe, and 
fingers to make short work of the minutiae of fly-" tying," will readily 


understand that without them I must have failed to appreciate and 
make due provision for many little ensnaring but exasperating difficulties 
that lie in wait for the learner. 

An adept's familiarity with an art may lead him to contemn, if not 
overlook, many little matters that make it impossible to the uninitiated. 
And as this fact was gradually brought to my mind, it opened a wide view 
of the task before me and laid bare a long vista of minor particulars need- 
ful to explain, if I would guide others of less experience than myself. 

I have, however, not been deterred by that view-, nor ceased to keep 
to my first intention to produce an original manual, useful to refer to on 
practical matters, which have not suitably, certainly not similarly, been 
dealt with by previous writers. I may seem now and then over didactic, 
but any veteran who may honour my text by reading it, will easily forgive 
me, when remembering that I write also for the novice in Salmon-capture. 
If, in wading through deep and undefined problems, I seem to be tediously 
slow and unentertaining, it will be without any profession to avoid dry- 
ness. I foreswear, for the purpose of these pages, all that may be 
hurriedly gathered from the Catalogues of our leading " fishing-tackle " 
makers. My programme embraces so much that is technical and 
mechanical that I should rather endeavour to please by instructing, 
than to instruct by pleasing. A Vade mecum as light in weight and writing 
as may be, a " handbook " full of information, direct, reliable, condensed, 
and strictly intent on business, is what I wish to offer to the public. 

Although it may not be considered satisfactory that such a course 
should have been deemed necessary, I have ventured, with all due 
deference, quietly to point out where our technical expressions and 
piinciples have been misunderstood and misapplied. The gravity of the 
position is thoroughly realised. But in such an undertaking there may 
be very considerable advantages, and that seems to render the 
responsibility unavoidable. In any case I am animated by one feeling, 
and one feeling only ; and that is by a real and natural desire to explain 


the true sense of my own special terms, which, unfortunately, have been 
sadly diverted in recent literature from their original meaning. So wide 
and opposite have been the ideas conveyed, that Anglers above the 
average have been hindered from doing justice to themselves by inability 
to understand them. This being the case, it may be gently hinted that 
the drawing of false conclusions from just principles has been no less 
injurious to the unenlightened than the untold evil of drawing just 
conclusions from false principles. 

Not the least important measure in connection with my own 
improvements in " tackle," is that which refers to the Patent Lever 
Winch. This article, I can promise, will make a vast difference in 
anyone's annual fishing record. But I should wish to state that I derive 
no pecuniary gain from praising it, or, in fact, from the sale of any tackle 
associated with my name. 

As many of our standard flies are not generally known, and as the 
dresser frequently goes wrong, both as to their colour and material, a long 
list of them is given in Chapter IV., and each pattern is precisely described 
for the dresser's guidance. In order that the collection may be readily 
consulted, the flies are alphabetically arranged. With a few exceptions, 
the name of the inventor is published, together with the rivers wherein I 
have known each fly to kill the most fish. And it is presumed that this 
list, including, as it does, not only "general," but "special," standards, 
will prove useful to the whole body of Salmon-fishermen. 

Being naturally desirous of enlisting on behalf of my views and 
methods every circumstance that can lend them weight, I freely own to 
the confidence inspired by the honour done me in making me a Juror at 
the Fisheries Exhibition of 1883, and by the unstinted appreciation 
accorded to a small case of Salmon-flies exhibited by me there. The 
same case of flies won me the first prize both at Berlin and Norwich, at 
which places I was not disqualified by office from exhibiting as a com- 
petitor. Nor can I leave unrecorded the appreciation of Fishermen 


generally, which I have enjoyed during the whole time of my connection 
with the press hoth as contributor and as Editor. 

How far my success as a Fisherman has been due to inheritance from 
generations of Salmon-anglers, is a question outside the scope of such a 
book as this ; but I should like its pages to record some words in memory 
of my late Father and Grandfather, to whom I owe my earliest and much 
subsequent information on matters pertaining to the sport. 

As a conclusion to these prefatory observations I have convincing 
evidence that the diligent application of nay methods and directions 
suffices for the education of an accomplished " fly-dresser." The case of 
my friend Mr. Gribble is sufficient example ; and it emboldens me 
greatly in submitting this book to the supreme judgment and test of 
brother Salmon-anglers. 

It would be unbecoming to anticipate criticism. We all perceive 
how nearly impossible it is that persons should feel and think alike upon 
the subject of fish and fish-capture ; and although fixed as are my own 
views, I should indeed be sorry to decry the opinions of those who differ 
from me. A similar moderation is all I claim of them. Good Anglers 
are notably good fellows, and will judge fairly of what I give them 
practical lessons in a high art, the result of accurate observations during 
the varied and full life of an enthusiastic Salmon-angler. 

That my work may be helpful to my brothers in the pursuit of our 
fascinating sport is my deeply founded hope. Hope ! the mother of 
Success, when the companion in Practice. Her rays enable one to 
penetrate the mysteries of either the darkest pool, or water beaten 
into the whitest foam. She conjures up to the imagination of her 
charge the vision of future triumph, gladdens the heart of all, and 
forces many a seeming impossibility to give way to ultimate victory. 

G. M. K. 


" The prinoiples which art involves, science evolves .... Art in its entire stages 
ii anterior to science it may afterwards borrow aid from it." 


IN the present practice of Salmon-fishing there is great need of " system." 
It may be said, "We don't want ' system.' We are quite content with 
things as we find them, as long as we get our pleasure out of them." 
But such a speech will carry at least one fallacy. People get a certain 
pleasure out of whist, who know very little more about it than not to 
revoke, and perhaps not to trump their partner's trick ; but that is no 
reason why the game should not be a serious study to others, books 
written on its laws and problems, and a high mental exercise enjoyed in 
its practice. 

Speaking for myself and I know I represent the opinion of many 
as one who has all his life been an ardent devotee of Salmon-fishing and 
a close observer of everything relating to it, I cannot subscribe to the 
creed which proclaims that when " system " comes in at the door, " fun " 
flies out of the window. On the contrary, I have long been convinced, 
and have said so in the London Press, that lack of " system " means 
proportionate loss of sport and pleasure. 

The man, for example, who owes his success in fishing to " the 
straight tip in flies " imparted by some expert, would incontestably have 
gained for himself vastly higher gratification, not to speak of any claim 
to praise, had he been his own " tipster," i.e., had he possessed certain 
systematic knowledge. 


With reference to this general statement, it may be said that, 
principles engendered in truth are indestructible things, and, like hardy 
plants, grow wherever you take them : whereas mere " rules-of- thumb " 
have but the lowest vitality and will not survive transplantation. 
Possessed of the former, the Fisherman is equipped with knowledge 
applicable for new ground and for new conditions. The untried, indeed, 
just stimulates his skill and enhances his pleasure. But " rules-of- 
thurnb," whatever returns they may yield within the limits of familiar 
waters and ordinary conditions, generally prove, elsewhere and otherwise, 
a source of perplexity, delusion, or helpless dependence on others. 

To the remark that a good deal of this book might appear to some 
to wear the garb of "rule-of- thumb," the reply is, that it must be so with 
regard to much that is technical and mechanical. Yet even here the dry 
bones may become clothed with living texture, when their reason and 
purpose are given with them ; when, in other words, we fall back on the 
underlying principles. 

In advocating " system," I must guard against the supposition that 
I am about to offer a complete scheme of Salmon-fishing. All I can do 
is to point to the need of some further light, and offer my modest 
contribution at whatever its worth may be. Dare I hope that it may be 
the nucleus for the valuable experience of other Anglers and the seedling 
of a great consistent " system " ? 

A complete " system " is probably beyond any man's power, and is 
certainly beyond my own. I must, therefore, warn those who would put 
my doctrines to the proof, that they must adopt my practice in its 
entirety. This caution applies emphatically to the style of rod I recom- 
mend. As I make clear hereafter, " casting" is not performed by the rod 
alone, but by the rod and line taken together. So that to use such a rod 
with any other "tackle" than that described as best suited to it (I am not 
referring to the back-line), can only end in failure to display its good 
qualities and its utmost powers. 

To plead for " science " in Salmon-angling is to plead for " system " 
(system in knowledge as well as system in action), for science is but 
another name for systematised knowledge. In vain will some, even of our 
older hands, ejaculate " Blow ' science ' in fishing ! " The concentrated 


blast of all the Fishermen that have ever flogged water could not blow 
science out of Salmon-catching , for it is absolutely there, involved it 
may be, but there, and the very essence of the sport itself. Let such 
objectors remember the story of the gentleman in one of Moliere's plays 
who suddenly discovers that he has been talking prose all his life without 
knowing it. The real matter for decision is, Shall your knowledge be 
confused, undigested, vague, or badly stowed '? or, shall it be methodical, 
organised, precise, and always ready to hand ? Behind each art lies a 
corresponding science, and the art of Salmon-angling clearly has its 
science ; though, for the most part, it still waits to be evolved. Let 
the science be elaborated by all means, and full}' compacted. How much 
of it he will have, each man can settle for himself. You may plunge 
into it up to the neck out of pure love of the thing, or you may have no 
more than that sprinkling, which even mediocrity needs. But for their 
own sakes, I pray Salmon-fishers to look upon " science " as their friend, 
and not as a bugbear. 

How are we going to get at this science ? By the orthodox route. 
"Where is it ? In all seriousness it is hard to find, and the guide-posts 
are few and often misleading. Facts obtained or obtainable, observation, 
experiment, will serve us; and if we exercise our brains to collect, com- 
pare, classify, and generalise, we shall soon tread on the heels of those 
advanced laws and principles which we wish to apply in adapting our 
means to the ends we have in view. 

In the wide field of observation there is much to be gathered. Every 
Fisherman can contribute help here without entering upon the more 
austere operations of " science." The more facts, the safer the induction. 
It should, however, be noted that observation is of value in proportion as 
it is accurate ; and that really accurate observations are not so common 
as might be thought. Eminent scientists have testified how difficult it is 
even for a man of superior intelligence, to keep distinct what he actually 
sees from what he thinks he sees. (A man in a fog appears bigger than 
he is ; a fish in the water is not in the place in which he seems to be.) 
It is so very easy to see what agrees with one's own preconceived 

Even where verification is easy and the matter of observation within 



the grasp of one's hand, observation may be wanting in care a statement 
which I will illustrate, not from the spacious field of nature, but from the 
smaller sphere of an Editor's experience. 

A few years ago, a Fisherman came into my office on some angling 
business. Not knowing me by sight, he got into a discussion on Salmon- 
flies, and presently declared: "I don't believe in Kelson's flies" 
(meaning those figured in "Land and Water"). He added: "The 
wings are a deal too heavy and have too much stuff in them." In con- 
firmation he produced from his pocket-book a fly, shewing what he 
considered a fair amount of "wing" for the Usk v a river which then 
wanted a "heavy" wing. On comparing this fly with the original 
pattern, which the critic had pronounced to be over bulky in the wing, 
he was soon compelled to confess himself mistaken. It was seen that, 
after all, my flies were constructed with less wing-material than his, and 
that the difference in appearance was due to the way in which the 
material was disposed. In my patterns each component strip of fibre in 
the wing was displayed to view in fan-like expansion, whilst in his fly 
one half at least of its constituents were hidden by the other half, the 
strips being compressed into an untidy bunch. It was also evident that 
this local authority was unacquainted with the principle, that the bulk of 
wing in a given pattern is variable according to the river, or even according 
to different parts of the same river, as well as in relation to weather and 
the condition of the water. Unfortunately this case is a typical one. 

Exactitude is needed in applying our principles, i.e., in adapting our 
means to the ends in view. Having clearly and definitely before our eye 
what those ends are and what they demand, we should not relax our 
efforts until we have mastered the means that best satisfy those demands. 
In this connection let me show what I mean, by reference to the most 
simple of all operations (fully explained in Chapter III.) in making 
" floss-silk " bodied flies, viz. : the waxing of the silk. What is the 
object here? Evidently to manage the waxing (1) without soiling the 
fingers ; (2) without breaking the silk, or weakening it by letting it 
untwist, or by rubbing it too hard ; (3) without getting too much wax on 
so as to quite spoil the floss-silk which covers it. Now, in spite of the 
fact that there is for doing this a method so simple that the dullest 


novice could follow it successfully, cobblers' wax is often condemned 
because of the trouble caused in using it. 

There are pre-eminently three matters in which I believe Salmon- 
anglers would reap much benefit from " system." (1) The style of rod. 
(2) The modes of " casting." (3) The construction and choice of flies. 
In the first and third of these especially the principles we have mastered 
by observation and experiment have yet to be applied far more fully than 
is ordinarily the case, and with far stricter regard to the precise objects 
in view. In the following Chapters I have sought not only to point out 
the road to success, but also to move some little way along that road. 
The Chapter on the " Kod " does not call for preliminary comment here ; 
and as to the modes of " casting," illustrated and described in Chapter 
VII., I would only remark that, as their efficiency depends on obedience 
to certain primary laws of mechanics, the directions for making each 
"cast" should be minutely followed. Failure to accomplish them will 
ensue, not because some peculiar "knack" or " dodge " has remained 
undisclosed, but because some rational condition remains unfulfilled. To 
see precisely, and at first sight, what has to be done, greatly helps a man 
towards the right way of doing it. In such a thing as learning by book- 
instruction how to "cast," it is necessary that not only the "WHY" 
and the "WHEREFORE" should be explained, but also the "How." 
And this I have striven to do in the following pages. 

It is in the choice of flies that so much yet remains to be done in 
the way of observation and experiment. Here for the most part we have 
to make our own science, before we can apply it. The facts we must 
build on are the habits and tastes of the Salmon, as affected by the 
variety of his natural surroundings, the predisposition he evinces for 
certain shades of colour and certain types of flies, the variations of water 
and weather, and above all by the mischief brought about by the 
preceding efforts of Fishermen destitute of all practical knowledge. 

Men call Salmon " capricious " ; but is not the term a cover for their 
own ignorance about the habits of the fish and the flies they show them, 
rather than the truthful representation of facts? No one has proved 
wanton inconsistency on the part of the fish. We may depend on it. 
that Salmon instinctively and undeviatingly act according to certain 


predispositions, obey fixed natural laws, and are never troubled with 
" intellectual " originality, even of a rudimentary type. If he is as 
immovable as the rock of the river-bed to-day, and then gives himself 
away to the artless lure of the rawest novice on the morrow, depend 
upon it, there is an underlying cause, which it were more profitable to 
seek for, than to cover up with the convenient term " caprice." 

In the choice of flies and the method of making and using them, the 
improvements of recent times have been patent and far-reaching. 

When we come to analyze what a fly really is, we must associate 
ourselves with that reform in fishing which opposes much " received 
opinion ; " and our attitude is justified by unmistakable and undeniable 
evidence. As a sample of the experiences on which I found some of my 
views against " received opinion," here is a narrative which may not be 
altogether uninteresting. It dates from 1849, when I commenced my 
earliest investigations on the river Darenth. 

The late Sir P. D , my father, and Mr. J. G. C . had been 

discussing at Halstead Place the question of rod-material, and of trying 
a new kind of wood purchased by the latter of these gentlemen for 

making ram-rods. In a few days, by the valuable help of Mr. C , 

himself a first-class workman, I turned out an 11 ft. 6 in. green-heart 
Trout-rod. On testing it, we soon found that we could cover with it more 
water than with the rods of hickory which we had been accustomed to 
use. Presently below the saw-mill our attention was drawn to a Pike 
of about 5 Ibs. weight, lying close to a barrier of wood- work forming the 
upright side of a sheep-wash. 

As some one about that time Mr. Jewhurst, I believe, the inventor 
of one of our best standard flies had created a stir in the district by 
killing one of these fish with a "Butcher," I, having no other means at 
hand to secure it, dressed a similar pattern and caught the Pike with it. 

" What on earth," said my father, "did the fish take that fly for? 
Get under the water and see what it is like." 

Little indeed did I dream of the benefits which this inspection 
would lead to. But it was not until after some half-dozen trials that I 
succeeded in getting a good view of the fly. The bed of the river at 
the sheep-wash was muddy, and I could not stay under water long 


enough for it to clear ; I was also unaccustomed to the business and 
could not manage to lie still, nor avoid stirring up the mud. " All I 
can tell you is," I said, at last, "that it looks just like a living fly 
working its legs and wings." 

Our curiosity being greatly excited, the experiment was rehearsed 

Of all the places I have tried thus, the best and the worst was the 
one particular pond at Bradbourne Vale (then the property of Mr. 
Hughes). It was best, because its bed was not muddy, whilst the water 
itself was brighter than the proverbial gin. It was worst, because the 
water was icy cold. There, nevertheless, I practised year after year, and 
notes of my observations were taken by some of the interested parties 
who generally attended the entertainment. The penalty I paid for my 
under-water investigations was a slight deafness, which affects me still. 

We came to the conclusion, that the stiller the surface of the water, 
the more favourable it is for inspection : that the brighter the day, so 
long as the sun is not in the background, the more clearly can the details 
and the conduct of the fly-materials be scrutinised : that, however 
seemingly still the water may be, there is always a movement in some 
part of the fly : also that, to the human eye, a dark fly shows best on a 
dark day, whilst in bright weather the fly of many colours is more easily 
and more minutely distinguishable. But this was not all. I benefited 
further, for it taught me the grand lesson not to " play " long-hackled 
patterns which, of themselves, unassisted by rod-action, assume a life- 
like motion even in the quietest water possible. I also learnt that a 
person talking on the bank can be heard by another under water. 
Whether a fish can so hear, is a question. 

There is information here, without doubt, that can be turned to 
practical good in Salmon-fishing. I hope the few deductions that I was 
enabled to draw from these experiments will be found useful, as being 
sound, so far as they go. To them I owe many a success, and this 
especially induces me to submit them to my readers with confidence. 
The system I wish to exemplify is, to all intents and purposes, based on 
some practice that is at once consistent and intelligible. The trial has 
been in many a struggle for the day's " top score " on Association waters 


which I no longer fish, sometimes for any score at all when low, vapid 
water and bright sun have given full scope for testing every kind of theory. 

Punch has depicted some theorist baffled to the verge of desperation, 
finally throwing his collection of flies, book and all, into the " Catch." 
Then there is the numerous school of sportsmen, whose guiding doctrine 
is, " Some days, you know, you can't keep fish off the hook, and some 
days they won't look at the best fly in your book or anybody else's." 
A dummy clock-face with painted hands is periodically right twice in 
twenty-four hours ; and such people have the solace of occasional success, 
though its recurrence is generally at long intervals. It is true that, at 
times, nothing avails to tempt fish, but then these barren times are very 
much fewer for the systematic Fisherman than for the novice ; were it 
otherwise, there would be no raison d'etre for this book. In short, I hold 
that the advantages of the " systematic " Angler are surprisingly pro- 
nounced. Even a few good working principles are needful to justify any 
assurance of success. 

The ability to " dress " a fly, even fairly well, enhances the pleasure 
of Salmon fishing to a degree truly inconceivable to the uninitiated. 
" Fly-dressing," in itself a pleasant art, is an accomplishment that must 
very often contribute to sport otherwise unattainable ; and there are 
many occasions when it proves to be the actual determining condition of 
any sport at all, for it is no uncommon experience that a fish which has 
refused a boxful of " likelies " has, in the 'end been lured to his doom 
by a fly hastily dressed at the river's side to meet the exigencies of the 
moment. Somewhere or other, I forget where, I have read an ill- 
founded but unimportant sneer at the possibility of doing such a thing ; 
but I have myself succeeded in this way many and many a time. It is 
no exaggeration of w y ords to say that I have dressed hundreds of flies 
al frcico and with admirable results in their use as an immediate 

There is no necessity to burden one-self with any great bulk of 
materials, in order to command a far larger scope in size and in pattern 
of fly than that afforded by the most corpulent of fly-books. Not 
unfrequently, be it remembered, a small deduction from, or addition 
to, a wing turns the scale (and scales) in the Angler's favour. 


For the less ambitious, even a theoretical knowledge of the methods 
adopted by our best artists, such as I trust may be gathered from this book, 
is, I can assure them, no mean advantage. It endows a man with critical 
ability which means, that the critic is enabled to tell a good fly from a, 
bad one when he sees it and supplies the power not only to detect and 
reject bad materials and faulty construction, but to know precisely what 
is wanted, as well as to convey accurate instructions to the " fly-dresser." 

When a friend inquires what description of fly it was the critic lost 
in the big fish below, identification can scarcely be easy when he 
replies : " Well, don't you know, it was a darkish kind of thing with 
blue at one end and legs of a sort of speckle, and then there was some 
metal stuff round the woolly part, and a feather like a spray of gold for a, 
top-knot " ; and such a description is not a caricature of common river- 
side speech. But without going so low down in the scale of ignorance, 
there is a large class of Fishermen who can only just distinguish what is 
meant to be a " Jock Scott " from what is meant to be a " Durham 
Ranger," or a putative " Butcher " from a putative " Blue Doctor " ; for 
certain flies bear unmistakably distinctive marks. But there the know- 
ledge stops. The particular specimens may yet exhibit such a departure 
from the original composition, yes, even in important features, as to 
seriously impair their efficiency. A little more technical knowledge would 
avoid this. 

For those, however, who " dress " their own flies, the pleasure of 
banking an extra sulky Salmon, from whose jaw they proceed with all 
tenderness to extract the product of their own skill in fur and feathers, 
attains its full height, when the pattern of the fly is also their own in- 
vention. All the conditions of the occasion have been studied light, wind, 
weather, water, and nature of the " catch " ; the size, the amount of " show," 
and degree of mobility that should answer have been determined. And 
then comes success to crown the patient and deft manipulation, which 
clothed the hook from one's own original idea, and which awakens a- 
new and gratifying faith in one's calculation and judgment. 

Surely it is worth considering that by this delicate and fascinating 
art, the pleasures of fishing are extended over a longer period of the year. 
They begin, not at the opening of the season on the river-bank, but weeks 


before, at the best lighted window of the " den " or library, saving 
many a man from the task of " killing time." No wise man reads 
directly after lunch, for reading then sends the blood to the head, when 
it is required below. But "dressing" a fly will generally be found 
no enemy to digestion and goes well with a chat, and perhaps even 
with a pipe. 

And " fly-dressing " employs faculties besides those used in fishing. 
In addition to the keen eye and ready hand, the persistent observation, 
the care, endurance, courage, and patience required by open-air practice, 
those other qualities are called into play, the training^of which establishes 
for Salmon-fishing a true kinship with the Fine Arts, and supplies as 
much of mental and moral discipline as may fairly be looked for in what 
we are accustomed to designate "rational amusement." The "fly- 
dresser" finds room for the utmost nicety of calculation in arrangement 
and adaptation, as well as a field for the exercise of the imagination in 
realizing symmetry, proportion, mobility, and colour-harmony. In short, 
we have here a well-bred hobby not unworthy the attention of the 
greatest amongst us who are fishers, whether Divines or Statesmen, 
Doctors or Lawyers, Poets, Painters, or Philosophers. 

Having thus adduced some reasons why the piscator ad unguem (I 
use the term advisedly) should " dress," or at least know how to " dress," 
his own flies, I may well introduce an observation once made by a keen 
man of the world. It embodies, I believe, the experience of most people 
who are qualified to judge of the specific mental influence of fly-fishing 
for Salmon and Trout. Fly-fishing has the power to bring sure and 
unbroken relief to the jaded mind, with thorough oblivion to all else but 
the sport itself. Its very nature seems to compel the entire attention. 
As a consequence, therefore, the more we lay ourselves out for this 
pastime, the greater will be the benefit derived from it, in the original 
and best sense, a recreative agent. This consideration obviously gives 
fresh life to my praise of " fly-dressing " as a complement to " fly-fishing." 
Anyone can imagine himself under the following circumstances : 

Breakfast despatched and the fishing news carefully digested, you 
have seated yourself at that little table in the window, looking 
river-wards, in a capital light. Your box of materials is on a chair 


beside you, and two or three of its trays out before you on tbe table. 

Water a bit higher than you thought, eh ? Haven't 

exactly the thing you want? (puff! puff! capital smoking mixture 
this !) No, these "Jocks" are just two sizes too small. And that one? 
Don't like the yellow of it too orangey, Turkey strips not pure 
white-pointed, "Jungle" not bright enough. Ah! twist butt floss 
oval-tinsel Toucan topping and Crow! Now then. And so you 
get to happy, hopeful work, looking up at intervals to relieve the eye by 
a moment's change of focus and to get an inspiring glance at the noble 
stream below ! 

Where are your "notices of motion," your Committees and Division- 
bills now? Where the mortgages, the conveyances, the briefs ? Where 
script and share-lists, bills and notes of hand ? And what has become of 
your prescriptions and mighty harassings, the daily rounds of fever and 
mental worries? And where are those "editorials," that daily pile of 
letters, that waste-basket, and so forth ? Faded away all of them out 
of sight and mind too, thank goodness ! Smoke and din and dull routine, 
head-ache and heart-ache, are all clean gone, and in their place have come 
the calm and charm of meadow and purple moor, of ruffled " catch," 
deep gliding pool and foaming rapid ; of birds and of humming insects 
buzzing among the wild flowers and fresh undergrowth. Your mind has 
just enough spontaneous energy to keep pace with the bodily forces in 
healthful pleasure, and to enjoy the anxious labour of dressing or 
choosing the fly that shall presently stir up a full fifteen minutes' glorious 
excitement and yield material for oft-told tales and life-long reminiscences. 
What do not those men lose who do not fish ? And as to fly-making 
well, by that engaging occupation, apart from all practical considerations, 
many men have been imbued with a fascination which has since 
brightened too many dull days of their life. 

Any apology for the possibly tedious fulness of detail inseparable 
from really genuine instruction on such a technical subject as " fly- 
dressing " it would be too illogical to offer. Clearness in this case is 
impossible without amplitude of detail ; an orderly system in progress 
from stage to stage, as indispensable as in Euclid's " Elements." But 
let the learner take courage. When first he learns the method and has 


mastered the preliminaries in detail, it will not be long before he will 
boldly attack the most elaborate patterns and venture with enthusiasm 
upon the artistic expression of his own fancies in all the kaleidoscopic 
possibilities of fur and feather, floss and pigs-wool. 

As a conclusion to the disappointing instructions of many guide books 
for " fly-dressers " the student is advised that, as the art, after all, cannot 
really be learnt from books, he should resort to some professional " tier " 
to teach him. This suggests the probability that the writer of the guide, 
however expert he otherwise may be, has felt himself 011 thin ice in the 
practical knowledge of this department, or at least in the ability to 
communicate it to others. It may be added that the better class Salmon- 
fly of to-day is an altogether different product from that of forty years 
ago, and, as a work of art, an incomparably superior one. No high 
technical knowledge is needed, for example, to discern the contrast in 
artistic excellence and working adaptation to purpose between the few- 
standard flies as illustrated in Land and Water (under my departmental 
Editorship) and the flies depicted in 'certain older works on angling. The 
contrast is most striking in the symmetrical proportions, the arrangement 
of the wings, the distribution of material generally, and in strength and 
neatness of finish particularly. 

Blacker was, in his day, a champion "dresser," but it would have 
been a case of almost incredible stagnation if the art he helped so much 
to promote had made no progress since his time. It would be very unlike 
what has in many a river happened to the fish. They have changed, or 
been made to change, their tastes. As for Blacker's book on " Fly- 
tying," it is, as regards Salmon-flies, practically useless for present day 
instruction in the modus operandi, and is only valuable as a literary 

In his " Book on Angling " it is clear that my valued friend and 
colleague, the late Mr. Francis Francis, scarcely makes a serious 
attempt at any complete instruction in this matter. Certain it is that 
from the directions there given alone, no novice could learn to dress a fly 
that any tackle-maker of repute would care to place in his shop window. 
And it is simple truth to declare that in a work unequalled to this day as 
a complete synopsis of angling, and as such reaping the reward of 


unabated popularity, the chapter on Salmon-fly dressing is, by far, the 
least valuable in his book, 

No pupil was more apt, none more attentive. But the enthusiasm 
which led him to accomplish with mathematical precision the neatest 
victories over Mayflies and Quilled-gnats, scarcely extended itself into 
the regions of high art in Salmon-fly dressing. " Yours," he would say 
to me, "is the result of imagination and judgment: mine a hobby 
to indulge in without much effort ; and it gratifies my taste, if it tries 
my eyes." 

To pass to a kindred topic, Mr. Francis has undoubtedly rendered 
immense service to Salmon-fishermen, by gathering from the various 
rivers, at evident cost of time and labour, the large collection of patterns 
that fill so many pages of his treatise. Here is a record of facts, a 
trustworthy account of the local patterns, district, and personal 
favourites reigning when the collection was made, and a certain number 
of them still retain their sway. Any Angler, with the "Book on Angling" 
in his hand, may be sure of selecting for a given river patterns, that 
had. once upon a time, and in some cases still have, the sanction of 
local tradition and past favour. Whether the same authority enables 
him to provide adequately for a change of taste on the part of the fish 
is quite another matter. Such changes do occur, sometimes (but not 
often), in Nature's own mysterious way, sometimes (indeed very 
frequently) in consequence of too much familiarity with baits, or even 
with foreign flies introduced by new-comers men who are not content 
with local faiths and "rules of thumb." Such rules are too rigid to meet 
the change. There is your list of flies ; your only variety in them lies 
in the matter of size. If large and medium, and small flies of those 
patterns fail, you must either resort to the enterprising men for their 
patterns, or invent better ones yourself. That is to say, you must forsake 
tradition for invention, and "rule of thumb " for principles of some sort, 
because your list teaches that the highest preference of your fish has not 
been hit on, and that it fails to provide for a palate that has become 
dainty through untoward water or weather, or has been educated up to 
a different bill of fare. 

Let me not be misapprehended. I wish especially to attribute its 


full value to this great collection of fly patterns. But what I advocate 
most earnestly, is the logical step forward from all such data, if only 
from the simple fact that so many of the feathers we employ now are far 
more suited to the object in view. The Angler who takes this step will 
soon train and use his own powers of observation and judgment. 
Practice and experiment on his part wjll then breed confidence, and 
confidence will bring for him marked improvement in capacity and 
all round proficiency. 

Now it is manifest that in all collections of patterns yet offered in 
print and Mr. Francis's is, perhaps, the most complete of any we 
have little else than the bare patterns to guide us. There is not 
sufficient induction from them ; no comparison, analysis, classification, 
made of them, either in themselves, or with direct regard to the natural 
characters of the rivers to which groups of flies are severally assigned. 
Whilst the features of many of the flies described as used on certain 
rivers in times gone by are strongly marked enough to base a classification 
on, and perhaps to enable some advance towards general principles, yet 
it seems to me, that the local use has so frequently been governed by 
mere accident, whim, and fashion, and so entirely without attempt at 
rational process or systematic observation, that I would prefer, and I 
recommend, original experiment based on general principles, with a 
deferential side-glance at the traditions of the elders. 

It is evident that any practice relying solely on such lists of flies, 
however time-honoured, must, as unscientific, sooner or later be found 
valueless to some extent, and hopelessly so in the face of any such 
enlightened competition as must be met on the more open fisheries. 

In certain flies, leading conditions common to several localities have 
been happily filled, and so we have such standard general patterns as 
" Jock Scott," " Silver Grey," and " Blue Doctor." But it is clear that 
the demands of the unusual and complicated conditions in hard-fished 
waters could not be thus uncerimoniously chanced on, and to meet these, 
we need, not the standard general patterns, but the standard specials, e.g., 
the "Variegated Sun-fly," "Blue Boyne," "Bed Pirate," "Bo-Peep," 
" Silver Spectre," &c., &c. 

Complicated conditions, and the discovery of the best means and 


methods of mastering them will cost many observations, careful record, 
and much thought, but the measure of success already known to follow 
such investigation lifts the Angler far above any blind or groping reliance 
on the best traditions of the past. Is it not notorious that in several of 
our rivers the fish have been educated to persistently snub old patterns 
in favour of new ? And is it not indeed an achievement to present to the 
fish a fly that he then and there prefers to your rival's to have yourself 
made the attraction so strong, as to establish, more or less permanently, 
a decided taste in the fish, so that he refuses other flies, to wait for 
yours ! 

In mentioning, just now, the names of a few standard patterns, I 
might have added, with regard to the results brought about by the special 
use of Sun-flies, that I have evidence, nay, the strongest proof, of what 
may be accomplished from systeniatised knowledge. 

What, in the name of sport, would our forefathers think Salmon 
angling had come to, could we tell them of the great results that have 
been achieved altogether without periods of much trouble, while fishing 
in the brightest sunshine ! They first taught us, it is true, to use bright 
flies in bright weather and so on ; but they themselves never failed to 
reel up in the daytime under a cloudless canopy of blue, nor ever 
dreamed of sport with such a pattern as the " Variegated Sun-fly," 
which, by the way, has more than filled the promise of its youth. 

It is happy for us latter-day Anglers that the " specials " came into 
existence, that they still live, and that they afford so many proofs of their 
own masterful vitality in those very times when all other flies fail. Our 
knowledge in the matter of these, at any rate, is " methodical, organised, 
precise, and always ready to hand " ; and I put forward my own portion 
of the work with great confidence. 





" Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises." 



AN orderly and uniform method of description being essential to progress 
in all technical matters, there can be no need to vindicate my attempt 
to supply this, with regard to Salmon-flies and their dressings. Happily, 
in this case, the reformer has only to contend against a certain amount of 
disorder and confusion. 

The advantage of always describing a fly in the successive order 
of its parts, and of always using the same names for the same things, 
is obvious. We often encounter in print, and elsewhere, a departure 
from this wholesome principle, and this can only be attributed to the 
absence hitherto of any general practice, based on the requirements of 
convenience and consistency. I hope that the diagram given opposite, in 
which a typical fly is explained in regular succession of detail, will be found 
of service in satisfying these requirements. The names adopted by me 
are those now in general use amongst Anglers and tackle-makers, and 
the order followed is (practically) that of the actual process of dressing. 

The benefit derived from following this order is, that with a 
minimum of strain on the memory, even without practice in dressing, an 



orderly formula can be impressed on the mind a formula applicable 
to any fly, and in such a way that its composition can easily be retained 
in the mind's eye and reproduced at pleasure. Further, this formula 
is a valuable aid to the memory in the successive operations of fly- 
dressing ; the value being in direct ratio to the elaboration of the pattern 
in hand. 

Those who fix this simple scheme in their minds, will not find, on 
finishing a fly, that they have left out the body hackle or one of the 
"butts" ; nor that, in sending to a friend the description of some 
murderous favourite, they will have written it in such complicated 
detail as to defy every attempt at reproducing it either in imagination 
or in material. Order is nature's first law, and it is certainly that of 
every good Salmon-angler. 

ANALYTICAL DIAGRAM, illustrating parts and proportions of 










A. Gut loop. 

B. Ta;i : here in two sections silver twist, 

succeeded by floss silk. 

CC. Tail. Of a topping and an Indian 
crow feather. 

D1, D2, D3. "Butts." Between D1 
(tail-lmtt) and D3 (head-butt) lies 
the Body, divided in this type of fly 
into two sections by D2 (section- 
butt), each section having 5 Ribs of 
tinsel ; Q2 is here preceded (in 
order of construction) by Toucan 
feathers above and below. 

E. Hackle. Here distinguished as the 
" L'pper section hackle." When wound 
over nearly the whole length of the 
body it is termed the "Body hackle." 

E2. Throat - hackle, usually written 

p. Under-tring. Hereof "white-tipped" 

Q. Oner Wing, in most flies capped w th 
a " topping." 

HH. Horn*. J. Side*. K. Cheek. |_. 

"| . Is a line showing a proper length of 

tail and wing beyond the hook-bend. 
2. Indicates the place of the first coil of 

the tag relatively to the hook-barb, 

the barb supplying the best guide to 

the eye in the initial operation of 
tying on the " tag " material. 

3. Indicates the place on the hook- 
xhank (relatively to the hook- 
point), at which the ends of the 
gut loop should terminate, leaving 
the gap, for adjustment (particular- 
ised in Chap. III.). 

This figure is intended also to give the 
ttudent a general idea of the due 
proportions and symmetry of a good 
fly, as a whole, and in its parts 

In dressing, the terms "head wards" and 
"tail wards" mean towards right 
and left respectively, as seen in the 

The terms "bend of the hook," "point of 
the hook," " point of the barb," 
" barb-junction," &c., explain them- 
selves on inspection. By a mane 
a common term in Ireland is 
understood a tuft of mohair in- 
troduced at some place on the body 
after the manner of the upper group 
of Toucan feathers seen in the plate 
in rear of section-butt D2. But as 
this means of ornamentation is not 
considered favourable, I shall leave 
the subject alone for a while. 

In classifying his flies the Salmon-angler stands at a disadvantage as 
compared with the Trout-fisher. The latter has a basis of classification 
ready made for him by Nature. His path is already trodden smooth for 
him by the entomologist, so that in following his principle of imitation, 
he has but to study the habits and habitats, the times and seasons, that 
distinguish the several natural classes represented by his " duns " and 
" spinners," his " midges " and " gnats," his " sedges " and " palmers " ; 
ephemeridas, Phryganeidae, and so forth. The Salmon-angler, on the 
contrary, has, as a rule (exceptions are duly recorded in this book), to 
fall back on an artificial classification. He betakes himself to nature 



only on rare, but notable, occasions. So in truth his principle is a 
matter of less consequence to him generally, though it is undeniably both 
of use and interest. 

Of the possible principles of classification only two will commend 
themselves to our consideration, a division according to " bodies," or a 
division according to " wings." I choose the latter for the following 
reasons : firstly, because there is as much variety of construction in 
that part as in any other ; secondly, that there is also a variety in this 
part dictated by local taste in man, or fish, or both and finally, that 
the wings are a " leading article " in the matter of fly dressing. 

There is, however, a considerable variety in bodies, not only as 
regards quantity and kind of material, but also as regards the disposition 
of the latter with reference to proportion and colour ; witness the plain 
fur or silk body, the " Jock Scott " body, the " Butcher " body, and that 
of the " Popham " all distinct types. The wing, however, seems on 
the whole to afford the simplest and best fundamental division. 1 am 
unaware of any previous attempt at such a classification, and therefore, 
unaided by the light of earlier exploration, I offer with all due 
diffidence the following simple scheme, as the best I have been able to 
devise : 









I Hunt rated in Chapter III., Xo. 3. 





There in no need to explain in detail what is meant by " WJiole 
feather " wings. Each wing is composed of one or more whole feathers 
of some such bird as the Macaw. Their stiffness makes them invaluable 
for crooked going, or for swirly catches, where the ordinary mobile 
" mixed " wings become a shapeless mass of huddled fibres, and have no 
chance whatever of playing alluringly. 

" Topping " wings are made entirely of Golden Pheasant " toppings," 
from four to eight being used according to circumstances and size of hook. 
They are very effective in bright weather and clear water, and especially 
so in sunshine, but four on one river may be equal to six on another. 

In the " Strip-winged " fly each entire wing consists of a single strip 
of feather generally taken from the tail-feather of some large bird. 
Wings of this kind may be set on to lie close to each other, or to lie apart 
at a considerable angle, as seen in " The Dunt." On the Aberdeenshire 
Dee and elsewhere in Scotland these wings are still in vogue, but on 
other rivers the Usk, for instance they are rapidly yielding ground 
to the vastly superior " built " and " mixed " wings. 


" Built Wings" built up of strips of feather " married," are, perhaps, 
the most difficult to construct and set on satisfactorily, but they are very 
telling in their proper place and time as telling on the fish as they 
appear, when skilfully arranged, to the artistic eye. The Angler who aims 
at enduring success cannot do without them. The most successful of 
this type of fly are those known as decided patterns i.e., flies containing 
two or three or more distinct colours in the body and corresponding 
colours in the wings and even in the tail. They are specially useful at 
the beginning and end of the season, or, at other times in high water, 
when a striking pattern is temporarily wanted. As a rule, they are 
more successful in flowing streams than in quiet pools. 

" Mixed wings," composed of single fibres, are easily set on by an 
improved method, and are very effective in the water. It stands to 
reason that they must be the most mobile of all wings. They are 
specially suited to sluggish pools and unruffled waters, and may be varied and 
beautified indefinitely according to the judgment and taste of the dresser. 
For personal use I tie a large majority of wings in this fashion, and can 
give them unreserved commendation. 

" Grubs " or " apterous " patterns in many places are found to be o 
great service, particularly when pools have been over thrashed with 
" winged " flies. They are supposed to represent caterpillars and other 
crawling insects which frequent the river bank or bed. Every Salmon-fly 
should have its grub, and every Fisherman should use them. On some 
rivers the Usk, for instance, where (long before the " Glow-worm " I 
introduced the " T,rois-temps " they have become the favourite patterns 
of most men. On the Spey they remained unknown until recent years. 

" Cheeked " with a point of Jungle at each hackle, after the style of the 
"Jungle Hornet " (whether fur, silk, or chenille be used for the body), 
Grubs, as soon as winter ceases to chill the " lap of May," do great 
execution amongst shy fish. 


Symmetry, Colour, d-c. For the highest standard of sport, Salmon- 
flies should possess certain qualities and characteristics. Season, 
locality, &c., fix the limits of their relative bearing and importance. 


At times Salmon will take anything, at times nothing. In a fever of 
excitement the King of Fish will exercise his royal jaw upon a thing it 
were an outrage to call a Salmon fly. A one-sided, wobbling, 
hydrocephalic bunch of incongruous feathers. Nay, this same whimsical 
despot has been known to bring destruction upon himself and discomfiture 
on all theory and calculation by fixing his momentary affections upon a 
single Jay or Jungle feather tied anyhow on a big bare hook ! Only a few 
years since, I believe in '83, a well-known Fisherman, passing from pool 
to pool at Eingwood, and dangling his crude fly in the stream as he 
hurried along, hooked, in eighteen inches of water, and successfully 
landed, a forty-two pound fresh-run fish. "Hi Regan " tells me of 
another, caught in the upper Moy with a field daisy, impaled on a small 
hook. And there are many living witnesses to these crowning instances 
of a Salmon's fastidiousness. Fishing the Earn one sulky day in '87, I 
saw within six feet of me a Salmon working up a gravelled shallow. 
Several flies had previously been tried in vain. The last, made by a 
novice, having just lost its Mandarin-drake wings, was lying on the 
bed of the river, for the purpose of keeping the gut in order, whilst I 
whipped up another like it. On nearing the rude hook it was but little 
else the Salmon came about a yard out of his way, picked it up and 
made off down stream at a flying pace. I soon got in command of him, 
and went home carrying 11 Ibs. more than I started with. 

But fishing is no more the mere " catching " of fish, than is cricket 
mere smashing down wickets by chance, or billiards mere " knocking 
three balls about on a table covered with green baize.". 

Strength and symmetry are necessary qualities in every Salmon-fly, 
especially for waters harbouring shy fish, where bait-fishing* does not 
defeat the whole thing. As for strength, first, we must obviously be 
prepared for the worst. The battle may last for hours and its issue must 
depend in a great measure on the strength of the fly. So then first, let 
the hook be of the best make and well tested beforehand. There is a 
vast difference in barbs, which fact anyone may easily study with profit 
to himself, by submitting to scrutiny, under an ordinary magnifying lens, 

* People exist who fancy that this way of ruining a river for fly-fishing involves a 
question And yet we are rapidly approaching the end of the nineteenth century ! 


the first dozen hooks he comes across. The test is, of course, best 
performed on hooks all of one size. Many are rendered worthless by 
too deep an incision of the barbing knife into the hook- wire. In others 
the barb and the hook point are needlessly long. Again, the second bend 
of the hook, i.e., the part of the bend nearest the point of the hook, is 
where a long experience has shown more hooks fail than in any 
other part. Correct temper, more than amount of metal there, is the 
best security against weakness. Sometimes, however, the bend of the 
hook itself is altogether too narrow, in which case the hook may neither 
catch hold, nor hold when it catches. 

That the whipping of gut-loop to hook should be efficient and the 
whole fly strongly put together is evident ; but neatness and symmetry 
are often somewhat lost in trying to secure strength. 

Too much or too thick material is used in the item of tying-silk 
especially, and too little attention is paid to tapering the ends of the loop 
and placing the tying-silk closely and evenly upon them. Put in a spiral 
form, or with some coils over others, and the fly falls to pieces in no time. 

We must remember that the strain of the fish is borne by the hook 
and gut. The measure of the strength required in the other parts of the 
fly is the wear and tear of casting, of playing it in the water, and of the 
fish's jaws. In actual experience the student will be astonished to find with 
what little tying-silk, skilfully used and of the right sort, a fly will wear 
to the very end of the life of its constituent materials. And this is the 
never failing reward of dressing after a proper method and with proper 

How often can one take a purchased fly and twist the wings, almost 
without effort, right round to the body ! Yet this test may be pressed too 
far ; for whilst it is possible to so tightly and firmly compact a fly that the 
very fibres of the wing shall first give way, such a degree of compacted 
strength is by no means requisite in a well-tied fly. It is enough if, after 
an ordinary amount of pressure, you find that the wings set on by 
the method described in this book still hold their position. 

By " symmetry," I mean proportion of shape, and to some extent of 
material. This quality is essential in a good fly. Even in " Exaggera- 
tions," though in them, as the name implies, we seem to set aside 


some of our usual notions of symmetry, we must retain that general 
proportion of shape, without which the fly would not fish properly. This 
consideration supplies the key to what is meant by "symmetry" as a 
general quality. Symmetry is sought, not for mere beauty of appearance, 
but for its value as an element of allurement. We want balance of part 
in a fly, so that it shall pose in the water and not loll about so that it shall 
advance and retire when required to do so steadily and gracefully, like a 
finished dancer, and not pitch like a vessel in a head wind, plunge like a 
rocking-horse, or hang on one side (it should not, in fact, hang at all) 
from increasing weakness at the juncture with the line. We do not want 
it to wobble ; or, as in the case of extra long gut-loops and all sorts of 
metal loops,* to take upon itself the performance of any movement which 
we cannot provide for or control at our pleasure. A " skirting " fly, too 
i.e., one that from an overgrown head sheds in its train a stream of 
subaqueous bubbles of light is an abomination, for " skirting " means 

All these things, good and bad, depend on "symmetry." For the 
greatest success, every element of attraction that has been selected should be 
displayed to the fish. This can only be ensured in a fly that fishes 
properly when in the water, and a fly fishes properly only when dressed 
properly and mounted properly. Each feather, each strip, and each fibre 
must keep its place and show itself there, as the wings, in all alluring 
naturalness of manner, expand and close in regular order. What is the 
use of my putting red and blue Swan, Teal, and Canadian Duck in my 
wings if the fly " rides " so badly or wobbles so much, that a sombre 
strip of Turkey or Bustard covers these brightening constituents, and 
hides them from the ever watchful eye that so dotes on a " bit of blue " 
or speckly black and white ? 

No ; if your fly is not symmetrical it will not obey you, and if all 
your tackle does not obey your brain, art and science are banished from 
your sport. Away goes skill in comes chance ! You may put your 
wings, for example, in the constraining embrace of two strips of feather 
with a "topping" above, and two good sides of Jungle-fowl below, but 
all this will not avail to keep the rebels in order under water. The tail, 

* N.B. " Metal loops " signifies eyed hookg. 


bunchy and crookedly set on, acts like a helm put hard a-port, one wing 
has twice as much stuff in it as the other, and so " wobble," " wobble " 
goes your fly. The body, moreover, has just twice as much fur in it as 
it ought to have, and so the fly will not fish deep. The head is enormous, 
and whenever the current is strong enough, produces the fatal string of 
beads or bubbles of light. The gut loop is defective, it is too long and a 
hinge is formed at the point of junction with the hook, to help the fly 
to plunge and rock. The attachment of the single gut to the loop is 
incorrectly managed, and the wings turn towards one side against 
stream, and towards the other side down stream. But I shall have 
occasion to treat fully with these matters hereafter. 

A gradual tapering of the body finds its prototype in nature and is 
subservient to the good working qualities just discussed. 

A graceful arching of the entire wing is not only an element of 
symmetry, but also helpful to mobility the quality which follows 
symmetry in order of importance. It is evident that this arching not only 
assists towards the general animation of the wing, but by its form helps, 
to a certain extent, in keeping the play within bounds and especially 
within the same plane of action. For not only do feathers, set on to 
curve rightly, resist tendency to side-play and maintain the play in one 
direction, or, as is said, in one plane, and so all get a fair chance of 
display in the order of the intended harmony of colour, but they also resist 
tendency to play too far aloft and away from each other. The wing 
maintains its character in all respects in full unbroken integrity. To this 
ruling many may take exception. I well remember giving a highly- finished 
fly to a friend who, declaring it ' ' only fit for a glass case " instantly rubbed the 
feathers the wrong way. I then inquired if he thought " that sort of 
finishing touch would make much difference." " All in the world," he 
confidently replied, as he " firmly believed in the roughest looking 
patterns." " Then you had better not mount that one," said I, but I 
followed this up with : " Directly the stream catches it all the feathers will 
be washed back into their original position." (He used it.) 

The mobility of a fly is mainly determined by the roughness of the 
water, the method of working the rod, and the construction of the fly 
itself. It is obvious that in turbulent, rough-and-tumble waters, a wing 


must, if it is to preserve any consistency at all, be made of stiffer and 
stouter feathers or fibres than those which would hold their own well 
enough in quieter reaches. But apart from this, a certain degree of 
movement is absolutely essential to liveliness in a fly, and this movement 
is the result of the current coming in contact with it. The movement 
will vary with the strength of the stream or with the amount of " play " 
put into the rod-top by the Fisherman. Obviously also, the more mobile 
the wings, hackle and tail for it is these parts which are concerned in 
the question the greater the effect produced on them by either of the 
ministering agencies mentioned. Therefore, to get the same amount of 
life-like motion out of our flies under differing conditions, we must 
consider, (1) the state of the water ; (2) whether, on the whole, the place 
to be fished is rough or quiet, and (3) whether our business is to work the 
rod-top much or little. The motion given to the fly by a steady and 
regular movement of the rod, is far more effectual, when practicable, than 
the " hops " and " skips " resulting either from the effect of swirly waters, 
or from the rod being worked in a clumsy, harum-scarum manner. 

I have said enough, I think, on this point, to enable the student to 
work out for himself every rider to the problem. It need only be further 
remarked that, generally speaking, the smaller the fly, the more mobile in 
proportion should be the hackles and wing-materials. Of these, should 
the flies be very small, the best hackles are the most transparent ones 
without any " list " at all ; and the best feathers for the wings are the 
finest in texture, always excepting "Horns," "Sides" and golden 
toppings. For the sake of clearness and order in these remarks we must 
confine our discussion to colour, simply as a quality of the fly considered 
by itself and without reference to the actual circumstances which will 
ultimately govern the Anglers' choice in using it. A simple principle 
guides us here. Uniformity of means is essential to obtaining uniformity of 
results under invariable conditions. If we have found success under 
certain given conditions, our aim must be to restore those conditions, as 
far as they are within our control. We cannot command rain, or sunshine, 
or cloud ; but in this or that combination of nature's varying moods, we 
can resort to the employment of those means which have already proved 
trustworthy. Ah ! there's the rub, for one day last year I " headed the 


list " by aid of a certain fly, and to-day by reference to my diary, I 
recognise an absolute repetition of the conditions which prevailed on the 
"red letter day." The state of things at bankside seems to have gone 
back just twelve months. And the fish? they are there too; and yet 
our fly, of the same size exactly, displays his harmonious contrasts in 
vain. Up with him! Take him in hand "What's the matter, eh?" 
Looking in our box, there buried at the very bottom actually lies the 
hero tooth ragged, but not by tooth of time the very conqueror of that 
memorial day. Laid beside the undefaced imposter he reveals just one 
point of discrepancy. " Can it be that ? " the body of the hero 
bedecked with blue characteristics, the body of the failure with red ! 
Three minutes will confirm the truth of our suspicion . . . the scarred 
veteran once more buries his barb deep in the jaws of a sixteen pounder. 

We put on the right colour, and colour has done it. And where is 
the surprise ? 

As a matter of course the dye-pot is often employed to bring Nature 
up to the requirements of certain pools. 

In dressing his patterns, then, it is manifestly most important that 
the student should secure by some means, precision in colour, let alone 
combination of colour. That colour in a fly should be good and true is a 
statement few will be likely to challenge. The student can best secure 
this in daylight by means of contrast. Those, however, whose sense 
of colour is weak must rely on the eye of a friend or on the opinion of a 
responsible dealer. 

That all dyed colours should be fast, and otherwise free from fault, is 
evidently needful ; but a certain slow and limited fading " toning 
down," we might call it at its best comes inevitably with the lapse of 
time. Nor is it altogether unwelcome, for, when there is no sun to 
spoil our complexions, fish frequently reject a new fly for a somewhat 
faded specimen of the identical pattern. 

Natural feathers, besides those dipped in dye, are subject to this 
toning down. Some suffer more than others, whilst the Golden Bird of 
Paradise and the leading tail-feathers of an old, healthy Macaw enjoy 
immunity from the ravages of time and dirty water. 

At the prominent parts of the ordinary (general standard) fly where 


light can freely pass through, viz. : the tail, hackles, and upper outline 
of the wing, translucent feathers are better at times than those which 
are opaque ; the superiority of the former consisting in colour radiated 
all round, and this we see in greater extension when looking through 
them. They are, therefore, far preferable for places where the sun 
can shine through the fly-material. (Of course, it is not necessary 
always to use special flies when the sun "shines.) Opaque feathers can 
be seen by reflected light only ; semi-transparent feathers often by both 
reflected and refracted light. 

The location and distribution of colour give scope for study as a 
matter of taste on the part of the fish. The usual fly-'dressing traditions 
of colour demand that when the body of a fly is parti-coloured, the 
lightest colour shall be at the tail-section. One prominent exception 
is found in " Benchill " the first and best invention of Malloch. The 
head section of this " successful creation," to quote early criticism, " being 
of light sky blue, tradition is reversed." 

Then as to distribution, the general character of the fly has to be 
consulted, and the laws of colour enter to warn us that an equal division 
of any two colours in a fly by no means leads to a necessarily harmonious 
result. For instance, a smaller portion of blue or of yellow, in opposition 
to a larger one of yellow or blue, may establish a harmonious combination 
much more apparent than two exactly equal portions of these colours. 
We must decide, in view of general effect, what colours shall go side by 
side, and how much of each, in proportion to the whole. There is a 
harmony of balance and a harmony of contrast. The alteration of the 
colour of the silk of the " tag " will often strongly effect the appearance 
of the whole fly, especially when viewed from the fish's usual point of 
view from the rear. 

The kind and amount of tinsel, gold or silver, put on a fly materially 
modifies the effect of its colours as a rule, enriching and stimulating 
that effect. Black Ostrich herl as a butt, aids definition and enhances 
colour, especially yellow, vide " Jock Scott." 

Despite the advance made in dyes and dyeing, and in the substitution 
of certain naturals, to wit, Chatterer for Kingfisher, it must by no means 
escape the memory that a fly thoroughly wet exhibits to both man and 


fish far different colouring from that of its dry state ; and that, in this 
regard, certain dyed silks suffer very much in comparison with others. 
Bad results in the silks themselves can only be detected and avoided 
by the test of experiment. However, Pearsall & Co. (who, through 
personal influence and direction, brought out our matchless Gossamer 
tying-silk) have, at length, effectually overcome all difficulty; not only 
are their body-silks perfect in quality, but the dyes are perfect also. 

In forming the body of a fly one defect is commonly due, not to the 
silk itself, but to an undue economy of the material. A. certain thick- 
ness of silken layer in such work is absolutely requisite, to prevent 
extra discolouration of its surface by the effect of cobblers' wax, however 
sparingly the latter has been applied to the tying-silk beneath. This 
wax, if used in its pure state, though productive of some slight trouble 
to the novice, has special virtues. It must on no account be messed 
about with any mixture whatever, and, except at the head of the fly, 
must not be varnished. 

As my name has been publicly connected with a table of Standard 
Colours, it may be expected that I shall have something to say 
here on purity of colour and nomenclature as well. It has been 
suggested, and with much reason, that a practical code of colours 
might be constructed on a natural basis instead of an artificial one. 
Amongst other advantages, a natural code would easily win favour 
and would not be subject to change : for " lemon," " red plum," 
"yellow," "apple-green," "violet," "primrose," "orange," and the 
like (supplied by common and unvarying natural objects) need only 
such supplementary epithets for skilled hands as "medium," "light," 
and "very light," " dark," and "very dark." But to meet a fly-dresser's 
want for some accurate and fixed expressions of colour, indeed, to 
secure absolute precision all over the world, our best means seem to 
consist in a correct arrangement of lettering on a copy of a solar 

To this idea I have not given enough study to be able to attempt any 
system at present ; besides, the expense is too much for me. But to 
give it an airing here may help to do a real service to the Salmon-angling 
world generally. 


Having discussed at some length the chief qualities which should be 
looked for in a good fly, we come next to the subject of the materials. 

The Hook. Enough has already been said about the need of strength 
in this item. The simplest method of testing strength and temper is, to 
stick the point of the hook into a piece of soft deal and give two or three 
short tugs in a direction at right angles with the shank, so as to make 
the hook-curve gape, noting closely whether or not the hook, on release, 
springs at once back to its original shape without bend or break of any 
part. If the hook is over-tempered, it will break ; if too soft, remain 
bent. No hook should be used for fly-tying until it has been tested and 
its barb and point carefully examined. In the case* of blunt points let 
not the file be used, but the waste basket instead. Economy here is a 
mistake and is invariably attended with disappointment. 

With regard to its shape, our purpose being to hook and hold fish, I 
have ground for preferring, for general purposes, the modern " Limerick " 
to all other kinds. I had the original shape improved, because, in 
practice, an alteration seemed to me to be urgently needed. A slight, 
very slight, outward (not lateral) tendency of the point gives increase of 
penetration and grip, and makes the hook work into the flesh deeper and 
deeper during an " engagement." These particulars are put mildly, but 
the reader may place implicit reliance on the fact that the hook in our 
picture excels all others, as the moon outshines the minor stars, the truth 
of which dictum, however, would be completely upset by the erroneous 
theories which have crept, goodness knows on what grounds, into this 
subject at one time or another. 


When the point of the " Improved Limerick," which deviates verti- 
cally from the shank, comes in contact with a fish's mouth, the " line of 

Plate 1. 








pull " and the angle of impact are certainly not parallel ; that is to say, 
the line of pull does not coincide at the time of striking with the direction 
of the force applied. Hence the remarkable popularity and unlimited 
success of this particular design. 

In striking fish, the hook, being in a vertical position, the point thus 
shaped obviously takes a slight downward course, and this provides us 
with ample proof that the chances of hooking and holding are augmented, 
if not actually redoubled. Herein lies the secret a secret not infrequently 
unfolded to us in every-day working experience. 

As to the questions concerning " angles" of impact, " coincidence of 
line of pull," and "directions of force applied," they involve considerations 
too tedious perhaps too deep for these pages, and I shall pass them by 
without further words ; but knowledge derived from experiment and 
careful daily observation in my own practice will justify an endeavour to 
clear up several doubtful questions. 

Now the maximum of metal consistent with the living powers of the 
fly is not only an element of its strength, but also helps us to fish deep, 
and admits of a more plentiful dressing in proportion to the size of the 
hook ; a by no means " despicable advantage," where the local tastes of 
the fish have to be consulted. A real gain arising from this extra strength 
promptly reveals itself in a contest with a " grubbing "* fish. I certainly 
prefer stout hooks where flies are heavily dressed on the Tweed or Usk 
for instance ; but where fish are as shy as Thames Trout, and quite as 
well educated as the Salmon in the Lee, I often find myself using fine 
hooks. Of these, for the North, the best, in my opinion, are the long- 
shanked, hammered hooks i.e., those with flattened sides, as sold at 
Winchester by Holland. Their chief merits consist in the increased 
depth of bend, and superior manufacture. 

The shank end of our hook tapers fairly well to a point, chiefly in 
order to get a small head to a fly, whilst the increase of flexibility gained 
by this taper obviously establishes a more harmonious, and, therefore, a 
more lasting, connection between the supple gut-loop and the rigid rnetal 

When hooked through or near a bone, a fish " grubs "tries to disengage itself by 
knocking the hook against boulders. 



Perhaps, however, I should just remark that some years ago there 
appeared a statement in a well-known work on angling, which has been 
read far and wide, to the effect that, in striking a fish, the " line of pull " 
ought to coincide with the direction of the force applied ! So plainly did 
the writer state his ideas, and so convincingly did he express himself 
about the matter that the worst* hook of all was introduced by somebody 
or other, and strongly recommended by him. 

Hardly any statement could have been more injurious to Fishermen 
than this. The " line of pull " has no such meaning, as I intend now to 

On fastening the moistened " cast " to the gut-loop, which we know 
is best placed under the shank of the hook, the Angler takes about a foot 
of the attached gut in his right hand, and, whilst holding the bend of the 
hook in his left, gives a few firm tugs so as to fasten the knot in the 
position whereby the trace (or cast) shall work as straight as possible in a, 
true line with the shank. This is what is meant by the " pull," which, 
in reality, is an expression as well as a scheme of my own. The Angler 
next proceeds to test his work in the water to play the fly in front of 
him, in order to see that it swims properly ; for it may yet fail to fish 
straight, and so require his further attention. The reader may well under- 
stand that some little time would elapse before the hook, improperly 
mounted that is, crookedly mounted could work itself, by the strain 
put on it in casting, into the position which would give it the best chance 
to penetrate properly. If " the pull " were in a direct line of the point of 
the hook, in striking the fish the point would be apt only to scrape the 
skin ; at any rate, it would be more liable to do so than to work into the 

But I have not quite done with the matter yet. 

In the foregoing engraving we see, so far as my experience extends, the 
perfection of a hook. In our mind's eye we easily observe what happens 
when the fly is well mounted and the tackle arranged and attached as 

* I allude to the hook having a turned-up metal eye, with its point turning towards the 
shank turning inwards, in other words. It is "worst" because (1) it see-saws when " played " 
in the water, instead of advancing and retreating in a perfectly straight line. (2) Because 
if it should hook a fish, the subsequent strain of the rod tends to bring the point out instead of 
sending it in deeper. 



described elsewhere that is to say, we realise not only the extreme 
likelihood of the hook catching hold, but also the ease with which the 
point of it works deeper and deeper during a fight with a fish, for the 
barb works as a wedge to imbed it. Such evidence is, to the unbiassed 
mind, irresistible. 

Of course, writers take their own views and inculcate their own ideas 
of the hooks they themselves fancy. But men, now-a-days, want facts 
not fancies, and we must all stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of the 
former, otherwise this branch of my subject might just as well have been 
left unwritten. 

I hope that I seldom find fault without just cause ; but when the 
mania for eyed hooks broke out afresh I pointed out their faults, and 
persistently maintained that they never could and never would become 
popular. I predicted and published my opinion as to what would happen 


in regard to " the pull " with those hooks having turned-up eyes. I need 
not make quotations, for the student who has followed the foregoing 
arguments will clearly perceive the awkward results of attaching the cast 
to a hook of that sort. 



In the accompanying diagram No. 1 the reader will see an exact copy 
of one of my hooks with a piece of string attached for the purpose of 
demonstrating the true effect of " the pull " i.e., the string made fast in 
a line with the shank. 

No. 2 indicates the false effect when the string (or the gut-line, it is 
immaterial which be used) is attached to a hook with an eye turned up. 

Gut-loops administer to the result of " the pull " ; metal loops (or 
eyes), besides having other faults, oppose it. Of course, much depends 
on the material as well as the make of gut-loops, a subject which I shall 
fully discuss later on. 

I am not in favour of "eyed" hooks. The plain truth is that metal 
eyes are infinitely worse to fish with than gut-loops. Fix the line to a 
metal eye of any shape in whatever way you will, and the proverbial 
"hinge" soon comes in the gut close to the metal ; and this causes the 
shank to hang in the water instead of keeping in a horizontal position. 

The one solitary advantage in eyed hooks, which, curiously enough, 
their most ardent champions have overlooked, is that upon them flies can 
be dressed with extremely slender bodies. (It is quite a relief to find 
some redeeming quality.) In Ireland this is a decided advantage. 

"Ah! yer honour, give me that!" the shrewd Irish gillie would 
exclaim; " it's a foine, sleek-bodied divil entoirely." 

But as a set-off against this, the feather work requires careful and 
very unusual treatment, or the fly will quickly fall to pieces. 

Perhaps I should not quit the subject of the hook's point without 
just mentioning that a man may start to fish with a hook whose point is 
bent absolutely sideways if he likes, but the chances of his coming home 
quite satisfied are not enhanced one atom ; at least, I always found it so. 
I shall not go so far as to say that double hooks are undoubtedly to 
be preferred to single. I think so myself ; but I would rather disclose 
my reasons for so thinking than make a needlessly strong, imperative 
statement. First, they give a double chance of hooking a fish ; and 
secondly, a double chance of holding it. 

But, here again a great deal has been written (I must speak plainly) 
by men ready to pre-judge these hooks from their own unfortunate 
experience. Of these true Britons one has tried them by his own peculiar 


mode of striking; one by that of not striking at all, few by the right 
means, while some find fault without condescending to argument, and 
condemn them off-hand. 

It has been said, and in places the statement has been generally 
believed, that " doubles " tear the flesh more than " singles " ; also, that 
" during a fight one hook helps the other out." Doubtless these ideas 
originate, as I will show, from the old-fashioned principle of striking 
followed in using them. 

In that admirable and instructive work, the Badminton Library, 
a gentleman of high angling ability a Napoleon of the " Overhand " 
observes : " Long before the question as to the advantage of striking from 
the winch when using double hooks was discussed in the Sporting Press, 
I had given the double hook plan an extensive trial, but I lost so many 
fish with them that I gave them up." And in a letter to the " Fishing 
Gazette" the same authority goes on to remark: "All I said about 
double hooks (he was referring to a former letter) was that I had not been 
successful with them, and that, perhaps, this was in consequence of my 
not having adopted Mr. Kelson's plan of striking from the winch." I 
call attention to the word " perhaps " italicised here, as showing the care 
and judgment of the original writer on the subject. 

But, on the other hand, Colonel Richardson throws an interesting 
side-light on the situation by a rather significant statement made in a 
letter to me to the effect "that the success of double hooks is in propor- 
tion as the means applied are adequate or inadequate. I never liked 
double hooks till I bought your winch at Farlow's, but I get a lot of fish 
with them now, and hardly ever miss one when I limit myself to size. 
A 2-0 hook is my largest." 

Whilst endeavouring to remove the general stigma which these 
hooks have long borne, I shall hope not to offend the susceptibilities of 
any gentleman who does not concur in my opinion. 

Now I am perfectly ready to admit that the value of certain fishing 
inventions call them " novelties " if you will can be very easily 
estimated ; but anyone can see with half an eye that the questions 
touching on double hooks are not to be decided in a dining-room. Not 
even at the river-side can they be judged effectually without much 


experience in the matter of " presentation " as well as in the right and 
proper method of striking Salmon. Experience in the use of these hooks 
gained in a district where they are invariably used with perfection due to 
long habit, as on tho Tweed, is more likely to prove valuable than merely 
a few temporary trials of an ordinary description. 

After everything is said and done the fact seems to me indisputable, 
that in striking from the winch these hooks penetrate and remain fixed 
immovably in their place. And I maintain that the efficiency of the 
Lever Winch, which is fully explained in another chapter, has been 
abundantly proved by its successes. I have only to add here that double 
hooks are of great value to Anglers. They are generally used until fine 
tackle is indispensable ; and on the Tweed there is an absolute unanimity 
of opinion in their favour, for not only amateurs these the foremost 
amateurs but people of all ranks use them up to a certain size, even in 
the lowest and brightest waters possible. It should, however, be borne 
in mind that people can be easily mistaken in regard to striking Salmon. 
Some think and say they never strike at all, though I must incidentally 
remark that I have never yet seen any Fisherman fail to put the hook into 
the fish by an uplifting of the rod. If that is not striking, I really do not 
know what is. 

Gut-loops should always be made of the best gut twisted tightly, as 
explained in Chapter VIII., and provided always that they are stout 
enough and small enough, gut-loops, sufficiently twisted, will last longer 
than the flies themselves. In renewing a fly, I use mine again and again, 
doubling the gut at a different part. 

The Tag is a valuable component in a fly. It plays a prominent 
part in the tout ensemble of mobility. The fly is usually seen by the fish 
from the rear, so that the " tag " is the point of the body nearest to him, 
and dominates the perspective of the whole. Kemove the "tag," and the 
character of the fly, when viewed from that position, is often entirely 

Again, the " tag " is of importance in assisting the taper of the body, 
and in covering the part of the hook that must otherwise remain bare ; 
for, as a rule, the body could not be extended to greater length to fill the 
place without disturbing the safe and proper proportions of the fly. 

THE TAG. 39 

Furthermore, the tag is more or less a tribute to nature. Many flies, 
moths, and butterflies show marked alteration in colour at the extremity 
of the body. And so nature confirms what experience suggests. 

It is interesting to trace the history of the "tag." Flies of a century 
ago were rarely, if ever, adorned with it. I can well remember that, in 
my earlier days, tags were invariably made with orange silk. Suddenly, 
however, Anglers on the Usk discovered that scarlet floss was an im- 
provement, and in other places the fact was speedily confirmed. Indeed, 
I myself found that on other rivers Salmon decidedly prefer scarlet to 
orange. This lucky discovery led to my introducing into use several 
well-known standard flies " Lady d'Eresby," with a blue tag ; " Strath- 
spey," with a violet one ; " Nightshade," with pink ; " Captain Walton," 
with cream ; and many others. 

In this new field of speculation I was soon followed by Wright, of 
Sprouston, who invented a " blue-tagged " fly that won for itself local 
honours and many admirers. Farlow, whose best is the "Baron," with a 
dark red-claret tag, and Bernard, of Church Passage, chimed in. The 
hint was soon taken by amateurs and the trade generally, and the tag has 
now won a distinguished place in the estimation of Anglers of varied 

Tags are usually made in two parts first, gold or silver twist ; next, 
floss silk. Directions for using these materials will be given in the next 

Discussing the subject of tags one day by the river-side, a brother 
Angler asked me the following question: "Did you or any other man ever 
see a black and white dog having any white at all in its tail that didn't 
have it at the tip '? " 

The " Tail " of a fly comes next, and is of great service. It used to be 
the fashion to employ here nothing but golden "toppings " ; but as the 
reader has heard enough of old fashions, his attention had better be drawn 
to forms new and approved. Besides " toppings," we use for " tails " 
tippet fibres and other parts of the Golden Pheasant ; Toucan breast and 
under-tail ; strips or sprigs of Teal and Canadian Duck, Macaw, Jungle- 
fowl, and feathers from the Chatterer, Indian Crow, Tanager, Blue 
Creeper, and others that are supple and showy, coloured and speckled. 


In the more elaborate "tails" choice may be made of every thin-fibred 
wing-feather in our collection, so long as they are used in moderation. 

Spreading tails, sometimes flat, sometimes in set-sail fashion, 
resembling closed butterflies' wings, are effective and telling. Tails 
may be " built" like wings, but- with the fibres pointing upward. As a 
formal example, portions of yellow Macaw, Canadian Duck, Peacock 
wing, and powdered blue Macaw, all curving in one direction, with a 
similar set to back them, taken, of course, from the other side of feathers, 
make a grand mixture. But when this mixture is brought into requisi- 
tion, the flies should be butted for, hold the scissors in cutting off the 
stumps in whatever manner you choose, a taper is formed which points 
the wrong way. The " butt " of Ostrich (the herl itself tapering well to 
a point) comes to the rescue, and brings matters right by covering the 
stumps remaining. If the fly is to be of the type known as " shovel- 
tailed," a similar mischievous tapering arises, and should be treated in 
the same way by the Ostrich herl. These matters will be better under- 
stood after perusal of the next chapter. 

" Body." Of the three materials, Pig's wool, mohair, and Seal's fur, 
the last named (being the last introduced into use) is superior to either of 
the others for general purposes, as it is more tractable than Pig's wool, 
and more brilliant and alluring than niohair. It is to be observed, 
however, that where bulk of colour is a desideratum, as in the "Beacons- 
field," mohair is still occasionally employed. On the other hand, the 
more sombre Berlin wool is sometimes preferred, as on Speyside. 

In selecting Seal's fur, see that it is even in texture, rather hairy than 
woolly in character, and even in colour. Inferior samples are dull, lumpy, 
short, and downy. 

Owing to its comparative coarseness and length, Pig's wool, now-a- 
days, is rarely employed except in large flies, for which use it has 
manifest advantages. Being the most brilliant of all dyed materials, 
except, perhaps, Goat's beard, it is unrivalled. To secure with it an 
evenly-tapered body careful treatment is required. The "wool" (for that 
is the usual name given to it) should first be rolled between the fingers, 
so that it forms a tapered length to spin on to the tying silk. Other 
furs are sometimes used for special patterns. The Silver Monkey is 


particularly valuable. Berlin wools are occasionally called for, but rarely 
by myself, as I prefer Seal's fur. When coils are wanted, as in Sun-flies, 
Berlin wool conies in handy for the purpose. 

Mohair can be passed over, as I have said all that is needful. 

As body-material, silks are of less equal value than furs if the stock 
of flies is to be a catholic one. The main care in procuring silk should 
be to get really fast colours, and, therefore, in purchasing, a first-class 
tackle shop is to be preferred to a Berlin depot. These floss silks are 
best stored in glazed paper, and laid straight in the length in which they 
are usually sold. The best silk in the market. I repeat, is " Pearsalls 
French Floss," dyed with his special unfading Eastern dyes. 

Bodies are also made in part or wholly of chenille, in various colours. 
The "Black Creeper," well known on the Earn and Usk, is a most useful 
variety of Grub. It kills on some Scotch rivers in bright weather, and 
throughout Wales in dull. 

Tinselled chenilles are also popular the " Glowworm " (copper) 
to wit ; and there are also bodies of silver and of gold tinsel, as everyone 

The materials named are those in commonest use, but, of course, 
there is a wider field for the adaptive inventiveness of the artist. Mr. 
Basil Field, for example, has successfully used a change on the silver 
body a fly known as the " Kendle " is made by him of white floss silk, 
covered with gold beater's skin. Again, a body may be covered with 
small feathers, as in the " Chatterer." 

Ribbings are chiefly of silver or gold tinsel (flat or oval), or lace, 
used singly or in combination with each other, and sometimes with floss 
silk, as in " Black Dog." There is a great difference of quality in these 
materials. Only the best should be used. Especially does this caution 
apply to oval tinsel, which is now-a-days so much in request. It has the 
merit over flat tinsel that it is not liable to become wholly severed by one 
rake of the Salmon's tooth, and so unwinding to the utter disablement of 
the fly. 

To prevent confusion, the names of the several kinds are here given 
according to the system in general use among amateur fly-dressers. The 
manufacturers have unfortunately lately started a new series of names ; 


these are given in brackets as employed by Kenning, the wholesale maker 
of all the varieties here mentioned. 

Thread. Solid round gold or silver wire. 

Twist (thread) . Is a white floss silk entirely covered with windings of 
fine silver wire ; it is round, and used principally for " tags." 

Lace (Twist). Is compound "twist" i.e., three lengths twisted 

Tinsel (Plate) is either flat or oval. "Flat tinsel" is a ribbon of 
gold or silver made by flattening solid metal wire. " Oval tinsel " (Flat- 
worm) is made on the same principle as "twist," but is much stouter, 
and, in section, oval instead of round. The encircling silver or gold 
thread may be severed, but the silk core, with which this sort is pro- 
vided, holds on, and, by its tightness, prevents the thread from unwind- 
ing. It is altogether better than flat tinsel and easier handled in work, 
but is not as yet made sufficiently broad for very large patterns. 

Embossed Tinsel is also made in silver and gold, and lends the pretty 
effect of subdued brilliance to a body, as seen in the " Dusty Miller " and 
in the " Dunkeld," but it must be handled gently, as being of a very 
brittle nature. 

With regard to the colour of twists and tinsels, silver is generally 
preferred for the Spring fishing, gold for the Autumn. Where, however, 
there is a preponderance of yellow tones on the body, I prefer silver early 
in the day, the rays of the gold being signally eclipsed by the materials it 
embraces ; and gold in the afternoon. 

For brightening tinsels of all sorts other than tinselled chenilles, 
Steven's " Silicon tablet " should be used. It is sold by Mr. Thomas, 
Chemist, Talbot Road, W. The little cardboard box contains a brush 
and a piece of wash-leather. The former is useful for polishing old silver 
bodies ; the latter for twists and tinsels before being employed in fly- 
work. Silicon is used sparingly for gold. In polishing with the leather 
the tweezers are applied to those tinsels having a silk core, a small 
portion of which is exposed by nipping off the metal covering. The 
length for use is pulled with them through the wash-leather, not to the 
end, but near thereto ; then the length is reversed and pulled through in 
the contrary direction. 


Hackles. For a body-hackle, shape is a quality of importance, as, 
when wound on, the fibres ought to increase in length from the tail end 
of the body up to the throat. In some flies of mine, the " Penpergwm 
Pet " for instance, the fibres reach from the throat to the hook-point, or 
even beyond. In the case of the throat-hackle, . this taper is not so 

Experience will soon bring skill in choosing the right size of hackle 
for any definite pattern. The number of usual coils of a body-hackle is 
one less than the ribs, which are formed of gold or silver tinsel. The 
ribs number five generally, and overlap the point of the hackle at the 
beginning of the second coil. About three coils of the butt end of the 
hackle should, however, be reserved to form, or help to form, the throat. 
But much latitude is allowed as to the total amount of hackle to be 
displayed at the throat. A separate hackle is often put on in addition. 

In all hackles, save and except those of the Eagle and Spey-cock 
tribe, get rid of all fluff at the root. In ordinary Cock's hackles, undyed, 
select those which are transparent, shiny, deepest in colour, and pro- 
portionately good in that respect underneath. A red "furnace," for 
instance, should not be of a very light appearance on the wrong side. 
These ordinary fowl's hackles must never carry a "cheesy " list i.e., a 
dull, opaque centre list tapering towards the point of the feather. The 
best Irish hackles are free from this blemish, which, however, must not 
be mistaken for the useful black list, as in " coch-a-bonddus." True 
"Eagle's" hackles are, so to speak, all fluff. They are wanted for certain 
purposes in fishing, but are expensive, and will probably increase in price. 
When pure white, perhaps no feathers dye so well. For my own use, 
especially as regards smallish flies, I have long since put up with samples 
after the form and character of the original ; and no doubt dressers will 
be glad to know of them. They are taken from the thigh of a light- 
coloured hen Pheasant, are of a dirty white appearance, and have a broad 
mouse-coloured list from the middle part to the butt. These hackles are 
less in sizs and are not so fluffy as Eagle's. But for the Spey and other 
rivers (if there are any), where it is the practice to work the hackles on 
the hook from the butt of the feather, I prefer to use the breast of the 
common Bittern. These require to be dyed, otherwise nearly all of them 


are useless. They, moreover, need careful handling, but are strong 
enough when made up, and, by being longer at the point than at the 
butt, want no reversing to meet the object in view. 

Comparing natural (ordinary) hackles with the dyed, we claim for 
the former that they fade but little, do not change their tone in water, 
and do not tarnish tinsel by contact, as some dyed feathers are liable to 
do. Good ones are difficult to get. 

For dyed hackles we must claim, on the other hand, that they can 
be fairly well shifted from a "hospital " fly to a new one. (N.B. Always 
keep a hospital for broken down flies, they frequently serve as materials 
if not wanted as specimens.) This shifting is chiefly owing to the fact 
that less material is used to produce a desired effect. Dyed hackles are 
easily obtained at any tackle shop. 

Doubtless the art of dyeing is much improved, and will continue to- 
improve ; but hitherto it is far from perfect, particularly with regard to 
the blues. The best blue I know of, No. 3099, and the best yellow, called 
" Best Yellow," are easily obtained with Woolley's dye (Market Street, 

However well hackles may be dyed, with the exception of fiery 
browns, they never look so well, even when fresh, or are so effective in 
the water as natural ones. Take, for instance, the hackles of a Golden 
Bird of Paradise, the best dyed orange hackle in creation would be simply 
nowhere in competition with it. Where, again, is there a dyed blue 
hackle to compete favourably with the Jay, or, when no great amount of 
colour is needed, with the Vulturine Guinea fowl? This condition of 
depth of tone being conceded, mention also must be made of both the 
orange and red hackles of the Golden Pheasant. 

I know of no dye or method of dyeing that will hit off to our liking 
that metallic lustrous sheen, which is a conspicuous feature on some of 
our best natural feathers, such as those on the back of the wild 
Turkey. The apparent resemblance produced by chemical combinations 
is a complete failure for practical purposes. When Seal's fur became 
more fashionable than Pig's wool, I accidentally produced this lambent 
sheen, and made a large stock of flies with various wing materials ; but I 
soon found them to be utterly useless, except in discoloured waters. 



As to black hackles it is well generally to use natural, and not dyed 
feathers. In discoloured water, however, the dyed shows surprisingly 
more ; in fact, under such condition one never thinks of using a 
"natural," except on an emergency. They are not necessarily black 
before being dyed, and when originally white, they are even more con- 
spicuous to the fish in the state of water just mentioned. This is not 
because white dyes a better black than anything else, but because the 
white hackles we dye are of a different consistency. Natural blacks, as a 
rule, are out and out the best in clear water ; not only that, they are more 
mobile and last twice as long. Further observations as to their special 
use are made in another chapter. The chief feature to avoid in selecting 
natural blacks is the " cheesy list," previously mentioned ; and our 
special object should be to seek a really deep black with a shiny surface. 

The hackles most commonly used are the following : 




Cocks' hackles. The best, both in shape and degree of firmness, 
corne from the neck ; but feathers from the back are used on pressing 
necessity, or for Grubs. 

The special varieties of these are : 

1. Furnace hackles. A red Cock's hackle with a tapered black list 
running up the centre ; White furnace are white with a black list ; Blue, 
with a blue list. 

The distinction between " furnace " and " coch-a-bonddu " is of very 
old date. I have specimens of each collected in Wales by my Father in 
1836, and carefully labelled by him with their different names. " Coch- 
a-bonddu," a Welsh word, signifies "red, with a black band." The 
advantage of giving the two names, " furnace " and " coch-a-bonddu," is 
so obvious, and the benefit derived from extending the signification to 
other feathers of their nature so apparent, that I make no apology for the 
nomenclature which I have given above. 

2. Cocli-a-bonddu hackles. A furnace hackle with black points. 
But the colour between the list and points of blue " coch-a-bonddus " 
varies. It may be of a reddish tinge, grizzly-grey, honey, or golden. 
Dipped in Bismarck-brown aniline dye (Woolley & Co., Manchester), this 
is one of the best of all hackles for general use in dead low water. White 
" coch-a-bonddus " may be dyed any colour. These are great favourites, 


and I always "disgrace" " Childers " by dressing him with one dyed 
yellow the black points being far more effective than those of the 

3. Knee-cap hackles (a cross between Malay and Polish fowls). A 
red Cock's hackle with a slightly irregular black streak tapering, and 
running through the centre of red fibres on each side of the quill. The 
colours are much the same as in the " coch-a-bonddu," only that they are 
placed differently, as shown in the picture. They are very scarce. 

4. Irish-grey hackles. A transparent, silver hackle, spotted and 
scored with dark pencillings. For Standard flies, Nondescripts and 
Grubs, the value of these feathers can scarcely be over estimated. They 
look well, and pay well, when put along the body of any sort or colour, 
and I have invariably found them useful in bright water, let the river be 
what it may. With the " Purple Emperor," dressed without the hen 
Pheasant at throat, I killed fourteen fish at Knockando in May, 1892, 
before changing the fly. 

5. Monkey hackles. A transparent grey hackle having a series of 
curiously-shaped dark blotches on each side of the quill resembling a cat 
in a sitting posture. For Grubs these are invaluable. With the " Ringlet," 
at the time it was introduced at Usk, I killed, in one week, thirteen 
Salmon (averaging nearly 1(5 Ibs.), when the water was low and winged 
flies played out. 

Of Heron's hackles, I have a few words to say. Most of us know 
the ordinary grey Heron hackle is effective on many rivers. But on 
many other rivers it is underrated, for I often use the feather with success 
where Herons are unfashionable. Anglers are apt to fancy that because 
the hackle is twice as long as the hook the fly is thereby made twice as 
large. This is a mistake. The size of a fly is estimated by the length of 
its body rather than by the length of the hackle it carries. For some 
flies, as, for instance, the " Rough Grouse," the grey Heron is altogether 
surpassed by the " Crown Pigeon " hackle. The cinnamon Herons, of 
which there are several species, are not all of equal value. Of these, the 
Nankeen Night Heron (Nycticorax calidonicus), of New South Wales, 
provides a large number of exquisite hackles and wing feathers, and so 
does the one known as Nijcticorax Manillensis. The Demigretta gulansia 
the best of the black species. 


Among other natural hackles we have Bustard ; the Lineated Bittern 
(Tigrisoitia lineatum) from South America, which is superior to that 
from British Guiana, and of great value for its numerous cinnamon-brown 
mottled hackles of all sizes ; Grouse, Partridge, Guinea fowl, Teal, Pintail, 
Widgeon, &c. 

Yellow hackles are the easiest to get dyed and the most difficult to 
get undyed. Toucan's, however, are very useful, and scarcely fade in 
work. They are small and very fine in texture, so three times the 
ubual amount is required for a fly. Yellow Macaics, on the contrary, are 
coarse and more opaque. These are used sparingly. But by far the best 
orange hackle, as yet discovered, comes from the neck of the Golden Bird 
of Paradise (Xanthomelus aureus), a native of New Guinea. This bird is 
about the size and shape of our missel thrush, and carries hundreds of 
magnificent hackles around its neck (see illustrated hackles). For 
"throats" or for Grubs, even for wings, these deadly feathers are perfect. 
They play exquisitely in the water, never fade, and, though fine in fibre, 
do not break or wear at the points. 

Speckled Yellow is got from dyed Gallina (a feather we prize highly 
and dye many colours), Teal, and Widgeon. 

Blue hackles. The best natural blues are taken from Jays, Vulturine, 
Guinea fowls, and from the Pitta (bertse) from Borneo. 

Jay's are scored with black bars ; the two latter birds are of a pale 
blue, though the "Tocate" is of superlative brilliance. In mobility, 
Vulturine's are best, and as long in fibre as a medium Guinea-fowl hackle. 
Blue Macaw hackles, deep in tone, are no favourites of mine. A good 
blue in fact, the best I have ever obtained is easily secured by using 
as much of the powder as would thinly cover a threepenny piece of the 
blue dye just mentioned, No. 3099 (sold by Woolley & Co., of Manchester) 
in one pint of water. The plan is to first boil the dye in a saucepan, and, 
when removed from the fire, to immerse the hackles for a few minutes. 
They should be tied in dozens to the end of a stick, and well worked about 
in the dye. Choose the whitest looking feathers. On taking them out 
rub them on both sides, from roots to points, with a piece of transparent 
glycerine soap; wash, and dry. Turnbull of Edinburgh, Holland of 
Winchester, and Malloch of Perth have supplied me with some useful 



specimens. The Jay, however, for all-round work is the general favourite ; 
but the feather must be split, as one side is useless. For dressing, choose 
feathers coloured on the right side of the quill, or they will have to be 
wound on the hook the reverse way, much to the annoyance of young 

The easiest method of splitting the Jay is that of Major Traherne. 


The butt end of the feather is fastened in a fly-maker's vice, as 
shown, the best side uppermost. Seize the right and left fibres at the 
very point of the feather with the fore-finger and thumb of both hands, 
their backs facing outwards and slightly towards the ground. Keep the 



feather taut and pull gently yet towards you, when the quill will begin to 
split. Continue pulling steadily in this way till the feat is accomplished. 
Take care not to pull harder on one side than on the other, especially at 
starting. Next place the side to be used on a smooth, hard surface, the 
point end towards you, the butt away from you. Press the fore-finger on 
the point, the second finger on the butt, and, with a fine, sharp-pointed 
penknife, scrape away any remaining pith until not a particle remains, 
This delicate operation must be done with a light hand, or the quill will 
be severed. If the feather does not split as you wish, cut off with quite 
the point of the knife, say, half the quill by one stroke of the blade from 
end to end, and the feather is ready for use. 

For myself, however, I never use a vice for any purpose. I find it 
easy enough in this case to seize the fibres in the way described above, 
and then place the butt of the feather between the teeth, and pull the 
coloured side away. Perhaps the vice may be used in making the 
bodies of all such patterns as " The Chatterer " ; for when numberless 
small feathers constitute the body of a fly, the dresser holds the hook, not 
by the bend, as usual, but by the shank. Unless his fingers are in good 
fettle, the vice, under the circumstances, might be of some little service 
to him, especially in putting on Strip wings. 

The old books on fly-dressing used to give directions for stripping off 
one side of a Cock's hackle, but this plan is a mistake. All hackles, 
equally coloured right and left of the quill, should be "doubled" before 
use. One hackle thus serves to take the place of two which were 
formerly used ; the fly fishes better, and money is saved. Directions for 
" doubling " are given in Chapter III., in company with an Illustration 
of the process. But to meet the purpose needed, in some parts of Wales 
it is commonly supposed that these feathers can be "licked into shape," 
and that by " doubling," the fibres are bent and spoilt at their roots. 
This idea is an illusion, seeing that the minute portion of each fibre bent 
by the necessary pressure given is restored in the process of winding. 
The ha,ckle being wound on its side, the stem " bites " the very portion 
supposed to be injured, with the result that the " spring " and " spread " 
of the lower fibres are, in all respects, equal to that of the upper ones. 

Wings. Before detailing the kinds of feathers most commonly in 


use, it may be well to offer some remarks of a general nature upon them. 
To become an adept in tbe selection and manipulation of these materials, 
and for securing in the fly a permanent obedience to pattern, the student 
should make himself familiar with the characteristic qualities of the 
feathers, not only those which distinguish one bird from another, but 
those from different parts of the same bird. For example, he should 
learn that certain kinds of feathers are more easily induced to " marry " 
than others, and that those of a stiffer nature are best placed lowest in the 
wing in order to ensure the necessary quality of mobility ; thus, in work- 
ing with Mallard, Teal, and Golden Pheasant tail, the Mallard poses 
above, and the Teal in the centre. Also, that a leading tail feather of 
the Golden Pheasant, in point of tractability and ease of manipulation, 
is out of all comparison to be preferred to other tail feathers from the 
same bird. 

It is- hardly necessary to insist that feathers should be gathered at 
the right season of the year. The best season for almost all English bred 
birds is Christmas, at which time the new livery has neither been 
tarnished by wear, nor by the rays of a burning sun. But there are 
exceptions. Early in the autumn, for instance, the Golden Pheasant, 
reared in this country, struts about in its new outfit before other birds 
begin to cast off their seedy summer coats. Again, a good speckled Teal 
is rarely, if ever, met with till the end of the month of January. During 
summer and autumn the feathers of birds, as a rule, are faded and limp 
a condition the fly-dresser always avoids. No necks change more in 
colour, or quality between winter and summer, than the well-known 

Writers have very properly objected to the prevailing practice of 
stripping birds of their winter covering. The scissors should always be 
used ; the operation then is painless, and with a little extra protection in 
the fowl-house at night, the birds never suffer. "Pulling necks" is 
injurious, for the next crop will team with lighter and weaker feathers, 
whereas the scissors tend to produce an opposite effect. Free feeding 
with hernpseed in the moulting season, once every other day, makes a 
vast difference to feathers in fineness, transparency, sheen, pencillings, 
and depth of tone. The feathers of mature birds are better than those 



of young ones. This is very noticeable with Turkeys ; the best " white 
tips " for " Jock Scott " are sometimes found under the tail of old male 
birds, and at the bottom of the back. Feathers should be obtained as 
fresh as possible. " Peacocks " tails, especially, soon become brittle and 
lose their virtue. I preserve my collection in tin boxes, and sprinkle 
among them crystals of naphthaline, which is the best means of prevent- 
ing insect intrusion. This crystal, extracted by distillation from coal 
tar, has a strong aromatic smell, but the sprinking must be renewed 
about three times in one year. A Ibo carbon is cheaper and also answers 
the purpose. 

The best way to keep large " toppings" is to. cap one exactly over 
the other in bundles of four. Held at both ends by one person, they 
should then be well whipped at the butt with unwaxed tying silk, by 
another, and put on their sides some bundles on their right, and as many 
on their left in a partition of the fly box just wide enough to hold 
them without interrupting their natural bend. 

The process of " marrying " strips of feathers for wings will be 
explained in the next chapter. 

All the commonly-used feathers of the Duck tribe are pre-eminently 
" philogamists " (if I may coin a word) Canadian Duck, Teal, Pintail, 
and more especially Widgeon. Turkey, Peacock wing, and Bustard are 
not difficult to marry either. All the Pheasant tails are somewhat coy ; 
whilst red Macaw is simply exasperating to a " match-making " fly- 
dresser. A little patient practice will reveal the cases in which lasting 
unions are easiest effected, and give point to our doctrines on the qualities 
in feathers, some to be secured by careful choice, others to be dealt with 
by skilful management. 

Before grouping feathers and making further comments upon them, 
it is as well to remind the reader that wing-feathers, such as dyed Swan, 
are liable to curl up and get out of shape. Into this, an occasional 
examination is prudent and advisable. Many of these feathers can be 
smoothed into shape with clean, cool fingers, and repacked carefully as 
before ; but other special directions will be given in Chapter VIII. 
Jungle-fowl (Gallus sonnerati), as a wing decoration, is not included ; it 
stands by itself ; there is nothing to group with it. Hackles are best 


tied up in bundles. Full descriptions of feather boxes will also be found 
in Chapter VIII. 

The following are the kinds of feathers in general use. They are 
grouped according to their affinities and to the relative place in the wing 
they are best qualified to occupy, from the top downwards. 

Group I. Mallard, Canadian (or Summer) Duck, Teal, Widgeon, 
Pintail, Grey Mallard, Gallina. 

From Canadian Duck onwards, not including Gallina, these are 
given in the order of their value in markings. Teal is strongly 
defined, and lends great character, whether as wing-element or as hackle. 
Canadian Duck is more telling in its way ; it is especially showy as 
" sides " or in tails. Pintail not quite such a favourite of mine as 
Widgeon is an advance on Grey Mallard in distinctness of pencilling. 

By " Mallard," we always understand the rich, brown-mottled 
feathers, few in number, found on each side of the back of the wild 
Mallard or the tame species, just in a line with the shoulder, but as far 
back as the flank. In some districts the west of England particularly 
the brown tinge extends deeper down the fibres, thus taking the place of 
the objectionable ash-coloured blurr, which is a terrible eyesore in wings 
for other rivers than the Spey. These feathers vary considerably in 
pencilling and depth of tone. The decoy Mallard often gives us a useful 
reddish, un-mottled, white-tipped feather one less valuable than that of 
the two Mandarin Drake gems, which are taken from the back, whence 
they protrude. The latter kind are highly prized on the Earn. (A few 
years ago when shooting I got a singular specimen of the leading tail 
feather of an ordinary cock Pheasant. It is of a clear cinnamon-brown 
colour throughout, and without the sign of a mark in the fibres. For 
single strip-winged flies none of its kith and kin equal it, either in colour or 
character. There would be an insatiable demand for them if Nature 
displayed her freaks in this direction more frequently. The cross 
between the Gold, or the Painted, and the Common Pheasant often 
results in a feather somewhat similar, but inferior in quality.) 

Grey Mallard requires a little explanation. It is easily obtained, 
owing to the great stock which most Ducks produce. But, although the 
term " grey mallard " is commonly given in fly-description, the feather 


itself is hardly ever used in fly. making! It is too flimsy and too little 
marked. Our best "grey mallard" I would rather not change the 
term is taken from the Widgeon and Pintail. The feathers are found 
on the flank of the bird, and can always be recognised by their irregular 
darkish lines, running crossways, and increasing in depth of tone towards 
the end of the feather, which is far less pointed than in any of their 
kindred. In short, numerous Drakes supply us with " grey mallard," but 
the term practically extends no further than to Pintail and Widgeon. 

Teal is thus written in description. Its value is often under- 
estimated. Any amount of it can be obtained at the Game shops in the 
month of February. Canadian Duck is to be had only of tackle makers. 
Some tiers call this Summer Duck, others Wood Duck. Owing to its 
increasing scarceness, it is necessarily expensive to purchase. 

My favourite feather of the Gallina (or guinea fowl) is the double- 
speckled sort from the back. The "eyed" feathers from under the wings 
are reserved for dyeing. But, to my mind, the best black and white 
specified hackle is taken from a Rail (hypotoenidia torquata), which is a 
native of the Philippine Islands ; and the best black and white barred 
hackle from the Banded Cymnogene (polyboroides typicus), found in 
Africa and Madagascar. 

Group II. Turkey, Bustard, Fiorican, Peacock-wing, Golden and 
Amherst Pheasant tails. 

The domesticated Turkey affords greater variety in colour marking, 
size, and texture than any other single class of birds, wild or tame. It 
is most useful to the Fly-dresser. The feathers which are most difficult 
to get are of a rich cinnamon tone, and should be taken from the tail. 
Turkeys ought to attain their third year before the scissors are used. On 
no account should these feathers be " pulled," as the crop coming after 
not only falls short in richness of colour, but also in the element of 
mobility, of which quality the Turkey has none too much. The "double- 
white " a white feather having a black bar near the point is also rare. 
I have only once seen a double-white having a good ginger bar ; but I 
made good use of it while it lasted. 

When " white-tips " are employed, as in " Jock Scott," the 
points should be white, not creamy. The latter are used mostly in 


"modifications." But the Great American Cock a wild Turkey 
(Meleagris gallopavo) is a great favourite. It has a superb cinnamon- 
brown mottled tail, and its thighs are covered with magnificent scarlet 
hackles having a black bar. 

In Bustard, those of the Indian and African species are the best. 
Bustard, both light and dark, is an effective decoration. The various 
degrees of clearness of marking give considerable scope of choice for 
effect. The hackles neither dye so well, nor wear so well, as those of the 
Gallina. The best bird I ever saw was shot by Mr. Mobray M. Farquhar, 
in Matabeleland, early in the season of '95. Being brittle, fibres of 
Golden Pheasant tail should be mingled with those of all Bustards when 
employed, for mixed wings. The male bird is the more valuable. He has 
about twenty tail feathers ; he is larger than his mate, and differs from her 
in one interesting feature, to which I may be permitted to allude. The 
male Bustard has a kind of bag or pouch situated in the forepart of the 
neck, and capable of containing two quarts. The entrance to it is 
immediately under the tongue. They are generally supposed only to 
run like an Ostrich aided by the wings, but when once in the 
air they can fly several miles without resting. The South African 
(Otis Ludwigi) is the largest and best of the dark species. The 
European species (Otis tarda) is sometimes used, but the bird is less 
valued. It is commonly known as the Great Bustard, and, instead of 
mottled feathers, this sort has dark bars across the ferruginous groundwork. 

The feathers from the little Bustard are sometimes used in small 

The Asiatic Florican provides us with much brighter feathers and 
hackles darker in the bars, and lighter in the fermginous ground of the 
feather. It is scarcely so brittle as Bustard, and, although a strip for 
extended " cheeks " is often telling, we generally use it for small strip- 
winged patterns, such as are fashionable on the Ness and Locky. 

The Peacock, as they say, has " a plumage of an angel, the voice of 
a devil, and the stomach of a thief " ; but for all that, he is a useful 
friend to the dresser. The herls from the tail and sword feathers are 
sometimes used for "butts" and "bodies," but more frequently for 
" wings." No feathers deteriorate more rapidly, unless placed at once in 


an air-tight compartment. The hackles are occasionally wanted, as for 
instance, on the Towy. The creamy, transversely-speckled feathers 
found in the wings brighten up a fly, and heighten the effect of Mixed 
wings. Some years ago I had a quantity of them sent me from India. 
These contained brilliant shades of blue, yellow, red, and green ; but 
alas ! they were soon swallowed up in fly-making, and I have never been 
able to replenish my store. 

The Golden Pheasant is subordinate to none. It has attained the 
highest pitch of popularity among Fly-makers, mainly by virtue of its 
crest. Not only has it enjoyed a rare continuance of public favour, in 
this, as in other repects for " all the bird " is valued, but it will always 
be in fashion, if only for the tippet feathers, which are wanted in number- 
less Standard patterns. It is needless to remind the reader that the 
leading feather in the tail is incomparably the best of the bunch. 

The Amherst Pheasant is also invaluable. Some years since, Mr. 
George Home, of Hereford (a well-known Salmon Angler) , seeing the 
merits of the tail feathers, devoted his attention to breeding and crossing 
these birds with others of their species. The tail of the three-quarter- 
bred Amherst with the Golden Pheasant is particularly fine. By this 
means, the black bars in the former feathers become numerous black 
spots, which are most effective on the whitish ground. A dash of 
Amherst blood improves the tail of the Gold, and richly enhances the 
colour of the toppings. Mr. Home keeps a fine stock of all the best birds, 
and sometimes disposes of their feathers. I have one, the fibres of which 
measure nearly five inches in length ; but a little in a fly goes a very long 

Group III. Scarlet Ibis (though I much prefer the wing of the 
Tourocou for tails) ; dyed Swan and dyed Turkey ; tail feathers of the 
Macaw ; Golden Pheasant tippet ; Peacock herl and sword feather. 

This group comprises chiefly colour and ornament. Ibis should be 
used almost exclusively for tails and wings. As a hackle it is poor and 
lifeless in the water, and has acquired a wholly justifiable measure of 
dislike. Swan is exquisitely suitable for our work, and far better than 
dyed Turkey. Tippets vary much in size, shape, and purity of colour. 
On each side of the neck the feathers of a good bird assume a natural 


curve ; these are paired off and reserved for use in winging such flies as 
the " Eanger " tribe. It will not bear much manipulation in the strip," 
and obstinately refuses all overtures for " marriage." As a hackle for 
winged flies, the tippet is not popular ; but for grubs the " Tippet 
Grub," for instance (the feathers are used as hackles) it is grand ; and, 
in point of contrast, when so used, few feathers equal it. Herls and 
sicord-feathers have already been mentioned. For making a whole wing 
of the former, strands should be selected from each side of the feather, 
and packed together on their backs, in separate bundles for each wing, the 
top part of the wing taking the longest fibres. The sword feather is also 
used in wings, as in " Jock Scott." 

If the beautiful and useful be incompatible, the beautiful must give 
way ; even the old " Cock o' the Hock," the celebrity I have known as 
being endowed with some malady, is altogether neglected on account of 
constitutional debility. It is here, as Shakespeare would have it, that 
expectation failed most. The colour which led us to expect great results 
was more than counterbalanced by the weakness and limpness of the 
fibres. There is, however one species Eupicola sanguinolenta from 
Andes of Ecuador, that is exceedingly useful. The bird is similar in 
shape, but in colour, character of fibre, and style of feather, it differs 
materially. The feathers are not orange, but almost scarlet ; they are 
not soft, but sufficiently firm, and make good hackles, which almost shine 
either in the water or out. The Kingfisher changes colour, and has 
yielded to the Blue Chatterer from Vera Paz. This latter is now well 
known; but the Banded Chatterer is uncommon. The former (Cotinza 
amabilis) is light blue ; the Banded (Gotingacincta) from Cayenne is 

The common accompaniment, by the bye, of all good feathers in all 
good boxes is consumption. Believe me, I speak it deliberately and 
with full conviction, the only method of preserving our bulk of material 
is to keep adding to it. Amongst that portion of our present stock, for 
which I am held responsible, we have the Banded Chatterer, the Great 
American Cock (wild turkey), the Nankeen Night Heron, the South 
American Bittern, and the Cock o' the Eock from Ecuador. But the 
greatest find that has fallen to my lot is the Golden Bird of Paradise. 


May this luck be your luck, brother Fishermen, as it has been mine ! It 
will only cost you 10 ! 

For enumerating these feathers for wings, I have mentioned those in 
general use ; but so far from seeking to limit the area of choice, I would 
rather urge and stimulate the student to seize on, and trim up and try 
those unproclaimed materials that may fall to his hand, and by their 
appearance, promise to be of service to him. In this respect, the amateur 
fly-tier is apt to ignore the fact that he does not do as much as he ought 
to do for the advancement of experimental research. He surely has the 
power and means to push further and further onward into that ocean of 
knowledge, of which we have, as yet, but gathered a few shells upon the 
margin. The principles to guide him in exploration and selection are 
readily furnished by a thorough acquaintance with those materials which 
have already won their way into public appreciation and minister to that 
pride in honest fly-work, which, at the present period, is certainly one 
characteristic of the British Craftsman. 




" Bad workmen find fault with their tools, but no workman can finish for use a good fly 
with bad materials." 



THE working appliances which I consider necessary are the following : 


which may be obtained at Fisher's in the Strand. These are specially 
adapted by their shape to reach and cut close off at the hook certain 
waste ends of silk and feather, as also to cut fibre stumps at an angle so 
as to get a taper, as in forming the head of a fly ; both operations are 
only awkwardly and inefficiently managed with straight-pointed scissors. 
I use the smallest kind which have plenty of finger room in their rings. 

2. SPRING PLIERS ("tweezers"), preferably of brass, and procurable, 
for a trifle, at any tackle-shop. These should be pliant. Care should be 
taken that, whilst the inward edges of the points are not sharp enough to 
sever a herl or the shaft of a delicate hackle, the points themselves meet 
accurately, not only at the extremities, but also along the whole length 
of the jaws. In other words, the jaws must neither overlap, nor bite at 
the extremities only. Those pliers are to be preferred, which, at the 
handle end, are formed into a ring for the finger. 


3. THE STILETTO, which has uses unsuggested by its simplicity, 
should be of the best-tempered steel, and without any sort of handle 
fitted to it. Besides being a treasure alike to the fly-dresser and the 
Fisherman, it can be used to pick up small feathers, etc., by placing its 
point under the object, on which the tip of the fore-finger is then pressed 
in conjunction. Some persons, however, use for this and similar pur- 
poses a pair of spring forceps, such as are commonly supplied with 
microscopes. A stiletto of admirable quality and shape may be bought 
for fourpence at Messrs. Wilcox & Gibbs, Sewing Machinists. The one 
I use in fishing is punctured at the end to hold a thin piece of elastic, and 
fits in an outside socket-pocket in my jacket. 

together with COBBLEES' WAX will complete the list. 

I never use varnish made of shellac and spirits of wine (which, 
however, can be improved by the addition of a small piece of " Venice 
turpentine," about half the size of a nut to a 2-oz. phial), seeing that Turn- 
bull, of Edinburgh, has introduced a far better sort that dries as quickly, 
does not change its black tone in the water, and lasts considerably 
longer. For flies, not intended for immediate use, copal varnish should 
be used with the shellac. The two will not mix in any ordinary way. 
Dip the stiletto point into copal, and put the small drop adhering to it on 
the back of a saucer ; then take a similar dip into the other, and mix the 
two drops quickly with the instrument, and apply to the fly-head 
immediately. A head thus treated never requires varnish again ; but it 
takes about a week to get dry enough for use. 

5. COBBLERS' WAX must be fresh made. I form mine into small 
pills, and keep them in a stoppered bottle filled with water. 

It should be specially noted by those who dress flies at night that 
the misleading influence of the yellow rays from an ordinary artificial 
flame may be counteracted, and, what is much more important, a full 
light concentrated upon the work, by the use of what is known as the 
"Engraver's Glass." Since writing this sentence, my friend, " Detached 
Badger," has contributed an article to the Field on dressing flies by 
artificial light. So full and explicit are the instructions given that I 
make the following quotations from them, with that gratitude which is 


due to an author to whom Anglers are indebted for much useful and 
trustworthy information. 

" In the earliest attempts I used a gas lamp, but this was soon discarded in 
favour of a paraffin lamp, and this in turn gave way to a colza lamp, as giving a 
much softer light and far less heat. With either of these illuminants I used an 
ordinary engraver's bottle or globe, to direct the light on to the fly in the jaws of 
the vice. The engraver's globe was filled with a solution of sulphate of copper, 
with a small quantity of liquid ammonia, and the blue fluid, acting as an absorbent 
of some of the coloured rays, tempered the light so as to render it less trying than 
when taken through a colourless medium. Since then, as the outcome of numerous 
microscopial experiments directed to producing at moderate cost and without 
complicated apparatus, a light which is practically monochromatic, it was dis- 
covered that this result could be obtained by filtering the light of an ordinary 
lamp through a solution consisting of 160 grammes pure dry nitrate of copper, 14 
grammes of chromic acid, and water added to make up to 250 c.c. This liquid is 
held in a flat bottle, of which the parallel sides are half-inch apart. This solution, 
reduced by the addition of water in proportion to the increased thickness of the 
medium in the engraver's globe, will be found preferable to the old solution of 
sulphate of copper and liquid ammonia. With this form of apparatus the illumi- 
nation with diffused light directed on to the object was fairly well attained, and 
there was nothing in the way of the fingers. The system, however, had the grave 
fault of subjecting the eyes to too much glare. After trying various forms of 
shades worn over the eyes, all of which were more or less uncomfortable 
and inconvenient, I eventually made a large opaque brown pasteboard screen, 
with a round hole through it to admit only sufficient light to illuminate the 
object. This arrangement was moderately successful, but it had the great dis- 
advantage of leaving the greater part of the working table in darkness, so that it 
was not easy to find the wax, feathers, scissors, pliers, itc., when required for use, 
and after a time the idea of dressing flies at night was temporarily abandoned. 

" Later, however, when removing to another house, I fitted up a room in 
accordance with my own design, providing amongst other things, a convenient 
working-table, fixed in a bay window, facing nearly due west, so that, as far as 
daylight was concerned, there was practically all that could be desired. Having 
adopted electric lighting throughout the house, I had the wires carried to an 
ordinary concentric wall plug just above the level of the table, and resolved at 
leisure to try and work out the problem under these conditions. 

"After exhaustive consultations on the subject, a good friend, an engineer by 
profession, with a first-rate knowledge of optics, designed a lamp, which having 
successfully stood the test of nearly a year's use, may, I think, be deemed fairly 
perfect for the purpose. It is entirely of bronze and consists of a heavy foot, on 
which is raised a hexagonal pillar, 18 inches in height. The fitting to hold the 


lamp and reflector slides up and down on the pillar, and is secured at the desired 
height by a thumbscrew. The carrier of the lamp and reflector is attached to this 
fitting by a knuckle joint, so that it can be inclined to the angle required for 
directing the light on the object. Another thumbscrew tightens and fixes this 
joint when the angle is once adjusted. The wire from the fitting of the wall plug 
is carried to the lamp in the ordinary way, and is of sufficient length to enable the 
stand to be moved on the table as required. The source of light is an ordinary 
eight-candle incandescent ground glass lamp, and for convenience of lighting or 
extinguishing without connecting to or disconnecting from the wall plug, has an 
independent switch fixed to the carrier. The reflector, also of bronze, with the 
interior or reflecting surface heavily plated and polished, has a true parabolic 
figure. The eight-candle lamp is placed in the carrier, so that as near as possible 
the source of light is at the focal point of the paraboloid. . Scientifically, a light 
thus placed is reflected in parallel rays of equal intensity in the direction of the 
axis of the paraboloid, but this would only be possible if the source of light was a 
geometrical point, and any increase of the area of the light produces bundles of 
rays originating at various angles, and hence diverging and converging. This is 
mentioned to prevent confusion, as it is impossible for an apparatus of this 
description to be made so that all the rays are parallel, and the disc of light of 
equal intensity throughout. 

" This arrangement carries out all the requirements laid down in the earlier 
portions of this article. The light is sufficient to illuminate, and yet modified by 
the ground glass of the bulb so as to be pleasant. By raising or lowering and 
inclining to the requisite angle, the light can be directed on to the object with the 
reflector at such a distance from the vice as to be quite out of the way. If all is 
properly adjusted, the light itself is invisible to the worker, and none of the rays 
are reflected into his eyes. The area of the table illuminated is also sufficient to 
enable him to find any materials or implements he may require for his work. The 
heat given off by electric light is much less than by any other illuminant known, 
and is certainly not enough to cause any serious inconvenience to the operator. 
Some readers may pertinently inquire what substitute can be suggested where 
the modern improvement of electric light is not available. The answer is that a 
paraffin or colza lamp, or an ordinary candle, can be fitted in a very similar 
manner, but the distance of the lamp from the vice must be accurately determined, 
and the angle at which the axis of the paraboloid should be inclined from the 
perpendicular calculated, and the reflector fixed accordingly. It would not do to 
fit the reflector on a knuckle joint, as when the inclination was varied the lamp or 
candle would not be perpendicular, and hence would not burn satisfactorily. If 
the light from the lamp or candle should be too intense, it could be modified by 
the interposition of ground or coloured glass, or a bottle containing the mono- 
chromatic fluid described above between the reflector and the object." 


To resume our subject, the first essential preliminaries to the 
operations of fly-dressing are (1) Hands as clean and free from natural 
grease as possible, for the sake of the more delicate materials, and of the 
wax on the tying-silk, which any grease is apt to spoil or remove. (2) 
The thumb-nails and finger-nails fairly long and even, a hint the learner 
will soon appreciate. (3) The requirement by practice of the proper 
manner of holding the hook, and an expert familiarity with the four 
frequently-used operations that form the A B C of all manipulations in 
fly-dressing, namely 





In entering upon an explanation of these, it cannot be too strongly 
impressed upon the learner, that a correct manipulation is of the first 
importance ; and that he should practise so thoroughly and precisely the 
minute directions here given as to the exact position of the fingers, etc.,' 
and the several ways of grasping and holding, that the modes may 
become habitual to him. That training over, he will find awkwardness 
and failure in dressing Salmon-flies to be virtually for him among the 
things of the past. 

In taking the small amount of pains needed for the mastery of this 
system, it is encouraging to remind ourselves that we start not from 
the point where our fathers started, but where they left off. We may 
pluck the fruit of an accumulated experience, learning to adapt the best 
method known, in each particular detail. These details are, it is true, 
insisted upon with somewhat tedious particularity ; but then let it not be 
forgotten that each detail is a dearly bought link in the chain of in- 
struction. All these little improvements have probably cost, in the 
aggregate, months of thought, endless bird skins, and furs enough to 
stuff and cover Chancellors' Woolsacks for a century, to say nothing of 
friendly discussions and of controversies heated up to the full blaze of 
the odium piscatorium. 

To the non -military eye the soldiers' little red drill-book does 
not disclose the generations of thought expended on its mechanical 


instructions, all so accurately calculated to answer the rigid (one might say 
mathematically rigid) demand of orderly movement. Nor in our present 
instruction on fly-dressing is the amount of previously expended ingenuity 
any more manifest at first sight. Experience, however, will show that 
here, too, in each mechanical direction a distinct purpose is kept in view ; 
and the learner may set to work with the assurance that the chief ex- 
cellences in a Salmon fly strength, neatness, proportion, and working 
symmetry can be combined only by a correct manipulation, an exact 
adjustment of parts, and a carefully calculated-distribution of material. 

To WAX TYING-SILK. Cut from an old glove an oval piece of kid, 
say two inches in diameter. Hold a pointed piece of cobblers' wax for a 
moment near the fire, and, when soft, "dab" it (not daub it) on the inner 
side of the kid, not quite in the middle. Now double the kid over 
quickly, and, with warm fingers, press the equal halves together. 
Partially open them again, and, if not laid on too quickly, the wax will 
be seen to cover a considerable part of the kid with a thin layer. The 
kid is to protect the fingers from mess, and the tying-silk from getting 
too much wax. In the operation itself only the edge of the layer of wax 
is exposed for use the less, in reason, the better. To avoid breaking the 
silk, observe that " union is strength," so do not try to wax only one 
length at a time. 

Take in your left hand the reel of " Pearsall's Gossamer Silk," which 
is much the best for your purpose. Break off any loose end, as the 
portion will have become weakened by the twist having in part gone out 
of it. Place the reel, that it may revolve, between the left forefinger and 
thumb, and hold it loosely. With the right hand take hold of the end 
close up to the reel, keep the right hand stationary, and draw from the 
reel, by moving away the left hand, about twenty-eight inches of the 
silk. Pass the withdrawn portion once round a small hook (or your 
stiletto stuck upright in your fly-table, if you please) , and back over your 
left little finger, which now holds taut from the hook or stiletto, a pair of 
reins, as it were, each fourteen inches in length. You now want just as 
much more silk withdrawn ; so with the right hand pulling and receding 
from the hook, the left hand barely sustaining between its fingers the reel, 
and advancing the while towards the hook, continue gently to withdraw 


the amount required by pulling the hands thus, alternately working 
them backwards and forwards. (The hook or stiletto must be smooth for 
the silk to have free play, as the looped end has round the little finger. 
No mischief follows this sawing motion of the hands when the silk is 
allowed to work loosely behind the hook.) Place, as before, the second 
portion round the hook, thus giving another pair of reins into the grasp 
of the left hand. Break off the silk close to the reel, but do not relax 
your left grip, or the ends will untwist. As the lengths lie close, side by 
side, first wax the part nearest to your fingers to prevent any further 
danger from untwisting, then wax the rest from the other end, and snip 
the lengths across at each end with the scissors. 

Simple as the operation of waxing is, the pressure put on the pad, 
together with a light, quick, lifting motion to prevent adhesion fore and 
aft, cannot be assured until the novice has had a little practice. This is 
worth learning, if only to secure the strength of the silk. Besides, you 
will have four lengths ready for use. 

How TO HOLD THE HOOK PROPERLY. Take in the left thumb and 
forefinger a hook, No. 1J " Eedditch " scale, which, as a convenient size, 
we may adopt for a standard throughout the course of instruction. The 
illustration of "THE STOP" will convey a fair idea of the general position 
of the fore-finger and thumb in grasping the hook. (The middle finger 
need only be advanced in making THE STOP ; in merely grasping the 
hook, it will fall back naturally in reserve.) Attention, however, is called 
to the particular parts of the fore-finger and thumb, in immediate con- 
tact with which the hook is held fixed viz., the top of the ball of the 
thumb against the edge of the ball of the forefinger. 

This position secures a firm grip of the hook, and, at the same time, 
gives ready access to that intervention of the middle finger-tip (or, rather, 
the edge of that tip), which is called " putting on THE STOP." 


Maintaining with the left hand the grasp of the hook, as shown in the 
picture of " THE STOP," lay one end of the silk between the ball of the 
fore-finger and thumb of the same hand. With the right forefinger and 
thumb take the tying-silk four inches from the shank, and proceed to make 




two or three open coils round the shank headwards. Now bind the 
open coils tailwards with two turns ; when the first-named end of the 
silk will have been fixed, and may be set free to be cut cff. 

If the setting-in has to be done at the " head " end of the hook, it 
will be seen that a slight difference must be made in the method for 
convenience sake ; the end of the silk, in that case, must be held between 
the left third and little fingers, which" are to be extended towards the 
head end of the hook for the purpose. 

Proficiency in this being attained, we may pass on to " THE STOP." 
Set in a length of tying-silk, waxed, and take a few turns round the 
shank headwards. Still keeping the original grasp of the hook, and 
holding the tying-silk gently taut with right fore-finger and thumb, place 
the right, or near, edge of the ball of the left middle finger firmly against 


the hook and silk at the place whence the latter, as held taut, issues forth 
from behind the shank. Let the silk go free from the right grasp, and 
you have " THE STOP." This is a most useful expedient to prevent, 
temporarily, turns of silk, coils of tinsel, etc., from unwinding or loosening 
from the hook-shank, or even to set the right hand at liberty. 


" THE CATCH " is another plan adopted at any time during the 
operation of fly-dressing, to set the right hand free for any purpose. It 
is made thus : Supposing we have just put on " THE STOP " ; resume the 
tying-silk in right fore-finger and thumb, keep it taut, and remove THE 


STOP finger of the left hand. Now pass the silk in between the ball of 
the left third and finger nail of the little finger and grip it with them, 
keeping taut all the time, so as not to allow the last-made coils to slacken, 
and you have " THE CATCH." 

MAKING OFF the tying-silk (as shown in Operation II.) is a plan by 
which knots are dispensed with, and so any clumsiness is avoided. It 
is accomplished at any stage in the work by simply running a few 
temporary, hasty turns headward round the shank (more thickly together 
at the head), and then fixing the tying-silk (held taut) in the cleft 
between the end of the shank and the gut-loop. 

To TIE ON THE GUT-LOOP. After the " SETTING IN," the close turns 
of silk are begun at a sufficient distance from the extremity of the shank 
to leave room for the foundation of the wings. That is how this convenient 
little cleft comes into existence. 



These four operations are the foundation of facility and certainty in 
manipulation, and a constant and patient practice of them wall soon bring 

its own reward. 

* * * * 

With a piece of white card-board, say twelve inches by six inches, 
lying immediately in front of you on the table, to serve as a back-ground 
in aid of the eyesight, proceed to practise the following chief operations of 
fly-dressing ; noting, in passing, that the back of your card-board may be 
utilised as a medium on which to record for ready reference, scales of 
hooks, lengths of gut for loops, and other measures of proportion. (These 
remarks, I need hardly say, are intended solely for beginners.) 


For instruction in general, and also specially to illustrate the making 
of a silk and fur body, and a " Built" wing. 


TYING ON THE GUT-LOOP. The length of the proposed body being 
li inch, a suitable length of twisted gut, extra stout, for the loop will be 
1-J inches. Soak this length thoroughly in soft water (or for making a 
single fly, you ma}' put the gut in your mouth for eight or ten minutes), 
and bend it so that one side shall be a little longer than the other. The 
single ends, also of the twisted gut, should vary in length, and their points 
pared. Cut the inside strands when binding down, in order that the 
foundation for the body may taper evenly and truly towards the tail. 

Take waxed silk (doubled to about 16 inches), and make four or five 
open turns headwards, tight enough to cause the waxed silk to adhere to 
the hook-shank. Begin three parts of the way down the shank, and 
leave off at just ^ inch from its extremity. In doing this it is best to hold 
the hook barb upwards. 

These foundation-turns not only afford a hold to the gut, but also- 
help to keep it from drawing when the fly is in use. After putting the 
tying-silk into "catch," take the gut-loop by its loop, and, holding it 
horizontally, flatten with the front teeth a considerable portion of the 
gut-ends. Apply these ends in their full length to the underside (now 
uppermost) of the shank, with a due allowance for the eye of the loop 



projecting clear of the shank end (the amount may be judged from the 
illustrations, but the smaller it is, in reason, the better), and holding hook 
and gut firmly (gripping the sides, not top and bottom), whip the gut on 
with regular, close turns of the silk tailwards, holding and working the 
silk at the distance just now mentioned. In " whipping," employ all the 
power you can without breaking the silk, and make use of the " CATCH " 
two or three times, in order, as the work proceeds, to be able with the 
right nails to press both sides of the gut into straightness with the hook 
shank. Be careful in starting the turns to leave a full ~ inch of the shank 
end for the purpose explained. When the gut is covered with these 
turns, tie off with one half hitch, and cut off the silk. The point upon the 
shank to which the silk binding should come will be seen from the 
Analytical Diagram in Chapter II. The arrangement of the ends of the 
gut "twist" should always be made so as to secure this relative propor- 
tion in all sizes of hooks. In the size of hook we have selected for 
instruction, this point on the shank is about I inch short of a straight 
line drawn through the hook-point, and cutting the shank at right angles. 
Without delay, whilst the gut is still soft, nip the loop. Holding the 
hook now barb downwards, push the stiletto through the loop from under- 
neath, far enough to form an eye of the required size ; then with the nails of 


the left hand "STOP" finger and thumb, nip the loop together at the neck. 
If the gut does not readily yield to the correct shape, the pressure should be 
maintained whilst the loop is moved to and fro by the stiletto within it. 


The object here is that the loop sides shall lie parallel to each other 
in their entire lengths quite up to the point where, in the completed fly, 
they leave the shank, and expand immediately into the eye of the loop. 

Of course, the -J- inch next the eye is not fixed in place until the turns 
of tying-silk for the foundation of the wings cover and bind it a later 
process. When the fly is in use, the " nipping " has the effect of helping 
to maintain the correct direction of strain upon the gut at the head, and 
so of preventing that general loosening and consequent loss of feather, 
caused by the part usually forked, working itself straight. This defect 
is present at the heads of un-nipped flies, and so the part of the gut-loop 
under the wings is left V shaped. 


TYING ON THE TAG, TAIL, AND BUTT. It may be well to recall to 
mind here that the fly we now propose to tie is one intended solely as a 
convenient starting point for instruction, and the several operations 
involved in it will be described consecutively, up to its final completion. 
Afterwards, the modifications requisite for tying various types of flies will 
be sufficiently explained in their order. 

Section I. Select the following materials : two inches of silver 
twist, three inches of floss silk, a Golden Pheasant topping an inch in 
length, and an Ostrich herl. 

Section II. Prepare the silver twist by stripping off from one end 
enough ol the silver wire to leave bare about * of an inch of the silk core. 
This is done by pressing the silver twist at the proper point with the 
sharp edge of the left thumb nail down on the ball of the left fore-finger, 
and simultaneously uncoiling the wire with a tug of the right hand and 
snapping it off quickly. Cut off half the thickness of the core with the 
scissors, and then strip the other end of the silver twist, and manage it in 
the same way. The coils of the twist are now driven closer together, and 
brightened up by the aid of a small piece of chamois leather, on which a. 
little Steven's silicon has been rubbed. 

Either end of the core is held between the left fore-finger and thumb, 
whilst the chamois leather is gently drawn in a direction away from the 
point held and down over the silver twist, but not so far as to loosen the 


coils at the other end. These in their turn are tightened and brightened 
up by a like operation from their own end of the core. 

Now take the hook, point downwards, and " set in " tying-silk at the 
place on the shank shown by the diagram, and cut off the waste end. 

Apply the twist with the right fingers to the hook-shank by laying 
the trimmed core end along its upper side, and then hold it there in the 
left hand ; the last coil of the silver coating (i.e., the point where this core 
end issues from its silver casing) being located just a little to the left of 
the last turn of the newly "set in" tying-silk, so that after binding it 

down the first coil of the twist, when wound on, rests exactly above the 
middle of the barb (see diagram). The first coil of the twist lies on the 
bare hook, and the next on the last of the few turns of the tying-silk 
which, having bound the core to the shank, form the foundation for the 
tag, as shown. 

The last turn of silk, made close to the silver, will have pressed or 
carried the twist over to the far side, out of sight, as it were, thus helping 
us "to keep the best side to town." 

Pass the tying-silk round the former work in wide open turns head- 
wards, and " make off." Cut off the waste core at right. 

The silver twist-is now wound on from you, the first coil being laid 
on the naked hook. (No material should be tied down upon the bare 
shank, or rest upon it, except in this one instance.) It is desirable, how- 


ever, before beginning this, to tug the twist gently upwards and against 
the last made turn of the tying-silk, in order to dispose the first coil of 
twist to start in a direct line. Proceed to place it upon the silk 
foundation in four close, neat coils headwards. (I use the "STOP" on the 
coils to prevent them unwinding, but recommend the beginner to use the 
tweezers throughout the process.) Eelease the tying-silk, bring it to the 
twist close to the last coil, give one turn over the twist, and put it in 
" CATCH " ; pull twist so as to tighten the coils ; and, after releasing from the 
"CATCH," give another turn, or perhaps two, over the twist and "make 
off," but do not allow the silk on its way to bind the waste of twist. 

Compress the coils of silver twist together, evenly all round, with the 
nails of the thumb and middle finger of each hand, working each pair of 
nails against the other pair. Cut the twist, leaving about a quarter of an 
inch, from which the silver wire is now removed, and bind it down with 
say ten close turns of tying silk. 

Section III. Prepare the floss next, thus : (Here I would remark 
that, in smoothing floss silk by stroking it between the right fore-finger 
and thumb, care should have been previously taken to make sure of the 
way to smooth it, whether to hold it at this end or that. That way is the 
right way, which, on trial cut a small piece off to try puts up in the 
stroking fewer loose ends of fibre than the other.) Take, then, to begin 
with, one end of it in the left fore-finger and thumb, stroke it with the 
right forefinger and thumb " the right way," and put it down as ready for 

(The student will now understand that, in constructing both tags and 
bodies with floss silk, the " stroking " business is carried on during each 
and every turn made with it, so that, in putting it down as ready for use, 
he must remember which end is for tying on. I find it handy to take it 
from the left hand, with the right catching hold at the end which is held 
by the left, and with a sweeping motion towards the right, I drop the 
floss on to the piece of card-board. In taking it up to tie on the shank, I 
catch hold of it at the same place as before, and, with a yet quicker 
sweep to the left, bring it steadily back again, and let it drop into its 
place, the hook being held in readiness, of course, by the other hand.) 

Lay the length of floss upon the left hand, which is now holding the 


hook, and draw it gently along to its position for tying on i.e., ~ of an 
inch from the compressed coils of silver twist. Open the left fore-finger 
and thumb just enough to grip the part of the floss nearest them. 
Release the tying-silk, and bind the floss with three even, close turns 
headwards to form some more of the foundation for the silk part of the 
tag. Put tying-silk in "CATCH," and cut off wastes of floss and twist core. 
Make off. 

Put the floss in " CATCH " between the left middle and third fingers, 
which are to be extended as far as possible, to secure a good length of 
floss between them and the hook. Untwist the length, catching hold of 
the extreme end while you momentarily release " CATCH," and with the 
fore-finger over it and thumb under it, stroke the length from the point of 
tie between the finger and thumb, passing each stroke through the 
" CATCH " to the very end of the floss until it is rendered straight and 
glossy. (By passing through the "CATCH " is meant opening the "CATCH" 
fingers and allowing the stroking fingers to pass through, and closing 
them again whilst the right hand fingers have hold of the end of the 

On the last stroke given, whilst the fingers hold the end, pass the 
floss under the hook-shank, and put it in " CATCH " there. Now with the 
fore-finger, placed this time under the floss and the thumb over it, stroke 
and smooth once and wind the floss tailwards, reaching the twist in two 
turns. In completing the tag headwards over the former work use 
" CATCH " fingers at each turn in the manner just described. The reader 
should bear in mind that this is the way silk-bodied flies are con- 
structed, so far as the actual winding of the floss is concerned ; and that, 
virtually speaking, the taper of the whole body work begins from the 
twist in the tag. 

Four, or perhaps five, coils of floss are enough, and, rightly laid on 
in increasing closeness, should form an even taper. Put "STOP" on floss, 
and fix with the tying-silk much in the same way as with the silver twist, 
save that after setting free the tying-silk, which has been made off, the 
floss end should be passed into " CATCH," the "CATCH " fingers being brought 
well under the shank, and the floss held taut by them. It is best that the 
first turn of tying-silk be firmly made, not at the very edge of the last 


floss coil, but a little in upon it. Continue binding with two more turns 
tail-wards, and so form a level foundation for the tail. Make off, and cut 
off waste floss. 

Section IV. Prepare the topping by stripping off the dull, short, 
downy filaments at its root. Fix it in place by the following method, 
which will obviate all difficulty. (Of course, a topping which has been 
carefully kept and has retained its proper shape is more manageable than 
one which has been allowed to get warped or twisted.) Holding the hook 
as before i.e., by the bend take the topping, curve upwards, by its bare 
quill between the right fore-finger and thumb, so that with them it may 
be laid in its place upon the top of the shank, and then held in the same 
left grasp. The feather will be in its place when the lowest point from 
which its fibres spring is laid coincident with the upper (or headward) end 
of the completed tag, so that when the topping has been bound on no 
fibres will be bound down, and no quill left uncovered tailwards. Now, 
the right hand grasping the root firmly together with the hook-shank, 
pass the left fore-finger and thumb with a coaxing, smoothing action 
down over the topping tailwards, gently pressing it down upon and con- 
forming it to the bend of the hook; and, finally, hold it fixed in that 
down-curved position. Let go the right fingers from the quill, which 
will then spring up a little, but which, as the main part of the topping 
is held firm in the grasp, will not refuse to be easily and correctly 
bound down upon the foundation prepared for it. Bind it down. To 
do so, begin with a long diagonal turn of the tying-silk tailwards,' 
then give an encircling turn close to the tag headwards, and also 
another. Put the silk in "CATCH" and let the topping go free to see 
whether it sits correctly. This scrutiny is only for the tyro practice 
will soon bring instinctive certainty. Bind on two more turns headward. 
Make off. 

Section V. Proceed now to form the butt. Take the Ostrich herl, 
root to the left, flock downwards, and lay its point diagonally on the near 
side of the shank at the place where the tail is tied on ; release tying-silk 
and unwind carefully two turns of the former work. 

These turns were made to strengthen the work temporarily in its 
progress ; and we remove them to lessen the bulk and obtain neatness 


a practice that should be observed wherever possible, consistently with 
proper strength. 

Take, as was done in tying on the tail, a diagonal turn of the silk 
tailwards, and bind' the herl on with five close turns head wards. Make 

The stage now arrived at is illustrated in the diagram. The bare 
interval of hook shown between the binding of the gut-loop and that of 
the herl is purposely left in order to give room for exactness in adjustment 
of the various constituents at this point, and is filled up partly by tying 
in such position of the waste ends of tail and butt as may be required, 
and partly with the ends of the floss, tinsel, or other materials set in 
subsequently to form the body. 

Wind on the herl, giving the first coil such a bias that its flock is 
turned tailward. The herl being easily damaged, it is best not to use 
the tweezers to begin with. Rather use the " STOP " at the first turn in 
the way specified in winding on the floss. Now adjust tweezers for 
making the final coils. The tweezers are kept from twirling round at the 
far side by steadying them with the " CATCH " fingers. 

When the tying-silk is released up to last coil of the herl, bind the 
herl down with three turns headwards, and make off. 

The waste ends have a further use, and are not to be cut off yet. 



FORMING THE BODY. Section I. For a silk and fur body in equal 
proportions (see diagram p. 82), head half hackled, select these 
materials : 

Three inches narrow tinsel, oval ; three inches broader tinsel, flat ; 
seven inches floss ; some black Seal's fur ; a natural black hackle and a 
Gailina hackle. 

Section II. Prepare the oval tinsel in the same way as the twist for 
the tag, using the silicon, which preserves lustre besides producing it. 
Lay the tinsel in between the left fore-finger and thumb (which are now 
holding the hook) , so that while the core-end lies along the far side of the 
shank, the termination of the silver coincides with the finishing roll of the 
herl of the butt. Release the tying-silk, unwind it so carefully as to 
leave only one turn fixing the herl, and bind this core-end with two or 
three turns headwards ; then put the silk in " CATCH." A mere suspicion 
of the core should now be visible between the first turn of tying-silk and 
the silver as a sort of flexible hinge in starting to lay down the ribs. 

Now, with the stiletto-point evenly distribute round about the shank 
the waste ends of the tail, butt, and core of tinsel ; cut them to such a 
length, and so bind them that they may exactly fill up the before- 
mentioned interval of bare hook left for adjustment. Make off. 

Section III. Prepare the floss as for the tag. Release tying-silk, 
unwind two turns of it, and put it in " CATCH." Lay the proper end of 
the floss in the place of the unwound turns. Release tying-silk and, in 
making the two turns again, bind over floss. Make off. Now, with the 
right fore-finger and thumb take hold of the floss beyond the shank, and 
smoothing all twist out of it as before, pass it into left "CATCH." Put the 
right fingers under the shank, take hold of the floss, and begin winding 
diagonally tailwards; pass floss after each diagonal coil into left "CATCH," 
and stroke and wind alternately in increasingly wider coils up to the 
butt ; then continue headwards, as already described for the tag, taking 
yet more care to stroke and smooth whilst winding on coils in decreasing 
closeness. These are not diagonal coils ; the silk is to be worked as 
nearly as possible straight over the shank. 

In thus proceeding headwards, allow the coils to so decrease in 



closeness that a gradual taper is maintained by them. On covering the 
whole of the former layer of floss, put " STOP " on the last coil. Eelease 
tying-silk, gently unwind the two turns given to the floss at first, and tie 
down with two firm turns in the same manner as with the floss of the 
tag ; put tying-silk in " CATCH " while you cut off waste floss ; give one 
more turn with tying-silk, and make off. 

To obtain a perfectly level, glossy taper, arrange with the right 
thumb nail any unevenesses, pressing headwards or tailwards, as may 
be requisite; and afterwards " iron " the floss i.e., press the whole of 
the section lightly between the fleshy balls of the fore-finger and thumb 
of the right hand, whilst you turn the hook round and round by the bend 
with those of the left. 

Section IV. To form the "ribs " for this, the lower section of the 
body, take the oval tinsel in the right fore-finger and thumb and wind it 
over the floss in three open coils (see illustration) at regular distances 
apart, using the " STOP " at each coil. Arriving at the end of the section 
and having attached tweezers to the end of tinsel, release the tying-silk 
and bind down the last coil of tinsel at the far side of the shank. Do this 
with two turns, and not tight, as, on now putting the silk into " catch," 

the tinsel coils are to be tightened by pulling the waste end towards you 
with right fore-finger and thumb, using the nail of the right middle finger 


against the hook as a fulcrum. Make off. See diagram given simply to 
show position of fingers ; " CATCH " and " STOP " being used simultaneously. 
Now cut off waste end of tinsel, not too close, unwind or pull away the 
silver covering up to last turn of tying-silk, and bind down the core with 
three turns headward. Make off. 

Section V. The hackle is next prepared by being " doubled " in the 
following manner : 

Take the hackle by its point between the left fore-finger and thumb ; 
remove all fluffy fibres from the root of the quill, and then cut the bare 
quill so as to leave about half an inch of it. 

Put the end of the quill between the jaws of the tweezers (in a straight 
line, and not an angle with them), and let the pliers thus attached hang 
loosely in the palm of the right hand, so that the quill of the feather lies 
just within the edge of the ball of the right fore-finger, the bright side of 
the fibres being downwards. Now bend the quill of the hackle over the 
edge of the right fore-finger ball by sinking and turning from you the left 


hand, in which the point of the hackle is being held, to a slightly lower 
level than the right hand. Moisten the outer edge of the point of the 
right thumb, and, pressing this part of the thumb over the bent part of 
the quill of the hackle, and against the fore-finger underneath, urge, with 


one movement, the far side fibres towards and over to their near side 
companions, first, by a decided rub of the thumb along the quill towards 
you, and then by stroking both sides of fibres between the thumb and 
finger to their points slightly from you. 

Repeat the rubbing and stroking in the manner described until the 
far side fibres are brought over towards the others and remain "doubled." 

Continue this over the whole of the feather, taking half an inch at 
a time, thus finally bringing the fingers of the right hand close to those of 
the left. The tweezers are allowed to drop lower and lower in the right 
hand as the work proceeds. All the fibres will then be found to retain 
their position on the correct side of the quill. Great care must be taken, 
during the rubbing, not to twist or warp the quill in any degree. Moisten 
and coax to a peak the end of the hackle from the point of tying on, and 
pull the doubled fibres with the others from that point well back out of 
the way of future work. 

Prepare also the flat tinsel, brightening it with silicon, and cutting it 
diagonally at one end to a long point. 

Section VI. First set in the point of the hackle (its root to the 
left and fibres downwards) on the far side of the shank, close up to the 
end of the section. For this, undo two turns of tying-silk, make a 
turn over the hackle-point to steady it, and hold all the work in position, 
putting the tying-silk taut in "CATCH." Now set in the pointed end of the 
tinsel close to the hackle (letting the main part rest over the left hand) also 
on the far side of the shank, in continuation of the former ribbing, with 
its cut edge tailwards. After unwinding tying-silk, put two or three turns 
of silk over it headwards, and make off. 

Section VII. Take a pinch of Seal's fur large enough when rolled 
on to well cover the lower half of the shank. Judgment in the exact 
amount of material will soon come with experience. Rub this pinch to 
and fro between the right fingers and thumb so as to form a cone. Let it 
drop on the table, choose the best tapered end, and proceed thus : 

Taking the hook firmly in the left hand, close up to the latest work, 
holding the hackle-fibres and tinsel well away, release the silk and put it 
in " CATCH." Lay the chosen end of the Seal's fur cone against the far 
side of the shank immediately on the tying-silk, and put " STOP " on both 



fur-end and tying-silk. Then, transferring tying-silk to the right fore- 
finger and thumb, but keeping it in the same line of direction in front of 
the fur, pass the left third and fourth fingers behind the fur and against 
it into such a position that, whilst the fur is being spun on the tying-silk, 
they shall serve for the combined fur and tying-silk, as the bridge of a 
violin does for its strings, and prevent the spin given from untwisting. 

Spin the fur on tl: e 
tying-silk by lay- 
ing it in its entire 
length along the 
latter, and holding 
both together fairly 
taut between the 
right fore - finger 
and thumb ; and 
then, with that 
finger and thumb, 
twirl the fur upon 
the silk. Twirl 
from right to left, 
and at each com- 
pletion of a full 
passage of the 
thumb across the 
fore - finger place 
the fur and silk in 
the left " CATCH," 
and thereupon 
stroke the tying- 


silk lightly down 
with the right fore- 
finger and thumb, 
in order to pass 
the twist in it on 
throughout its 
whole length be- 
yond the "CATCH," 
and away ; other- 
wise the spun part 
will liberate itself 
from the twist im- 
posed on it, and silk 
and fur will part 
company again. 
The failure to do 
this accounts for 
much imperfect 
amateur "dub- 
bing " in all kinds 
of flies. Eemember 
to maintain the 
left "STOP "all the 

while ; and observe that the violin bridge arrangement gives facility for 
a proper distribution of the fur. 

The fur being well spun on the silk, wind it round the shank in close 
coils headward, but not so far as to encroach upon the space intended for 
the wings. On arriving at that point put silk in " CATCH," strip all super- 
fluous fur off the end of it; and with the right fore-finger and thumb- 

Plate 2 








press tailward, and away from the head-end of the fly, all the bristling ends of 
Seal's fur ; move up the left fore-finger and thumb to hold these ends 
neatly down, and tie two turns of silk, tailwards, over the extreme end 
of the fur. Make off. 

All the lumps in the fur are now dispersed, and the taper-shape of 
the body assisted by inserting the stiletto-point lightly into the fur at the 
head-end, and teasing the fur, by a kind of combing action, tailwards and 
outwards. In doing this, hold the stiletto almost but not quite parallel 
to the hook-shank. 

Section VIII. Make three open equi-distant ribs with the flat tinsel, 
use " STOP " on last coil, as before, and tie down with two turns head- 
wards. Tighten the tinsel by pulling, as in the case of oval tinsel, 
give another turn of silk, and make off. 

Cut off the waste tinsel at an angle, and turn the tiny point back over 
the tie, for security, under the hook. 

Section IX. Next, keeping the hackle on its side edge and the fibres 
downwards, wind it tightly as close as possible to the tinsel ribbing on the 
tail side, at each coil letting go with the right and using " STOP " with 
the left. Use the tweezers only after the first coil of hackle. After 
sufficient coils are made, use " STOP," let tweezers hang, insert the point 
of the stiletto, and strip the superfluous hackle fibres off. Then, with 
tweezers on, tie the shaft under the shank with, say, two turns ; pull the 
stump of it, and give two more turns to fix the hackle firmly. Make off. 

Press all the fibres so as to compel them to incline towards the tail. 
It is safer not to cut off the hackle waste yet. 

Double the " Gallina " hackle for the throat. 

Section X. At this stage we shall probably have exhausted our 
length of tying-silk, and must " set in " a new one, doing so with two 
turns, close up to the hackle, before putting it in " CATCH." After cutting 
off the waste end of new silk, tie in the point of the Gallina, or throat 
hackle, on the near side of the hook, with three turns of silk, holding the 
doubled fibres neatly in left grip (which also holds the hook), and then 
put the silk in " CATCH." Eelease from make q^the end of old tying-silk 
and cut it off, together with the waste of both hackles (but not too short) . 
Make off. 



Section XI. Now attach tweezers, and make two or three close coils 
of the Gallina hackle. Let tweezers hang. Press with the finger-nails 
the coils close up together, release silk and fasten root with two turns of 
it. Catch silk again ; pull hackle tight, cautiously, and bind the stump 
end of hackle-quill alongside the other under the shank with six even, 
close turns, thus fixing it out of the way of the wings, and making a little 
more than half of the foundation for them. Make off. At this particular 

part of the fly the very utmost neatness is essential to the final correct 
set of the wings, and the smallest unevenness in the foundation work for 
them will defeat all subsequent attempts to compact and fix a wing which 
shall preserve its natural and proper shape. 

I say "preserve," because it is possible, by a certain amount of 
dexterous manipulation to get the feathers of the wing to sit temporarily 
in position ; but on the wing being handled, or put to the test of use, it 
soon drops its company manners and betrays its real character. Its 
strands or strips refuse to curve together, part company, and stick out 
in all directions, like a badly-used birchbroom. With such a fly, there is 
no guarantee that the wing is not top-sided, or otherwise so wanting in 
balance of material or balance of action, that in the water it is productive of 
wobbling, or some other irregularity of conduct not conducive to good sport. 

(Built wings, with under-wing.) 

PUTTING ON THE WINGS. We adopt a type of wing here, not as being 
the easiest to learn to tie like the mixed wings but as most instructive 
to the learner. 


Section I. Take right and left strips of, say white-tipped Turkey 
(as used in "Jock Scott") about eight strands broad of the feather, as 
described for that fly. Lay these together, dull sides inwards, that is to 
say, " back to back." 

The turns of silk which tie the throat hackle should have occupied 
about half the space intended as foundation for the wings ; the other 
half, for the time being, is bare. 

With the right fore-finger and thumb take the strips (which should 
lie close alongside each other, and accurately coincide along their edges 
and at their points) and coax them with the left fore-finger and thumb 
into proper curve. Hold their stumps in the right hand during the 
process, so as to allow the upper strands to be increased in length if 
necessary. (By this means only can these wing-feathers be so shaped as 
to form a fairly regular line at their extremities, as shown in the 
Analytical Diagram, Chapter II.) Then, holding the hook in the left 
fore-finger and thumb by' its bend, place the arranged strips in their 
proper position upon the foundation intended for them, with their lower 
points measured to extend just beyond the extremity of the " tag." The 
right fore-finger and thumb (which are then to grasp the strips from 
above) will seize, in the same grasp with them, the head-end of the hook- 
shank also, and hold them upon it. The left fore-finger and thumb grasp 
loosely (also from above and right up to the hackle tie) both the strips and 
the body of the fly. Then, working from the tcrist, draw the left fore- 
finger and thumb, with a curving movement over the wing, so as to 
conform it to the bend of the hook. Having done this, hold the strips 
close down upon the top of the body-work in the left grip. 

If these strips of feather in hand are at all intractable, I guide them 
(after they are grasped and the left fore-finger and thumb are well ex- 
tended for tying down, the left hand being so level as to permit a tumbler 
resting on it) down to envelope the hook bend, each on its own side of the 
shank. This should not crumple them ; and when liberated they should 
easily assume their proper position before being finally fixed. 

Release the right hand from its grip, and proceed to tie down the 
wing thus : A turn of silk is passed lightly over the wing, close to the 
hackle, and put into CATCH. In this case, the CATCH fingers are brought 


up somewhat near to the shank beforehand so as to allow room for them 
to pull. 

Then, with these CATCH fingers draw the silk gently taut downwards, 
while the right fore-finger and thumb grasp the strips at the point of tie, 
so that the wings shall not be bent over to one side or the other, but sit 
regularly on edge when completed. This regularity is secured 011 the one 
hand by the grasping, and on the other, by keeping the other end of the 
strips strictly in position by a well-sustained pressure of the left fore- 
finger and thumb, while the tying-silk is pulled taut. CATCH silk. 

Maintain the left pressure, and before putting further turns of silk 
headwards, lift up the waste ends on to the top of thejiook. This lifting 
serves a double purpose. In the first place, it so affects the strips that 
they " sit down " close along the body- work, leaving little space between 
them and the butt ; and secondly, it helps to keep them in the desired 
position when the fly is finished. The waste ends are taken in one grasp, 
and somewhat forcibly made to rest on the shank, instead of posing by the 
side of it. Give further turns ; make off, and inspect work. 

The under-wings should now be easily stroked with the right fingers 
into their correct position (as shown in the Analytical fly), unbroken in 
fibre, and each presenting a similar appearance, especially at the point of 
tying on. Were it not for the lifting, the strips would "sit up " much 
above the body work, and so be almost obscured by the materials worked 
on afterwards. But it is not expected that the student will be pleased or 
satisfied with his effort at the onset. Success in this detail cannot be 
reached without practice, and the endeavour to attain it. If, however, he 
chooses, he can resort to the far more simple method of fixing mixed 
wings, which I will explain presently. By such method he can master 
Turkey strips in an hour ; and Mallard strips, or even those of Teal, in 
a day. 

It will assist the learner at this point to remind him that the single 
strands of wing-feathers are not round, but more or less knife shaped, and 
that all strips or strands must be so tied to the hook, when tied on either 
side, that the knife edges shall incline upivards. 

To recognize this fact means getting at the root of the problem of correct 
winging. By taking a good big strand of feather, one, for example, from 


the tail of the blue Macaw, the knife shape is distinctly visible. Observe 
narrowly the edge of the strand, and then, for practice, tie it on to the 
side of a hook shank with a couple of turns of silk. If tied sharp edge 
doivn, the strand will not curve properly in the water, however well it 
may appear to do so out of it. Tied sharp edge up, and the curve can be 
made at the desired angle by stroking with the right hand, not too late, 
in fixing, and remain unalterably so. I would add, that in taking off 
strips of feather from the quill itself, the point of the stiletto can be used 
for dividing the portion wanted, which is afterwards grasped by the right 
fore-finger and thumb, and stripped off rapidly by those fingers, whilst 
the left hand holds the upper part of the feather. This, in my opinion, 
is the best plan for a beginner ; and, with such elaborate directions, 
practice should ensure expertness in the operation of fixing under-wings, 
provided always that the grip of the left be correctly made and firmly 
sustained, until the strips have been regulated as aforesaid, and tied 
down. By "correct" is meant that the tips of the fore-finger and thumb 
first make their grip of the under-wings from above, at that part of the 
body from which the fibres of the throat-hackle spring ; the fingers, still 
gripping, then proceed to draw all the fibres a little back out of the way 
of the work, and do not become relaxed in their hold. 

Section II. The inspection being over, and foregoing hints digested, 
pass the silk from Make off into " CATCH " ; and with point of scissors 
laid level with the direction of the shank (the point of the scissors turn 
up, remember, at an angle of about 30). If straight-pointed scissors be 
used, they must be laid at an angle of about 30 as best they can ; cut 
away the waste fibres, so forming a taper headward, and make off again. 

Section III. Next take from, say, a Bustard feather, right and left 
strips, each of about five strands in breadth, and similar strips from right 
and left Mallard feathers. Marry these two sorts, right with right, and 
left with left, and lay them on the table. 

By "marrying," is meant, so joining two or more strips of feather 
to each other by their adjacent edges as to form one strip, equivalent in 
size to the several breadths added together. In the present instance, 
take the right strip of Bustard and of Mallard (strongly inclined to 
marriage are these), and place them alongside each other (the Bustard 


below) that the points of the upper strip extend a little. Hold them, so 
applied together, at the points by the left fore-finger and thumb , and, 
with the right fore-finger and thumb, gently press and hold the roots 
together (which may not be the same in length), and let the points free. 
To form the union, stroke and coax with the left fore-finger and thumb 
the two strips, so held, from the roots along their whole length, when it 
will be soon found that their edges cohere naturally and firmly by the 
interlocking of the tiny, fluffy filaments at those edges. 

Put silk in CATCH. Take in the right fore-finger and thumb the 
married strips intended for the far side wing, and lay them, bright side 
out, with their root ends against the shank at the tyirig point, and at such 
an angle to the shank that, not only the lower edges of the married strips 
may conform themselves to the upper curve of the under-wing, but also 
that the tips shall extend in gradation beyond its extreme point. 

The shape of wing desired is illustrated in the Analytical-fly, 
Chapter II. 

Section IV. At this stage we arrive at what is undeniably the crux 
of fly dressing ; the above-described operation, however, being mastered, 
the student will easily tackle any kind of wing. He will give the wing 
that compactness, that graceful curve, and will exhibit in its destined 
place each constituent fibre or strip of feather that is so pleasing to the 
veteran Fisher's eye and so fatal to the fish. 

The correct curve is obtained by laying, or offering, the wing-strips 
at their destined angle, at first only temporarily, for the purpose of 
ensuring their proper length by measurement. Then, without disturbing 
their natural coherence in the least degree, the married strips are gently 
brought up into a nearly erect position i.e., at nearly right angles to the 
shank. Hold them so to the shank with the right fore-finger and thumb, 
which grip both strips and hook-shank ; seize with left fore-finger and 
thumb the main part of the strips, and, by a curving stroke, press them 
down taihvards, and hold them, with the underwing, well down nearly 
upon the hook. This position is such that a slight hump, like a cat's 
arched back, is created in the strips, close to the grip of the right fore- 
finger and thumb. Gradually relax the right grip, and at the same time 
apply the left STOP, to preserve the " hump." Release the silk, and tie 


on these strips. Easily said, no doubt, but not quite so easily done, 
unless one knows how. Thus then : 

Using the STOP to keep the fibres in their regular, natural order, and 
not lapping over each other, pass the silk round them, but not as if you 
were running cord round a parcel. The silk must be passed round loosely, 
the STOP finger must then press down from above against it, and be kept 
firm whilst the silk is drawn fairly taut. Partially remove the STOP 
finger while you place silk again over to far side, give another turn, 
tighter still, whilst the STOP finger presses as before. Make off. Be very 
careful to keep all fibres in position. 

Section V. This done, move left fore-finger and thumb up close to 
the tying point, and hold that part together with the work behind it in a 
firm grip ; release silk and put it in CATCH, and with right fore-finger and 
thumb lift up the waste ends of the strips of wing upon the top of the 
shank. If they are too short to catch hold, push the waste ends up with 
point of stiletto, which should be held in a vertical position. 

The wing-strips should, hereupon, present an orderly appearance, 
both in their "marrying" and in their springing neatly and well together 
from the same point, like a half-shut fan. 

They will not yet, however, sit down close upon the under- wing; that 
union will be effected by subsequent work. 

Section VI. The near wing-strips are similarly laid on and treated. 
In their case, however, a different principle is adopted. The very binding 
and pressure of STOP finger of the far side strips compels the sharp edges 
to assume their correct position, whilst on the near side of the wing, the 
tying-silk has an opposite effect. It is, therefore, necessary after placing 
the strips in position (the silk being in CATCH) to make the left thumb 
serve the same purpose as the STOP finger in the former instance that is 
to say, the thumb presses the part of the strips that is to be tied down 
from above. Without relaxing the pressure so given, the thumb is then 
slightly drawn back out of the way temporarily, in order that the tying- 
silk may be placed over, and the work continued. Some dressers prefer 
to tie down the near wing by hitching the silk under the point of the 
hook-shank, and then winding it towards them ; but the plan is not one 
to be recommended in this book. Before making off, do not forget to lift 


up the waste ends, as in the former instance ; and do not be discouraged 
if the wings are not yet accurately in their final position. To put the 
finishing touches on, much is done by further manipulation. After lifting 
up the ends, transfer silk to CATCH, give another turn of it, then cut roots 
taperingly, and make off. 

Section VII. Select further materials for each wing say, strips, 
three strands broad, of Swan dyed red, of ditto blue, of ditto yellow ; and 
two broader strips of Teal. Marry them all together, Teal lowest, for the 
separate wings, as before. By the grips of right and left fore-fingers and 
thumbs (already described) reproduce the "hump, "lay into place the new 
instalments of wing, previously measured as to length, and tie down as 
previously directed, catching, lifting up, and making off. Select head herl. 
Section VIII. Prepare a topping of suitable length by stripping it as 
before of any dull, short, downy fibres at the base, and making a furrow 
transversely in its shaft to receive the tying-silk. To make the furrow, 
lay the shaft along over the ball of the right thumb, the main curve of 
the feather projecting out beyond and in a perpendicular plane, the point 
turning downwards and neither to right nor to left. With nail of right 
middle finger indent gently at the required spot, keeping your eye all the 
while fixed on the feather to see that it does not turn sideways out of the 
straight plane, which, however, the direction of the pressure might regulate. 
Now touch thinly with varnish the top of the head of the fly where 
the topping is to lie. 

Release silk and put it in CATCH. 

Section IX. Take the topping in right fore-finger and thumb, by its 
root, and lay it in position. Then with the left fore-finger and thumb 
seize the main part of the feather together with the whole wing close 
down to the work. Pass the silk once over it, and into CATCH. If not 
already in a straight line with the shank, and quite on. the top of it, the 
root of the topping should now be put into that position. Bind on with 
six tight turns loopwards. Put silk in CATCH. Cut off all wastes. Then, 
with the stiletto point, work a little varnish thoroughly in among the 
stump ends and round them ; tie loopwards, almost to the end of the 
shank, and then about three more turns, backwards towards the tail, and 
put silk in CATCH. 


Section X. Next, with its root end to right, tie in on near side the 
point of the head-herl, with its flock y edge downwards. To do this, hold 
the point of the herl by the left thumb, which raise slightly from its grip 
of the hook to receive it and, allowing half an inch of herl for waste, 
closely wind the silk tailwards up to the wings. CATCH the silk once 
more. Ascertain, by gentle pull over and turn over, if necessary, whether 
the herl will lie rightly, that is, flock loopwards ; attach tweezers and 
wind four coils of herl tailwards, reaching close up to the wing. Let 
tweezers hang. Transferring silk from CATCH into right fore-finger and 
thumb, extend the three unengaged left fingers straight out from you and 
pass the silk taut under the hook (as if unwinding) into CATCH of left 
middle and third fingers so extended. Varnish the taut silk for about 
half an inch, beginning from the fly, outwards ; loop the unvarnished part 
immediately beyond the part varnished, and pass the loop, when made to 
form a half-hitch, over the whole head, so that it may come to rest 
between the wings and the herl head. Hold it there with STOP finger, 
and pull taut with right fore-finger and thumb. This will form a single 
varnished knot, and will be perfectly secure (as well as neat) when the 
varnish is quite dry. 

Section XI. In extended CATCH-grip seize tweezers and waste of 
silk, now both hanging down ; turn the left hand over towards you, and, 

ixsruucnoN FLY NO. i 

with the point of the scissors, cut the waste of herl and tying-silk'neatly 
off, and then the waste point of herl. 


Finally, trim the fur and hackles with the stiletto-point, laying the 
fly against the balls of the STOP and the adjacent fingers whilst combing 
the various hackle-fibres and inclining them tailwards. The different 
portion of the wing will readily conform themselves to their respective 
positions by a little coaxing and stroking between the right finger and 

(Silver Doctor variation.) 

THE MIXED WING. Materials : hook, twist, and floss (dark yellow) as 
in Fly No. 1. A topping: 1J inches scarlet Berlin wool; 8 inches 
broadish silver tinsel ; 3J inches oval silver tinsel ; 8 inches white floss ; 
Blue hackle, and Gallina hackle. Strips (~ inch broad) from right and 
left of Peacock-wing, Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, light mottled 
Turkey, black Turkey white tipped. Amherst Pheasant tail, Gallina, 
three strands of right and of left Swan dyed red, yellow, and blue. A 
topping for the wings. 

Proceed with loop, tag, and tail as in No. 1 Fly. Next prepare 
scarlet wool for butt. Take a small length of Berlin wool and shred it. 
This is easily done. Hold at one end the piece in the left hand ; and, 
with the thumb-nail of the right hand, press the point of the other end 
on the ball of the right fore-finger and snip away shreds. Continue this, 
and when sufficient stock is collected, put it all together, lengthwise, and 
gently roll it between the fingers, so as to form a cone. Spin the cone on to 
the tying-silk after the fashion of spinning on Seal's fur, but ensure more 
smoothness by giving extra spins. The cone for butt or head is one inch 
and a quarter in length, and is tapered at each end to a very fine point. 
Form the butt with close consecutive coils headwards. Make off. 

The butt will assume at once a level, even form, more oval in section 
than round, but a little manipulation is yet required. Press it towards 
tag with nails of right thumb and middle finger, giving support with the 
corresponding nails of the left hand in front of the coils. 

Bevel one end of the flat broad tinsel by cutting it with the scissors 
at an angle, a good J of an inch in length. Do not forget the silicon. 
Prepare oval tinsel as before. 



Now bind down stump of topping, so that the whole space left bare 
between the butt and binding of gut-loop is nearly levelled up. Put 
tying-silk in CATCH. Lay the oval tinsel on the far side of shank, take 
tying-silk, and bind the core of tinsel with two turns. 

(Note that the third or next turn of tying-silk constitutes the first 
turn which binds the broad tinsel.) Eemember that a mere suspicion 
of the core should now be visible between the turns of tying-silk and the 
silver. Put silk in CATCH. Lay on broad tinsel next the oval, with the 
bevel facing tailwards. With two turns tie it, but not tightly, at about 
one-quarter way up the bevel ; raise the tinsel into an upright position 
and pull the turns taut. The subsequent turns bind down waste and 
core upon former foundation. Tie them down. With the final two 
turns of this binding, tie in on the near side the white floss, which is 
employed only in first-class work to secure absolute neatness of body 
tinsel. It is tied at that part of the floss so as to leave two-thirds of the 
length tailwards, one-third headwards. Make off. Wind headwards the 
right portion of floss towards you, placing the coils gradually closer 


together to form the taper. On arriving at the head pass two turns of 
tying-silk round the floss just upon the end of the gut binding. Put silk 
in CATCH ; cut off floss waste ; make off. 

With the point of a needle gently tease the floss coils, and then by 
the process of "ironing" them (as explained) the foundation, so far, 
should be smooth and fairly tapered. 

Wind on left portion of floss from you, tailwards and back over all, 
headwards. At each coil put floss in CATCH and smooth it. As you pro- 
ceed with the coils watch the progress of the taper. In finishing at the 
head, place the floss in CATCH, undo the former two turns of tying-silk, 
and tie the completed foundation down in their place. Make off. 

(Some Amateurs fasten the floss at the head end of the hook and 
coil it, in one length, first tailwards and then headwards a method I 
recommend only for silk-bodied flies after weeks of practice.) 

Wind on flat tinsel in close coils ; these are not diagonal coils, the 
tinsel is worked as nearly as possible straight over the shank. In coiling 
it you will observe that the point of tie on the bevel was so cut or bevelled 
that the edge of the first coil shall lie close alongside the butt. On com- 
pleting this first coil pat tinsel in CATCH, and flatten with right middle 
finger nail the part where it first bends over, the left thumb being placed 
under shank in support. Continue these coils, which must not overlap, 
but lie close alongside each other, so that in the end they resemble the 
desired appearance of a piece of piping. 

Put STOP on last coil while you apply tweezers, and pass two turns 
of tying-silk over it, not too tightly. Examine latest coils : press them 
together tailwards with the finger nails, pull last coil taut ; tighten tying- 
silk and put it in CATCH. 

The tinsel is now partially secured under the shank. 

Bend last coil of tinsel back, and press it close down upon the two 
turns of tying-silk which hold it fixed. Flatten the bend with the finger 
nail by turning the back of left hand towards you to facilitate matters. 
It is obvious that this " bending back " gives extra holding power and 
makes the work secure. When the first few of the next turns of tying- 
silk (tailwards) have passed half way over the part bent back, put silk in 
CATCH, cut off the waste tinsel close there, and after binding down with 


two more turns tailwards, the foundation for the head-hackles will have 
been thus formed. Make off. 

Now proceed with the ribs, and do not fail to give this tinsel a final 
pull before completely fixing it. 

Next prepare and put on the two hackles, by the method as laid 
down in No 1, Sections 4, 5, 10, and 11. Mark here that, in this instance, 
these two hackles are intended for the throat, and that, in consequence, a 
trifle more room must be allowed as bedding for their coils, than in those 
cases where one of them is used for a body-hackle. When these are fixed 
on by the directions previously explained, put the fly down and prepare 
the wings. 

At this stage I would remark that the wings selected for this type of 
fly I call " Mixed Wings." As the pioneer of this system, perhaps I may 

say without egotism that, amidst the many changes which have occurred 
of late years, not only in the formation, but in the method of makins 
certain flies, " mixed wings," with the exception of " Grubs," have met 
with the greatest share of approval and success. I personally worked out 
this original style of winging, and made it generally known among my 
immediate friends on finding how well it answered in actual use. Many 
years afterwards, in 1883 or 1884, I described the method of forming these 
wings in the Fishing Gazette, and it is gratifying to note that mixed 
wings are advocated by the authors of recent treatises on the subject. 
But the way of formation was considerably improved by me in 1888, and 


the method of fixing has since been entirely converted. Not only 
the dresser formerly limited to the size of the hook, but, in the absence 
of long practical experience, was heavily handicapped by the method of 
mounting as then practised. I am, however, glad to say that I have 
satisfactorily overcome these disadvantages, and have, in fact, reduced 
the whole business well within the management of a beginner at fly work. 
Nor is this all ; for I have had a few -years to give the latter system a 
right and proper test, and have no hesitation in endeavouring now to 
explain it. 

Mixed wings are now formed by mixing together fibres of different 
lengths of feathers. 

Select first, say, four fibres from the shorter and finer feathers, such 
as Teal, Ibis, Gallina, tippet, powdered blue Macaw, and Summer Duck 
(all of them if you please) for part of one wing, and corresponding 
feathers for part of the other wing. Place them in consecutive working 
order on the right and left side of your table, and proceed to make up 
three bundles of single strands from one of these two sets at a time. 
These bundles will eventually form what is now termed the " skin " of 
the wings on their respective sides fibres taken from the left side of 
the quill or shaft for the far wing, and from the right side of the quill for 
the near one. It is not necessary for these fibres to be of equal length in 
the made up bundles. 

Take, for example, a single fibre from each of the three feathers in 
rotation (using, say, the left set first), and place them one by one upon 
the ball of the left fore-finger alongside each other, holding them all 
curving down, and gently pressing them with the thumb, the point of 
which is partially raised each time, for the purpose of putting others there. 

Having taken, say, your half dozen strands (two of each feather), 
and having put them in this way, carefully place the thumb and fore- 
finger of the right hand across the roots to hold them while the left 
finger and thumb, pressing on the fibres, are drawn thence out, towards, 
and beyond the points. This will induce the sides of the fibres to adhere 
to one another, and so form a " skin " in one apparent strip. Two more 
of these strips or slips, so made up, and of the same materials, will con- 
stitute the whole of one skin. 



In placing and joining the three side by side extend the middle strip 
beyond the lower and the upper strip beyond the middle one. When they 
are all together, a little manipulation of the hands and fingers will regulate 
the " step-like " outline of their points. Make up the right set in a 
similar fashion. 

Select next, feathrsrs, say, from Peacock wing, Golden Pheasant tail, 
Turkey, Bustard and Swan dyed red, yellow, and blue. Arrange their 

order and continue the 
work as before. After 
manipulating their 
points so that they shall 
gradually in crease in 
length towards the top 
part of the wing, put 
each of these two new 
made-up sets on the 
inner side of the two 
skins, taking care that, 
in so doing, their points 
extend beyond the 
others to the length of 
wing desired. 

The right and left 
wing, so composed, that 
is to say, enveloping 
the "two new made-up 
sets," are now put 
together (back to back) 


and tied on the hook by 
the following method, 
which, in theory, is 
just as commendable, 
as in practice the result 
is, or should be, in- 
evitable, and in fishing 

Having touched 
with varnish the coils 
of tying-silk forming 
the foundation, seize 
the whole wing by the 
roots with the right 
hand, and measure the 
proper length of the 
wings by offering them 
to the hook. Now hold 
the wings and the hook 
in the left hand, the 
fingers being straight 

with the shank. The fingers and hook-shank being now in a horizontal 
position (see diagram), release tying-silk and pass it first round the left 
little finger point from towards you to X, then up, under the left 
thumb, over the wings and under fore-finger grip. Now pull X X 
together until the wings are gently and symmetrically brought straight 
down upon the hook and into place, maintaining the grip of the left hand 
upon them throughout. Remove little finger from its engagement, but 


not the left grip, and pull the slack over and taut, catching hold of the 
end of the tying-silk for the purpose. Bind with three more turns in 
the usual way, headwards, using STOP. Make off. 

In binding down such wings as these by the ordinary method, the 
unpractised artist sees a strong tendency, throughout the early process, for 
them to tilt over the far side. This always creates difficulties for him ; 
whereas, by pulling X and X together, with due care, all tilting is 
obviated, and the wings are drawn evenly down into their permanent 
position on to the top of the shank. The first turn of the tying-silk 
should rest close against the throat-hackle and go straight up, over the 
wings. It must not pass beyond that turn (tailwards) in subsequent 
fixing. In making the " three more turns," put silk in CATCH after every 
one, in order to press back the roots of the fibres over towards you with 
the nail of the right middle finger, that they shall finally rest exactly 
upon the top of the shank. Make off. 




At this stage, the wings, although fairly firm, will not decline to 
yield to the pressure given in " humping " our next procedure. 

" Humping " is a scheme by which a superb shape of wing is secured 
a good curve given to the upper fibres, whilst the lower ones run almost 
parallel with the shank of the hook and close to it. The " hump " is 
produced by holding the wings with a good grip of the fore-fingers and 



thumbs those of the left hand gripping just on the head side of the 
middle part of the feathers ; those of the right close to their tying point. 
The wrists, at first elevated to the top of the dotted curve in the 
diagram, are now slowly depressed, and the fore-fingers and thumbs of 
the respective hands, at first touching each other at the side edges of 
their nails, draw wider and wider from each other, as if hinged at their 

extreme points. 


- . 


The peculiar pressure necessary is given harder at the top of the 
wings with the right hand than below them, whilst the lower part of the 
wings in the left hand is held firmer than the upper part. Accordingly 
the roots covered by the tying-silk slightly yield to the pressure, with the 
result that the fibres now poise from the head in a more upright line of 
direction. See if it is necessary to repeat the process ; but if all has 
gone well, permanently tie the wings down in the following manner : 

Kelease from " Make off" ; hold silk taut, carefully unwind the three 
last turns, and bind down in the ordinary way with four fresh turns, 
headwards ; at each turn use STOP against both the tying-silk and the 
fibres to prevent them shifting as you pull. Put silk in CATCH. Cut off 
roots of fibres, pointing scissors tailwards, as before explained, to form 
taper ; touch with varnish, release silk ; finish by binding on in close 
turns headwards, and then back. Put silk in CATCH on reaching the last 
turn but one tailwards, varnish silk as usual, and tie with a half-hitch (see 



Instruction Fly No. 2, Chapter II.). The practical advantages of this 
modern plan have been mentioned, and no one reading the particulars in 
their entirety, be he amateur or professional, will fail to mentally realise 
the result of the method a method which will at least materially simplify 
matters for untrained hands. 

We have now completed a first-class metal-bodied, mixed-winged 
fly, and the head, when dry, should " receive another coat of varnish. 
(For ordinary fishing purposes, the floss silk foundation is omitted by 
expert dressers.) But sometimes it is desired to crown the wings with a 
strip of Mallard on each side. Such a " cap." steadies them in the water. 
Sometimes a topping is used to finish ; whilst a narrow strip of Teal 
added to each side gives great effect and life. And " horns " and 
" cheeks," " sides," and a " head " may be fancied and wanted. In any 
of these. cases, the additional material is tied upon the former work, after 
the waste ends have been cut off, and before varnishing. 

Such are the secrets of fly making to be generally followed; but let us 
look now to certain other particulars. 

1. Silk-bodied flies. 

1. Oval tinsel-bodied flies. 

3. Sides. 

4. Cheeks. 

5. Whole Feather winged flies. 

(5. Strip winged flies, and Spey type. 

7. Topping winged flies. 

8. Chenille bodies, etc. 

In forming a silk body (No. 1 of these particulars), the point I would 
make clear brings to light a distinction which is rarely observed. Thus, 
instead of fixing floss at the tailward end of the gut loop, as before ex- 
plained, it is tied in at the head-end of the fly, and the whole length 
coiled first tailwards and then headwards. During the process it is 
"stroked," "smoothed," and "ironed," as explained in Operation 2, 
Instruction Fly No. 1. On reaching the butt, it is held taut in CATCH, 
whilst the foundation coils made are so regulated as to form an even 
surface to finish off upon. Any little lump in them is pressed level with 
the thumb nails, whilst any little dip is frayed up with the point of a 


needle before the final ironing takes place. It is only necessary to add 
that the final layer of floss itself binds the point of the hackle at the place 

(As most floss silks change colour in use, the dresser can acquaint 
himself with their appearance by applying paraffin with a camel's hair 
brush to any of them. But I much prefer dyed quill to the best of floss 
silk, and I get it from Courtney, at Killarney. It is easily cut into narrow 
strips, and far easier than silk to put on the hook. Quill is doubly useful. 
It lasts longer than silk, and you knoiv where you are in "keeping accounts 
of, and making deductions from, the circumstances and conditions attend- 
ing the rises and captures of fish. Consequently, you are less likely in 
future to fall into error, and be mistaken in choosing a particular coloured 
fly for similar occasions and conditions. Once you make a " Jock Scott " 
with good yellow quill, and you will not hurriedly return to floss silk.) 

No. 2. Oval tinsel bodies may be briefly dismissed. 

Prepare the oval tinsel by exposing the core to tie on, and by 
brightening with silicon. In coiling it headward, press each coil with 
right thumb and middle finger nails, tailwards, whilst the length of tinsel 
is held taut in CATCH. This tinsel ties in the body-hackle. 

No. 3. Sides : Generally of one Jungle feather put on each side of 
the wing in the centre, and extending from the head to the middle of the 
wing. Strip stump of Jungle, and partially fix with two turns of tying- 
silk, tailwards ; inspect work by raising left thumb on near side, and 
fore-finger on far side. Provided the feather lies close all along the wing, 
carefully replace thumb and finger, and tie down headward. But if, on 
inspection, either feather turns outwards or upwards, twist it by catching 
hold of root to the position desired before tying down. 

No. 4. Cheeks are one third the length of sides, and are generally of 

Follow directions given for Sides. 

No. 5. Whole feather winged flies. 

Measure length ; strip end ; indent for tying-silk. 

No. G. Strip winged flies. Here I would first recommend for 
beginners the method of fixing given in the illustrated instructions for 
" mixed wings." By following it the fibres are made to sit on their side 



edges, back to back, like the underwing-stiips as formerly explained. 
The majority of strip wings, as many Anglers know, lie flat and spread 
out from the head of the fly. These are the most popular and, in places, 
seem to be ever present. Proof of this, proof that in the Spring months 
they have comparatively no rest in the North, is furnished by familiar 
experience on several rivers, notably the Dee, where, in truth, there are 
two occasions on which they are used when fish are taking and when 
they are not. However, the key to practical success lies in adjusting the 
strips so as to keep them intact. The fibres should not split, and this 
can only be prevented by drawing them together tightly and regularly 
just at the point of tie. Of the two best methods for the business some 
details are necessary. One method is by the aid of the vice, the other 
without it. Peter Milne, at Garden's establishment, Aberdeen, is an 
adept with the vice. After fixing the bend of the hook in it, he selects 
both strips of such length that the point of tie comes close to the quill. 
Having prepared them, so that no more than a mere suspicion of quill 
remains to keep the fibres from separating, he holds the far side strip 
alongside the hook, by placing the left thumb above and the forefinger 
below, and then throws the tying silk over it close to the part so held. 
With the right hand put under the fly, he catches hold of the silk and 
brings it up gently to the near side of the work ; and before pulling it 
towards him, looks to see that the coil is in its proper place, i.e., close to 
the left fingers, and in a straight line over the work. The silk is now 
pulled steadily, during which operation any shifting of the fibres is easily 
detected. If the fibres are not coming one upon the other, evenly 
towards each other, so that finally they shall represent a closed fan, the 
beginner should stop pulling at once and try again. Two subsequent 
turns of silk are now given and the waste of the strip cut off. The near 
side strip is put on by a similar process, but the left finger in this instance 
is placed above it and the thumb below, in an exactly reversed position. 

George Blacklaws (Kincardine O'Neil) works by a method of my 
own. It is recommended here because I have given up using the vice, 
and believe the student will earlier succeed in getting strength and neat- 
ness. However this may be, working without the vice calls for far more 
skill in manipulation. Select, as in the former method, a feather suitable 


for the size of hook. The fibres must be of such a length that when the 
strip is severed from the feather (by means of cutting it along the centre 
of the quill) the part tied shall be, as I 'have said, close to the quill. The 
quill is trimmed in like manner as before, particularly the portion under- 
neath. The silk is then set in, if necessary, and when the foundation is 
made binding first loopwards and back to the throat hackle take the 
far side strip, the longest fibres being outwards, in the left hand and 
squeeze the fibres together at their roots by pinching the strip crossways 
with the right hand thumb and finger nails at the quill end. The strip is 
then taken at the pinched root, placed and held at the desired angle 
against the upper part of the side of the hook, and with the left hand one 
turn of tying silk is given from you and drawn tight, in order that the 
fibres shall come as close to each other as possible. This is simple 
enough to do, but when done, the chief thing is to keep the silk 
taut while seizing it with the right hand. Now place the left thumb 
above and fore-finger below the strip, close to the tie, give two more 
turns with the right hand in the usual way and cut off waste. Make 
off. By the same process prepare the near strip. Apply it to the 
hook, noting that on this occasion the strip is placed somewhat flatter to 
the side of the shank than the former one (the outer side of which was 
slightly elevated) as the tying silk will draw up the lower fibres into their 
proper position. With the left hand give one turn from you, holding the 
silk taut as before, and then seize it with the right hand. Now grip the 
wings sideways with the left hand, allowing the fingers to point a little 
downwards, and give three turns with the right hand. Cut off waste and 

But the Spey style of fly calls for more minute details. Take the 
"Gold Eiach" for an example. One side of the Spey-cock hackle (which 
is wound from its root along the body) is stripped of its fibres, leaving the 
better side for use. If the tinsels are wound from you (a matter decided 
according to which side the hackle is stripped), the hackle is brought over 
them towards you, and vice versa. Along with the tinsels is fixed a 
length of tying-silk for binding the hackle at intervals of, say, ^ of an 
inch. This is done simply to protect the hackle from uncoiling if cut by 
the tooth of a fish. Of necessity, the silk is worked in between the fibres 


which are separated with the stiletto. But it is in respect of the wings 
that some knowledge and much practice is needed. Take two strips, 
say, of Mallard, both from the same side of the feather ; place one over 
and upon the other, so as to form one strip. Hold the fly in the left 
fingers by its loop. Place the strips so arranged on their backs, that 
their roots reach the throat hackle, with their points extending beyond 
the loop. Bind them down, headwards, from the throat hackle to half 
way along the space left for the wings. Now turn the fly round, and 
holding it in the usual way, bend the strips back over the work and body, 
pass the silk to the end of the shank, and with it make close coils, tail- 
wards, up to and just on upon the bent part of the wings. The object is 
to make the wings " sit up" in use. Put silk in CATCH ; divide the strips 
into two equal parts, and work the silk first between them, and then 
round, in and out, in a figure of eight fashion, and finish off with a double 
half-hitch on the body side of them. Varnish. 

No. 7. Topping winged flies (six toppings). Put on these feathers 
in the following way. 

Take two of equal length, indent, and tie them down together on the 
far side with two turns of silk. Take two more of similar length, and 
after unwinding one of the former turns, fix them in like manner on the 
near side. Put on the final two feathers singly, one at the top of the 
work on the far side, the other likewise on the near side. Give four 
turns ; put silk in CATCH, now pull and coax with the left fingers into 
order all the toppings together, while gently holding them close to the 
head between the right thumb and fore-finger ; release silk ; shift left 
thumb and fore-finger towards head, so as to hold the feathers close to 
it. Unwind one or two turns of silk, and finally tie down and varnish. 

No. 8 brings me to the final items in the count namely, chenille, etc. 

But before entering into details, I would remind novices at this work 
that it is easier for an entirely uninstructed man to acquire a correct 
method, than a misinstructed one, who has to shed bad habits and un- 
learn. Perseverance is required, too, in order to quite master the 
subordinate branches of fly making " doubling hackles," " getting the 
fingers under control," "marrying strips of feathers," etc. The student 
should not over-burden his mind with " too much at once " ; he should 


learn to think, not what others think, but to think for himself. For 
whilst the memory is loaded, the understanding remains unexercised, or 
exercised in such trammels as constrain its motions and direct its pace. 

The icisest course in fly making is not to dawdle in premature 
attempts with silk bodies, bodies of Seal's fur, or of silver tinsel ; or even 
with " built," "mixed," or other forms of wings. The business is far more 
comprehensible and memorable when the entire attention is devoted to 
Grubs, until the student at least perfects himself in hackling, in " tags " 
and " tails," and in the manipulation of chenilles, together with their 
accompaniments as, for instance, Jungle for cheeks of Grubs. 

My object in not mentioning this matter before is obvious, and is 
vindicated by the fact of not having to travel twice over the same ground 
of instruction. The student is, for example, familiar with the working of 
hackles, tags, and tails ; but of chenille, I have a few words to say. 

Suppose, then, we have lying before us a " Jungle Hornet " fly (in 
course of preparation), showing the tying-silk made off after the butt 
hackle has been so tied down that the " interval " on the shank of the 
hook is partially filled in ; how is the fly to be completed ? 

Select first, three pair of Jungle. Choose for " cheeking " the butt 
hackle the two smallest, and prepare them by stripping the fibres on each 
side of the stem up to the black and white spots. Fix them. This is 
best done by holding the hook in the right hand, whilst the left fingers 
encompass and draw the fibres of the hackle over and beyond the tag, 
where they are held with the hook, out of the way of the work. 

Take the Jungle feather by the root, place it in the desired position 
on the near side ; rai ;e the left thumb so as to grasp the feather whilst 
one turn of the tying-silk is given, which is now put in CATCH. Fix the 
far side cheek in a similar manner, and cut off the waste ends at a point 
that they fit the " interval " on the shank of the hook. Release silk, give 
two more temporary turns of it, and make off. 

Having cut off two six-inch lengths of yellow and black chenille for 
the body, remove the fluff at one end of each for, say, one quarter of an 
inch to expose the core, by snipping off small portions with the right 
finger nails. Release silk, and put it in CATCH after carefully unwinding 
the two temporary turns. Put the exposed core of the yellow chenille on 


the far side, and give two turns of tying-silk over it. The next turn of 
the tying-silk binds down the black length alongside the yellow. CATCH 
silk again, cut off the waste ends of chenille, so as to fit interval, and tie 
all down permanently in close turns. Make off. The levelling of the 
" interval " is now complete. Coil chenilles alternately, and give two 
turns of each one at a time. To do this, take first the yellow piece in the 
right hand, whilst the left fore-finger -and thumb grasp, as before, the 
fibres (and cheeks) out of the way ; put it once over the shank, and into 
CATCH. Eepeat this. Put STOP on second coil, but pass CATCH fingers 
behind black chenille, and urge it with the little finger into the back- 
ground, tailwards. Maintain STOP ; seize black chemlle on the left side 
of the yellow, and pass it over the shank (binding down yellow with this 
first coil), and into CATCH. Make second coil. Holding black in CATCH, 
work yellow again, using CATCH and STOP, as before. 

By this process, continue forming the body until the place on the 
shank is reached for the second or centre hackle of the Grub. 

Eelease tying-silk from Make off, and while using STOP on both 
chenilles, tie them down with two turns, and put silk in CATCH. Tie in 
centre hackle, binding ends of chenilles as you proceed ; coil it, fix it, 
and add cheeks as before. The number of coils from first to last depend 
upon the amount of hackle wanted, either for a light or a heavy Grub ; 
but one coil more is given to the second hackle, and two or three more 
to the one at the head, which is longest in fibre. 

In preparing the hackles, do not take off too many fibres at the butt 
end, for these are easily removed after sufficient coils are made. For the 
purpose of removal, fix tweezers to the butt end of the hackle, and put 
them into CATCH. With the point of the stiletto pushed in between the 
fibres from the far side, urge a small number of them down with it on to 
the ball of the right thumb, and while squeezing them there with the 
stiletto, a gentle but sudden down-stroke of the hand will snip off 
superfluous material. 

In binding down cheeks and head hackle loopwards, cut off all waste 
ends when four turns have been given ; and, on reaching end of shank 
work the tying silk back over the former turns firmly and closely, and 
finally tie with a half-hitch. To make a half-hitch extend the left third 


finger, and form the required loop by putting the tying-silk under and 
round it ; the loop itself is then taken, passed over head and pulled 
towards you into position. When there, the half-hitch is made by 
using STOP while the silk is tightened. Varnish head. I have only 
to add that in fly making, as in any art, we frequently see that a 
novelty in system or in practice is too much for the student, and 
cannot be duly appreciated till time has sobered the enthusiasm of 
its advocates. But is not success sooner reached, in any undertaking, 
by practising that system which, intelligently followed, never brings 
for the student the necessity to unlearn ? Increasing practice will 
assuredly result, not only in increasing respect for our system, but 
also that measure of excellence, which, at least, will suffice for all 
practical purposes. Obedience, then a virtue to be caressed in 
acquiring skill in fly making is good and indispensable here. The 
student will soon engage himself upon Instruction Fly No. 1, and make 
it again and again, until, being disciplined by experience, as in the case 
of Grubs, he becomes so familiar with every detail that, without reference 
to these particulars, he proceeds precisely in the manner described. 





SILK. Is intended for floss silk unless otherwise stated. 

HEEL. For Ostrich herl unless otherwise stated. 

WOOL. For Berlin wool. 

MALLARD. For the brown mottled feather unless otherwise stated ; and 
when mentioned at the end of the list in company with, or in the 
absence of, a topping, a right and left strip form the cap of the 
wing. As a general rule, materials for the wing come upon the 
hook in the same order as set forth in these descriptions. But 
married strips of dyed feathers as, for instance, yellow, red, and 
blue Swan, are sometimes built in the wing and sometimes on 
the wing ; whilst similar strips of natural feathers as, say, Ibis, 
Teal, and powdered blue Macaw, invariably serve as " sides," in 
which case they are put on the wing immediately before 
" cheeks," toppings, and horns. 

TIPPET. Is from the neck of the Golden Pheasant unless otherwise 

TOPPING. Is the crest feather of the Golden Pheasant. 

PARROT. Is green unless otherwise stated. 


TINSEL. Is flat silver or gold tinsel unless otherwise stated. 
G. S. General Standard. 
S. S. Special Standard. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk; 
TAIL. A topping and Teal. 
BODY. Yellow, light claret, blue and black Seal's fur respectively, in 

equal parts. 

KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Natural black hackle, from claret fur. 

WINGS. Tippet and Gallina in strands, Teal, Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Amherst Pheasant. 

This old " standard " was the late Lord Abinger's favourite pattern on 

the Lochy. 


TAG. Gold twist. 

TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 
BODY. The first half of yellow Seal's fur, having a yellow hackle along 

it ; followed by black Seal's fur, and a black hackle along it. 
EIBS. Gold tinsel. 
THROAT. Black Heron. 

WINGS. Two strips of cinnamon Turkey showing light points. 
SIDES. Jungle (short and drooping). 

An excellent Dee pattern. For early fishing in snow water this fly 
is often dressed with double white wings ; the first pair (strips) at centre 
of body, the others at head. This variation has proved of much service 


on many rivers, and was introduced some years since by Garden, of 


TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Three turns dark yellow silk, followed by majenta silk (short). 
EIBS. Gold tinsel (double, oval). 

HACKLE. A natural red Cock's hackle from majenta silk. 
WINGS. Tippet strands, light mottled Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, 

Mallard, and a topping. 
HEAD. Black herl. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Gold tinsel and yellow silk. 

BUTT. (Or No. 1 Hackle) Bed Macaw hackle, cheeked on each side with 


BODY. Black chenille. 

CENTRE HACKLE. Yellow Macaw, cheeked with Chatterer. 
HEAD HACKLE. Vulturine Guineafowl (a natural blue) and black Heron, 

cheeked as before. 

A successful Grub in September and October. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 


BODY. Crimson Seal's fur. 

BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. A natural silver furnace hackle. 

WINGS. Two strips of light, mottled Turkey. 

This summer pattern, used on the Dee, is dressed on very small double 




TAG. Gold twist and light blue silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Gallina. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Yellow silk, light orange, blue and dark claret Seal's fur, equally 

BIBS. Gold tinsel. 

HACKLE. Dark claret from second turn. 

THROAT. Gallina and light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled with Golden Pheasant tail, 
light Bustard, Grey Mallard, Peacock wing, Swan dyed light 
blue, yellow, and dark claret ; and Mallard above. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

One of the oldest standards, and a favourite on most rivers. 



TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Green and dark blue Seal's fur, equally divided. 
KIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Black Heron from green fur. 


THROAT. Widgeon. 

WINGS. Two strips of plain cinnamon Turkey. 

SIDES. Jungle (short and drooping). 

A favourite Dee fly. 



TAG. Gold twist and dark orange silk. 

TAIL. A topping. Summer Duck, and Toucan from under-tail. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections: No. 1, straw-coloured silk, ribbed with 
gold tinsel (oval, fine) ; butted with Toucan (orange) above and 
below, and black her! : No. 2, dark orange silk, having a dark 
orange hackle along it, and ribbed with gold tinsel. 

THROAT. Gallina, dyed blue. (Jay for small patterns.) 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) light mottled Turkey, dyed dark 
orange, two strips of blue Macaw, Swan dyed straw-colour, 
Golden Pheasant tail and two toppings. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

" Use this fly in dark coloured water," writes a friend of mine, " and 
you will not regret it. The inventor himself succeeds with it on the 
Wye when the water is positively muddy." 



TAG. Silver twist and dark red-claret silk. 
TAIL. Topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In two sections. The first half with silver tinsel (flat) ribbed 


with silver tinsel (oval) and butted with Indian Crow (extending 
to tag) and black herl. The second half with black silk, ribs of 
silver tinsel (oval), having a dark red-claret hackle along it. 


WINGS. Tippet strands, Swan, dyed yellow, Summer Duck, blue and red 
Macaw, Golden Pheasant tail, Peacock wing, Mallard above and 
a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

An excellent fly in Norway as well as on the Shannon, Blackwater, 
Earn, Test, and Usk. The Baron is a fly I am very fond of and, with it, 
Sir Hyde Parker killed his memorable 60 Ibs. Salmon. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping, Teal, and Ibis. 

BUTT. Black herl, followed by two turns silver tinsel. 

BODY. In three equal sections ; the first two, doubly butted ; thus No. 1 
of yellow silk with a yellow mane (mohair), black herl, and two 
turns of silver tinsel. No. '2, red-orange silk ; a red-orange 
mane (mohair), black herl and two turns of silver tinsel. No. 3, 
claret silk. 

THROAT. Light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled with Golden Pheasant tail, 
light and dark mottled Turkey, Bustard, Teal, Swan dyed 
yellow, red, and light blue ; Mallard and a topping. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A very useful, showy fly, well known on the Test ; but it seems to have 

been forgotten on the Dee. 




TAG. Silver tinsel and red-claret silk. 

TAIL. A topping and scarlet Ibis. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Dark yellow, light orange, red-claret, and light blue Seal's fur in 
equal portions. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Light blue, from red-claret fur. 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) extending only to end of dark yellow 
fur, veiled with light mottled Turkey, Swan dyed yellow and red, 
Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, Teal, Mallard and a topping. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

This is a special favourite of mine ; and I consider it as the best 
pattern on the Earn. I have also used it with much success on the Tweed, 
Spey, Lochy and Blackwater, Co. Cork. When dressed thin in body and 
wings, Benchill used in Summer is an excellent Dee pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and claret-majenta silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Blue and orange silks, in equal divisions. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval, fine). 
HACKLE. A natural black hackle from second turn. 
THKOAT. Claret-majenta hackle and Jay. 
WINGS. Tippet (strands) Bustard, Swan dyed claret-majenta, blue and 

orange ; and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

According to an account given by the inventor, this is one of the 
best spring flies on the Leuarn ; it is known also by the name of "The 
half blue-and-orange." 



TAG. Silver twist and scarlet silk. 
TAIL. Ibis, and point of Jungle. 

BODY. Two turns of scarlet Seal's fur, followed by dark orange Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. A dark coch-a-bonddu. 
WINGS. Two strips of dark mottled Turkey over an underwing of light 

mottled Turkey. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A general favourite on the Usk. 



TAG. Silver twist Gold floss. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, Gold tinsel, ribbed with silver tinsel 

(oval) having Indian Crow above and below and butted with 

black herl. No. 2, Black silk, ribbed with silver tinsel, and a 

gold hackle from second turn. 
THROAT. A claret hackle and Jay. 
WlNGS. Dark Turkey having white points, Bustard, Eed Macaw, light 

mottled Turkey, Mallard, Swan dyed red and blue, and two 

SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

TAG. Silver twist and violet silk. 
TAIL. Toucan and Indian Crow. 




BODY. Orange and black silk, in equal divisions. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Jay, from centre. 

WINGS. Light and dark Bustard, Gallina, yellow and blue Macaw, Ibis, 

Parrot, and a topping. 
CHEEKS'. Indian Crow. 
HEAD. Black herl. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. Ibis, and powdered blue Macaw mixed in strands. 
BUTT. No. 1 hackle natural black ; cheeked with Chatterer. 
BODY. Black chenille, 

No. 2 hackle, in centre of body and cheeked as before, 

No. 3 hackle, a still larger natural black, and cheeked as before. 

Earn and Usk, and upper waters of the Beauly. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 

BUTT. Scarlet Berlin wool. 

BODY. Black silk. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Blue hackle from second turn. 


WINGS. Tippet in strands ; Pintail, dark mottled Turkey, Swan dyed blue 

and yellow, Eed Macaw, Gallina, Golden Pheasant tail, Mallard 

and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 


CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Scarlet Berlin wool. 

An old and general favourite. 



TAG. Silver twist and canary silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Ibis. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Black silk. 

Ems. Yellow silk, and silver tinsel (oval) running on each side of it. 
HACKLE. Black Heron from third yellow rib. 
WINGS. Two red-orange hackles (back to back) enveloped by two Jungle ; 

unbarred Summer Duck, light Bustard, Amherst Pheasant, Swan 

dyed scarlet and yellow and two toppings. 

An old standard of my Father's, and a useful high water fly very good 

on the Spey, Wye, etc. 



TAG. Silver twist and light orange silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Teal and Ibis. 

BODY. Three turns light blue Seal's fur, followed by black Seal's fur. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Natural black, from blue Seal's fur. 
THROAT. Light plum-claret hackle. 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled with Teal, light mottled Turkey, 

Golden Pheasant tail, unbarred Summer D.uck, Peacock hcrl, 

Ibis, green Parrot, and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the original standards invented and introduced into use by 

Bernard for my Father. 





TAG. Silver twist and red-orange silk. 

TAIL. Toucan and Indian Crow. 

BODY. Black silk. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Jay, from centre. 

WINGS. Two Indian Crow (back to back) and three toppings. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A well-known Irish pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and dark yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns black silk, followed by black Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel, and silver lace (large sizes). 
HACKLE. Natural black, from silk. 
WINGS. Tippet, Ibis and Gallina in strands ; Bustard, Golden Pheasant 

tail, Teal, black Cockatoo's tail, Swan dyed green and dark 

yellow ; and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

Introduced for me by Farlow many years since. 


BODY. Orange Berlin wool (three turns) followed by black wool (short). 


BIBS. From far side gold tinsel (narrow), from near side silver tinsel 

(same size) both wound the reverse way, an equal distance 

HACKLE. From end of body, a black Spey-cock hackle, but wound from 

the root instead of from the point, in the usual direction, thus 

crossing over the ribs at each turn given. 
THROAT. Teal, one turn only. 
WINGS. Two strips of light brown mottled Mallard. 

SPECIAL NOTE. This is one of the old standard flies on the Spey. For 
full particulars see the " Green King." 



TAG. Silver twist and dark yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Three equal sections of silver tinsel (flat) butted above and below, 

with two black feathers (back to back)' from the nape of the 

Indian Crow, and black herl. 
WINGS. Five or six toppings. 
HOENS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This is generally used as an " Exaggeration." 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Black silk. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 


HACKLE. Natural black, from second turn of tinsel. 

THROAT. Light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Four tippets, partly overlapping and enveloping two projecting 

Jungle (back to back) and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

This fly is well known throughout the United Kingdom. 


TAG. Silver twist and claret silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY In two sections (1) Oval Tinsel, butted with Toucan above and 

beiow, and black herl ; ( 4 2) blue silk having a blue hackle along it. 
WINGS Golden Pheasant tippet and tail in strands, Swan dyed blue and 

claret, Mallard and a topping. 
SIDES Jungle. 



TAG. Silver twist and dark orange silk. 
TAIL. Topping. 
BUTT. Black herl 
BODY. Blue silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel and silver lace. 
HACKLE. Powdered blue Macaw (one side stripped). 
THROAT. Yellow Macaw. 

WINGS. Red Macaw in strands and two toppings. 
SIDES. Jungle. 


HOBNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

Fishing in 1886 at Stanley-on-Tweed, the author of Bluebell wrote : 
" For the last three days the fish would look at nothing, but I tried a 
Bluebell last night and have had rare fun with it to-day, killing three fish 
in one pool, the largest 28 Ibs. . . ." 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Two Indian Crow (back to back). 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel (.oval, the finest), intersected by four sets of Chatterer 
above and below at equal distances apart. 1st set at one-fourth 
of space between butt and head : 3rd set forming throat. 

WINGS. Two strips of yellow Macaw and two toppings. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the best low water flies in summer. The hook should be no more 
than f inch in length ; smaller patterns are also very effective. 


(W. BROWN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Claret silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Blue hackle. 
WINGS. Broad strips of Mallard, two narrow strips of Teal above and a 

HEAD. Black wool. 

A good summer fly used chiefly on the Dee, and dressed on small double 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 

BUTT. Scarlet Berlin wool. 

BODY. Light blue silk. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Light blue hackle from second turn. 


WINGS. Tippet in strands, Gallina, Golden Pheasant tail, light mottled 

Turkey, Pintail, Swan dyed yellow and light blue, Ibis, Mallard, 

and a topping. 
HOENS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Scarlet Berlin wool. 

One of the early fancy patterns on the Tweed and well known on all 




TAG. Silver twist and red-orange silk. 

TAIL. Toucan and Indian Crow. 

BODY. Light blue silk. 

KIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Jay from centre. 

WINGS. Two Indian Crow (back to back, long) and four toppings. 

HOENS. Powdered blue Macaw. 

CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 

HEAD. Black herl. 


(Colonel KELSON.) 

TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 

TAIL. Red Toucan (from undertail), yellow Macaw, powdered blue 
Macaw, and Gallina, in strands. 


BODY. Two turns scarlet silk and black Seal's fur. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel and silver lace. 

HACKLE. A white coch-a-bonddu dyed dark blue, from second turn. 

WINGS. Two strips Turkey showing white tips, Golden Pheasant tail 

and Peacock herl mixed together in strands, and Mallard. 
SIDES. Teal. 

This fly, now known by the above name, was invented in the 
" forties " for the Usk. It is a capital fly in dirty water, and was 
originally called "William Bass" after a bass singer and chimney sweeper 
residing then at Sevenoaks. 



TAG. Silver twist and dark blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Dark blue silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Light red-claret from second turn. 
WINGS. Tippet strands, dark Turkey, Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail ; 

married strips of Swan dyed yellow, red, and blue ; and two 

strips of Mallard above. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An excellent Irish pattern ; and, when lightly dressed and used in 
summer, kills well on the Dee. 


TAIL. A topping, Summer Duck, and Ibis. 

BODY. Equal divisions of yellow and blue Seal's fur. 


KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval, fine) over yellow, and silver tinsel (flat and 

larger) over blue. 

HACKLE. A blue hackle along blue fur. 
WINGS. Two strips of cinnamon Turkey having white points, and a 


SIDES. Summer Duck. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

One of the most popular patterns on the Earn. 



TAG. Silver twist (plenty). 

TAIL. Toucan (three) and two small Chatterer (back to back). 
BUTT. -Black herl. 
BODY. In three equal sections of silver tinsel (oval, the finest) : No. 1, 

butted with Toucan above and below, followed by black herl. 

No. 2, butted with Indian Crow above and below, followed by 

black herl. 
THROAT (or No. 3 section) Double Chatterer feathers (back to back) on 

off and on near side. 

WINGS. Ibis and red Macaw in fibres, and three toppings. 
HORNS. Amherst Pheasant. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A very good fly in hot weather when the fish are sulky and settled down 
in small streamy Catches. It should be dressed thinly and very small. 



TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Gallina. 


BUTT. Ked wool. 

BODY. One third yellow Seal's fur then claret Seal's fur. 

RIBS. Gold tinsel and silver lace. 

HACKLE. Claret hackle from yellow fur. 

THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Tippet, Teal, and Peacock wing for underwing ; Amherst 

Pheasant, Golden Pheasant tail, Bustard, Swan dyed yellow and 

claret ; and Mallard. 
SIDES. Married strips of Teal and Ibis. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Eed wood. 

A good fly on the Earn, Usk, and many Irish waters ; also from the 
middle of May, on the Spey. 



TAG. Gold twist (plenty). 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Eed-orange Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Gold tinsel. 
WINGS. Shovel duck and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Dark blue hackle. 

Excellent Wye pattern and an old standard on the Thurso. 



TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Dirty orange and brown Seal's fur, in equal divisions. 

KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Grouse. 

WINGS. Golden Pheasant tippet in strands ; Teal, Swan dyed yellow, 

red, and light blue ; and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

One of the best flies on the Ness. To be had of the inventor, 19, Inglis 

Street, Inverness. 


(Colonel BRUCE.) 
TAG. Silver twist (plenty). 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Claret hackle, from second turn. 
THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Silver mottled Turkey, and Golden Pheasant Tail. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

The Bruce kills well on the Test. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A tuft of orange wool (short). 
BODY. One-third orange wool, followed by black Seal's fur. 


EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. A coch-a-bonddu hackle. 
WINGS. Mallard. 

A good fly in summer on the Dee ; it is usually dressed on small double 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. Topping, Teal, and powdered blue Macaw. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In four equal divisions of Seal's fur, viz. : light red-claret and 
light blue, dark red-claret and dark blue respectively. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel (preceded on large hooks by silver lace). 

HACKLE. A natural black, from light red-claret Seal's fur. 

THROAT. A yellow hackle and Gallina. 

WINGS. A tippet, and breast feather of the Golden Pheasant (back to- 
back) veiled with Teal, Golden Pheasant tail, Gallina, Bustard, 
and Peacock wing ; strands of Parrot and Swan dyed yellow ;: 
and Mallard. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

This old standard is used everywhere. For my own work I always add a 

topping to the wing. 


TAG. Silver twist and violet silk. 

(Gold twist and gold ribs in Autumn). 
TAIL. A topping. 


BUTT. Scarlet wool. 

BODY. Black silk. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Black hackle from second turn. 


WINGS. Two strips of plain cinnamon Turkey. 

A useful bright-water pattern for rivers that are fished with dark flies in 

bright weather. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Ibis, and powdered blue Macaw. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Light blue hackle from second turn. 
THROAT. Light orange hackle and Widgeon. 
WINGS. Two extended Jungle (back to back) veiled with Widgeon, 

Gallina, Bustard, Peacock herl (fine, small quantity), Ibis, Parrot, 

Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

In many places this fly has a better reputation than either the " Silver 

Doctor" or the "Lion." 


(D.vviD MURRAY.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, Silver tinsel, ribbed with silver 

tinsel (oval, fine) and butted with black herl. No. 2, light claret 

Seal's fur, ribbed with silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. A yellow hackle from centre. 
WINGS. Two strips of cinnamon Turkey (plain), narrow strips of Swan 

dyed red, yellow, and light blue, married ; Bustard, Golden 

Pheasant tail, Teal, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 

One of the best patterns on the South Esk. 



TAG. Silver tinsel (oval, fine). 

TAIL. Ibis and Summer duck. 

BODY. Three turns of black silk followed by black Seal's fur. 

KIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. A dark fiery-brown, from Seal's fur. 

WINGS. Double Jungle and two toppings. 

HEAD. Black wool. 



TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 
BODY. The first half formed of two turns of light orange silk. Two 

turns of dark orange Seal's fur, two turns of dark red-claret 

Seal's fur ; followed by dark blue Seal's fur. 
Ems. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. A white coch-a-bonddu, dyed light red-claret, from orange 

THROAT. A blue hackle and Gallina. 


WINGS. Teal, Pintail, Gallina, Peacock wing, Anaherst and Golden 
Pheasant tail, in strands ; Swan dyed light and dark orange, 
claret, and dark blue. Mallard and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HOKNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

Originally introduced into Scotland by Bernard, where it is erroneously 

called the Poynder. 



TAG. Silver twist, cream silk, and crimson silk. 
TAIL. Ibis, powdered blue Macaw, tippet, and Peacock wing, in strands ; 

with two (shorter) narrow strips of Summer Duck. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Claret silk (two turns), dark blue Seal's fur, and black Seal's fur, 

in equal divisions. 

HACKLE. Black Heron from blue Seal's fur. 
THROAT. Gallina. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel and silver twist. 
WINGS. Peacock wing dyed claret, powdered blue Macaw, red Macaw,. 

and Teal, in strands ; Golden Pheasant Tail, Gallina, Mallard, 

and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

Used with success on the Dee, Spey, Lochy, Garry, Blackwater, and 




TAG. Silver twist and scarlet silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Summer Duck. 

Plate 3. 







>**. *.', / 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, yellow silk, ribbed with silver 
tinsel, butted with Indian Crow above and below, and black 
herl. No. 2, light blue silk, ribbed with silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. A yellow hackle from centre. 

WINGS. Tippet fibres, Swan dyed yellow and red, Golden Pheasant tail, 
powdered blue Macaw, Summer Duck, and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HEAD. Scarlet wool. 

A popular fly on South Esk. For personal use I make the butt with 

scarlet wool. 


BODY. Orange Berlin wool (short). 

RIBS. Silver tinsel (ordinary method). 

HACKLE. Black Heron from end of body (ordinary method). 

WINGS. Mallard showing brown points and light roots. 

An old standard Spey fly. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Majenta silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel, sufficient turns to ensure an equal width of silver 

and body silk alternately. 
THROAT. Majenta hackle. 

WINGS. Two strips of dark mottled Turkey showing white tips, and a 



SIDES. Jungle. 

HEAD. Two turns of majenta hackle. 

A favourite pattern on North Esk. 



TAG. Silver twist and light yellow silk. 

TAIL. Topping, unbarred Summer Duck ; Swan dyed light crimson and 
light blue. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of light blue silk, and equal quantities of dark yellow, 
crimson, dark blue, and black Seal's fur. 

KIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Natural black from Seal's fur. 


WINGS.- Two Summer Duck strips (back to back) partially veiled at bottom 
with married strips of Amherst Pheasant and Golden Pheasant 
tail ; blue Macaw, Swan dyed crimson, Teal, unbarred Summer 
Duck, Swan dyed dark yellow, Peacock wing, Mallard, and a. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HEAD. Black herl: 

NOTE. Use Pig's wool for large Spring patterns. 


(Captain DUNDAS.) 

TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 


BODY. Yellow and black Seal's fur equally divided. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Black hackle from yellow fur 

THROAT. Jay ; but for larger patterns Gallina dyed blue. 

WINGS. Tippet fibres, Golden Pheasant tail, and Teal for underwing ; 
dark mottled Turkey, Bustard, Widgeon, Peacock wing, Swan 
dyed yellow, red, and light blue ; and Mallard. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer (formerly Kingfisher). 



TAG. Silver twist and light orange silk. 
TAIL. Two toppings. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
*BoDY. Two turns of light violet silk making headway for numberless 

small Chatterer feathers, closely packed round the rest of 

the body. 

THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Four Indian Crow feathers, in pairs (back to back), first pair 

longer than the second, having the point of a Jay feather on each 

side two-thirds of the length of the Crow feathers ; with five or 

six toppings above. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

These feathers are best put on by working head wards, holding the hook 
not by the bend in the usual way, but by the shank. 

EIVERS. All " Blue rivers." An excellent fly on the Tweed when dressed 

with built or mixed wings. 




(Colonel GUILDERS.) 
TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 

TAIL. A topping ; strands of red, and powdered blue Macaw, and Pintail. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of light yellow silk, followed by light yellow Seal's 

fur, and three turns red Seal's fur at throat. 
RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. White furnace hackle, dyed light yellow. 
THROAT. A red hackle and Widgeon. 
WINGS. Strands of tippet, and tail of the Golden Pheasant; brown 

mottled Turkey, Amherst Pheasant, Pintail, Bustard, Summer 

Duck, Parrot, powdered blue and red Macaw, Gallina ; Mallard 

and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the best old standard patterns. 


TAIL. A few fibres of yellow Macaw. 

BODY. Three turns of orange Pig's wool, followed by claret-brown Pig's 


RIBS. Silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Crown Pigeon from centre. 
THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Two strips of Glen Tana Gled and a topping. 
HORNS. Red Macaw. 

TAG. Silver twist and light yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Ibis and Gallina. 




BODY. Two turns of light red-claret silk, followed by claret Seal's fur. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Claret hackle, from second turn. 


WINGS. Strands of Teal, Tippet and Toucan ; Parrot, light mottled 

Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, Gallina, dark Bustard, Swan dyed 

yellow, light blue, and claret ; and Mallard. 
SIDES. Ibis and yellow Macaw (married). 
HOBNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

Introduced for me by Farlow many years since. 



TAG. Silver twist and dark blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Light red-claret silk. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Blue, from second turn. 

WINGS. Same as " Blue Palmer." 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This fly is as popular in Ireland as the " Blue Palmer." 


(M \LLOCH.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Widgeon and Ibis. 


BODY. Equal parts of yellow and claret Seal's fur. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval, fine) over yellow half, and silver tinsel. 

HACKLE.- A claret hackle along claret Seal's fur. 

THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Two strips of cinnamon Turkey. 

A real favourite on the Earn and popular on many other Scotch rivers. 


(\V. GARDEN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Dark blue silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Gallina and Teal. 

WINGS. Tippet fibres ; Mallard and two narrow strips of Summer Duck- 

A summer pattern on the Dee. This fly is well known in many parts 
of Ireland, and also kills well on the Lochy and Ness. It is well dressed 
at Aberdeen by the inventor. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping and Scarlet Ibis. 
BODY. Black silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Teal. 

This favourite summer pattern on the Dee is dressed on very small 

double hooks. 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Ibis. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Black silk, with two turns at throat of red-orange Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Black hackle, from second turn. 
THROAT. Ked-orange hackle. 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled with Gallina, light mottled 

Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, dark mottled Turkey, Swan dyed 

light yellow and red-orange ; and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A well known old standard pattern of my Father's. 


(Modern.) (F.\RLO\v.) 

TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Two turns of yellow silk, followed by yellow Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Black purse silk, gold lace, and silver tinsel (together). 
HACKLE. A yellow hackle, from yellow silk. 
THROAT. Light Bustard. 
WINGS. Strips of dark mottled Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, and 

Bustard ; Swan dyed yellow, red, and blue ; and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

Thurso, Don, and very good on the Wye. 


TAG. Silver twist arid yellow silk. 

TAIL. Toucan ; and tippet fibres varying in length. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY.- Copper tinselled chenille. 

HACKLE. Light fiery brown (two thirds of body). 


WINGS. Two strips of tippet, veiled with Golden Pheasant tail, Teal, 

and Gallina ; Mallard and a topping. 

SIDES. A married strip of yellow and powdered blue Macaw, and Ibis. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

An excellent fly on the Usk. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. Toucan. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Black silk. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Black from second turn. 

THROAT. Gallina dyed blue. 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled, T L with light Bustard, Mallard, 

and a topping. 

SIDES. Swan dyed yellow and blue. 
HEAD. Black wool. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Gold embossed tinsel, first half, followed by black silk. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 


HACKLE. Orange hackle, from centre. 

WINGS. Two strips of tippet, Golden Pheasant tail, Pintail, and a 

SIDES. Jungle. 

A good killer on North Esk. 


(Jonx DALLA.S.) 

BODY. Three turns of yellow Berlin wool, followed by black wool. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel, gold tinsel (oval, narrow), red thread and blue 

thread, all running an equal distance apart. 
HACKLE. A black Spey Cock's hackle from end of body, but wound the 

reverse way, and so crossing over the ribs. 
THROAT. A red hackle from the Golden Pheasant. 
WINGS. Two strips of plain cinnamon Turkey. 
HEAD. Orange wool, picked out. 

This capital fly on the Spey was christened by Mr. Little Gilmore. 
Like other local patterns, the body is short and begins a full ;- of an inch 
in front of the point of the hook. The description given is from a pattern 
forwarded by Mr. C. M. Burn's Fisherman at Pitcroy ; and proved to be 
correct by one being sent to me by Dallas himself. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. Topping, strands of Summer Duck and Chatterer. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel, nearly \ , and finish with light blue silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. A light blue hackle and Gallina. 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) enveloping two projecting Jungle 
(back to back). 


SIDES. Summer Duck, covering lower part of tippet. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black Berlin Wool. 

RIVERS : Tweed, etc. 

(NOTE. This fly occasionally -kills under general conditions of 
weather and water, but is frequently found useful as a special standard for 
moving sulky fish.) 



(Pattern and particulars given to me by Mr. Davidson himself when fishing 

together on the Tay at Aberfeldy.) 
TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Peacock wing. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In two sections : 1st half of gold tinsel, ribbed with gold tinsel 

(oval) and butted with a Jay hackle : 2nd half, blue silk ribbed 

with gold tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. A tippet (hackle- wise). 
WINGS. Three toppings, the one in the centre is put on its back ; the 

other two at the sides, projecting outwards. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

The inventor, who introduced Frank Buckland to his first fish, 
used this pattern on all occasions when he found Salmon in a sulky 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 


BUTT. Black bed. 

BODY. In two equal sections of silver tinsel, butted at centre with Indian 

Crow and black herl. 
UIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Indian Crow, repeated as above, and light blue hackle. 
WINGS. Light mottled Turkey, yellow Macaw, Golden Pheasant tail, 

Teal, powdered blue Macaw, Ibis, dark mottled Turkey, grey 

Mallard ; Mallard and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This is a splendid pattern. I always take it with me. On some rivers 
it is known as " Baron Dawson." 



TAG. Silver twist, claret and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Summer Duck. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel (oval, fine, to centre) followed by light blue silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. A light blue hackle, from centre. 
AViNGS. Two tippets (back to back) enveloping two extended Jungle, 

veiled with yellow rump of Golden Pheasant on each side, Teal, 

and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An old standard on the Ness. 



TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Jungle (point). 


BUTT. Black herl, followed by six turns of the gold twist used 

for tag. 
BODY. In two sections ; No. 1, yellow silk to centre, ribbed with gold 

oval tinsel (fine) put on each side of a rib of black silk ; butted 

with Toucan above and below, and black herl ; No. 2, Black silk, 

ribbed with gold oval tinsel (fine) put on each side of a rib of 

yellow silk. 

THKOAT. Light blue hackle and Jay. 
WINGS. One tippet, backed with red breast feather of Golden Pheasant ; 

veiled with Teal, light and dark Bustard, Peacock wing, Gallina ; 

Mallard and a topping. ; 

SIDES. Jungle. 

CHEEKS. Indian Crow and Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A successful fly on most rivers. 



TAG. Gold twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and strands of tippet. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Two turns of light orange silk, followed by light dirty-orange 

Seal's fur. 

EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Light dirty-orange from silk. 
WINGS. Ginger Turkey (strips) ; Gallina, red breast of Golden Pheasant, 

in strands ; Bustard, Peacock herl, Golden Pheasant tail, strands 

of black Turkey white tipped, red Macaw, Swan dyed dirty-orange 

and dark blue ; and Mallard. 


SIDES. Summer Duck. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

Introduced for me by Farlow many years since. 


(Hi REGAN.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and blue mohair. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Four close turns of silver twist. Two equal sections of black 

silk butted with four close turns (as before) of silver twist, each 

having a top mane of claret mohair (short). 
THROAT. Golden olive hackle and Jay. 
WINGS. Two strips of tippet ; Golden Pheasant, trail Mallard and a 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A favourite fly on the Moy (chiefly used above Ballina) and on the 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Donkey's fur (now, Silver Monkey's fur). 
BIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. A transparent natural blue-dun hackle, from second turn. 

WINGS. Tippet, Teal, and Golden Pheasant tail, grey Mallard, dark 
mottled Turkey, Swan dyed yellow and red ; and Mallard. 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This old standard of my Father's is a useful fly on the Lee and other 

Irish waters. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping, a few strands of tippet and points of Toucan. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. (After Jock Scott type) First section, blue silk, ribbed with 
silver tinsel (fine, oval) butted with blue Chatterer fibres above 
and below, and black herl : Second section, dark claret silk, 
ribbed with silver lace and silver tinsel, and a claret hackle 
along it. 

THROAT. Orange hackle and Widgeon. 

WINGS. Two extended Jungle slightly tinged in Bismarck brown ; Golden 
Pheasant tail, light and dark Bustard, Swan dyed red, and yellow ; 
and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle (not dyed). 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 



TAG. Silver twist and light yellow silk. 

TAIL. Two toppings, Indian Crow and blue Chatterer. 

BUTT. Peacock herl. 

BODY. Black silk. 

RIHS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Black, from second turn. 


WINGS. Six toppings. 


SIDES. Summer Duck. 

CHEEKS. Indian Crow and Chatterer. 

HORNS. Eed, and blue Macaw; and light green Parrot. 

HEAD. Black herl. 


The Master of the Dumfriesshire Otter hounds, using this fly on the 
Annan, recently caught ten Salmon varying from 17 to 26 Ibs. in weight. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Light red fiery brown Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel. 
THROAT. Widgeon and Jay. 
WINGS. Strands of tippet; grey Mallard, a little Summer Duck, Mallard, 

and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A modern Spey pattern. 


TAG. Gold twist and orange silk. 

TAIL. A topping, and point of Jungle. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Gold tinsel. 

RIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Orange hackle, from second turn. 


WINGS. Two strips of Peacock wing, Mallard, and a topping. 


HORNS. Blue and red Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

This old standard pattern has undergone considerable change of 
"toilette," and is now universally dressed as above. Formerly the body 
was made with gold embossed tinsel, which I prefer. I believe it was 
invented by W. J. Davidson. 



TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Teal. 

BODY. Yellow, orange, red-claret Seal's fur, in equal sections. 
RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Black Heron, from claret fur. 
THROAT. Teal. 
WINGS. Two strips of plain brown Turkey with black bars and white 

SIDES. Jungle, short and drooping over Throat hackle. 

In the spring of 1893 this pattern accounted for seven Salmon out of 
the nine caught in the Birnam water on the Tay. 

Mr. Murdoch writes : " There is not a better all-round fly of the 
plain sort than the Dunt put upon the Dee in Spring or Autumn." 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of orange silk, two turns of dark orange Seal's fur ; 
the rest, which is about half, of black Seal's fur. 


RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. A white coch-a-bonddu dyed orange, running along the furs. 

THROAT. Light blue hackle. 

AViNGS. Four tippets overlapping (two on each side) and enveloping two 

projecting Jungle (back to back), and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black Berlin wool. 

EIVERS : Tweed, Spey, Lochy, Tay, Don, Earn, etc., etc. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel embossed, two thirds ; followed by orange silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Two strips of black Turkey white tipped, Golden Pheasant tail, 

Bustard, Pintail, Gallina, Mallard, and one topping put inside 

out on each side of wings. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

One of the oldest standard patterns. 



TAG. Silver twist (plenty). 
TAIL. A topping and Summer Duck. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


B ODY . One third light blue silk, ribbed with silver twist and butted with 
fibres of Grande Breve Tocate above and below, and black herl ; 
followed by claret silk having a dark claret hackle along it, and 
ribbed with silver tinsel (oval). 


WINGS. Tippet fibres (plenty) veiled with Mallard ; and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle (extra size) and a short strip of large Summer Duck. 

CHEEKS. Grande Breve Tocate (extra size). 

A special pattern for fish lying behind upright rocks and large boulders. 



TAG. Gold twist and light yellow silk. 

TAIL. Summer Duck. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two sections : No. 1, light yellow silk, ribbed with fine silver 

tinsel, and butted with Toucan (above and below), and black 

herl ; No. 2, red silk, ribbed with gold tinsel. 
THROAT. Black Heron. 
WINGS. Two Snipe (back to back) for underwing, veiled with Peacock 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An excellent fly on the Usk. 



TAG. Silver twist and red silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


BODY. In two sections: No. 1, Parrot green silk, ribbed with silver 
tinsel (oval, fine), butted with Indian Crow above and below, and 
black herl. No. 2, Black Seal's fur ribbed with silver tinsel 
(oval), and a natural black hackle along it. 


WINGS. Golden Pheasant tippet and tail, and Gallina in strands ; grey 
Mallard, Summer Duck ; Mallard, and a topping. 

SIDES. Ibis and yellow Macaw (married). 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

An old standard useful on most rivers. 


TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. One third yellow Seal's fur, followed by black Seal's fur. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Black hackle, from yellow fur. 

WINGS. Mallard. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

For Canadian waters and a useful low water fly. 



TAG. Gold twist and scarlet silk. 

TAIL. Toucan and Jungle (point) dyed scarlet. 

BODY. Black Seal's fur. 

KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Light blue hackle (long), and Gallina dyed orange. 

WINGS. Peacock's herl ; Swan dyed yellow and scarlet ; Summer Duck, 

capped with two strips of black Turkey, white tipped. 
SIDES. Jungle dyed scarlet. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An old standard on the Usk, and a great favourite of personal friends. 





TAG. Gold twist and scarlet silk. 

TAIL. Toucan, one small Jungle dyed scarlet, with two extending 
strands of Peacock wing. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of black silk, followed by black Seal's fur. 

EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Medium blue hackle and Gallina dyed light orange (the same 
in colour as the Toucan). 

WINGS. Gallina and tippet strands in different lengths for underwing, 
Peacock herl, Swan dyed Jight orange, scarlet, and blue ; two 
thin strips of Summer Duck, capped with two strips of the black 
sheeny Turkey, white tipped, taken from the undertail of an old 
bird, and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle fowl dyed scarlet. 

HORNS. Eed Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A useful fly on the Usk and other " Eed " rivers, when a thorough change 

is desirable. 



TAG. Silver twist and gold twist, respectively. 
TAIL. A topping, powdered blue Macaw, and Teal. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Orange Seal's fur, violet silk and black silk, in equal divisions. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel and gold lace. 
HACKLE. From violet silk ; one side of a red-claret and one side of a 

light blue hackle, forming one. 
WINGS. Golden Pheasant tail and tippet strands ; Teal, Mallard, and a 



SIDES. Ibis and powdered blue Macaw (married). 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A good fly on most rivers used in sizes up to 2/0. 



TAG. Gold twist and light orange silk. 

TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Fiery brown Seal's fur. 

EIBS. Gold tinsel. 

HACKLE. Fiery brown backle, from second turn. 

WINGS. Tippet strands, and broad strips of Mallard. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

I would strongly recommend dressers to apply to Michael Rogan, Bally- 
shannon, for all shades of fiery brown. 



TAG. Silver tinsel (fine, oval) and crimson silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Summer Duck. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Canary, yellow, dark orange, and crimson Seal's fur. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel and silver lace. 

HACKLE. Yellow Eagle, from dark orange. 

THROAT. Gallina (two turns) dyed crimson. 

WINGS. Two Golden Pheasant sword (back to back) enveloping two 
extended Jungle (back to back) ; Bustard, Amherst Pheasant 
tail, Swan dyed yellow and crimson ; and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

CHEEKS. Jungle (points). 


One of the best standards for use " on the top of a flood." For Spring 
fishing I dress the body of Pig's wool ; and for clear water and small sizes, 
a hen Pheasant dyed yellow instead of Eagle. 



TAG. Silver twist and light yellow silk. 
TAIL. Topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. One third red-orange silk, ribbed with fine silver tinsel (oval) 

having two Indian Crow feathers above and below, and butted 

as before ; followed by light blue silk, ribbed with broad silver 

lace, having a light blue hackle along it. 
THROAT. Yellow Macaw. 
WINGS. Two strips black Turkey having white points, Amherst Pheasant 

tail, red Macaw, Swan dyed green Macaw, and two toppings. 
SIDES. Summer Duck and Jungle above. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS . Chatterer. 

EIVERS : Tay, etc. 

(With this pattern the inventor himself once caught thirteen fresh-run fish 

at Stanley in fifteen days.) 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. Two starling dyed light red-claret (back to back). 
BUTT. (Or No. 1 hackle) A white furnace dyed light red-claret. 
BODY. Claret chenille. No. 2 (or centre) hackle, a white furnace dyed 
dark claret. 


HEAD. (Or No. 3 hackle) A large black hackle, and two turns of Gallina 

dyed dark blue. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer (small, taken from head). 

An excellent standard Grub on the Usk. At the latter end of 
August, 1882, the water being very low, I killed fifteen Salmon in one 
week, varying from 13 Ibs. to 22^ Ibs. in weight with this fly dressed 
on a No. 1 hook. 



TAG. Silver twist and scarlet silk. 
TAIL. Toucan (half orange, half red from undertail) Amherst Pheasant 

tail strands, and point of Jungle. 
BUTT. Orange herl. 

BODY. Dirty orange, Mouse, and black Seal's fur equally divided. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Scarlet hackle and a natural blue-dun. 
WINGS. Two strips of Peacock wing, and Golden Pheasant tail in 


SIDES. Teal and Ibis (married). 
CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 
HORNS. Bed Macaw. 

An old standard on the Usk, and a useful fly in Scotland. 



TAG. Gold twist and crimson silk. 
TAIL. A topping, and tippet strands. 

BODY. Yellow, green, and dark blue Seal's fur in equal divisions. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. A topping (as hackle) from yellow fur. 


THROAT. Black Heron. 

WINGS. Two strips, plain cinnamon Turkey. 

SIDES. Jungle (short and drooping). 

One of Garden's best Dee patterns. 



TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Claret Seal's fur. 
KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Claret, from second turn. 
WINGS. Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

Invariably used on the Erne and most other Irish rivers. Also a good fly 

on the Usk. 


TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Jay (points, back to back). 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, Black silk (thin) butted with two 

turns of silver tinsel and two golden toppings above and below. 

No. 2, Black Ostrich herl. 
HACKLE. Natural black hackle, from centre. 
WINGS. Two strips of Shovel Duck. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

This is an old standard and bears the reputation of killing fish on those 
occasions when pools have been over-thrashed with ordinary patterns. 



(Major GRANT.) 

TAIL. Golden Pheasant yellow rump (point). 
BODY. Yellow wool three turns, and black wool. 
EIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (usual way). 
HACKLE. A black Spey Cock hackle from end of body, but wound from 

root the reverse way crossing over ribs. 
THROAT. Teal. 
WINGS. Two long Jungle (back to back) two reaching half way, and two 

still shorter, and Teal. 
HEAD. Yellow wool. 

An old standard on the Spey. 


(Major GRANT.) 

TAG. Silver twist and red-claret silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Light olive-green Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel. 
THROAT.- Jay and Teal. 
WINGS. Tippet strands, Gallina, light mottled Turkey, Golden Pheasant 

tail, Mallard, and a topping. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A modern standard on the Spey. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Eed breast feather of Golden Pheasant. 
BODY. One-third light orange Seal's fur ; and light claret Seal's fur. 


KIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Black Heron, from orange fur. 

THROAT. Widgeon. 

WINGS. Two strips of plain cinnamon Turkey showing light points. 

An old Dee fly. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Silver twist, and yellow Seal's fur well picked" out. 
TAIL. Ibis. 

BODY. Copper tinselled chenille having three coch-a-bonddu hackles 
(1) at Butt : (2) at centre of Body : (3) at Head. 

An old standard on the Usk, and a general favourite on other hard fished 




TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 

TAIL. A topping. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Light yellow silk. The body is divided into five sections, 
butted at each with two tippet feathers (back to back) above 
and below, slightly increasing in size, as well as with black herl. 

KIBS. Three in each section of fine silver twist. 

WINGS. Six toppings. 

HOENS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

(NoTE. Our best " Exaggeration," for special use in bright weather and 


EIVEBS : Where it has actually killed the Tweed, Wye, barling on 

the Tay, and in Norway. 



(Hi REGAN.) 

TAG. Gold twist and dark yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and light (barred) Bustard. 
BODY. Golden-yellow Seal's fur. 
KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. A light Bustard hackle. 

WINGS. Light and dark Bustard (strips), and two toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A successful old standard in Norway, used in discoloured (glacier) water. 



TAG. Gold twist; and cream silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Jungle point. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In two sections ; No. 1, gold tinsel and silver ribs, butted with 

Toucan and black herl ; No. 2, black silk and gold ribs. 
HACKLE. Orange, from centre. 
WINGS. Light mottled Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, Swan dyed 

orange, light green, and Scarlet ; Gallina, Mallard and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A general favourite. 



TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. 
TAIL. Tippet in strands. 

* " Golden Perch," Oxford Street, London. 


BODY. Gold and fiery brown Pig's wool, equally divided. 

RIBS. Gold tinsel. 

HACKLE. Eagle hackle dyed gold over one-third of hody. 

THROAT. Teal. 

WINGS. Two strips of silver mottled Turkey. 

An old standard at Eingwood. 



TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. : 

TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Gold silk. 
RIBS. Gold tinsel. 

HACKLE. A yellow hackle from second turn. 
WINGS. Six toppings. 
HORNS. Eed Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A very old standard. 



TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and blue Chatterer. 

BUTT. Peacock herl. 

BODY. Gold tinsel. 

EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Olive green, from second turn. 

THROAT. Fiery brown and Jay. 

WINGS. Cinnamon Turkey, Pintail, Swan dyed yellow and red; Summer 

Duck, and two toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 




BODY. Orange Berlin wool three turns, followed by black wool. 

BIBS. From different starting points, of gold tinsel (narrow), gold twist, 

and silver twist, not wound as usual, but in the reverse way 

(towards head) and placed an equal distance apart. 
HACKLE. A red Spey Cock, from end of body, wound from the root of 

feather instead of from the point of it, and crossing over the 

ribs the whole way. 
THROAT. Teal, two turns. 
WINGS. Two short strips of Mallard with brown mottled points and grey 

mottled roots. 

(See page 101, for particulars of dressing.) 

Most of our flies are better at one time of year than at another, and 
some are used only on special occasions. The " Golden Biach," like 
"Jock Scott," etc., kills best in Spring and Autumn. The "Purple 
King," unlike the " Green King," kills well 011 the Spey throughout the 
season. The records kept at Wester Elchies of fish caught in the 
district during five years from 1st August to 15th October give the 
following results : 

1. Gold Biach 51 Salmon. 
2. Purple King 47 
3. Jock Scott 36 
4. Miss Jackson 35 ,, 
5. Lady Caroline 35 
6. The Carron Fly 34 ,, 
7. Glentana 19 

8. Thunder and Lightning 11 Salmon. 
9. Blue Doctor 11 
10. Green King 10 
11. Black King 8 
12. Dunkeld 8 

This list is considerably curtailed; many other patterns met wiih 


some success. The "Green King" sinks into insignificance from the fact 
that it is rarely used except in its own short season when the natural 
insect is flying about. 


The taste for varying this pattern has doubtless arisen from the fact 
that there are Fishermen who, like myself, are not always satisfied with 
any of the standards. We tone them down or brighten them up as 
circumstances in fishing direct. 

" But," writes a friend who knew the inventor, " the swift impress 
that a truthfully dressed ' Gordon ' makes on the mind of a Dee Fisher- 
man is one it needs no special studio training to enjoy." 

As most people know, this fly is simply " lionised " on the Dee ; not 
even " Jock Scott " can boast so many friends and supporters in any one 
district. But what the " Gordon " was and what it is are two widely 
different things. No two dressers of to-day make the fly alike. 

Mr. Cosmo Gordon, the inventor, used to be particular about the 
colour and amount of hackle, frequently using two feathers together. 
He also had Jay at the throat instead of the dyed hackle as used now. 
He, moreover, had the tippet in strands, and objected to the whole 
feather in the wings. 

" At one time," says William Brown, "Jay was employed as a throat 

Mr. Gordon was not only a good Salmon-angler, but also a good 
judge of flies, an experience not picked up at home, by any means, for the 
Dee was, and is still, early in the season, little more than a four-fly river 
in his day. It is reported that he fished with other people's flies ; but I, 
who knew he bought them, stoutly maintain that they were his own. Of 
the many doubtful but conscientious representations of the "Gordon" 
I have decided to give the two following dressings as practised at present 
in Aberdeen. 



(Cosmo GORDON.) 
(By WILLIAM BROWN, George Street, Aberdeen.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. One third yellow silk, and claret silk. 

KIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (flat). 

HACKLE. Claret hackle, from yellow silk. 

THROAT. Blue hackle. 

WINGS. One tippet backed with a sword feather of Golden Pheasant ; 
Peacock herl, Bustard, Swan dyed light blue, light green, and 
red-claret ; Amherst Pheasant tail and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HEAD. Black wool. 


(By WILLIAM GARDEN, Union Street, Aberdeen.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. One-third dark yellow silk, and claret silk. 

RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (flat). 

HACKLE. Claret hackle, from dark yellow silk. 

THROAT. Blue hackle. 

WINGS. Two light red-claret hackles (back to back) veiled with Peacock 
herl, light (grey) mottled Turkey, dark mottled Turkey, Golden 
Pheasant tail, Bustard, Swan dyed yellow and blue ; light 
mottled Turkey dyed claret, and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black wool. 




TAG. Silver twist and red silk. 

TAIL. Two toppings. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Yellow silk. 

RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. A light blue hackle, from second turn. 


WINGS. A tippet backed with red breast of Golden Pheasant, veiled with 

Teal, light mottled Turkey ; Mallard and two toppings. 
SIDES. Swan dyed, yellow, red, and blue (married). 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

Sir Alexander was one of the best if not the finest amateur dresser 
in his day. He had, besides this one, several other patterns of his 
own, all of which were in constant demand on the Findhorn five-and- 
twenty years ago. One of them had a butt of red herl, a second one 
in the centre of the body, and a third at the head ; but I am unable 
to give the correct dressing of the fly. I have described the above from 
a faded pattern which was given to me by the inventor himself ; and 
in order to get at the true colours as near as one could, I pulled the 
fly to pieces for the purpose. The inventor hardly ever used the standard 
patterns without varying them more or less. " Jock Scott " for instance, 
he made with a blue silk head section, instead of the usual black one ; 
and perhaps this was the origin of the " blue- Jock- Scott." 



TAG. Silver twist and canary silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Teal. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of yellow silk and green Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel. 


HACKLE. Green from yellow silk. 

THROAT. A yellow hackle. 

WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled with light and dark Bustard, 

Golden Pheasant tail, dark mottled Turkey, Swan dyed green, 

Mallard and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 


BODY. A dull shade of green, composed of a mixture of light and dark 
green, brown, and a little yellow Berlin wools. 

KIBS. From separate starting points of gold tinsel (narrow), silver tinsel 
(narrow) and light olive-green sewing thread. These are all 
wound the reverse way an equal distance apart, but the sewing 
thread is left until the hackle is put on. The two metal ribs run 
under the hackle, the sewing thread is put over it, between the 

HACKLE. From end of body, a red Spey-Cock hackle, but wound from 
the root instead of from the point, in the usual direction, thus 
crossing over the metal ribs. 

THROAT. Teal, two turns only. 

WINGS. Two strips of Mallard, having brown mottled points and grey 
mottled roots. 

The old standard Spey flies, like this one, are dressed upon long 
shanked hooks. The bodies start from a point as much before the direct 
line of the point of the hook as the work in ordinary standard flies starts 
behind it ; that is equal to saying the bodies are comparatively very 
short. The wings are also very short, in fact, no longer than the 
bodies, if so long. 

In preparing a Spey-Cock's hackle, do not remove all the fluffy fibres 
at the root, but leave about three on each side of the quill. " The Green 
King " is dressed after the local fly of that name. It appears in enormous 
numbers about the end of April, and is an exceedingly large insect, twice 



the size of a hornet or even larger. I have seen them emerge from the 
chrysalis and float down-stream before the wings expand. When left 
alone by the Salmon they soon rise from the surface and fly at a great 
pace up and down the river. On these occasions the counterfeit fly, 
like the March-brown on the Dee, is very deadly. There are several of 
these curious old standards on the Spey. Amongst others, the 
"Secretary" and the "Green Kiach " find some supporters; but they 
resemble other flies so closely that I have thought it unnecessary to add 
them to the present list. 

N.B. These old Spey standards were specially dressed for this work 
by Charles Stuart, Fisherman, Aberlour, under the supervision of John 
Cruikshank. Better authorities do not exist. 



TAG. Gold twist and dark orange silk. 
TAIL. Toucan and Indian Crow. 
BODY. Light pea-green silk. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Jay, from centre. 
WINGS. Golden Pheasant yellow rump, Gallina, powdered blue and red 

Macaw, Indian Crow, Bustard, Mallard and a topping. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A useful Irish pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 
BODY. Violet silk. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel. 
THROAT. Parrot hackle (light green). 


WINGS. Golden Pheasant tippet and yellow rump feather (point), Parrot, 

Gallina, Ibis, yellow Macaw, and Mallard. 
CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 
HEAD. Black herl. 


TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Light blue silk. 
BIBS. Oval tinsel. 
THROAT. Light blue hackle. 
WINGS. Peacock herl, sword feather. 

Writing from Aberdeen, Mr. Murdoch states : " On blazing, bright, 
hot days, during June and July, there is no fly so fatal on the Dee, taking 
the river all over, as the Green Peacock dressed on Nos. 7, 8, and 9 
double hooks. Brown of George Street and Garden of Union Street 
always dress it true to pattern." 


TAG. Gold tinsel (narrow). 

TAIL. Yellow rump, Golden Pheasant (point). 

BODY. Same mixture of Berlin wools as for the " Green King." 

Ems. Gold tinsel. 

HACKLE. Crown Pigeon or Grey Heron one side of a feather stripped 

from second turn. 

THROAT. Bittern dyed yellow the white speckled feather. 
WINGS. Dark cinnamon Turkey with lightish points; or, better still, the 

" Gled." 

As a general pattern in bright weather and water I prefer this to the 
" Green King," which, however, is one of the best on the Spey when the 

M 2 


fly itself is " up," say, from the third week in May to the second week in 
July. The " Queen " is also a capital fly on many other rivers. 



TAG. Silver twist and light orange silk. 

TAIL. Topping and Jungle. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Light blue silk. 

RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (flat). 

HACKLE. Light blue, from second turn. 

THROAT. Widgeon. 

WINGS. Two strips of black Turkey, white tipped ; Golden Pheasant 
tail, light and dark Bustard, Gallina, Swan dyed green and 
scarlet ; grey Mallard, Mallard, and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black wool. 

RIVERS : Tweed, Shannon, Erne, Tay, etc. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Bed breast feather of the Golden Pheasant. 
BODY. Yellow, light blue, and scarlet Seal's fur. 
BIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Grey Eagle, from blue fur. 
THROAT. Widgeon (Teal for large patterns). 

WINGS. Two strips of brown mottled Turkey, with black bars and white 

A well-known dark water fly on the Dee. 



(Colonel HARGREAVES.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Two turns of canary silk and black silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Black hackle, from canary silk. 
WINGS. Peacock's herl (sword feather) veiled with two broad strips of 

Summer Duck. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 



TAG. Gold twist and olive-green silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black her!. 

BODY. In three equal divisions of orange, light blue, and pink silk. 
EIBS. Gold embossed tinsel (ordinary method) and silver tinsel (reversed) 

passing over the gold. 

THROAT. Orange and light blue hackles respectively. 
WINGS. Two tippets capped with light and dark Bustard ; Golden 

Pheasant tail, and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue and red Macaw. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Gold twist. 



TAG. Silver twist and orange silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Two turns of light yellow silk and yellow Seal's fur. 


RIBS. Silver tinsel, and fine oval tinsel. 

HACKLE. Yellow hackle along fur. 

THROAT. Light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Brown mottled Turkey slightly white tipped. 

A very old favourite on the Helnisdale. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Silver twist (plenty). 
TAIL. Yellow Macaw. 
BUTT. Small furnace hackle dyed red (coiled), and cheeked with points 

of Jungle on each side. 

BODY. Alternate coils of red and black chenille. 
CENTRE HACKLE. Eed undertail of Toucan, cheeked, as before, with 

HEAD -HACKLE. Two turns of Teal dyed yellow, and a black Heron 

hackle, cheeked with Jungle. 

Salmon feed voraciously on a caterpillar (found on the hills in the 
North) when brought down by heavy rains. On those occasions, and for 
some days after, general standards fail, while this pattern, which some- 
what represents the living red and black striped insect itself is often 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. Parrot ; and Jungle (point). 
BUTT. Black lierl. 
BODY. Four turns of yellow Seal's fur, four turns claret ditto (halfway), 

and light blue Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver lace and gold tinsel. 


HACKLE. An Irish-grey hackle, from yellow fur. 

THROAT. A claret hackle and Widgeon. 

WINGS. Two extended Jungle (back to back) Teal, Amherst Pheasant, 

and Golden Pheasant tail, Mallard and a topping. 
SIDES. Swan dyed yellow, claret, and light blue (married). 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

An old Tweed pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Ibis and yellow Macaw (mixed). 
BUTT. No. 1 hackle a natural red Irish-grey, cheeked with Jungle 

BODY. Yellow and claret Seal's fur (half-way) ribbed with silver 

tinsel (fine, oval). No. 2 hackle, a similar one and cheeked as 

before, followed by blue Seal's fur and ribs. 
HEAD. No. 3 hackle as before, and Widgeon, cheeked again with 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping, Ibis, and Summer Duck. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, of yellow silk, ribbed with narrow 
(oval) silver tinsel, and butted with Golden bird of Paradise or 
Toucan above and below, and black herl : No. 2, blue silk 
ribbed as before alongside broad silver tinsel (flat). 

HACKLE. Black Heron, from centre of blue silk. 

THROAT. Gallina. 


WINGS. Amherst Pheasant strips and three toppings. 
HORNS. Black Cockatoo (tail). 

An excellent spring pattern on the Spey and Shannon. 


TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. 

TAIL. Ibis, yellow Macaw, and unbarred Summer Duck, in strands. 

BUTT. Blue Chatterer, used as a hackle. 

BODY. In two equal sections of gold silk, butted. with blue Chatterer 

hackle ; and violet silk. 
KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Black Heron and unbarred Summer Duck. 
WINGS. Swan dyed gold and violet, single married strips of each. 

Amherst Pheasant and two toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Silver twist (plenty). 

TAIL. Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Toucan (as hackle), cheeked on each side with Chatterer. 

BODY. Alternate coils (wasp-like, not spiral) black, and red-orange 

chenilles ; in centre, Toucan and Chatterer as before. 
HEAD. Toucan, and Gallina dyed red-orange forming third hackle, and 

Chatterer repeated. 

This Grub comes into use earlier than all others except the " Spring 


TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 
TiiL. A topping. 




BUTT. Blue Chatterer, as hackle. 

BODY. In two equal sections : (1) Silver tinsel (oval), butted with Golden 

bird of Paradise : (2) Black silk, ribbed with silver lace. 
HACKLE. Black Heron, from centre of black silk. 
WINGS. Grey Mallard, Golden Pheasant tail, Swan dyed blue and yellow, 

with two strips of cinnamon Turkey, and a topping. 

" Ich Dien," the original name of this excellent pattern, was introduced 
on the Lochy by my Father. It was one of the first of the fancy flies 
and became very popular a few years before the advent of the " Butcher." 
The singular success attained on the upper pools of this river by ou: 
servant named Ike Dean, led to the general use of the pattern on other 
rivers in Scotland, where the fly is known only by the name given with 
the description. 


(NICOL McNicoL.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Light green hackle (half-way). 
WINGS. Golden Pheasant strands, Peacock herl, Swan dyed red and 

yellow, and a topping. 
SIDES. Indian Crow (large). 
CHEEKS. Indian Crow (small). 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

One of the best Helmsdale patterns and a great favourite in the North. 
To be had of Nicol McNicol, Reay, Thurso. 




TAG. Silver twist and light bine silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Four turns of claret silk, followed by dark yellow silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (broad). 
HACKLE. Claret hackle, from claret silk. 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) capped with Golden Pheasant tail, 

Bustard, Peacock wing ; red, and blue Macaw, and a topping. 
SIDES.- A narrow strip of Summer Duck. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A well-known old standard. Kills well on the Bundrowes and Black- 
water ; an excellent low-water fly on the Shannon and a general favourite 
throughout Scotland and Wales. 


TAG. Gold twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Light olive-green silk. 
RIBS. Gold embossed tinsel. 
HACKLE. Light olive-green, from second turn. 
WINGS. Two strips of tippet ; Bustard, Pintail, Swan dyed crimson, 

Golden Pheasant tail, and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An excellent fly on the Inver. 



(W. BROWN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. One-third yellow silk, followed by black silk. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel. 
THROAT. A natural black hackle. 
WINGS. Mallard. 
SIDES. Jungle. 

A great favourite in summer on the Dee. It is dressed on small double 



(W. BROWN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. One-third yellow silk, followed by dark claret silk. 

BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. A coch-a-bonddu hackle. 

WINGS. Mallard. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

A useful fly in summer on the Dee. It is dressed on small double 



(Jons SCOTT.) 
TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, of yellow silk (butter-cup colour) 
ribbed with narrow silver tinsel, and butted with Toucan above 
and below, and black herl : No. 2, black silk, ribbed with broad 
silver tinsel. 


HACKLE. A natural black hackle, from centre. 

THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Two strips of black Turkey with white tips, Golden Pheasant 
tail, Bustard, grey Mallard, Peacock (sword feather) Swan dyed 
blue and yellow, red Macaw, Mallard, and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

" Jock " for the inventor of this renowned fly was hardly known 
as John Scott was born at Branxholme early in February 1817. When 
thirteen years of age he began his Salmon-angling career under the 
directions of Robert Kerss, head keeper to the (then) Marquis of Lothian. 
In two or three years, on leaving his situation, he entered the service of 
that Prince of sportsmen, the late Lord John Scott, with whom he 
remained, as Fisherman, for full five-and-twenty years of his life. After- 
wards " Jock " spent a year or two at the fly-table, and lived honourably 
by the constant practice of that art which he was born to enrich. He 
then became keeper to the present Earl of Haddington M.F.H. in whose 
service the poor old fellow died, 24th January, 1893. "Jock" was no 
giant, but had a big heart and a constitution of iron. Second to none at 
other sports and pastimes in the North, his soul was chiefly in fishing 
and most of his time was spent in the water without waders. 

Admired by many, respected by all, trustworthy to a degree, good 
at fishing, excellent at fly-making, he distinguished himself for his 
inventive genius in connection with this particular pattern. Not long 
before his death (he had been my attendant when young) he gave me a 
specimen of his own make, and said that he set about the original in 

" When you are too old, Sir," he added, " send to Kelso for them 
Neither Forrest nor Redpath* ever have that nasty dark coloured silk in 
front (meaning in the order of construction) and know how to keep 
yellow silk a good colour when put there by themselves." 

* Reilpath and Co. are wholesale people well known in the trade for their beautiful flies, 

etc., etc. 


It is hardly necessary to say that the utmost triumph of two essential 
qualities, namely, harmony and proportion, is admirably illustrated in 
this one of the most popular fancy patterns ever designed by man. 

It is only just possible to find a river or a catch, be it in pools, 
streams, rapids, or flats, shaded or exposed to the light of day, in which a 
" Jock Scott," when dressed properly, has not made for itself a splendid 
reputation. Eemembering what has been urged in these pages with 
regard to judging at the riverside which kind of fly is best for the time 
being, we shall find that no pattern illustrates my theories so perfectly 
and so satisfactorily as this one. 

But it should be borne in mind that orange silk (too often used 
instead of yellow) even closely coiled on the hook, once saturated, always 
turns a dirty brown shade, intensified in many cases by the roughly 
waxed tying-silk underneath. That colour is not only objectionable, but 
undesirable, the material features of the fly in this instance being 
altogether robbed of both beauty and effect while doing duty in clear 
water and bright weather. 

The only correct account of the life and exploits of the inventor 
appeared in the Field 18th February, 1893, over the signature of "Punt 
Gun," a gentleman who knew " Jock " intimately as a Fisherman on the 
Tweed. " Every word," says the writer of it in a recent letter to me, " was 
taken from his own life, or the writings of his son and family. I was 
very fond of him ; and it was a labour of love to me to write all I knew 
of the poor old fellow." 

The interesting biography concluded with these words: "With 
' Jock's ' death has passed away another link with old days, when to be a 
sportsman was, at any rate, to be a man. . . May he rest in peace." 



TAG. Silver twist and orange silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


BODY. Black silk. 

BIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Natural black, from centre. 

THBOAT. An orange hackle. 

WINGS. Tippet strands ; Pintail, Florican, light and dark Bustard, 

Golden Pheasant tail, Swan dyed yellow, Mallard, and a 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A good fly on the Usk, Tweed, and Dee, and said to be an old standard 

on many other rivers. 



TAG. Silver twist and dark yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Blue silk and salmon coloured silk, equally divided. 
BIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Orange hackle, from blue silk. 
THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Pintail, Golden Pheasant tail, Bustard, Parrot, red Macaw, 

black Cockatoo's tail, Gallina, Mallard, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An old standard on most Scotch rivers. 

* Named after an Edinburgh gentleman who, in former days, was one of 
the best Anglers on the Tweed. 




TAG. Silver twist and golden-yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 
BUTT. Scarlet wool. 
BODY. Silver tinsel (flat). 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Light blue hackle and Gallina. 
WINGS. Fine Peacock's herl (plenty), from extremity of eyed feather, 

and two narrow strips of Ibis above. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Scarlet wool. 

A -favourite Autumn fly. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Gold twist (plenty). 
TAIL. Ibis (two strips). 
BUTT. No. 1 hackle, a coch-a-bonddu, slightly tinged in Bismarck 

brown, cheeked with Jungle. 
BODY. Twelve alternate coils of yellow and black chenille. No. 2, hackle 

in centre, and No. 3, at head, as before, cheeked. 
This Grub (illustrated), a vast improvement on " Ajax," is far more 
successful for general purposes than any of its kind. It is easily varied 
for all rivers. The tail may be composed of yellow Macaw, with or 
without Summer Duck. The body, instead of yellow, may have either 
blue or red chenille. Taking the last five seasons, this fly has killed for 
me twenty-seven Salmon. One day in the year 1882 while fishing the 
Bryn stream above the town of Usk, I caught two Salmon with it 
averaging 28 Ibs. in weight. The fly may be dressed either large or 
small ; and is very useful when the water is slightly coloured. 




TAG. Silver twist and light yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of crimson silk, and crimson Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Crimson, from second turn. 
THROAT. Light yellow hackle. 
WINGS. (Thin) Grey Mallard, and tippet strands, Bustard, Golden 

Pheasant tail, Swan dyed light yellow, crimson, and light blue ; 

Mallard and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

One of the best flies on the Tyne. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Two toppings and Chatterer. 

BODY. White silk, bound closely with a thin strip of gold-beater skin 

about the width of the broadest tinsel, each join being covered 

with fine gold tinsel (about eight turns in one inch). 
THROAT. Yellow hackle (or yellow Macaw for large hooks) and a blue 

hackle over it (or Gallina dyed blue for large hooks). 
WINGS. Swan dyed blue and yellow, Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, with 

an upper and lower strip of Teal. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of Mr. Field's best patterns. It is an old favourite on the Test, 
and is often useful on many other rivers. On the upper part of the Wye 
I once had five Salmon with this fly, fishing between the hours of five 
and seven in the evening. 

Plate 4-. 









TAG. Gold twist and crimson silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Summer Duck, and tippet strands. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Light yellow silk, and light orange silk, equally divided. 
KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Jay, from second turn. 
THROAT. Light orange hackle. 
WINGS. Tippet (strands), Golden Pheasant tail, Bustard, Summer 

Duck, Swan dyed crimson, yellow, blue and orange ; red Macaw, 

and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the best patterns for the Suir. 



TAG. Silver twist and blue silk. 
TAIL. Toucan, tippet strands, and Teal. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Two turns of silver tinsel, three turns of red-claret silk, four 

turns of gold tinsel, five turns of dark blue silk (or in such 

proportions) . 

KIBS. Silver tinsel (fine, oval). 
HACKLE. Blue, from gold tinsel. 
WINGS. Underwing (long) Amherst Pheasant tail, and Golden Pheasant 

tippet strands ; two long Jungle, and two shorter (understood as 

" double Jungle ") and three toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

The special use of this pattern is referred to on page 244. 





TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. Toucan and Teal. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of red silk, followed by red Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Eed hackle, from centre. 
THROAT. Two turns of Gallina. 

WINGS. Teal and Peacock wing in strands ; Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Amherst Pheasant, and red Macaw. 

Lochy, Spean, and Ness. 



TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two sections : No. 1, gold embossed tinsel, ribbed with silver 
tinsel (oval, fine), butted with two small toppings above and 
below, and black herl ; No. 2, gold silk, ribbed with black purse 
silk (fine) and gold tinsel (oval) alongside it. 

THROAT. Eed and yellow Macaw. 

WINGS. Two strips of Swan dyed gold, and three toppings. 

CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 

HORNS. Blue and red Macaw. 

On those rivers where dark flies are used on bright days and fail, I have 
many times witnessed the success of this pattern. 



TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 


BODY. Blue silk. 

BIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Jay, from third turn. 

WINGS. Tippet strands, Teal, Summer Duck, Mallard, and a topping. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A very old standard pattern. 


TAIL. Golden Pheasant red-breast, a few strands only. 

BODY. Brown and olive-green Berlin wool mixed together in proportion 

of one part olive-green, two parts brown. 
RIBS. From separate starting points, of gold tinsel (narrow), gold twist, 

and silver twist, wound the usual way, an equal distance apart. 
HACKLE. Grey Heron, from tail (tied in at the point as usual) wound 

alongside gold tinsel. 

THROAT. Golden Pheasant red-breast, two turns. 
WINGS. Two strips of Mallard showing brown points and light roots. 

An old standard Spey fly. See the " Green King." 



TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. Toucan and Amherst Pheasant. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Yellow silk, red-orange, and black Seal's fur all in equal parts. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Light blue, from black Seal's fur. 

* N 2 


WINGS. Golden Pheasant tippet and tail in strands, Auiherst Pheasant, 
Bustard, grey Mallard, Widgeon, two strips of brown Mallard 
above and a topping. 

HOENS. Blue Macaw. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Bed-breast feather of Golden Pheasant (point). 

BODY. Light orange, red-orange, claret and blue Seal's furs. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Gallina dyed yellow, from claret fur. 

THROAT. Light orange hackle. 

WINGS. Two strips of Swan dyed yellow. 

A famous low water fly on the Dee. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow wool. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Blue Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval, fine). 
HACKLE. A blue hackle, from second turn. 
THROAT. A yellow hackle. 
WINGS. Tippet (strands), Golden Pheasant tail, dark mottled Turkey, 

Swan dyed yellow and blue ; and Mallard above. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A very old standard on the Lee. 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow wool. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In two equal divisions of blue Seal's fur with a blue hackle along 

it, and silver Monkey with an Irish-grey hackle. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel. 
THROAT. A yellow hackle. 
WINGS. Tippet (strands), Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, Summer Duck, 

Swan dyed yellow, red, and blue ; Mallard, and two toppings. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Amherst Pheasant. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the oldest standards on the Lee. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver Monkey (modern), Kabbit fur (ancient). 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. An Irish-grey hackle (modern), a natural blue-dun (ancient), 

from second turn. 

THROAT. A yellow hackle (modern), a lemon hackle (ancient). 
WINGS. Tippet in strands, Teal, Gallina, Mallard, and a topping. 

According to my Father's notes dated 1833, this fly was dressed in 
Ireland with a claret hackle under the lemon throat, and \vith horns of 
blue Macaw. It is one of the best flies on the Shannon and Lee and 
a great favourite on most rivers, especially in Ireland. 




TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 

TAIL. A topping. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Evenly divided coils (wasp fashion) of yellow, majenta, light blue, 

plum-claret and dark blue Berlin wools. 
BIBS. Silver lace. 

THROAT. Light blue hackle and Jay. 
WINGS. Four toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An excellent fly in very bright weather on the Inver, Usk, Tweed, Spey, 
Blackwater, Boyne, Test, and Wye, etc. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL . Topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel (flat), one fifth part at the throat being reserved 

for scarlet Seal's fur. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Natural black, from second turn. 
THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Tippet, sword feather of Golden Pheasant, and Peacock herl, in 

strands. Yellow Macaw, red Macaw, Bustard, Golden Pheasant 

tail, Teal, Gallina, Mallard, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HOENS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

RIVERS : Tay, Tweed, Lyon, Spey, Lochy, with bright Jungle ; Usk, 
Findhorn, and Erne with dull Jungle. 




TAG. Gold twist. 
TAIL. A topping and Ibis. 
BODY. Dirty yellow Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (the original pattern which I introduced myself on 

the Usk, years since, in company with " Harry Giles," was made 

with gold ribs) . 

THROAT. A coch-a-bonddu hackle. 
WINGS. Peacock herl. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw (originally red Macaw). 

This fly holds a high reputation on the Tweed for Summer use, and is an 

old standard on the Usk. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Green, yellow, violet, and crimson Seal's fur, equally divided. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Blue hackle, from yellow fur. 
WINGS. Tippet strands ; Gallina, Swan dyed light blue, yellow, and 

crimson, Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A good bright water fly in Summer on the Dee. It is also a great 
favourite on the Lochy when dressed on small double hooks. 


(W. BROWN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 



BODY. Dark claret silk. 

BIBS.- Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Two strips of Swan dyed yellow, veiled with broad strips of 

SIDES. Jungle. 

An excellent Summer pattern in dull weather on the Dee. It is dressed 

on small double hooks. 



TAG. Silver twist and light red-claret Seal's fur. 
TAIL. Topping and Ibis. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. The first half, equal proportions of canary, orange, and fiery 

brown Seal's fur respectively ; the rest, blue Seal's fur with a 

blue hackle along it. 
THROAT. Jay. , 

RIBS. -Silver tinsel. 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) strips of silver speckled Turkey, 

married strips of Teal and Swan dyed orange and red-claret ; and 

a topping. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

EIVERS : Earn, Lee (Macroom district), Spey, and, when dressed small, 
a useful fly in summer on the Usk. 



TAG. Gold twist and orange silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In three equal sections of " Green Macaw " silk, ribbed with 

fine gold tinsel ; each section butted above and below with fibres 

of Parrot, followed by black herl. 
THROAT. Parrot hackle. 

WINGS. Golden Pheasant tail, Gallina, Summer Duck, and a topping. 
HORNS. Red as well as blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

It is remarkable that the only Salmon ever known to have been 
taken in the river Trent fell victim to a green body. In a letter I received, 
from Gainsborough a few years since the Eev. H. Caferata says : " The 
evidence you gave at the House of Lords the other day (re the Trent 
Navigation Bill) in regard to our Salmon exactly coincided with my own 
opinions. There is no doubt whatever that several reaches of our river 
could be rendered suitable to meet the exigencies of fly-fishing. The 
Trent being void of many natural catches is the very reason why artificial 
ones should be established ; and then, after a year or two, we should soon 
teach the fish to rise to and take flies. I have made every enquiry in 
connection with the opinion you ventured to offer, and I find that a 
Salmon has been taken not far from this town with a fly. . . But is 
it not curious that, considering there are so few rivers where green flies 
pay, that the only Trent Salmon known to have been caught with a fly, 
should have been taken with one of them ? " 



TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In three sections butted with black herl: No. 1, light lilac silk; 

No. 2, dark lilac or slate coloured silk ; No. 3, pink silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (fine). 
HACKLE. From third butt, a natural straw coloured coch-a-bonddu. 


WINGS. Gallina, Summer Duck, Swan dyed red-claret and yellow, Golden 

Pheasant tail and tippet, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A favourite in Ireland and a general fly on the Hampshire Avon. 


TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Point of the red-breast of Golden Pheasant. 
BODY. Two turns of yellow Berlin wool, followed by blue Berlin wool. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (broad). 
HACKLE. Black hackle, from yellow fur. 
WINGS. Bronze Peacock's herl. 
HEAD. Yellow mohair, picked out. 

One of the best spring patterns on the Beauly. 


(Rev. A. WILLIAMS.) 
TAG. Gold twist and scarlet silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Teal, and Ibis. 
BODY. Light blue, yellow, claret, and dark blue Seal's fur, equally 


RIBS. Silver tinsel and gold lace. 
HACKLE. Claret hackle, from claret fur. 
THROAT. Scarlet hackle and Gallina. 
WINGS. One tippet, backed with a claret hackle veiled with a Snipe 

feather on each side, Bustard, Ibis, Swan dyed yellow, and a 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

The first fancy fly used on the Usk and a universal favourite of to-day. 




TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, yellow Seal's fur, ribbed with gold 
tinsel, and with a small yellow hackle from second turn ; having 
two strips of Mandarin Drake (white tipped) to form one set of 
body wings : No. 2, dark blue Seal's fur, ribbed with broad gold 
tinsel, and with a light blue hackle from second turn. 


WINGS. Two strips (a trifle longer than -the others) of Mandarin Drake 
(white tipped). 

This double strip-winged fly is a superb pattern on the Earn. It takes 
after the style introduced on the Dee by Garden of Aberdeen. 


TAG. Gold twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Silver Monkey's fur and a little dirty-orange Seal's fur, mixed 


Kins. Gold tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Partridge hackle. 
WINGS. Hen Pheasant tail. 

An old standard fly on the Dee, Usk, etc. It is dressed on small 

double hooks. 


TAG. Silver tinsel. 

TAIL. A topping, and points of two small Jungle above, back to back. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


BODY. In three equal sections : No. 1 and No. 3 of silver tinsel ; centre 

of black silk. 
THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Underwing of married strips of Swan dyed yellow, red, and blue ; 

strips of Peacock wing, Summer Duck, grey Mallard, dark mottled 

Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

A favourite Dee pattern. The inventor writes : " 1893, Her Eoyal 
Highness the Duchess of Fife has been most successful with the ' Mar 
Lodge ' fly. Apply to Garden, Aberdeen." 


(NicoL McNicOL.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In two equal sections : No. 1, Silver tinsel, butted with Parrot 

above and below and black herl : No. 2, gold tinsel with a gold 

hackle from centre butt. 

THROAT. A green hackle (matching Parrot in tone). 
RIBS. Gold tinsel (oval) from centre. 

RIVERS : Thurso, Forss, Halladale, Helmsdale and Naver. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Chocolate silk. 


RIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Light orange hackle (one-fourth of body). 

WINGS. Tippet, Golden Pheasant tail, Pintail and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle. 

HEAD. Two turns of hackle same as before. 

A useful North Esk pattern. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. Teal, in strands. 

BODY. Two turns of orange silk followed by olive green Berlin wool. 
RIBS . Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Grey Heron, from second turn. 
WINGS. Two strips of Golden Pheasant tail. 

A modern Spey pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Peacock wing and Summer Duck. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Quill dyed yellow, with four turns of red-orange Seal's fur at 


RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval, narrow) and silver tinsel (flat, broad). 
HACKLE. A silver coch-a-bonddu from second turn ; hen Pheasant hackle 

dyed yellow from Seal's fur. 
THROAT. Widgeon. 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back), two extending Jungle (one on each 

side), Swan dyed yellow and red-orange, and two toppings. 
SIDES. Jungle. 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A good early fly on the Dee, Spey, etc. 


(Major GRANT.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


BODY. Copper tinselled chenille. 

HACKLE. A red Spey-cock hackle, from centre. 


WINGS. Tippet strands, Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, light mottled 

Turkey, grey Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Red Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A modern standard on the Spey. 



TAG. Gold twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 
BUTT. Eed Pig's wool, well picked out. 
BODY. Gold embossed tinsel. 
RIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. A natural black hackle, from second turn. 
WINGS. Six toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Red Pig's wool, well picked out. 

A useful pattern on bright days for still deep sheltered pools. 



TAG. Silver twist and gold silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Gold silk. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Natm'al blue-dun, from second turn. 
THROAT. A claret hackle. 

WINGS. Two strips Swan dyed yellow and a topping. 
HORNS. Eed Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

With this pattern the inventor killed his memorable Salmon weigh- 
ing 57 Ibs. in the Suir. The fly is very popular in the neighbourhood of 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow Seal's fur. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Ked-orange, dark blue, and claret Seal's fur, equally divided. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Dark blue on dark blue Seal's fur, and dark claret on the 


THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. An extended red breast Golden Pheasant (best side down) ; 

Golden Pheasant tail (in strands principally) ; light Bustard and 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

An old standard high water fly on the Sundal dressed from No. 3/0 to 7/0 

(Courtney, Killarney) . 



TAG. Silver twist and red wool. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two sections: No. 1, of blue silk, forming one-third, ribbed 

with fine silver tinsel and butted with a claret hackle. No. 2, 

silver Monkey, ribbed with gold tinsel. 
HACKLE. An Irish-grey hackle, from blue silk. 
THROAT. A yellow, a claret, and a light blue hackle. 
WINGS. Tippet (strands) Golden Pheasant tail ; Swan dyed blue, yellow, 

and claret, Bustard, Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the old Lee patterns, and in general use in the Spring of 1893. 
The " Blue-grey-and-brown " is a variation of this fly. 



TAG. Gold twist and black silk. 

TAIL. Two strands of Amherst Pheasant (long). 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In four equal sections of silk : No. 1, yellow, butted with yellow 

hackle ; No. 2, pea-green, butted with pea-green hackle ; No. 

3, red, butted with red hackle ; No. 4, dark blue. 
RIBS. First three sections gold tinsel (oval, fine) ; silver tinsel (oval, 

fine) over dark blue. 

THROAT. Dark orange hackle and black Heron. 
WINGS. Two natural black, shin}', saddle hackles (back to back) veiled 

with Teal, Bustard, tail of Golden Turkey (North America), 

Mallard, and two toppings. 
SIDES. Summer Duck. 
HORNS. Eed Macaw. 
HEAD. Eed wool (small). 



(Nicm Me NICOL.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping and blue Chatterer. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Yellow, from mid-way. 
THROAT. Unbarred Summer Duck. 
WINGS. Yellow mohair and a topping. 
SIDES. Large Chatterer and Jungle over. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

A killing fly in peat or porter coloured water in all rivers North of the 




TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 
TAIL. Orange Toucan and red Toucan. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Light red-orange and dark red-orange Pig's wool. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. From dark red-orange wool (half-way) a Vulture hackle (or a 

small Eagle or hen Pheasant hackle), dyed dark red-orange. 
THROAT. Black Partridge (grey speckled). 
WINGS. Two strips of black and white mottled Turkey. 

A good late evening pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and dark blue silk. 
TAIL. Toucan and Indian Crow. 



BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Orange silk. 

BIBS. Silver tinsel. 

THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Tippet strands, Gallina, Ibis, powdered blue and yellow Macaw, 

and Mallard. 
HEAD. Black herl. 



TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Yellow and black silk in equal divisions. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Natural black, from centre. 

WINGS. Tippet; Peacock, sword feather; Gallina, Teal, and Summer 

An old standard on the Lochy and Spean. 



TAG. Gold twist. 

TAIL. Toucan, Teal, and Chatterer (small). 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In two sections : No. 1, silver embossed tinsel, butted with Indian 

Crow above and below, and black herl ; No. 2, black silk, ribbed 

with gold oval tinsel, and a natural black hackle along it. 
WINGS. Tippet, Teal, and Peacock wing in strands ; Golden Pheasant 

tail, Amherst Pheasant, dark Bustard, Swan dyed blue, yellow, 

and red ; Mallard and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow Seal's fur. 

TAIL. Summer Duck, strands, varying in length, of Ibis; and Indian 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Yellow, crimson-rnajenta, Mouse, and plum-claret Seal's fur, in 
equal divisions. 

RIBS. Silver twist. 

HACKLE. A coch-a-bonddu slightly tinged in Bismarck brown, from 
second turn. 

WINGS. Double white Turkey, ginger speckled Turkey, Bustard, Mallard, 
black Cockatoo's tail, red Macaw, powdered blue Macaw, Parrot, 
and Teal, all in double strands. Two strips of rich brown 
Turkey above, having black bars and white points. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

This is one of the most successful flies on the Usk. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. A topping and strands of tippet. 

BUTT. Scarlet wool. 

BODY. Silver tinsel. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Grey Heron, from centre. 

THROAT. Gallina. 

WINGS. Tippet (large strips), light mottled Turkey, Pintail, Mallard, 

and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Scarlet wool. 

A modern Spey standard. 




TAG. Gold twist (plenty). 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. In three equal sections : No. 1, dark red-orange silk, ribbed with 

gold tinsel (fine) , butted with Indian Crow above and below, and 

black herl ; No. 2; yellow silk, ribbed and butted as before ; 

No. 3, light blue silk, ribbed with silver tinsel (oval), and Indian 

Crow above and below. 

THROAT. Jay. ; 

WINGS. Golden Pheasant tippet and tail, Gallina, Parrot, light brown 

mottled Turkey, red Macaw, Bustard, Mallard, and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HOENS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

A very useful old Standard pattern. 



TAG. Gold twist and dark blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Red-orange Seal's fur. 
BJBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Red-orange, from second turn. 
WINGS. Tippet strands, Swan dyed yellow, red-orange and dark blue 

Peacock wing, Bustard ; dark mottled Turkey, Gallina and 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 




TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping, two strands blue Macaw, and a small blue Chatterer. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel (flat) in two equal sections, the first butted with 

Toucan under Indian Crow, followed by black herl ; at the throat 

repeat Toucan and Indian Crow, and add a Jay hackle. 
WINGS. Amherst Pheasant, Golden Pheasant tail, and black Cockatoo 

tail in strands. Swan dyed blue and scarlet, Teal, Bustard, two 

strips of Mallard and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. Tourocou, strands of Summer Duck and powdered blue Macaw. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Silver tinsel (oval, fine) with four turns of violet Seal's fur at 


EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. A silver coch-a-bonddu from butt. 
THROAT. A hen Pheasant dyed yellow. 
WINGS. Two Jungle (back to back), Widgeon, Swan dyed yellow, Golden 

Pheasant tail, Tourocou, grey Mallard and a topping. 

This is a capital fly on the Spey early in the year. At Wester 
Elchies, in May, 1891, I was fortunate in getting " the fish of the river " 
with it for the season ; and, on the water above, at Knockando in 1892, 
followed up this success with a Salmon of 33 Ibs. in weight. In bright 
weather and water the throat is better of Teal. 



BODY. Blue and red Berlin wool mixed together proportion, one part 

blue, two parts red. 
RIBS. From far side, gold ; from near side silver tinsel (narrow) wound 

the reverse way an equal distance apart. 
HACKLE. A red Spey-cock hackle, from end of body, but wound in 

the usual way from the root of the feather instead of from the 

point, thus crossing over the ribs at each turn given. 
THROAT. Teal, one turn only. 
WINGS. Two strips of Mallard showing brown points and light roots. 

SPECIAL NOTE. An old standard Spey fly which, for general work is the 
best of the " Kings." . . . See the " Green King." 



TAG. Silver twist and canary silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Summer Duck. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY.- Silver tinsel and black silk equally divided. 
RIBS. Gold lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Black, from silver tinsel. 
WINGS. Tippet, Amherst Pheasant and Golden Pheasant tail, grey 

Mallard, Swan dyed canary, red and light blue ; Mallard and 

two toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

In the Autumn this fly is 'dressed with gold twist and gold tinsel 
(body) and is known as the " Queen of Autumn." It is a favourite of mine 
on most rivers, and a very old pattern. 




TAG. Silver twist and quill dyed yellow. 

TAIL. A topping, and two strands of Peacock herl (sword feather) of 

Bustard and Ibis. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Quill dyed yellow, leaving space for four turns of orange Seal's 

fur at the throat. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. A grey Eagle hackle, from centre. 
THROAT. Gallina (spotted feather). 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back) veiled with extending Jungle, a strip 

of Ibis and Bustard, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle (to centre of former pair). 

I rarely use any other " Eagle " but this, though I sometimes dress it 
with a yellow instead of a grey hackle. 



TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping, Ibis and Summer Duck. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. One-fourth of yellow silk, followed by silver tinsel (oval). 
EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Large Irish-grey from oval tinsel. 
THROAT. Teal, three turns. 
WINGS. Alternate narrow strips of Swan dyed yellow and black, married'; 

Summer Duck and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

One of my oldest and most successful patterns at the present time. 




TAG. Gold twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. Toucan, Ibis, and Amherst Pheasant. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. One third of buttercup silk and black silk, having a red-orange 

hackle down it. 
EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
WINGS. Two spreading strips of the Mandarin Drake, white tipped (a 

fair imitation is occasionally found on the domestic Mallard) and 

a topping. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

Used on the Earn, Aberdeenshire Dee, Teviot, Blackwater (Mallow 

district), Usk and Wye. 


BODY. Eed Berlin wool (brick colour). 

RIBS. Gold from far side, silver tinsel (narrow) from near side, wound 

the reverse way an equal distance apart. 
HACKLE. A red Spey-cock hackle from end of body, but wound in the 

usual direction from the root instead of from the point, thus 

crossing over the ribs at each turn given. 
THROAT. Teal, one turn only. 
WINGS. Two strips of Mallard, showing brown points and light roots. 

An old standard Spey fly. See the " Green King." 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Majenta Berlin wool. 

EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Yellow hackle, from second turn. 

THROAT. A red hackle. 

WINGS. Tippet, Peacock wing, Bustard, Swan dyed red, Golden Pheasant 

tail, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 

An old standard on the North-east coast of Scotland. 


TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Scarlet wool. 
BODY. In two sections of silver tinsel (oval), No. 1 butted with Indian 

'Crow and scarlet wool. 
HACKLE. Scarlet, along No. 2 section. 
WINGS. Indian Crow four double feathers overlapping each other and 

enveloping extended Jungle (back to back), and two toppings. 
HORNS. Eed Macaw. 
HEAD. Scarlet wool. 

A good fly on the Halladale ; and highly prized in Iceland. 


(Grub.) (KELSON.) 

TAG. Gold twist (eight turns). 
BODY. Amber coloured chenille. 

HACKLES. Five monkey hackles in equal divisions increasing in size an 
bulk. No. 1 forms the butt, and No. 5 the Head. 

EIVERS : Wherever Grubs are fashionable (best size 1/0 hook). 




TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 

TAIL. Topping, and two strands of unbarred Summer Duck. 

BUTT. Blue herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel. 

BIBS.- Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Natural black along body. 


WIXGS. Tippet, Pea.cock wing, and Gallina strands ; Mallard strips and 

a topping. 

CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Blue herl. 

A useful pattern on all rivers in reflected light. It is dressed on small 

double hooks. 


(Colonel ROCKE.) 

TAG. Silver twist and blue silk. 
TAIL. Golden Pheasant sword (point). 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Yellow silk. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Yellow hackle, from third turn. 
THROAT. Bed Macaw. 

WINGS. Two broad strips of yellow Macaw, and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

An old standard on the Usk and kills well in the Wye. 




TAIL. A few fibres of yellow Macaw's hackle. 
BODY. Black Berlin wool (short). 
EIBS. Silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Grey Heron from third turn. 
THBOAT. Black and white speckled Turkey. 
WINGS. Black and white speckled Turkey (strips). 

A splendid fly on the Spey in dull wet weather. The pattern can be 
varied for other rivers, when it may have either " mixed " or " built 
wings," and an ordinary Cock's hackle where Heron's do not serve 
faithfully; but the speckly characteristics in both parts of the fly must be 
maintained. I have done better with this fly when using the Crown 
Pigeon instead of Grey Heron. 



TAG. Gold twist and mouse-coloured Seal's fur. 
TAIL. Tippet, Ibis and Summer Duck in strands, and two points of Jungle 

(back to back). 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Gold tinsel (oval) three parts, followed by red Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. A natural blue-dun, from second turn; and a hen Pheasant 

dyed red, from Seal's fur. 
WINGS. Two long Jungle (back to back), Swan dyed red and yellow, 

Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, and two toppings. 
SIDES. Summer Duck. 

This is one of the best patterns in dirty water. I invariably use it on the 
Earn, Tweed, Usk, Spey ; and in very high water on the Lochy. 



(W. BROWN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 

BODY. Yellow Seal's fur and blue Seal's fur, equally divided. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Blue, from yellow fur. 
WINGS. Two strips of Teal and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Blue wool. 

An excellent fly on the Dee in summer. It is cfressed on small double 




TAG. Silver twist and dark yellow silk. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. One-third dark yellow silk, followed by light blue silk. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel fine (oval), and silver tinsel (flat). 
HACKLE. Light blue hackle, from yellow silk. 
THROAT. Widgeon. 
WINGS. Bustard, dark mottled Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, and a 

HORNS. Scarlet Ibis. 

A general standard in summer on the Dee, and a great favourite at 



(Rev. G. H. NALL.) 

TAG. Silver twist and crimson silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections of dark blue and crimson silk respectively. 

The blue silk is butted with a small dark blue hackle. 
THROAT. A coch-a-bonddu tinged in Bismarck brown. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
WINGS. Strands of scarlet Ibis, red Macaw and powdered blue Macaw, 

veiled and capped with brown Mallard, and a topping. 
SIDES. Small Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

EIVERS : Ogne and Birkrem. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Golden Bird of Paradise (3). 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Bright red-claret (a white coch-a-bonddu dyed in " *Cardinal," 

2288, Woolley & Co., Manchester). 
THROAT. White Heron, dyed light blue. 
WINGS. (Mixed) Peacock wing, Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, Amherst 

Pheasant tail, black and white mottled Turkey, Eed Macaw, Swan 

dyed yellow and blue and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This is the only standard fly having extra long hackles over a silver 


The " Black Ardea " is simply a variation, the only difference being that 
the body is made of black silk instead of silver tinsel. 

* If there is any difficulty in using the dye with water, add a little 
methylated spirits of wine. 



(W. BROWN.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Blue hackle. 
WINGS. Two broad (double strips) of Teal. 
HEAD. Blue wool. 

| A capital summer fly in bright sunshine on the Dee. It is dressed on 

small double hooks. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping (the inventor sometimes adds Chatterer). 
BUTT. Scarlet wool. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. A blue hackle and Gallina. 
WINGS. Strands of tippet, Summer Duck, Pintail, Gold Pheasant tail, 

Swan dyed light yellow and light blue, Bustard, Mallard and a 


HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Scarlet Wool. 

A great fly throughout the United Kingdom, to say nothing of its 
popularity on Norwegian and Canadian rivers. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Topping, two strands blue Macaw, and unbarred Summer Duck. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel (flat). 

KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. A silver coch-a-bonddu hackle along the body. 

THROAT. Widgeon. 

WINGS. Golden Pheasant tippet and tail in strands, Bustard, Swan 

dyed yellow, Amherst Pheasant, Gallina, powdered blue Macaw, 

Mallard, grey Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Black Berlin wool. 

This fly is used with success on all rivers. 


TAG. Silver tinsel (oval, fine). 

TAIL. Ked Macaw (hackle strips) enveloped in two strips of Summer 


BODY. Silver tinsel (flat). 
RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLES. Three in number, at the butt ; (No. 1) Jay and black herl 

at the centre ; (No. 2) red Macaw butted with black herl at 

throat; (No. 3) black (dyed). 
WINGS. Copper coloured Peacock's herl. 
CHEEKS. Blue Chatterer. 
HORNS. Black Cockatoo's tail. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

My favourite fly for flaked water. 


TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. A topping, and a dark topping from the Impeyan Pheasant. 


BUTT. Black berl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel. 

KIBS. Gold lace (fine). 

THROAT. Bed Toucan (undertail) and Gallina dyed blue. 

WINGS. Two strips of Tippet, two strips of Golden Pheasant tail, Teal, 

Mallard, and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

One of the best flies on the Test, and well-known in the north. 


(Sir H. MAXWELL.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Green Peacock herl. 

BODY. Gold tinsel (flat) to near the throat, having ribs of gold tinsel 

(oval), and a dark yellow hackle along it; then two or three turns 

of scarlet Seal's fur. 
THROAT. Crimson hackle. 
WINGS. Two tippets (closed) at top, spreading slightly over the body at 

bottom ; Bustard, Swan dyed light blue and rose, Turkey strands 

(white tipped), Peacock's herl, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle or Summer Duck. 
HORNS. Bed Macaw. 
HEAD. Peacock herl. 

RIVERS : Tweed, Usk, Bkckwater. 



TAG. Gold twist and gold silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 


BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of claret silk, two turns of claret Seal's fur, followed 

by black Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Natural black, from claret fur. 

"\YIXGS. Tippet strands, two strips of Mallard, and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

An old standard fly on the Deveron. 



TAG. Silver twist and orange silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Black silk. 

RIBS. Silver tinsel, and oval tinsel (fine). 

THROAT. Gallina and Jay. 

WINGS. Dark mottled Turkey, Golden Pheasant tail, Peacock wing, 

Parrot, Ibis, Mallard, and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

A useful standard on any river. 



TAG. Silver twist and light yellow silk. 
TAIL. Toucan, with two strips of Ibis. 
BUTT. Black herl. 


BODY. Two turns of light dirty-orange silk, followed by dirty-orange 

Seal's fur, well picked out. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Coch-a-bonddu hackle tinged in Bismarck brown. 
WINGS. Golden Pheasant tail and Peacock herl mixed in strands. 
SIDES. Teal and Ibis (married). 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

EIVERS : Tweed, Usk, Earn, and Don. 


(Rev. W. SKIRROW.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of red Seal's fur, followed by blue Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Blue hackle, from second turn. 
WINGS. Doubled strips of Teal. 

An old Tweed pattern much sought after on the Dee when dressed small. 


TAG. Silver twist and yellow 'silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Indian Crow. 

BUTT. A yellow hackle. 

BODY. In three equal sections of silver tinsel (oval) : No. 1, butted with 
a red hackle ; No. 2, with a light blue hackle ; No. 3 (or throat), 
Gallina. (Some dressers put silver tinsel and rib it with silver 
tinsel, oval.) 


WINGS. Two sword feathers of Golden Pheasant (back to back), grey 
mottled Turkey, Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, Swan dyed 
blue, yellow, and red ; and a topping. 

SIDES. Jungle.* 

One of the oldest patterns on the Tay, the original dressing is unknown. 

* Turnbull's dressing. 



TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 

TAIL. Ibis and blue Macaw (married). 

BUTT (or No. 1 hackle). A furnace hackle dyed orange. 

BODY. First half of yellow silk, ribbed with black chenille, No. 2 hackle 
a Vulturine Guinea fowl (natural blue) ; second half, black silk, 
ribbed with silver tinsel (oval) ; No. 3, or head hackles, a coch- 
a-bonddu and Gallina dyed dark orange. 

A very old standard on all rivers where Grubs are known. I have used 
it successfully as early as the first week in May. 



TAG. Silver twist and light blue silk. 
TAIL. Topping, and strands of tippet. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of orange silk, followed by orange Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Orange hackle, from orange silk. 
THROAT. Light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Four double tippets (back to back) enveloping two extended 
Jungle ; and a topping. 


SIDES. Jungle. 
HOHNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

EIVERS : Tweed, Tay, Spey, Don, Wye, Blackwater, and Lochy. 

NOTE. Veil wings with Teal for Wye" and Lochy, and use in tail strands 
of Summer Duck instead of tippet. 



TAG. Silver twist and violet silk. 
TAIL. Toucan (four feathers) and Teal. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Three turns of yellow Seal's fur, followed by violet Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel ; and fine silver lace running between each turn. 
HACKLE. A natural blue coch-a-bonddu (long), tinged in a Bismarck 


THROAT. Teal. 
WINGS. Plain cinnamon Gled (strips) and the point of a small Teal 

feather tied (flat) in between them. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

For smooth water. 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow Seal's fur. 

TAIL. Two red-breasts of Golden Pheasant (back to back). 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Light and dark orange (half way) followed by dark claret Seal's 

EIBS. Silver and gold tinsels (oval). 


HACKLE. A dark claret hackle, from centre. 

THROAT. Blue hackle. 

WINGS. Two red-breasts of Golden Pheasant (back to back) reaching tag, 
Peacock herl (principally), Golden Pheasant tail, red Macaw, 
and a topping : veiled, to centre of body, with a Summer Duck 
feather on each side. 

HEAD. Black wool. 

Tied in sizes varying from No. 4/0 to 7/0, this is a favourite high water 
fly on the Sundal. (Courtney, Killarney). 



TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Tippet (strands) ; Ibis, and Gallina. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Black Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. A natural black hackle, from second turn. 
THROAT. A dark blue hackle. 
WINGS. Two strips of dark mottled Turkey, veiled with two strips of 

the Great Bustard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 



TAG. Silver twist and pink silk. 
TAIL. Ibis, yellow Macaw and Teal. 
BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Two turns of red chenille, followed by yellow chenille. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 


HACKLE. From red chenille, a white coch-a-bonddu dyed light Bismarck 


THROAT. Gallina. 
WINGS. Two tippets, enveloping two extended red hackles ; veiled with 

grey Mallard, black Cockatoo's tail, and Teal ; Mallard and a 


CHEEKS. Indian Crow and Tanager, xespectively. 
HORNS. Bed Macaw. 

One of the original fancy flies on the Usk and a useful pattern at the 
present time on most rivers. 



TAG. Silver twist and blue silk. 

TAIL. Topping and Toucan. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel (flat). 

RIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Claret, from second turn of ribs. 

THROAT. Blue hackle. 

WINGS. Hen Pheasant tail, Peacock wing, Swan dyed red-orange, Golden 

Pheasant tail, and two strips of Mallard above. 
HOENS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

EIVERS : Tweed, Usk. 

NOTE. One of our best silver bodied " modifications," often varied in 
tail, hackle, throat and wing. 



TAG. Silver twist and one turn of crimson Berlin wool. 
TAIL. A topping. 


BODY. Fine Trout gut dyed black, closely coiled. 
THROAT. Three turns of silver coch-a-bonddu dyed yellow. 
WINGS. A few tippet strands, two narrow strips of unbarred Summer 
Duck and a topping. 

Long experience decides this to be one of the best Summer flies for 
general use. Several nondescripts of mine take the character of The 
Little Inky-boy, the gut being dyed in different colours. These patterns 
are best made with thin bodies and light wings. 



TAG. Gold twist and light yellow silk. 

TAIL. Two toppings, with Indian Crow above and below. 

BODY. Light fiery-brown and black pigs wool in equal divisions. 

KIBS. Gold tinsel (flat). 

HACKLE. Black, from second turn. 

WINGS. Teal, dark Bustard, fibres of Golden Pheasant breast, and of 

Amherst Pheasant ; Mallard and a topping. 
SIDES. Jungle. 

HORNS. Red, and blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 



TAG. Gold twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Topping. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Black silk. 
KIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. Orange hackle, from second turn of tinsel. 
WINGS. Mallard and a topping. 


SIDES. Jungle. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black wool. 

This fly is exceedingly popular and has a well earned reputation for 
its destructive qualities at a time when rivers begin to rise after rain. 
General B - has introduced an excellent variation of this old standard ; 
he puts an underwing of tippet, and brown mottled Turkey strips. His 
dressers are Mitchie & Co., of Stirling, N.B. 


TAG. Silver twist and scarlet Seal's fur. No. 1, hackle (or butt) three 

turns of Tippet. 

BODY. Light green-olive chenille. No. 2, hackle (in centre) four turns 
of tippet one size larger. 
No. 3, hackle (or head) five turns of tippet, still larger. 

An old favourite for a " thorough change." 



TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping and Ibis. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections of oval tinsel ; the first butted with Indian 
Crow above and below, and black herl. 

THROAT. A red-orange hackle, in colour similar to the Crow. 

WINGS. Two strips of black Turkey white tipped, Bustard, Peacock 
wing, Gallina, Golden Pheasant tail ; and two strands of Swan 
dyed red (white) and blue married ; Mallard and a topping. 

CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A great favourite on the Helmsdale. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Bed breast feather of the Golden Pheasant. 
BODY. Yellow, light blue, and scarlet Seal's fur. 
KIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Natural grey Heron, from blue fur. 
THROAT. Widgeon (Teal, large patterns). 
WINGS. Two strips of plain, cinnamon Turkey. 

A standard fly on the Dee, which, when dressed with a red breast 
hackle of the Golden Pheasant and with white (strips) wings, is known by 
the name of " The Killer." 


(Rev. A. WILLIAMS.) 
TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. Toucan and Ibis. 
BUTT. Claret herl. 
BODY. Three turns of red-claret silk, butted with a red-claret huckle ; 

followed by black Seal's fur. 
KIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. Black hackle, from claret butt. 
WINGS. Two strips of black Turkey white tipped, in single strips. 

A general Usk pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and golden-yellow silk. 

TAIL. A topping, and Indian Crow above and below. 

BUTT. Peacock herl. 

BODY. Black silk. 

RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel (narrow). 


HACKLE. Gallina, one-third of body. 

THROAT. Jay, and one turn Gallina over it. 

WINGS. Two broad strips of Swan dyed scarlet, veiled with Bustard, 

Mallard, grey Mallard, Parrot, and a topping. 
SIDES. Summer Duck. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This is the best of Turnbull's, and has long since become a general 


UNA. G.S. 


TAG. Silver twist and gold twist. 

TAIL. A topping, two strands of powdered blue Macaw, four strands of 
Summer Duck, and Chatterer. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. In two equal sections ; No. 1, of silver embossed tinsel, ribbed 
with gold tinsel (oval) and butted with black herl ; No. '2, of gold 
embossed tinsel, and ribbed with silver tinsel (oval). 

HACKLE. One side of a blue, and one side of a claret hackle, from 

THROAT. Two turns of orange hackle and Gallina. 

WINGS. Two strips of Peacock wing, veiled with Teal and Gallina, 
(underwing) ; Golden Pheasant tail, Parrot, red Macaw, Summer 
Duck, Powdered blue Macaw, Mallard, and a topping. 

HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

CHEEKS. Indian Crow and Chatterer. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A bright water fly and is often of service in sizes up to No. 2/0. A minute 
description is given as Una is usually overdressed. 



TAG. Gold twist. 
TAIL. A topping. 
BODY. Yellow and black Seal's fur in equal divisions, with a topping 

above yellow fur. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Black hackle, from yellow fur. 
WINGS. Tippet strands ; Gallina, Swan dyed yellow and red, Golden 

Pheasant tail, Bustard and Mallard. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
HEAD. Orange herl. 

Well known on the Grimmersta and on small rivers in Argyllshire. 

This pattern is fully described, as well as its variations, in Chapter V. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Point of red undertail of Toucan. 

BODY. Yellow and black chenille in close coils, not spirally but 

HACKLE. A natural blue coch-a-bonddu slightly tinged in Bismarck- 
brown, beginning at centre of body and ending with four or five 
coils at head. 

HEAD. Black herl. 

A simple but effective low water pattern in certain localities during 
the wasp season. On the Usk, for instance, I have been singularly 
successful with it. The fly is useful on the Dee. 




TAG. Silver twist. 
TAIL. A topping, and tippet strands. 
BODY. The first half of yellow, and orange and claret Seal's fur, equally 

divided, followed by black Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. A natural black hackle, from second turn. 
THROAT. A blue hackle. 
WINGS. Two strips of white Swan. 

An old Tweed pattern. 



TAG. Silver twist and orange silk. 
TAIL. Toucan and Indian Crow. 
BODY. Mauve silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel. 
THROAT. Widgeon. 
WINGS. Tippet strands, Swan dyed yellow, Parrot, Ibis, Gallina, and 


CHEEKS. Indian Crow. 
HEAD. Orange herl. 

A successful Irish pattern dressed on small double hooks. 


TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Two toppings, tippet, and Indian Crow. 
BUTT. Scarlet wool. 
BODY. Silver tinsel. 


BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Majenta and light blue hackle. 

WINGS. Tippet, Teal, Peacock wing, Golden Pheasant tail, Swan dyed 

red, yellow, and blue ; Mallard and a topping. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
SIDES. Jungle. 
HEAD. Black herl. 

This is one of my Father's earliest patterns and is patronised on most 




TAG. Silver twist and cream silk. 

TAIL. Two strips of Summer Duck. 

BUTT. Black herl. 

BODY. Silver tinsel. 

RIBS. Gold tinsel (oval). 

THROAT. Vulturine Guinea fowl and black Heron. 

WINGS. Egyptian Goose, little Bustard, silver speckled Turkey, grey 

Mallard and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Indian Crow and Chatterer. 

A superb killer on most rivers. The fly was named after Mr. "Wilson of 




TAG. Silver twist and red silk. 
TAIL. Yellow Macaw, and a few strands of Ibis. 
BUTT. No. 1, a white coch-a-bonddu dyed yellow, cheeked, after the 

" Jungle Hornet," with Jungle on each side. 
BODY. Yellow Seal's fur. 


RIBS. Silver tinsel, fine (oval). No. 2, or centre hackle, as before, 
cheeked. No. 3, or head, a larger hackle (same sort) and 
two turns of Gallina dyed orange, cheeked as before. 

An old standard on the Wye and a great favourite at the present time. 


(F. YATES.) 

TAG. Silver twist and yellow silk. 
TAIL. Tippet, Summer Duck, and Gallina. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Rose silk two turns, followed by claret, blue, and black Seal's 

fur equally divided. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel. 

HACKLE. White coch-a-bonddu dyed light Bismarck brown. 
WINGS. Tippet, Teal, Gallina, Golden Pheasant tail, Bustard, Swan 

dyed yellow and green ; Ibis, Mallard, and a topping. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

An excellent general fly. 



TAG. Silver twist. 

TAIL. Red breast feather of the Golden Pheasant. 
BODY. Yellow, scarlet, and light blue Seal's fur. 
RIBS. Silver lace and silver tinsel. 
HACKLE. Eagle dyed yellow, from scarlet fur. 
THROAT. Widgeon (Teal, large patterns). 

WINGS. Two strips of grey mottled Turkey having black bars and white 

A well-known dark water fly on the Dee. 




TAG. Silver twist and dark orange silk. 
TAIL. Toucan. 
BODY. Black silk. 
RIBS. Silver tinsel. 

THROAT. Yellow Macaw, and powdered blue Macaw. 
WINGS. Golden Pheasant yellow rump, Parrot, Gallina, Bustard, red 

and powdered blue Macaw. 
SIDES. Jungle. 


(Rev. A. WILLIAMS.) 
TAG. Silver twist and violet silk. 
TAIL. A topping and tippet strands. 

BODY. Two turns of yellow silk, followed by yellow Seal's fur. 
EIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
HACKLE. Yellow hackle from silk. 

THROAT. Scarlet hackle, veiled with two small toppings. 
WINGS. Two tippets (back to back), a strip of Summer Duck on each 

side, and two toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 
CHEEKS. Chatterer. 

An old Usk fly, used also on the Thurso, Wye, and Don. 

Though the absence of a few old flies is to be regretted, I have, after 
investigating the matter to the best of my power and ability, determined 
to adopt the foregoing list. No end of old time standards have sunk into 
desuetude, disappeared from the scene, and vanished altogether. In some 
cases this is a pity ; in many others a relief. Veterans, for instance, may 
deplore the loss of the "Rainbow," the "Quaker," or the "Assassin;" but 
few would look twice at "Mentor," Queen Mab," or even " Rob Roy," 


and the original " Kay Mead." The loss is due, in my opinion, to a kind 
of trade rivalry, and to a prevalent desire on the part of certain dressers 
to produce some sensational effect by inconsistently varying any fly they 
make while still using the old name. Let me not be misunder- 
stood. To cleverly vary a fly, under certain principles, in order to 
meet some particular case or condition, is a feat often practised by first- 
class men ; but there really is no such thing as " producing sensational 
effect " by the mere process of haphazard variation. A " bit of novelty " 
in most standards, though accidentally effective, soon wears off in general 
use, and is pretty sure to spoil the pattern for good and all. 

On the other hand, it is true that some flies, as for instance " Bonnie 
Dundee," "Daily News," and the "Blue Charm " of old, are suscep- 
tible of vast improvement ; but, as I say, some of the best have entirely 
lost their value by passing through phases of irresponsible treatment, and 
might well receive their conge from some reliable judicative source. 

A good example of this sort of importunate treatment is manifest in 

a collection of old standards, which have been on my table for weeks and 

months. Most of them were sent to me for the purposes of this work, 

and have come from all parts of the United Kingdom. So inconsistent 

has been the changes made in bodies and wings generally, even in the 

different specimens of three such favourites as the " Assassin," " Ray 

Mead," and the " Quaker," the first and last of which, in the fulness of 

their celebrity, riveted themselves on my recollection, that it is almost 

impossible to identify them. For this reason they, like others, cannot 

be truly described. Among these patterns, nevertheless, I see a rather 

good looking variation of "Ray Mead." The wings take after a fly 

invented by my Father, and the body assumes the character of a silver 

and blue " Jock Scott." I have, however, seen patterns on the Bann, 

Owenmore, Waterville river, the Bush, Bundrowes, Shannon, and 

Blackwater, differing so much from their original dressing, that I am 

driven to overlook them in this collection. As an example take, say, 

" Tim's Moke," which, however, is eminently deserving of some sort of 

notice. This fairly useful fly is known on the West coast as the 

" Monkey Grey," whilst on the other side of Ireland it enjoys the 

appellation of " Red Tag." It takes somewhat after the " Lemon 

Plate 5. 








Grey," but has red silk at the tag, and a red hackle under Jay at the 
throat. What an endless and perhaps impossible work it would be to 
explain all these patterns in detail ! 

The Clarets on the Erne, and other Irish flies whipped up with a 
black hackle and plain Mallard wing still hold their own, like the Blues 
on the Lee, but the majority are hardly worth describing, as the local 
manufacturers dress them in a variety of ways merely to please the fancy 
of customers in their own particular district. 

Scotland, like Ireland, but not to such an extent, has necessitated 
considerable enquiry. The " Gordon," one of the champions of the 
North, has cost more for postage stamps than the fly is worth in the 
South. But this, the best of all the Dee flies, is hardly ever dressed by 
two rnsn alike. The fish will have it, in Spring and Autumn, and I am 
quite at a loss to decide which of the two foregoing descriptions is to be 
recommended. However, I use the sword feather of the Golden Pheasant 
only for the largest patterns. The " Blue Charm," among others to 
which prominence is given, has never been heard of in out of the way 
places. Even in England this fly is hardly known by sight or name ; 
indeed, in districts not far south of Aberdeen many would like to class 
it with those of the Irish division for having changed its costume. But 
in its own neighbourhood, as made now, during the months of April, 
May and June the pattern has no rival nearer than " Jeannie," or 
" Logic," which little companion flies are still turned out in their original 

Among the Scotch flies, not included in this list, is the " Gledwing," 
(otherwise remembered as the " Glentana Gled,") from the fact that the 
hawk of the same name formerly supplied materials for the wing. But 
when the hawk died on Deeside the fly died too ; or, in more staid 
language, the kite is now extinct in that neighbourhood, and, as far as 
regards any special distinction, so is the fly, for no imitation of its 
attractive wing-feather has proved of equal avail. 

But what a number of instances I could bring forward as proof 
positive of the singular value and special effect of certain of the Standard 
patterns ! Alas, for the class of Fishermen who fondly imagine they 
can hold their own anywhere at the present time with no more than 



three or four flies in their book ! Their ideas must be accepted as 
affording remarkable evidence of the want of varied experience, particu- 
larly that experience which led me to my variations in fly-work, now with 
this object, now with that, and which brought to light so many practical 
advantages of the system. Perhaps I should say that, in the progress of 
my experiments, every failure was a step to success ; every detection of 
what was bad and fruitless helped me to iind what was really wanted. 

In concluding these observations, it is a great privilege to be able to 
state that the descriptive particulars of all the above flies, save and 
except those referring to the "Butcher," "Gordon," "Gold Eiach," a 
few introduced by Miss Daly (now Mrs. Courtney) and those of my own, 
have been read and approved by that one living authority, Colonel 
Bichardson, on whom Salmon Anglers and dressers alike may place the 
utmost reliance for his wide experience and accurate knowledge of the 
whole subject. 

Anglers can inspect all the Standard patterns at Farlows. The 
trade can be supplied wholesale by Eedpath and Co., and they can rely 
on getting all shades of the dyed materials with scarcely a fault. 



" Xa/nre ever indicates the way to her bent secrets without leading us thither by her oicn 


STUDENTS of angling history will probably agree with me that in days 
gone by all men " roughed " it. There were no sporting newspapers to 
encourage discussion on the choice of flies, nor other means of com- 
municating experiences ; and as for the publication of a work on the 
sport, that was a matter of serious cost, whilst the popularity of the 
author depended on his literary style, rather than on the skill with which 
he handled the subject. Consequently there was little intercourse among 
Fishermen of different rivers. All this is now changed. Modern facilities 
for travel, and the dispensation of knowledge, have ensured that the 
angling world will ever possess new lights and copious records. Art and 
science lend their aid to furnish the Angler with improved appointments 
that serve to instruct him in the habits of his prey ; and, at a relatively 
small expense, he can avail himself of the experience of those men who, 
with larger opportunities for acquiring it, now command some fifteen 
yards in excess of the cast which our ancestors made with an old 
" hickory " and a line of " silk and hair ! " 

But notwithstanding these modern advantages, it seems to me that, 
apart from a certain happy class who want no instruction, much ill- 
digested information exists among Salmon-anglers on the great question 



of flies. To the class of Fishermen who, victimised by some haphazard 
success, profess to believe that the selection of a fly is immaterial, I do 
not address myself. To those who believe that in fishing, as in other 
arts, there is a right and a wrong method, and that the right method 
the method best calculated to secure success can only be acquired by a 
careful observation and comparison of facts, I venture to offer some 
assistance in reconciling apparently conflicting conclusions of late years. 
A considerable advance has been made towards the ideal in fly-manu- 
facture. And not only does the expert fly-tier possess more varied 
dressing materials, and study with greater care their arrangement upon 
the hook with a view to harmony, but the expert fly-fisher proceeds with 
more system, and consequently with greater confidence in the choice of 
his lures for ordinary use as well as for "refreshing" contingencies. The 
progress of the Salmon-angler in these respects has been slow, but sure 
and satisfactory. 

I have no wish to review the progress made with respect to rods and 
lines in this chapter. The old patterns had to be abolished, and have 
long since been replaced by new ones. But as soon as railways afforded 
facilities of access to rivers, Anglers increased enormously in number, with 
the result that " methods and principles " forced themselves upon fly- 
dressers in proportion as fish became more shy or more educated. 

A man must have faith in his fly as well as in himself. 

"Confidence in oneself," a great writer tells us, "is the chief nurse of 
magnanimity." But I shall never forget wandering home one evening in 
company with others intent on fly-lore, when suddenly a member of the 
party exclaimed, with the unaffected sincerity of one who is concerned to 
tell the truth, " For goodness' sake don't derange my mental equilibrium. 
I have killed more fish than any of you, and the evidence on the simple- 
ness of Salmon-fishing is quite enough for me. I tell you they came 
like bulldogs at ' Jock Scott ' the first fly I picked out ; so no sermons 
on flies for me ! " 

The touch of human nature which these impulsive remarks evinced 
will in no way diminish our satisfaction with knowing that sometimes 
Salmon seem bound to provide any amount of sport for the novice ; but 
although early success may engender overweening confidence, the tyro 

HOW TO FAIL ! 229 

should by no means presume upon his good fortune, as I shall endeavour 
to show forthwith. 

It was my young friend's first effort, and he fished like a Trojan from 
morning till night. He knew nothing ; he would listen to nothing ; he 
was told nothing ; and, though in the intoxication of a temporary success, 
he made earnest and repeated attempts to follow it up, the Salmon had 
settled down ; the first fly in the book, and many a successor selected 
without discrimination, failed him ; not another fin did he move. Little 
did he dream that the sport admits of endless diversity, affording an 
agreeable and useful exercise of one's judgment in the choice of flies, as 
well as in the use of them. 

The explanation in this particular case is not far to seek. 

Having entered upon the scene of action, keen and self-possessed, 
this young Angler had much in his favour e.g., the Spring of the year, 
when the fish are often as keen as the Fisherman ; the best of rivers ; 
prawns, worms, and other such injurious baits being prohibited ; the 
water and weather in perfect condition after a spate sky cloudy, wind 
westerly ; and agreeably, to the best wishes of us all, he remained in 
possession of the " Field " casts, which held, by the way, two of our best 
pools, easily covered by an ordinary Trout rod. 

Under such circumstances as these, a run of luck often attends the 
novice; but when it comes to a question of "presentation" and choice 
of flies, Fortune forsakes all but the initiated. Formerly, the Angler 
might rely upon three weeks of easy fishing after a flood with " the first 
fly picked out " ; but in these days of drainage he cannot count upon 
such indulgence for one-fourth of the time ; and then the waters fall and 
get vapid, fish settle down and get sulky, and the issue depends, not on 
merely walking over the course with "Jock Scott," but on a system 
founded throughout all its parts on certain well-ascertained principles, 
which have proved themselves by the results achieved. Then only is it 
that the novice realises the true position, and the necessity for him to 
learn, or, perhaps, even to unlearn. 

How often have I seen the inexperienced man positively woo failure ! 
For instance, in his over-eagerness and slap-dash style of approach and 
of using the tackle, he puts fish down prematurely, and then spoils his 


chance altogether by infringing the rule best calculated to bring him 
success i.e., not to persevere too long with the " very fly that really 
ought to kill." This is a fatal practice. But apart from all such trans- 
gression the fact still remains that, the best fly in one season falls into 
desuetude in another, the perfect pattern in the morning sometimes fails 
at noon, and destroys all chance of success in the evening. 

In this relation, I have more than once known the right man " lower 
his waders " ; walk home to dress a certain set of patterns for a special 
purpose ; and use but one variation after all. And why ? Because the 
surroundings at the Catch remained as they were. 

Another matter not devoid of interest which I would deal with here 
alludes to the prevailing partiality shewn for certain standards. " Jock 
Scott " furnishes a grand example for consideration. 

It is commonly said that fish see this fly oftener than others, that it 
reigns supreme because Anglers persist in using it wherever they go. 
But to ascribe the reputation of any fly to this bald fact is just one of 
those cock-and-bull stories which derive their origin partly from imagina- 
tion and partly from hearsay. A man has no ghost of a chance if he is 
constantly led away by such a statement. No ; the key to " Jock's " 
repute may be traced to the dexterous hand of the inventor. His con- 
struction is of a " decided " nature. He is exact in the observance of 
laws relating to harmony of colour, proportion, and symmetry ; the 
possession of which qualities must, in the long run, secure for any pattern 
a vastly superior chance over its rivals. It may be taken for granted 
that the persistent employment of any one fly is absolutely certain to 
bring it into bad repute temporarily, as the fish are sure to get sick at the 
very sight of it. In " Jock Scott," perhaps, we find the nearest excep- 
tion. It is the acknowledged King of built-wing flies, fit to reign over 
his own large circle of admirers. It is not an ordinary fly. Analyse this 
Scotch pattern under any reasonable test, and the fly is usually found to 
possess a singular excellence, though, on the authority of " Silver Grey " 
(Sept. 16th, 1893), Land and Water says : 

" I know one stream in Ireland and another in Scotland, in which, 
though often tried, ' Jock Scott ' has never done the trick yet." 

Only those who rise superior to prejudice, and who pin their faith on 


the proper pattern for each particular occasion, can realise how absurd is 
the remark that " one fly is as good as any other at any time." Yet, even 
men of " light and leading" sometimes fall into the trap, and mount a 
favourite pattern, regardless whether it is, or is not, suited to the sur- 
rounding conditions. When difficulty arises, out comes the fly book, and 
" Hang those doctrines that tell of miracles worked in this or that light, 
so on goes the one that has rarely failed me, Hamish." Knowing the 
exact lie of the fish, the spot to an inch where to stand and how to cast 
half the battle, all this they occasionally succeed with it, because the 
very conditions that called for the use of the particular fly happened to 
exist. Not unfrequently they would experience dismal failure ; but the 
keen observer is never slow in detecting the true reason. 

A most important point to be considered in choosing a fly is the 
nature and condition of the pool in which it is to be used. Each pool has 
its own distinguishing features. Some are shallow, others deep ; some 
are in the shade, others in the full sunshine; some have a pebbly bottom, 
affording little shelter to the fish, others abound with rocks and boulders. 
In some the current runs smooth and straight, in others the waters boil 
and twist themselves into eddies all being more or less affected by the 
rise or fall of the river. It hardly requires to be stated that one identical 
fly cannot be equally attractive in all pools, or in every condition of the 
same pool ; and that it is of the utmost importance to pay attention to 
the size of the hook, which the existing local conditions may demand. 
Almost any pattern of suitable size in straight running waters early in 
the season, would, at least, show that it was made of the right stuff, pro- 
vided always that it be one of those specimens warranted never to 
" skirt " or " wobble." But the Spring of the year is soon over, and as 
the mild weather sets in, fish take to streams, and get more or less 
difficult to please as the water gets low and the days hot. Then is the 
time for observation and reflection ; and for the use of " The Little Inky- 
boy" (p. 214). My Father used to say, "To fish without reflecting is like 
eating without digesting." I followed this aphorism of his, and with 
what advantages ! But alas ! reflect how I may, it is not within my 
power to bear in memory all the actual details of past adventures in 
such a manner that they can be brought vividly before the mind of 


the reader. Memory recalls most of them, at all events ; and yet it 
would seem wiser for the Angler to take notes for himself (as I did at a 
later period) than to trust to after-thought. It was, for instance, only 
by comparing notes that I learned to understand the advantage of using 
natural coloured feathers in fly- work as the season wears on. By the 
same process I also arrived at the fact that marked effects can be 
produced by certain distinctions in flites, especially as regards sulky 
fish. But perhaps the most singular, if not, indeed, the most fortunate, 
discovery I thus made, and upon which the utmost reliance may be 
reposed, shows how the rule relating to proportion in a fly may be broken. 
Although the reader's attention is elsewhere drawn to it, I here take 
as an every day example, a rough stream in June, when, from lying 
close behind a boulder, or better still, an upright ledge of rock, a fish, 
game for rising, cannot get a glimpse of your fly till it goes well over him. 
At such a juncture observe the constant effect of using small patterns 
adorned with extra large " Jungle," or an unusually large strip of 
Summer Duck for sides ! I am afraid to say how frequently I used to be 
called upon to demonstrate these principles, and how seldom success of 
some sort, even under the fevered stress of jostling competition, did not 
attend the trials. Oh, the happier dreams of restfulness and amuse- 
ment and peace on private waters ! 

But, of course, it needs some little experience, as well as the power 
of reasoning by analogy, to determine which fly to mount, even at the best 
of times. 

Pools, as I have said, are ever changing. They are affected by the 
height, and consequent strength, of the water ; by objects washed into 
them ; and by the constantly varying amount of light and shade thrown 
directly or indirectly over them. For these reasons alone no definite 
instructions can be offered for general acceptance. In fact, it would be 
as foolish for a young Fisherman to place faith in any given set of rules 
which exact undeviating adherence, as to anticipate constant results with 
a fly that may have carried all before it on a former occasion. 

However, as far as I can do so, I intend giving examples of certain 
measures and methods which are approved by my own experience. 
Whether the information will be fruitful of result for the student must 


depend largely on himself. He must use judgment, and especially be on 
his guard against those well-meaning counsellors at the river-side, who, 
with evident sincerity, " know all about it," and who honestly believe 
themselves, like Hamlet, born to " set right " a " world out of joint." 
Who, with but trifling experience, will not agree that the governing 
(uncharitable folks call it meddling) faculty is extremely strong in some 
natures? " Your fly is a mile too big," "Try so and so; that's your 
only chance," etc., etc. That's the badge to know them by. 

It is also only too true that a vast amount of mischief goes on 
outside the field of operations. One representative of a wider public 
protests in this wise : 

' ' Light and shade ; the ways of the Salmon ; the condition of the 
river how can they have anything to do with the choice of flies '? What 
learned nonsense, what scientific humbug ! " 

Much allowance must be made for opinions emanating from 
experience acquired in an easy-chair in a library. But it is to be 
regretted for the sake of novices that some writers wage bitter and 
unrelenting war against men who, in seeking the solution of fly problems, 
apply the same methods as have conduced to the establishment of 
principles in physical research. 

Passing over vexatious criticism we must all freely acknowledge the 
liberal spirit with which our subject is occasionally treated. One amiable 
critic (Mr. E. T. S., now of the Field) says : 

" When we come to study the problem of flies and grasp the mean- 
ing of one particular theory, we begin to wonder how it is possible to 
catch fish under any other system (meaning my own). Seeing is believing, 
and all those who have seen have believed." 

Only at a recent casual meeting of Salmon-anglers engaged in dis- 
cussing flies, etc., I was myself astonished to see the interest taken in the 
subject. Twenty years ago, not a man would go a yard out of his way 
to discuss them. When I was asked to give my experience, I began by 
reading aloud portions of this book from the manuscript. Afterwards, I 
asked those present how far they agreed with the principles set forth. 

" I don't believe in any principle at all," said one ; " but the sombre 
fly business you recommend for dull days pays well enough on the Usk." 


" Not so with us on the Lochy," another remarked. " We think it 
best there to use a good showy pattern in dull weather, like the ' Silver 
Doctor.' ' 

" Exactly so," I observed to the latter. " And by your universal 
practice you have unfortunately brought the fish found to your way of 

Then in Highland tones I was asked 

" What system would be advantageous on the Dee ? " 

" None," I replied, " beyond that in connection with contrast. The 
legislator forms an estimate from the multitude of rivers, not from the 
select few. But do not forget the ' March brown' in* its season." 

" I know nothing about system," a well-known Spey-angler said ; 
" at any rate, we use thin wings on cold days." 

" At Macroom, we study ' colour ' and ' character.' One day they 
come at blue bodies, another at grey ones ; but we don't know till we 

Elsewhere I was complimented by the observation that Wye men 
had but little faith in any system until I introduced the " Wye Grub" 
and the " Sun fly," which, by their frequent success under certain con- 
ditions, created quite a stir in some of the districts. 

And so I went on until I obtained a fair amount of confirmation, 
which I fully expected, from one source or another. 

Now I look upon it that the diversity of these opinions, and the very 
opinions themselves, go to support my view of the value of system, to 
illustrate which this book is chiefly written. 

The question seems to be this : Should the inquiring Angler fall a 
victim to men whose ingenuity and skill extend no further than, say, from 
Loch Tay to Perth, where, for even twenty years, they have diligently 
trailed their half-dozen flies at the stern of a boat ; or to others, whose 
means are neither more nor better than experience picked up on two, 
three, or may be four rivers ? I must answer boldly. No ; for I am fully 
of the opinion that the man who has fished as many as a dozen rivers, 
unless they had been specially selected for the purpose, cannot possibly have 
derived sufficient knowledge to deal in a satisfactory manner with a mean 
proportion of cases constantly cropping up. Put him at Macroom, for 


instance, and how would he tell whether to mount the blue or the grey 

So far as the foregoing examples of the " meddling faculty " are 
concerned, the student will, of course, arrive at some conclusion for 
himself, but I cannot help thinking that they take away some of the credit 
which the English race possess for common sense and intelligence. 
Meanwhile, we may do well to consider the two following common-place 
examples of practising the four-fly system when one fly fails, another is 
tried. On what principle, then, should the Angler make his choice from 
the long list of Standards described in another chapter ? 

The reader must distinctly understand beforehand that obstinate 
fish, or, as some put it, " fish off the feed," can be induced to rise and 
take a fly of some sort. That very fly in most instances is to be found 
among the numerous standards given, though the absence of a few non- 
descripts or obscurities, sometimes useful on ordinary occasions, is, 
perhaps, to be regretted. 

He should also understand that I am merely laying down the method 
of procedure which a good Angler would generally pursue ; and that I am 
not here alluding to any special difficulty arising from a sudden change of 
temperature, a sudden fall of water, or even intervals of nausea, produced 
by pollution. 

Now the tactics of Fishermen are governed by the circumstances 
that present themselves. Take, as the first of these examples, bright 
times, fish properly trained to the bright and dull fly system, and an 
ordinary Catch, in which a mixed wing fails to attract their notice. I 
should use a fly on, for instance, the Spey or Dee, of a particular class 
(say the "Gold Eiach"on the former, the " Akroyd " on the latter). 
This selection would be equal, in respect of colouring, to that, say, of a 
" Jock Scott " another class of fly which might be used on other rivers, 
on all, in fact, with perhaps half a dozen exceptions. 

Then, a silver body ; and be guided by the character of the river as 
to what sort on the Wye, a " Silver Grey "; on the Usk, a " Wilkin- 
son " ; on the Lochy, a " Silver Doctor." In the fourth trial a " Grub," 
also suited to the river as regards colour of tail, body, and hackle. 

For the second example, when a bright or a conspicuously-dressed fly 


fails (though, in the four-fly system, it would be considered as bad form 
to start operations with such showy feathers as Summer Duck in any 
pattern), I should give extra rest and try " Charlie," or some other black- 
looking fly ; then a nondescript of this, that, or the other class, having 
still some marked characteristics prominently distributed; e.g., extra 
long hackles, or tufts of short ones, plenty of the most favoured colour in 
the tail as well as in the body and wings ; and finally mount a very large 

I do not see any very " learned nonsense " or " scientific humbug " 
in all this, though possibly a few of the old school may feel slightly un- 
comfortable at the thought that the grand traditions of their uncere- 
monious practice, imbued with no principle whatever, should be rudely 
interrupted by an outburst of formularities. 

But Salmon-fishing, like anything else in the universe, must be 
governed by *laws, and can only best be followed by observing them at 
all points. I claim no complete knowledge of them, they are not im- 
mutable, but that is no reason why what I know of the subject should 
be valueless. 

Judicious contrasts are as essential to Fishermen as to the well- 
appointed stage, and years of experiment suggest that one chief principle 
in Salmon-fishing is ever to use them. 

Perhaps at this part of our inquiry it would not come amiss were I 
to relate a few of my earlier exploits, which resulted in finding the key to 
many intricate problems. 

With twenty years or more of fishing experience, and with only 
misleading custom as a guide, I had a strong desire to investigate matters 
for myself. I therefore determined to devote attention at the riverside to 
the workings of Nature. As I began to decipher the more obscure 
passages in this great book, I became familiar step by step with numerous 
phenomena, in past days thought to be unconnected with angling, yet 

* Our laws are not infallible, but what we may safely assert is, that the propriety of a 
rigid or elastic application of them depends upon the practice of fishing on each river. Care 
must be taken to estimate the effect of any practice. But if one finds that a district of thirty 
miles forms the boundary of a run of Salmon, and it takes one hundred men to "put thi'in 
down " by improper Hies or improper presentation, the Angler may decide for himself in what 
way, and to what extent, he is to apply our laws to do them justice. 


now the subject of all our best Anglers' consideration. AVhat I mean is, 
that I have frequently looked on " effect," and subsequently discovered 
the " agent " by which it was produced. This led me to study my work 
more diligently, and, with renewed effort, I was not only occasionally 
rewarded with that which I sought after, but also with something even more 
valuable. I learnt directly that useful knowledge must be superior to 
chance, though often indebted to it ; that knowing the why and the 
wherefore are stalworth aids as to how to proceed ; and that facts based on 
observation may (however good) mostly be best turned to use when 
helped by intuition. Once I rejoiced at being successful in a difficult 
situation for a second, or even for a third time, but at another time, on 
returning to the same pool, unconscious of its altered condition, I failed, 
owing to my having forgotten its peculiar requirements. I still persevered, 
and finally became convinced beyond all doubt that to the influence of 
local surroundings may be traced many important facts on which, to this 
day, I ponder before deciding what fly to use, and in what way to use it. 

I am fully assured, too, that every conspicuous object by, or in, the 
water is eloquent with hints from which inferences may be drawn. Yet 
I am not one of those who believe that a little knowledge, which Pope 
pronounced a dangerous thing (though it did not, by the way, prevent him 
from translating Homer on a very slender proficiency of Greek) even 
that little, in my estimation, is better for the Angler than total ignorance. 

Compare, too, the pleasant issue attending one's labour under such 
tuition as I am now attempting under training of the mind, eye, and 
hand with that of men whose knowledge extends no farther than just to 
put up " Jock Scott " and " go a-fishing ! " 

Of course, circumstances crop up to upset one's most cherished con- 
victions. The faith one has in the " bright fly " doctrine, for instance, 
that is to use gaudy patterns in clear waters on bright days, and to 
reverse the process under contrary conditions see how easily this system 
can be upset. Supposing bright flies have previously failed in the hands 
of one who has been acquainted with the various Catches, say, for half a 
century, and upon whom you place the utmost reliance for his judgment 
in regard to size, and for his skill in regard to " presentation," you, fish- 
ing after him, would always adopt exactly the opposite practice. Nor would 


you follow his system on hard-fished rivers, though you had a district to 
yourself, unless it were respected and generally followed by others fishing 
below you. The bright fly will always be found to pay best on rivers 
where both fish and Fishermen have been properly educated. And this is 
not only because it is more natural, but because at such times fish see it 
farther from them. Salmon are always more determined to take a fly 
when rushing at it from a distance. The veteran did not happen to 
know that the Catch in question had been temporarily spoilt by a pro- 
longed and injudicious employment of, perhaps, a dozen of the brightest 
flies in creation ; but your knowledge of his failure is enough, and you 
proceed accordingly. 

The only rule from which as yet I have never deviated refers to fish- 
ing in " flaked " water, and I shall now mention it. 

For years I never had much heart in thrashing away under these trying 
conditions, which are of no uncommon occurrence on certain rivers. 

" Flaked " water arises from thunderstorms pelting down after a 
spell of hot weather. When the hills with a Southerly aspect have for a 
time been exposed to the rays of a scorching sun, the higher precipices 
will be found covered with a more or less curly coat of thin, dry " draff." 
A heavy rainstorm racks off this skin in particles, which, by a gradual 
process of disintegration, afterwards rapidly thicken the water, till 
eventually the whole neighbouring pools become not exactly muddy, but 
" flaky." The discharge has only to be seen once to be remembered. 

" "Were it not for the flakes the water would be clear," I have heard 
it remarked. Yet the water may be clear though flaked. 

Upon such occasions, I make it a standing rule to mount a " Silver 
Spectre," and to use it, not in confined stretches darkened by trees or 
overhanging rocks, but in open pools and places, where the whole light 
has free play. 

In hazy weather I should use small dark flies. 

In fishing a Catch over again from the other side, it is the usual 
practice to present a fly altogether differing in colour and character from 
what the fish have seen just before. It may also be smaller and brighter. 
The body, at any rate, should have extra attraction in the shape of 
colour, even amounting to gaudiness ; and with "sides" and "cheeks," 


say, of Jungle and Chatterer respectively. Should the water be ex- 
ceptionally bright, all these distinctions may prove advantageous. 

On the first rise of water after rain a time when Salmon take well 
if shewn the right thing my favourite is the " Thunder and Lightning." 
But this fly is at its best when the body dressing measures no more than 
one inch and a quarter. (I have never killed a Salmon with a very large 
one.) It is, therefore, prudent sometimes to keep to the fly of which the 
fish have previously taken most notice ; but it should be one size larger 
for pools, and two or three sizes for fast-running streams, when fished 
from the bank. As the waters rise, the fish in shelving pools fortunately 
shift across stream, or unfortunately work their way up river. The 
question of size on these occasions can be answered only by the local 
gillie. I have often gone in one bound from a No. 1 hook to a No. 3-0, 
and even to 4-0. On the Lochy, for instance, the water may rise as 
much as four feet without an atom of mud appearing to stay proceedings ; 
but one has to be more careful there in the matter of size. The last time 
I visited the lower Beat, my friend J. C. H. captured five of these 
wanderers with a nondescript fly in one spot. It was dressed on a No. 3-0 
hook, and had a body of crimson Seal's fur, with a natural furnace 
hackle along it, and Teal wings. Perhaps the river was five, or even six, 
feet higher than usual. I dressed the fly afterwards in different sizes, 
but never touched a fish with a single one of them, until the waters rose 
as before, when the same pattern again killed excellently. Local fly- 
dressers would do well to make a note of this. The pool was fairly open, 
the current not swirly, but straight running. 

Close observation has proved that previous to a thunderstorm Salmon 
take badly indeed, generally not at all. When the day is still and 
oppressive, denoting " electricity in the air," fish are " down," and refuse 
to rise at any fly. But when the grand crash comes the fun is sometimes 
fast and furious, no matter what fly is used. A few good peals of 
thunder, with its accompanying downpour of rain, speedily clear the 
atmosphere, and Salmon, 'in common with animals, and even human 
beings, are quickly influenced by the change. 

On the top of a flood, before the water clears, an orange body, having 
a blue hackle over a black one at the throat, and a wing after the fashion 


of that of the " Black Dog," seems to prove best in the vast majority of 
cases. The " Jungle Hornet " is also a great favourite with me on small 
rivers. It is, however, varied according to circumstances, but on the top 
of a flood chiefly so in the materials used for the tail. For instance, on 
the Usk I should put a tail of scarlet Ibis, on the Wye one of yellow 
Macaw, and so on. Grubs with orange bodies, having cheeks of Jungle 
at each hackle, are also required when the water remains discoloured from 
mud or road washings. 

In peat water (porter coloured) a blue-over-black or a grey Heron 
hackle also come into favour, as well as clarets and browns for the body ; 
but the " Silver Doctor," " Silver Grey," and "Wilkinson " are sometimes 
preferred. These latter patterns kill best on many rivers in bright water 
and weather ; but when silver bodies are constantly used on dark, cloudy 
days, as, for instance, on the Lochy they should never be left at home. 

When the bottom of the river is dirty, and a green slimy growth on 
the stones sways to and fro, fish fast-running waters. Always reduce the 
size of your fly when a Salmon rises after your pattern has passed him. 

In streams with plenty of uneven rocks temporarily or permanently 
located on the bed of the river, I do not often find a rival for "Elsie." 
Here again the dressing is varied ; light colours being reserved for open 
situations, darker ones for those that are screened. This remark refers 
both to the body of the fly and the wings. 

In the afternoon I usually dress flies with gold tinsel ribbing instead 
of silver, which answers best earlier in the day. 

It may be taken as a general rule that one ought to mount com- 
paratively large flies in cold weather, both for deep pools and level- 
bottomed streams. But if a sudden change of temperature takes place, 
the size must be immediately increased or decreased very considerably. 
Suppose the wind veers suddenly round to the east, and the thermometer 
falls much whilst the barometer rises, it is useless to persevere with any 
fly for more than an hour or so after the change sets in. But during that 
short period, although the fish will cease to show themselves, the Angler 
who works hard and mounts any of the more suitable patterns as large as 
those used in the early Spring may yet be rewarded for his pains. I have 
worked on this principle myself for many years, and recently succeeded 


in getting " the fish of the river" for the season with a fly as long as 
one's little finger, while only a few minutes previously an inch " dress " 
seemed ample for the occasion ; in fact, my friend J. C. H. had been 
previously successful with even a still smaller pattern. On the occasion 
to which I allude, as on five out of six former instances recorded in my 
notes, the fish was taken in the tail of the Catch. I may say that I have 
heard of a somewhat similar experience, and that now I never waste time 
on these occasions at the head of any sort of pool. 

For positive snow water that is, when the snow itself is not 
dissolved and cornes along thick enough to be felt striking the waders 
flies, like the " Lovat Fly," composed entirely of Peacock's herl, but 
veiling a silver or gold tinsel body, and whose hackles at the throat are 
red, yellow, or blue, according to the favourite colour used on the river, 
should be selected ; and, in my opinion, the Angler will find nothing to 
beat them. I have, however, met with unusual success on one occasion 
that presented itself, with a fly introduced to Dee-anglers by William 
Garden, of Aberdeen. It may be described as a double white-winged fly. 
Where white wings are fashionable the times to use them are (1) on dark 
days ; (2) in dark water ; (3) when the sun has nearly set, or when it 
has quite disappeared. 


Dress the " Akroyd " in a similar fashion, and you have the pattern 
which you see in the engraving. Spey-anglers would do well to give it a 



trial, varying the wings with Mallard for ordinary occasions. Usk men 
would probably put black Turkey, having white points, for the sectional 
wings ; whilst on the Earn four strips of Mandarin Drake* have already 
secured more than one " tight line." 

But that sort of snow water which presents to the eye a milky 
appearance is extremely detrimental to sport. As soon as the milkiness 
passes away the rise of water caused by the melted snow is not so in- 
jurious as many people imagine ; still it is nearly useless fishing with any 
fly until the water has fallen one inch outright, and become clearer. 

In snowwater, bright as gin, use transparent hackles, as, for example, 
the silver furnace, or silver coch-y-bonddu. 

These observations apply rather to the northern than to the southern 
rivers. In fact, I have never done any good at all in the Test or Usk 
when snow water hangs about, but have had grand sport on the Spey 
when the milkiness disappears. But in all countries sport depends much 
upon the state of the river when the fish enter it. Eunning up in mild 
weather, and soon afterwards meeting with snow water, Salmon " go off" 
directly and will look at nothing in the shape of flies ; but under reversed 
conditions they " come on " just as quickly. The presence of snow in 
fresh water does not always deter Salmon from leaving the sea ; and 
when they run in it, the Angler may depend they will take in it. 
However, this subject is more fully dealt with in Chapter VII.. for, like 
several other topics, for instance, rain, side reflection, etc., it cannot be 
condensed into paragraph form with only one or two specimen flies 
recommended for use. 

Whatever state the water may be in, and at whatever station the 
Angler may be engaged, no matter whether the pattern selected is bright 
or sombre, the longer the hackle the less the fly should be played. 

In choosing a long-hackled fly, select, from the sort you want, one 
with the feather having the most life in it. This holds good on all rivers, 
exclusive of the Spey, and I fancy the cheesy, inanimate " Spey-cock 
hackle," though worshipped locally, will soon be superseded by others 
which are more mobile and never " drone " or " droop." There is, for 
example, more life in a " Grey Heron " or a " Night Heron " (red) than in 

* Vide the "Mandarin Drake" fly, Chapter IV. 


a " Black Heron " ; more life, in fact, in any hackle those of the " Eagle " 
class excepted than in the fluffy butt of a " Spey-hackle." But the 
question of colour, whether natural or artificial, must not be overlooked 
in any case. 

On no account should the student select a gaudy fly to begin fishing 
with ; for, without considerable interval, it hardly ever pays to present a 
sombre one afterwards. 

He should always mount a fly one size less than recommended rather 
than one size larger, unless exceptional circumstances occur. For 
instance, the very principle of attack may necessitate either a small or a 
large pattern ; that is to say, when wading you may use a one-inch 
" dress " fishing the same water from the shore, a two-inch " dress." In 
the former case the fly dwells over the catches, whilst the large fly 
"fishes" quickly. Again, as a general rule, he should fix upon a fly 
having ribs of silver early in the year. In Summer, and particularly in 
Autumn, all patterns, even silver bodies, are more effectual when dressed 
with ribs of gold tinsel. 

I would call the reader's special attention to the next paragraph. 

When flies characterised (like Dee patterns) by thin wings and long 
hackles fail, and the pool or other fishing-place is long enough, rough 
enough, and spacious enough to bear the work of four or five such flies, 
one should first select patterns of dull decoration, and in choosing brighter 
sorts, should hasten the pace of the fly as it comes across the water, 
either by bringing the rod round faster, or standing farther out from the 
fish. (Jungle, for instance, unless good, has a brownish tint over the 
white spots Turkey may have creamy points instead of pure white ones.) 
Afterwards you choose from patterns dressed with short hackles and 
heavy wings. But although badly-marked feathers of this description are 
not generally considered to decorate the dresser's cabinet, they minister 
to his wants by helping to tone down any pattern for the preliminary pro- 
ceedings in this and similar instances. 

Supposing the bed of the river to be of a slaty nature (recognised by 
the Trent term " skerry ") and the day dull, dark blue, dark claret, or 
even dark orange, with black Seal's fur or silk at the throat, will form the 
best body materials. And where the fish will stand it, a few or more 



strands of Peacock's herl should be added to any built wing. Spey fish 
object to herl ; Usk fish adore it. 

But if the bed of the river be light in character, say, owing to bright 
gravel, or even chalk, crimson-majenta coming on the body before any 
kind of claret ; bright yellow before any blue often produce good results ; 
whilst heavy wings, short hackles, and Ibis "sides" give way to strip 
wings, long hackles, and " cheeks " of red Crow. 

For a fish lying in a deep dip in a pool behind an upright rock 
mount a very bright-bodied fly (especially if the weather happens to clear) 
having two or three toppings over wings of double Jungle ; should the 
sun shine, the pattern may carry four, or even five, toppings " King 
Alfred " is my favourite at such a place under such conditions. 

Where light is reflected from white or shiny cliffs, use bright colours 
throughout the combination with plenty of tinsel ribbing, and let the fly 
be rather small. Coming upon this condition in deep, somewhat dis- 
coloured water having a comparatively rough surface, a silver-bodied fly 
perhaps twice as large is necessary ; the wing should be composed of herl. 
The " Silver Spectre " would meet the case. 

For large flies in the Spring of the year Pig's-wool bodies are often 
more deadly than those of Seal's fur. 

"Sides" and " cheeks " invariably adorn the pattern for very deep 
water ; and for rapids select cheeks of the enamelled Thrush, Indian 
Crow, or Jungle, and not Summer Duck. 

For dark, wet days, as a rule, nothing beats black and white speckled 
wings over a dark body having a long hackle, with a short one at the 
throat of a similar black and white speckle. This characteristic can be 
maintained in making up any type of fly, but is best shown when the 
wings are in strips. Take, for instance, the " Hough Grouse " on the 
Spey. It has a black body, grey Heron hackle, and a speckled Turkey 
throat and strip-wings from the same bird. Again, on a bright day, 
cinnamon wings over black are hard to beat. And when the water is very 
clear in Spring though it be snow water I like a long Irish grey hackle 
on almost any kind of fly. 

To those who are unable to dress or " cobble up " their own flies, it 
may be urged with confidence that when a fish rises and refuses, one 


must lessen the effect of the pattern in use by taking from the wing part 
of the more conspicuous materials before allowing the fish to make a 
second inspection. Thus " Jock Scott " having risen a fish, the Angler 
cuts, not pulls, from the wing the "Jungle " sides, as well as the under, 
not the upper, half of the white-tipped Turkey underwing. He will 
resort to this practice only in the event of his being without a sombre- 
winged fly (such as " Charlie " or " Fairy ") having a yellow and black 
body. The Angler, however, who is familiar with the practice is always 
prepared with various " modifications " of the general standard flies of the 
river he is fishing. 

All modifications belong to the list of "nondescripts," but a few have 
become standards. The more intimately acquainted the Angler makes 
himself with the specific purpose of each one of these, the better for his 
season's record. The real purpose of any " nondescript " I allude to 
those not as yet classed or described, but which are found in the book of an 
adept is simply illustrated in the above case of the "yellow and black 
body " ; in other words, some sort of companion fly has to be presented 
to the fish which rises and refuses. As another illustration, the " Lee 
Blue " would be followed by the " Lee Blue and Grey." 

The really formidable consideration which will confront the learner 
is that connected with the Salmon's play hours and " half-holiday? " 

These intervals come as suddenly as they end. What I mean is, that 
fish, up and down the river, suddenly cease to take good hold of a fly, and 
rise only to tug at it. Yet even here Time is a reasoner too powerful to 
be overcome. Success, if attainable at all, is not denied in such a crisis 
to those who come at once down to small, sombre patterns, to " Elsie " 
and her class, which carry extra large and extra showy " sides " and 
" cheeks." But if these intervals arise from thunder or pollution, the 
Angler may rest for awhile. Grilse, however, do not so much mind a 

In my opinion, all flies should have their " Grub " ; by this, I mean 
a wingless nondescript having three, four, or five sectional hackles on the 
body. But with all the foregoing examples, I have touched scarcely more 
as yet than the fringe of the subject ! Perhaps I ought to come now to 
discuss the effects upon fish of a certain secret force latent in Nature, and 


then describe the flies which I have found to produce remarkable effects 
under certain collateral circumstances and conditions. 

It is under circumstances, about to be mentioned, that experience 
teaches us clearly how much we have yet to learn before we can confidently 
rely upon any pattern as yet invented. Every Fisherman who knows his 
business is, however, aware of the facility with which we can both choose 
and use a fly for ordinary occasions. But the invention of flies, indeed, 
presents an almost inexhaustible field for the solution of doubts ; and 
there are certain occasions when an Angler of the greatest skill as a 
wader and caster will scarcely secure a fish by aid of the best pattern. 

If the cause of these things lie in obscurity, the v fact remains. Ac- 
cordingly, a note of warning is here sounded to this effect, that 
the mere knowledge of any secret trick does not always enable the person 
initiated to kill fish. Success largely depends, not only on covering 
every inch of the water with a special fly, but also on the position and 
manner the Fisherman assumes. In vain may he fish with an ordinary 
pattern from the wrong spot. But of his " rn<mner " I have a word to 
say by way of preface to this deep subject. 

How much cerebral power Salmon possess no one can determine ; 
but we know for a fact that fish hear as well as see, or, at all events, are 
capable of receiving impressions of sound. We also know that the 
presence of an Angler need not necessarily alarm the fish which see him. 
It would seem, too, that the hearing power of a Salmon is of small 
portent so long as the conduct of the Fisherman does not excite si;s- 
picion. The Angler must disarm all apprehension. His gait and mien 
must be as unconcerned among Salmon as that of the plough boy 
" trolling his song of the soil " among rooks. His unconscious presence 
in (or out of) the water, on the occasions about to be mentioned, must be 
where he can bring the fly over the catches, not sideways, but so that it 
fishes straight on reaching the area of the hold itself. 

UNKNOWN AGENCIES AT WORK. As soon as the waters settle down, 
success in Angling nowadays is mainly due to (1) the correct reading of 
Nature ; (2) the understanding of certain technical matters. Sir John 
Lubbock, in The Pleasures of Life, tells us that technical works bear the 
same relation to science as dictionaries do to literature. And says, " that 


without a knowledge of botany we may admire flowers and trees, yet 
only as strangers only as one may admire a great man or a beautiful 
woman in a crowd." 

These remarks might easily apply to Salmon-angling, for only the 
adept gets a full measure of enjoyment from it. With Anglers, as with 
other people, there is no accounting for the idiosyncrasy which leads one 
to simply observe with interest the development of phenomena, and 
another to analyse their causes. Sometimes the tastes of a Fisherman 
lead him only in the direction of getting at the action of an ideal rod, so 
as to make himself master of the various methods of casting. The taste 
of another inclines him to study temperature, light, and shade, or 
geological formation as affecting the choice of flies ; or even to try ex- 
periments in fly composition on occasions when the fish seem positively 
spellbound and refuse to be inveigled ; and so on. But with regard to 
this particular mood of the fish, it would be wise for the Angler to dispel 
from his mind the old-fashioned belief that Salmon have their own 
especial feeding times. When a pool, nay, the whole district, is blank, 
not a movement seen, not a "rug" had anywhere by anyone, surely some 
mysterious influence must be at work. As a matter of fact, we know 
that under certain conditions, those, for instance, when a whole reach is 
literally alive with fish, and within a few moments not a splash, not a 
ring seen for hours, it is absolutely useless to persevere with ordinary 
flies. We believe the fish have become amenable to some secret agency, 
the effect of which has been made only too evident to the observer as the 
waters have become more and more contaminated by the ever growing 
and disgraceful pollutions. Nevertheless, by the inductive process of 
reasoning from accurate observation and comparison of notes, we have 
managed to formulate certain rules in fly composition, and constant per- 
severance under the above circumstances with special patterns has led to 
a solution of, at any rate, one of our most intricate problems. May I 
repeat, if the cause of these things lies in some obscurity, the fact of our 
occasionally mastering these fish remains. 

Now we may safely lay it down as a sound principle from which to start 
this interesting subject that the lingering doubt evinced by Salmon on 
certain days is not due to caprice, but rather to agencies, which, though 


busily at work, are not open to vulgar gaze. It will be long, perhaps, 
before we become thoroughly acquainted with all their peculiarities ; yet 
we have to deal with them as best we may. One thing we do know, and 
it is this the influences at work last longer over some fish than over 
others ; and equally certain is it that fresh-run fish are the least affected, 
they being the first to show themselves when the " depression" is passing 

When limited to the form of disturbance, which I have termed 
" lingering doubt," the influence is invariably of a local character. But 
in respect of more serious obstinacy, Nature sometimes decrees that the 
area of the mischief is not local, but general ; and th'en every fish in the 
river seems restrained from stirring to acknowledge any fly presented in 
any way. On these occasions our hopes of success are so thwarted as to 
induce us to throw up the game in despair and wait " for the next deal." 

(At this point I would remind the novice that failure to attract the 
fish at any time may arise from the fault of the Fisherman a failure of 
no uncommon occurrence to those who do not care to study the subject of 
presentation. On the other hand, even if the rod is used to perfection, 
the Angler may yet fail from want of knowledge in connection with flies. 
He presents, well, just the very one he should keep dry in his book. He 
is trying a tiny or a thin fly ; a big [or a bulky one ; a blue, or a poor 
thing without much colour or marked characteristics whether the water 
is deep, shallow, ruffled or smooth. When once he gets over these pre- 
liminaries he will be better able to cope with the more common con- 
tingencies in fishing. How, then, should he proceed to do so ? This is 
not a question to be easily answered. The young Angler, like the young 
fly-dresser, is oftsn driven to find out everything for t himself ; no wonder 
he as often falls short of the achievements of experienced men of the day. 
Very plausible is the argument that many of the errors and indiscretions 
that we all commit in choosing and using flies might have been avoided 
by a timely reference to some authoritative treatise, written in such a way 
as to somewhat clear the ground for the uninitiated. And yet no man 
who overcomes one trouble escapes walking into another ; but he walks 
with his eyes open, and with a knowledge of many of the conveniences 
and inconveniences likely to be entailed upon him thereby.) 


Brushing aside these considerations and coming direct to the 
questions at issue, I say plainly, that while the laws which govern the 
Salmon in his choice of the composition and presentation of the flies he 
sees are enveloped in mystery, the recurrence ana operation of the 
respective conditions which have induced us to adapt certain principles 
are so easily perceived and detected that, to a great extent, we have 
become familiarised to their ever-varying mature. This of itself is enough 
to show that the true pleasures of angling consist first, in grasping 
natural facts ; secondly, in so encountering these facts as to render them 
remunerative to the very utmost extent. The truth is that Science is 
only just now beginning to unfold her wonders. At some far off period, 
perhaps, all the present lines of inquiry will have been followed to their 
conclusion, and new ones, as yet undreamt of, opened up. 

Be that as it may, I am fully of opinion that we possess ample 
evidence to justify us in reconciling ourselves to the statement that some 
secret force is apt to affect the fish's physical organisation ; yet it would 
puzzle a world of scientists to say where this sympathy lies, and what is 
the connecting link between the fish's psychical inertia and its physical 

It is not my intention to discuss the subject which I have associated 
with these inert fish at any great length ; still, I am bound to direct the 
angling student to the best means for their capture. He will doubtless be 
interested to hear that certain flies have been tested for many years 
with highly satisfactory results. Two of the most remarkable patterns 
have to be more or less varied, and I will now take them in review- 

When the fish suddenly cease to show themselves, and that condition 
of " lingering doubt " is noticed in bright weather, we use 



I pause here to explain the system to follow in constituting these 
lures, for they best serve our purpose when so varied as to accord with 
the characteristics of the river on which we happen to be engaged. My 
reason is this : It is obvious to all interested in this advanced treatment 


that, to describe an individual fly for every pool, every stream, rapid and 
flat, in any one district, considerable space would be occupied ; and that the 
volume itself would be insufficient to hold descriptions for the whole river. 

The only practical course open to me provides a general observance 
of the laws framed to meet the exigencies of colour and character in- 
dividually, and this, with a few general principles affecting the variations 
as a whole, should, I take it, be enough for dressers of experience, or of 
sufficient experience to understand the meaning and construction of 
" decided " patterns. (Perhaps a knowledge of that matter is purchasable 
without much practical experience. An unenlightened man might forth- 
with avail himself of the wisdom and experience of any of his superiors 
who would kindly inform him that all " decided " patterns are established 
and recognised by the proper distribution of any one colour through their 
constituent parts. Any one colour added to the tag, tail, body, hackle and 
wings results in forming a very decided pattern.) 

How, it may be asked, are these results accomplished '? The answer, 
both as to theory and practice, is extremely simple. 

To begin with, a blue or any other coloured fly, deadly on one river, 
is repulsive to the fish on another. For that reason in a technical 
angling sense we may say there are "Blue rivers," " Ked rivers," 
" Yellow rivers," and " Grey rivers " each one of which is pretty sure to 
differ in respect of character. For instance, long bodies, long hackles, and 
light wings may do well on one river, and be out of character on another. 
The Spey, for one example, is predisposed to long hackles and light 
wings ; whilst Tweed fish prefer short hackles and a liberal amount of 
" built " wing. Again, the Usk and several Scotch rivers require fairly- 
thick bodies and heavy wings ; though on the Inver, Lochy, Ness, 
Helmsdale, Earn, Erne, and most Irish waters, thin bodies, short hackles, 
and light wings predominate. 

. From these premises a dresser would suppose that he has to vary 
these two flies in four different directions : but I shall deal with them 
separately in a few moments. I have chosen this way of entering into 
details as the interests of the average Angler are at stake ; character, for 
example, denotable in all ordinary flies dressed on up-to-date principles, is 
a stylish hall-mark of infinite importance in everyday fishing. 


Tn illustration of the quality of colour, the Tweed and Earn fish love 
blue; the Dee (N.B.) and Usk fish prefer red; the Spey and Don, yellow ; 
the Lochy and Wye, grey. It need not be inferred that the combination 
of any of these flies (or of other decided patterns) is not to include some 
blue, or some red, yellow, or grey, or even two or more of these or of other 
colours. The dresser completes his fly en regie, so as to make a decided 
blue-river pattern, a decided red-river pattern, etc., as the order from the 
Fisherman necessitates rather than directs. The silk tag, in all cases, 
tallies with the colour of the river, except in the case of grey rivers, when 
instead of grey silk, the dresser uses silk of any colour which, in common, 
also pleases the fish. The Lochy and Wye, as I have said, are grey rivers, 
but I use a yellow tag for both. 

In order to obviate misconception about grey rivers, I would explain 
that, in making up everyday patterns for them, we depend more upon 
the effect of grey feathers than upon silks, furs, and wools. A " dash " of 
mouse-grey Seal's fur in some part of the body of an ordinary fly is 
admissable and helpful ; but here we look more to a judicious employ- 
ment of Teal, Widgeon, grey Mallard, Summer Duck, Gallina, etc. ; and 
to Irish-grey or Plymouth Rock body-hackles, whilst we use Amherst 
Pheasant for horns. 

The dresser may now wish to know how to enlarge his method of 
dressing. For this purpose, I will deal first with the Variegated Sun Fly 
by itself. 

The chief point of all to bear in mind is size. I have tried 
large specimens for years, and never once succeeded with one. 
They are not to be dressed larger than No. 1 Eedditch scale ; No. 4 
being considered as the most useful all-round size even smaller, if 
the surface of the water happens to be smooth, would pay better. 
This condition cannot be too strongly put ; from it there is no 

The results of my experiments have also led me to the conclusion 
that a thick body is desirable. So thick have I made these flies that the 
bulky lump at the throat would, without the greatest care, cause them to 
" skirt " and " wobble." To overcome this defect, I decided to make the 
bodies spindle-shaped. They answer uncommonly well so much so, 


that, in the brightest sun, these little gems retain, and will for long retain, 
their deadly significance. 

In nearly all cases, a short black hackle is employed at the throat ; 
but two, or even three, turns in excess of what is usual are to be allowed. 
Sometimes, however, I use only a Gallina throat, as, for instance, on the 
Wye and Spey. 

The best natural black hackles for the purpose are termed " bastard 
hackles." These are often found on the back or in the neck of a 
common grey-speckled cock, and on an imperfect Plymouth Eock. They 
are best on account of their sheen and depth of tone. But as regards 
black hackles, should warm weather set in early, that is to say, earlier 
than in the middle of May, a hackle dyed black is recommended. On the 
other hand, after June a natural black hackle is nearly indispensable, and 
especially so when the current is somewhat fast. 

Now suppose the dresser has an order for this fly from the Usk, he 
will adopt red characteristics ; accordingly he works up scarlet silk and 
scarlet Ibis for the tag and tail. He puts only red, yellow, and black 
coils in the body ; and uses red Macaw for horns. 

After all that has been said, I think this one example is quite 
sufficient for the dresser to be almost sure of achievement with any of 
these variations. I can vouch for the hints enumerated being of service 
to Anglers on the Lochy, Spey, Tweed, Wye, Usk, Earn, Shannon, 
Towy, Cothi, Findhorn, Don, Test, Lee, and Blackwater (Cork), South 
Esk, Helmsdale, Brora, Beauly, Erne, Conway, Torridge, Annan, and 
Blackwater (N.B.). Thick bodies fail on the Dee. How far it is advisable 
to be so particular in varying the fly for other rivers I cannot decide 
from actual experience ; but I doubt if many exceptions will be found. 
A certain amount of sport may be had with any one variety, but the best 
of sport can only be obtained by a rigid adherence to the principles in 
varying the dressing which I have now laid down. 

What now of the " Black Fancy ? " 

As a rule, it is well to try this fly over a fish before the other, but, 
on that point, the expert had better be left to his own resources. The 
body of it is of ordinary shape, and is made thick or thin as occasions 
demand. It is always of black silk ; and, excepting " blue rivers," when 


the throat hackle is blue, the hackle for the body and throat is black, 
taken from one's collection of the natural or the dyed sort, according to 
the time of year as previously specified. 

The tag, tail, and wings carry their share of the different coloured 
materials in order to produce the effect desired. And so far as regards 
the size of the Black Fancy, there is no limit. 

Particulars relating to minor details, such as size of tinsel, fineness 
of hook, etc., I leave to the judgment of the Angler, who should, at all 
events, clearly express himself thereon in his letter to the dresser. 

Taking the majority of rivers as a guide, I give the blue characteristics 
to the two dressings appended : 

TAG. Silver twist and medium blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and powdered blue Macaw. 
BODY. In coils (wasp fashion and spindle-shaped) of red, black, 

yellow, and blue Berlin wool. 
THROAT. Black hackle (plenty). 
WINGS. Six toppings. 
HORNS. Blue Macaw. 

TAG. Silver twist and medium blue silk. 
TAIL. A topping and Chatterer. 
BUTT. Black herl. 
BODY. Black silk. 
BIBS. Silver tinsel (oval). 
THROAT. Black hackle and Jay. 
WINGS. Two short tippets (back to back) veiled on each side with 

projecting Mallard and two toppings. 
CHEEKS. In this variety only, Chatterer. 

At this stage I desire to point out not only what Salmon mistake 
flies for, but why they take them at all ; and also to offer what evidence 
I can as to why they sometimes prefer one pattern more than another. 

Now, I just want those who entertain various opinions, perhaps 
more or less injurious to their own interests, to concentrate their 
attention for a brief while upon certain established particulars of the 


Salmon's habit of feeding, all of which happen to be within my own 
knowledge, for there is really nothing so much talked of in our pastime, 
and so little understood, as either the artificial or the natural Salmon-fly. 

The natural fly which a Salmon will take has received, as yet, far less 
than its due meed of consideration, and so a little scepticism, if not a 
great deal, is pardonable. The modest silence in which local Anglers 
continue their investigations and experiments has most probably caused 
the matter to be kept from the knowledge of all, except those immedi- 
ately concerned. I, for one, however, have long since known from actual 
observation that the natural Salmon-fly varies with a vengeance in size, 
in character, and in general appearance. That it confines itself to its own 
particular river, etc., etc., as we shall see a little later on. 

For the present, I content myself with treating of the artificial 
specimen, and shall bring to light some of the scientific (and unscientific) 
explanations which have been hazarded about it. 

I wish to treat the questions at issue, not from an aggressive stand- 
point, and yet, whilst exposing what, to my thinking, are the erroneous 
ideas of others, to state fairly my own, and give ample proof of the benefit 
to be derived from them. 

I would first remark that, in these utilitarian days and practical 
results, all classes occasionally unite to express their opinion on these 
questions in the columns of contemporary journals. In order to obtain 
new ideas, the best of all possible reasons, Editorial encouragement is 
frequently held out by such invitations as, " perhaps some of our cor- 
respondents can enlighten us," so that any novice may write, as if 
invested with the fullest authority. The results of this practice are 
peculiar, but, as an old hand, what odds, I would ask, is it whether the 
truth is brought out by hook or by crook or by book? They occasionally 
answer some purpose in fishing. But when these Editorial measures, 
though full of purpose, happen to be concerned with a question so 
pregnant as " What is a Salmon-fly ? " Fishermen naturally think twice 
before trusting to haphazard opinion. " What is a Salmon-fly ? " is the 
very point for us to consider just now, and though the solution may 
appear difficult, it certainly is not impossible; yet truth lies at the bottom, 
of a well. 


On the supposition that all the elements of the problem lie before us, 
nothing can be more preposterous than to imagine that the exact truth 
can be found out in a hurry. We have no direct communication with the 
fish. Still, admitting this, it must be acknowledged that certain points 
are already thoroughly well known, although confined to individual 

I invite the reader to look closely into the following facts, and to 
bear in mind, while so doing, that speculation must invariably occupy the 
ground where proof is wanting. 

To attempt, moreover, to analyse rightly the points at issue without 
discussing analogous matters freely would be to engage in a task at once 
unprofitable, if not impossible. And this means that, in my case at least, 
very close compression is impossible. 

Many will say, " I refuse to believe that your ' Jock Scotts ' repre- 
sent flies, as I fail to fix upon Nature's equivalent to them. I can 
comprehend what one member of this royal family the Trout, to wit 
says for himself in taking the " Alder " for an alder, the " May fly "for a 
may fly ; I can also understand that Trout distinguish between one fly 
and another, no matter whether the pattern be less, or very much more, 
picturesque than Nature dictates ; so I don't go to anybody to explain to 
me why it is that a Trout is sometimes taken in by a showy leg or an 
unnatural bit of wing colouring, or body ornamentation. One thing seems 
certain, in my estimation, Trout mistake our flies for natural flies, but I 
am all at sea with his majestic relative, the Salmon, and there ends the 

The answer is, that instinct directs the choice of food in all fish and 
in every animal. Those of the lowest order possess this instinct by which 
they are enabled to distinguish the appearance and taste of edibles 
generally. Even the sea anemone contributes entertaining evidence in 
showing a sense by which it recognises its proper food. When a small 
piece of fish is brought carefully to the tentacles of one of these animals, 
whose mouth is widely open, the food is seized and surrounded by them, 
and the morsel disappears ; I mean, that we actually see it swallowed. 
If we present the anemone with a film of wool or cotton, it is refused. 

I would also remark that, in maiden rivers, Salmon are not first 


taught to take flies of iridescent loveliness blazing forth in dazzling 
colours of radiant beauty, such as, a century ago, would have frightened 
all of them back to sea. Far from it. Enterprising men, imbued with 
the "spirit of modernity," have gradually educated Salmon up to taking 
patterns which have been imposed upon us by Necessity the nursing 
mother of fishing in its higher forms ; and though, in choosing flies, 

"Fashion is a living law, whose sway 
Men, more than all the written laws, obey," 

this supreme dictatress of taste often decides for us that the inartistic 
finish of a plain " March Brown" (Salmon size) or a coch-a-bonddu hackle 
with a plain Turkey wing, once considered by MX. Salmon a tasteful 
rig, is undeniably uninteresting to him in these days of fashion and 
competition. But put two fibres of red Toucan in the tail of a March- 
Brown, and see how it answers ! 

As a link in the chain of evidence that takes us from the caprice of 
these affectedly modest patterns, I perfectly remember the initial effect of 
certain gaudy feathers upon, not one, but several rivers. In their progress 
towards general use, the greatest care and judgment of the fly-tier pre- 
vailed, and the mere suspicion of their presence was enough to begin with. 
Early in the " fifties," for instance, Spey fish first saw " Jungle." For a 
time brief, I admit the feathers there were simply branded with the 
stigma of public opprobrium. But the fiat had gone forth. Nature knew 
full well that Salmon, like herself, show a decided preference for finery. 
She knew full well, too, that under certain pressure, fashions may, without 
exaggeration of words, be said to change from day to day. The sombre 
" trimmings " and " cut " which was de rigeur on a fly forty-eight hours 
ago may be placed under the ban of Forrests or Wrights, Farlows or 
Turnbulls, Mallochs or Redpaths, and so on. The Spey does not stand 
alone in this respect, for, although the best Spey fly among the old hands 
is a plain, flimsy, ragged-tailed " Riach " ; yet, among the students of the 
" progressive " School, some have at length discovered with languid 
surprise that not a few good Spey fish are often led to destruction by a 
liberal use of Jungle and Summer Duck, Golden and Amherst Pheasant 

Thus far, however, the reader is only reminded in my arguments (to 


which I shall return) that the Salmon's motive in taking flies is a problem 
which has frequently been misunderstood ; and that, in the case of Trout, 
all doubts have long since been set at rest. 

Naturally enough, in fishing either for Salmon or Trout, one judges 
by what comes under one's own immediate notice. On the Wandle, for 
instance, as a humble spectator myself, I have seen Trout prefer the 
artificial to the natural insect that is to say, an " Olive Dun," by 
Holland or by Hardy, floating down stream in company with several living 
flies of the same kind has been so singularly attractive and effectual as to 
force the fish to leave the others alone, and " go " for it. Then on several 
rivers, Salmon always, and for the most obvious reasons, hold in abey- 
ance habits of existence, which, however, invariably assert themselves at 
the first opportune occasion ; and then a fly, equally true to nature as 
regards colour of body, or exact in some other peculiarity, is just as 
necessary to ensure good sport. 

Now, if I may venture to say so, no further evidence is wanted to 
satisfy me that, in the matter of like and dislike, and discrimination as to 
what they conceive good to eat, Salmon are exceedingly nice. In fact, I 
attribute my greatest angling successes to the conclusion that, not long 
after a flood, the impetuosity of the Salmon's nature is held in check by a 
downright " business faculty " of a highly efficient kind, and that his 
" enthusiasm " rarely impels him to lavish even as much as curiosity upon 
a fly unless it be the right sort i.e., a tasty bit put before him in the right 
way. And yet we encounter narrow worshippers who simply burn for the 
heat of the fray,, and publicly declare they can hold their own in com- 
petition with only three or four patterns ! Their doctrine is contrary to 
reason, it has no meaning, except on the Dee in Spring, and it is 

But to the world at large to see for certain what a Salmon does is a 
rare accomplishment. People for the most part are not gifted with the 
power of sight, or the power to employ their sight, to detect its habits 
when feeding in fresh water ; and have never seen the explanation given 
in books, because the writers could not explain ; some, even officials, going 
so far as to say, " They don't feed at all ! " 

Even if we had the necessary power of vision and the inclination of 



mind to make inspections, one has to travel far and wide and there wait 
for an opportunity. At first, with the unaided eye, I saw little or nothing, 
and not half as much as I wanted to until after years and years of 
practice, and then only by the aid of powerful field glasses. At last I had 
distinct ocular proof that Salmon feed on flies, moths, wasps, and cater- 
pillars, as well as on their own species. But this is not all, for, after 
baiting clear places for the purpose, I have seen them pick up prawns and 
pass by worms indeed, it would appear unnatural for them to come 
across worms except in discoloured water. 

There is no necessity to dilate on individual gifts, on incomparable 
skill, or on the magic power of the human eye. WKat one man can see 
and record with precision, even only after years of practice, is a feat not 
hopelessly impossible to others. 

(The peculiarities of Salmon amongst fish suggest to me a likeness to 
the pigeon, and this prompts me sometimes to call the Salmon " the 
pigeon of the river." The bird's and the fish's homing propensity is per- 
sistent and followed with a like miraculous accuracy. As regards the 
Salmon, here is a case in point. The late Frank Buckland managed to 
secure several fish from the west coast of Ireland, all of which he marked 
and succeeded in transporting to the east coast, where they were set at 
liberty. In the Autumn of the same year, if I remember rightly, many 
of these fish were captured in the very same rivers from which they had 
been taken in the early Spring.) 

I once ventured upon writing to the Press on the subject before us. 
Laymen, cum multis aliis, had aired their views in sporting books and 
angling newspapers. With the latter gentlemen I have little present 
concern save to tell them of a fishing companion's remark when he and I 
discussed certain (as I thought impracticable) speculations. 

" Oh, I know ! " said he, " somebody is going to bring out a fly 
having scales, and fins, and gills, and fish's eyes stuck on ; this is paving 
the way for a new bait that will do honour to the inhabitants of 

My letter led to further discussion. One eminent authority in Trout 
fishing stated that the ' ; Alexandra " fly is taken for a Minnow. Another 
wverred that " Jock Scott " is to the Salmon a mere variegated wrasse ; 


that some of our standards are simply representations of the mackerel 
tribe, prawns, and so on. Into any other curious theories than these I 
hesitate to pursue this delicate subject. Who, however, can possibly 
believe what we are told in another place, that Salmon take our flies for 
sea weed ! Who can dream of supposing but no. The inquiry, as I 
have said, is too delicate, and I will not bring other opinions forward. 

But where is the evidence in support of these statements'? How can 
they be substantiated? I am bound to say that all such ideas are 
entirely upset by my own experience in Salmon-fly fishing. Were it not 
so, the whole of this book, the materials for which have taken a lifetime to 
collect, falls to pieces. No particle of evidence is forthcoming to show 
that those who are interested in fly problems need accept such 

I need not dwell on the subject, though it forcibly recalls a Scotch 
Gillie's definition of metaphysics : 

" It's joost this twa men arguing togither. He that's list'ning dis 
na ken what he that's speaking means, and he that's speaking dis na ken 
what he means his ain sel' that's metapheesics." 

But perhaps I should add that I applied to the Editor of the sporting 
journal in question for permission to ventilate those opinions in these 
pages. The prompt and sympathetic reception my proposal met with, 
attested the interest my opinions had excited, and I recur to it now with 
a pleasure which is enhanced by my more recent observations. 

I have a little to add and nothing to alter in the letter published in 
the Field in 1892 under the title of Facts and Fancies in Fly Fishing. 
My signature was appended, as I never write to the Press expressing 
opinions on these matters under a nom de plume, nor without volunteering 
explanations when it seems necessary. 

The letter runs on these lines : 

" In fishing, matters of fact are to the Angler's judgment the same thing as 
food to the body. On the due digestion of facts depends the wisdom and success 
of the one, just as vigour and health depend on the other. By common consent it 
is agreed that in Trout fishing we have long since arrived at the plain truth about 
nies, from which, at all events, we derive much practical benefit. That is to say, 
we have satisfied ourselves that Trout take, or rather mistake, artificial flies for 
living insects, and we work on certain principles accordingly. We have determined 

8 2 


this from evidence set before our very eyes, and it is little use disputing the fact. 
Strange as it must appear, however, to the uninitiated (for people think differently 
and set up all kind of theories), we have, in the opinion of some judges, reasons 
for coming to the same conclusion as regards Salmon. In fact, had we worked on 
any other principle it would have involved signal defeat in a vast number of 
instances extending over a period of many years. We shall presently also see 
whether it is better to follow mere speculative fancies, hopelessly ineffectual, or a 
well-authenticated summary of interesting facts. Let me remark at the onset .that 
I have never yet heard or seen in print any one single statement from a first-class 
Salmon-angler one recognised as an authority by the experienced calculated to 
support the prevailing idea that Salmon fancy our flies represent living things on 
which they feed and fatten in the sea. This mistaken notion emanates from men 
conscientious enough to doubt, but who jump at conclusions without ever having 
had an opportunity by the riverside to enlighten them on the subject. My object 
in writing is to endeavour, for the sake of beginners, to upset these speculative 
fancies, and to show how I myself have profited by a system which sooner or later 
will be respected by all. 

" Of late years the education of Salmon and Trout has become a subject of 
more general care and attention. Assuming that we tried for Trout with a 
straw-bodied May fly where the natural insect is unknown to the fish, say on the 
Anton which runs in that famous river for May fly-fishing, the Test, what sport 
could we expect ? Simply none. Dame Nature, for some lieneficent reason of her 
own, fails to furnish a supply of these ephemera on the tributary, yet within a 
stone's throw the yield on the main stream is very heavy. No wonder the sport 
in the May-fly season is good in one place and worthless in another. The fact is, 
Trout, in the selection of food, follow predilections implanted by Nature. The 
flies which, as a rule, best allure them must therefore copy as closely as possible 
the natural flies which are their most appreciated food. In the case of Salmon 
this is not quite so evident, and so Fishermen have come to the conclusion that 
man, for better or worse, educates Salmon, whilst Nature, for the most part, 
educates Trout. At any rate, this is especially evidenced on Salmon rivers, both 
in the combination of the actual materials employed in flies, and in the good or 
bad all-round system of fishing I mean not only as regards the character, style, 
and size of the flies used, but also in the method of attack that prevails. As an 
average example of this training by Fishermen I killed fish thirty years ago with 
a No. 4/0 hook body and wings of the most showy materials, whilst on the self- 
same waters to-day men devote themselves to flies that betray no resemblance to 
old favourites, either in colour, character, or size. Their patterns now are no 
larger than natural March-browns, and many of them almost as sombre in appear- 
ance. But the Trout-fisher often has to depart from the rule touching actual 
imitation. He often uses, and uses successfully, flies dressed from imagination, as 
for instance, the 'Governor' and ' Holland's Fancy.' 


" We will direct our attention for a moment towards our favourite ' Coch-a- 
boncldu.' The 'Marlow Buzz,' as it is termed, is far from being a truthful likeness 
of the lady-bird, for which it is said to serve as deputy. The question arises, is it 
the Peacock herl body or the hackle of this Welsh pattern that captivates the 
fish ? We may leave the body entirely out of the question, and as to the hackle, 
it no more resembles the legs of a lady-bird than the legs of the cockroach. To 
say, however, that Trout take the fly for a minnow is just what I find by my 
experience they do not take it for. On the other hand, sometimes Trout take 
every precaution, and in one particular respect so do Salmon, and unless the fly 
for both is extremely well copied- -say, on the VVandle for Trout, and on various 
rivers spoken of presently for Salmon suspicion is aroused at once, and a general 
.stampede takes place. This teaching of Nature and training of man applies 
equally to the size of the fly as regards both Trout and Salmon. On one river 
say, the Darenth we use a small Iron Blue, because the living insect in Kent is 
small ; and on another river say, the Usk the pattern is ' put up ' twice as 
big, because there the living insect is twice as large. But on such a river, say, as 
the Lochy, the Salmon have learnt to take the most diminutive flies, because 
the Fishermen have for years been gradually decreasing the size of their 

" At this point I would ask the reader to turn a ready and confiding ear to 
what I am about to whisper. Have not our acknowledged unmistakeable fancy 
flies a far greater attraction at times for all rising Trout than those dressed so 
delicately and so truthfully as to be the fac-simile of Nature herself? Does not the 
' Alexandra,' for example, kill any where and everywhere when our perfectly-dressed 
Duns, Midges, and Gnats fail ignominiou. c ly ? And has not this notorious pattern 
of mine occasioned such havoc in places as to be positively prohibited 1 Often 
and often will Trout take the most fancy pattern ever introduced, whilst in 
certain seasons (the May-fly season, for instance) they decline to notice our 
book flies unless they are dressed true to Nature, ft is the very same thing with 

"Before entering into details, I would remark (1) That it is not uncommon 
to kill Trout with all sorts of flies when March-browns and Alders are at their 
best. With Salmon this is not so, for when their fly is in season they never deign 
to notice anything else. (2) That all rising Trout are what all Salmon are not 
persistently partial to natural flies throughout life. As regards this partiality, it 
is necessary to remember the respective habits of Trout and of Salmon the one 
species closely packed, struggling for existence in shallows and stickles ; the other 
disbanded, in screened lay-byes and deep pools, peacefully blessed with the fulness 
of satiety, and not amenable to the pangs of hunger. (3) That all the young of 
Salmon show a decided preference for any fly, either natural or artificial. They 
come more greedily at them than Trout, whether the fly in use is naturally or ever 
-so fancifully dressed ; and though in after years some come much more kindly to 


Salmon flies than others, there is not one single breed not even that peculiarly 
stubborn sort bred in the Trent that entirely refuses them. I cannot say so much 
as this of Trout, for there are some that never take flies at all. 

" Trout of other breeds make flies their special food, but to see the gratifica- 
tion of a similar propensity amongst Salmon I do not mean samlets we have to 
travel far and wide. Seen it I have often, though once a year only do these 
fortunate occasions present themselves. They are chiefly familiar to the eye of the 
observer, not by reason of a show of myriads of little insects, but of untold numbers 
of large insects, winged and otherwise, which the average Angler never notices as 
affecting his interests with regard to the Salmon. Were he fishing in the High- 
lands he would be quite blind to this fact, even in the presence of the extraordinary 
so called ' Green Kings," which are remarkable for their effect upon the fish, and 
for their uncommon appearance and enormous size. 

" I particularly remember the year 1848. It was the year in which my Father 
first sought consolation under distressing circumstances in a ' Milo Cutty ' and in 
the ' Alexandra fly,' which I introduced at that time just four years after I had 
killed my first Salmon. To omit all trivial details as regards this fly, I may say that 
I used to dangle it before the noses of timid Trout, which one clay fed on flies and 
another on gudgeon and minnows. Could they not tell the difference ? The very 
idea must be blotted out of our minds. 

" Anyone determined to see for himself what a fly looks like by inspecting it 
from the bed of the river (which I have frequently done myself) would soon dis- 
tinguish, not only the natural ' play ' of the legs and wings, but also the great 
attractions of the hairy filaments with which the body is covered. Put a fly whose 
body is made of Peacock's herl into a tumbler of water and you may see much the 
same sort of thing. It looks no more like a gudgeon or a minnow than a cabbage, 
if I may so boldly give an opinion. 

" I remember imitating black beetles' legs with single herls fixed to a cork 
body, which had been varnished black for a particularly sheltered spot on the 
upper part of the Darenth, and getting the largest Trout with this make-believe. 
The fish would not look at the ' monster ' before the season for black beetles com- 
menced, when, of course, they took it for the natural insect, as all Trout-anglers 
must surely believe. The large fish had no doubt fed on these beetles for years. 

" Can any individual imagine that the firmly-rooted, passionate fondness, 
which, in infancy, Salmon show for living flies, does not remain liable on some 
provocation (peculiar to the district) in after life again to spring up as strong as 
ever ? I venture to submit evidence of this recurrence in a number of cases, not 
as regards the once-favoured Alders, ]\! arch-browns, Midges, and Gnats, but more 
in direction of insects which are as showy and as conspicuous to the fish as 'Jock 
Scott ' itself. Space prohibits me from giving many instances, but it is within the 
domain of possibility to be mistaken on the river Spey. See the care, see the pre- 
cision of even the most famous of the local Fishermen in copying the exact colour 


of the Green-king, deadly as any fly on Speyside dressed in such able hands. Could 
it be possible after fifty years of close research and experiment with all sorts of 
ways and means of hitting off the features of this extraordinary Highland fly, and 
making its picture consistently faithful, that a celebrated judge yet remains in 
utter ignorance of a pursuit from which he annually derives practical benefit 1 In 
watching him one day, I remarked how very careful he was with his trimmings. 

" ' Ah, sir,' he answered, ' but it pays, and I find they won't have it overdone. 
Please to look at those long red prongs in the tail of that grub." 

I pointed out that the pattern was a combination of the grub and fly 
together, and that he had matched the prongs with the red sword feather of the 
Golden Pheasant. 

" ' But a little of it goes a long way whatiffer,' he replied. 

"And with his Berlin wools would ' Cruiky ' select and mix two or three 
shades so as to get the exact colour of the body before he would rest and be 
satisfied. The reader will draw his own conclusions from the constant practice of 
one who is bent on supplying his employers with the most effectual patterns of the 

" Let me next refer to an instance connected with the Grub mentioned in the 
Badminton Library. Well do I remember the invention and introduction of this 
favourite apterous pattern on the Usk. At the top of the ' Withe Bed,' two miles 
above the town of Usk, there was one hold that required a very long cast. The 
' Spey ' was the only method by which it could be covered, and often enough in 
those days the catch was undisturbed. William Acteson, the bailiff, being under 
orders to inform my family when the water was in ply, we were advised accord- 
ingly. On arriving, we found the river lower than we expected, and until we 
came to the spot, had seen no Salmon breaking the water. After my Father had 
neatly commanded the catch, he said the fish had, for some cause or other, ' struck 
work.' Then I took my turn, with the result that neither of us got the least 
recognition. We then left the fish (we had seen it rise) like a parcel, "to be called 
for later on." I would incidently remark that these fish strikes should be settled 
by competent arbitration. They do not occur by chance, but each is the result of 
some definite cause, which, if ever repeated under the same conditions, would pro- 
duce the same results. It is the interesting business of the Angler to trace the 
conditions and proceed accordingly. Well, we tried other resorts along the Withe 
Bed and found them all untenanted. Making for shadier places below, pater- 
familias, in advance of me, spotted several fish in "Garcoid" rising and sucking 
in caterpillars falling from overhanging trees. Acteson was sent for the Trout 
tackle. My Father never liked to go home without sport of some kind, and said, 
with one of those rapid changes of manner, from grave to gay, which was one of 
his peculiar charms : 

" Take the field glasses and just tell me what size these fish are." 

"Once on the high ground over the pool, peeping through the trees, I saw, as 


everybody who is anybody on a Salmon river, and several who are not, would have 
seen, that the fish were not Trout. 

" ' Salmon,' I shouted ; ' seven oE them close to the slab.' 

" A few minutes latsr and I was by my Father's side with two or three of the 
little green, hairy creatures in my hand. 

" ' Well,' said he, ' we have a chance now ! Whip up a big imitation, and we'll 
have some of these fine fellows on the bank.' 

" The feather work proceeded, and we discussed the mode of attack (for we 
could not cast) should we ' bob ' or fish the fly by paying out the line ? Our wing- 
less lure was soon dressed on a No. 2 hook ; the body of green chenille, veiled in 
four sections with real Irish-grey hackles, that would have made the mouth of a 
Manning water, with a silver tag and tail of Ibis. I shall never forget the com- 
motion in the water which the sight of the Grub caused. Directly it reached its 
destination all the fish seemed to go for it after the fashion of Chub for cheese. 
We knew what was up in a moment, and in a comparatively short time five of 
these unwary Salmon lay lifeless by our side. This sounds well to the uninitiated, 
perhaps, but no note of admiration is put to make it appear remarkable, for success 
of this description does not strike me in any way as being remarkable. 

" ' Perhaps our old friend above (I mean the ' parcel ') gorged himself with 
these caterpillars. If you'll try for him, I'll cross the ford below the ' Whebbs ' 
and watch how the fish behaves when he sees our imitation of one.' This sugges- 
tion from me was enough for my Father, and on getting to the spot and settling 
myself under an old wall I soon observed : ' Let the Grub come further round, you 
recover the line too soon.' 

" On the second trial the line was allowed to dwell, and the fly worked in 
sight. But I saw nothing, even by the aid of the binoculars, until I heard the 
whirr of the winch the dash of the fish being so sudden and so quick. In due 
course the gaff was used, and the Salmon, fresh-run, was literally chock-full of 
mashed caterpillars ! Here, then, was the sixth killed in one day with the selfsame 
hook, dressed after the living things themselves. 

" Though I tried that fly again and again to within the last year or two, I 
never had another rise to it, or even a pull. And this, in my idea, is because I 
have never since met with the same conditions. 

" Another example is afforded by the ' Red Underwing ' on the Earn ? This 
fly is tied after the gaudy Cinnabar moth (Euchelia jacobese), and is a superb killer 
at the end of the month of September, when the moth itself is seen up down 
the river flying about in thousands. I am aware that this fly has been described 
as representing the Calocula nnpta ; but this is immaterial, as the fish do not stop 
to classify. Salmon, unlike Trout, spend only a portion of their time in fresh 
water, during which period they travel from district to district. How, then, can 
we expect their knowledge of the insects upon which they are accustomed to feed 
to be so precise as that of Trout, which keep to one place, if not to one spot, from 


year's end to year's end ? Be this, however, as it may, I will relate my first ex- 
periences with the ' Red Underwing.' 

" I was staying with some friends at the same hotel in Crieff. Overnight we 
had arranged plans for the next day. Mr. F. M. Mackenzie, whose identity I am 
at liberty to mention, decided to come with me. After a couple of hours, neither 
of us being in luck, my companion made oft' in another direction and left me alone 
for a time. All of a sudden a voice from behind enquired : 

" ' Halloa ! Out of the water. What are you up to ? ' 

" ' I have just completed a couple of flies, one for each of us ; the day ought 
not to turn out blank with this opportunity. Take a glance in what direction you 
like ; look at the hundreds of those lovely ' red wings ' flying about, and you'll 
guess what I am up to,' I answered. 

" ' You don't mean to say,' he replied, ' that you have taken all that trouble 
for me ! ' 

" I told him that I had often killed fish in trying this principle when other 
means failed. The ' Dolly Varden,' a pool which had been fished twice down 
by me and several times by others, was given up to my friend. He was soon en- 
gaged in a fair up and down fight, and, as the day was drawing to a close, I made 
for a little catch below, which I knew held one good ' tenant.' To my friend's 
delight, he weighed in no fewer than three good fish that evening. But this is not 
all. The duplicate fly was seized directly in the catch below, a struggle ensued, 
and we were the only two successful Anglers of the day on the whole beat, five 
miles in length. 

" No one intimately acquainted with the river Lee, and the way in which fly 
fishing has been ruined by bait fishing, would be likely to accept the remark just 
made about Salmon waiting to ' classify.' On settling down, the water in this river 
becomes so bright that with the unaided eye a pin can be easily detected lying at 
six feet depth. After an interval of many long years I spent three months in the 
vicinity of Macroom (early in 1889), and was sorry to find how extremely shy and 
particular the fish had grown. In former days a body of Rabbit's fur, veiled with a 
grey speckled hackle, and having a light wing was enough to ensure good sport, 
ifou would never stir a fin now with a body of this description, which changes 
colour soon after use. The insect that haunts these Irish waters, seen in magical 
numbers, almost double the size of a bluebottle, but grey in colour, and with 
speckled body, wings, and legs, is in these days imitated with the finest Irish-grey 
hackles taken from fowls bred on purpose, and with fur from a silver Monkey, 
which together produce the very image of the natural fly itself. 

" I could multiply instances in support of the conclusion which has been 
forced upon me by experience, but it is needless. Winged flies, as well as cater- 
pillars, can be imitated and used in Salmon fishing with success. Believing this, 
let alone the other arguments, I cannot insist too emphatically that Salmon take 
artificial flies from precisely the same motive as Trout ; indeed, by reason of a long 


and varied experience, wherein I have over and over again noticed the movements 
of Salmon when they patronise natural insects, I hold the foregoing theories not 
only as being indisputable and indispensable, but also as being of sufficient weight 
to justify the conclusion that Salmon mistake artificial flies for natural insects 
rather than for anything else." 

In sport, as in science, it sometimes takes a lifetime's devotion to 
master even the rudiments of a single branch. The expert in Salmon- 
fishing, should be as carefully trained as a diplomatist. 

Had it not been for binoculars, which, after fishing for years in 
ignorance of these matters, I -tool: with me on all occasions, I might 
never have discovered that the art of Salmon-angling might be placed 
upon a new and sounder footing. 

It is not intended to imply by these observations that at all times 
and on all rivers, fly-work is quite so easy as has just been mentioned. 
Sometimes it is convenient, nay imperative, to resort to the most 
fantastic specimens of artificial entomology extant. On those occasions 
we are driven to master fish by force of contrast, and mount flies which 
have not unwisely been termed " exaggerations." 

And now a few words about these. 

Exaggerations are employed only in extreme cases, when in summer 
and early autumn, long after a flood, fish take to and remain in one 
particular haunt for days and days, and, as though having nothing else 
to do, play " follow-my-leader " round and round their pool of water 
whether it be beside streams or sheltered flats. 

Some years ago, I ventilated this matter in the columns of a weekly 
paper, and was flattered to learn that it had obtained the favourable 
notice of some of the most expert and best instructed Salmon-anglers 
of the day. I revive it now for one or two reasons. To begin with, on 
every Salmon river in the United Kingdom there are local Anglers whose 
dicta in flies are taken and always adopted with little suspicion by those 
who have seen or heard of their success. On every river, too, as I have 
before said, certain special schemes of colour, size, &c., are found to 
prevail to the practical exclusion of others, which, sometimes, would 
assuredly do better. Yet despite colour schemes, schemes in presenta- 
tion, accomplished local Anglers, and all common devices, days ccme 
everywhere when futility prevails. 


To triumph on such days, one must provide a practical novelty that 
may rouse the " tiresome Salmon " from that too volatile or too inert 
mood which prevents him paying the least attention to the politest Sir 
Oracle or his ordinarily quite attractive flies. According to my opinion, a 
special work of art in respect of flies is, so to speak, an image, not 
necessarily of any living thing represented, but of the impressions or, 
shall I say, " phantasy pictures " forced by an independent reality on the 
mind of the experienced hand. And yet due thought must in all cases 
be given to the idiosyncrasies of Salmon. These distinguish the fish 
of one river from the fish of another. What are improperly called " fish 
humours " commonly but not invariably, depend on light, shade, the 
nature of surroundings, and so on. A fine Angler gives all these 
things justifiable weight, and whilst never supposing that all the fish in 
this river have an exclusive natural love of blue and hatred of red, and 
that, contrariwise, all the fish in that river are disinclined to blue and 
enamoured of red, sets himself to devise something really ticklesome for 
their acceptance rather than follow common practices and submit to 
barren statements founded on " fish humours." 

These statements violate all rational probabilities, and to embrace 
them would simply compel us to accept the ridiculous proposition that all 
the fish which prefer blue go to one river, those affecting red to another 
river, and so on through the colours of the rainbow. 

The humour of the fish is to recognise that which excites his 
curiosity, appetite, a singular sort of cupidity, or whatever it may 
be ; and different combinations and tactics are often required to stir him. 

Writing on the subject of " Exaggerations," Land and Water says : 
" For sometime past, Mr. George M. Kelson has been explaining the 
minutifE of this higher branch of fly-fishing in the Press. In his articles, 
the reader has not only the experience of one who has from boyhood fished 
in every quarter of the kingdom, but who has also the transmitted 
knowledge of a Father equally skilled as the son, both in tying the fly and 
handling the rod. . . . Put into a few words what Mr. Kelson 
advocates in the case of lazy fish, is to first rouse them by an ' exaggeration.' 
When a fish is roused into a condition of expectancy, it is as good as half 
caught ; all that is then wanted is a ' modification ' deftly manipulated. 


The nature of this combination will be determined by the colour of the 
water, light and shade thrown upon it, natural aspects of the river bed, 
banks, and other surroundings, as well as by the particular character of 
flies generally used in the district." 

To this Editorial statement a pressing request for me to treat it 
fully being appended I recorded several instances of the success of ex- 
aggerations which had occurred to myself and others, who, commencing as 
thorough sceptics, had become the most faithful of converts. From these 
I select first the following case. 

A few years ago I was fishing some private water, immediately above 
which there were a couple of miles of the best holding-pools on the river. 
Owing to the long continued drought, the water fell lower than it had been 
for years. So low did it become that my own pools were worthless 
for Salmon in fact, in was impossible for the fish to stay in them. 
Above and below it was rumoured that Anglers were giving up fishing 
altogether, owing to sheer absence of sport. A party consisting of 
three rods on the water below, had been fishing all they knew for 
three whole weeks unsuccessfully, during which time they had special 
permission to fish the best waters. At the end of their visit they 
returned to Town. 

Overnight I obtained permission myself to try the same water on the 
morning of their departure the pools still getting lower and lower. 
Knowing that a strong " exaggeration " would be required, I was up betimes 
and tied a few flies dressed in the following manner : Tag : silver twist, 
but three times the usual amount. Tail : Ibis,- two extended strips of 
Summer Duck, and the point of a Jungle. Butt : scarlet herl. The first 
half of the body was divided into two equal sections, butted as before, as 
well as having two bunches of Goat's beard above and below arching 
after the fashion of the golden toppings ; the first set, dyed crimsoii- 
majenta ; the second, or those merging from the middle of the body, dyed 
light blue and extending over the former to the butt of the fly. The first 
section of the body was made of yellow silk, ribbed with gold lace and 
silver tinsel. The second section, of crimson-majenta silk, ribbed in the 
same way, but with larger materials. The other half of the body had 
dark blue silk, ribbed with very large gold tinsel, leaving space at the 


throat for a couple of turns of crimson-rnajenta Seal's fur, which was well 
picked out. Throat : Goat's beard dyed dark blue, and spotted Gallina 
over it dyed likewise, only of a lighter shade. Wings : underwing, two 
strips of dark brown mottled Turkey with black bars and white tips, 
partly veiled on each side with strips of Summer Duck, above which came 
two small tippets (back to back) dyed crimson-majenta, extending only to 
the middle of the body, enveloping two full sized natural Jungle, projecting 
over the tail of the fly, and two toppings above all. Sides : Cock-of-the- 
rock to the lower bar of the tippet, and two bright blue feathers (one on 
each side) from the back of the Pitta (bertae) from Borneo, covering half 
of the Cock-of-the-rock. Cheeks : Scarlet Tanager. Horns, blue Macaw, 
red Macaw, and Amherst Pheasant. Head, a small fiery brown hackle, 

During the day's fishing, so far as could be seen with the opera-glass, 
I rose nine fish with one or another of these extravagant flies, with the 
result that six took hold of the changed flies afterwards and were all 
brought to bank. 

The changed fly, which took the fish, was in each case a decidedly 
sombre " modification " of the former fly, i.e., the exaggeration by which 
I had roused the Salmon's attention. 

When visiting a different part of the world, I was watching a 
gentleman casting over a heavy fish which had already risen to his fly. 
It came twice in my presence. The fly which rose it three times was an 
extraordinary specimen of an " exaggeration," having four Jungles in the 
wing (two dyed red) and other showy feathers such as Ibis, Chatterer and 
red Macaw all plentifully distributed. 

On the Fisherman leaving the pool and speaking to me I discovered 
that we were old friends, and that I had myself made the very fly he had 
been using. Forgetting how further to proceed, he consulted my opinion. 
He had already fallen into error. Here, however, was a fish that had 
risen three times, what was to be done ? 

(I should state that I never before saw, nor have I ever seen since, a 
Salmon rise three times to an " exaggeration." He must have wanted 
it badly!) 

With materials provided by my friend I made up on the spot the 


following simple fly which caught the fish the moment it was presented. 
Tag : Silver twist and yellow silk. Tail ; Toucan : Butt, black herl. 
Body, dirty-orange Seal's fur ribbed with silver lace. Throat, Grouse 
hackle. Wings Golden Pheasant tail and a few fibres of fine Peacock's 
herl mixed together, dressed on a No. 3 hook which was half the size of 
the exaggeration. (Of this particular nondescript let Annan Anglers take 
special note.) 

Colonel Kichardson, the gentleman to whom I have just referred, had 
at the time no belief in my system, but remembering what I had vaguely 
said some few years previously, tried the experiment out of mere bravado. 
But he was not satisfied after all, and failure on a subsequent occasion 
caused him to invite me to meet him. Just at the time I received his 
letter, I was on the Usk and we discovered that we were fishing within a 
few miles of each other. Ultimately we determined to try a pool in the 
Duke of Beaufort's water (Monkswood fishery) running under a well-known 
beech tree at the head of the " Binding." The river ran dead low and 
the fish were sailing round and round in the shade. 

Kesuming the usual tactics we put the extravagant fly in sight of the 
fish. They ceased to roam at once a fact which we easily detected from 
the wooded bank. In due course the " modification " was presented and 
the Colonel killed two fish with it, one of 15 Ibs., the other 18 Ibs., in my 
presence. The " school " itself mustered eight in number. 

I am also permitted to state that Colonel Eichardson has since been 
practising the method with unusual success, and that at one time he 
averaged about one fish for every six daily trials. He, however, is of 
opinion that " the exaggeration practice will never be very popular. First, 
it requires immense experience in fishing to carry it through, and unless 
a man is his own fly-tier his chance is very poor. Secondly, and mainly, 
because the fish are apt to detect the business and it makes them more 
shy than ever." 

But I look back with the greatest pride and exultation of all to the 
time when I " landed " my old friend and, on this question, opponent, 
the late Frank Buckland, for no one more ridiculed the idea of stirring 
sulky fish when it first became known than the original Editor of Land 
and Water. He with his friend Mr. Clifford were fishing their private 


Beat at Llangattoc, and although the famous Bryn stream held fish 
nothing seemed to excite them. Day in, day out passed and nothing 
could be done. Walking up the river one evening, I found Mr. Clifford 
seated in his bower-bush, as usual, watching the water with his rod in 
readiness. As soon as I made my appearance the chaff that I was subjected 
to by both gentlemen is utterly beyond description in these pages. But 
next day I tried my scheme in their presence. I begged them to try the 
reach down beforehand with what flies they liked, merely stipulating that 
the " catches " were not to be overthrashed. After the stream had been 
fished from end to end three times, and fished well, too, I, choosing the 
part that held most fish, made two casts, no more, with an " exaggeration." 
A swirl in the water told me what to expect. In due course I put on 
a similar fly to that which Mr. Clifford had been using in vain for 
days and with it caught two Salmon, one of which had another fish in its 

Of other friends' successes I desire to notice a triumph Mr. Basil Field 
achieved on the Tay. The water had been well tried with large local 
flies of the most gaudy description. On Mr. Field making his appearance 
he was consulted as to further proceedings. Hearing that a fish had 
risen he determined to try quite a foreign fly and selected for his 
modification a " Glow-worm." It was remarked that " he might as well 
throw his rod in." But the fish took the Grub directly it reached 
the catch. 

There is really no matter for surprise in this system of rousing sulky 
fish. The very fact of their " settling down " has puzzled many a thousand 
Fishermen. The reason most probably is due to the combined lowness 
and staleness of the water, which condition acts upon the fish much in 
the same way as the smoky and vitiated atmosphere of a manufacturing 
town acts upon the hearty constitution of a countryman. His appetite 
becomes jaded, and he requires the stimulus of some dainty dish to tempt 
him. It is precisely the same with a Salmon. 

There is generally an exception to every rule, but in Salmon fishing 
there are more exceptions than our grandfathers would have deemed 
credible. I have known several instances of fish taking the exaggeration 
when the dressing is not too much overdone. Take an example. 


I have many a time roused a Salmon with the " Blue-bell " ; but some 
years since, fishing at Stanley on the Tay, Major Traherne wrote to me: 
" For the last three days the fish would look at nothing, but I tried a 
' Blue-bell ' last night and have had rare fun with it to-day, getting three 
fish in one pool, the largest 28 Ibs. ' Blue-bell ' is not satisfied with 
anything under 20 Ibs. I don't think it should be regarded as an 
' exaggeration ' any longer." 

,- Many years ago I visited some noted water on the Test. Doctor 
Lewin accompanied me purposely to inspect the principle of " exaggera- 
tions." Upon arriving at the river-side we were escorted by the water- 
bailiff and a despondent Angler who remarked : " The best advice I can 
give you is to go home ; there is not the ghost of a chance. No one has 
risen a fish here for a fortnight. They are there, but the water is 
low and foul to a degree positively offensive to the olfactory nerves." 

The excellent disciple of ^Esculapius drew a long face. 

" Now is the very time," said I. 

However, on reaching the pool for which I had set out my friend 
said : " I should like to see you fish the water down with the usual flies 
before trying any of your pet theories." 

" Certainly," I replied, but after a time, having done no good, I urged 
that it was " mere waste of time to use such flies." 

" Ah, it's just my luck ! " observed the Doctor. " Give it up and come 
to Sonning with me, for you might just as well try for a Salmon in 
the Thames." 

At that moment a voice from behind a hedge exclaimed, " There's a 
fish about 14 Ibs. in front of you and it has seen every fly in my book this 

But there was nothing for it, I sat down beside the hedge and, after 
making friends and a little explanation, in an hour^or so had two or three 
hundred small Chatterer feathers, forming the body, on a 6/0 hook : whilst 
the wing, composed of Jungle and toppings, was further decorated 
with double Amherst horns. I splashed the lure (I should not do so 
now) just once about two yards above the spot indicated and gently 
drew it away. 

Nothing was seen not a stir. 

Plate 6. 









" I'm off, good bye and good luck to you," the Doctor said. 

" No, not yet ; come here and do what I ask. Do you see that tall 
foxglove ? Go out into the field and make your way to it inch by inch 
without shaking the ground, peep through the foliage and tell me exactly 
where this fly goes." 

I had mounted a tiny " Blue Boyne " dressed with the more sombre 
Blue Rock. 

" Shall I tell you from there or come back ? " 

" From there. You needn't shout, and don't move." 

" Oh, I can see it as plainly as possible, and the Salmon, too what 
a lovely fish ! The fly is three yards in front of him." 

" Capital ; now look out, but don't move a muscle." 

I then made a short but rather sharp snatch of the rod, and a 
tremendous splash and the winch " busy " told its own tale. Twenty 
minutes later the weeds causing a slight delay the Doctor on all fours 
had his chance, but "missed," for truth to tell, he drew the gaff as gently 
as a German waiter a fork under a tender sardine. But on the second 
venture, after a dose of eloquence for the " specific complaint," the 
eminent authority on pulses gaffed the fish through and through, and in 
one motion flung the lot on the bank some feet from the water. 

"Ah," observed Doctor L "it may be said of flies as of ladies 

and gentlemen ' contrasts make more intimate unions.' But why have 
I not seen these things before? " 

" Because you look at Salmon-fishing with the trained eye of a 
medical man, we with the trained eyes of Fishermen." 

Only the other day, having an exceptional opportunity of seeing the 
movements of a fish under treatment, I reduced to demonstration the 
effect of one of these overdressed flies in the Wester Elchies wa'ter. My 
friend J. C. H. I wish I dared tell of our many enjoyable outings 
together wishing to see the experiment tried, asked me to put an 
" exaggeration" before a fish in sight. The Salmon darted towards the fly 
at ouce. So far the plan succeeded, but the current went so slowly that, 
as I predicted, to catch the fish would be an impossibility ; in fact, fly 
No. 2 scarcely supporting itself in the water did not reach the place. 

I could fill pages with incidents relating to this the most novel and 



the most difficult of all systems in the use of flies, but pretty well enough 
has been said on this part of our subject. 

" Exaggeration " in fly dressing proceeds from a true insight into 
Salmon-angling affairs. It is known under several headings. In one sense 
" exaggeration " means the largest and most showy feathers shortened 
in their quills or roots of fibres to fit hooks which some people would set 
forth as absurdly large for any purpose whatever. In another it means 
the longest of the less marked feathers to extend far beyond the bend of 
hooks of the size in use. But the truest definition really is that there 
must be some excess or repetition of our most gaudy feathers and other 
materials tied separately upon the hook ; as, for instance, in the case of 
the " Black Prince " and " Golden Butterfly." 

When we are unable to see the effect these flies have over fish we 
take it for granted that the work is done. The assumption is sometimes 
justified by the result which the puny productions bring immediately 
afterwards. These were called " condensations," but as this utterance of 
olden times lends itself most inconveniently to misrepresentation, we now 
call them " modifications." 

The term, however, is often misapplied. To ordinary flies of sombre 
appearance, or to patterns simply lacking lustre, the word has no legiti- 
mate bearing at all. To "modify" a wing composed of very showy 
strips is a practice in fly-dressing which would not trouble the patience 
of the veriest novice. Only a small portion of each strip is taken for 
mixing in fibres, by which means the effect is distributed and consequently 

The excellence of " exaggeration " consists in the quality of startling 
attractiveness, and is not governed by any known law. One of the most 
important items to consider in " modifications " is size. It should 
always be remembered that, in ordinary pools where the bed of the river 
is rocky, the smallest patterns in reason should be used, and that such 
decided feathers as Jungle and Summer Duck of the duller shades must 
be employed with unerring regard to the size of the hook. The smaller 
the hook the smaller should be the markings. If the weather as well as the 
water be very bright, a little lustre, by the means of a couple of strands 
of Bustard, or even of Peacock wing, may be added with advantage. 


But if the fishing be under trees, on dull days, the fly should be toned 
down with such feathers as dark mottled Turkey without the white 
tips. On cold, windy days the size of all "modifications" must be 
increased. In hot weather, without wind, the bed of the river being 
fairly level we use large tinsel for ribs and put the coils closer allowing 
six upon a No. 1 hook. In coloured water we make the whole fly dark in 
tone and increase the length of hackle. 

Although size is so important, other matters must be observed. 
Never do we use floss silk to form the whole body of a " modification," 
but Berlin wool for dull days, Seal's fur for bright, and Pig's wool if the 
water be exceptionally deep. But in the event of the " exaggeration " 
that roused the fish having been dressed after the fashion of the 
" Chatterer" we make the body of the fly, which is to finish the business, 
with the same kind of feathers taken from the Blue Rock (a darker 
Chatterer) ; choose very much smaller feathers, and instead of putting 
them in uninterrupted sequence, arrange them in three small sections, 
filling up the spaces between, in this case, with floss silk of exactly the 
same colotir. 

In treating of silver bodies which were made with flat tinsel, we soften 
the conversion by the adoption of oval or round tinsel, or perhaps by gold 
beaters skin (Mr. Field's plan) over a white floss silk body. For that 
purpose the skin is cut in an even strip the thickness of our broadest flat 

The art of using these patterns is easy to describe. Carefully get 
No. 1 fly in front of the catch by paying out line, and in one minute 
remove it as carefully. Then cast in the ordinary way after five minutes 
interval with Fly No. 2. 

I feel compelled to state that I have not yet quite worked out to my 
own satisfaction the systems of "exaggerations." I have only once or 
twice succeeded in rapids, and never in still pools. Streams and Flats are 
the only places in which a beginner may expect to find it answer. One 
thing, however, it is absolutely necessary for the Angler to be stationed 
in front of the catch, so as to be able to let the " exaggeration " go down 
straight to the fish. Drawn across the water, these preliminary agents 
are more frequently productive of harm than good. 



If after all these particulars the key to some difficulty in the technique 
of fly-selection be missing, the inquiring mind may yet find satisfaction 
among the " instances " and " examples " put forward in other chapters. 
Young Fishermen should, at all events, be sufficiently enlightened in this 
branch of the subject by now to foresee as, indeed, all reformers do 
the genuine forms of advantage derived from the study of light, shade, 
and other natural surroundings. But as I began by saying although 
"Nature ever indicates the way to her best secrets," I have long since 
convinced myself that they be the best choosers which, being learned, 
habitually incline to the traditions of experience, or, being students, 
resolutely incline to the methods of learning. 

THE ROD. 277 



(U THE EOD. (-2) LINE. (3) WINCH. 

"TESTIMONY IK like an arroic shot from a long-bow ; the/am of" it depends on the strength 

of thf. haml that ilrami it. ARGUMENT in tike an arrow from a crow-bou; which ha* equal 
force thotii/h *hot by a child." 



WITH striking brevity the above extract sets forth the two methods I 
wish to adopt in support of my case, together with the peculiar value 
inherent in each of them. The case itself, occupying the chapter's first 
half, may be stated as an attempt to turn the cooling stream of reason 
and fact upon one of the burning questions of the day ; for in the whole 
range of Salmon-angling topics, there is, perhaps, no one single subject 
so liable to produce a heated discussion as the simple question, " What 
style of rod is the best ? " 

These discussions usually derive their warmth from sweeping 
generalisations that have no more solid basis than individual taste 
acquired by mere tradition or pure chance. Fifty generations and more 
have confessed that argument about matters of taste is argument thrown 
away ; how much greater, then, is the waste of time and energy to argue 
from taste on what is not really a matter of taste at all, but a matter of 
fact, in which, moreover, the facts are simple enough for a final, because 
a thoroughly practical, decision. 


Fishermen not only may but actually do acquire a taste for an 
inferior style of rod ; that is to say, they accustom themselves to a style 
of rod built on the lines of those used with supposed infallibility by their 
ancestors, and their confidence in it has not been shaken even by the 
periodically frequent fractures of tops, and the yet more frequent loss of 
favourite flies. They will continue stoutly to affirm the style is best, but 
fail to make good the affirmation by sound logic, or acceptable facts. 

But it will not do roughly to over-ride prejudices of this description ; 
for if we put ourselves in the owner's place it is easy to imagine with 
what outraged feelings the curt contempt of some superior critic for the 
" sacred heirloom " style of rod would be received. This same heirloom 
is of good hickory, light in hand, costly, and well finished. Enough line 
may be got out with it to kill some fish, and the owner is accustomed, nay 
attached, to it. Though beaten in his efforts to reach distant lay-byes, 
the sentiment of many years hangs about this companion of his in so 
many happy scenes and successful days. In the consciousness of all 
these, its virtues and deeds, is it reasonable to expect him to stand quietly 
in the shoes of stoic indifference, and while remembering its pleasant 
associations, to hear his favourite rod abused and damned off-hand ? 

There is much to be said for the inborn respect of the Britisher for 
antiquity. But in Salmon-fishing ours is an age of reason, and we must 
be prepared for a quick march towards the absolutely, the ideally best 
style of rod. In short, sound reasoning on the facts, and not taste, 
however legitimately and respectably begotten, should be our guiding 
light. We must fall back on open facts. 

The question is first, "What is the best all-round style of rod?" 
and then, " What modification or adaptation of this is best in each 
individual Fisherman's circumstance ? " 

In discussing this question in a preliminary way, I seek not only to 
take up unassailable ground in giving expression to the convictions born 
of my own experience, but also, whether I personally am right or wrong 
as to the style of rod I advocate, to arouse some of the rest-and-be- 
thankful school to the necessity either for progress towards a better 
weapon than the old-fashioned one, or for a justification on grounds 
other and better than those at present commonly held for the continued 


use of the very inadequate, cumbrous implement handed down from 
the fathers. 

Manufacturers move on, and such vast strides have been made in the 
last few years in almost every part of the Angler's outfit that it was by 
no means unreasonable to expect some improvements in our rods. Our 
expectations have been realised. Very considerable improvements have 
been made, although -there are rods still in stock that might be called 
fossil rods and go very well in use with the proverbial fly in amber. 

But putting aside, for practical argument's sake, any predilection to 
taste and opening our minds to impartial conviction we had better ask, 
What is the best style of rod for Salmon- fishing ? The obvious answer is 
that style of rod which is all-round best, which executes best all the 
several kinds of casting practised by skilled Anglers the style that, on 
the whole, best meets, most powerfully, easily, and pleasantly, all 
possible exigencies of place, time, and circumstance. 

Surely this style of rod is equal in trained hands to make the ' ' Overhand," 
the " Spey," the " Underhand," the " Flip," or even the " Wind" Cast- 
each as required. This certainly is the beau ideal of a rod for a skilful 
Angler whose fishing lies in a great variety of water. 

But on the other hand, there is a legion of Fishermen, keen on the 
sport and fully alive to all improvement, who, naturally enough, contend 
that the waters they fish do not call for such a variety of skill on their 
part, and, therefore, such a many-sided action in the rod. They rather 
look for certain special qualities in the rod, because their practice is 
limited to one or perhaps two varieties of casts. One may possibly often 
have to adopt the Spey cast, and fishing only that river, content himself 
with a local model which carries a lightish line ; whilst another, in an 
exposed run of catches, has as often to contend against a head-wind and 
otherwise must use the Wind Cast, which demands a maximum of lifting 
power in the rod and plenty of butt action, or leave the water unfished. 

Such and similar considerations must modify the ideal rod by giving 
prominence in its style to the particular needs of each individual case. 
But this opens no door for the exercise of haphazard taste. If the 
Fisherman allows that intruder in, he will defeat his search for the best 
rod. He must determine what modification of the ideally best rod will 


suit him, and educate his taste to that ; then, taste is good, it is founded 
on reason and fact, and the result in practice must be sound. 

Eods of this calibre are built of well-seasoned materials, and are, how- 
ever, not merely ideal, but are to-day realities in actual existence and use 
in several well-known hands. 

In proceeding to adduce facts and to reason from them, I wish to 
emphasize what I have already implied, that, our aim should be sport, 
not mere prowess. There is, I think, a material difference between the 
two. Sport includes comfort and a more or less continuous and pervading 
sense of direct pleasure elements that are often wanting in the display 
of mere prowess. In the best style of rod, therefore^ its capability to 
promote sport should be thought of before all else. 

In determining the absolutely best type of rod, to be deviated from 
only in the particular feature and to the particular degree ascertained to 
be needed in each case, we must repeat a first great general principle. It 
is this : that muscles, rod-butt, middle, top and line right down to the 
fly itself shall form one instrument " compound organ," so to speak 
harmonious and unbroken in action, and imbued with ready obedience to 
the Angler's eye and brain an organ adapted right through for one 
purpose. Practice, and that alone can give a man the power of so 
exerting his brain and strength. The rod and line are to be, as it were, 
part of the man, though distinct from the man, and they are to be in such 
unity, so well adapted to each other, that, such a rod and line in this or 
that man's trained hands on his particular water shall give for him better 
returns than any of the others. 

Now let us see how and why our old acquaintance the " trouty " 
Salmon rod with its light line has been of late years left in the 
lurch, just as the breech-loader has displaced the old-fashioned muzzle- 

The general requirements of Trout-fly fishing have necessitated that 
the rod for that branch of spott should be adapted for throwing a com- 
paratively light line and that mainly by action from its top. Here is the 
fundamental and generic difference between your true Trout rod and your 
true Salmon rod. For the latter, to achieve its specific purposes, should 
be worked with a line that is out of proportion heavier than the Trout line, 



The accompanying illustration of a corner in the extensive premises 
at the Standard Works, Eedditch, will give the reader an idea of the care 


taken by Messrs. Allcock it- Co. in securing and seasoning, for loholesale 
use, the logs of Greenheart in this department alone. 


and it must develop its wave of casting-force less from the rod-top than 
from the butt. The two actions are totally different, therefore the rods 
and the lines most suitable are different. 

In laying down this doctrine I refer for support of it to the records 
existing in the public prints of recent casting tournaments, a testimony 
open to all and of irrefragable character. In the " Overhand " method of 
casting, in which mode alone the " trouty-rod " is of any use at all, the 
slight top and the stiff butt have caused it to be hopelessly left behind. 
And apart from these competitions, this style of rod has been conclusively 
proved to be wrong in every-day angling experience. 

As to the " Overhand " cast, beloved by all, and well suited as it is 
for places with plenty of room in the rear of the Angler, it is supposed by 
many to be the easiest cast of all with plenty of wood in the butt. This 
is also a misconception which may be often traced to the misleading influence 
of the earlier acquired habits of Trout fishing. It is not that the Fisherman 
is unable to make the cast, but is unable to make it perfectly ; and, as I 
have said, this rod is almost, if not quite, useless in other modes of casting 
and especially so on all occasions when length of line is required in windy 

As an instance here 1 will quote words which I wrote some years 
ago : " Too much importance is usually attributed to the Overhand 
cast and consequently some of the most favourable pools are passed by 
because the Angler is inexperienced with other casts. Take for example, 
a pool where you wade, with three ' catches ' in it. No. 1 would be an 
easy station but for a high tree immediately behind you. Here the 
' Switch ' would be necessary. No. 2, some yards further on with a 
large bough overhanging the water low down, and no stream to carry the 
fly beneath it owing to an eddy beyond the bough, would demand the use 
of the Flip Cast : and No. 3, which you reach after turning a sharp 
corner, has the wind in your face, and this brings the Wind Cast into 
operation. In these situations, the old fashioned, stiff-butted rod with a 
fine top, noted for throwing a light line from the point, would be as useless 
as it would be for holding a fish from rocks, dead trees, weirs and similar 
dangers. . . . Where Salmon can be captured without the display of 
skill or much perseverance, and without having to resort to the ' Spey,' 

THE EOD. 283 

the ' Wind ' or the Flip Cast, any ordinary rod might be used, and with 
a certain amount of success. These places are few and often far between 
and are as often bordering upon many ' awful places,' in which the 
veteran will present his fly as if by magic. To do so he must be well 
appointed. A rod for general purposes may be ever so perfect, and yet 
prove almost useless with a line either too light or too heavy. The action 
of it is made manifest by comparison with a Trout rod. In direct contrast, 
it will propel a heavy line from the butt without perceptible effort of the 
Angler. " 

The reasonableness of what is now being urged with, I fear, too much 
repetition, is clear. To be able to cast far, to cast against wind successfully, 
to " Switch " or " Flip " properly in short, to be able to hold your own 
in Salmon fishing, you must not use a line too light, but one that demands 
plenty of lifting power in a rod having plenty of stuff in the upper part 
even to top-heaviness. 

To objectors it may be also replied that a light line is no desideratum 
in fly fishing for Salmon. On the contrary, it is well to fish fairly deep ; 
and, moreover, line and gut trace should taper as explained elsewhere. 
To the more plausible objection as to increased weight in rod and line, 
this must be emphatically said : First, that owing to modern improve- 
ments, especially in all fittings, rods are made much lighter in proportion 
to length and strength than they used to be ; but, apart from that (and 
here the emphasis lies) the great question is not so much whether a rod is 
actually heavy or not, but whether or not it fishes heavy. When once its 
proper use and available powers have been acquired by a few days' 
training, the modern rod, of the style described, fishes infinitely lighter 
than the old style. " The rod casts of itself " is an opinion often declared 
of it. The question is one for the muscles, What is it that tires ? Not 
weight absolutely, for it is manifestly true that, even with two old- 
fashioned " Trouty " rods, the heavier, if the better in balance, is far 
less tiring than the one of lighter weight reckoned by Ibs. and ounces. 

We should not be misled by the adjective " light," as applied to rod 
or to line. The term must be regarded as relative ; and determined 
practically in meaning not merely by weights and scales, but also and 
chiefly by the final verdict of nerves and muscles. Weariness comes far 


sooner from the active exertion of doing all the work oneself with a light 
rod, than from the semi-passive labour of carrying and controlling a 
heavier rod that does for the Angler most, if not all the work within certain 
limits. This principle is of intensified application where the more special 
modes of casting are involved. In a moderately strong head wind the old- 
fashioned rod must give up altogether and look enviously on its modern 
rival rejoicing " in the battle and the breeze." In short, it may fearlessly 
be affirmed that, under any conditions of wind and weather the man who 
has once found himself able to cast his fly upon the desired spot with the 
scrupulous accuracy and reasonable delicacy and lightness, easily acquired 
with the modified Castle Connell rod I advocate," will never again 
return to the old combination of tackle. Nor will he regard as draw- 
backs or defects the superior strength added in the new type of rod, 
which secures the virtually sky-high immunity from banks, bushes and 
other traps behind him. 

This particular modified Castle Connell is perfectly made in green- 
heart, and is called the " Kelson Bod." I do not know of any defects to 
set off against its merits. Its merits are power of steady endurance in 
holding a big fish in a strong stream ; power of lifting and propelling a 
long line by every method of casting in any kind of weather or place in 
which one fishes ; and what is even more useful where the " Spey " is 
imperative power of making the thrashdown by throwing, when, in 
awkward winds, casting is impracticable. (Spey rods cannot do that.) 
By its action alone one is capable of commanding with this rod thirty 
yards of water ; and, when necessary, it can be made to command 
without much force over forty by employing the " Overhand " and of 
course much more by the " Governor." 

The superb rod on the Shannon, known as the Castle Connell, is the 
parent of this rod, which, after a long and varied experience in rod using and 
rod making, I have found the most pleasantly powerful and generally 
serviceable. In all-round competition, and this includes the .making of 
all the known casts, except the " Overhand," the Irish rod is indisputably 
the most successful of all the ordinary types. 

The distinguishing improvements in our rod have been introduced 
with the intention of curing as far as possible any tendency to repeat the 

THE " KELSON " ROD. 285 

faults in character of the original. They are said to be instantly 
recognised by the Angler who adopts only the " Overhand." 

That the failures of certain Anglers to secure with the Shannon rod 
all they want argues nothing against its several virtues, but only 
emphasises the need and the inducement that struck me for making an 
effort towards the prospective amelioration of their lot. The " Kelson " 
rod was not introduced into use hurriedly, for in doing my utmost to 
discover what kind of rod would best execute all the casts with the 
minimum of exertion and the maximum results, I made various ex- 
periments with many other types differing in circumference as much as 
1716th of an inch. In those experiments lines of different degrees of 
weight were used. The outcome is that the ordinary Castle Council 
famed chiefly for Side casting, Spey casting, and for holding heavy fish 
without fear has been modified in a marked degree by being built some- 
what stouter in the butt on such a scale as to considerably improve the 
action for all-round fishing with ease and comfort. The holding qualities 
are not perceptibly interfered with. The taper, be it noted, falls off not 
nearly so rapidly as in the old Trouty rod, and only slightly quicker than 
in the parent. 

Any further stiffness in the butt, produced by a yet increased 
allowance of material than that given in the modification would defeat the 
whole object in view. On the whole, the Shannon rods may be summed 
up in the familiar formula of "As you were," for they always fulfil the 
expectations of their most sanguine supporters. 

As to particular deviations from what I judge to be the best all-round 
rod, I may instance, as instructive, the " Traherne " pattern. This 
particular style of rod is decidedly stouter in the butt, and is more widely 
known at present than my own. The " Traherne," in the hands of 
Major Traherne, calls for no praise whatever here. It is sufficiently 
recommended in the Badminton Library, which tells us that the author 
of the Habits of the Salmon himself made an Overhand cast with it of no 
less than 45 yards 1 inch. But were I asked to pronounce an opinion on 
its merits, all the praise the rod would get from me would be conveyed 
in a very few words, viz. That all Anglers who invariably adopt the 
"Overhand" should not be without it, for the simple reason that on 



stormy days, when they usually have to knock under, this rod enables 
them to continue fishing in their ordinary way. It is, in short, just the 
very opposite of a Spey rod, which in windy weather is useless. 

It has just been said that my own rod is found the most pleasantly 
powerful and generally serviceable. Lest there should be suspicions 
arising of a possibly mischievous severity upon the fish's mouth due to 
the increase of material in the modification, it may safely be promised 
that there is no ground whatever for fear. A crucial instance may be 
adduced here in support of this statement, apart from what is urged 
elsewhere on striking and playing fish. It occurred early in the ex- 
perience of a friend when using a rod selected for him by myself. This 
is his account of its conduct in his hands, with one of my own lines lent 
upon the occasion : 

" At first I was quite disappointed in the rod, and though you 
described to me intelligently enough how to use it, especially in casting 
' Overhand,' it was not until the third day call me duffer, if you will- 
that it ceased to be tiring and I began to acquire the knack of it. Now I 
would never wish to go back to the old style. I really think I should lose 
all pleasure in fishing if I did. The sense of power and of scope for skill 
are vastly greater with your pattern. I astonished myself when I came 
back to the old Spey cast, and popped out a good line in gusty weather. 
The latest triumph, however, was this. Certain friends here who use 
light rods and lines have looked rather askance at the rod's action, and 
suggested that it would be sure to tear fishes' mouths badly. If yours did 
so, what about Major Traherne's ? But facts, happily, are surprising 
things, sometimes the right way, too. What mouth among the Salmonidce 
is tenderer than a Grilse's an hour or two fresh from the open sea ? It is 
like a grayling's almost. Well, on the 15th August I hooked and ran 
within 200 yards of the open North Sea thirteen Grilse, and saved eleven 
of them without assistance. I struck them off your pattern reel from 
Farlow's. It seems to me that even without other experience this pro- 
portion of eleven out of thirteen played should for ever put an end to any 
charge of severity against your system of red and line. . . No more 
broken tops this season either. Bravo modified C. C." 

The saving of " tops " referred to a little hint previously given not 


to hold the rod too upright in playing either Salmon or Grilse. Passing 
now to other particulars, and first to materials, I do not care to mention 
more than four Greenheart, Cane, Blue Mahoe, and Washaba. 

Mixtures " Composites," as they are called, of which the worst is 
a combination of ash and cane are not to be commended, except in Spey 
rods. Cane is very quick in return ; ash very slow, and not powerful in 

Experiments extending over a long period have satisfied me that 
honours are divided between the cane rod I possess and those of my pattern 
in Greenheart. Everyone knows, however, that it is no easy matter for 
a maker to bring out the desired action in cane. The surface will bear no 
planing, so when the pieces are glued together the joints themselves cannot 
be reduced or interfered with. Mine never required it, for Hardy soon 
succeeded in securing all the harmonies of action, balance, and good 
workmanship. The action for my work that is to say, the action 
wanted for successfully making any of the known casts is exactly as it 
should be ; I do not wish for any alteration. Good action in cane means 
nothing less than durability, and no better proof can be given of this than 
the fact of my having taken with the rod considerably over one thousand 
Salmon, kelts included. Perhaps I need hardly remark that it is without 
the steel centre. A real " Kelson " in cane will not break, and though 
costly, cannot be said to be dear. To begin with, it is infinitely the best 
kind of rod for the Wind cast ; and in casting Overhand, the Angler is 
less fatigued than with any of the others. These advantages arise from 
the fact that he has not to dwell so long in the motion a feature of no 
inconsiderable moment as old age creeps on one, or even as regards one's 
comfort and pleasure during the first few days of fishing before the 
muscles get fit for work. 

My favourite greenheart if, indeed, any one of them is better than 
another is a Farlow, more than thirty years of age and looking as young 
as ever. On this subject it is difficult to write of this firm in words of 
becoming praise, and without giving the impression of some conscious 
exaggeration of language and sentiment in one's endeavour to do justice 
all round. It is, however, the literal truth that the correct action in 
greenheart may be implicitly relied upon by the purchaser. For when 


these rods are first put together the surface can be worked do\vu until 
the desired balance is secured ; and in this important detail the maker 
has never failed to give me satisfaction. What is equally pleasant to 
record and equally appreciated by his customers, one and all, is his 
punctuality in executing orders within the time of promised delivery. 

Apart from all other advantages of this style of rod, be it of cane or 
greenheart, the usual weakness caused by the continual use of any one 
cast may be quickly counteracted by the adoption of another cast. The 
" Spey," for instance, produces an upward bend, and this defect is soon 
rectified in working by the " Overhand." 

Blue Mahoe is here and there the acknowledged .king. But sound 
as his title is said to be, his crown would be much firmer if he had not 
an ugly trick of unaccountably and unexpectedly " striking work " on 
very little provocation. In spite of all care in the selection of matured, 
straight-grained wood from butt to point, the upper joints will sometimes 
snap asunder like glass. I had one of Ogden's in use for a few years, and 
prized it immensely. It had shown no signs of wear and tear until one 
fine day a young friend, casting only a short distance with it, broke the 
top joint clean in two by lifting the line before it was thoroughly ex- 
tended. Any rod is liable to fracture under this condition of treatment, 
though as yet I have never seen cane surprise anyone by such sudden 
misbehaviour. Blue Mahoe is nevertheless a remarkably light, if not the 
lightest of all rod woods, and in skilled hands fully justifies the claim 
Ogden makes for it. 

Washaba differs in this respect, for it is the heaviest of rod woods. 
Washaba rods are very " steely," and never seem to wear out. I have 
seen one at Usk as old as the hills and as straight as an arrow despite 
the severe trials it has looked full in the face. 

There are many other rods besides those to which reference has been 
made. Manufacturers in Ireland and Scotland finish their work well, 
and find plenty of local support for their wares. As a rule, these are 
built purposely for the Overhand cast only. 

The rod liked on one river is detested on another. The Spey rod, 
for instance, in the hands of a purely local performer on the Tweed 
would meet .with the utmost condemnation ; whilst a Castle Connell 


pattern for the " Overhand" would be equally disliked by any of Forrest's 
customers at Kelso, or Malloch's at Perth. 

In making his purchase the Angler must determine for himself the 
sort of rod required to meet and suit his own purpose or purposes ; and 
here one difficulty arises over which no living mortal has control. It is 
this. There is no occupation of ours in which a man has greater need to 
have his wits about him than that which has for its object the choice of a 
rod. Even expert Fishermen are frequently mistaken on these occasions. 
I have, however, endeavoured to cope with the difficulty by giving those 
who wish for the modified Castle Connell the information required for its 

(In use the ferruled greenheart is tied at the joints with purse silk 
Pearsall's " Typhast." The joints of the spliced greenheart are often 
glued together and bound with fine hemp. In binding mine, I varnish 
the hemp, say, two yards at a time, before I proceed ; and give the splice 
so made a final coat when dry. But Farlow has recently introduced a 
band for the purpose. Each lap adheres to the wood, and, in finishing 
off, the upper lap rigidly sticks to the one placed beneath it, and remains 
so. By the employment of this band the rod can be "put up" in three 
minutes, and keep firm for the whole season. It is the neatest form 
of " whipping " as yet introduced.) 

The cane, rod being furnished with lock-fast joints is simply put 
together when the stoppers are removed. How lock-fasts would behave 
on greenheart I do not know, but I find them convenient and deserving 
of much praise on cane. 

With regard to weights, the 4| aluminium winch holding 150 

yards of line weighs 18i ounces. 

Length. Weight. 

Ferruled greenheart - 17 ft. 4 inch. 2 Ibs. 11 ozs. 

Spliced greenheart- - 17 ft. 4 inch. 2 Ibs. 10 ozs. 

and a little less when the new band is used instead of the hemp. 

Built cane - 17 ft. 8 inch. 2 Ibs. 11 ozs. 

As regards length of rod, the build of the Fishermen, the breadth of 
the river, and the average size of the fish are items to be taken into 
account ; yet it is very easy to so exaggerate these conditions as to err in 



favour of prejudices, either for undue length or undue shortness. For 
myself, I am inclined to think tha, for general purposes, having in view, 
on the one hand, the length of line, it is possible to cast by any of the 
methods with advantage, and on the other, the time occupied in killing 
a fish, that 17 feet 4 inches in greenheart, and 17 feet 8 inches in built 
cane is the most serviceable length for Salmon in river fishing. For 
lake fishing for Salmon a much shorter rod is an indispensable condition. 
The bottom joint should carry three rings, the lower one being 2 feet 
from the upper end of the winch fitting. The old-fashioned drop-ring 
should be discarded for the upright revolving ring, having phosphor- 
bronze centres, with brass wire to prevent rust. . Perhaps for this 
improvement a small extra expense is incurred at first, but the 
diminished wear of the line a perfectly natural consequence assuredly 
makes revolving rings the cheaper article in the long run. The chief 
object of the Angler in this connection is to secure a free run through the 
rings so as to be able to " shoot " a good length of line. By shooting 
line (fully described elsewhere) is meant the useful practice of holding 
lightly between the thumb and forefinger of the upper hand, several coils 
of the line either drawn in from the water, or direct from the winch, 
and letting them go free to be taken out by the momentum given 
to the cast in the thrashdown. 

On the question of ferrules, little need be said. 

Serrated ferrules, graduating as they do the strain that arises at the 
junction of the pliant wood and rigid ferrule joint, have been highly 
spoken of and strongly recommended. Good sheet brass, hammered 
until it becomes almost as hard as steel, is the best material, and, in my 
judgment, no ferrules equal those made on steel triblets, but they should 
only slightly taper and have bell-mouths. 

The chief point for the Angler's consideration is that, as ferrules 
wear loose with lapse of time, the rod is apt to meet with serious 
injury if used in that condition. To detect loose ferrules put the rod 
together and test each joint in the following way : The rod is " played " 
by one hand, whilst the forefinger and thumb of the other hand hold it 
at the union of wood and ferrule. In this way any shakiness is easily 
detected. Put on with Le Page's glue, they seldom require attention. 

THE LINE. 291 

Under bad usuage a rod may become either racked or strained. 
"Backing " means disablement for the part affected. A "rack " is a kind of 
strain concentrated in one spot and is so bad an injury in itself that it 
can best be defined as " incipient fracture." 

A "strain," distinguished from a "rack," is rather a warp inducing a 
temporary curve in one direction. 

" Backing " comes from lifting a line too suddenly ; from making the 
thrashdown too soon, or too late ; from catching the hook in boughs, &c., 
in the rear of the Angler ; or from using a line too light in weight. 

" Straining" results from continually fishing upon one side of the water ; 
from standing the rod against a wall in a damp place ; from working 
with loose ferrules and sometimes from using a line too heavy for the 
rod. The defect is one that can be cured by a skilled rodrnaker ; but 
racking is incurable. 


" He only tee* mdl mJn .*e.t the whole in the parts, and the parti in the whole." 



MANY and various instances in mercantile and industrial enterprise 
give rise to the current belief that, real progress does not depend so much 
on the perfect knowledge of the abstract sciences, as on the extent and 
perfection of those simple arts which minister to the daily wants and 
comforts of life. However this may be in the ordinary course of things, 
we are perhaps not concerned at the present moment to inquire ; but no 
doubt whatever exists in angling minds that the progress of a Salmon- 
fisherman does not depend so much on the perfection of fly-work, as on 
the way the fly is put before the fish. That being so, it may not be 
altogether out of place here, first, to draw attention to a certain art in 
fishing the fly, the achievement of which considerably depends on the 
make and quality of the line in use. 

Who, for instance, ever heard of the scheme, or even recognised the 
necessity for mending a cast five and twenty years ago ? 


U /o 


Now this is just one of those important measures that may come to 
us in actual fishing by mere chance. Accident, say perhaps a stumble in 
wading, might cause one's .well-balanced rod and properly weighted line 
to do something or other, which does not fail to be noticed, and then, 
feeling an immediate tug of a fish, one makes a special note of the un- 
expected effect so produced. 

In point of fact this is exactly how the " mending " business 
originated with me. But the chance for discovering any such new 
method of treatment as this seldom occurs now as the opportunity hardly 
ever comes. Comparatively unwary, vigilantly on the watch, fish used 
to follow the fly bustling across the river anyhow, and leave it alone until 
the water, not the Fisherman, compelled the lure to, sooner or later, 
assume that natural position, which, in these days, is absolutely required 
from start to finish. 

Eagerness on the part of the fish in that direction is the exception at 
the present time, not the rule, so in the matter of presentation has fishing 
long since undergone a fundamental change. 

The object of this practice in presenting the fly, clearly, is to incite 
immediate action on the part of the fish rather than encourage indolent 
inspection. It happens to be a delightfully simple performance, if the 
Angler is provided with a line so constituted as to instantly respond to 
the turn of the wrist. We do not propel the fly, as of yore, and leave it 
to fate and fortune ; on the contrary, we take care to promptly counteract 
the instant effect of water which occasions the line to take a snake like 
course, by mending the cast ; that is, by lifting the rod with telling effect, 
and by a simultaneous turn of the wrist, to the right or left as the case 
may be, switching over the belied portion of the line (caused by the lift ing) 
by which means the fly is compelled to fish straight throughout the area of 
the cast made. 

This latest art-achievement in fishing it is new to many may 
strike the inexperienced as being an extremely insignificant matter, but 
in reality, it is the essence of " presentation " and on most rivers the. very 
foundation of success. 

No ; fish do not follow the fly as they did " when the novice hooked 
them at the first bungling throw" not one in fifty. Those halcyon 


days the true time when it was " never too late to mend" have gone like 
the May pole and the dancing on the village green. Long since that 
innocent era Salmon have been taught to better use their eyes and other 
organs. Their constantly declining to follow flies across the water, as they 
did, is a fact that has forced itself upon our recognition ; and driven us to 
prepare for this and other propensities which originate in that " thinking 
apparatus " of theirs. 

The question therefore arises: Can we properly "mend" our cast 
with the line of the period ? No, but out of this evil, good has come, for 
our amicable conflict with these difficulties has obliged us to consider the 
matter of lines in all their varied uses and relations, and our investigations 
have turned out fruitful in precious results. We were not long in finding 
out that a line should be possessed of certain qualities, and, that those 
lines commonly used failed us in respect of pliability as well as in 
weight unless possessing an outrageous amount of bulk. 

The essential qualities which stamp a good line are four in number 
Compactness, Suppleness, Evenness, and Durability. 

Our list of demands may appear somewhat formidable, but it is 
impossible to charge a single item with superfluity. No practical Angler 
will question the signal merit of a line possessing these valuable 
characteristics. Strength, though generally regarded as being of material 
importance, is not included in our list. Personally I have always looked 
upon this quality with indifference, from the fact that even the thin end 
of the taper of a line, fit for use, stands a far heavier strain than the gut 
attached to it. 

In my report, as one of the Judges of the Fisheries Exhibition of 1883 
(see Field, 27th October, 1883), I made the following observations : 

" In judging, the lines were tied to a steelyard. The highest " pull " was 
59 Ibs., the lowest 21 Ibs. After many years practical experience, and, having for 
the sake of experiment made various lines myself, I am convinced that a tightly 
plaited line is by far the best for fishing purposes. Yet a tight plait under the 
weight test would pull considerably less than one loosely plaited made of exactly 
the same quantity and of the same length. . . . There is greater weight 

in it for the same circumference of loose plait I am fortified 

in this opinion by the entire concurrence of the leading manufacturers in the 


Now, weight, brought about by the quality of compactness, is very 
desirable, but any undue increase of bulk is most detestable. Burdened 
by loose, over-gorged plaits, culminating in a distended corporation, the 
line offers too much resistance to the air, splashes too much, is lifeless and 
ungovernable in the water, necessitates an extra large winch or a dangerous 
shortening of back-line, and above all requires a stout, unwieldly rod of a 
kind I would call " an unmitigated enormity," which, for taxing the 
powers of endurance, robbing anticipation, and dispelling keenness, it 
would indeed be hard to surpass. 

On the other hand, a line too light in weight, and too small in 
circumference, is equally bad and sometimes worse. 'In contrary winds, 
for instance, it is almost useless, whilst in long casting, the rod, suited 
in every way to fulfil its proper functions', is completely spoilt by the extra 
force required. 

In proceeding now to deal with the qualities enumerated above, it 
should be clearly understood that the most essential characteristic in a 
line is compactness. In plain language, this means the maximum of 
weight combined with the minimum of bulk, the significance of 
which only those well acquainted with high-class Salmon-fishing can 
fully appreciate. Compactness ensures a fairly smooth surface, else the 
ordinary way of riverside dressing is ineffective from the very first. 
With this quality as a substratum the line should never become too 
stiff or too supple. A hard stiff line neither casts well, fishes well, nor 
wears well. If made stiff by improper dressing when new, the line soon 
" knuckles," and no sooner are the early defects made good than the com- 
plaint breaks out in I know not how many places. They shall, however, 
receive attention presently. 

Suppleness may be carried to an extreme. In some waters in those, 
for instance, that break and chop about in all directions it is impossible 
to have any contol over the fly with a line as supple, say, as one that has 
not been waterproofed. A loosely plaited line very soon becomes too 
supple for second or even third rate fishing, dress it how you will. A 
tightly plaited line, unless thoroughly saturated at first with the right 
material, comes to grief as quickly by knuckling, whilst both the one and 
the other are apt to get water-logged and then go permanently to the bad. 


Such a degree of suppleness is to be sought in a line as not to interfere 
with the other good qualities. This can be secured and every evil defied 
provided the line is plaited closely, dressed under a system detailed in this 
chapter, and properly cared for after use. 

Evenness is an important factor in commanding distant catches. A 
waterproofed line having a perfectly level surface, of proper size and 
weight, and a flexibleness combined with a certain amount of stiffness, 
passes so readily through the rod rings and air that to " shoot " eight or 
ten yards of it is a profitable achievement soon mastered. At all events 
the. Angler profits in saving himself from over-fatigue, and his rod from 
severe treatment. In "mending a cast" an uneven line forms a 
wavy, cramped curve in the air and spoils the business ; but this irregu- 
larity is never seen at all with a good line. When evenness prevails the 
ease with which the line can be lifted, or the cast effectually mended is 
noticeable at once. Another advantage is derived from this quality, in 
that the smoother the dressing the longer it lasts. The American 
machine, working American, ingredients, produces a smooth, bright 
appearance for a comparatively limited period, no matter how even the 
line may be. In respect of polishing nothing beats handwork. 

Durability needs no justification and very little explanation. It 
should not, however, be forgotten that silk lines as a rule do not last long 
unless made of the best material, dried thoroughly after use and dressed 
properly when new. 

As for using undressed silk lines, I should never think of such a thing. 
I am puzzled to find any reasonable and sensible conclusion for the 
strenuous recognition they receive, though a deeply-rooted mistrust of 
them in some places is established. But still, lines of this description are 
recommended by authorities to whose testimony we cannot fail to listen 
with respect, whether we agree with them or not. According to my 
experience and conviction the pleasing theory of these amicable mentors 
has been rebutted scores of times in actual working practice. The broad 
charge I would record against lines undressed is that they are far too 
supple and too light in weight ; for even by the aid of upright revolving 
rod-rings, a serious effort is needed to get them to " shoot " at all. They 
are moreover liable to get into a confused mess, and, besides being 


prejudicial to success, owing to their obvious conspicuousness in the water, 
are far more troublesome to use and to dry. If there is any good in them 
I cannot detect it. 

Other materials have been tried. Hair lines, and those of silk and 
hair together, are too rough, too loose in plait and too light in weight. 
Besides, it is useless to attempt to dress them. 

Plaiting is better than twisting. A plaited line is less liable to kink, 
takes dressing better, and, what is still more important, is easier controlled 
in the water. I often meet with twisted lines, but never once have I seen 
any "tricks of the trade " performed with them at work. The plait may 
be either round or square. The former results in a more even surface at 
first, whilst the tiny hollow centre running through their entire length 
can be filled up by a certain process of dressing a solid continuous core 
being thus permanently formed. Managed in the old fashioned way with 
any sort of dressing, this small channel soon holds water and then the 
silk begins to rot. When this fact became known, lines plaited over a 
manufactured core were introduced into use, but in our branch of the sport 
they afford no practical benefit. 

The lines I use myself have often been submitted for trade inspection, 
and it is gratifying to announce that Mr. Carswell, 90, Mitchell Street, 
Glasgow, a wholesale maker, has so far succeeded as to be able to supply 
retail dealers with something that will assuredly find favour and please 
critical eyes with a line, at all events, that considerably reduces every 
difficulty in high class presentation. As may be supposed, I have given 
several of these a good trial and find they differ in a great degree from the 
ordinary stock in trade. They, moreover, possess exceptional qualities 
which are at once serviceable for the Salmon-fisherman. They happen to 
be christened the " Kelson Enamelled." Their salient features are : 
A fairly tight plait, a smooth surface, more weight for bulk than usual, 
whilst the quality of evenness and of material cannot be surpassed. They 
are made in several sizes, the choice of which is necessarily left to the 
judgment of the purchaser from the fact that rods differ so much in 
action. The " Kelson " rod best carries a No. 3. 

From this we begin to see the advantage derived from having a 
standard line in the market fit for a rod so balanced as to admit of the 


various casts being made without the chance of disappointment 

It may be useful to note that these lines can be bought at the 
tackle shops dressed or undressed, but I shall deal with that matter 

At this point I would mention that, from time to time, I have put 
both round and square lines under severe critical test and after full con- 
sideration finally decide in favour of the former. But the latter sort are 
not without their merits. For instance, they are solid from end to end 
and so do not require quite the same amount of care in the out-door 
principle of dressing. On the other hand, the second process in that 
system, viz., that of polishing when applied to their less regular surface 
quickly loses its effect, and this will be found to be so until the line has 
had considerable wear and tear. 

Tapered lines are better for making all casts except the " Flip " and 
the "Governor," and perhaps the "Spey" with the Spey rod. The 
tapered ends measure ten feet, six inches, and the whole line itself measures 
forty-two yards. These measurements were fixed for particular reasons 
and by no means in a haphazard or arbitrary manner ; the size of 
the winch, distance and cleanness in casting by all the methods, having 
been studiously consulted. 

The entire length of my own tackle runs into one hundred and fifty 
yards. But seeing the whole in the parts is not seeing the parts in the 
whole. Many would object to using a line so thin at the back end ; but 
when this part is brought into use, Trout tackle would be equally effective. 
Seen in the parts " idling " at home, my tackle would not please one in 
ten, seen in the whole, " busy " at work, every member of the fraternity 
would " see well," and instinctively feel not only the necessity for the 
qualities which have been assigned to the casting line, but also the 
desirability of trimming the winch under the following system, by which 
arrangement I have saved more than one Salmon in my time. 

The casting line is " married " to about seventy yards of A'o. 3 or E 
of the " Standard Waterproof Braided silk line " (Allcock & Co.), the 
remaining portion consists of the same standard article No. 1 or F, which 
is, one degree less in size. By the same process (marriage) two and a 


quarter yards of plaited gut, tapered, having a small loop for the single 
trace, is attached in front. In its complete form, as explained, the 
combination "packs" a 4J inch aluminium winch. 

I have never yet experienced a fish running out the whole of this 
length ; nor has it ever been my lot to fear the strength of the line from 
end to end, though it has been well tested on numerous rivers. The 
whole of the back line should be packed on the winch tightly, not wound 
loosely in disorder, but firmly, in even close coils, after the fashion of the 
tinsel upon a silver-bodied fly. Thus packed, all "jamming" in running 
a fish is entirely obviated. 

Not many years ago I explained my ideas to Farlaw of a contrivance 
for drying lines, with the result that the "Skeleton Line Drier" was 
made and patented. Constructed so that the air passes through to every 
portion of the line, this machine is fixed to a mantle piece by a screw 
clamp grooved to steady the winch in winding off, as shown in the 


One amongst other advantages gained in using this Winder is that 
all " kinking " is prevented. 

It is quite as needful to dry the line in safe custody after use as to 
saturate the gut trace before use, and perhaps more so. If left on the 
winch, even in a damp state, the line soon becomes worthless. 

In the matter of "knuckles" (which invariably come with bad 
dressing), so far as remedial measures are concerned, the sooner they 
are doctored the better. But when once these sores break out, the 
seat of disturbance is of a magnitude that makes the prospect of cure 


exceedingly remote. The wounds may be healed, but sooner or later will 
renew their assaults with redoubled energy ; besides, the disease carries 
perpetual contagion with it. Every day the infection brings fresh 
trouble. However, for the purpose of a local application, prepare No. 1 
Dressing mixture (mentioned presently) by heating it in a saucepan or by 
immersing a jar containing the liquid in boiling water. When rather hot, 
paint with a camel's hair brush each plague spot, and coax the stuff well 
into the silk by bending the knuckles to and fro until they present to the 
eye a white, frothy appearance. Kub off the froth and allow the line to 
dry. But the best plan is to steep the line in methylated chloroform for 
a day, and with soap and warm water wash off the whole of the old 
dressing (which never penetrated the silk at all well) and re-dress it in 
the manner described hereinafter. 

It has been reserved for the ingenuity of Mr. W. Wells Eidley to 
bring out for himself and friends the best line, to my thinking, ever 
wetted in a Salmon river. In every detail can be traced the result of 
extended experience and exhaustive inquiry. The way they are plaited 
is simply perfect. Compactness is obtained by using the best silk, freed 
from all natural gum, and by employing unusually heavy weights on the 
plaiting machine. The strands are packed as closely as they can be 
without incurring the risk of a " curl," which is worse than a 
" kink." 

Mr. Eidley once informed me that his lines contain one-third 
more silk than any others of the same length and circumference, 
and that this is entirely due to some special process adopted by 
him. There certainly is here an art of preparation and a measure 
of success which I think no manufacturer possesses except Carswell. 
The very look of them is enough, and they are no less surprising 
for their appearance than for the facility which they afford in 
casting and in " presentation." So far as durability is concerned, 
I have had a line in use since 1878, and in spite of hard wear, it 
is as sound and, if possible, more serviceable than ever. A small 
case of these treasures was on view at the Fisheries Exhibition 
(1883), and attracted general admiration. If only from a feeling of 
personal obligation, I would add that the Salmon-angling world at large 




is deeply indebted to Mr. Ridley for proving that the ideal line is a 
practical possibility, and for giving me sufficient information to enable me 
to get it on the market. 

I have only a few more observations to offer to students before we 
consider the question of dressing lines. 

Salmon lines are imperilled and injured by many causes ; now by 
Spey casting in close quarters, where it is impossible to keep the line 
from skirting rocks and other traps in the way ; now by the wrong 
dressing; again, perhaps, by not polishing when necessary, and 
frequently by being left wet on the winch. 

I use the word " perhaps," as line-dressing is a subject I hold an 
open mind upon. It all depends upon what a man wants and how much 
time he has to get it. If he wants an ideal dressing it is to be had, but 
not in a hurry. The time is not far distant when everybody will learn to 
waterproof lines with a lasting preparation that improves them from the 
very first, one that will permeate the whole texture and provide a smooth, 
elastic, and protecting surface that will not deteriorate. Only after years 
of attention and personal experiment did I hit on certain reliable methods 
and ingredients which I employ when fishing. The evidence of others, 
however, had been carefully considered, and their various materials tried 
and exhaustively tested. 

The plan I recommend for river-side dressing has a first and a second 
process. In the preliminary work the oil penetrates round lines, makes 
them somewhat solid and, with subsequent care, permanently waterproof. 
The final touches result in such a smooth surface with a new " Ridley," 
or an old ordinary, that no sign of roughness can be seen or felt. An 
equally happy result can be relied on with the " Kelson Enamelled " line. 
This fact of itself goes to prove the similarity between the " Ridley " and 
the "Enamelled." 

As Mr. Ridley's lines are distributed throughout the country 
(gratuitously, let me add), the best method of dressing them and my 
own, when wanted in a hurry, is as follows : 

Soak the new line for forty-eight hours in the " Dressing for Fishing 
Lines," sold at Apothecaries' Hall, Blackfriars, London. Then tie it up 
at each end out of doors, full length, and allow it to remain untouched 



for about sixteen fine, warm days or at all events, until the " dress" is 
set and sticky. 

In fixing the line, do not wipe off much of the material. The plan 
is to marry on spare string at each end to tie with, and so prevent a 
certain waste of taper. Kunning and back lines are married to each 
other by first fraying out nearly half an inch of the two ends with the 
point of the stiletto. After the strands- are thus well separated, divide 
the part frayed out into three portions, so as to form three " legs." 
These portions are twisted to a point, see Fig. 1 and 2. 

FIG. 1. 

FIG. 2. 

FIG. 3. 


They are then interlaced. The forks are fitted together until the 
original thicknesses meet at A A. The six legs are spread out so as to 
surround the line, see Fig 3. Then, with double tying-silk (waxed), 
the whole splice is bound down in the ordinary way with close coils, 
tapped with the back of an ivory-handled knife on a table, and then 

On taking down the line for use, be careful with the married 
points, as they will marry again and again in making up the running 

The best season for this dressing is in summer. 

The liquid in which the line is soaked is previously made rather hot. 
When it sets, take more of the warmed dressing in the fingers, and with 
them give the line another good coating. It will have already absorbed 
the previous coat, and present a bare appearance. In a few days from 
this (locality and weather upset all calculation as to Ihe exact time) the 
second application will be ready, and the rubbing process begins. 


I rub the dressing when obliged to adopt this method with my 
fingers, as my hands soon harden in fishing ; but a piece of thick felt 
answers the purpose equally well. The line must be rubbed backwards 
and forwards over and over again, day by day, until the dressing is almost 

The first process having thus been completed in its entirety, the 
second one is at once started. This consists simply in hand polishing. 

Take a piece of linen about six inches square, make it into a pad, and 
dip it in spirits of wine, squeeze the pad, and on the damp face of it put 
three drops of old linseed oil (from Apothecaries' Hall) that has thrown 
off many sediments, and smear them over the pad. Now rub to and fro 
two yards, little by little, lightly and quickly, imbedding the line in the 
pad. Continue the rubbing for about three minutes. Dip the pad, as 
before, into the spirits, and, with three more drops of oil, proceed in the 
same way, two yards at a time, along the whole length of the line. 

The hand, or the felt, rubbing will have deadened the appearance of 
the body dressing and made the surface smoother, but after a few days' 
work with the pad which should be used only once in twenty-four 
hours streaks of polish will appear visible, and increase daily in number 
and size. In seven or eight days the line will be finished ; and it is 
gratifying to know then that, whatever trouble the systejn may have 
involved, the line can be used after it has remained in the sun for two 
more days. Do not underestimate this advantage. 

After the line has received its second coat of polish, which it will 
require in six weeks time, it will maintain a fair face upon it for the whole 
season. In use the secret is never to allow the polish to get too dull. In 
order to prevent knuckles the line must be watched and polished when 
necessary, the necessity being increasingly apparent to the observer as 
dulness sets in. On the second occasion, the linen pad will effect its 
purpose in about half the time. When due attention has been paid to this, 
the body dressing, so far my own experience extends, is never wanted 

Ordinary lines necessitate a somewhat different treatment. As a rule 
their surface cannot be made sufficiently smooth by the first process, so 
as to effectually secure, at an early date, the best results of process No. 2. 


To attempt to secure this by daubs of dressing is to fly in the face 
of that enemy best known by the term " dandruff." Too much body 
dressing is just as harmful as too little. An extra coat for rough lines 
is, however, advisable, and when quite dry the surface is best worn down 
by using them. 

In all cases, Anglers will decide for themselves when the surface is 
ready ; but, after fishing with the line, another thin coat is needed in 
order to start the polish before the liquid sets hard. We cannot, however, 
escape from the cold fact that, with all our dipping and rubbing 
and subsequent care and attention, this treatment involves us in clouds 
of doubt and apprehension. But let me turn for a, moment to some 
brighter prospect something else which has escaped most line dressers 

What Salmon-fishermen want, and what I understand can now be 
found in the Alnwick market, is a waterproofing that will, at all events, 
stand the test of time without cracking and knuckling. We know to our 
cost that knuckles always constitute a standing menance to all endeavour 
to reach a high branch of efficiency, and, in consequence, to attain good 
angling records. 

What the uninitiated line dresser wants is a means by which he can 
ensure Salmon-anglers the full enjoyment of their privileges, by not 
allowing those dark clouds to overhang perpetually their paths of progress. 
If he obtains this, he will, without doubt, find ample support to back him 
up in his own neighbourhood ; if not ? 

A happy opportunity for welcoming a widely proclaimed creed 
presents itself. It is a maxim of law that there is no wrong without a, 
remedy, and unless line dressing is to confess a humiliating inferiority to 
jurisprudence there must be some curative agency by which the removal, 
or rather the prevention of all previous drawbacks can be triumphantly 
overcome. In point of fact, I have long since satisfied myself that the 
AIR-PUMP is our only guarantee a statement confirmed in the best 
school of Trout-fishers and verified in Salmon-angling by prolonged and 
unfailing tests. 

Good and satisfactory as the out-door dressing is in comparison with 
other make-shifts, a line is not, and never can be, impregnated with nearly 


as much oil as the air-pump drives into it. The material, be what it may, 
never enters those numberless interstices in which air settles and remains. 
As I have pointed out, our security is of a temporary nature, dependent 
on care taken in polishing and repolishing ; and perhaps not one 
Fisherman in a hundred is gifted with that imperturbable temperament 
for the undertaking. 

Seeing, however, that a thoroughly saturated line keeps nearer the 
surface of the water, it would appear that, to a certain extent, some com- 
pensation exists for those tiresome knuckles. Air-pumps are, moreover, 
luxurious articles, expensive to purchase,* and troublesome to take from 
place to place. But to those who like to take the hint and snap their 
fingers at all such trifling difficulties, I must say the air-pump is simplicity 
itself and a luxury indeed. 

A few plain directions for its employment will suffice. 

To begin with, "the dressing for fishing lines " is not suitable in this 
case. Better it is by far to use the Clarified Oil specially prepared by 
Naylor Brothers & Quick, 12, James Street, Oxford Street, London. 
This firm of merchants have devoted ample attention to our wants. By 
a process of their own they have succeeded in removing all flocculent matter 
which can always be traced in the finest sample oils. In order to clarify 
the oil completely and make it stable they keep it in cisterns, on hot water 
beds until the liquid is ready for our purpose. 

Secondly, the lines can be dried artificially ; this is an advantage in 
the South, though in the North-east of Scotland they dry in the open air. 

With regard to my more recent experiments with various dressing 
ingredients under the air-pump, it has been my privilege to consult 
gentlemen who have had the wisdom to work out the problem by the 
excellent method of practical common sense. I allude to my friends 
Mr. Halford and Mr. Hawkesley both well known for their skill in dry-fly 
fishing and for possessing Trout lines that never knuckle. To these lovers 
of art and science we are entirely indebted for the pains taken in 
finding that infinitely more suitable waterproofing for this particular 

* Since writing these remarks, Messrs. Baker & Co. have brought out an inexpensive 
air-pump that answers the purpose admirably (nee engraving). 


Mr. Halford, in his admirable book 
on Dry-fly Fishing (Sampson, Low and 
Marston), directs us to " immerse the 
line in a flat, vessel containing pure 
boiled oil,* place the vessel under the 
receiver of an air-pump ; exhaust until 
all air-bubbles are drawn to the surface ; 
do not remove the line until after all 
THE AIR-PUMP. the air-bubbles have broken and vanished. 

Take the line out of the oil ; draw it through your fingers or a piece of 
flannel or felt lightly, so as to remove all superfluous oil. Then wind the 
line on a frame which is about 18 inches long, made of two side-pieces of 
wood, with two pieces of iron wire across the ends. There are saw-gates 
cut obliquely on one of the wooden sides of the frame. One end of the 
line when covered with the first coat of oil is fastened in the saw-gates 
marked No. 1, and the line wound on. The frame and the line is then 
placed in an oven,t heated to the temperature of a 150 Fahrenheit and 
baked for about ten hours. The line is then taken out of the oven, and, 
when cold, all the irregularities are rubbed off carefully with very fine 
glass-paper, taking care not to abrade any of the silky fibres. After all 
irregularities are rubbed off and the line made as equal in size as possible, 
it is again put into the oil, under the air-pump and the air again exhausted. 
The line, when all the air-bubbles have broken, is taken out, and again 
wound on the frame being fastened at the saw-gate No. 2, and so on ; so 
that the line should have a different point of contact with the iron wire 
after each coat." 

Mr. Halford tenders further advice, and presents us with a number 
of reliable details, which are of solid value in the completion of the system 
for Trout lines. He has, moreover, a happy knack of showering many 
other blessings on the heads of his followers ; and (to adopt the appropriate 
expression of Mr. Dagonet) though the book is going like " wild fire," the 
next generation will have nothing to fear on that account from the simple 
fact of its being stationary. Mr. Hawkesley being versed in practical 

* The Author meant the Clarified Oil. 
t A tin box over gas. 


mechanics, has attained the mastery of this system. He is of the opinion, 
and wisely so, that to make a Salmon line absolutely solid it should be 
immersed three times and baked in a temperature of 130, allowing on each 
occasion a little longer time for drying. 

This is pretty much what I have found in my own experience ; but I 
rub the line with powdered pumice stone, dry it in the sun, or, better 
still, on the plate-rack over a kitchen fire, and polish it before use. By 
this process a line holds double the amount of oil and therefore it takes 
much longer to dry. 

The air-pump suggested itself to me many years ago while repairing 
knuckles. In so doing, the froth or air-bubbles that quickly appeared 
made room for the drop of dressing to disappear as quickly, and this spoke 
volumes. Although not wanted as a safeguard against knuckles when the 
air-pump is used, the second process of mine is still beneficial insomuch 
that it favours those who pride themselves on " shooting " line. 

Eton and Deller, I understand, have brought out a salmon line for 
Mr. Halford, whose name alone is quite enough to recommend it. 

I have pointed out the little debt to the air-pump which ought to be 
paid in fact, I may say, liquidated in full by subsequent patience ; and 
with that condition fulfilled, the machine may have an ideal career for the 
Fisherman, who, by its aid, should escape that acute unpleasantness of 
being " under a cloud." 


" Witul up your watch a* you please, but, in bringing a fish to bank, wind quickly 
n-hen yon yet the. chance." 


AT a period well within the memory of the middle-aged Fisherman the 
winch was an ugly, heavy, barrel-shaped article, without any check and 
having sharp shoulders to the cross-bars, square edges to the plates and 
a, crank handle attached to the spindle. In dimension it was large enough 


to hold over one hundred yards of silk and hair line of one size through- 
out a clumsy, cumbrous thing, well in keeping with other primitive 
appointments of the time. 

How different is the winch of to-day ! The weight has been re- 
duced by more than one half ; the shape perfected ; sharp shoulders and 
square edges have disappeared, whilst the old crank handle (always 
unsightly and liable to work loose) has made way for the revolving disc 
with the handle attached to it. 

Passing over the period when multiplying winches were in favour, 
and saying nothing of the difficulty in winding in a fish with them (they 
were from their complicated mechanism hardly ever in order), we arrive 
at the time when a decided advance in winch mechanism took place. 
Over thirty years have elapsed since a prominent London firm engaged a 
noted workman to devote his time entirely to this special branch of the 
trade. Other firms followed its lead, and many and varied are the 
winches to be seen in the fishing tackle houses of to-day, the Moscrop 
among others, for instance, all displaying vast improvements upon the 
original invention. 

Some few years later I devoted considerable attention to further 
practical improvements. I had often observed, especially among average 
Anglers, that fish were lost either in striking or in the final struggle 
undsr the gaff. But this was not all, for ths great majority of fish which 
were landed by good men had their flesh badly torn by the hook. After 
much thought I came to the conclusion that this flesh tearing must 
originate in the " striking," and that, therefore, there was something 
radically wrang with the systsm of holding the line as practised at that 

There are Fishermen and Fishermen, but how many are there who 
would fairly be classed far above mediocrity '? How many with even 
twenty years' experience can conscientiously tell you that, under the old 
method of holding the line, they knew exactly what force to use in 
striking without ever meeting with an accident '? Under the new method 
as described elsewhere, accidents are almost impossibilities. 

Accordingly, in my experiments, I set to work with screw-driver and 
pincers, and made the break in some of my winches reasonably stiff and 


in others reasonably loose. In " striking " I gave up holding the line 
altogether. After a little practice in adjusting the strength of the break 
to suit particular waters I lost so few fish, and found the flesh so little 
torn, if torn at all, that now I adopt no other plan. Convincing myself 
at the time that the general principle was the right one, I commenced to 
design a winch with an adjustable check constructed so that the power of 
resistance in striking, as well as in the line running, could be graduated at 

Having given up my country residence and come to reside in 
London, workshop experiment being doomed, I put myself in communi- 
cation with the firm spoken of above. A lengthy correspondence took 
place, relating principally to details in the construction of the lever, with 
the result that a Winch was patented, and to this day is sold at 191, 
Strand, under the name of THE PATENT LEVER WINCH. The neat and 
skilful way in which the work has been executed at this establishment is 
in every way a source of satisfaction to me, and a transport of delight to 
all my friends. 

THE WINCH (Fig. 1). 

This winch, the special object of which is sufficiently indicated by its 
title, has sometime since entered upon the first decade of its existence, 
and one is able to point to highly interesting results attained with it by 
good, bad and indifferent Fishermen. As soon as it became widely 


known several hundred were sold, and the sale has been steadily 
increasing ever since. 

The lever, responding instantly to the turn given by the fingers to 
the external screw, renders the spindle capable of revolving at a 
high rate of speed to the very last of the packed line. All danger is thus 
obviated when a fish, having a range of, say, one hundred yards, yet 
makes a determined run. Upon such occasions we had formerly to use 
considerable force in pulling the last fifty yards of line from the winch so 
as to allow the end coils to run at all, whilst it was impossible to wind 
them back quickly. 

To sum up its other merits the course of instruction necessary to 
master this winch is easily understood. 

The handle is fitted into a counter-sunk bearing and so the line 
cannot get beneath it ; nuts are dispensed with, one end of the pillar 
being screwed into the outer plate, the other drilled to receive the screw. 
Properly set it never over-runs, and, therefore, cannot become choked. 
It is easily adapted to different catches ; set lightly for rapids, and 
sufficiently stiff for sluggish pools. The lever instead of weakening the 
winch actually keeps the plates and framework so firm that they never 
become loose or shaky. 

There is really nothing to be said in disparagement of its qualifications 
or of the system of striking, provided single gut casts are in use and the 
flies are in sizes under 2/0. 

Fig. 1 represents the winch and the relieving screw which passes 
through the handle plate. By turning the screw from you the break power is 
reduced, by turning it backwards the power is increased. Thus, while 
playing a fish, the winch can in a moment be made to run as easily as the 
Angler pleases. The head of this screw is flat-sided, resembling half a 
sixpence, and is easily regulated by the fingers. 

The handle side of the winch consists of three discs the outer, 
centre, and inner. Of these, the outer and inner revolve with the axis to 
which they are attached. The centre forms part of the fixed frame and 
does not revolve. 

Fig. 2 represents the inside face of the handle plate. The 
break, or fraction lever, is a piece of suitably tempered steel fixed at 


one end by a screw to the handle plate ; through the centre of it a hole 
is drilled for the axis of the winch. To the other end of the break a 
screw is attached (see also Fig. 1), which passes through the handle 
plate. The middle, or broadest part of the break, presses upon a raised 
"jboss," formed in the middle of the fixed centre disc, and thus retards 
the rotation of the handle plate and the axis to which it is attached. 
There is a hole in the outer disc for oiling purposes. 


The one I use is silent and without the usual rachet or " noisy corn- 
crake," which, in spite of its poetical associations, is alike useless and 
injurious. In winding up line, for instance, it rouses fish by " telephoning " 
to them in a series of maddening jars, and this serves as an inducement to 
them to drop down rapids and even weirs. Without this rachet, the 
mechanism is simplicity itself. I have reeled in many and many a fish 
close to my side in the water without noticing a kick or a struggle, thus 
saving much time when time is precious. 

The " Kelson Patent Lever " met with farther improvement in 1889. 
By the substitution of aluminium for hammered brass the weight was 
considerably reduced. The one I have in use, packed with 150 yards of 
line, weighs less than twenty ounces ! Time has disproved the old axiom 
that a heavy winch is wanted to balance a Salmon rod. This, in days 


gone by, was nothing but a deeply-rooted prejudice. In 1890 I used the 
lighter winch much to my comfort, and found no difference whatever in 
the action of my rod. Nor did I expect to. In fact, I demonstrated by 
subsequent experiment on grass that the line can be cast just as far and 
just as easily without any winch at all. Naturally enough, the centre of 
gravity in the rod will be slightly shifted by changing the weight of the 
winch ; but this is met by placing the upper hand a trifle higher on the 
rod than usual a measure which is rather a relief than otherwise. 

It need hardly be said that a good winch deserves careful treatment. 
In use it should be regularly oiled with refined oil, and cleaned inside and 
out from time to time. Upon every Salmon river we meet with banks of 
sand, particles of which are apt to be blown in between the outer and 
inner discs of the winch. When this mishap occurs, a grating sound will 
notify the coming mischief. Then is the time for the inside to be 
thoroughly cleaned with paraffin and oiled with the best oil. This winch 
is specially recommended to Salmon-anglers in the Badminton Library. 

The " Sun and Planet" winch introduced by Malloch has its admirers, 
but I do not know of it from my own experience. 

The " Moscrop " is a ventilated winch having a lever made under a 
different principle. The inventor claims for it that the Line Drier is 
unnecessary. At all events, a line which I once left on after use was 
perfectly dry the following morning. 

There is another, brought out by Holbrow, which is a vast improve- 
ment on the old sort, if only because it is made of aluminium. 



"Age has experience behind it, Youth hay promise before it ; and this promise is soonest 
realised by men who refrain from the employment of n'hat, if old in fly-u-ork, is not altogether 
ijood, and who remember that most of what is good in the carious ti-ays of fixhiny is not altogether 

NOTHING is more capable of filling the mind with noble thoughts than the 
scene viewed from some airy point beside a Highland stream. Would 
that my pen could describe those charms of Nature in her grandest 
plenitude, those enchanting panoramas which are the delight of all fishers 
and other sons of man. 

Picture the majesty of a distant Ben standing out against the deep 
orange of the western sky, its crowned head a gleaming mass of snow, 
and the broad plain, irradiated with sunlight, spreading like a golden 
carpet at his feet. Imagine the outlook on the southern side, partially 
broken up by the rich fulness of waving woodland bordered with trees of 
various species and appearance, each differing in glory like the stars. 
There is one glory of the birch, so elegant in the midst of its silvern 
tresses ; another glory of the yew, whose eager arms are driven round and 
tortured by the many scolding winds it faced when young ; another glory 
of the rowan-tree, whose orderly array of berries are supposed to possess 
the magical power of charming away the wizards and the witches ; and 
another glory of the sycamore that " spreads in gentle pomp its honeyed 


shade " o'er cooing cushats and mossy banks, where Sabbath couples love 
to roam and linger. 

The attentive eye is deeply moved by the pale blue of the heavens 
visibly melting into a still paler gold that dies away in the orange towards 
the horizon, over which hangs a thin veil of flame-tipped purple cloud, 
letting a little bit of warm ground show through with variegated effects 
of light. As a centre to the composition, a virtuoso is busily engaged on 
the knoll in the foreground with his precious samples of potstones and 
pseudomorphs. At uncertain intervals are groves of lofty pines, whose 
weird gloom fittingly adorns the grandeur and mystery of the hills. Cleft 
out from them is a half-choked ravine bedecked with budding green and 
little streaks of water that sparkle among the sedges of the bracken- 
covered banks. 'Drip, drip it comes in icy crystal drops from wreaths 
of tangled moss ; and, here in baby jets and there in tiny trident falls, 
forms a burn that gathers way and cuts through parish tiends and 
stubbled land dotted with beehive huts, in which the Crofter, with happy 
abandonment, wakes to the voice of the " wasteful cascade " below. 

Suddenly the peaceful scene is invaded by the pinions of a hungry 
and hateful cormorant. Warily advancing inland, watchful over the 
watercourse, he is, after all, only the acknowledged portent of bad luck ; 
and, caring for nothing short of four drams of powder and an ounce and a 
half of " No. 5," steals away with the international blessing, " Tubaist air 
an eun mohr dhubh sid ! "* 

Meanwhile, hope springs eternal the fine splashes of a fish are 
heard and the rings seen. In the lowland the flowers rise in clustering 
beauty towards the towering rocks that cast an awful look below. From 
the clefts in their sides a few straggling geans blossom out into rampant 
trees, and if so be a wandering branch bears down, split and torn, it still 
holds fast to the parent stem, and shelters beneath it the tesselated 
pavement of Anglers' diverse beliefs. 

A little further round riverward on the bosom of the brown moorland 
extend the Butts, now and again emitting little puffs of white smoke and 
sharp tongues of fire that tell of fellow sportsmen's doings not far away. 

* Bother that big black bird there. 


Midway, seated under a rock, an old shepherd and his dog are resting, yet 
both alert that none of the flock stray beyond bounds. Hard by, with its ivy 
and its daws, the ruins of an abbey (scored by the terrible mandate of 
Cromwell) moulder away. Over the water Mr. and Mrs. Venerable Goat 
peer at us wonderingly, while their two fair "children of peril" gambol 
in frolicsome mood and munch the grey-green herbage on rugged heights 
inaccessible to feet bebrogued. Below, in the river that we love, a solitary 
stag, alarmed by the grouse shooters, pursues a tranquil course through 
the tail of our own pet pool, nodding his royally plenished head the while. 
And as yon level sun sinks lower and lower and the silver sheen of 
twilight fades from the darkening current, all these, save for the music of 
rumbling waters and rustling trees, 

In sweetest silence seek the shade of night, 

And fill the pause the Salmon's leap made bright. 

Then the moon glides, queen-like, into her great throne-room of the 

How vivid and how full of pleasure is the memory of such scenes ! 
And yet how temperate is the emotion compared to that which the 
Fisherman experiences when he stands prepared for the fray on the marge 
of faultless pools stocked with fresh Salmon on their way from the sea ! 

And the Salmon, the monarch of the river, what of him '? For 
though there are several species of Salmo, from our standpoint there is 
only one Lord and King ; the rest are offshoots of a noble family. 

He is a picture once studied never to be forgotten. His proportions 
cannot be taken in at a glance. He is courageous in the dead calm, and 
bold as a lion in the very tornado itself. He shows no fear of men who 
show no designs upon him. Like his captor, he varies in temperament 
he is shy, volatile, determined, impressive, and forgiving, yet sometimes 
very sulky. He has his own innumerable havens of rest, sometimes 
shaded and shut in by feathering trees where sunbeams glimmer fitfully 
the very place for a water nymph discreetly shut out from the gaze of 
man. And in rivers that know no impurity he reigns in all his glory. 

But our object is to catch him not with a prawn, not with a worm, 
not with a " colley," nor with a spinning-bait. Not to any of these 


second-rate subtleties should he succumb. He should be caught only with 
a fly. 

Occasionally he allows no fly to pass him. Occasionally he refuses 
all flies ; and in this respect he passes all understanding. Only the 
expert himself, familiar with the peculiarities of every river from varied 
experience and persistent observation, who knows and practices all the 
casts, sits and dresses his own flies, and with them makes experiments 
wherever he goes only such a man can be assured of anything like 
general success ; and, even for him, an endless variety of patterns is an 
indispensable condition. 

Now in using a fly, men's ways are wonderfully diverse ; but if the 
student aims at taking high rank in the art, the first step is to learn to 
propel the fly by every recognised method so as never to miss, never to 
pass by, but to cover and command each and every one of those "in- 
numerable havens of rest," either by the " Overhand," or the less tiring 
" Underhand " ; by the " Switch " with the " Peter" ; or (among other 
methods special) by the scientific " Spey." 

Having frequently instructed friends mycelf, I learnt in teaching to 
observe carefully the motions necessary for the successful accomplishment 
of the casts most commonly used, to what faults the inexperienced are 
prone when attempting them, and in what manner such faults may be 


I may here refer to an incident which will illustrate my point. It 
took place on the greensward, and with a pretty "toy " made by Farlow 
after my own pattern. By my directions my pupil proceeded to make a 
plain Overhand cast, and in doing so was not long in betraying his ante- 

" A Trout throw," I ejaculated, watching this his first effort. " You 
are throwing from the point instead of casting from the butt." 

" Kindly show me the practical difference," he replied, handing me 
the rod. 

" Toy " though I called it, I complied with his request, and sent out 
thirty yards of line with it. My " trouty " friend then reeled up to about 
four and twenty yards, and yet he was not happy in his method. 






" Stay," I said, " don't jerk the rod in lifting the line at starting, but 
with the point of it held down towards the fly (not over your head), get 
the rod well bent by rapidly increasing the upward pressure ; and look at 
your line as it goes in the air behind you. . . There it flies, not away 
to your right rear, as it should do, in a direct line up towards that cloud 
there, but sweeps round, mowing the grass actually behind you. Do not 
let the point of the rod decline from you in lifting the line ; bring the rod 
straight up past your right shoulder, and instead of swinging it round 
behind you, check it sooner ; when, to make sure you have done right, 
you can let the line drop on the grass to see if you had given it the 
tendency to turn from a straight course." 

" Thanks; fault No. 1," my pupil said, with a look on his face as if 
he expected other corrections to follow. " And I suppose you don't 
approve of the way I make the ' thrash-down ' ? " he added inquiringly. 

" I was coming to that. You don't ' thrash-down ' at all, but give a 
sort of side cut with the rod, and at the same time commit what, though 
proper to Trout fishing, is a radical error in Salmon-angling, viz., trying 
to make the top joint do the work." 

" Then you wish me, as it were, not only to work from the butt, but 
also to thrash downward, if I understand rightly, in the destined direction 
of the cast." 

" Exactly so, and in no other way will you be able to get the full 
length of line straight out in front of you by this method." 

I then proceeded to correct his attitude, getting him to advance his 
left leg sufficiently forward to secure firmness of balance, and to warn 
him to avoid labouring and swaying backwards and forwards, instead of 
preserving a soldierly, erect position a position which, grown into habit, 
becomes to the Angler a source of ease in action and economy in force. 

" Then." I continued, " in the details of the cast, I notice two other 
points to which you must pay special attention. First, the action of the 
two hands, as you attempted to make the cast just now, was suggestive 
rather of whipping than of casting. Maintain the hands throughout the 
cast in their proper relative positions, so that in the back motion the 
lower hand does not become unduly raised towards the front, or the point 
of the rod will descend too far behind you. ... As I said just now, 


you must check the rod-top sooner. Secondly, you fail to grasp the idea 
that in order to achieve my method you must turn your head to watch 
the line behind, not only for the purpose of seeing that it is sent straight 
back at the right height and angle, but for seizing the exact instant for 
making the thrash-down." 

" But how shall I know that ? " 

" You will soon know, if you never fail to look and see for yourself. 
When you observe the fly end of the line extended in the air a little 
higher than the top of your rod you will know ; but bear in mind the 
operations of gravitation, so, in extending it, take your aim high enough 
at the outset." 

"I am determined to learn the right way, if I can, but I confess I 
find it difficult to follow the line with my eyes, for I cannot turn my 

" You will not find any difficulty if you send the line upwards in 
the right direction. When you cannot follow the line with your eyes by 
a slight turn of the head you may be sure you have sent it too little to 
the right and too much to the rear, and that you have not brought up 
your rod sufficiently straight." 

" Now let me clearly understand how to make the thrash-down 
explain to me what you meant by the ' exact instant.' ' 

" When you have checked the rod in the upstroke, dwell until the 
the line is nearly extended in the air ; but if you allow the fly to travel 
further than within three or four yards of its full distance by dwelling 
too long, the middle part of the line will be falling to the ground, when 
you will not only fail to cast it, but very likely break the rod n trying to 
do so." 


"From the fact that the 'tug' of the line on the point of the rod 
has died away. In setting up the tug, if you snatch at the line the rod 
will probably break ; and this applies to the upstroke as well as the down- 
stroke. Whatever you do, don't forget to check your rod early enough 
in the thrash-down. It should not be allowed to reach beyond an angle 
of 55 degrees, and then you can lay the line down rather than let' it fall 
on the water as in Trout fishing." 


" I think I understand you from beginning to end, but practice is the 
thing I want. I mean to master the lifting first ; it won't take me long 
to send the line ' up towards that cloud,' and then I'll try and perfect 
myself in the thrash-down. The method must be learnt by degrees, or 
else I'm mistaken." 

"That is an excellent conclusion to arrive at; but remember here 
is the chief point remember the necessity for looking behind; you 
understand the object of it, and believe me, your progress towards 
efficiency and your complete success entirely depend upon it. Practice it 
even when you become proficient, or you will soon fall into bad habits." 
# * * * 

Now, I refer to this lesson not only because it illustrates the 
difficulties which the novice encounters in attempting the cast, but 
because it also explains details which are not given, so far as I am aware, 
in any book hitherto published on the subject. Modern authors, as we 
know, abound with information on playing, striking and gaffing, all of 
which might be learnt and written by a punt Fisherman with merely 
Thames experience. 

The first point for beginners to study, is the position both of the legs 
and body. This varies according to circumstances. On land, or in easy 
flowing streams, the Angler should stand fairly upright, his body being 
sideways to the run of the stream and facing the spot on which he 
desires his fly to alight that is to say, alighting across the current at an 
angle of 45 degrees or thereabouts. The left foot in right-hand casting 
should be in advance of the other and point in the desired direction of 
the cast, while in left-hand casting the right foot is similarly advanced. 
This position ensures the proper balance of the body during the effort 
required to make the cast. But in rapids safety has to be considered 
before convenience. It is frequently dangerous and at times impossible to 
fish in rapids unless the Fisherman stands altogether sideways and leans 
against the current, the up-stream leg bent, the foot pointing somewhat 
that way, the down-stream leg extended and the foot pointing almost in 
the direction of the current. In moving onwards the up-stream leg 
should always take the first short step, and when it is firmly planted, the 
other should feel its way to a secure position. If the down-stream foot is 





first advanced, a concealed boulder may give the Angler a sore shin or an 
untimely bath before the up-stream foot can obtain a firm hold. The 
body should be held fairly erect throughout the cast. The novice who 
imagines that he can propel his line to a greater distance by throwing 
forward his body in making the thrash-down, must never think of doing 
so in rapids. A mere glance at the man who understands the work 
would soon satisfy him of this. 

The whole of the work must be done by the arms and the rod from 
the butt upwards. It need hardly be said that, if the current flows from 
the right to the left of the Fisherman as he stands facing the stream, the 
rod is grasped with the right hand eight to twelve inches above the winch 
so as to effect what is called " a right-hand cast." "When the current 
flows in the opposite direction a left-hand cast is required and the 
position of the hands is reversed. The exact distance of the upper hand 
from the winch is determined by the balance of the rod and the 
convenience of the Fisherman. The novice will speedily discover for 
himself at what point he should place the upper hand so as to obtain the 
best result with the least expenditure of force. (Fishermen should 
accustom themselves to use either the right or the left hand as the upper 
one with equal facility.) 

Having placed himself in the appropriate position the Angler 
proceeds to get out his line by taking a yard or two from the winch and 
making what is termed a few " false casts " each time. As soon as 
sufficient line is thus extended down stream, in lifting the rod back into 
the air, the Angler gradually gets the point well bent before the smart 
backward turn of the wrist of the upper hand is given. The lower hand, 
holding the rod just above the indiarubber button, is at the same time 
brought across the chest, swinging, as it were, with the right. If the 
lower hand is not brought back in that way, the rod will be slanting too 
much at the time it is checked. Any undue raising of the lower hand in 
front of the Angler, and the line falls too low in the air behind him 
perhaps strikes the ground, in which case the hook is invariably broken 
or blunted at the point. 

The back sweep of the rod describes in its track the outline of a narrow 
oval. It is not semi-circular, as we are often given to understand. The 


rod barely declines to the right in ascent, nor inclines to left in descent. 
Indeed the nearer the course of the rod's point to its course taken in the 
thrash-down the better will the line be sent back in the air, and the 
straighter and farther will it be laid on the water. 

(The " recovery " of a rod in the back part of the cast depends for 
the most part upon its material and make : in other words, one rod 
straightens quicker than another. The action would, of course, be 
delayed were the line in use too heavy for the rod ; but, apart from that, 
a cane is quicker than a greenheart, and, in my opinion, a " Kelson " is 
quicker with a long line than one having a steel centre, therefore the 
delay spoken of is of less duration. The consequence is that the Angler 
is less fatigued because he has not to hold up the rod so long in the air.) 

I have referred to the mishaps to which the unwary Fisherman is 
exposed who may attempt the thrash-down before the line is sufficiently 
extended ; but sometimes the series of troubles is increased, and 
especially so when the wind blows down stream. More flies are lost on 
those occasions than on any other. This is occasioned by the resistance 
of the wind against the line in its backward course whereby the " tug" 
is lost. It is just here that a semi-circular sweep of the rod is advisable 
before the thrash-down is made, in order to prevent the fly and perhaps 
some of the gut being " snicked " off. The radius of the necessary semi- 
circle depends on the velocity of the wind. There is, however, another 
expedient by which all mischief is obviated, and it is far better for the 
novice to adopt. He may put on a second fly (or "dropper") three 
feet above the other, and find it act as a perfect safeguard ; and then he 
will find that far less care in making the sweep of the rod is needed. 
Personally, I never work with two flies, as I support the view that the 
practice separates one from the proprieties of usage conducted on the 
lines of true sportsmanship. If an expert were Spey-casting left-handed, 
and a high down-stream wind sprung up, he would renew the cast right- 
handed. After shifting the rod, he would drag the line towards him on 
the near side and switch it out immediately dead across water. But in 
the event of a long line being requisite he would make a similar switch 
and then pick up the line and cast it across by the " Overhand," leaving 
the wind to carry the fly to its proper quarters. 



It remains for me to describe how the length of a cast may be 
increased by "shooting" line; and I have a word or two to say on a 
different matter. The subject of shooting line has been referred to in 
another chapter ; and but little practice is needed to master the 

The feat consists first in the Angler drawing from the winch the 
length of line required, and, while so doing, making and placing coils of 
it, one by one, between the point of the forefinger and thumb of the 
upper hand. These coils, of about a yard in length from end to end, 
hang down in front of the winch and are lightly held there until the 
point of tension in the thrash-down is reached. If at that instant they are 
dropped they will be dragged out by the rest of the line ; but if dropped 


too soon, the middle part of the running line will belly down towards the 
water, and the " slack " will not be taken out at all. In making, say, a 
thirty-yard cast, a four-yard length should be shot ; a thirty-four yard 
cast a six-yard length, and so on in proportion. To shoot ten yards with 
upright revolving rings is no great feat provided the line is smooth, 
properly dressed and of the right size and weight. 

But in wading, when the coils fall from the hand, the current takes 
them out of position as shown in the accompanying diagram, thus forming 

" FIDDLING." 325 

an acute angle in the line at the point A as well as at point B. The 
force of the water at the lower part B prevents the feat of shooting being 
accomplished. This is easily remedied by the Angler seizing the winch 
end of the dropped coils at the point C, and giving with his lower hand 
so placed a good snatch so as to bring the whole of the slack part back 
under the bottom ring of the rod, when it will all shoot out as readily as 
on land. Thus it will be understood how much the action of the rod can 
be preserved, and, by this cast, how much more water can be 

This extra length of line, however, often results in a good deal of it 
getting " drowned " sucked to too great a depth below the surface. 
When this occurs, the excessive resistance offered by the water impedes 
the recovery of the line, which refuses to be lifted ; but this opposition of 
the water is counteracted by what is known as " fiddling " the line. 
Fiddling is accomplished by beating the point of the rod up and down, 
just before the fly gets to its final station in neutral water. The process 
may be best described in the following way : 

The short, sharp beats are continuous and are all strong enough to 
kill a small bird perched on a post at a convenient distance from the 
Angler. They cause a sort of coil in the line, which seems to run along 
the surface of the water, and so raise or keep the fly-end near the surface. 
This explanation may be taken as the practical interpretation of " fiddling" 
the line, and unless the Angler is using such a rod as the " Traherne " 
pattern, which is noted for its power of lifting, he should hardly ever make 
a long Overhand cast without as much of the performance as the nature 
of the stream suggests. 

In quitting our remarks on the " Overhand," I would remind the 
student that, apart from questions relating to stature whether the man 
be very tall or even very short the line should be made to whistle 
through the air and that the least amount of strength should be applied 
for the accomplishment. Whatever the line may be, the action of the 
rod is an all-important consideration, as I have already endeavoured to 
show. The Angler must be properly appointed. No decent Overhand 
cast can be made, for instance, with such tackle as that commonly used 
on the Spey. The Spey rod is exceedingly whippy and useful, and as 




unsuited for the " Overhand," as the all-powerful " Traherne " is for the 
Spey cast, or for killing fish in low, bright water with fine gut. 


It seems but yesterday that I w r as reading, I forget where, of the folly 
of using more than five and twenty yards of line. But I believe the writer 
was no approved authority ; at least, his reasoning appeared to me as 
remarkably suggestive of the fellow who would attempt to describe 
the habits and customs of mankind with only a knowledge of those of 
one nation. 

Five and twenty yards by the " Underhand," is, without doubt, a 
pretty little length to get out fair and square ; but I have been, I am and 
always shall be, of the opinion that a long line in Salmon-fishing is often 
as necessary as a short one. The question seems to be disputed only by 
those who, from some fault in method or tackle, are unable to cover or 
control a fish in the distance. To propel a really long line by the 
" Underhand " is, however, impossible, yet the cast is as popular 
in places as the "Overhand" is worshipped. This may be accounted 
for by the fact that it frequently satisfies the requirements of men 
getting on in years who seek entertainment with the smallest degree of 

The " Underhand " is far less tiring than other methods, and will 
exact from the novice a minimum of intellectual effort for its com- 

The leading features will be brought before the eye and mind of the. 
student, by a mere casual study of the accompanying illustration. With 
the picture before him he will comprehend, without verbal instruction, 
the simple method that dominates the cast. Perhaps a little explanation 
in regard to certain details may be of service, but I fail to see the 
written description that would answer the purpose so well as the picture. 

Let us first take the way in which the Angler should stand to fish ; 
for whilst the " Underha.nd " demands from its devotees a good attitude, 
they are, at any rate, released from the duty of "fiddling" the line as 
they proceed. 

: I' ' 

. '/ 




It is important for beginners to possess the most accurate ideas of 
the position of the feet and legs. This varies more or less in accordance 
with circumstances. For instance, on land, as in easy flowing streams, 
the Angler stands fairly upright and less sideways than in Overhand 
casting, as shown by the sketches. He, moreover, places his feet to suit 
his own comfort and convenience, though, as a rule, the right foot in left- 
hand casting is a little in advance of the other, and generally faces the 
ultimate direction of the line. But in rapids this is not so, because, as I 
have said, safety must be studied before convenience. It is simply 
dangerous, if not utterly impossible, to fish in rapids unless the Fisherman 
stands altogether sideways and leans well against the current up-stream, 
leg bent, and facing rather that way ; the down-stream leg extended, and 
the foot pointing somewhat with the run of the water. 

It may be said that, on land, the sole object of the Angler's attitude 
is absolute freedom an easy working, unattended by any intermediate 
tax on the workman as in the case of the " Overhand," e.g., the looking 

In the present instance, i.e., in rapids, the position is decidedly 
cramped. The Angler is, so to speak, limited to the use only of his arms ; 
the firmer and the more rigidly he holds himself the better. And here, I 
would repeat, that in moving onwards the up-stream leg always takes 
the first short step ; the other then feels its way before the foot is 

Now in propelling the fly, the Angler makes the back sweep of the 
rod with unwavering confidence of success. He/eeZs rather than sees that 
the line is dragged from the water, that it travels round in the air far 
enough behind him so as to tug the point of the rod, the action of which 
alone propels the fly. This is equal to saying that the line is steadily 
drawn from the water rather than hurriedly lifted, and that the thrash- 
down is made without vigourous muscular exertion. 

In lifting the line, the rod may appear to the eye of a spectator to 
bend considerably, but provided all jerking is foresworn and a steady 
swing of the arms pursued, its action is, nevertheless, so even and regular 
that failure is almost impossible. So far, however, as regards the force 
to be applied, we must bear in mind that the line is only partially 


extended behind the Fisherman. It follows that much less strength is 
needed than in the " Overhand," in which case the line is fully extended. 

Observe the shape and position of the rod in the picture, wherein the 
fly is supposed to be just leaving the water. If the Angler does not 
permit the rod to take a lower or more slanting course, and if sufficient 
yet not too much force be employed, the fly can scarcely help taking the 
track depicted. 

We are told, I need not say where, that long casts can be made by 
the " Underhand " ! To my thinking, the mind of the writer in question 
could not have been directed to the " Underhand " proper. He may have 
been speculating upon the results attained on the "Spey, for in his 
arguments set forth if my memory does not strangely deceive me he 
suggests that the rod there in general use is originally made in a curve to 
strengthen its lifting power. Really the statement involves questions for 
solution, which must be traced to their source and accounted for here, as 
it has ended in the loss of much money, time, and energy. Hods have 
thus been made, tried, and thrown aside. Even rod-racks, constructed on 
a principle to preserve the curve in the hope of strengthening the rod, 
have been established. But what a mistake ! In the ordinary Spey cast, 
length is a more important factor in a rod than strength. You cannot 
lift a long line with a short rod ; and what a Spey rod lifts it casts. 
Besides, you want no special strength for lifting the line ; in the " Under- 
hand " you do ; and, in the Overhand the remarks bear repetition you 
want still more. 

Perhaps I need not enlarge upon what has been urged in this chapter 
with regard to the distance the fly can be propelled by the " Underhand " ; 
but I especially wish to observe that the Underhand cast is separate and 
widely different from the " Spey." The two methods differ; the results 
attained differ ; the local conditions compelling the adoption of the one 
absolutely prohibit the adoption of the other ; the one is mere child's 
play to master, whilst the other is known to master men. 

As to the origin of the curve in rods, we may think as we will, but 
we cannot get away from the solid fact that the most common cause of a 
rod bending up or down is use. I am convinced that this curve, come 
how it may, is a downright defect, a positive weakness. Just for instance, 




as the upward curve proceeds from Spey casting, so does the downward 
curve from Overhand casting, and the explanation of it is simply this : 

In both methods there is the up and the doicn stroke. The principal 
strain on the rod in Spey casting is generated in the down stroke, and, as 
a perfectly natural sequence the top joint, in due course, bends upwards ; 
on the other hand, the principal strain on the rod in Overhand casting is 
generated in the up stroke, and so, just as naturally the top joint bends 
downwards. But from a comparative standpoint, the difference between 
the up and down strain is greater in the " Spey," and so it takes 
less time for the "Spey" rod to get bent than for the "Overhand" 

It is quite immaterial what the rod may be ; in every case, Salmon 
rods are affected in this way when persistently used for the one or the 
other method only. The remedy for such weakness is very simple : Spey 
casting cures the Overhand weakness, and Overhand casting cures the 
Spey weakness ; but this treatment is, of course, recommended to Anglers 
who use the tackle advocated in these pages, rather than to others whose 
rods are not built for making both casts. 

As, however, the novice may entertain some doubt in regard to the 
final position of the rod engaged in the " Underhand," I would now submit 
a few further details for his guidance. 

The Angler completes the forward movement, or "thrash-down" as 
we call it, without that sudden checking which is imperative in the 
" Overhand." The rod is thrashed through and reaches quite a horizontal 
position. In making this cast even experienced men sometimes beat the 
surface of the water with the rod at the finish ; but is not the practice 
one that shows a want of order and neatness ? I think so. 

It is a proviso, which perhaps may be attached with advantage to 
these details, that in whatever way the line is propelled, " playing 
the fly" in the water as subsequently explained should be generally 

Suffice it, however, for the present purpose to state that, in working 
the fly round over the area of the cast made, the rod pointing to where 
the fly fell, maintains a somewhat horizontal position; at any rate the 
rod should be only slightly elevated. This is for two reasons : first, the 


fly fishes deep and the Angler has a better chance of striking and hooking 
properly ; and secondly, the lifting the line for another cast can be better 

Now the only element of uncertainty in connection with the 
" Underhand " turns upon the question of one's appointments. The cast, 
for example, with a line too light for the action of the rod, cannot be 
made to the satisfaction of critical eyes. The principle of the method is 
a safe and sure tell-tale of a light line. Unless the line is heavy enough 
the tug dies away, in which case, obviously, considerable force for the 
thrash-down must be employed or the whole thing fails. 

The general principle under which the Angler can best judge of this 
matter for himself, is simply to watch for a certain symmetrical form of 
the rod, just before the line leaves the water. The picture, however, here 
comes to the rescue. It should convey to the observer a thorough idea 
both of the form of the rod at that moment, as well as the effect of its 
action consequent therefrom. If the rod were less bent at that moment, 
the line would in all probability be too thin or too light ; if more bent, too 
bulky or too heavy. As regards the action of the rod itself, here, likewise, 
I am conscious of the somewhat indefinite nature of verbal instruction. 
It is too well known that in selecting a rod from the maker even with 
that " other eye," like Sam Slick's artist's, which takes the view before 
the a2t of vision is completed many questions will arise which are 
extremely difficult of solution. What an unnamed rod will be like in use, 
we cannot tell with exactitude in a tackle shop, for there is absolutely no 
criterion to go by. In short, no human ingenuity can devise a plan by 
which we can make sure even of a greenheart rod, unless it were one of 
the few that are christened by men whose names are, in themselves, a 
guarantee the very few of which, in the hands of experts, the one is 
equal to this cast, this to that, and the other to them all. And there it 
must end. 

To sum up my remarks, if the patient pursuit of excellence in Under- 
hand casting is not uniformly rewarded in rapids or under falls, it meets 
with its full share of recompense in pools, and particularly in ruffled but 
steady and straight flowing waters. With that observation we will pass 
on to the method adopted in the Highlands. 



It is remarkable how great is the difference between ideal impressions 
and the truth established by practical experience. I am reminded of this 
by reference to a communication which I received from a Scottish 
gentleman of great authority who says that " An ounce of demonstration 
is worth a pound of theory." . . "But the glory and reputation of the 
' Spey,' " he continues, " is positively demolished by Mr. - , who flings 
at the unwary, not one apple of discord, but a whole orchard full. 
Fancy an author of an Angling book estimating our method as the best to 
adopt in boisterous weather ! Not for the sake cf twenty books or for the 
fame of twenty authors must such a false impression of this beautiful cast 
be allowed to remain an enduring reality, seeing that practical Anglers 
are still to the fore who can and will refute his delusive assertions." No 
doubt there are many who could do so ; at all events the rising generation 
of Anglers may safely understand that the time mentioned in the book 
alluded to for the adoption of the " Spey," is precisely the very time when 
Spey men desist from its use. 

Although the intricacies of this cast, as commonly made, may be set 
down on paper with considerable probability that the explanation will be 
sufficient for bright intelligences, it is scarcely to be hoped that verbal 
instructions will have much fruit without considerable practice at the 
riverside. But in explaining any of these casts, I feel greatly assisted by 
illustration obtained by processes not disclosed to writers up to this 

The " Spey " admits of many variations and, without exception, 
produces signal results. It is, therefore, just one of all other casts to 
master and apply in 'places for which the system is adapted, as, for 
example, where the line cannot be fully extended behind the Angler. But 
although more or less complicated, the cast does not seem at all bewilder- 
ing, even in verbal description. 

To better follow me throughout the details, which I may say are 
authenticated, it is necessary to agree very carefully as to some precise 
situation in which I am supposed to be fishing. The reader may take it 
that I am at work on the bank of a river which flows from north to 
south, and casting right-handed. 




Some of the particulars to follow will derive much of their interest 
from the circumstance that they emanate from an accomplished executant 
of the " Spey," whose name will at once occur to brothers of the rod. 
For I am fortunate enough to possess a plain and effective argument from 
Major Grant, and am also at liberty to give the reader the text of his 
communication. Indeed, the information must be infinitely more 
acceptable than anything I could write rnyself in my own conventional 

" I hardly think," says " Glen Grant," " that the cast can be written 
of so as to unveil the mystery from end to end. Comparatively speaking, 
the riddle of the Sphinx is a contemptibly easy conundrum. Do not 
attempt to enter into countless matters incidental to the method. Simply 
state that at times every cast varies now from the run of the water, out 
of which you take your fly ; now from the length of line you want ; again 
from making your fly alight on a particular place ; and still more, perhaps, 
from the strength of the wind and the way it blows. The beginner soon 
masters all this if left to himself, I know that of old from personal 
observation. Doubtless there are difficulties to overcome in mastering a 
new cast and making it familiar ; but merely explain the essential 
principles, that is all that's wanted. In the natural order of things, the 
minds of your young pupils will, I feel sure, take a wider range and soon 
learn for themselves that nothing is denied to well-directed effort and very 
little obtained without it." 

Here we have a definite, accurate, separate, and entirely practical 
testimony which the student of the " Spey " would do well to consider. 

Before proceeding further, I cannot but express the hope that all the 
complications, which to the merest child on the Spey are not complications 
at all, may be eventually estimated by the student in their true relative 
proportions, and that the arguments submitted are easy of compre- 

Now the great thing in this cast, the pure essential part upon which 
it entirely depends, is to compel the line to strike the water after lifting 
it out instead of sending it back in the air. Bearing this in mind, let 
us fix our attention on the special features of the procedure from beginning 
to end. 






Plate 7 




The tackle being extended down stream, you first get a downward 
curve in the portion of line out of water, by raising the rod somewhat 
gently towards the position seen in Illustration No. 1 ; then, without any 
intermission, you get the curve in the contrary direction (upward) on the 
eve of lifting the fly-end out, by slightly dropping the rod-point when 
near the perpendicular, outwards ; and, still carrying the rod easily and 
regularly back and round inwards, so that the point of it forms the 
outline (see Illustration 1) of a reversed letter S, you finally complete the 
cast, just as the fly-end of the line is lightly striking the water near 
your outer side, by a hearty " thrash-down " aimed at the destined 
direction of the fly, as depicted in Illustrations Nos. 2 and 3. 

The student should get these few words fixed in his mind and be 
able to follow their meaning before perusing further explanations. When 
he has succeeded so far, having, I take it, become intimate with the 
" Underhand," if only by the association of ideas, he can mentally draw 
comparisons between the early part of the two casts, and form a clear 
notion of the design and purpose for which each is done He will realise 
that in the Spey cast instead of the fly being drawn out of water higher 
and higher from its surface until it turns up and round in the air behind 
the Angler, it has (with one brilliant exception) to be drawn no further 
up-stream than beside him. And he will understand that by the law of 
mechanics as the fly has to strike the water beside him, the point of the 
rod must descend for that purpose before it finally rises to make the 
thrash-down. The very fact of this descent and ascent compels the 
fly to take an up-and-down course in the air before it strikes the 

What would be the result of making the first part of the " Spey " 
without dropping the point of the rod outwards as the first part of the 
" Underhand " is made ? 

Simply defeat, from the fact (1) that the line would not leave the 
water, and (2) that it would be dragged in the water towards the Angler 
only a limited portion of the desired distance. But, in spite of this, I am 
inclined to the opinion that the easiest way of learning to make the line 
strike the water as stated, is to fancy you are making a sort of " Under- 
hand," not failing to slightly raise the point of the rod at starting, and to 



bring it round in an " O.G." fashion before making the thrash-down in 
continuation of the sweep of the double curve. 

However, the young aspirant who, with an intense desire to obtain 
the key to Angling knowledge, has cast a longing eye upon the " Spey," 
and secretly wonders at the result incident to the method, should clearly 
understand that the principle owes its success to that one bold, urging, 
persistent movement of the rod which refuses to be hindered in making 
progress by quasi-jerks, or, in fact, by anything that shall check, bias, or 
alter its even undulating, progress, and finally vigorous action. 

The cast is made in one motion, without intermission, and not in 
two. The point of the rod keeps steady. If the rod does not maintain 
its bend, the point quivers and shakes, the very symptom of which 
forbodes defeat. Neither can it be impressed upon the beginner too 
strongly that the rod, not stiff in action, must be sensitive to the tug of 
the line, the loss of which influence absolutely destroys the intended 
effect of the whole proceeding. Although the " Kelson " covers 40 yards 
and more, the rod I like best for this business is built by Farlow on the 
lines of one altered again and again at the riverside and fashioned by 
myself. I like it, not only because a long line is easily worked, but also 
because the rod possesses a certain power that comes to the rescue at 
those times when the wind renders Spey-casting almost impracticable. 

(Sometimes we are obliged to change the position of hands. As an 
instance of this, when the wind crossing the water blows the line much 
towards the bank, we put the left hand above the right, lift the line as 
before towards the right shoulder, and, after bringing the rod well round 
overhead to the near side, make the downcast left-handed. It is 
eminently desirable to exercise this extra care and judgment, inasmuch as 
some people exhibit on these occasions a curiously elaborate capacity for 
hooking themselves in the cheek ; whereas if they shorten the line, put on 
less steam, and proceed in the manner described, gradually increasing the 
length of the line, the operation of cutting off every atom of material from 
their imbedded fly before the bare hook is removed from its hold point 
first, would never be required. Sometimes one or two, or maybe three, 
false casts are necessary in order to " pick up" the line properly. These 
are made as far as possible away from the fish, inside or outside their lay- 


byes. And, it may be incidentally said that, in fishing from, or very near, 
the bank, visible signs of wear and tear of the line soon become apparent. 
The mischief proceeds from hitching up in bushes, or coming in contact 
with other more serious obstructions pebbles, rocks and the like. But 
as soon as the general principle of the cast is understood, the method 
might be practised in one's room with a stick and a piece of string, or on 
one's lawn with a rod and a short line.) 

By our ordinary way of bringing the rod round, the delaying influence 
of the water upon the portion of the line that strikes it helps to make the 
tug perpetual, the immense importance of which is instantly realised at 
the critical moment of making the thrash -down. The veriest tyro will 
understand what I mean by attending closely to the following minute 
particulars. He will understand : (1) That the mere fact of bringing the 
rod back must cause the line to tug the point of it. (2) That the strength 
of the tug, though moderated in slightly lowering the point of the rod 
outwards, is yet compensated for by the reduced speed of the line caused 
by coming in contact with the water. 

From a nearly perpendicular position the rod slightly ascends before 
descending, and is brought round so that at no time it reaches more than 
the angle of about 45 degrees. Brought round at a lower angle the rod 
causes an unnecessarily large backward bow in the line. If, however, a 
cast has to be made actually across the water, the fly must strike the 
surface much further out than usual, in which case the line forms a very 
large bow almost opposite the Angler rather than behind him. 

Speaking generally and familiarly, if you don't pick the line up clean 
ancl don't place the fly sufficiently up-stream, the line splashes the water 
in reaching its final destination. In fact, when the cast is made perfectly 
the fly beats the rapid current a little higher up than the Angler, and then 
he is able to propel the line, not along, but altogether above the surface, 
if he wishes to do so. The faster the current the less time must the line 
rest on the water, if, indeed, it should be allowed to rest at all, even in 
the steadiest stream. And it stands to reason that an accelerated current 
demands a proportionately quick effort to make a suitable cast over it ; 
but this quicker cast will not be found as difficult as that suited to the 
slower stream. 


Let us now consider the question of force usually required. 

The Angler makes no violent effort, he uses little force, and yet 
brings the rod round quick enough to reanimate and keep in swing, say, 
35 yards of line, so that it tugs the point of the rod as uniformly as 
possible up to and during the time of the thrash-down. It need not be 
said that the extra force employed in actually propelling the line just 
while it strikes the water makes the tug considerably greater everybody 
understands that. 

There is, perhaps, a little speculation as to how much force is applied 
in bringing the rod back and round. In this one detail (so much depend- 
ing on the wind as well as on the water) I fail to see the value of written 
instruction from which the student could take his cue with any degree of 
confidence and suddenly reach an immediate satisfactory result. The 
very nature of the thing prohibits it. 

In such a contingency, having no instrument to measure the degrees 
of force applied in lifting the line, how am I to estimate it ? The true 
force is ascertainable by comparing various facts, and this is the only way 
out of it. It is perfectly obvious that, in lifting the line, the proportion 
of strain on the muscles used in the " Overhand " and the " Underhand" 
respectively differs in ratio, neither more nor less than do the respective 
proportions of strain used in the " Underhand " and " Spey." For instance, 
in the " Underhand" the force is less than in the " Overhand," and yet 
sufficient to compel the fly to travel about one half the distance in the air 
at the rear of the Angler ; whereas in the " Spey" that force is so reduced 
as to bring the fly no further than beside the Angler, or even a little in 
front of him. Hence the proportionate decrease of force needed, and the 
necessity for much more lifting power in the Overhand rod than in the 
Spey rod. 

But taking any one particular condition of wind and water, is the 
force definable ? 

This question is, I think, to be answered in the negative. It seems 
to me to be purely an affair of judgment. But if by the comparisons 
just made and conclusions just drawn from the three distinct methods of 
casting the student has succeeded in gaining a clue to the amount -"of 
force wanted, his study of the Illustrations will surely lead to further 


knowledge ; at least, I hope so, for while arranging and adapting them 
to our purpose, I had this one important particular in my mind's eye. 
Let him examine closely Illustration No. 1, for it clearly suggests that in 
thus lifting the rod and bringing it back and round in such limited space 
the force cannot be very great. I am, in short, clearly of the opinion 
that if the Spey rod were over-powerful, the action of it alone would 
compel the fly-end of the line to travel moch too far up-strearn after the 
line is lifted from the water. 

In making the cast, the impetus is given to the rod almost entirely 
by the right hand. The pear-shaped figure which the point of the rod 
describes is depicted in Illustration No. 1 just as it appears in the 
original photograph. But in point of shape this figure varies, sometimes 
for one reason sometimes for another. 

First, in wading, or we will say, working on ground free from all 
obstructions, the rod descends not much outward, but nearer the right 
shoulder, backwards ; at any rate, in a far more continuous line with the 
casting line. Here, then, to get the necessary sweep of the rod in 
bringing it round afterwards, the point must come more over the bank 
actually behind the Angler, consequently the part of the figure in No. 1 
Illustration , where the line seems to cross or intersect itself, leans out over 
the water, whilst, of course, the base of the dotted line Is more round 
towards the bank. By keeping the above considerations before us we 
shall best attain our object to fish often with as little fatigue as possible. 

For a second example, we will take for illustration the cast made 
across the water. Here, as intimated, the rod, in descending, reaches 
an angle of 35 degrees in order to place the fly well out upon the water, 
therefore the figure differs in shape. But this variation in the "Spey" 
is often adopted in order to keep the part of the line which curves round 
astern of the Angler, from boughs hanging over the water (up river) 
almost within reach of the rod ; so, in forming the first part of the figure, 
it is imperative to give considerable outward impetus to the rod in its 
descent by icrist action. The natural sequence from this detrusion is 
that the fly strikes the water, not close in, but far out upon it, and that 
is why the rod can be brought round for the thrash-down nearer the 
perpendicular, instead of deviating in a greater degree than usual from the 


Angler's right side. The point of the rod has described, we will suppose, 
the outline of an ovoid athwart the river, just on the right side of the 
Angler. If the point of the rod had left some mark to indicate the track 
pursued, the figure would appear to a spectator stationed in the water 
above or below to range between east and west. 

The due formation of such figure and the effect it produces on the 
line will probably involve the student in complicated embarrassments 
more difficult to surmount than any that he will experience. The whole 
cast, in this instance, must be made quickly ; and, although difficult, it 
still appeals irresistibly to the Fisherman because no other means of 
commanding a fish in such awkward situations are forthcoming. 

To introduce that one " brilliant exception " to which I formerly 
alluded, I would first remark that, in passing from quiet to rapid waters, 
we find it necessary to make the fly strike the surface in a different place 

The instant the fly-end of the line is placed on the surface in a rapid 
it is swept away out of the position by the torrent, and to meet the case 
the fly must strike the water, not beside us, but at a spot five to seven 
yards above us. It is in rapids only that, during the thrash-down, the rod 
almost hits the fly as it rides past the Angler in the air up-stream, heed- 
lessly, yet under perfect control. This is practically equivalent to saying 
that the thrash-down takes place sooner than usual certainly somewhat 
before the fly alights. It is so, and consequently this variety of the " Spey " 
is also made quickly ; and in obedience to the quickened movement of 
the rod in its backward course, the fly travels further up the water before 
reaching the surface. But this is not detrimental to the proceeding. On 
the contrary ; for in working its way round the rod keeps pace with the line 
with mathematical precision, and so the whole business is materially 
simplified. We also find that in making the thrash-down there seems to 
be less need for the delaying influence of the water, yet we know that it 
has occurred, not necessarily by an instantaneous act of the mind, but by 
the constant co-operation of the rod and line, detected by the sense of 
touch at the time being. From these facts the student probably com- 
prehends how much easier it will be for him to learn the Spey cast in 
rapids than in quiet waters. 


There are many debatable points, but perhaps the reader has formed 
a fair estimate of the system already ; still the subject has not been yet 
by any means exhausted. 

At this stage I should like to call for special attention. 

We have said that the Spey cast is not a method of fishing to be 
adopted with a Spey rod in boisterous weather ; we have had the nature 
of the cast revealed, and have read a series of comments relating to 
certain observances in the system ; but we have yet to follow it from the 

In proceeding in that direction it will be my endeavour to analyse the 
cast by a separate process, in the hope that the understanding may be 
enabled distinctly to follow up the method through its different stages. 

Looking now at these Illustrations, the point of the rod in No. 1 
first describes an outline of a contorted and reversed letter S. 

I say " contorted," and I am well advised, as the shape is not that of 
a reversed letter S on a flat surface ; for the upper part soon twists out- 
wards, while the lower and very much longer curve turns inwards. 

At the very beginning of the cast, I would repeat that the rod is 
raised. This makes the line belly downwards, as shown, and brings the 
" tug " into existence. Without pause the rod still ascends, and then 
slightly descends outwards, circles round, as it comes inwardly towards 
the Angler's right rear, and pursues its course for the thrash-down to 
a point where, if the line is to be propelled above the water, as in 
No. 3 Illustration* a better plan than allowing it to run its course 
along the surface of the water in the customary way the rod is to be 
checked as set forth in the details of the " Overhand." 

The explanation here is simple and will not detain us long. 

Casting the line above the water is a justifiable measure where fish 
are shy ; for the very splash of the line disturbs them to such an extent 
that I have seen it result in driving both Salmon and Grilse from pools 

For this reason the departure from the old custom, at times and. in 

* This improvement in the system is not one to be recommended to the novice. Let him 
become familiar with the ordinary way of propelling the line and he will have far less trouble 
in learning the cast and mastering its various features. 


places, cannot be insisted upon too strongly. But in more than one 
direction the improved and creditable method affords great pleasure to 
the artist engaged. For, if while fishing a shy pool over again, he reaps 
no benefit by reason of his former care and dexterity, he certainly retires 
with the satisfactory knowledge that his successor on it will fish in water 
comparatively undisturbed. We ought all to hold the opinion that this is 
no trifling satisfaction to veterans ever mindful of the interests of others. 
There is yet another practical advantage derived, for when propelled 
above the water, the line carries out coils drawn from the winch for the 
purpose of " shooting." Perhaps the chances for the novice using a Spey 
rod of coming to grief in this respect are somewhat numerous, for as it 
happens the most diligent enthusiast would not pledge himself to manage 
more than half the length accomplished with ease and success by the 
Overhand method with our style of rod. Still a yard is a yard, and must 
help to preserve the rod's action. 

But to continue. The "S" motion maybe said to terminate and 
the down-cast to commence at the same point as in the Overhand Cast. 
And, to be very explicit, the course of the point of the rod almost from 
start to finish is distinguished by the dotted line. 

The reader will observe, that to bring the line under efficient control 
it has been first raised from the stream as much as possible by lifting 
the rod high in the air. But it should be borne in mind that the Angler 
then proceeds without delay, and uses just sufficient power to bring the line 
from the water (by the motion of the rod as described) so that it strikes 
the surface momentarily at the mark X in No. 2 illustration. 

The benefit generally derived from so lifting the rod in the pre- 
liminary process is manifest the less line in the water, the less force in 
withdrawing it, and the less chance of failure in propelling it, because the 
fly-end strikes the water at the proper place. The long Spey rod, 
therefore, claims a slight advantage over ours when any great length of 
line is in use. But in actually propelling the line, our style of rod has far 
greater power against a breeze (in fact, a Spey rod has little or none), and 
you can either cast or throw with it an advantage that can hardly be 
over-estimated in certain cramped places on unfavourable days. Throwing 
a Salmon fly is, however, a practice passionately denounced on Spey side 


as being not precisely sportsmanlike. I referred to this matter before, 
but sometimes it is not possible to get out the line by any other method. 

If a swirl or undercurrent should happen to bury the line so as to 
suggest undue force when first lifting the rod, an inner false cast or two 
must be given, and as soon as the line by that means has been fully 
extended, the cast is made before the mischief again sets in. 

The centre course of rod and line simply shows the effect produced on 
them in rapids where the current holds the line and sets up an increased 
action of the rod. If the cast is commenced too hurriedly, or, in other 
words, if too much force is used to start with, the fly-end is sent too far 
up-stream, in which case the tug of the line is often lo~st, and this means 
defeat. The Angler would be more likely to be spared this dispiriting 
occurrence if he rather under-rates than over-rates the force needed. 
The action of the rod should do all that is wanted without using force. 

The rod and line with the mark X in No. 2, show the usual position 
of the tackle at the beginning of the thrash-down. But sometimes the 
fly has to strike the water further up-stream than the spot thus marked ; 
still, in either case, the practised hand can instantly tell whether or no 
the fly has taken a right and proper course. 

In describing the down-cast or thrash-down, any increased power 
needed is dictated to the Angler by the length of line about to be used. 
He will, if necessary, gradually augment the pressure at the butt of the 
rod, mostly with the upper hand. The force generated in and emanating 
from the centre at the butt where the strength is applied, serves either to 
drive the line along the water or propel it in the air, and exhausts itself 
while the fly is alighting at its ultimate destination (see 'Illustration, 
No. 3). Thus may we discover some few points of similarity between the 
Highland style and the ordinary " Overhand." 

Strictly speaking, no method of casting takes so long to acquire in 
the general way as this one ; but things laboriously learnt at first soon 
come to be done without the feeling of effort. It is true that once in my 
experience I have seen the cast learnt in thirty-five minutes ; half an 
hour of which was occupied in listening to verbal instructions and in 
putting questions and pondering over answers. The fact is, a man must 
think for himself. He must put two and two together, and with our 


Illustrations before him, let him reason. Let him in his independent 
spirit of inquiry penetrate deeply into ultimate causes and find out 
mentally why This or That is so. Then let him come with his rod and 
put into practice the theories he has set up for himself by correctly 
following this book and not hastily tire in the undertaking. It would 
indeed be useless for a man to go to work with a feeble, irregular, 
vacillating idea of the system and expect the attainment of excellence 

The reader is by now sufficiently at home with various systems of 
casting to have formed for himself one particular conclusion, as most 
Fishermen would. What is this one particular conclusion? 

That the achievement of any individual cast is an art, and from the 
very nature of it, the achievement of the much-coveted " Spey," the 
highest art of all -is an art endowed with an irresistible fascination 
peculiar to itself and so enjoyable that I may leave it without further 
comment. But in truth, the " Spey " is to fishing what words are to 
thoughts, for without it certain waters cannot be commanded, and with- 
out words certain thoughts cannot be expressed. To sum up. What is 
the chief end of the system ? 

The " Spey " system's chief end may be briefly put thus : That men 
who are practically conversant with all the circumstances which render 
the cast necessary, and with all the various ways of making it, are so far 
removed from the struggling rank and file, as to frequently meet with the 
highest success on pools which, to others, are positively unfishable. 


In all sport the great secret is to know beforehand what one really 
wants to accomplish, and then look sharp in making the most of one's 
time, place, and opportunity. Time and tide wait for no man. Neither 
will a nice porter-coloured water, when the bailiff draws a long face and 
says : 

" Oh, lud, lud, this wind ! or she'd no fush that bad the morn, sir." 
And here it is indispensable for the man who has the laudable 
intention of distancing friendly (or unfriendly) competitors, to bear in 
mind that certain ideas plausible fallacies, I call them which have 


become rooted in the popular mind, may yet be pregnant with disastrous 
consequences in practice. 

I say, " to know beforehand," for the simple reason that, after much 
experience of " shy " waters, I find that changing front in face of the 
enemy is a most difficult operation to carry out, whilst there is some 
little chagrin in the mere fact of altering one's plan of campaign. 
Naturally this of itself would be inimical to all pleasure for the time 
being, for no Angler likes to feel that he has not been prepared to 
immediately make the most of his opportunities. 

Old-time practices, once of daily occurrence, come vividly crowding 
back on one's memory. Take, as an example, the way of fishing in a gale 
of wind in by-gone days when there was a total absence of all principle, 
and compare it with the present style of making a cast against the wind. 
To fancy the " Overhand " the right and proper method, is a fallacy 
indeed, and yet it was once the fashion. I remember following it myself 
through the years of my calidajuventtts. I used to pursue the work with 
vigour and enjoyed it to my heart's content in spite of defeat again and 
again. The mere gratification of having a rod in my hand and trying all 
I knew, was enough. No matter how the fly fished or whether it received 
an " acknowledgment," so long as I covered a Salmon, say within fifteen 
or sixteen yards, I was satisfied. Naturally in those days, if the fish 
refused, I fancied the game was up and my chance gone ! It is true I had 
scarcely begun to inquire into the subject of "presentation," its motives 
and effects, and remained for long uncertain of its advantages. And my 
want of success deluded me into the mistaken notion that fishing in strong 
wind was impracticable. 

But at length the Overhand practice became too dull and dreary, and 
as I grew too keen to sacrifice fishing for fun, and acquired the conviction 
that, in a hurricane, the " Overhand " was alike a restriction and a fallacy, 
I weaned myself from delusion and set about devising a better and surer 
means of commanding the water. I investigated these matters some five 
and twenty years ago, and finally grasped the principle which, without 
more ado, we may well proceed to examine and analyse. 

In my opinion the " Wind Cast " (as I determined to call it) is of 
rnmense value on its day. No doubt the practical demonstration of the 




method is a bold undertaking, and demands a ready ability on the part of 
those who would become proficient in it. . Capricious incidents render the 
work always difficult and sometimes impossible, as no one will be found 
to deny. And yet, considering all things, perhaps it calls for more close 
attention than for extraordinary skill. I noticed this particularly a few 
years since on the Upper Wye, where I was much struck by the skill 
displayed by quite a young Angler. 

The great and indeed the only objection that I have seen brought 
forward against the Wind Cast may be summed up in one brief 
statement : The experiment is costly. It is said to favour the tradesman 
more than the Fisherman. Rods will break but. may not this be 
attributed to the fault of the wood, to personal inexperience, or more 
probably to the sudden vacillations of the wind, which, by-the-bye, 
beginners are apt to forget. There are rods and rods. '-Some crooked 
grained ones break at little provocation ; others cleaved from' the plank 
like my own stand the roughest usage. It certainly is " rough on a rod " 
to hurriedly lift a buried line, as examination of the method will soon 
show. It certainly is still more rough on a rod to undergo excessive 
pressure in the .thrash-down, particularly when its action is not steadied 
by the counter influence of the tug of the line. And this, unfortunately, 
is of no uncommon experience. But where should we be unless the line 
were lifted quick as thought (if I may adopt the expression) ; or again, in 
the absence of that indispensable pressure needed to procure sufficient action 
of the butt. 

I have seen novices, irritated to a degree, break rod after rod simply 
because they forget these facts. But I always notice that close attention 
and a constant repetition of melancholy failures is, at any rate, a means 
of fixing them indelibly in their memories. Old Fuller says, that to try 
and remember a forgotten condition, a man should scratch his head. 
Another literary authority writes : 

" No wonder that our memories are bad, 
We neither bite our rails nor scratch our head." 

But would not these morbid expedients be waste of an Angler's time ? 
All we can do is, to keep our wits about us, for, whatever may happen, 


the cast has to be made ; and that too, in the midst of latent dangers and 
probable interruptions. We know full well how the rod smarts under 
the loss of the tug. We feel the tug's restraining influence ; we feel that 
it creates, that it constitutes an instrumental, nay, an essential element 
and we thoroughly understand that, even with the utmost practice and 
attention, the chance of sustaining that needful counter influence, is wrapt 
up in doubt and uncertainty. That's just it just the very detail too, in 
which our memory must not fail us. 

For the intensity of the wind the expert cares nothing, so long as it 
does not play tricks by fits and starts ; when it does this, thoroughly 
reliable work is impossible. 

But now let us consider how to excel in an undertaking frequently 
deemed impossible, even when the wind is not specially unrestful. In 
spite of all drawbacks, we find six points for success against half a dozen 
for failure. The chances therefore are equal, and this is somewhat 

The next encouraging fact is, that although the wind blows so strongly 
as to try one's strength to stand steadily, a fish lying from five and twenty 
to thirty yards away may be covered. Nay, more, the fly can be 
presented so straight and well, as to yet further astound the uninitiated. 
Hence the superlative value of this cast. 

To clear the way to a methodical illustration of the principle of it, let 
us touch on one or two specific conditions, which must be neither over- 
looked nor under-estimated. 

First, the direction of the wind. It is only when the wind comes 
pretty much from the destined direction of the fly that the cast can be 
made in any degree of perfection. Secondly, it is impossible to excel in 
the undertaking with a light line, or a rod with a stiff butt. A heavy line 
is indispensable ; not only for making the rod " bend double " in raising 
it into position, but also for cutting through the wind in obedience to the 
thrash-down. This point cannot be too strongly emphasised. 

In this particular method our object, to begin with, is to lift the line 
no further than overhead, in such a manner that it represents to a man 
located on the opposite bank, a regular letter S in the air. To baffle an 
opposing wind of considerable force and speed, requires the employment 

A A 



of considerable power, both of rod and Angler, in lifting the line properly. 
A peep at the dotted line in the Illustration reveals the action of the rod 
while forcing the line into that one position from which alone it can 
possibly be controlled and propelled. 

Provided the student refrains from working in swirly waters, and 
provided he uses suitable tackle and is not baulked by the sudden changes 
of wind when the line is in the air, this first part of the operation depends 
for its success upon strong arm power combined with a certain action of 
the wrist. The arm power, though inevitably considerable (far exceeding 
that needed in ordinary casts) is not suddenly exercised, for the line must 
not be snatched from the water. The rod is brought " straight up," as 
we say, the point neither leaning outwards nor inwards ; and perhaps an 
idea of the necessary wrist action may be best conveyed to the mind of the 
novice by inspection of the accompanying Figure. The method of lifting 


the line very soon commends itself, and then the impulse to diligently 
obey the rod is too strong to be resisted. The motion of the rod is 
continuous, and is not checked until the finish. By bringing the upper 
hand in the track represented, the student can well imagine that the 
wisdom of using excessive pressure is justified and more than justified by 
the result attained. 

I would, however, remind him that, when unimpeded in its ai ; rial 

A A 2 


course by the sudden fall or blast of wind, the line is easily propelled by 
butt action. 

It is not easy for the untrained eye to actually see what is being done 
or what has taken place, though the educated eye and touch of the 
seasoned veteran enable him to immediately form a definite opinion for 
himself. If in lifting the line, the student is uncertain, what then ? If 
a wise man, he will cease, let the whole thing " slide " and begin again ; 
for he should be alive to the fact that, having lost the "tug" the 
thrash-down would ruin the rod for good and all. And so the decrees 
of Fate are accepted with a resignation becoming an instructed 

How often on these occasions have I witnessed a little sympathy 
shown in a few encouraging words uttered in the presence of beginners, 
and observed the immediate effect ! In fact, nothing is more odious to 
me than meeting with that indifferent individual, so wrapped up in himself 
and his own affairs, as to prevent his being moved with either the failure 
or the success of others. It is hardly within the power of novices to 
quickly discover or dodge these difficulties by the aid of the eye, or by 
the sense of touch, the very force and fickleness of the wind tend so much 
to deception. 

Now we come to the thrash-down. 

This terrible " stroke," easier to demonstrate than describe in a cold 
written page, differs considerably from that in other casts; yet it has 
intrinsic merits and is entirely orthodox in principle. In point of fact, 
the line is made to cut through the air, not by merely checking the rod 
in the usual way, but indeed by absolutely nipping it at the butt, so as 
to arrest its course instanter. Now this "nipping" is a rather difficult 
and precarious experiment for the novice. I have heard old people say : 
" It is so easy," and tantalise one by winding up with, " but you've got to 
know it first." 

In all cases our nerves brace themselves up to an effort or they do not. 
The Wind Cast is not beset with grievous complications to the nervous 
system, yet " nipping the rod " properly, is in a great measure dependent 
on good nerves ; and nipping in this cast is a feature of the first 
importance, The enormous upward strain of the rod in raising the line 


results in a corresponding downward strain set up voluntarily ; or, in 
other words, the rod bends back so far that, in propelling the line, its 
action reduces the strain on the muscles of the Angler. 

And what is the meaning of " nipping " ? It means checking with a 
vengeance. Nipping expresses that almost indescribable action of checking 
the rod violently, which is often but very inadequately expressed by the 
unbearable word " jerking." 

For the behoof of novices I feel obliged to travel over old paths once 
again ; and let it be understood at the onset that the words " tug " and 
"counter-influence " are synonymous terms. 

Now it is a fact that the full power of the tug's real influence can be, 
and is, engendered in the lifting of the line. It, of course, varies according 
to the degree of strength used. The tug is less felt in the " Overhand " 
than in the " Underhand," because the strength used is greater. In any 
ordinary cast the Angler feels the tug, and delights in it when making the 
" thrash-down " at the right moment, though, if too late, he feels nothing 
of it at all. Lose any of this influence and the loss, in most cases, is 
detected at once ; but not in the Wind Cast at any time, or, at all events 
until too late. 

So entirely does the issue in the Wind Cast depend upon this counter 
influence that, were it dissevered or dispelled, the most dexterous man 
alive could not possibly get the line out. But above all it must be repeated 
that any such disseveratioii brings in its wake a far more serious trouble ; 
for that nip without that identical tug, and the rod is doomed to all intents 
and purposes. 

For all its difficulties the judicious beginner will not hurriedly 
condemn the Wind Cast, nor hesitate to try to master the method. 
For me, many fond memories surround it, and I believe it destined 
to the honour of circumventing fish, when all other known methods are 

The cast is, in short, a triumph of ingenuity and skill and high-spirited 
endeavour following the dictates of much thought and consideration. 
And, judging from what I have myself seen hastily done by novices, I 
would say, " search slowly into it ; for, as experience teaches, those who 
are quick in searching, seldom search to the quick. 



Once upon a time not so many years ago either on returning 
home after a hard day's fishing in the rain with an old attendant named 
Ewan, who at different times in his chequered career had served me as 
valet, groom, gillie, and factotum generally, we came suddenly upon the 
whole posse comitatus attached to the hotel, which happened to be, for 
the time being, my headquarters in the North. There was " long Sandy," 
than whom no Scotchman e'er cast a much longer line, or tied a more 
killing " flee " ; and Eobin, who seemed by instinct to know the " lie " of 
every running " fush " ; and Jamie the untiring, who'se muscles were 
of steel, and for whom no day was too long or "bag " too heavy ; besides 
a few others, whom to name were needless. The sudden appearance on 
the scene of my trusty henchman with a frail on his back that evidently 
contained something weighty, instantly took these worthies by surprise. 
Knowing themselves the hopeless state of the water, it roused their 
curiosity to the highest pitch. Eobin first opened the ball with : 

" An' hoo mony heads hae ye gotten the day, my braw laddie, for I 
see twa tails whatiffer '? " 

The rougher element had already thrown out some noisy misgivings 
amongst themselves and were now shouting impromptu verses on the 
" common or garden " fly. 

" Order ! " cried Ewan. 

" Order anything you like in the way of whisky or baccy, no worm- 
ing for us," rang through the air. 

" If Ewan is to tell you he must have silence," I remarked ; when 
Eobin, with a knowing wink at the others, repeated his query as to how 
many heads, etc. 

" ' Hoo mony heads ? ' Hoot awa ! De'il tak ye, there's as mony 
heads as tails, and, ye daft creeture, it wad hae been a lesson to ye had 
ye bin there wi' us the day," answered Ewan, as I thought rather 

" 'Deed then, an' that's no altegither improbable," drawled out 
Eobin in a tone of more than usual solemnity. 

" Weel, but," continued Ewan, " I tell ye it is sae ; it's nae man in 


these parts but the Maister that kens how to fush siccan pool as ' Pol-o- 
dour ' ava." 

And with a few more disparaging remarks of a similar character, 
Ewan took himself off indoors to get rid of his burden of course, at the 

" Pol-o-dour," I may here state is the local name of a certain deep 
pool on a river, the name of which I withhold for various reasons. It has 
the peculiarity about it that the catches are fishable only when the river 
is at its very lowest. As a matter of fact, the place never comes into 
ply until the rest of the " Casts " look as ludicrously small from want of 
water as the local men look from want of sport. All the fish in the 
immediate neighbourhood make for the pool and congregate there by the 
dozen, but the Fishermen never could command it. The pool itself is 
long, still, and broad perhaps seventy yards in width and very " dour." 
It is fished from one bank only, high, over-hanging rocks fringing the 
opposite side. However, in the course of a few minutes Ewan returned 
to the front of the house where the others were sitting, and the conversa- 
tion was resumed. In the meantime he had tossed off a " caulker " of 
whisky at my request, for he was wet to the very bone, and was now 
disposed to be still more communicative. 

" Hech, sirs," he began, addressing his audience generally, while I 
sat finishing a cigar after getting rid of my waders and the " wee 
drappie" left in the flask, " it wad hae done ye hearts gude to hae 
daunered alang the banks wi' me the day and seen the maister bang oot 
the flee, rnair by token that ye wad then ha' been able to joodge o' his 

" ' Seestum ' that's a deectionary word, and what maun that be like," 
asked Sandy, jumping on tip toe. 

" Whist, mon, he joost has a plan o' his ain, and covers ' Pol-o-dour ' 
frae the top to the bottom o't." 

" Ye'll no mak me believe that Ewan, it's na' in the power o' no 
f usher whatiffer," 

" ' Deed ay, but I will, Sandy, an' if ye'll come wi' me in the morn, 
I'll be bound the maister will be right pleased to show ye the seestem 
his ain sel." 


Then I ordered more " caulkers " upon the festive scene. The con- 
versation shortly glided into other channels, and, among other songs which 
were most entertaining, " The lass o' ' Gowrie ' " was befittingly rendered 
by one of these honest souls. 

The " Governor " is a singular cast, sound in principle, though quaint 
in its inception. In practice it works admirably. Without it I, at least, 
know no other way to reach fish lying fifty yards or more across stream, 
and for no other purpose did I originally intend it. The cast is withal 
simplicity itself. A mop handle, five feet in length (shod) is pushed into 
the ground and remains fixed at its back merely by string attached to two 
tent pegs. A small staple has been previously hammered in at the top, 
through which an elastic band is adjusted. The fly must not penetrate 
the elastic itself ; the hook should merely hang through the ring. All 
the Angler has to do then is to walk right away to the riverside in the 
line of the cast, letting the winch "run" as he goes, until he has 
sufficient casting line out to cover the distance required. Of course 
he will have previously made himself acquainted with the particular 
catch he desires to command, and have taken precautions as to measure- 
ment and direction, by shifting the apparatus beforehand. By this 
simple yet judicious method, any novice lady or gentleman can get 
out a tremendous line, without any previous knowledge, in half a dozen 

When an extra long cast is wanted I invariably use a line which 
has been spiced for the purpose, for it is a drawback to have any length of 
thin back-line at the point of the rod. 

The next step is to make the " thrash-down." This breaks the elastic 
baud, releases the fly, and away it goes. But it is necessary to bear in 
mind that the rod must always be dropped back, as shown in the drawing, 
so that the line almost touches the ground when the operation is about 
to be performed. The more the rod is checked at the finish, the greater 
is the line under command. 

If the first cast does not raise the fish, all you have to do is to wind 
up, walk back to the mopstick with the fly in your hand, put on another 
band the band is partly pushed through the staple and looped through 
itself and muttering to yourself "better luck next time," at it you go 



again. It is really astonishing how many fish in the course of a season 
can be picked up in this way on certain stretches hitherto deemed quite 
inaccessible to rod-fishers. I know this by my own personal experience ; 
and therefore in future it will be the sportman's own fault if with the 
aid of the " Governor " cast he does not cover fish absolutely out of 
reach by any other method as often as the necessity and the opportunity 
may arise. 

The little party of quidnuncs soon afterwards broke up. Old Robin 
led the way apparently engaged in prayer. He had been the most 
attentive listener of them all whilst I was expounding the above precepts, 
and now he was "snooving" off, "his lyart haffetS wearing thin and 
bare," muttering to himself something about "the principle o' the thing 
having been in his head for years, and was quite the idol of his adoration," 
whatever that may happen to mean. 

Of course, this cast will be found available only in a clear space and 
not in one bordered by trees or bushes. The fly placed inside the band 
when freed flies through the air like a stone from a sling, and alights at 
the farthest point the line can take it. The only element of uncertainty 
to be found at all, is the strength of the bands in use. Bands breaking 
on a steel yard at a pull of nearly 5 Ibs. are required for very long casts. 
But so recently as the commencement of the Angling season of 1893, in a 
series of experiments carried out on the river Beauly, I made two casts, 
measuring fifty-two and fifty-three yards respectively, with bands pulling 
from 3| to 4 Ibs. apiece ; and was present at some other trials on the 
Tay when I saw fifty-seven yards covered again and again by Mr. Barclay 

Singularly enough the method has not proved attractive to the 
angling public in any marked degree, though it was personally introduced 
to public notice first in the year of the great Exhibition of 1851, and 
afterwards illustrated and described in the Fishing Gazette of 1884. 


I shall not attempt any laboured enconiums on an authority I 
might almost say the one authority of his day nor endeavour to 
summarise his time-honoured principle of switching ; for, just as the 



future obliterates the past, many of these so-called settled rules of action 
die out or vary in course of time. He himself, poor fellow, has long 
since ceased to fish and to live ! But a letter in his handwriting, now 
lying before me, would have us believe that " the theory of a cast is a 
science, the practice of it an art." 

My informant, whose name and rank I am compelled to withhold, 
laid down the grand principle, that the method of the Switch being too 
rigidly inelastic for general purposes, remained for years undeveloped on 
its strongest side. 

These judicious opinions call up ideas more enlarged than the mere 
sound of words at first convey, for on attentive examination of the Switch 
Cast, one will easily see how incomplete it is without the "Peter," 
which, though young, was not discovered yesterday. 

Modern Anglers would hardly credit the countless improvements in 
ways and means of casting which have only recently been more or less 
adopted ; but it would be interesting indeed were we able to trace the 
progress of each art through its stages from the classic days of Walton 
right up to the commanding position it occupies at the present time. 

In the case of the "Overhand," what do we find? As practised 
from a time (which may be called immemorial since no one can fix a date 
" to the contrary ") the system of throwing with a light line and fine- 
pointed rod -scarcely lingers in the Angling mind now ; indeed, the 
old-fashioned method is almost forgotten. With other appliances the 
" Overhand " still holds its ground. 

But doubtful as the policy of the " Switch " was, save on an emer- 
gency, no one can say that the scientific founder of it did not trust to 
reason, nor that the wise reformers of the method trusted only to 
imagination. No discovery of a system of casting is made without some 
previous conjectural effort of the mind, nor is any amendment in principle 
inculcated without some exertion of the reasoning faculties. Practical 
experiment should do the rest. No doubt that in the case of the 
" Switch " the one chief object was the discovery of truth, and this has, 
in my opinion, been undoubtedly attained. 

Say what we can of the " Switch," the cast will never hold its own 
in a race with the " Spey." The " Spey " would give the " Switch " a 


beating ; that is to say, as far as the matter of distance is concerned, the 
former would cut out the latter in competition by at least twenty-four 
feet without being extended. 

The great advantage which this old-fashioned cast has over the 
" Spey " and all others is particularly its own, and counterbalances all its 
failings in those places where the " Switch " only is suitable when trees, 
shrubs, or other immediate obstructions handicap the different, and more 
water-covering modes of propelling a fly. 

The "Peter" is an intermediate and auxiliary movement of the rod 
in aid of the final effort to get out the line. 

To properly explain the method of the " Peter" and " Switch " com- 
bined, the student should understand that the former is a dodge or scheme 
resorted to only in connection with the latter, with which alone it is 
associated. The Peter was simply born for the cast and united to it long 
ago. It is, moreover, a commanding feature of the cast, which, in its 
absence, is at times absolutely unpracticable. 

The " Peter " has developed the " Switch " to such a degree that the 
cast may be fairly ranked among the favourite formulas of the day. And 
although the performance is said to be somewhat difficult to master, the 
merest tyro will, if he persevere, soon be gratified by the progress made 
and quite convinced of the value of it. 

How then is the cast to be made by the Angler (fishing right-handed) 
whose line is extended down-stream ? 

The brief instructions for making the Switch, with the Peter in one 
continuous action, are : 

(1) " Elevate the rod steadily but with a rather increasing movement : 
(2) now twitch the point of the rod forward (Fig. 1) by a smart, short 
action of the upper wrist, from right, overhead, to left, to form a narrow 
oval : and (3) finish with the thrash-down." 

By No. 1, the line will be drawn to the surface and belly towards you. 
No. 2 (the " Peter ") causes the line to bow. in an opposite direction. (See 
dotted line Plate 1.) The "narrow oval " is completed by a bold sweep 
of the rod taken round to the right. (3) Is effected vigorously and 
additional impetus is given to the line by forcing the arms forward during 
the thrash-down to their full extent. On reaching an angle of 45 degrees 

.<<'.-'- - "\ ' ~ 

THE SWITCH CAST (Illustration 1). 


the rod is checked by a firm grasp (Illustration 2), when the line is left to 
work its own success or failure. 

With these instructions before him the reader will probably recognize 
that the object of the "Peter" is to clear the near portion of the 
line from the destructive influence of eddying waters, and to compel the 
line to tug the point of the rod in order to regulate its action, keep 
its point within bounds, and render -the thrash-down practicable and 

(The situations in which the " Switch " is necessary are few. They 
are when neither the rod nor the line can be extended for more than eight 
or ten feet in the rear of the Angler.) 

In proportion to the effect of the "Peter," the calculation is made of 
the force wanted for the thrash-down. 

Now and then, for instance, the current, by flowing in all manner of 
ways, causes the line to lie on the surface in a zig-zag form, whereby it is 
rendered uncontrollable. In such a case the "Peter" is simple and 
immediately successful, and the thrash-down is effected in the usual 
manner of the cast. But where we encounter a sharp eddy, swirling 
under the rod, outwards, a satisfactory result is not so readily attained, 
or, at all events, without a much more forceful "Peter" than in the 
former case. Even then, unless effected in time, only a portion of 
the disarranged line, which the eddy has seized, may be cleared from 
the mischief, and in that case the force needed for the thrash-down 
must be increased accordingly. If the still greater mischief should 
arise from a swirl that dashes the line inwards, the modus operandi 

Take by way of illustration, a man fishing right-handed. The line 
having been thus hustled towards the bank, the Angler shifts the rod 
like lightning into the left hand, hurries the "Peter," and, without 
further change or perceptive cause, completes the whole business, then 
and there. 

What I very much want to point out in Petering is the one risk the 
inexperienced run. In all cases, the greatest care must be taken lest 
too much of the back portion of the running line be removed from the 
.surface, or the second state will be worse than the first. The line has to 



B B 


be cleared from swirling eddies, that is certain ; but it is on -these very 
occasions that the rod is liable to act upon it in a most prejudicial way ; 
for the instant the line gets clear, the deplorable mischief of undue power, 
so frequently used in the experiment, reveals itself and absolutely arrests 
all further progress. To those who thoroughly understand switching, the 
force of this argument is obviously manifest. 

But as against this argument the more one makes the line bow from 
him in Petering the greater will be the tug on the rod, which fact 
is sufficient of itself to ensure the thrash-down always proving effective. 
The secret is not to allow the butt to assist in the Peter at all. The work 
must be executed by the point of the rod, the action of which is brought 
out not so much by the strength of the arms as by a free use of 
trained and flexible wrists. Indeed, it must be distinctly understood 
that any muscular exertion would mar the experiment and defeat the 
object in view. 

I have a few words to say in hope of removing a slight prejudice with 
respect to the cast, and making it more available for free use than in 
times gone by. 

Common opinion declares the "Switch" to be good only for false 
casting, but with the " Peter " it presents, in my estimation, much ground 
for thoughtful consideration. I would add, for the instruction of the 
uninitiated, that the "Peter" is unnecessary in streams or other straight 
running waters, and that the measure of its success largely depends on 
the varying circumstances under which it is employed. And it would 
appear to me that the student should view at all times, with perfect 
coolness and accuracy, the various circumstances of the situation, so that 
each of them may produce its due impression on him without any 
exaggeration arising from nervousness or lack of experience. The 
influences surrounding this cast are self-registering, and unconsciously 
write their story in all its fulness on the mind of the student who, watching 
a clever performer, sees the combination of all its elements at once. 
Clear vision is, however, a sine qua non. 

Some slight inconvenience may possibly arise from a too rigid 
obedience to our preliminary instruction. If in elevating the rod steadily 
at first the line does not "come freely" the process of "fiddling," as 


previously described, must be consistently adopted. You may, however, 
rest assured that the remedy will not be required often, provided the 
interval between each cast be not unduly prolonged. 

Coming now to explain the thrash-down, as shown in Illustration 
2, the method differs but slightly from that employed under ordinary 
circumstances. The process from gradual becomes rapid, and looks like 
developing what the meteorologists are accustomed to describe as "dan- 
gerous energy." It would be perhaps safer for the novice if he made a 
sharp thrash-through, and not attempt to check the rod at the usual 
angle of 45 degrees. But all fear of the rod is soon reduced to a 
minimum, save perhaps in the case of too much force being used on 
those occasions when the wind counteracts the effect of the Peter by 
blowing the line out of gear. 

One of the commonest errors may frequently be traced to the inherent 
desire to bring the rod, in the " back sweep," further than at an angle of 
45 degrees any such propensity should be strenuously avoided. And, 
moreover, I would strongly caution the Angler in accepting all hurried 
instruction that would induce him to bring the rod round by his side too 
low. The loss of the tug of the line might lead him to do so ; but, in my 
opinion, following such advice as that is wrong in any case, though it 
requires no little courage to say so. 

The thrash of the rod, when executed as described, forms a sort of 
loop in the line (see Fig. 2) , which seems to rush along the surface of the 
water until at last the fly drops over and alights at its proper destination. 


The Flip proper is a sort of side cast side flip, in fact which the 
practised Angler can learn in a day. 

I say a sort of side cast, though it in no way resembles the Side Cast 
as practised on the Shannon and elsewhere. The Irish claim to be masters 
of that method, and there is no doubt that their tackle is eminently 
adapted to the purpose. For making the Side Cast no rod quite equals 
the Castle Connell, but I am inclined to the belief that, apart from the 
clever way in which our neighbours are accustomed to use it, their system, 
when adopted by us, is more for the sake of a change than for a necessity. 

u H 2 


To extend and propel the line in the air as they do by moving the rod in 
a horizontal position from first to last is less tiring than the Overhand, 
which, with this Irish rod, is more difficult and less effectual. I have not 
deemed it necessary to illustrate and describe the Side Cast, but I wish to 
record the fact that by employing it a very long line can be controlled 
even with our own style of rod. Also that the cast is by no means to be 
despised under boughs and such places where space will admit of it. 

The " Flip " has two variations which assume the names of the 
overhand and underhand flip respectively. The overhand flip requires a 
certain amount of room overhead in front of the Angler, and often comes 
into use where willows weep over the water with sufficient height between 
the water and the branch from which the weepers hang, and sufficient 
room between the weepers themselves. The underhand flip is adopted 
when the space just mentioned is limited. Although some men fish for 
years and think nothing of either of these variations, yet they will in 
many instances be found his only salvation. Indeed, by no other method 
than the Flip can certain catches be commanded. 

The Flip Cast is generally said to be the easiest of all to master. I 
have heard it extolled to the skies and condemned to the lower regions in 
language strong, if original. I have also heard it said that the easiest 
methods of Salmon-fishing, like the happiest women, have no history ; at 
all events, to the Flip I owe some of my greatest summer successes. 
Surely it is just as necessary to master one system as another, else we are 
comparatively helpless when some unusual condition for action arises. 
Shakespeare tells us that there is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken 
at the flood, leads on to fortune. We must, however, " take the current 
when it serves, or lose our ventures" ; and an Angler will look very foolish 
if, by neglecting to learn the Flip, he has to pass by a shaded spot holding 
plenty of fish which cannot be covered by any other means. The usual 
place for flipping is under trees whose lower branches have been levelled 
off and cleared away by flood water. The rushing torrent, together with 
the debris it carries, so levels overhanging branches and twigs as to 
make them appear like the under parts of trees which, in parks, have been 
reduced to an equal condition by cattle. 

Though easy to learn, the Flip is not so easily described. Affairs in 




general, simple enough in themselves, are often the least capable of 
definition in terms simple or abstruse. But I am content to leave the 
student with the few following details. 

When flipping left-handed the rod is to be held in the right hand. 
The Angler gets into the water with his fly hitched as usual to the bar of 
the winch. As soon as he has taken up his position he proceeds to draw 
forth a few yards of line, which he coils and holds between the finger and 
thumb of the hand working the rod. Pointing the rod a little down- 
stream and holding the butt firmly against his hip, with the winch facing 
sometimes one way and sometimes another for the sake of the action of 
the rod, he unhitches the fly, shortens the line a trffle by pulling it in, 
makes the rod bend all he can by fully extending the left arm and hand 
in which the fly is held, and suddenly lets go, allowing the coils to depart 
in the manoeuvre. 

The instant the fly is freed additional propelling power is given to the 
line by sharply swinging the rod to the point B and bringing it back into 
position. This helps the action of the rod considerably. 

As the reader may suppose, the line is previously shotted. About 14 
or 15 inches from the fly three or four swan shot are fixed to the line, 
above which, say, about 4 feet, another shot a little smaller in size is 

To renew a cast in close quarters, wind in line, turn the rod up- 
stream quite behind you, and the line can be easily reached and picked 

I have now completed, to the best of my power, these illustrations. 
To say that I am absolutely satisfied of the exactness of every detail 
would be to admit what I scarcely feel. The exact picture of the tackle 
from the beginning to the end of any cast cannot possibly be obtained 
until Mr. Edison has perfected his Kinetoscope for the continuous 
photography of objects in motion. Then, and most likely not before, will 
a series of pictures become in effect but one picture. I would neverthe- 
less strongly urge the student of these seven different casts to note down 
with accuracy all the circumstances of each particular case, for just as by 
far the most valuable of the two educations man has is not that which is 
given to him, but that which he give's to himself ; so, indeed, must the 


young Angler work out and resolve all these knotty points for himself. 
The secret is, not to fall into wrong habits at the beginning, but to make 
sure of every step taken, bearing in mind that most things to be learnt are 
very simple, and that some books do their best to render them obscure. 

We have had to travel over a lot of ground in our preliminary combat, 
to smooth the way for safely manoeuvring in every nook and corner at the 
riverside ; but our tussle with the " tug of the line " is over now, and 
gives way for that other tug the veritable tug o' ivar. The foregoing 
illustrations and descriptions will soon show the student how to cast, but 
I now propose to show him how to fish ; and I shall endeavour to give 
him some valuable hints connected with this branch of the subject. 

In Salmon-fishing there are two principals the Salmon and the 
Salmon-fisher. Their interests run counter to each other. The one is 
fully equipped with deadly weapons in his hand ; the other with only a 
good broad tail which is his sole resource to fight with, in defence of life 
and liberty. The conflict sometimes is very hot, and, after all, the match 
is not so particularly unequal. But in order to pilot the tyro to victory 
he must be possessed of certain further information. He must first know 
the " Catches," and then how to fish them. Let me explain that Salmon 
are caught in Pools, Streams, Flats, and Eapids. The places they haunt 
in these are called " catches "or " lay-byes." The catches vary in size 
and consequently vary in regard to the number of Salmon they hold. On 
one day twenty to thirty tenants may be found at home, on another day 
none at all ; and this difference largely depends upon the time of year and 
height of water. It comes to this then the stranger must ask, he must 
court local opinion and advice, or he will most likely find himself at work, 
as I myself have been, in barren waters. 

Some pools in certain rivers are fishable at any height of water ; 
whilst in others a slight rise or fall might spoil one's chance altogether. 
I have, for instance, had good sport on the Lochy in twenty feet or more 
of flood water, but only in the pools situated at the various bends of the 
river. And even then a good deal depends upon the nature of the shallow 
or fishing side. Slanting ground from there, covered with gravel or 
boulders, generally turns out well in high water. As the waters rise so do 
all the fish remaining in them come across from the deeps and take up 


new stations on the shallow side. The catches are known to the ordinary 
gillie in attendance. Where the river runs fairly straight, pools get out 
of order, and, as I say, an inch, or even less, makes all the difference so 
far as sport is concerned. 

With regard to streams, it may be taken as a rule that rain soon puts 
them out of order. Salmon rarely stay in them when the waters rise to a 
certain height unless boulders large enough to form an eddy are imbedded 
in the river. 

Flats, on the other hand, call for closer inquiry. Although, in rising 
water, fish invariably like to go ahead, they will occasionally drop back and 
stay in the lower part of such reaches as these, till at length they are forced 
by the torrent to make for shelter elsewhere. This propensity is especially 
noticeable in a long straight piece of water, in the lower part of which, at 
normal height, the current scarcely moves. 

As to rapids, the Angler must bide his time. If the top part of a 
rapid is in ply, even so little as half an inch rise will ruin every lay-bye in 
it. But when fishable, rapids are by far the freest taking places, though 
by no means the freest rising places ; at all events, they are the surest and 
the easiest for the novice not wanting in nerve. I have seen men at first 
almost frightened to death at the mere sight of a rough-and-tumble rapid. 
The feeling soon passes away at least, if one may judge by the show of 
daring that often follows a fit of nervousness, and confidence restored by 
greater familiarity with purely imaginary dangers. 

I have given a somewhat curtailed description of the above resorts by 
way of preface to the more elaborate details which are to follow. The 
student finds out exactly where the casts are, and should devote his 
attention to those which happen to be best in order and best suited to his 
capacity. It would be labour lost to persevere in any Catch where more 
line is required than can be controlled where, in short, the fly can be 
presented to the fish in a proper and alluring manner ; and this part of 
the subject shall be dealt with presently. 

Fishing is not what it was by any means ; and when you come to 
look into the circumstances under which it is now conducted you would 
not be surprised at the extreme care taken by our best men in casting 
straight, in " mending " casts when necessary, in playing the fly, and in 



the easy, apparently indifferent and undesigning attitude which they 
assume towards the fish. 

Great as is the divergence of principle and method adopted in fishing 
the various places just mentioned there is a singular resemblance in respect 
of casting straight. The thing is this always endeavour to let the cast 
be made so that the fly may be " fished " at once. When this can be 
attained without " mending," you may be sure that your cast has been 
made by a suitable method. The fly cannot fish at once by, say, the Spey 
cast, when the line is propelled along the surface of the water, because, 
by the time the fly alights, the current has carried down river the 
middle part of the running line, and instead of the fly- fishing, it will be 
drifting ruthlessly across stream headforemost. I strongly recommend 
the employment of the " Overhand " wherever it can be made. 

The word " stratowa, means not merely that the line itself shall be 
pretty straight when laid down on the water, but also that the Angler 
aims straightight 'rds such a point that the line shall reach the water at 


a certain angle from him. As regards the scope of that angle people 
differ. Some cast across the water, but I never do so if it can be avoided, 
for the best of all reasons that, as a rule, I kill far more fish when, for 


example, the fly falls S E from N W as shown in the diagram. (For 
Salmon, it is sometimes necessary to break the rule, but never for Grilse.* 
If, for instance, a fish is lying in the bottom part of a stream in summer- 
time, or even beside the more rapid water on the far side nearer the neck, 
at any time of year ; or, briefly, if you cannot work the fly sufficiently 
fast, the rule does not apply.) 

Speaking generally, as soon as the fly reaches the water at such an 
angle, it will sink and fish immediately, by bringing the rod (horizon- 
tally) a little more up-stream, and working it there. The stream instantly 
tightens the line, if, by accident, there is any to tighten. Do not alter 
the position of the rod ; but, keeping time with the pendulum of an 
imaginary church clock, move the point of the rod (as with one beat of 
it) some 18 inches towards S, and a little faster than the pace of the 
stream, returning (as with the next beat) by a similar but slower move- 
ment. Continue these backward and forward movements steadily and 
regularly till the fly has crossed S, when the point of the rod should be 
brought round with each beat towards S and past it, in order that the fly 
shall fish on and reach the point midway between S and W. 

If the water flows so slowly that the fly dwells too long in front of 
the catch as it passes, assist the pace of it by bringing the point of the rod 
round earlier with each movement. But on the other hand, if the water 
runs so quickly that the fly is swept hurriedly across the catch, the rod held 
still (facing eastward) or, maybe, that a very little playing of the fly will 
suffice to put matters right. Bear in mind that the " Eagles," and other 
flies with such long hackles as the Hen Pheasants and Herons (black, 
grey, and cinnamon), are more alluring to the fish when not played at all. 

The diagram should, I think, be sufficient guide for the student to 
determine at what angle down-stream he should cast his fly. As regards 
"mending" the cast, it may be unnecessary to enlarge upon what has 
been said. Nor will I detain the reader by making further allusions to 
the choice of flies than occasions demand as we proceed. 

* Grilse fishing is not what it was. I remember Craven (Keeper to Lord Arbothnut) 
holding a little croft beside the Bridge of Feuch some thirty years since. It was lie who 
killed no fewer than fifty Grilse at the foot of the Falls ill one day. Dceside men know this 
favourite spot of old. 


In fishing, the underlying principle for the Angler is to convince 
himself what flies others have used unsuccessfully, and in what way they 
have been fishing, i.e. where they stood, what method of casting they 
adopted, how long they persevered under the conditions which, presum- 
ably, remain unaltered, and, above all, whether by their untutored 
demeanour in the water or out of it they were likely to scare the fish, and, 
for the time bsing, put them " off " altogether. 

In all these respects the Angler should choose the opposite tactics as 
much as he can. If, for instance, small, light flies have been used with 
short hackles, he should select a pattern larger, darker, and longer in the 
hackle. But whatever may have been done in other respects, a pool that 
has been long thrashed with gaudy patterns requires considerable rest, and 
even then, a couple of casts over a fish is sufficient before passing on. In 
passing on, or rather fishing on, see everything but look at nothing ; for 
you will give yourself away if by your manner, you arouse the suspicions 
of the fish. 

Whatever be the general opinion it is certain to my mind that Salmon 
have an instinctive dread of an inquisitive Fisherman. If he " behaves 
himself" a man may catch a Salmon under the very point of his rod; I 
have often done so, bsing fully alive to the fact that, as to " behaviour," 
the susceptibility of the Salmon does not materially differ from other 
creatures. Books and gulls, we know, will pick up warms out of the very 
footsteps of the smock-frocked yeoman who trolls a song of the soil 
between the handles of his plough. Shy mountain sheep take no notice 
of the shepherd who warbles an old-world ditty along the hill-side ; nor 
will the most spiteful thorough-bred be affrighted by the smith, who, 
while singing at the forge lifts its leg on his leathered lap as a matter of 

Almost all that is necessary on the subject of a man's manner can be 
said in a few words. 

Stand easily and erect, do noi peep about, do not assume a defiant 
demeanour, and move as naturally as though there were no fish in the 

Now let us first see how to fish "that pool there," whose shallow 
waters at the neck, this early spring morning, ripple less and less as they 


change their course ; now making towards that large deep eddy on the 
far side, now increasing in velocity and forming certain little curls below 
until the Angler is forced to wade or retire a veritable low water 
catch, this ! 

First, the question forces itself upon us, Where are the fish ? Well, 
the gillie will decide this for you, as, sometimes they take up their places 
at the neck of the ripple, sometimes at the near edge of the large eddy, and 
at other times at the lower part of the pool altogether. But let us 
consider how best we can proceed from the eddy downwards ; for the 
streamy part at the neck will hold not one single fish until quite the 
middle of the month of May, unless the weather has been abnormally 

The chief object here is not to allow the fly, which must be cast well 
into the eddy, to be dragged too quickly past the long narrow catch by the 
force of the water upon the bellying line. (These catches are generally 
long and always narrow, for the fish lie in the small space between the 
stream and the eddy, which may be even twenty yards in length.) If the 
fly comes too quickly, the rule of presentation is broken from the fact that 
the fly travels head first past the fish. And yet, in this case, it is im- 
possible to rigidly obey the rule, unless the length of line in use is so 
limited that the Angler can work the fly at almost any pace he likes, by 
holding the rod high in the air. Still, there is usually a way out of these 
difficulties, and, maybe, the remedy is simply to " mend " the cast 
immediately it is made. 

It would be a very strange place if that remedy did not have the 
desired effect all down the eddy and cause the fly to work before the fish 
in true orthodox form. 

When the first cast is completed and previous to making another, as 
your gillie will tell you, walk one yard on, or, if the water is coloured much, 
half a yard will do, and continue casting and " mending " as before. But 
should you raise a Salmon and he should happen to come short, walk away, 
change the fly for one a trifle smaller, or, if you like, cut out such feathers 
as Jungle fowl or Summer Duck, and use the same one again. In about 
four minutes make a couple of casts over the fish from where you stood 
before, but not lower. Should this fail, select a fly a trifle smaller still 


and very different in colour and type. Two casts with each fly are 
sufficient, provided the water is not discoloured. In giving the fourth trial 
having rested the catch for ten minutes, put on a Grub, one or two sizes 
larger, or the fly that first raised the fish. And before finally giving in, 
try a fly in character with the river both in colour and make, three or four 
sizes larger than any one previously presented. 

If, however, you have an " interview " with a Salmon i.e., prick him, 
it is not worth while trying again. Only once in my career have 
I succeeded after an " interview," and then the fish had shifted its quarters. 
A Salmon at the bottom of a pool on the Wester Elchies water had run 
me foul, broken the line, and taken away fly and gut length. On resuming 
operations at the head of the pool, I found to my astonishment after 
gaffing a fish, the very fly in his mouth I had just lost below. Shortly 
after this capture, on working my way down the pool again, I lost, for the 
second time, the self-same fly in the same place and way as before. 

How well I remember the joyous chaff of that eventful evening ! 

But is there not very often a reason for merely pricking fish ? I 
think so, and have many a time traced it to some fault of the fly. The 
pattern, for instance, may be overdressed as regards the actual amount of 
materials ; your conspicuous feathers, Jungle, Summer Duck and the like, 
too large ; your long hackled fly too much played ; or your pattern too 
lar^e, too gaudy, or altogether too fanciful. Under any such circum- 
stances, it should be changed for something quieter in tone, smaller in 
size, different perhaps in type, and not played at all. Eeverse the whole 
process in fact. 

After fishing the eddy you pass on to the catches below it ; the first 
of which we will suppose is created by a boulder causing the current to 
flow from it on both its exposed sides, and making the water " sail back " 
in its immediate wake. This wake perhaps increases in width until the 
waters join again. Salmon will not lie behind an obstruction of this sort, 
but take up their quarters on either side just on the verge of the down- 
ward current. 

"Ah ! there he is, sir," says the gillie, betraying no emotion moving 
not a muscle of his wiry frame. " See that ' heads and tails ' no splash, 
no noise, a sure taker he is. But I say, sir, look at this nasty, drowsy 


haze corning on ; now we do know what to pick out ! Here's the very 
thing a little ' Black Doctor.' Look alive, it's time now, three minutes 
is always enough. Cast over the middle of the rock, bring your rod sharp 
round this side of it and lower the point for the stream to catch a bit of 

line, so that the fly comes in front of the fish at once. He'll have 

bless me, you are hitched up this time ! Don't pull, don't pull, stop a 
second, you'll never get it clear, give me the rod, and just observe how 
I do it." 

It is to be feared that, in these cases, the novice, unaccompanied by 
an experienced hand, had better choose the lesser of two evils by pulling 
the line with his hands for the fly to give way or be broken off. I never 
like losing a fly, but would much rather lose two than my chance of a 
"heads and tails." But still it need not be supposed, when the fly is 
merely hitched up in a rock by the influence of the current alone, that it 
cannot be cast adrift ; for the process of clearing to adopt, though decidedly 
of a nature calculated to disturb fish, can scarcely fail, provided the line be 
not pulled beforehand. 

The plan is to get the line well over to the farther side of the 
mischief ; so walk back, letting out as much line as you think you can 
switch, and, by the usual down-cast, send it out beyond the rock, when it 
will be taken below by the stream while you make towards the rock. As 
soon as it has been carried ten to twelve yards, hold on. If the strength 
of the current itself has not the effect desired, lay aside the rod, and, 
catching the line in your hands, say three or four feet from the point of 
the rod, give a sharp, long pull. Should this fail, allow the line to be 
carried down again while you walk ten or twelve yards below the rock ; 
wind in spare line and pull as before. 

But for the purpose of our programme, let us suppose that the gillie 
in question cleared the line from the snag, and that in two minutes 
afterwards the little " Black Doctor " had met with a downright refusal 
on the part of the fish. 

The gillie, let us imagine, was new to the neighbourhood had only 
recently been engaged owing to his remarkable success in the South. 

" We have," says he, " not done much to boast of in this pool as yet, 
and the dreams of a good day which we cherished remain dreams still. 


Look here, sir, if you won't wade, let me. There are plenty of fish about, 
but somehow I don't like the way they show themselves. I wonder what's 
up with 'em ; I'll find out before I've been here long. I ' scarce ' know 
the way of the river yet. How rivers do vary ! Fish such a pool as this, 
and no sport ! Extraordinary ! Is the water falling quickly? No ; then 
what is it ? Fly wrong ? Can't have a better than a little black one in a 
haze. Pool out of fettle ? Can't be, according to the run of the water. 
Glass rising what can it be ? Fishing wrong side ? No ; I always 
prefer casting from the shallow towards the deep. The fish might not 
have seen the fly ; the weather is boisterous enough to make him settle in 
the very neck of the eddy, so we are safe there. Then there are no big 
white clouds rolling about. I don't notice any ' muck ' in the water. 
Pollution makes Salmon travel, and those which are not that way inclined 
rise, but won't take. Nor do I see any trace of Otters. Dismiss the 
question as unanswerable is an easy way of escape, but that don't suit me. 
Here comes the superintendent, he'll tell us, no doubt." 

" Good morning, captain, good morning. Jim, take my dog in the 
slip and tie him to yonder gate, for in fishing dogs are as bad as Otters. 
What luck, sir? Goodish day this, and plenty of fish 'going.' Sorry I 
couldn't be with you before." 

" Luck isn't in it my way, MacGregor." 

And the captain relates all that has transpired. 

" Well," continues the superintendent, " that chap Jim ought to 
know, else he shan't stop long with me. He seems to have told you 
right so far. We don't know everything, and never shall. Yes, yes, all 
that seems right, but common sense doesn't look to these matters alone. 
Jim, just take the cup out of the frail and bring us a sample of the water 
(tasting). Ah ! thought so, by the greyish look of it ; this bitter taste is 
enough for me. Never mind the waders yet ; come back with me, I know 
what's the matter it's heather icater ! There ! There ! Look at that 
caterpillar going down. You must try the ' Heather Dog.' I got this 
tip from Land and Water, and it finds 'eni out sometimes, I give you my 
word. But I say, captain, as the eddy has had such a doing, you'd better 
have lunch first ; besides, the haze seems to be lifting, and that'll help you 
considerably with this style of fly." 


Let the angling reader clearly understand that this picture is drawn 
from everyday work, so to speak, and may be accepted as a fair specimen 
of Salmon-angling and the system of procedure. The success of a 
particular fly on some special occasions is of no uncommon occurrence. 
As to how the captain hooked, played, and finally secured his fish we will 
not inquire, for the reason that these matters will be practically treated 
presently in accordance with my original plan of arrangement. Of course, 
he waded, or left the bottom part of the pool " maiden " ; but this also is 
a subject I defer. 

In reference to streams there is a general disagreement of authorities 
as to the size of the fly. The little fly theory is, in places, much maligned, 
whilst the most plausible reasons are advanced in support of the large one. 
Veritable champions, few though they be, come and catch sulky fish 
with large sized patterns on those particular occasions when other men 
have failed ; and even then their success is invariably attributed to the 
-humour of the fish. This old exculpatory plea will not do at all. Their 
victory is entirely due to the principle adopted in presenting the large fly. 
Let us take a case in point. 

The man fishing a small pattern in a stream, takes up a position in 
close quarters with the fish, and I shall explain why very soon. If he be 
inexperienced in approaching Salmon, his manner alone, as I have before 
observed, may spoil his chance. It is certain that the untrained novice 
had better stand back and use a large fly, than wade in and fish 
with a small one. 

Success in either case necessitates a due obedience to the laws of 
presentation. For instance, a small fly must dwell longer over the fish 
than a large one. In order to ensure this, wading is imperative. On the 
other hand, a large fly can often be played properly from the bank, the 
expert being fully alive to the fact that such a lure in most streams must 
be worked quickly and not allowed to dwell at all. 

It would be manifestly unfair towards brother Anglers who fish after 
one, to wade in and thrash a stream with a large fly. The mere fact of 
punishing a stream in this way prohibits the use of a small fly on it, put 
by the hand of a novice. Fortunately, however, this practice, and 
others that for instance of " skimming pools " is quite the exception 



and rarely if ever witnessed on other than Association waters, whose list 
of members, forsooth, sometimes includes the names of persons ever more 
on the alert for jealous competition than for the enjoyment of true sport. 

At all events, before closely examining stream fishing, it must be said 
that some of these " rippling runs " abound with " tub " catches and may 
be bordered with one or two eddies. This chiefly determines the choice 
of flies, their size, and the characteristics of their dressing. The essential 
difference between a " tub " and an ordinary clip in the bed of a river is 
this : A tub catch is always protected at the head by a boulder, 
immediately behind which, yet in the hollow itself, a fish will lie ; whereas 
in the ordinary dip, arising from some peculiarity in the flow of the water, 
the unprotected fish will take up its quarters at the tail of the dip rather 
than on the rising ground. (Salmon will lie on the rising ground when 
the so-called " dips " are out of all proportion larger than the places which 
I am alluding to, and lead into very deep channels.) It is an invariable 
rule with me in fishing " tubs " to mount a small fly, dressed with over- 
sized Jungle "sides," or well-marked Summer Duck serving the same 
purpose, and fish foot by foot rather than yard by yard. In the case of 
fish coming up from deep water, and lying at the very head of a long dip, 
the size of the fly is not so important as the way it is presented, 
whilst the question relating to Jungle and Summer Duck does not 
enter. One wants to fish close, in other words, to take short steps, with 
a view to getting the fish to come sharp at the fly when he sees it at a 

I have always noticed in stream fishing, when the bed is formed of 
gravel, that the more the district is overstocked with Eods, the more 
readily well matured fish fight shy of gaudiness, and exhibit a special 
preference for common looking, plainly dressed flies ; and this is, in my 
opinion, the very reason for so many of our Standards being blessed with 
so many variations here, there, and everywhere. In unfrequented 
districts, the very opposite ruling applies to streams of this sort ; and, if 
I mistake not, it was for one of them that " Jock Scott " was first dressed 
with a blue silk section, and its reputation made at once. 

There are circumstances connected with the temperature of the 
water, its height and colour, atmospherical changes, and the influence 


of local surroundings all of which puzzle us now and again, and I desire 
to urge that these matters must be separately considered in stream and 
other fishing, else the flies chosen will serve only to catch the eye and 
not the fish. 

It will be apparent that, in the economy of nature, heat and cold 
play parts of the utmost importance to the Angler, for the disposition of 
the Salmon is amenable to all climatic vicissitudes. Certainly a rapid 
change to cold, if taken in time, is not so productive of mischief as in the 
case of the weather turning suddenly hot. The fish will cease to show, 
but not to take ; and it will be found that, for sport, the morning is better 
than the afternoon. Sudden heat, as I will explain, has a different effect 
upon them. 

Now, the safest principle for the Angler to adopt, according to my 
experience, is to increase the size of the fly, and decrease the gaudy 
materials in proportion as the air gets suddenly colder. This is my rule, 
and it appears to hold good at nearly all seasons of the year. But when 
the day turns suddenly hot, in which case with a rising barometer 
Catches, hitherto barren of splashes and rings, show signs of life and 
animation, the occupants, as a rule, are restless and seem indisposed 
to look at any fly for the time being. They will leap high out of the 
water to fall back tail first, flounder sideways to come down with a smack 
often heard two or three 'hundred yards away. Still, however much 
some fish may be thus inclined to revive themselves, it would be quite an 
error to consider that the difficulty is very much increased in catching 
others, which, though located in the same pool or stream, are not quite so 
restless. It may be taken that any sensible degree of rise, as measured 
by the thermometer, should lead you to adopt widely different plans. 
You reduce or enlarge the size according to circumstances. For instance, 
up to the end of March, not once in twenty years will you have occasion 
from the exigencies of increased temperature alone, to come down more 
than two sizes. But the change coming in the month of May, when fish 
generally begin to "sport" is a signal pointing in two directions; (1) to 
reduce the size of the fly on most rivers by more than one half ; (2) to 
increase (as much as you can in reason) the comparative gaudiness. Once 
on the Dee, when fishing under such conditions in May, 1895, I came 

CC 2 


down at one bound from a five-inch hook to a "dress" measuring only 
three quarters of an inch. 

As regards the height and colour of the water the one standard 
principle applies everywhere : In high water you use a larger fly than in 
low, but in the event of discolouration my tactics are these ; (1) flaked 
water, silver bodies; (2) road washings (of any colour), Seal's fur bodies 
well picked out ; (3) porter colour, blue hackle over black body ; or a 
claret body, grey Heron hackle and cinnamon Turkey wings for choice. 
(These remarks apply more especially to those rivers on which fancy flies 
are in general use. Nevertheless, on the Spey, where a peculiar variety 
of the strip winged fly is and has for long been pepular, the bright fly 
system holds good on bright days, though perhaps not to any particular 
extent in point of gaudiness. The claret (or fiery-brown) body and 
cinnamon wings is, however, a typical pattern on the Spey for porter- 
coloured water ; and until the summer season, when Cock's hackles take 
the place of Herons, an almost universal system in the selection of flies 
prevails for various conditions of weather and water. That is to say, the 
" Bough Grouse " is invariably reserved for a dark, drizzly day ; the 
" Brown Dog" for a bright day in dark water ; whilst the " Purple King " is 
estimated as being the best general pattern on the river.) In any place, 
I would impress upon the student the necessity for studying the effect of 
long hackles. Responsive as they are to the slightest movement of the 
rod, in the water long hackles are, under proper management, far more 
telling in still pools and lagoon-like reaches than short ones more or less 
stiff in fibre. The secret is never to encourage them by movement of the 
rod to make grotesque and irregular gambols, be the water what it may. 
Perhaps they are less valuable in " maiden " streams than in other 
Catches, yet may be the only sort the fish will notice. Many a time 
have I seen men dwell beside a favourite stream and from want of know- 
ledge put fish down with the short hackled flies to such an extent that 
nothing but long hackles would stir them afterwards. 

This being so, we arrive at the reason of that success which attends 
the man who comes with a large fly and picks up sulky Salmon to the 
astonishment of those who have gone before him fishing small. It may 
be assumed that his whole system differs from that of his innocent 


predecessors. He had wjell understood the failure of the small, short- 
hackled fly, how, amongst other faults, it was played, not with clock-work 
precision, but by shaking the rod about as though a wasp had settled on 
the top ring ; he stands well away from the fish, aims more across the 
water than usual, in order that his fly should not unduly dwell over the 
Catch, and "mends his cast " immediately it is made. Should his fly be 
of an ordinary type, he uses an extra length of line, and never plays the 
lure till it readies the middle part of the stream. He uses the ordinary 
type, and trusts to other principles in his method for those streams which 
are very open, not a tree or a bank to shelter them, upon every occasion 
when the day has grown brighter, not forgetting to have plenty of tinsel 
round the body silver in the morning, gold in the afternoon and plenty 
of Grey Mallard, or Teal, or even Summer Duck in the wings. 

Of course, there is a limit in all things, and when we say " Use the 
fly which shows best under certain conditions," the exact signification of 
the word " best " can only be realised by correct calculations and 
observations. Flies which look well under a clear sky with the sun 
behind them look wretched in rain, and yet, as it may now be understood, 
circumstances sometimes compel us to use them. 

In connection with rain, the worst of it is, and the truth of it is, we 
know very little about the effects of it on fish ; but having had my mind 
directed to the subject, I have obtained a certain advantageous knowledge. 
I shall, however, make no endeavour to satisfy the exacting demands of 
the serious student of the problem for a complete exposition of the details 
that would be a feat of no mean order for any Salmon-angler. Yet it 
is certain that rain may either make our fortunes or leave us worse off 
than before. A good flood in an uninhabited and uncultivated district is 
invariably favourable to sport in certain parls of the river ; but a heavy 
thunderstorm often thickens the water without raising it much, and keeps 
it altogether out of ply, particularly on slow-running rivers, for many 

I have known a man fishing in heavy rain under a wood, at that 
season of the year when the sap rises, plod on and on and never stir a 
fin ; whilst in the open waters above excellent sport was being obtained. 
My note book told me of this, though I failed to discover any explanation 


of the fact until after making an exhaustive analysis. From that time 
I have never missed an opportunity of trying further experiments, and 
have met with quite sufficient evidence to convince me that this was no 
mere chance occurrence. 

My own theory is that, from the dripping of pine, or juniper, or 
something else not precisely known to us, an effect of some kind is quickly 
produced on the fish, and puts them down. We may rest assured that 
any impure matter which a fall of rain disperses in a river is more harmful 
than the composition of rain itself. How far a fair artificial sprinkling of 
chloride of sodium would induce Salmon to rise and take our flies I am 
not concerned to inquire into ; but when Nature herself supplies sea salt 
by means of rain from the westward ocean, our success in certain neigh- 
bourhoods is invariably increased. I say " certain neighbourhoods " from 
the fact that organic matter exists in the air and rain. In the same way 
and measure impurities due to budding, as well as to decaying, foliage 
may do much to cripple or destroy our sport for the time being. 

The chief difficulty which I have hitherto met with is my inability to 
form a fairly approximate idea as to how long it may be before any im- 
purity becomes neutralised. This doubtless could be discovered by 
chemical auxiliaries, just as it has been ascertained that more sulphates 
are found inland than by the sea, and that ammoniacal salts are detected 
in the samples of rain water collected, for instance, in closely inhabited 
coal districts. In fact, it has been conclusively proved in the North that 
vegetation ceases when about four grains of acid are found in one gallon 
of rain water ; and, therefore, it is as well for Fishermen not always to 
pin their faith on a good down-fall. 

There is much less variation needed in selecting proper flies just after 
rain than before it. 

Fishermen of experience are well aware that we often encounter a 
rise of water when least expected. One " fresh," sunny day in the North 
(especially in the months of April and May), and down comes a foot of 
water, upsetting all one's overnight deliberations and plans. The river 
has been affected by the melting of snow. 

Doctors differ considerably as to the effect of a good dose of snow 
broth. On one occasion I was requested to arbitrate in the matter, and 


upon a close examination of the facts and the arguments set forth in 
writing by the two parties themselves, had to find a verdict in favour of 
both. The one had formed his opinions from his own experiences of the 
Dee, the other his of the sister river, the Don. My own knowledge of the 
peculiarities of these rivers is intimate and of prolonged duration. 

I have often met with success on the Dee during a flow of snow 
broth, but never on the Don, and yet these two rivers empty themselves 
close to each other. 

I may refer here to a curious coincidence which once happened while 
fishing the Don. There was no snow at the time of any importance. 
With me sport was at a standstill, whilst the accounts from the Dee were 
excellent. One day it rained for six or seven hours, but the storm was 
local and did not extend to the Dee. For several days I watched the state 
of the weather, and kept up a correspondence with friends in the other 
district, with the result that I found it varied considerably. Cloudy 
weather and fogs prevailed with us, while the sun shone brightly on the 
others. Either of the two former conditions usually tends to quickly lower 
the temperature of the atmosphere. Even the deposit of dew makes a 
difference of a few degrees. In my observations I found out that the 
nature of the soil and the degree to which it is covered by vegetation 
affects the temperature of the climate, changes it, and spoils sport. 

If we carried our thoughts to the sandy deserts of Arabia, we could 
well imagine that the atmosphere attains a very high temperature owing 
to the exposed state of the dry ground ; but a country overrun with 
forests, as on Dee-side, is kept comparatively cool, partly by the sun's rays 
being prevented from reaching the earth, and partly by the abundant 
evaporation which takes place from living vegetables. 

With regard to the statement that temperature is lowered by clouds, 
Fishermen are generally instructed enough to know that the effect is 
widely different in certain seasons. By intercepting and throwing back 
the heat which in winter is so abundantly radiated from the earth's 
surface, clouds tend to preserve a warm temperature. 

In summer, the earth receives more heat from the sun that the soil 
radiates, whilst in cloudy weather the access of the caloric rays to the 
earth is somewhat obstructed, and our planet is protected from a heat too 


violent for her needs. The watery areas of the earth are effected under 
special and highly beneficial conditions, for water heing a poor conductor, 
takes in and gives out heat very slowly very slowly storing much of it 
in summer, and very slowly releasing it in winter with the effect of 
moderating the cold of the one season and the heat of the other. 
Thus, too, rivers preserve a much more equable temperature than their 

As to the comparatively bad sport on the Don, I am almost convinced 
that I had hit a clue. In my opinion, the sun was at the bottom of it 
all, for with me the air was bitterly cold, the water warm. Under those 
conditions, the sport is never good. But in cold seasons the soil along the 
valley of the Dee brings more fortunate conditions. It is from 20 to 25 
degrees warmer than the surface of the snow above it ; so, of course, the 
icy chilliness of the water during a thaw is not nearly so perceptible in the 
one river as in the other. 

To resolve the questions which arise from a sudden push of water 
lessees can erect at a trifling cost, an automatic Water Gauge that registers 
the exact height of the river they fish. Not once but many times have I 
made arrangements over night to send friends to that " sure cast," little 
knowing that in the morning it would be the worst on the whole beat. 
The unlucky ones would go and thrash away until at length they learnt 
to the disappointment of all concerned, that the reach had been trans- 
formed into barren water, and put altogether out of ply. And, moreover, 
it has occurred in my own experience to have got up early to make a 
fly or two for a friend, and afterwards to have directed him to stand 
on a certain stone beside a stream, cast and bring his rod round and 
hold it there till the fly fishes on the inner side of the jutting current 
below one inch rise in the river or even less, and our joint efforts are 
vain, for all the " holding " in the world would not cause the fly to cover 
a Catch of that sort. 

All these and other disadvantages are obviated by bringing into use a 
simple and inexpensive apparatus, which can be made at home and fixed 
by an angling gillie of ordinary intelligence. 

The water gauge is simply a long hollow square box, in which rises 
and falls the connected corks according to variations in the height of 



the water. The line, which is of strong gimp, is attached to the corks 
and runs along on the top of a number of posts, 25 to 35 yards apart, 
through pulleys. It is also attached to the index plate which rises and 
falls on the dial in response to the rise and fall of the corks in the box 
at the riverside. The dial is placed within sight of the windows of your 


The box is about 12 feet in length, the inside measurement of which 
is 12 inches square. It can be put in the water and fixed to the bank ; or 
a hole can be made in the bank for it, and a gully containing a pipe made 
tor the connection. In either case, a hole should be made, so that the box 
is a little lower than " dead low water " when fixed. The pieces of cork 
are four in number, 9 inches square and 3 inches thick. These fit on the 
op of one another, and are fixed together, and weighted at the bottom 


with layers of lead, the whole to weigh 15 Ibs. The gimp is tied to a ring 
fixed in the middle of the top cork. The box is shown with the front 
board taken off ; the dial, in its natural state. This is merely a fixed 
upright 7 inch deal, the face of which is painted white : the inches being 
marked in black figures. Upon each side of this board is fixed a strip 
of wood, flush with the back and projecting in front, say, f of an inch. 
Upon the front edge of these two strips- is nailed another lath, flush 
with the extreme right and left side of each strip of wood, yet slightly 
projecting over the face of the dial, and so forming a groove to keep in 
position the indicating piece of flat lead, which is 5 Ibs. in weight. A 
straight course for the line to play in the pulleys is best, if not indeed 
necessary. If the pulleys are kept in good working order, the least 
variation in the height of the water can be detected by glancing at the dial 
which may be almost any distance in reason from the box in the water. 

We will now turn our attention to Flats. 

Besides other features of these surgeless reaches to which I will 
refer presently, Flats always make opportunities for the display of great 
skill in casting and in killing foul-hooked fish. This is due not only to 
the smoothness but also to the deepness of the water. Of course, these 
places vary, but in most cases, unless caused by the wind, the surface 
is not much ruffled, and unless the fishing is at the head or at the very 
tail, the water is often too deep to wade, and so in wooded districts 
a hooked fish cannot be followed up. The general evenness of the 
bed of the river is the distinct feature from which Flats derive their 

I have constantly noticed in the objectionable change of beat system, 
which prevails among parties numbering four or five or six, that the 
" small fish " get fried. The pitiful spectacle presented of a young Angler 
put down a Flat because it is " his turn," conclusively proves the weakness 
of the system. Even if he can wade, he cannot command the water 
with that degree of delicacy about which I would have a word or two 
to say. 

Delicacy, as here used, means not what shopkeepers mean when 
recommending their fine hooks and lightly dressed flies, but something 
very different. It has nothing to do with the fly dropping " like thistle- 


down," which in Salmon-fishing is a fad, for the fly should "pop" in, 
like a falling acorn upon oily waters. The word really denotes the 
scrupulously light way the line should fall, when, in fishing all 
smooth reaches on calm days, delicacy is an indispensable condition of 

The most effectual means of casting lightly, is to raise the point of 
the rod by a spring of the wrist just as the line is descending. The very 
instant the rod is thus handled the point ascends. But this is a knack 
which requires an immense amount of practice to master. 

In writing of Flats, a very much thrashed out controversy crops up 
and calls to mind many hard struggles with foul-hooked fish. In foul- 
hooking I have a particularly settled conviction, for there is such a thing 
as " settled conviction " in piscatory affairs, though the closest observation 
opens up a long vista of possibilities, and a deal of the non-proven matter 
must for ever remain mysterious. 

Crucial experiments have led me to accept a very good reason for 
hooking fish foul, and I am not afraid to say that my settled conviction of 
the subject would take " all the King's horses and all the King's men " to 
remove. Depend upon this, it happens not from the fly shifting by a 
sudden sharp curl of water, nor from the method of striking, but from 
some fault in the fly itself ; it is either too large or is improperly put 
before the fish, in most cases. 

If he means it, a Salmon will catch a fly in any current easier than a 
fly is caught by a swallow in a gale of wind ; and strike how one will in 
these reaches, or for that matter, not strike at all, fish are often hooked 
foul. No, in all smooth waters, a fly cast accidentally over fish when the 
bed of the river is level, or a fly too large or too gaudy, and the chances 
are they try to kill it with their tail, in which case they often strike the 
line and get hooked somewhere not in the mouth. There is indeed, no 
incident in Salmon-fishing that will more readily convince a man of the 
importance of studying presentation, light, shade, geological formation, 
and other local surroundings, than this. 

Whatever may be the cause of the dilemma, when his line is run out 
and the pull-devil pull-baker business (consequent on foul-hooking) sets in, 
the Angler should resort to certain immediate tactics. Let the reach be 


what it may, the question of following fish should hardly ever be at all 
in doubt.'* 

What is the precise method to adopt in a case of foul-hooking ? 

There is one golden rule worth noting, and if the fish, hooked in the 
back or in the belly, can be followed in the water or on the bank it will 
seldom be lost, provided the Fisherman has a companion. A fairly firm 
hold should be kept on it till it rises to the surface and lies across the 
water to be carried down stream by the force of the current. This 
always occurs when exhaustion sets in. Then, with the rod upright, 
stand perfectly still and allow the winch to uncoil sufficient line a 
hundred yards if necessary to ensure your being so far above the fish, 
that in walking on you do not alter its course. 

Advance step by step afterwards, never losing the bend of the 
rod. On arriving at the head of a shallow (frequently found in Salmon 
rivers) suddenly loosen line, by dropping the point of the rod, when the 
fish will soon disappear, .and as usual face up stream. Should your 
assistant be without waders, give him the rod and walk into the water 
well below the fish. Carefully and quietly station yourself, avoiding all 
dangerous stumbling blocks in the way of big stones coated with muck 
and moss. As soon as the fish is shown the butt again, its course will 
direct you to the left or right, and you will be able to use the gaff 
effectually upon your prize in its floating descent. 

If you are alone, in getting in below the fish, you must of course 
take the rod yourself; but put no pressure on until you are ready 
with the gaff in hand ; then show him the butt in good earnest. 

The misfortune of hooking fish in this way is quickly detected by the 
strange antics they pursue. The fight is usually short, sharp, and severe, 
the airy somersaults,which would make Blondin sick with envy, are soon ex- 
changed for feeble plunges. In any case, always drop the point of the rod 
when the Salmon leaps from the water, and bring it back in one movement. 

Among other "awkward customers" to deal with in Flats, though 
less frequently met with, is the " dancer." 

, * N.B. Everybody, including proprietors, feels the pinch of hard times, but considering 
the exorbitant rents, and the small outlay for making a pathway along a wood, or a platform 
past a deep corner, it is astonishing how tenants bear with easily removed obstructions. 
Knough is not always done in the interest of Anglers in clearing and making riverside 
paths, &c. 


The engraving depicts a memorable fish of about 16 Ibs. It is a- 
splendid sight to see these fine fellows get the line taut and fight it out on 
their tails. This one gave me the hardest tussle I ever had. Sometimes, 
and, indeed, more often than not, they commence operations by taking 
across the river, and then sweeping up gently from the water, rest on 
their tails, and shake their heads in the most violent manner. On these 
occasions you have once more to break the rule which says, " never let a 
Salmon have a slack line," for if you fail to do so in good time by dropping 
the point of the rod, he will break you, as sure as fate. 

But do what you may, the odds are very much against success if an 
abominable snag in the shape of a dead tree is allowed- to rest from the 
shore over the original haunt of the fish half in, half out of water, or if 
you are debarred from taking him up or down, as I was. You may get 
the better of him in the open, for in " dancing " he cannot break the 
tackle when the line is loose, though he will soon make to his corner and 
claim " foul," and often run foul of the snag. They nearly all do this. 
After beating mine in the first " round " or two, he did it; and yet he 
was not happy, for I pulled off a lot of line, switched as much as I could 
over the water, at least ten yards above the snag, put the point of the rod 
down on the bed of the river, waited till'the sinking slack part had been 
washed a little below, and then wound] up, finding myself in command 
once again. Not once, but twice did the same remedy bring him up to 
time. There he would lie and spin round and round on the surface ; when 
all of a sudden, feeling the butt, down-stream he went, " ducks and 
drakes," over the bough he leapt, back he came to dance in front of me, 
and bid me adieu as full of life as ever ! 

But what about those natural surroundings I was talking of light 
and shade and so on ? 

I have, by the way, really begun to ask myself, with increasing fre- 
quency of late, how these things will look in print, disconnected as they 
are, though as I intended them to be. The arrangement is bad. But the 
fact remains that, in getting through various topics by the convenient 
process of division, I have been enabled to bring out the strong points in 
suitable and fitting places. Had these matters been heaped together 
many of them might have been easily overlooked. I have written of them 


as they struck me, and taken care to arrange them in such a way as might 
give me the prospect of making the whole business clear, intelligible, and 
easily remembered. 

Now of reflection. Side reflection differs materially from that kind 
of light occasionally produced by white receding rocks high enough to 
brighten up both sides of the river. If the particular reflector,* whatever 
its nature be, leans towards the river, a direct glare is cast down close to 
the mirror, as an elementary study of angles will show. The light, or 
reflection, is confined to its own side of the river, and is very intense. 

This is what we choose to term " side reflection." 

Presenting the fly by any of the preceding methods of casting is a 
hopeless procedure, mere waste of time, and injurious to sport. The 
Angler must take up a position from which he can pay out the line 
gradually in a direct line of the fish, and always avoiding sudden effort. As 
sgon as the fly reaches, say, within two yards of the spot, it should be 
held still for a minute, and then played for no more than another 

A degree of uncertainty usually exists with regard to the change fly, 
for, although fish are extremely sensitive in these resorts and easily 
frightened away, a second fly should be tried, if not a third. If, however, 
we are informed by the gillie put to watch the movements of the fish that 
an " inspection " has been made, our state of uncertainty is considerably 
reduced. It is not the question of size that should bother us, for all 
patterns must be very small (No. 6 being considered as the full size), but 
rather the question of character, colour, and very likely the way the fly 
should be worked. At all events, we come down immediately in tone, 
even to using a black body, and we make a thorough change in the style 
of wing, say, from a built wing to one composed entirely of toppings. 

The disposition of the fish to start or move again towards the fly 
induces us to mount a pattern having two or three colours in the body, to 
fish it deeper by the use of shot, and play it in a different manner 
to that previously adopted. 

* N.B. Of course, in speaking of the reflection of an overhanging rock, I have two 
refltrtors before me, e.y., the water and the rock. For clearneits I shall call the water 
"mirror" and the object imaged on it the " reflector." 


Who, for instance, has not seen a fish seize a fly just as it is being 
drawn into a strong current from a side eddy a great secret this in 
"presentation." The fly cast, say, beyond fish resting on the far side of 
the current, cannot remain there for long. Do what one may, the inter- 
vening stream catches the line, gracefully turns the head of the fly, and 
gradually increases the pace of it across the catch. 

This is a useful lesson to those who are not well versed in 

Where nature fails, art often succeeds. The desirable current is not 
always there, but the student can, as I have before said, secure the natural 
and effective movement of the fly, by working the rod-graduaUy round in 
front of him. 

However, the Angler fishing alone had better begin operations with a 
dark silk or Berlin wool body and chance his luck afterwards with the 
"variegated" body (see Sun fly) made with silks, furs, or chenilles 
according to the custom prevailing on the river. Silver bodies, black 
hackles, and plain Mallard wings are very telling when the sun is con- 
stantly popping in and out. 

The mere brightening up of the water by the sun shining over a bank 
or a wood upon wet or white rocks which do not throw back rays of light 
actually into the water, is the signal for decreasing size and increasing 

Should the trees overhang and shade the catches on the inner side, a 
dirty yellow, or a dirty orange body, with a plain hackle at the throat, and 
with wings composed of Peacock's herl mixed with strands of Golden 
Pheasant tail, is the kind of fly I invariably use myself. 

While directing my attention to Flats, I have learnt that " the sun 
speaks a language of his own, though no voice breaks the air." To 
interpret it, we should evoke the whispers of common sense. 

Of course, we may strive in vain in our endeavour to collocate all the 
technical laws which govern the sport, but were a little of the time and 
thought usually spent in learning the commoner accomplishments of 
Salmon-fishing bestowed, say, upon the more complex and interesting 
subjects (for instance, the reflection of light), how many of the so-called 
" mysteries " would meet with easy explanation, and how much the 









Plate 8 


pleasure and prosperity of the Angler's life would be heightened and 

Besides being very shy, the fish in these places are very sulky when 
the water is deep ; and to render a conflict inevitable, the frequent use 
of split shot can well be recommended. On these occasions they are, 
indeed, the greatest labour-saving adjuncts we possess the amount of 
sport derived from their employment being far more than commensurate 
with the labour generally expended without them. And this brings to 
mind another peculiarity in Salmon that uniformly accompanies the 
Fisherman on Flats, and is characteristic of them. It may be described 
as " a fit of the sulks," and nothing more strikingly brings home the 
utility of patient perseverance and self command than the dexterous 
delusion and conspicuous conquest of a sulking fish. 

I have no record of having killed a 30 pounder in a Flat without first 
being called upon to cure this tiresome complaint, but of the last thirteen 
"fits" treated, not one single patient survived to recompense by his 
presence the pains-taking efforts of another man. 

I am still of the opinion that the method adopted resulted in the best 
" cure " after all. Nor does it require a trained and familiar acquaintance 
with the handling of our tackle to bring about the desired result. 

When all other schemes to release himself have failed, a heavy Salmon 
seems instinctively prompted to take up his quarters on the bed of the 
river and there lie, sometimes for hours, still as a mouse. This is called 
" sulking." There is a belief existing, not only in certain parts of Ireland 
and Scotland, but also in Wales, that the best means of dealing with this 
deep-seated policy is to use a "night-cap." I would rather not educate 
the untutored mind by defining this article, and describing the mode of its 
application. Suffice it to say that this funnel-shaped scarecrow, though 
accelerating the battle, maddens the fish by depriving it of the use of the 
organs of sight, and aggravates it to such an extent that off it will go, at 
a pace peculiar to the species, against any obstruction in the road often 
the opposite bank when the tackle breaks and the fish retires from sight 
more dead than alive. It is equally futile to attempt to haul the fish from 
its haunt ; Jumbo himself could not to all seeming have tried the tackle 
more. But I have moved them by getting below and pulling by the line. 

D U 


This is known as "hand-lining" a fish. The experiment, however, is not 
one to recommend the novice to try at any time (except in the 
absence of the gaff) ; for it often ends in failure or loss, even with 
the best of us. Stones and other missiles deserve wholesale con- 

The safest and surest remedy is not to disturb the fish in any 
way whatever, but to put on a good steady strain and bide your time. 
Get towards him, take up a position that the point of the rod is 
opposite the tail of the fish and pull sideways, carefully watching the 
instant he moves for relaxing your efforts. 

In this serene situation you patiently sit, and for aught one knows 
hold your lighted pipe, and a firm grip of the fish simultaneously, till at 
length it becomes weary and eventually yours. 

Beyond the common advantages of other Catches, Flats offer the 
privilege of successfully running do wn " travellers . ' ' Any observant Angler 
soon learns for himself that travelling fish almost invariably rest and rise 
at the very tail of a Flat. Whether the increased aeration of the rapid 
immediately below works upon them as one would expect, I leave to others 
to decide for themselves. But we know for a fact that artificial means 
have been devised, and are used to pump air into bait-cans, such as that 
exhibited at the " Fisheries," by Mr. Basil Field ; and to acquire an idea 
of the effect of fresh oxygen ascending through the water, as in this 
instance, during a long day's journey, you may carry baits for coarse 
fishing, and keep them as fresh and full of life as ever they were. 

It is not the mere fact of a Salmon resting and rising in these places 
to which I would alone call attention, but rather to the ready way a fish 
will take a fly on reaching them, and to the singular opportunity they 
afford a recruit to " flesh his maiden sword." 

On the tail of a Flat you really may shake up your flies in a hat and 
choose the first that comes to hand. Of course, I allude only to ordinary 
standard patterns, and not to " specials " or "exaggerations." And, as 
to size, here again I should consider that no man would mount a Tay fly, 
say, on the Lochy or Ness. 

Now we come to Rapids ; and perhaps the most difficult thing to 
detect and the easiest to deal with is the " stone-grubber." In any other 



Catches, stone grubbing can be immediately recognised ; the sensation 
reminds one of a terrier shaking a rat ; but in rapids the action of the 
water upon the tackle often misleads a man by producing a similar im- 
pression. The object of this manoeuvre of the fish is to break the hook, 
by knocking it backwards and forwards against a boulder. Experience 

To show the posit ion for playing a heavy Jink in a rapid. 

has confirmed the conviction that disaster will follow the application of 
strain ; the line therefore should be, at once, considerably slackened, 
when the fish will quickly move away. Should you succeed in 

D D 2 


banking a "grubber " you will find the hook inserted in a bone or very 
close to one. 

It is chiefly owing to this circumstance that I recommended double 
hooks for these situations. Never once has a " stone-grubber " beaten me 
when thus appointed. In saying this, I am fully alive to the fact that 
other authorities will disagree with me. Only yesterday (12th August, 
1893), I read an article in a London paper, wherein the writer seemed 
satisfied of their superiority, but condemned them altogether for use in 

In my opinion, any hook improperly managed will " skirt " or make 
an objectionable fuss in rapid water. Holland's hooks,- made by William 
Bartleet and Sons, are the least likely to do so, whilst in untutored hands 
double hooks are certain to " skirt " ; and, in rapids, this defect would be 
noticed directly. But let the reader understand that, the places where 
the expert himself would be puzzled to use a double-hooked fly correctly, 
are the very places in which the fish never rest. 

Times out of number have I been driven to cast beyond a Salmon 
lying in the wake of a boulder, and 011 seeing the fly "skirt" have 
"mended the cast," lowered the point of the rod, letting it go forward 
instead of holding it still, and so succeeded in presenting the fly to 
the fish, in a way, which, at any rate, gave me satisfaction. But 
I take this as a very insignificant detail in comparison with others 
bearing on the question of Rapids, as, for instance, " garreting." I will 
briefly explain and deal more fully with the subject in the next chapter. 

Kivers are " garreted " (as it is called) for the purpose of forming 
artificial catches. (The term " catch," so written, differs from a Catch or 
Cast which may contain several " catches," " lay-byes," or " holds." It 
denotes a certain spot, or place, in which, according to its dimensions, 
one or more Salmon will rest for a time as they ascend the river.) 

These "garrets" are often constructed with piles shod with iron, 
boarded in front, and backed up with large stones by way of extra support. 
The angle at which the piles are driven entirely depends upon the force of 
water in flood time. For example, if put too slanting, the object desired, 
which, obviously, is to wash out a portion of the bed of the river below 
and create a holding place, would be defeated, let the bed of the river be 


what it may, unless the current is sufficiently strong for the purpose. 
Much, however, depends upon the bed of the river. If formed of gravel, 
an angle of 40 degrees might suffice ; if of boulders silted up, 50 degrees 
may be necessary. Again, the length of the garret has to be determined. 
With a straight flow of water, in the absence of any small bank eddies, 
five yards, measuring from the outward pile straight across to the bank, 
is the average distance. But I have hardly ever seen garreting rapids 
done by any process that led to good results. And although I have seen 
the experiment tried, it has usually ended in failure, sometimes in disaster. 

Artificial Catches, when properly constructed, are quite as useful for 
angling purposes as those formed by Nature. When improperly made, 
they not only involve a waste of time and money, but are apt to completely 
spoil other Casts below them. 

There are other means than garreting to make artificial catches. For 
instance, in gravelly streams, the Salmon, though present, will not rise 
to flies when the water falls below a certain height. A boulder weighing 
about 3 cwt. dropped from the stern of a punt into the middle of the 
current will soon make a sure " rise." Much larger ones are not nearly 
so efficient. Half a dozen such places could be formed in this way in 
streams 50 yards in length, but it is desirable to put the boulders in a 
zig-zag line. Behind each one, for a distance of two and a half to three 
and a half yards, the gravel will be washed out, and so, of necessity, 
deepen the water ; and, in one or two days, or as soon as each stone gets 
silted up a little, the fish will take to them. 

I have a particular object in view in referring just now to various 
changes in the beds of rivers, for they sometimes lead to the most fantastic 

The ancient sites of many towns and villages in Yorkshire, for 
instance, are now occupied by sandbanks in the sea. Among these the 
Ravenspur is, perhaps, the most conspicuous example. This seaport 
town, formerly of such importance that it was a rival to Hull, has been 
altogether swept away, and nothing is now to be seen of the site it 
occupied, save extensive sandbanks, which are daily covered by the waves, 
though still visible when the tide recedes. The coast of Elgin also affords 
a striking example of the " sand-flood," as it is not improperly termed. 


Great alteration is traceable upon some rivers inland, as witness the Spey. 
Along the valley of this glorious river, once famed for its purity, the 
geologist meets with many tracts formerly occupied by its waters. 

I wonder whether there was any garreting in those days ! Be that 
as it may, whatever may have been the cause in ancient times for any 
such changes as these, whether by subterranean disturbances or by sub- 
sidence, I have with my own eyes seen two of the best pools a man could 
wish for, silted up and absolutely ruined by an attempt to garret a rapid, 
and I wish to emphasise this story. 

Once while watching some boulders as they thundered down stream 
in a growing flood, I witnessed a sight never to be forgotten. In less time 
than it takes to write about it an increasing pile of boulders hitched up in 
a garret at the head of a rapid and backed up the waters until they struck 
off at a sharp angle, cutting through the banked up stones alongside, and 
forming through them a new, navigable channel. 

Suddenly, as the river rose, the mass washed away. Two or three 
days afterwards, the flood having receded, the new watercourse could not 
be traced, for the bank of stones had assumed its normal condition, 
and not a vestige of the threatened mischief remained. 

If left to themselves, in the absence of obstruction by artificial agency, 
rapids rarely spoil fishing, or create any mischief in other respects. But 
it is not too much to say that, in his endeavour to improve the fishing by 
means of garrets, the inexperienced workman should never be trusted. 

The safest places for these constructions are unquestionably those 
broad reaches frequently met with which have remained for years in an 
unaltered condition reaches invariably shallow and barren of fish. And 
the best spots in them are those in which a huge boulder, raising its head 
well out of the water, renders the undertaking not only easy, but safe. 

One of the most noteworthy schemes for fishing rapids is by that 
known to me as the " hinged platform." No one will deny that this little 
stage is simplicity itself and a great convenience. It can either rest upon 
iron feet, or upon an outstanding rock or boulder, and let down for use 
and raised afterwards by means of a rope running through a pulley fixed 
on a tree or on a post at a suitable angle. 

In the absence of this contrivance, and in places which, perhaps, are 


not more than 18 inches in depth, the " Body-belt " provides the only 
means of fishing wild waters dancing between the rocks in downhill rapids. 
The sense of safety that always comes in using it inspires one with a 
feeling of the utmost confidence. 

" Upon my word," writes a well-known Fisherman who is just now 
trying mine, " I feel safer than I ever did in wading before ; but I ought 
to tell you that the first time I tried I was washed off my legs. This was 
entirely my own fault, as I forgot to follow your directions." 

The belt is best made of similar material to that used for saddle 
girths. It buckles round the waist and fastens in front. A ring is fixed 
in the centre at the back, through which a fairly strong rope passes, form- 
ing a pair of reins. The Angler puts the rope round a tree or a post and 
lets out rope as he moves down-stream. It is a sure means of support, 
provided the Fisherman leans forward ; but if he allows his legs to get in 
front of him in other words, if he leans back, the force of the current 
may wash him " off his legs," as in the instance of my correspondent. 

Open rapids can be covered without casting a very long line, as 
this kind of water generally pursues a course through narrow channels of 
the river. In fishing the fly, the great secret is to locate oneself as much 
as possible in front of the " catches," so that the fly may be brought 
across them at any pace the Angler thinks best. But when, by force of 
circumstances, he is driven to let the fly travel fast, the size of it should 
be considerably increased. 

Sometimes we encounter narrow fast-running waters shut in between 
rocks. As a rule, the Catch is situated in the tail of the rapid where the 
water is usually very deep and " oily " on the surface. Upon such 
occasions as these, when it is well-known that the fish rise in a perpen- 
dicular manner at the fly, the method of presenting it differs from the 
orthodox fashion. The cast is made in the usual way, but, in playing the 
fly, instead of the motion of the rod being of a steady backward and 
forward character, it is a quick up and down movement. The point of 
the rod vibrates with a rapidity of beat equal to about double that of a 
man's pulse. It is not held pointing to where the fly fell, but is brought 
round at a pace corresponding with that of the fly in its course, the up 
and down movement being continued throughout. This compels the fly 


to describe an arc of a circle ; and if the Angler takes very short 
steps no more than twelve inches at a time the fish lying immediately 
behind an upright rock are more apt to rise in twenty feet of water 
as soon as they see the lure thus played than by adopting any other 

Of course, if a very long line is necessary, the system fails to have 
any effect upon the fly at all ; and to meet the case, the line is seized just 
in front of the winch and pulled rapidly backwards and forwards while the 
fly is crossing the water. 

We have yet another important matter to bear in mind in connection 
with fishing places of this latter description. As soon as the fish has taken 
the fly he does not turn, but rather drops his head and goes down as he 
came up perpendicularly. Unless the Angler strikes at once, the fish 
disappears like a bubble in the palm of one's hand, leaving behind only 
the damp of disappointment. 

I remember accompanying the late Lord L - to a pool on the 
Beauly, which I was myself fishing in 1893. 

"Well, have you got 'em?" he shouted inquiringly from the top of 
the rocks to a friend engaged in the " Mare's " Catch. 

"No, had five rises though, but missed every one." 

" Wind up and wait till I come down," was urged in reply, and that, 
too, by one of the best Salmon-anglers it has ever been my privilege to 

On reaching the bottom and learning how matters stood from " Auld 
.Allan" a servant with then 40 years or more experience, and who yet 
lives to relate the story himself directions were given to strike directly 
after the rise. 

" I never strike my fish, but 

" Then you'll never catch 'em here, that's certain," Lord L 
remarked in a friendly tone. 

But a promise to try the experiment was given, with the result that 
three Salmon soon lay on the bank before us. Others, I forget how many, 
were secured afterwards. 

For the rest, there is very little that calls for particular notice in 
rapids. Our attention will now be directed towards matters relating to 


fishing generally, and of these I purpose dealing first with the question of 
striking Salmon. Let us then ask ourselves once more the object we 
have in view at the time when a Salmon rises and takes the fly. Our 
object, surely, is to hook the fish with as little risk as possible. 

This branch of our subject is so important that I shall venture to 
intrude on the reader with various opinions and experiences my own and 
those of others. In judging which system to follow, let him examine 
closely into the principle of it, and let him be guided by the one that best 
answers the scientific conditions of a rigid test. 

The operation of striking is conducted somewhat blindfold. What 
chance, then, would a man have of tearing the flesh of a fish who con- 
ducts the operation when holding his line and applying just the same 
power for a Salmon coming towards him as for one turning down-stream, 
against the man whose very principle secures for him absolute immunity 
from all such danger, no matter whether he uses very much power or only 
just enough? 

The reader will form his own estimate of these things. At the same 
time, I feel bound in these pages to recommend the system I adopt myself 
from the simple fact that, after years of practice, it has proved by far the 
most remunerative and economical both in time and tackle. 

Much has been said and written of striking Salmon. We have had 
ardent votaries of no striking, of strong striking, and of modified methods. 
Of the no strikers I say nothing, considering them out of court, beyond 
conversion, outside argument, and of that honest perversity of the twelfth 
juror who damned the other eleven " obstinate asses" who would not 
agree with him. Of the strong strikers and the moderates, it is, perhaps, 
best to think that ambiguous language is accountable for most of the 
differences which separated them during the wordy contests that have 
filled so many newspaper columns. 

In point of fact, I have not observed in practice much difference in 
the striking manners of my friends, amongst whom are open advocates of 
the strong and moderate fashion of embedding the hook. What the 
strong striker practised and advocated as "strong," the moderate striker 
practised and advocated as " moderate " ; and the very mildest-mannered 
Angler seemed, when he felt the fish, to " put the iron in " with as much 


vigour and bitter purpose as the good fellow who blustered for strength in 
half a dozen sporting papers. 

Unless one sees what takes place it is impossible to be certain what a 
Salmon has done in taking your fly. At least, it is generally impossible 
to form an exact conclusion, and so act on it as to send your message 
through rod and line to the hook in his mouth before you have felt him. 
Then is the time to put the barb home. Human nature instructs us to 
do so, just as instinct tells us to pull up a stumbling horse than leave it 
to take its chance of falling. 

Frankly, I never came across that sweet, gentle creature that hesitated 
to " raise his rod " at the golden moment when he felt the fish. 

Five and forty years ago that fine Irish Angler, " Ephemera," wrote: 
" My general rule is not to strike at a Salmon until I feel him." 

And this is mine, too, with these further conditions, namely, when a 
fish makes a long rush at a fly and remains stationary ; when he takes me 
on the edge of a sharp-running stream and just wriggles sideways into an 
eddy ; and when he seizes the fly and I know that he comes on with it 
towards me. On these occasions I never wait for him to turn. No. 1 
happens in the Spring of the year in still, bright water ; No. 2 occurs in 
very hot weather ; and we meet with No. 3 at any time with a very large 
fish. In each case it comes to downright skill in striking at the proper 
moment, for in the next the fish will be gone not because he breaks the 
tackle, for if he is not " hit," he will not have had the opportunity of 
testing it. 

In continuing the paragraph, " Ephemera " suggests that every man 
is nervous at the beginning of the year, and asks the oldest among us 
whether they do not lose many a fish by their " precipitation in striking." 

The question, be it said, was put in those days when the old-fashioned 
winches were in use, and the dismal practice of holding the line prevailed. 
In these days such an idea would never enter a man's head. If Anglers, 
either young or old, are worried with weak nerves, I rather fancy they 
would err, not so much in proceeding with blind haste, but in using un- 
necessary strength. And yet any such error as that would, as I say, make 
no difference whatever under the principle of striking which I uphold, for 
I have never seen the tackle broken yet or the hooks make much of a 


tear. Of course, if a man strikes too soon, be the principle what it may, 
his chance would be at a very low premium indeed. 

Next comes a very pretty idea which " Ephemera " modestly declines 
to account for. 

" I frequently strike," says he, " and hook fish without, as far as I can 
conceive, any premeditation or calculation, but almost by instinct. 
Something I cannot tell what tells me that a fish is ' at ' me, and 
consequently I am promptly at him in the sly way he has come at me." 

I make a low bow to Ephemera who, indeed, would not ? but as to 
" cannot tell what," I am strongly of the opinion, he had in mind " that 
boil," which, breaking the surface yards from one's fly rarely escaped his 
notice and gave him the hint. 

Some authors seem to consider that the most dangerous moment is in 
striking. This is all very well ; but they go on to say that " it requires 
much patience to use just force enough to bury the barb without tearing 
the flesh or breaking the gut trace." What better evidence could 
be offered of the incompleteness of the method originally in vogue ? The 
old form of winch demanded far more caution in the Angler than those at 
the hand of modern men. I also take exception to the statement, 
"sometimes I am lucky sometimes very unlucky." In connection with 
striking, there is very little room for luck and not as much for argument 
as people have contrived to make out. Nor do I think it quite fair by 
the fish for an Angler to fancy himself out of luck when his fly is only 
partially taken ; there is a reason for the failure of its attempt to take 
hold. A Salmon does not miss his aim. The fly from some cause 
or other has probably made him shy ; his inclination has, however, 
already been tested ; and, had the fly been of a different sort, or size, 
or put in a different way, the fish might have taken it into his head, 
figuratively speaking, to " gobble " it up, instead of " nibbling " at it. 
How often, under favourable conditions of water, have we not felt that 
" nip," and merely " rugged " the fish in consequence ! Is this, then, 
bad luck or bad judgment ? I hesitate to enumerate those days " when 
fish are shy," or to blame them for want of boldness, for when the 
water has settled, I have often but not always found by subsequent 
trial that the fly was too large or wrongly put. I do not overlook the 


fact that when Catches are either very high or have fallen below a certain 
size, fish often rise and touch the fly, yet cannot be made to take it, use 
what pattern you may. 

" I have often landed a fish so slightly hooked," says one gentleman, 
" that, had I struck, the hold must have given way." Just so, if the 
writer means " struck with violence," but, for all that, by my method of 
striking, the flesh is never torn, and so" the chances in one's favour are in- 
evitably increased.* 

Another remarks : " A fish very often rises at a fly with his mouth 
wide open, and if he is struck at, the chances are that the fly will be 
snatched away before he has time to close his mouth/ on it, which he might 
have done if the hand had been held steady." 

With the aid of binoculars I myself watched the habits of Salmon in 
this respect for many years. Sometimes they came with a rush, at other 
times quite gently. In the former case, what I saw would be of no 
practical value here, for as a matter of fact I saw next to nothing ; but I 
have never once seen a fish come slowly with his mouth shut, or fail to close 
his mouth on taking the fly. 

Precipitation in striking has already been discussed. 

In placing upon record some unusual success on the Tweed, another 
writer observes : " For two hours I never saw so many fish hooked and 
lost. But the Angler was somewhat successful, as he caught four, loi Ibs., 
16^ Ibs., 19 J Ibs., and 21 J Ibs. in weight. It is the system I am anxious 
to write in praise of." 

The " system " evidently meant the system of striking ; and I fail 
to see where the praise comes in, with such an acknowledgment of 
fish lost. 

Next I read : " Many a time have I seen my fly drop out of the fish's 
mouth, the moment he was gaffed." 

How, I would ask, can a fly drop out, after the usual battle, unless the 
flesh is torn, or, the barb broken ? 

I hope I am not wearying the reader by these quotations and opinions, 
my object is purely to instruct, or rather to convince the novice as to the 

* X.B. A Frenchman wrote : " There are clowns who kiss their sweethearts with brutality 
a gallant gentleman will kiss his foe with delicacy." 


value of the method which I adopt myself ; and I think the explanations 
given of these cases, emanating from men of whom one or two have fished 
almost as long as I have, will tend to further that end. One gentleman 
considers it to be "a very bad habit " to strike a Salmon at any time. It 
is a curious fact, but his is not the only individual case in which I have 
had the opportunity of directly judging for myself. "Halloa! " I once said 
to my friend whom I had been closely watching unperceived. " You hit 
him pretty hard that time ; whatever you think you do, if you do not strike 
I never yet saw the man who does." " Bless me," said he, " who thought 
of seeing you ! Ah, ah ! come down here and I'll show you something as 
soon as I have this fellow on shore." I went, to see my greatest opponent 
fishing with my winch and a double hooked fly. How mellow that whisky 
of his tasted ! 

Let us pass to the next opinion which runs : " When striking from 
the winch especially when fishing with large flies, if the winch is not a 
very stiff one (which to me is an abomination) a sufficient strain on the 
line cannot, in my opinion, be available to fix the point of the hook over 
the barb ; and when striking with the line tightly grasped between the 
hand and the reel, the sudden jerk and strain on the line is apt 
to leave the fly in the fish's mouth, or smash the top of the rod ; also 
the fly will be often snatched away before the fish has had time to 
take hold of it, which may scare him to such a degree that he will not 
rise again." 

I can scarcely keep from my mind the idea that the writer, in this 
instance, was joking. Still, here is the judgment of a successful Angler, 
and I shall say no more than sufficient to place my experience of these 
matters along with his and others for the reader's consideration. I need 
not institute a comparison between a stiff and a free running winch just 
now, for this, together with the crucial and exhaustive test of the 
particular strain " available to fix the point of the hook over the barb," 
must obviously form part of the material to work upon, in presently ex- 
plaining my own ideas of the best methods of striking. But with regard 
to the fly being left in the fish's mouth well, this is just one reason that 
induced me to work out that method. Of a different order is the following 
address, which strikes the key note of the new method and raises a point 


in the argument of the utmost importance. " By attending to Mr. Kelson's 
instructions," says one who knows the advantage of the method, by 
long practice, " I find it absolutely impossible to break the gut or line, or 
strike too hard. The strike should be a long, firm, steady pull, but not a 
jerk. Trout, grilse, sewin, and other species of the salmonidoe, will in- 
stantly reject an artificial fly unless struck, and my impression is, Salmon 
will do the same." 

Then the Editor, himself an enthusiastic Fisherman, takes up the 
cudgels, and amongst other matters of my method gratuitously re- 
marked : " It is an infinitely better plan than striking with the line 
held fast a number of Anglers have thanked us for suggesting the 

Now, in this contradictory business there must be a right and a wrong. 
In the opinion of a few, the practice of striking is a mistake altogether. 
Others insist they lose more fish when the practice is ignored, and are 
satisfied that it is an imperative necessity. And, whilst many complain 
bitterly of the losses sustained by the old methods of holding the line, they 
yet sing praises in favour of the new, by which they meet with neither 
failure nor loss of tackle. 

In the light of these facts, it would appear there are two sets of 
Anglers, whose opinions upon this vital question are widely divergent ; and 
although I have in the past pages frankly expressed my own views, it is well, 
in such a volume as this, to ventilate the views of opponents. It is evident 
that one side wishes you to believe that it is unnecessary to strike at all, 
and that if you do, you will lose tackle ; but it does not say how many fish 
get away by leaving them to hook themselves. The other side tell you the 
fish must be struck, that if not, many will drop the fly after taking it, and 
that if you adopt the new method you never break the tackle or tear the 
flesh of the fish, and so get many more to the gaff. 

The former school I know get some fish ; the latter, three times as 
many. But in the very constitutions of these two sides there is an infinite 
variety. What is wholesome in fishing and what is the reverse, are two 
different things, and must be estimated accordingly. The " pull," for 
instance, and the subject of presentation, which, as foreign ingredients 
were poison to one side, is food to the other. Not a tittle of evidence 


have we from that man who can say : " I have tried Kelson's plan, it's 
all humbug and I'll prove it." Anglers must not suffer from off-hand 
decisions, any more than from belief in the old fetish, which, despite 
the losses and failures of the vast majority, a few of the surviving ancients 
keep alive. It is a pity that all the facts concerning the failures and suc- 
cesses of each side are not honestly tabled ; and that it is not satisfactorily 
settled what constitutes a strike and what does not. Obviously in such a 
matter as this, sound practical knowledge is worth propagation. 

Truth, be it said, is established not so much by what men say as by 
what they prove ; but still, I should like to call attention to an early ex- 
perience of my own in view of briefly pointing out to novices the mistaken 
zeal of devotees to the old system and showing the real value of the new. 

In the autumn 1882, when my Patent Lever Winch was first tried, I 
managed to get with it no fewer than ninety-one Salmon without a single 
one having its flesh torn at the hold. 

Do not such results as these serve to prove that with this winch the 
tear does not take place at the moment of striking, and, provided subse- 
quent operations are decently performed, that it never occurs at all ? 
However, by adopting the method made easy by this winch, I have 
reduced in a remarkable degree the proportion of fish that used to escape 
my " iron " gripe. 

At this point I should like to ask one question : Has it not happened 
to you and to your friend, in point of fact to all who traipse up and down 
a Salmon river, to be startled by that well-known " tug" when least ex- 
pected, when all hope, as it were, had been dead within you? In 
one flash, while the thoughts are wandering, you saw, or rather felt, 
that it was too late to strike and likewise knew that you had missed 
a chance ! What do you say to that ! But never mind, let it pass. We 
all know that what is past help is past grieving for. 

By this time the reader will have formed a pretty true estimate of my 
ideas, all of which, I need hardly say, are based on similar experiences to 
those just recorded. They shall be carefully explained after bringing 
forward one matter which, being the worst enemy to our cause, must not 
be overlooked. 

I admit to the full that, where there is no principle of personal 


benefit opposing it, the voice of the people interested in Angling questions 
ought to prevail. But the difficulty that faced and still faces us in the 
solution of this great problem is to clear the atmosphere of certain 
influences arising from the filmy foundation of guesswork or business 
interests. If we can do this it is all I intend to say on the point we 
may be very sure that the opinions of authorised men will meet with 
warmer fervour in Angling circles than has yet been accorded to 

Now, as a general rule, the safest and surest way of securing a fish and, 
at the same time, of avoiding the infliction of such a wound as will render 
the hold of the hook uncertain, is, in my judgment, to strike from the 
Lever Winch in all cases in which the hook used does not exceed 2/0 in 
size. That is my opinion. But as individual opinion may or may not 
count for much, let us take an illustration with which many old hands are 
familiar from prolonged practice themselves. 

We have, for instance, two noted rivers the Lochy and the Ness 
on which the very smallest double-hook flies are used. On both these 
rivers it is the practice to strike. Then we have other waters, on which 
the custom prevails of first using these tiny flies, not on Salmon, but on 
Trout tackle. What is the result in each case? With the Salmon 
tackle, Anglers strike and get their fair average of fish, while, 011 the other 
hand, striking with fine drawn gut is altogether impracticable. If a man 
strikes with it, the fish breaks " everything " instantly. The Angler has, 
of necessity, to run his chance of the fish getting hooked, and his chance 
is a very poor one five times in six. 

Striking from the winch is to let the line have free play between the 
winch and the hook. In other words, the line is not held by the fingers 
as was the original practice during the operation. This method of striking 
can only be achieved by the use of a proper winch, the lever of which the 
Angler can regulate at his will. For rapid waters, the lever should be so 
adjusted that the line will not overrun itself when drawn out swiftly by 
the hand. For quieter currents it should be set somewhat tighter so 
arranged that, in the hands of the most severe critic, the winch could not 
be said to be " stiff." It requires very little practice to secure the desired 
degree of the pressure of the lever, and that is the only precaution needed. 


As already mentioned, it is of no importance should the Fisherman strike 
a little hard, for the reel-plate will revolve when the hook or hooks have 
taken hold, and so prevent any breakage of tackle. He would do best, 
perhaps, not to be misled by the term strike to jerk the rod, but, in 
elevating it, to give a short, upward spring of the wrist. 

When the Angler is compelled to use a hook in excess of size 2/0 
he must hold the line in slow-running waters, and strike from his fingers, 
in order to drive in the hook over the barb. 

The reason why I recommend striking from the winch where it is 
practicable to do so, is that the force exerted is far better regulated by the 
resistance of the properly-adjusted lever than it can be even by an expert's 
muscles. Upon numberless occasions have I noticed that, bar accidents 
in playing, the hooks remain intact. In playing, sometimes a fish is too 
severely handled ; the line may be hitched up in a " snag " ; the fish may 
run down a weir ; but the flesh is never torn, provided no inordinate 
pressure is put on at dangerous intervals. The reader will better under- 
stand this presently. 

By the method I have recommended, a Salmon, when fairly hooked, 
is hardly ever lost ; it either gets off at once, which shows it has been 
merely " pricked," or is brought to bank barring other accidents over 
which the Angler has no control. No man, for instance, can help heavy 
fish running up-stream, and sometimes it is impossible to keep pace with 
them. Only the other day I had one quite a hundred yards above me ; 
but I took good care to give him his head. Had he turned and come full- 
swing down the river and passed me here is the point the chances 
are the line would have caught up among the boulders. In such circum- 
stances the hooks would hardly remain intact. 

I have now only to remind the novice of one other fact. He will 
remember that, in presenting the fly to the fish, the rod is to be at a 
certain angle down-stream during the process, for if the rod is held up in 
the air, he cannot make that " long, firm, steady " strike, which would 
assuredly imbed the hook without tearing the flesh of the Salmon, or even 
that of the tender-mouthed grilse. 

But it is one thing to hook a Salmon, and quite another to get it. 
How, then, should we proceed in that direction ? 

E E 


Playing a fish is one of the delights of an Angler's experience. It 
calls for patience, coolness, activity, and keen perception. 

Gaffing a fish when it is exhausted is exceedingly simple, and no part 
of our business requires less practice. We will take these subjects 

The first thing to be done on hooking either a Salmon or grilse which 
keeps below the surface of the water is to hold the rod in its raised 
position, and while so doing, to slightly loosen the lever of the winch. 
This is the work of a moment, and so easy in itself that all instruction is 
dispensed with in this book. 

The next thing to be done is to get on shore (if wading) as quickly as 
possible and to keep in command as much as possible. By this I mean, 
never to allow the fish to get away far up-stream* above you ; always to 
follow him down-stream ; and in the event of his taking across the 
water, to station yourself a little above him, holding the rod high in the air 
in order to avoid the line from bellying too much in the strong current. 

It is not always on hooking a Salmon that one can immediately form 
an idea of its weight. A large fish, for instance, will reserve its strength 
for a time ; and even for the space of several minutes will appear little 
better than an inanimate substance. But the strain of the rod, though 
moderate in degree at first, soon tells, and the fish will give vent to its 
fury in grand impetuous runs and bursts. On the other hand, a small 
Salmon will often make off hurriedly down-stream, and lead you to 
suppose he is " that monster " which you have been so anxious to catch. 

But it would be idle to speculate as to the precise treatment that 
may be required in either case ; the Angler is towed along by events and 
deals with facts as they present themselves. Best assured there will be 
plenty of matter for consideration, and probably I am not far wrong in 
asserting that the first cause for anxiety will proceed from " the leap for 
life." In this instance, however, the Angler already understands the 
absolute necessity of slackening line by dropping the rod point as quickly 
as possible, and instantly recovering it when the plunge or somersault is 

* N.B. Although turning a fish's head down-stream that he may be choked quickly is 
an advantage to be got best when he is above the Angler, dangers resulting from that position 
are so grave and numerous that I cannot recommend it being sought for. 


over. He is also prepared for a " fit of the sulks," as I have termed it 
elsewhere, as well as for a " stone-grubber " and a " dancer." 

Perhaps the chances of success are more remote in the case of a 
Salmon which, having run up or down stream, makes directly towards 
the Angler. In these circumstances the object is to recover slack line. 
Every available precaution should be taken in this, especially at those 
Catches where the bed of the river is rendered foul by rocks or boulders. 
Sometimes I hasten towards the "slack," so as to wind in line as fast as 
possible. If, however, the ground on land or in water is shallow and 
free from obstruction, it is better to walk back into the field, straight away 
from the fish, and reel up with all possible speed. The next dangerous 
moment in one's endeavour to prevent the flesh being torn comes when 
the fish starts off again, puts his head down and his tail up, making good 
use of it by " smacking " the line as he goes. Held' lightly, and he will 
soon give up this " kicking." 

Let me deal with another source of danger. It so happens, and not 
unfrequently either, that, manage a wild fish how one may, the line will 
catch in something or other quite on the bed of the river. I am talking 
now of a fish running down-stream. The plan is to get above the 
unlucky spot, letting out line, and the moment the run terminates, with 
the upper hand holding the rod and line, pull quickly from the winch a 
few yards, raise the rod, and switch the line out beyond the mischief, 
when the chances are that you will very soon find yourself in command 
again. It is only too well known that some people will stand and pull 
at the part caught up, and the best advice I can think of to 'give is that 
classical hint vouchsafed to persons on the brink of matrimony 

The one great thing to bear in mind is " to be easy with him in his 
frantic movements," and to show him the butt, putting on pressure 
gradually, when the usual signals of distress exhibit themselves. And 
should circumstances prohibit you at any time from following your fish 
while the line on the winch is running short, to fearlessly and suddenly 
drop the point of the rod; for remember the more you pull at "a runaway 
horse " the more he " gallops." 

The student will not fail to remember this expedient in the case of a 

EE 2 


fish showing signs of taking down a fall or a weir, or making for a 

Although gaffing an exhausted fish is an extremely simple business, 
in this, as in all other matters, there are many ways, of which one is 
undeniably the best. 

The motto I adopt is that of the poacher, for, short and simple as it 
is, it contains the whole philosophy of the matter " Gaff him and get 
him." From that man of metal and determination I learnt nearly all 
that can be learnt. He makes opportunity rather than takes it, and not 
without immediate advantage to himself. As a gillie he is slow to act 
when haste is not imperative, but swift and prompt en emergency. 

Of the many ways advocated, the usual one directs you to " wait and 
put the gaff in the shoulder of the fish," but exception must be taken to 
this notion, if only by reason of the frequent disappointments it inflicts 
upon Anglers. No good purpose can be served by invariably waiting for 
such a favourable opportunity. Such advice seems to me to be an 
elaborate practical joke. As soon as the hook has lost its hold and the 
fish wriggles away from sight and danger, there shall you behold the man 
who waits, and a pretty object he is truly when he has had his chance and 
lost it, and stands contemplating vacancy with a philosophic gaze ! 

Nevertheless, Prudence must be the watch-word of the gaffer in 
attendance. For instance, he must be most careful to avoid too close 
acquaintanceship between the gaff and the fishing line. He must keep out 
of sight of the fighting fish. He must finally plant himself on a favourable 
spot where the deed may be most safely accomplished, and, without 
delay stoop or sit down, holding the gaff deep down in the water, for 
it matters not one jot whether the gaff be used from below or above 
the fish. 

The preliminaries over, the duty of the Angler is not to haul the tired 
fish directly towards the gillie, but to bring it broadside on, and to gently 
lower the point of the rod at the very moment " that bold stroke, which 
should never fail," is given. 

At that very moment, the expert gillie will reveal to spectators the 
one great secret of ultimate success, which is this. The instant the gaff 
is inserted, the wrist must be turned to prevent the fish taking undue 



liberties. If it is heading towards the bank the back of the gaffer's hand 
is sharply turned towards the head of the fish ; if heading from the bank, 
the back of the hand is as sharply turned towards its tail and then the gaff 

holds hard and fast. And, 
with the remark that the 
fish should be immediately 
dragged in the water and not 
lifted out of it, but little 
more need be said on the 

We have, however, yet to 
consider the modus operandi 
of the unattended Angler. 
To this particular class, I 
myself belong, when lumbago 
(which offers considerable 
impediment to free action) 
does not trouble ine. 

My two-foot-two gaff is 
all I require, though some- 
times, but not often, I find 
occasion for the other joints 
belonging to it. The ring 
(seen in the illustration) is 
hooked on to a swivel, which 
is sewn on to the top of the 
waders under the left elbow. 

In my opinion, this is by 
far the best contrivance for 
carrying the gaff. Here we 
have a double piece of thick 
leather, forming a sheath 6J 


inches long, 4i broad at the 
head, the two sides of which 
are closely and firmly sewn 
together. The face is a hollow 
tube (for the point of the 
gaff) about the size of a two- 
shilling piece, into which is 
fitted a champagne cork en- 
larged in bulk, by previous 
soaking in water. A tack is 
fixed through the leather and 
into the cork on each side of 
the tube, out of the line of 
the gaff-point, to keep the 
cork firmly in place. There is 
the gaff and the 6i in. leather 
socket through which the 
handle passes. At bottom is 
a button with a slot across 
its head. This button is 
made of steel or brass to fit 
into steel or brass sockets 
which are fixed at each end 
of the thin malacca handle. 
Steel is decidedly the most 
reliable and the most durable. 
For the sake of balance it is 
necessary to attach the little 

" dee " (a sort of half hoop, 
as used in dog collars, and in shape like the letter D), so as to measure 
2$ inches from the top of its round head to the bottom of the leather 
sheath. A piece of leather is passed through the white metal "dee," 


folded, and sewn to the sheath in a way that allows it to have free 
play in the fold. The straight side of the metal "dee" which I use 
measures f inch. The leather sheath is stitched not at the back part of 
the socket but in front, facing the cork, and in continuation of the stitching 
between the socket and cork. The gaff and sheath may be obtained at 
Winchester, by applying to G. Holland. But after a long bout of fishing, 
in summer when every ounce weighs- a pound, when days are long and 
rivers low, it is a treat to carry a gaff that weighs no more than your 
watch or, perhaps, even your purse. And so I use the " Summer Gaff," 
which is made on the same principle and is also supplied to Anglers by 
Hancock & Co. ; and by Farlow & Co. 

For convenience in gaffing from high banks, I have two short 
extra joints which, when screwed together, measure in all 5 feet. 
But in wading, these are quite unnecessary ; and once only, in several 
years of office, has the third joint been put into requisition. 

I really fail to understand why " so much practice," to quote from 
many well-known authorities" is essential to the making of a good 
gaffer." I found it as easy to gaff my first Salmon when a boy as I did 
my last towards the close of the past year. 

I do not deny that a little skill is needed, first to bring the Salmon to 
the. gaff, and then for the Fisherman himself to fix him and take him 
ashore in dignified fashion. He should be careful not to wind in too 
much line. The rod should not be bending down over the fish, but held 
well up above it, so that the point can be lowered with effect if the struggle 
be resumed. After such experience with two or perhaps three fish, what 
is there to learn ? I really do not know. 

The Angler will soon find the advantage of not standing in very 
shallow Water to secure his fish,* and of dropping the point of the rod 
when the gaff takes hold. He will, moreover, soon learn to feel as much 
at home with the fish in gaffing it as in playing it. 

It would be ridiculous to assert than a man can gaff his own fish in 
as short a time^as his gillie for him ; but being stationed well in the 

* N.B. So short a length of line is obviously needed to hold the fish under the rod, and 
so often will the fish make from there a little detour before it is all over with him, that unless 
the "treble' 1 is married to", the line (as described elsewhere), so that the jointure runs freely 
through the rod rings, the fish will often reap the benefit. 



water, it is sometimes curious how quickly he is enabled to perform 
the operation for himself, especially when he can raise the head of 


the fish doing nothing a little out of water, and so prevent it from 
seeing him. From the bank the operation takes longer single-handed. 



As most of us know, the gaff is prohibited at certain seasons, and the 
net takes its place. The one I have is made of silk, and came from Garden's 
establishment in Aberdeen. But I will describe and illustrate a more 
recent invention in the next chapter. 

There is no good excuse why the Angler should be bothered with a 


net in Springtime, and there isstilllessjustificationfordeprivinghimof the 
gaff. Undoubtedly the gaff is "too much" for an old kelt which can 
hardly " put one leg before the other " too much for nine in ten of 
them. So is the net. Kelts fight hard, and rarely rally after a good 
set-to, even when "tailed." So much the better for all the good they 
may do, as distinct from all the harm they will do. I never gaff them 


when I can avoid it, but I always take the gaff when the law permits, for, 
in my opinion, notwithstanding the prejudices of many precious re- 
formers, we have nothing to supersede it ; and I am not afraid to add 
that there is no one thing in Salmon-fishing whereof the uses to human 
life are yet thoroughly understood. Facts, however, clearly point to the 
inference that the " instrument of satisfaction " is not productive of the 
cruelty people would have us believe ; for, on breaking away in his final 
struggle for life, a fresh-run fish never " keeps the wound green." Even 
in the very next pool, on the very next day, he will rise as readily as ever 
and take the fly he wants. (See exceptional case mentioned on p. 382.) 

I hate cruelty to animals, so do all true sportsmen ; and, deeply as 
all humane hearts would deplore the infliction of unnecessary pain to the 
fish, the present method of "getting and securing " by means of the gaff, 
leaves in my mind little to be desired in the matter alike of humanity, 
suitability, and economy of time. If the fish suffer much, which is 
questionable, for they are cold blooded creatures, is it not rather in de- 
priving them of their native element ? But against that same, a very 
big contra account is to be framed, and the student of angling can quite 
depend on my vote for both catching and gaffing when he can. 

However, another weapon has recently been introduced, and of this 
Land and Water says : 

" We commend to the notice of our readers Crawshay's improved patent fish 
lander, of which the sole manufacturers are Messrs. Holbrow & Co., 40, Duke 
Street, St. James's. Some of the special advantages the inventor claims, are the 
following: (1) The fish is not damaged as with a gaff, so that no mistake can 
possibly be made with a kelt. (2) It is much easier to use than a gaff, which 
latter instrument inevitably requires a certain amount of practice. (3) The fish 
once snared can be carried anywhere by the tail over sand or high rocks, and has 
no power to kick. (4) This lander is far superior to any net, for the man who is 
fishing can use it himself as easily as a gaff, and there is nothing for the tackle to 
get entangled in, as with a net. This is an especial desideratum as regards prawn 
and minnow fishing, and would save much vexation where pike have to be got rid 
of in all cases. (5) It can be carried like a gaff, and is also made to screw into 
any landing net handle. These are a few of the advantages of Crawshay's patent 
improved fish lander. 

"Slip the noose over the fish's tail, behind the dorsal fin, not in front of it, and 
a sharp jerk upwards to the full length of the wire secures the fish." 


How to wade is a subject upon which I desire to say a few words. 

Wading requires much practice ; courage is to be desired ; but a good 
deal may be done by rule. Some Anglers stick at nothing ; others look 
askance at the most simple waters. The bravest, however, may run into 
danger unforeseen. 

In my youth, if I may say so, I was a strong wader and never con- 
sulted the interests of " Number one." But now I am prepared with an 
Alpenstock, for, like other seniors, I am compelled to reduce these matters 
to the humble level of personal safety. It was only a few years since, 
that I had a very narrow escape one which comes back in my dreams. 
To the question, " Well, what have you done ? " " Done ? " I replied to 
my friend on returning home that evening, " I've had a ducking, smashed 
my rod, lost a fish, and nearly lost my life as well ! " 

It happened in this way. 

I had left my friend to perambulate open pools, and made tracks 
down river for a cast over a favoured spot, which invariably held a fish. 
Oak trees spreading their boughs, compelling one to wade out upon a 
huge flat rock, some three yards from shore, fringed the water. A 
previous experience reminded me of the difficulty in reaching the rock, 
owing to the strength of the water. On arriving at the Catch, fancying 
the water too high, I " threw out a feeler," by trying my luck in waders 
only. Although the water came no higher than my knees, it splashed 
above my shoulders ; but still I went to the rock and back without being 
" taken in." So I dressed, and, with rod in hand this time, soon set foot 
on terra-firma and began operations with a rather gaudy Grub. After the 
third cast, up went the rod and down went the fish with about thirty yards 
of line, no more. It meant an hour's work to remain where I was, for, 
though the fish was not large, the force of the water put all chance of 
bringing it to the gaff out of the question ; therefore, I waited for a 
favourable opportunity and made for the shore. Just at the critical 
moment, splash, dash that spirit-stirring sight and sound the Salmon 
shot up river, and checked me to such a extent that my foot missed its 
aim and in I went. In the twinkling of an eye, I saw the perilous position 
facing me. The waters dashed under a huge rock and took me with them. 
My rod hitting the head of it snapped in two as though it were only a 


lucifer match, and left me engulfed beneath. Fortunately, I went legs 
first and was able to take breath now and again as the waters receded. 
At last by a supreme effort I kicked myself out, and coming breast first 
across the head of the rock, scrambled up to the top of it, and, breathless 
and beaten, stepped over the dry boulders below, and reached land more 
dead than alive. Two gentlemen fishing a little lower down came to my 
assistance, and, disarranging my battle array, I, looking like our parents 
before the Fall, ran in amongst the heather and into a perfect glow. 
Deep draughts of Highland air and whisky soon put me on my legs again ; 
and after a merry laughing and chaffing time, I went more soberly 
to work, and felt none the worse for a good ducking and a good 

Our learning is just one of those pleasures we can never exhaust ; the 
very practice of our vocation gives us strength to dare and to endure ; and 
occasionally the greatest craftiness can be traced back to the poorest 
beginnings in wading over the roughest track to the " seat of war." 

Some profit, perhaps, may be drawn from the incident recorded. It 
is, however, manifestly impossible for any novice to follow in safety the 
footprints of others. 

Take, for instance, your big, black-browed, lusty Fisher-fellow, up to 
every wrinkle, and what chance have you in competition with him ? Not 
that he is really web-footed, you know, but this sturdy don, this amphi- 
bious professor, spends the best part of his life breast high in water. Of 
course, you have no chance at all, whatever be your height and strength ', 
yet even a giant could not support himself as easily, nor make such head- 
way as a weak-knee'd but practised dwarf he (the giant) being ignorant 
of the business, and relying solely upon his strength. 

Much may depend upon the material and make of your waders and 
brogues. I find " Sateen" the best material for the former, and get mine 
made by the North British Eubber Co. For years I have used the 
largest hob-nails, and I carry an "iron foot" for convenience in knocking 
the nails in or out. This useful adjunct was bought at Moody's, Queen 
Street, Eamsgate. But there are better nails than these for very slippery 
districts, though they soon wear down. They are made of steel, square 
headed, filed on the face crossways ; the four corners being somewhat 


pointed, after the fashion of an ice nail. They screw into the sole with 
nearly half-inch projecting. I used to make these myself, and found I 
could stand firmly on almost any rock. 

Many prefer boots to shoes. I much prefer the latter, and get them 
made with soles three-quarters of an inch thick by Cording, of Piccadilly. 
The Norwegian " Kimagas " he makes are fashionable at the present 
time. The forepart of these wading boots is constructed of one piece of 
material, built so high that all pressure on the feet is avoided. 

To this must be added the farther consideration that from ill-health, 
accident, or advance of years, many Anglers are incapacitated from 
wading. A really comfortable leather boot, watertight, is such an indis- 
pensable article that I never lose an opportunity of recommending the 
" Wye Boot," which is made by Hatton Brothers, of Hereford. Mine 
have been in wear since July, 1885 (nine seasons), and are still soft and 
sound. I dress them with Griffin's Preservative (Beading) and use them 
only when fishing from the bank. In dry, hot weather I wear the High- 
land brogues, made at Aberdeen by Lorimer and Son. Nothing, in my 
opinion, could be more comfortable. 

Not the least important item among other matters in wading is "to 
keep ourselves dry," and so long as we do not trip or stoop, there is little 
to fear on this score. Nor need the student be alarmed by the common 
report which is current in regard to swimming in waders. I have been 
out of my depth many a time, and, except that the pace was naturally 
impeded, I have been fortunate enough never once to be troubled by the 
sensation of my head going down and my legs coming up. 

In crossing a ford, the impetus of the water generally varies ; in one 
moment it may be pressing us hard, while in the next, yet in the same 
spot, it is comparatively easy to stand against. The directions here are 
very simple to follow. You cannot take too short steps if the current 
runs fast, and before each one, firmly plant the Alpenstock in front, 
down-stream, somewhat in advance. A little presence of mind is worth 
any amount of muscle. 

The next rule to be studied is to dig one foot in before moving the 
other. Press the foot firmly down and force it as it were while so doing 
to the right and then to the left to " dig " the nails in, when you will 

WADING. 429 

finally ascertain that they will not give way ; then, and not until then, 
you raise the hind foot. 

Always keep the legs fairly wide apart ; this will give you a 
firmer balance ; and never on any consideration face or turn your 
back directly up-stream, unless you are certain you can do so with 

In getting back up-stream from deep water, take short steps side- 
ways. Step over, or on one side of boulders, do not tread on them if 
you can possibly avoid it. 

Constantly look up river in order to be prepared for any floating 
debris. And remember the one great secret in the case of quick-sand or 
gravel, namely, always to clear away the material with the gaff behindyou 
and take your foot out heel first. 

It is generally believed that wading is injurious to health, but I am 
convinced this depends upon circumstances. In my opinion, the early 
spring is not detrimental to health, provided the Angler so dresses as not 
to feel the cold water in the least degree. 

He may require, besides flannel drawers, long stockings reaching to 
the thigh, and having straps at top and bottom. The upper straps button 
to the trousers under the waistcoat ; the lower ones fixed on each side of 
the stockings fit under the feet and so prevent any working up the leg. 
No ; it is in the height of summer that a wader suffers, unless he con- 
stantly takes the precaution of airing his waders. Too strict a regimen 
would undoubtedly be wearisome ; but, in this case, if the damp, which 
escapes freely from our bodies in warm weather, is forced back upon the 
pores of the skin, it is far from pleasant, anything but wholesome, and 
man be very injurious to health. 

^Vhile upon this subject, I may be allowed to add my experience 
in regard to the Anglers fishing dress. I need not enter into 
particulars for a complete outfit, but lightness for summer, and 
warmth for spring and autumn, are the chief characteristics to be 

The proper get-up for fishing, nowadays, is very different from what 
it was in times gone by, when any old morning coat was brought out for 
the purpose. We were satisfied then by tucking the tails inside the 


waders and wearing the braces outside. But this plan prevented ven- 
tilation, and had the effect of almost doubling the work. 

Twenty years ago, I introduced into use a short jacket to wear outside 
both waders and braces ; but it was not perfected until Eice Brothers, of 
Bond Street, took the matter in hand. The original coat was a comfort 
in many ways, but it still hampered us in casting, which the new one 
does not. Perhaps any coat would show creases when the arms are 
raised, but the pleats put in front and behind the improved garment are 
so well arranged, that they open and shut, like a concertina, with each 
motion of the wearer, who is perfectly free and easy in any position taken 
up. The results are decidedly satisfactory. 

Perhaps my favourite fishing jacket is of homsepun a material to be 
had in various patterns by applying to Miles, of Hanover Street, Bond 

A perfect forest of hands will, at any rate, be held up in favour of 
wearing the wading braces underneath, thereby rendering the Angler more 
at liberty for all arm and muscular action. The Angler will please 
himself as to length, I have mine reaching over the waders about 
1 inches. He would scarcely credi't the difference between the restriction 
of the old plan and freedom of the new. I use the musculine pronoun, 
but " he " is very often of the gentler sex. Ladies delight in Salmon- 
fishing after the fatigue of London gaieties, and hardly ever give it up 
when once the taste is acquired. But it would be no easy task for me to 
write a description of ladies' costume, which would make the heart of 
woman glad. 

" The Princess of Wales and her daughters," says the Daily 
Telegraph, " are enthusiastic and skilful wielders of the Salmon rod." 

" Their Eoyal Highnesses believe in wearing light, warm, tweed 
dresses for fishing, made of the natural homespun, which retains its 
natural capacity for resisting rain, the oil not being extracted from 
the wool before it is woven. Gowns made with skirts to the ankle, 
loosely fitting coats and blouses, are the kind of garments which these 
Eoyal ladies usually wear for fishing, with stout Balmoral boots made 
with low broad heels, and soft felt or tweed hats to match their 


A more elaborate get-up for fishing consists of a short skirt of tweed 
bound deeply round the hem with porpoise hide, and worn over 
knickerbockers. This is made so that it can be buttoned right up, 
forming a sort of fishwife skirt, and furnished with a big pocket for fly- 
book and tackle. The coat is of tweed, with lapels and cuffs of porpoise 
hide, and it is bound with this leather-like substance and furnished with 
many pockets ; for the ardent Fisherwoman likes to have everything she 
may require at hand, and yet cannot be hampered with much impedi- 
menta, while the attendant gillie's many duties necessitate his being left 
fairly free handed. If it is necessary to wade, so as to cast over a 
favourite hole, waterproof over-all fishing boots can be put on ; but, as a 
rule, this is not found needful ; and few ladies use them. A high-legged 
pair of porpoise-hide boots and thick woollen stockings are usually 
deemed sufficient, as, if a Fisherwoman must get wet, she will soon walk 
herself dry again. When a Salmon is hooked, the excitement of playing 
the fish, humouring him, and gradually exhausting him, until he can 
be brought near his fate, in the shape of the murderous gaff, wielded 
by the skilful gillie, is an experience of the most absorbing description, 
and many a fair Fisherwoman has been known to cry from dis- 
appointment when her finny prey has jerked away the cast and flies and 
been lost to her for ever. In thinking out a suitable dress for fishing, it 
is always well to remember that a few very hot hours may be experienced, 
though these can seldom be propitious for the sport. It is, therefore, well 
to wear a thin blouse under the warm tweed coat, so that the latter can 
be handed over to the gillie when extra exertion or the sun's rays induce 
too great warmth. If the skirt is not of a nature to loop up and form a 
large pouch, a belt with a satchel is found useful for a long day. The 
luncheon easily portable, and is usually confided to the attendant, 
but most women, knowing the strain that such continued exertion 
imposes, carry nourishment in a compressed form, furnishing their 
pouches or satchels with frame-food tablets, or meat lozenges, or such 
things as they most approve for the purpose, besides a small flask of 
sherry or claret in their own possession, as it would be awkward to want 
food or drink on one side of a stream with the attendant carrying it on 
the other. For loch fishing, a waterproof skirt and cape are often most 



useful, as there the exertion is confined to casting, and showers must be 
defied. It would be bad, too, to have to wait to dry without keeping 
up the heat of the body by exercise. The danger of an unporous 
waterproof is in putting it on over slightly moist clothes, and so driving 
the damp in, and also in wearing it, while walking, and preventing 
necessary exhalation from the body. Many people have the tweeds which 


they wear for fishing slightly waterproofed without interfering with 
the ventilating quality of the material ; but there is no doubt that the 
natural wet-resisting element in the wool of the sheep is the best, and 
homespuns undyed, and, as far as possible, in their oily condition, are 
the safest wear when exercise has to be taken. It should be remembered 


that, for this pursuit, nothing is so safe to put on as wool, and that 
even the cool blouse, which is pleasant for hot hours, should be of thin 

My own waterproof over-jacket is made by Field, of Piccadilly, 
London. It is about two inches longer than the under-jacket. The cloth 
consists of a light-brown Scotch tweed, thoroughly waterproof. The 
jacket is ventilated across the back by means of a cape which gives 
freedom to the arms for casting. False cuffs are provided to prevent 
rain-water running up the wrists, and there are two large inside pockets. 
In weight, it is very light, yet the coat lasts for several seasons. 

I have often heard complaints made, and not without just cause, of 
men's wading socks. I ask for nothing better than a sock made of the 
wool called " abb." It is sold at the Marine Stores, 34, York Street, 
Ramsgate, and is very thick and durable. I generally get 2 Ibs. at a time, 
and send it to the Steward, Grangegorman Prison, Dublin, together with 
a pattern ; this amount of material is sufficient for three pairs of socks, 
the cost of which in the aggregate is about 1/3 per pair. They last for 


Maiden pools are Catches not previously fished on the day in question. 

Fresh days are mild days. 

Inspection is a term used when a fish has followed, or been stirred by 

a fly. 

Presentation, presenting the fly to the fish. 
Hand-lining, playing a fish by holding the line. 
Catch. A Catch is a pool, stream, flat, or rapid ; but a catch (with a 

small c) is one of the number of actual lay-byes in the Catch. 
Oily waters. The surface of the water smooth. 
The Pull. See illustration and explanation, page 35. 

F F 





ALTHOUGH to-day forgotten, one, William Hay, who represented the 
ancient town of Seaford in the House of Commons in the year 1734, 
deserves our remembrance for introducing Silkworm Gut into this 
country. What it cost then I do not know, but the question of price in 
these days need not be seriously considered. The investment of a little 
extra money in the best sample invariably brings its own reward. I get 
mine at Kamsbottom's establishment, Market Street, Manchester. 

But although Fishermen are grievously conscious of the present 
depression in the trade and entertain fears, not altogether unfounded, of 
the supply in future,* yet very few understand the several processes by 
which the silkworm is developed, or by what methods the gut is produced. 
This of itself offers occasion for a few particulars, which may be of 
interest, before pronouncing upon the respective qualities of gut, its 
choice and management. 

When we come to consider that the luscious leaf of the mulberry is 
the staple food of the silkworm, it is not surprising that the insects 
thrive most in localities where the trees grow best. In the province of 

* I think this depression would pass away if young mulberry trees were forced under 
glass to bring forth their leaves earlier in theseason than those out of doors. The season for 
them is later in the South than it used to be. 



Murcia mulberry trees are innumerable. So thoroughly does the 
Spanish climate and soil suit them, that for richness and abundance of 
tender and succulent foliage they cannot be surpassed. 


Looking from the Cathedral tower in the town of Murcia (the capital 
of the province) the eye surveys miles of country closely dotted with a 
countless number of little houses surrounded by plantations of mulberry 

F F 2 


trees. The inhabitants, for the most part, devote their time to the 
rearing of silkworms, and, comparatively speaking, angling interests are 
of minor importance to the " farmers." Murcia, however, more than 
holds her own in the production of Salmon gut, nor is the interest of the 
Fisherman entirely confined to this "garden" of Spain, which, in round 
numbers, is sixteen miles in length by eight in breadth. 

Sericulture is pursued in many -foreign countries. China, Japan, 
Sicily, and the United States alike boast their silkworm manufactories, 
the product of which, however, so far as silkworm gut is concerned, fails 
to reach the standard of excellence usually needed for a good fight with a 
fifteen pound fresh-run fish unless the rod is extremely lissom. 

Of the various silk producing moths the Bombyx mori best serves 
Anglers. But, by a somewhat strange coincidence, the best results 
obtained in Murcia are not from home-bred hatchings, but from eggs, 
first imported into the South of France, and, after development, sent 
back to Spain. 

The selection of eggs is almost a business of itself, though great 
consideration is extended to every item of detail during incubation, 
After the selection is made the eggs are placed at the end of the month of 
February, but are immersed beforehand for three or four hours in water 
at about the temperature of 50 degrees Fahr. They are spread on a 
cloth separately, there to remain for about a week in a dry, well-ventilated 
apartment. The temperature of this room during the first day is 60 
degrees, during the second 62, the third 66, the fourth 68, and from the 
fifth never higher than 70 degrees. With this attention the eggs 
gradually darken in appearance, and the little " black-a-rnoors " come to 
life in seven or eight days. To keep the rooms specially sweet and clean, 
and the floors sprinkled with water to lay the dust before sweeping, are 
the indispensable conditions of the success of the undertaking. 

The various stages of the silkworm from the eggs to the silk sack 
may be best understood by the accompanying illustrations. 

1. Female moth, which lays about 200 eggs. 

2. Grub three days old. 

3. Worm seven days old. 

4. Worm fourteen days old. 



5. Worm twenty-one days old. 

6. Worm Thirty days old. 

7. Worm Forty-two days old, and ripe for drawing or spinning. 

8. Gut sack, there being two in each worm. 



The grub is fed upon fresh unfermented mulberry leaves, gathered 
and conveyed daily in clean baskets. The leaves are cut up with a sharp 
knife and well scattered over the insects. In three days, these grubs, 
which are protected from any great change in temperature, become 
dormant, and awake after four days' rest, when they are fed more 
abundantly. Having now cast their first coat, they are from that time 
called worms ; but they again become dormant. In fourteen days they 
eat whole leaves voraciously, and sleep again. When three weeks old, 


the worm takes its fourth and final sleep. It eats enormously, and, after 
casting its fourth skin, becomes restless, and soon seeks shelter for the 
purpose of spinning. 

When quite ready to spin (not an hour before or after), the worms 
are picked up and thrown into a tub containing a strong mixture of 
vinegar and water. They die instantly, and are allowed to remain in 
this " pickle " for about twelve hours, so as to give a consistency to the 
silk bags. 

On taking them out of the " pickle," the worms are broken in half, 
and the gut sacks carefully removed. The strength of the " pickle " 
regulates the thickness of gut. Strong mixtures "render the gut short 
and thick ; with weak mixtures, the gut is longer and thinner. If too 
strong, the gut "pulls out " into crooked and lumpy strands. 

When the gut is pulled out a process simply managed by taking 
hold of each end and stretching it as far as it will go it is thrown down 
upon the floor, when the extreme ends begin to curl up. Each strand is 
covered with a thin coat called " carne." In a few days the gut is 
collected, washed in pure water, and hung up to dry in rooms where a 
current of air passes through freely. When thoroughly dry, the strands 
are tied in bundles from 5,000 to 10,000, sold by weight to the merchants 
who then remove the " carne " by a certain process discovered and made 
known by Morris Carswell, the wholesale manufacturer of the Salmon 
lines bearing my name. 

The bundles, each of which contain one-third estriada (spurious 
pieces), are undone, and carefully examined before the polishing process 
takes place. The spurious pieces are or ought to be separated from the 
superior quality, which is easily detected by the practised observer. It is 
finally assorted, with due regard to both roundness and thickness, and 
tied up in " hundreds " or " hanks." 

The proportion of the different grades of the thicknesses varies from 
year to year. For enumerating them, to begin with the thinnest, there 
is Befina, Fina, Regular, Padron second, Padron first, Marana, Double- 
thick Marana, Imperial, and Hebra. 

Many and many a man has been deceived by his own estimate of the 
quality and value of his packages. Only by a very accurate knowledge of 



what the low grades will realise, together with the faculty of close, 
general averaging of each season's products, can the purchaser feel at all 
confident of making a profit over the transaction. 

Having been frequently asked for particulars, I have entered upon 


these brief details in view of meeting a long felt want ; but, perhaps, the 
few following simple rules, which may be safely observed by the Angler, 
who buys for himself, will not be the least interesting to the general 


Gut depends for its value in the market on length and quality. 
Twelve-inch gut is worth quite 15 per cent, more than that measuring 
eleven inches ; eight inch strands realise about half the price. But in 
Salmon fishing, give me quality, be the length what it may. 

The quality of the gut is determined chiefly by its freshness, colour, 
and roundness. Fresh samples are detected by the general appearance 
of the rough, frizzled ends. That is" to say the gut may be said to be 
new so long as the ends are not parched and so long as they maintain a 
clean, clear, white look about them. 

With regard to the colour of new gut, we seek for a pure, pearly white, 
and of very lustrous appearance, without the faintest sign of yellow thrown in. 

Eoundness is, of course, determined by the eye and touch. By passing 
the thumb and middle finger up and down a strand, any roughness or 
unevenness will instantly be felt. 

The best gut, however, is no more the best of gut than the best 
cream is the best of cream. That is to say, an ordinary hank of fairly 
good gut contains 15 per cent, of rough strands of unequal thickness ; 
whilst the " best selected " is not only free from all rubbish, but made up 
of silky strands without a flaw, picked from the choicest parcels. The 
test best calculated to toll the novice good gut, though somewhat severe, 
is to tie a single knot in a strand, which, if old and dry, will split or 
break asunder. 

I have tried various stains, and find none surpass that commonly 
known as a smoky-blue. This can be obtained by first soaking the gut in 
cold, soft water, and afterwards immersing it for an hour or so in a 
tumbler of water, having one teaspoonful of Stevens's blue-black ink 
stirred with it. But the sooner it is put away the better, for light and 
air cripple gut considerably. The sun will soon bring out "flecks" or 
light spots and spoil it altogether. 

It is indelibly impressed on my mind that the best way to preserve 
gut, before use, is to roll it up tightly in fresh wash-leather, tied round 
and round with strong string. By this means of protection it will last 
good and remain serviceable for many long years. 

Before knotting Salmon gut for use, the strands should remain in 
soft water for eight or ten hours. 



In use it is not desirable to roll up the length of single gut and put 
it away for the night. Detach it from the treble, give the whole length 
a good coating of mutton fat, rubbed on first from one end and then from 
the other, and hang it to a pin by its loop. With this attention, a yard 
of single will last good for three months hard wear, provided it is not 
frayed by rocks or other obstacles. 


Of the various methods of making up "casts" or "traces," I find 
the following principle of knotting the best : 

Lay the ends together (pointing right and left) between the left 
forefinger and thumb. 

It may be described thus : Bend left strand back as a loop, and 
place under left forefinger and thumb behind the strands therein held, and 
bringing the extreme end out below the left thumb and finger. Pass end 
over the strands and through the loop. Eepeat this, and, then holding 
this end of the left strand and the right strand in the right forefinger 
and thumb, draw the left strand with the left forefinger and thumb, but 
not tight. 

Turn the work round, left to right, and go through the same process 
with the other strand. 

Finally pull the strands moderately tight to bring the knots together, 
by one short, sharp tug ; but do not pull the short ends. Cut off waste. 


This is easily learnt, and practised with two bits of string, say 3-in. 
and 8-in. long respectively. 



Make the short bit into a loop, and take it between left forefinger 
and the thumb, holding the loop to the right. Then, with one end of the 
8-io. bit in right forefinger and thumb, follow this diagram. 


The end of the white cord having been passed through the dark cord 
loop in the course and succession marked by the arrows, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
represents the first stage completed. 

In the second stage, the object is to get (see diagram 2) A over and 
round B, and then in between the white loop and dark loop at A. 

This is best done by keeping the point of the left forefinger under 
the white loop at the arrow 2, and by taking hold of B end at the arrow 
1. Now put B end under and round, and bring it up towards you, while 
pushing the end A with the right forefinger into its position as specified, 
so that it lies on the fork of the dark loop, as shown in diagram 2. 

DIAGRAM 2. (Showing work upside down.) 

The knot is seen here as turned over and now ready to be drawn 
taut. Hold the end A with the dark loop by the left forefinger and 
thumb (do not turn the fly over), and pull tight the end B; but while 
doing so push the end A towards the knot as it tightens so as to have 
none of it to cut off. 

This knot is based on rational principles ; amongst other advantages, 
observe : 

(1) The part at a acts as a pad and saves wear on gut loop. 

(2) The knot is easily undone. Hold end B close up to loop and 


push it to loosen the tie. If any difficulty arises, which is not likely with 
good gut, draw out end A, and the whole falls loose. 

(3) By facing tailwards the end A gathers no substance floating on 
the water, such as leaves, &c. It is manifest that this knot is absolutely 
secure from slipping or self -cutting ; and that a little practice will soon 
teach ready adjustment. 


In twisting gut for loops, use an ordinary twisting machine with the 
metal pendants about one inch apart. Cut a piece of soft wood into a 
pear shape one inch in length, three quarters of an inch in diameter, and 
well pointed. Make three grooves along its side, equidistant, one for 
each strand of gut to ride in as the work proceeds. Screw the machine 
to a mantel-piece, and knot on the three lengths of gut, which should 
have been soaking in soft, cold water for six hours. Hook on the conical 
lead weight sold with the machine to the loosest of the three strands of 
gut (which have been knotted together) at the bottom. Now place the 
"pear" point upwards about one inch from the bottom in between the 
strands. Hold the " pear " in one hand, and with the other hand turn 


the handle of the machine eight times; then steadily guide the "pear" 
to the top, turning away all the time. If the "pear" is moved up too 
soon or too quickly the twist will be loose. If it is not moved quickly 
enough the gut will break. On reaching the top, quickly take out the 
" pear," catch hold of the weight to prevent untwisting, and with the 
fingers give it a few extra spins ; the effect of which has to be regulated 
along the whole length by holding the twisted gut between the finger and 



thumb, and passing them somewhat firmly up and down the gut at the 
time. Catch hold of each end of the twisted gut, stretch it and double 
it. If not wanted for immediate use, it should be packed away in new 
wash-leather. The tighter the gut can be twisted the better. 


I know of no method of cutting the two ends of the joints of a rod, 
so that they shall exactly overlap each other, equal to that afforded by a 

r 3 ""1 

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t__y r <^P ^TV to 



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certain splicing machine. The chief merit of the apparatus lies in the 
fact that an amateur, with but a modest acquaintance of a plane, can 
scarcely fail to make a splice free from imperfection. 



1 and 2. Parallel side pieces made of oak. (Fig. 1 and end piece.) 

3. Ledge to guide plane. 

4. Eectangular movable arm, made of oak with vertical lever 
motion on the axis numbered 5. 

5. Iron bolt forming the axis to arm, numbered 4. 

6. Screw through the side pieces and oak blocks, 19, 20. 

7. Iron plates each side. Guides forming extra fixtures for rod. 

8. Finish to end of oak arm. Not essential. 

9. Small fixed block of wood forming adjustment. 

10. Movable strip for same purpose. 

11. Top and side pieces of iron clamp, with vertical motion. 

12. Iron guide for vertical motion, fixed to side pieces. Fig. 4. 

13. Iron cheeks carrying the clamping arrangement, and sliding in 
the groove, 21. 

14. Thumb-screw passing through cross piece with its extremity 
working against the under-surface of the rectangular arm, 4. This screw 
fixes the clamp in any required position. Figs. 3 and 4. 

15. Screw for raising and depressing the movable rectangular 
arm, 4. 

16. Booking nut to give the necessary play to the screw. Figs. 1 
and 4. 

17. Iron plate and axis of rocking nut. Figs. 1 and 4. 

18. Nut with circular motion, fixed under movable arm and holding 
the end of the screw, 15. 

19 and 20. Oak blocks holding the side pieces (see end view) an 
equal distance apart. 

21. Eecess or ledge in which the cheeks of the clamp slide. 

22. Eecess to admit of the clamp sliding on the rectangular arm. 
Fig. 2. 

23. Eod in position. 

24. Portion to be planed off. When the movable arm (4) has been 
adjusted to the required angle, it is evident that corresponding surfaces 
may be obtained with perfect accuracy for two, or as many more splice- 


joints that may be wanted. I find a "Jack" plane best suited to start 
with, and a " Trying " plane for the finishing strokes. Their cutting 
edges must be of the exact width of the movable arm (4) and they must 
be centred so as to travel just clear of the side pieces (1) and (2). 


In this part of one's outfit the needs of the Salmon-fisher differ from 
those of the Trout fisher. The latter can without inconvenience carry a 
small basket slung over the shoulder ; the former requires the free 
use of his arms, and so deposits his kit upon th"e bank. Anything in 
the shape of bag, basket or gaff, slung over the shoulders, hampers the 
movement of the arms, and at times may be a source of danger. 

The best basket for Salmon fishing is the frail. In this everything, 
fish included, can be carried with ease and comfort. The leather pad, 


stuffed with horsehair, rests on the shoulder and is effectual in preventing 
soreness or even pain. 

In such a basket I once carried no fewer than six Salmon over a 
mile, and without it I must have lost my train or left the fish behind. 

The frail is usually made of rushes, without lining, and can be 
kept clean and sweet by a free use of the sponge. I prefer to use it 
with a lining and have a very large pocket made at the back to carry 
fly books, flask and mid-day meal. The fish are wrapt in thin waterproof 



cloth, or in ferns, long grass, or rushes. In packing it, the soft articles 
such as socks and waders should be put on the side next the back of the 
carrier ; brogues, gaff, etc., on the far side. 

The frail is not durable, but it is cheap. The leather straps and pad 
last for years, and can easily be removed from an old to a new basket. 
It will be found that heavy weights can be carried in a frail with less 
inconvenience than in any bag slung over the shoulders. 

An excellent method of carrying a fish is to string it. The process is 
simple and effective, and one I usually adopt when fishing near home. 

The string is first tied together to form a loop. One end is passed 
under the gill-cover, then out of mouth at the lower corner, over the nose, 
in at the mouth at the opposite corner and under the far side gill. The 
other end is then passed up through this end, under gills, and after a 



loop is formed quite at the other end it is passed over, around tail and 
pulled taut. 


At about the time the " Summer Gaff" was introduced for me by 
Hancock & Co., a convenient net, highly patronised by ladies, was put on 
the market by the same firm. It is especially useful during the Grilse 
season. Land and Water says : 

" We have frequently noticed that many landing nets now in the market seem 
rather got up for sale than to be of practical and lasting service to Anglers. A 
very common fault is that the net is attached to the landing ring by cord 
of insufficient strength, and imperfectly waterproofed ; consequently the net 
is liable to ravel up on the ring, and frequent repairs undertaken in the hurry of 



business by the riverside do not improve the appearance or serviceable qualities 
of the implement. We could multiply faults common to many landing nets. 
Sometimes the ring is weak and constantly losing shape, or screws drop out and 
are lost, hinges get out of gear, and the whole affair is a constant source of worry 
to its owner. 


THE NECKLACE. (See next page.) 

G G 


" Messrs. Hancock & Co., of 4, Pall Mall Place, St. James', have patented a new 
automatic lock-fast fitting, of which we need give no lengthened description, the 
construction being sufficiently apparent from the accompanying illustrations. The 
workmanship of the whole implement is of high class, and there is little 
risk that it will get out of order if subjected to ordinary fair treatment. The 
net itself is made of durable material, and has the further advantage of being of 
a good size. For Salmon and Grilse the handle is made Malacca or other cane." 


This contrivance is the only one known to me for the use of those 
Anglers who have unfortunately been deprived of one arm. The " neck- 
lace " with its socket is admirably adapted for casting right or left handed, 
and gives the Angler supreme control over a fish. It demands but the 
least acquaintance for complete appreciation. 

In examining the sling and its appurtenances, which are represented 
in Figs. 1 and 2, it will be observed that the necklace is provided with a 
socket wherein the butt of the rod rests. By a slight downward pressure 
in casting, the line is sent out almost as far and as easily as in the 
ordinary way with two hands. The strap fastened over the shoulder is 
buckled to suit the desired length. The article shown in Fig. 2 points to 
the convenience afforded for holding Salmon. It fits on to the stump of 
the amputated arm. The rod rests in the lower arm-hook while "playing" 
a fish; in "butting" him the rod is placed in the upper hook, which 
enables the Angler, by means of extra leverage, to put on sufficient 
pressure for the purpose. 


The following letter of mine, written at Carlogie House, on the Dee, 
appeared in the Field on July 27th, 1895, and will, I think, explain all 
that is wanted : 

" Although one often comes across worthy owners of Salmon rivers, who are 
not aware of the advantages offered in the improvements of their beats, the da}' 
must come when they will exercise their wits and make the endeavour to deal with 
barren stretches beyond tails of pools. Better luck, however, has fallen to our 
lot here. In dealing with such places, there are two ways of procedure the one 
is by Boxing, the other by Garreting. In my opinion (and I speak from constant 



(I (3 2 


observation and not a little practical experience), by far the Ijetter and safer of 
these two schemes is the Box. The Box is preferable, because the Garret, built 
at almost any angle from the bank itself, is not unfrequently injurious, if not 
altogether ruinous, to pools on the opposite side, as well as to ethers below on the 
near side. Some Garrets and many Boxes, which I have in mind, have done and 
are doing an incalculable amount of good to landlords and tenants alike. 
Those which I have recently made here are put in singularly suitable quarters, and 
require no more than one snow-water flood to ensure a couple of high-water 
catches, perhaps second to none for sport on the whole estate. 

"The way I usually make a Box is easily described. In shape it is a sort of 
triangle, and, as I suppose the whole world knows, the Box faces upstream. The 
two sides are constructed of 12 ft. planks, 2 in. thick, measuring 11 in. at the 
broad and 9 in. at the narrow end, so that the height -of the Box in front is 
2 ft. 3 in., and at the back 2 ft. 9 in. The back boards are of similar material, 
but not tapered. There is a post at front, and one at each corner at back. 
These posts, 7 in. in diameter, and pointed, are 5 ft. 6 in. in length, so that when 
the top part of them damaged in driving is sawn off, they will be at the height 
desired. Good, strong old larch is a serviceable wood. The one in front is the 
first to fix. It is driven into the gravel pretty much as far as it will go say. a 
little over 2 ft. When this is done, it is advisable first to place the other t\vi> 
into position, and take a close inspection from a point well above or well below, 
in order to decide that the Box shall ultimately face straight with the stream. 
Perhaps it should here be said that the whole of the materials ought to be at hand 
before operations begin. The river, for instance, may rise too soon for one's 
liking, and level unprotected work to the ground. Apart from the materials 
quoted above, all that is required is comprised in the following list, viz., five 4 in. 
posts, a plank, 8 in. wide, 2 in. thick ; a 2 ft. 4 in. strip of iron sheeting, 8 in. 
wide, having holes drilled on both sides at every 3 in. ; three other iron strips. 
2 ft. 6 in. long, 3 in. broad, drilled in the same way ; and about fifteen tons of 
boulders, together with some smaller stones to pack them all firmly in the Box 
le\el with the top. Some Boxes are required to be higher. 

" Before fixing the side planks to the strong front and back posts, the gravel 
should be somewhat levelled for the edge of the bottom board to rest fairly 
flush on the river bed, and the planks themselves bevelled off at their inner end 
edges so as to leave them when nailed together in front with a head-end or nose, 
s;iy, not more than a, thickness of 4 in. Of course, these are fixed as closely 
as they will go at the front of the head post. The other end of the planks 
may temporarily extend a trifle beyond the back posts, and be sawn off flush 
.at a later stage. The side boards, resting upon each other, are nailed with 
5i in. nails. When they are fixed, the tail boarding commences. But thesr 
latter planks are nailed to the front of the back posts, so as to provide extra 
support : they are also bevelled at the two ends, so as to fit in tight. Tin- 




next thing to do is to place a head-stone inside the Box. The one used here 
is a tapering stone (with which this neighbourhood abounds), 5 ft. 3 in. in 
length. Its point is about 2 in. through, its foot about 15 in. in diameter both 
ways. A slot to receive the point is cut into the top of the post which has already 
been reduced. By the use of a chisel the stone can be made to bed into the slot. 
But before placing it, a firm foundation for its foot should be made in the gravel, 
and a slanting flat stone put to back up with. If this sort of head-stone is not to be 
procured, a good, strong larch post might serve the purpose, but, in this 
district, where thousands of tons of ice wend their way seawards in winter, 
strength is of infinite importance. 

"After getting in the stone, the space underneath it is packed closely with 
well-fitting boulders, and the small open part between the post and the point or 
nose of the boards jammed with little stones. The fiv& smaller posts are now 
driven into the ground three inside the Box at the middle part of the sides and 
back, and the two others outside the Box at back, midway between the inside 
centre one and the two corners. These are all likewise firmly nailed, and then the 
6 in. plank is let into the top side planks, so as to butt against the two middle 
posts. A platform is now made, upon which ths boulders are wheeled, and tipped 
into the box. As each barrow load comes, a little cautious packing of the stones 
is desirable. When the box is thus filled, the work is completed by fixing the 
2 ft. 4 in. piece of sheeting upright round the nose of the box and nailing to the 
planks on each side. The 2 ft. 6 in. strips of iron are iiailed thus, one over a 
thick piece of well-fitting plank, previously put flush with the top of the sides 
against the headpost (this strip is bent over and down the sides before the hammer 
at that part is used), and the two others round the two outer back posts are put 
at the middle of the top board. The cost of this construction, provided the land- 
lord supplies the wood from his saw mill and allows the boulders in the neighbour- 
hood to be gathered, should not exceed 30s. 

" There is a little fresh to add concerning the situation of these Boxes ; but it 
is not easy to describe with exactness the safe and sure place that can be depended 
upon. It may, however, be taken that the tail end of a pool or catch, which 
gradually gets shallower and has a gravelly bed, over which the water, at any 
height, flows fairly straight with the bank, is as good a spot as one might wish 
for. But the Box must be within thirty yards of the catch itself, or the fish will 
not linger long in its wake. Mine here is twenty-four feet from the front post to 
the bank. To make the job yet more enticing, a boulder, weighing about four 
hundredweight, should be bedded into the gravel below. If this is put at a spot 
about the place where the two streams meet, it will remain. These out-flowing 
streams (it may be said for the uninitiated) are formed by the current striking the 
box, and they will probably join each other not farther distant than from thirty 
to thirty-five yards down-stream. Properly set, this boulder which, like the 
suspicion of onion in a salad, animates the whole, and gives the merest angling 




novice a sight at ones relishing, causes a wash, deepens the gravel behind it (as in 
the case of the Box), into which hole the stone will eventually bed itself, and 
never move again. Should the Box fail to meet one's expectations, it can be 
removed ; but this could hardly bs the result in such places with even the most 
moderate luck. If it should prove effective, several other Boxes might be put 
below it at intervals of fifty yards, or thereabouts. A constant and watchful 
oversight of these Boxes is needed in flood time ; for, the encroachment of trees 
and whatnot th very presence of which will tear the whole thing away must 
be cleared. 

" Garreting, as I have hinted, is a dangerous experiment, and has been known 
to do immense damage to the river and its banks. It is to be hoped that no 
delusions may be entertained on that head. Nature, nevertheless, occasionally 
furnishes a corner as suitable for Garrets as a reach for Boxes. Still, these places 
should be studied diligently by thoroughly practical men, and all the work deter- 
mined upon executed under their control. The great thing to look out for is an 
immense boulder weighing about two tons, to which an outer post can be fixed if 
necessary. If, however, this boulder is of suitable shape, or even made suitable, 
it can be bored for bolts, in which case the post is not wanted. The next item of 
importance at places where the current flows rapidly consists of a few other well- 
bedded boulders of long standing lying within a few yards up-stream. They 
protect the garret, and, it should be added, are imperative agents where the river 
has a very sharp descent. For boring such a boulder, which makes the Garret 
unique of its kind, a quarryman's boring-mall and a couple of jumpers serve the 
purpose well. The mall, by which name it is commonly known, is merely an iron 
hammer of about 7 Ib. in weight, having a handle 7 in. long. A jumper is a sort 
of cold chisel ; one should be 18 in. in length, the other 9 in., and both at least 
l^in. in diameter. In boring, the jumper is slightly turned about by the hand 
holding it with every stroke of the hammer. Only by this means can the hole be 
cut round. In ten minutes a hole an inch deep can thus be made even into a 
mongrel stone, and then it is best for the jumper to carry a shangie. This is made 
of straw, or, say, a dozen stalks of long, coarse grass, first twisted into rope fashion, 
and then coiled twice round the juniper, carefully taken off, and itself tied in and 
out with string. When pruned, this shangie serves as a sort of collar. Put at 
the mouth of the hole, for the jumper to pass through when working, it answers a 
double purpose. In the first place, it can be dipped into water to keep the stone wet 
and the tool cool, in which case the operation of boring is facilitated ; and in the second 
place, the powdered stone, instead of nearly blinding you, sticks to the jumper, 
and is withdrawn as the work progresses. It is a mongrel (six yards from the 
bank) to which the two horizontal supports put here for the front paling are 
bolted. The water running fast, the angle is made extra sharp. The two larch 
poles fixed to carry the paling are 8 yards long and 1 2 in. in diameter at the centre 
portion of them. They are made fast to a tree, or may be a strong post in the 


bank, and bolted to the stone, one placed a short distance below the other. A 
strong, upright post is fixed behind them at the middle part, that is to say. inside 
the Garret. From about midway up the post another larch log, knotched in, slants 
a little downward and butts against the bank some twelve yards below. The 
paling selected here is also of larch. These planks are 5 ft. 6 in. long and 2 in. 
thick. They are nailed upright to the poles close to each other in front, so as to 
make a smooth face. 

" The large boulder is 4 ft. 3 in. high at the outer corner, and the paling is 
sawn evenly off 1 ft. higher than it. One large log bolted to the boulder about 2 ft. 
from the bed of the river butts the bank sixteen yards down-stream. It suffices 
to protect the stones inside the Garret. As an extra support, another log butts 
against the middle part of the boulder with its other end against the bank. 
When so much of the work is done, the Garret is packed with boulders and stones 
from the top of the paling to the level of the log in the rear ; and then cartloads 
of gravel put on the surface and washed in. So it will be seen that in this instance 
the highest part of the construction is in front." 


Into a basin of boiling water immerse the bent feather and let it 
remain for ten minutes. Then, taking it by the root, put it on a fine 
linen towel, and with a soft rough towel twisted round the forefinger 
smooth the fibres, which will readily yield and resume their original 
form. Allow time to dry. 


Immerse the feather in Hydrogen Peroxide, and to quicken 
operations, add one teaspoonful of Liquid Ammonia to one pint. 


I use three. One, the size of an ordinary little japanned cash box, 
has room in the lid for a hackle book, and seals' furs. There is only one 
tray ; and it carries hooks, tinsels, scissors and other implements. 
Beneath this tray, which rests on projecting pieces of tin at the four 
corners, and measures one inch in depth, I keep a temporary stock of 
feathers, in about a two-inch space ; but I only use this box on occasions 
when paying a short visit from one river to another. 

A second case of mine, made by Bambridge (Eton), is of oak, covered 


with leather. This one holds a much larger stock of materials, and is 
quite enough for a spring, a summer, or an autumn outing. 

A third one, made by Kollason (Hatton Garden, London), has seven 
trays and is of japanned tin, covered also in leather. The lower tray has 
no partitions, and is three and a half inches deep. It is stocked with 
parchment parcels of all kinds of feathers, such as Turkey, Bustard, etc., 
also a set of tinsels in a tin air-tight box, fitting along the back. Above 
these rests a hackle book, that just fits the tray. The second tray, three 
inches deep, has one partition in the centre lengthways. On one side I 
keep Pheasants' tails and Peacocks' wings ; while the opposite compart- 
ment holds dyed Swan. The third tray, two and a half inches deep, has 
one partition lengthways and one cross ways. The fourth is two inches 
deep. The fifth and sixth, one and a half inches deep and still more 
divided ; whilst the top tray, with a right and left lid, is partitioned for 
every sized hook on right side, and with one narrow partition on the left 
to hold tinsels and fly-making materials. The lid of the box is two 
inches in depth, and holds a cardboard box divided into separate com- 
partments for Seals' furs, as well as a parchment-book for special feathers. 
These are held in by two revolving buttons at each end fixed to the box. 
With this kind of box, properly stocked, the Angler should be able to 
dress every sort of standard or nondescript pattern of the day. 


Forrest's (Kelso) round japanned tin box is what I use for the 

double-hook flies. It has cork circles mounted on round cards, each 
circle holding from ten to twenty flies according to size. 


This firm also supply Anglers with a fly-box (devised by Malloch), 

made of steel, covered with tin, to carry single-hook flies. The flies hook 
in springs made of German silver, each one having a spring for itself. 

A good knife is often useful and sometimes indispensable. The one 


engraved was made for me by Fisher, in the Strand. The needle has a 
slit at the end for threading prawns. The scissors represent those I use 
and have recommended in former chapters. 


Paint the inside of a pail black, remove the wooden bottom, and tack 
a "petticoat " round the end. Put the mouth of the pail just under the 
surface of the water, and, with his head hidden by the petticoat, the man, 
looking through this appurtenance, can see the smallest article in the 
deepest water. 


I hardly ever wear anything else, but the so-called " bowler." To 
me they are the most comfortable. Apply two coats of size and when 
dry two coats of Acme Black. 


Two ounces pine tar, two of castor oil, one ounce pennyroyal. Heat 
and mix. Apply several times to the face and hands until a sort of 
varnish is formed. It is a sure preventive, easily washes off, leaves the 
skin sweet and clean, and is quite harmless. 


This compound makes leather of all kinds soft, pliable and water- 
proof. It penetrates the material and prevents it from cracking. Brown 
leather brogues, boots or covers of fly boxes should be rubbed briskly 
with a cloth, after the application, till they are polished. Blacking can 
be used afterwards on black leather. This preservative is free from the 
objections which can be taken to several other compositions. (251, 
Oxford Koad, Beading.) 


Tie up the line in one length to two posts, and with a piece of 
leather rub yard by yard. During that, process spin the line backwards 



and forwards. Now rub the line with a linen pad damped in spirits of 
wine. Then put into a one-ounce bottle one teaspoonful of copal varnish 
and fill nearly to the top with spirits of wine. Shake the bottle well 
against the ball of the right forefinger, and, still spinning, apply the 
polish, using the thumb and forefinger, to about four inches. Eepeatthis 
quickly, and when, say, sixteen inches have been thus treated, continue 
the spinning and rub (with the same fingers) the length wetted, up and 
down, three or four times, leaving off as soon as any decided stickiness is 
felt. The line will be fit to use on the following day. The mixture must 
be freshly made ; it will not keep. 


I have often been asked to give an opinion on the question of 
" setting up " Salmon. Some people like them " stuffed," others have a 
"cast" taken, but this entails the necessity of parting with the fish. 

My plan now, is to place the Salmon on a sheet of paper and with a lead 
pencil carefully draw the correct outline, make notes of any details for the 
artist, and send them to Farlow, who will return you a copy of the fish 
carved and painted in wood. 


Recollecting the many friendships made, it has often seemed to me 
in writing these pages that life has a value beyond the wholesome 
acquirement of business knowledge and habits of official work. It has 
many times struck me, as well as others, that this value is found in 
those nobler pursuits which teach us to become masters of ourselves, and 
qualify us for promoting the welfare and happiness of our fellow- 
creatures. One authority after another has pronounced the most 


competent judgment in favour of this view. Their verdict has never 
been challenged ; and if " there is no vocation that claims for its 
contingent a finer race of men than Angling level-headed Britons whose 
lives are superior to those of lower fortune more by the graceful exercise 
of generous qualities than for their immediate possessions," it is quite 
certain that no sport has gained favour with fashionable folk so fast as 
Salmon fishing. Surely business and- sport are not incompatible. Surely 
there is more wisdom and more benefit in combining them than some 
people like to believe. Life has time enough for both, and its enjoyment 
is increased by the union. That being so, the sentiments with which the 
author of this book hopes to be regarded by aJl who pursue Salmon 
fishing enthusiastically, and by those who swim only with the stream, are 
such, perhaps, as it would take a real enthusiast to understand and 
appreciate. To others, even to that vast multitude in the outer world 
who, with special delight, estimate our pursuit merely as a light and 
infectious recreation, the enthusiasm itself can scarcely be intelligible. 
But the view by our recruits, taken as they find their brain ceases to 
perform its work efficiently when the heart's work is imperfectly done, is 
a different one altogether. They study the subject and soon declare that 
difficulties at the riverside may often be surmounted by indomitable 
energy, unfailing punctuality, and intelligent reasoning. Afterwards, 
with the exercise of other attributes not always combined in one 
individuality, such as absolute self-confidence (" for they can conquer who 
believe they can"), tenacity of purpose, equability of temper, and a 
generous and elegant hospitality to colleagues with whom they come into 
contact, these recruits concentrate their ideas ; and, thinking of it all as an 
art, in which the degrees of attainable excellence are practically infinite, 
and the attainment of supreme excellence extremely rare, eagerly contest 
every inch of ground for promotion in our ranks. Finally, they acquire 
a train of thoughts that engender thought thoughts that shed a gleam 
of light on the more obscure problems, and without a shadow of doubt 
give permanence to the enchantment of every day life. The question 
whether experts are born or made is, like any such query, hardly 
necessary to discuss. Prevailing opinion has it that skilled performers 
are always made. How else could it be ? Skill at the riverside, or at 


the fly-table, never came, nor ever will come to us by any road than that 
of practice. And yet the result of devotion is to produce, for one and all 
alike, a well-marked type of character entirely different from that 
developed by the love of any other sport or pastime. As to the element 
of luck well, there is some luck in every branch of sport ; and though 
absence of skill and want of method are too often fitting substitutes for 
" bad luck," it is not good for our too enslaved votaries to persevere 
wholly apart from it. Bad luck invariably precedes good luck, and it is 
better it should go first than last. A word may be said of chance. 
Salmon fishing abounds with chances, as none have known better cr 
avowed more freely than its greatest masters. The mere accidental tug 
of a Salmon, for instance, symbolises the recognition of the fact. Then 
with regard to blunders not uncommonly set down as " accidents "- 
brought about by want of judgment, by any and every conceivable way 
inclusive of that modest contempt for apparently sound advice one is 
naturally inclined to the belief that men who are invariably unlucky are 
wanting in those very qualities that command success. 

But while recalling to mind those many friendships made and 
thinking of all these things, it was not likely that, having the interests 
of our juniors at heart, I should pass over unnoticed the many friendships 
broken by the " busybodies." The trouble occasionally brought about by 
a deal of unsolicited advice, usually given with intense emphasis to 
beginners, by people hardly qualified to express an opinion at all, led me, 
against my will, to point out in these pages the " badge " to know them 
by. And I should like to wind up by saying, with equal honesty of 
intention, that few men have done more harm to the rising generation of 
Anglers than those who are commonly thought to do the least. If, 
however, one final suggestion may be made, it would probably flow best 
in the following words of Seneca : " LET NO MAN PRESUME TO GIVE 





Name of District. 
In order of Coast 




The Eden below Kirkby Stephen and its estuary and tributaries 
(except the Caldew above Hawksdale Bridge, the Petterill above 
Wreay Bridge, the Eainont and Lowther above their junction, 
the Irthing above the boundary of Northumberland, and the 
Croglin) ; the English half of the Solway and sea between lines 
drawn true S. from Sark Foot to Rockcliff Marsh and true 
W.N.W. from the northern boundary of Seaton ; the coast 
between such lines ; and all rivers flowing into such part of the 
sea and Solway (except the Esk and Sark above Sark Foot). 


(All dates inclusive.) 
Except in the cases marked below, the Annual Close Season in 

England and Wales is : 

| *NETS, fec. From 1st September to 1st February. 
1 RODS From 2nd November to 1st February. 
NETS, &c. In the Solway Firth, from Old Sandsfield downwards, 10th 

September to 10th February. 
RODS 16th November to 15th February. 


1st July to 15th November. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

Season, whole district, 1 Is. ; above Armathwaite Bay, 10s. ; in 
Irthing, Wampool, and Waver, 5s. ; week, 5s. ; Single-handed rod, 
used in Duke of Devonshire's socage water, season, 5s. 

* The Annual Close Season for puts and putchers is from 1st September to 
1st May. 

H H 



Name ol District. 
In order of Coast 





Chairman F. PAKKER, Fremington, Penrith. 
Clerk J. B. SLATER, Court Square, Carlisle. 



The Derwent and its estuary and tributaries (except the St. John's 
Beck above a point 100 yards below the junction of Mill Gill, and 
N addle Beck above Roughow Bridge) ; all rivers flowing into the 
sea between North Head Lighthouse and .the northern boundary 
of Seaton ; the coast between these points ; and the sea for three 
miles seaward. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ike. 15th September to 10th March. 
RODS 15th November to 10th March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st July to 14th November. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

Whole district season, 1 ; ditto, to 5th September, 10s. ; ditto, 
month, 10s. ; week, 5s. ; any part except river Derwent below 
Ouse Bridge, season, 10s. ; ditto, month, 5s. ; ditto, week, 2s. 6d. 

Chairman W. FLETCHER, Brigham Hill, Carlisle. 
Clerk T. C. BURN, Rosemont, Papcastle, Cockennouth. 




The Mite, Esk, Irt, and Calder ; and the Ehen below the Weir at the 
foot of Ennerdale ; their estuaries and tributaries ; the coast, and 
all rivers flowing into the sea, between Haverigg Point and 
North Head Lighthouse, and the sea for three miles seaward. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NET?, <tc. 15th September to 31st March. 
RODS 14th November to 10th March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st July to 1st November. 


Name of District. 
In order of Coast 
from N.W. to N.E. 




Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 15s. ; week, 5s. ; day, 2s. 

Chairman ROBERT JEFFERSON, Rothersyke, Egremont, Cumberland. 
Clerk J. WEBSTER, 102, Scotch Street, Whitehaven. 




The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn (1) true W.S.W. 
from Haverigg Point, and (2) S.W. from N. boundary of 
Wharton till it bisects a line from the S.W. point of Walney 
Island to Rossall Point ; all rivers (with their tributaries and 
estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ike. 15th September to 31st March. 
RODS 15th November to 31st March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 2nd June to 31st October. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. ; week, 5s. 

Chairman JOHN FELL, Flanhow, Ulverston. 
Clerk S. H. JACKSON, Heaning Wood, Ulverston. 



The Lune, Wyre, Keer, and Cocker, and their tributaries ; so much of 
Morecambe Bay as lies south of the S. limit of Kent District ; the 
coast as far as Blackpool. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. Tidal, 8th September to 1st March ; upper, 15th September 

to 1st March. 

RODS 15th November to 1st March. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Whole District, 1 ; in Wyre, Keer, Cocker, Conder, Wenning, Greta 

and tributaries, 5s. 

Chairman T. F. FENWICK, Burrow Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale. 
Clerk W. T. SHARP, 30, Cable Street, Lancaster. 

H H 2 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 
from N.W. to N.E. 



The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn due west from (1) 
Blackpool, and (2) Formby New Church Tower ; all rivers (with 
their tributaries and estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All date? inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st May to 1st November. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman R. J. ASPINALL, Standen Hall, Clitheroe. 
Clerk T. J. BACKHOUSE, 27, Victoria Street, Blackburn. 



The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn (1) from New 
Brighton to the Rock Lighthouse and thence through the Bar 
Lightship, and (2) from Meliden Parish Church though the West 
Hoyle Spit Buoy ; all rivers (with their tributaries and estuaries) 
flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, <fec. 1st September to 31st March, 
RODS 2nd November to 31st March. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 ; week, 10s. ; day, 5s. 

Chairman THE DUKE OF WESTMINSTER, K.G., Eaton Hall, Chester. 
Clerk HENRY JOLLIFFE, 13, St. John Street, Chester. 


Elwy and 


The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn from (1) the tower 
of Meliden Parish Church through the West Hoyle Spit Buoy, 
and (2) true N. from the Colwyn Bay Railway Station at Rhos 
Bay ; all rivers (with their tributaries and estuaries) flowing 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 


Elwy and 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, <fec. 15th September to 15th May. 
RODS 15th November to 15th May. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman Colonel C. S. MAINWARING, Galltfaenan, Tretnant. 
Clerk H. F. BIRLEY, The Mount, St. Asaph. 



The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn (1) true N. from 
Colwyn Bay Railway Station at Rh6s Bay, and (2) true N. by E. 
from the E. bank of the River Aber at the Lavan Sands ; all 
rivers (with their tributaries and estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, Ac. 15th September to 30th April. 
RODS 15th November to 30th April. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st May to 31st October. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 ; month, 10s. ; week, 3s. ; day, Is. 

Chairman J. BLACKWALL, Hendre, Llanrwst. 
Clerk C. T. ALLARD, Bodgwynedd, Llanrwst. 



The Seiont, Gwrfai, and Llyfni, and their tributaries : all rivers in 
Carnarvonshire flowing into the sea between the Ferry Causeway 
at Garth Point and Llanaelhaiarn Point ; all rivers in Aziglesea 
flowing into the sea between the Ferry Causeway at Garth and 
Twyn-y-Parc Point ; the coast between those points respectively ; 
and the Menai Straits south and west of the Ferry Causeway. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 
from N.W.toN.E. 




(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ifec. 15th September to 1st March. 
RODS -15th November to 1st March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 2nd March to 1st November. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

Whole district season, 1 Is. ; month, 10s. 6d. ; week, 5s. 
2s. 6d. Rivers Cefni, Braint, and LJyfni, season, 10s. 6d. 

Chairman Captain N. P. STEWART, Bryntirion, Bangor. 
Clerk .T. T. ROBERTS, Marino, Carnarvon. 



The Dwyfach and its estuary and tributaries ; the coast, and all 
rivers flowing into the sea between Llanaelhaiarn Point and 
Criccieth : and the sea for three miles round. 


(All dates "inclusive.) 

NETS, <fcc. 15th September to 1st March. 
RODS 15th November to 1st March. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 Is. 

Chairman H. J. ELLIS NAXNEY, Gwynfryn, Criccieth. 
Clerk T. ROBERTS, Portmarlo<-. 



The Dovey, Mawddach, and Glaslyn, and their tributaries ; all rivers 
flowing into the sea between Criccieth and the south side of the 
stream at Cynvelin ; and the coast between those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, <fcc. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 15th November to 14th February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 



Name of District, 
In order of Coast 



Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. ; month, 5s. ; week, 2s. 6d. ; day, Is. 
Chairman C. R. WILLIAMS, Dolmelynllyn, near Dolgelly. 
Clerk W. R. DAVIES, Dolgelly. 




All rivers with their estuaries and tributaries, and the coast between 
Carreg Tipog and New Quay Head ; and the sea for three miles 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 15th November to 14th February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 ; four weeks, 10s. ; fortnight, 5s. 

Chairman JOHN EVANS, 1, Alban Square, Aberayron, R.S.O., Car- 

Clerk E. LIMA JONES, 5, Bridge Street, Aberayron, R.S.O., South 



All rivers, with their estuaries and tributaries, and the coast, between 
New Quay Head and Dinas Head, and the sea for three miles 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 20th October to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 ; month, for non-residents in districts, 10s. 6d. ; fortnight, 

ditto, 5s. 

Chairman H. W. T. HOWELL, Glaspant, Newcastle Emlyn. 
Clerk H. W. Howell, 13, Alban Square, Aberayron, R.S.O., South 




Nome of District. 
In order of Coast 



The East and West Cleddy and their estuaries and tributaries ; all 
rivers between Dinas Head and St. Govin's Head ; and the coast 
between these points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

*NETS, ifcc. 15th September to 15th March. 
RODS 1st November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole seaso'n. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 6d. 

Chairman R. CARROW, Johnston Hall, Haverfordwest. 
Clerk R. T. P. WILLIAMS, Haverfordwest. 


and Taff. 


The Towy, Loughor, and Taff, and their estuaries and tributaries ; the 
coast, and all rivers flowing into the sea, between St. Govin's 
Head and Worm's Head ; and the sea for three miles seaward. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
* NETS, &c. In the sea between Carmarthen Bar and St. Govin's 

Head, 1st September to 30th April ; rest of district, 1st September 

to 15th March. 

RODS 2nd November to 15th March. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 

Season, 1 Is. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

Chairman T. JENKINS, The Friary, Carmarthen. 
Clerk W. M. GRIFFITHS, St. Mary Street, Carmarthen. 

* The Annual Close Season for puts and putchers is from 1st September 
to 1st May. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 





The Ogmore and Ewenny and their estuaries and tributaries ; the 
coast, and all rivers flowing into the sea, between the breakwater 
at Porthcawl and Cold Knap ; and the sea for three miles 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 15th September to 30th April. 
RODS 15th November to 30th April. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 Is. ; month, 10s. 6d. 

Chairman C. P. DAVIES, Cae Court, Bridgend. 
Clerk S. H. STOCKWOOD, Bridgend, Glamorganshire. 


Taff and 


The Taff and Ely with their estuaries and tributaries ; the coast, and 
all rivers flowing into the sea, between Cold Knap and the cast 
end of Bute Dock ; and the sea for three miles seaward. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. 31st August to 30th April. 
RODS 15th November to 30th April. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st June to 1st November. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 6d. 

Chairman HEVRY LEWIS, Greenmeadow, near Cardiff. 
Clerk GEO. E. HALLIDAY, 19, Duke Street, Cardiff. 



The Rhymney and its estuary and tributaries ; the coast and the northern 
half of the Bristol Channel between the east end of Bate Dock 
and Ty-ton-y-Pill ; and all rivers flowing into the same. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 




(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st April. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st April. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st May to 1st November. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 6d. 

Chairman R. W. KEXNARD, Llwyndu, Abergavenny. 

Clerk Colonel LYNE, Westgate Chambers, Newport, Monmouth. 


Usk and 


The Usk and Ebbw and their tributaries ; and the northern half of 
the estuary of the Severn between Ty-ton-y-Pill and Collister 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, <fec. 1st September to 1st April. 

RODS 2nd November to 1st April. 

The GAFF is used below a line drawn from the north boundary of the 
district along the eastern watershed of the Honddu to Llanvaes 
Bridge at Brecon, and thence along the eastern watershed of the 
Tarell to the south boundary of the district, 1st May to 1st 
November ; other parts of district, 1st May to 1st September. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman Colonel CHAS. LYNE, Brynhyfryd, Newport, Monmouth. 
Clerk HORACE S. LYNE, Westgate Chambers, Newport, Monmouth. 



The Wye and its estuary and tributaries ; and the northern half of the 
estuary of the Severn between Collister Pill and Lydney Pill. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS. <tc. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1 st February. 
The GAFF (see River Eden)- -15th March to 1st November. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 
fromN.W. toN.E. 



Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

In Wye below Llanwrthwl Bridge and other parts of district below 
Builth Bridge, 1 ; elsewhere, 10s. 

Chairman The DUKE OP BEAUFOKD, K.G., Badminton, Wilts. 
Clerk E. OWEN, Builth, B.S.O., Brecon. 



The estuary of the Severn above Lydney Pill ; the Somersetshire half 
of the estuary between Clapton Pill and Avon Battery ; the 
Severn and tributaries (except the Avon so far as it lies in 
Warwickshire) ; all streams with their estuaries and tributaries, 
flowing into the portion of the estuary above denned. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. In Borough of Shrewsbury, 1st September to 15th June. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole angling season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 

Chairman J. W. WILLIS, Bund, 15, Old Square, Lincoln's Inn, W.C. 
Clerk J. STALLARD, Junior, Pierpoint Street, Worcester. 



Brue, and 



The Avon, Brue, and Parret ; their estuaries and tributaries ; all 
streams flowing into the sea between Avon Battery and the 
boundary of Devon and Somerset ; and the coast Ijetween those 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS. 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole angling season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 7s. 6d. 

Chairman H. D. SKRINE, Claverton Manor, near Bath. 

Clerk T. FOSTER-BARHAM, Castle Street, Bridgwater, Somerset. 



Name of Distric:. 
In order of Coa*t 


Taw and 


The Taw and Torridge and their estuaries and tributaries in Devonshire ; 
the north coast of Devonshire ; and all rivers in Devonshire 
flowing into the sea adjoining. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 21st September to 30ih April. 
RODS 16th November to 31st March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st June to"15th November. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

Season, 1 Is. 


Chairman Sir W. R. WILLIAMS, Bart., Upcott House, Barnstaple. 
Clerk W. H. TOLLER, Barnstaple. 



The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn due west from 
(1) the W. boundary of Devon, (2) Peel Point; all rivers (with 
their tributaries and estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. 1st November to 4th April. 
RODS 1st December to 30th April. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 

Chairman J. J. E. YENNING, Ker Street, Devonport. 
Clerk J. R. COLLINS, Fore Street, Bodtnin. 



The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn (1) due west from 
Peel Point, and (2) due south from Rame Head ; all rivers (with 
their tributaries and estuaries) flowing thereinto. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 
fromN.W. toN.E. 




(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ifec. Below Lostwithiel Bridge, 1st November to 4th April. 
RODS Between Lostwithiel Bridge and a line drawn from north end 
of Penquite Wood to St. Winnow Point, 1st December to 
30th April ; other parts of district, 1st December to 4th 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 

Chairman R. FOSTER, Lanwithan, Lostwithiel. 
Clerk W. PEASE, Jun., Lostwithiel. 


and Plym. 


The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn true south from (l)Ramc 
Head, and (2) Stoke Point ; all rivers (with their tributaries and 
estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 7s. 6d. 

Chairman Captain R. C. COODE, Polapit, Tamar, Launceston. 
Clerk W. W. MATHF.WS, Tavistock. 




The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn (1) true S. from 
Stoke Point, and (2) true E. from Start Point ; all rivers (with 
their tributaries and estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
* NETS, &c. In the Erme, 30th September to 4th April ; rest of district 

30th September to 1st May. 
RODS In the Erme, 30th November to 4th April ; rest of district, 

30th November to 1st May. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st April to 30th September. 

* The Annual Close Season for puts and putchers is from 1st September to 1st May. 



Name of District 
In order of Coast 




Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman F. J. CoENisn-BowDEN, Black Hall, Ivybridge. 
Clerk W. .BEER, Kingsbridge. 




The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn true E. from ( 1 ) 
Start Point, and (2) Hope's Nose ; all rivers (with their tributaries 
and estuaries) flowing therinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, <fec. 1st September to 1st March. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 2nd April to 31st October. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 ; week, 7s. 6d. 

Chairman Hon. R. DAWSON, Holne Park, Ashburton. 
Clerk A. PIKE, Clifton Villa. Bridgetown, Totnes. 


The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn (1) true E. from 
Hope's Nose, and (2) true S.E. from the shore near Dawlish, 
through the Clerk Rock ; all rivers (with their tributaries and 
estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. 1st September to 2nd March. 
RODS 1st November to 2nd March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st May to 1st September. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1 ; month, 5s. ; week, 2s. 6d. ; day, 2s. 

Chairman LORD CLIFFORD, Ugbrook Park, Chudleigh. 
Clerk SID. HACKER, Newton Abbot. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 



The Esk and its estuary and tributaries, all rivers flowing into the sea 
between Clerk Rock and first headland west of Ottermouth ; and 
the coast between those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st March. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st March. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st May to 30th September. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman J. E. C. WALKEY, Ide, near Exeter. 
Clerk B. J. FOUD, 25, Southernhay, Exeter. 




The Otter and its estuary and tributaries ; all rivers flowing into the 
sea between first headland west of Ottermouth and Beer Head ; 
and the coast between those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, <fec. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 



The Axe and it estuary and tributaries ; all rivers flowing into the 
sea between Beer Head and Portland Bill ; and the coast between 
those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, Ac. 20th September to 30th April. 
RODS 20th November to 30th April. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 



Name of District. 
In order of Coast 





Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 

Chairman W. H. B. KNIGHT, Cloakham House, Axminster. 
Clerk W. FORWARD, Axminster. 


Frome ^ e Frome an d i ts estuary and tributaries ; all rivers flowing into the 
sea between Portland Bill and the west boundary of Hants ; and 
the coast between those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ifec. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, \. 

Chairman W. M. CALCRAFT, Rernpstone Hall, Corfe Castle. 
Clerk P. E. L. BUDGE, Wareham. 


Avon and 


The Avon and Stour and their tributaries in Hants, Dorset, and Wilts ; 
their estuaries ; all rivers between the west boundary of Hants 
and Hurst Castle Lighthouse ; and the 'coast between those 


(All dates inclusive.) 
* NETS, <fec. 31st July to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd October to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman Hon. E. B. PORTMAN, 46, Cadogan Place, London, S.\V. 
Clerk R. D. SHARP, Christchurch. 

* The Annual Close Season for puts and putchers is from 1st September to 
1st May. 



Name of District. 
lu order of Coast 
from N.W. toN.E. 




The Ouse and its estuary and tributaries ; the coast, and all rivers 
flowing into the sea, between Portobello Coastguard Station 
and Seaford Head Signal House ; and the sea for 3 miles 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, <tc. 1st September to 1st April. 
RODS 1st November to 1st April. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 5s. 

Chairman JAMES H. SCLATEH, Newick Park, Newick, Lewes. 
Clerk F. HOLMAX, 86, High Street, Lewes. 




The Stour and its estuary and tributaries ; all rivers flowing into the 
sea l>etween the north and south Forelands ; and the coast between 
those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 
NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st Ma}'. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st May. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 


Clerk M. KINGSFORD, Canterbury. 



(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd Noveml>er to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 

I I 



Name of District 
In order of CoaBt 




Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. 

Chairman Sir CHARLES WOLSELEY, Bart., Wolseley Hall, Stafford. 
Clerk C. K. EDDOWES, 13, St. Mary's Gate, Derby. 







The Yorks half of the Humber ; all rivers in Yorks, with their 
tributaries flowing into the Seine ; the coast, and the sea for 
3 miles seaward, between Spurn Head, and the north side of 
Thorney Beck ; all rivers in Yorks flowing into the sea between 
those points. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ifcc. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 16th November to last day of February. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st May to 1st November. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman Capt. the Hon. CECIL BUNCOMBE, The Grange, Nawton, 

Clerk J. H. PHILLIPS, 22, Albemarle Crescent, Scarborough. 


The Esk and its estuary and tributaries ; the coast, and all rivers 
flowing into the sea, between the north side of Thorney Beck 
and the south side of Skinningrove Beck ; and the sea for 3 miles 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 10s. ; month, 5s. ; day, 2s. 6d. (Monthly and day licences are 

not to extend beyond 30th June.) 

Chairman Lieut.-Col. J. W. RICHARDSON, The Hall, Sneaton, Whitby. 
Clerk W. BIIOWN, The Sawmills, Whitby. 



Name of District, 
in order of Const 
fromN.W. toN.E. 







The coast and territorial sea between lines drawn seawards from (1) 
the south side of Skinningrove Beck, and (2) the north side of 
the stream near Hardwick Hall ; and all rivers (with their tribu- 
taries and estuaries) flowing thereinto. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, ike. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole Angling Season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 1. 

Chairman Rt Hon. J. LOWTHER, M.P., 59, Grosvenor Street, 

London, S.W. 
Clerk M. B. DODDS, Stockton-on-Tees. 


The Wear and its estuary and tributaries ; the coast, and all rivers 
flowing into the sea, between the north side of the stream near 
Hardwick Hall and Souter Point ; and the sea for three miles 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, fec. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the Season. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 5s. 

Chairman Colonel T. C. McKENZiE, The Cedars, Sunderland. 
Clerk WM. HALCRO, 52, John Street, Sunderland. 


The Tyne and its estuary and tributaries ; all rivers flowing into the 
sea between Souter Point and Crag Point ; and the coast, and the 
sea for three miles seaward, between Souter Point and Newbiggin 

II 2 



Name of District 
In order of Coast. 





(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 1st September to 1st February. 
RODS 2nd November to 1st February. 
The GAFF is used throughout the whole season. 

Salmon (including Trout and Char). 

Whole district, 1 ; in South Tyne, above Warden Dam, as. : in 
Reedwater and North Tyne, above junction of Reed and Tyne, 
10s. ; in Reed above Old Bridge, 5s. 

Chairman J. M. RIDLEY, Walwick Hall, Humshaugh, Northumlx-r- 

Clerk R GIHSON, Hexham. 



The Coquet and its tributaries ; and all rivers Mowing into the st-a 
between a point of two miles north of Coquet mouth and a point 
seven miles south of Coquet mouth ; and the coast, and the sea 
for three miles seaward, between Newbiggin Point and Hawick 
Burn mouth. 


(All dates inclusive.) 

NETS, &c. 15th September to 25th March. 
RODS 1st November to 31st January. 
The GAFF (see River Eden) 1st February to 30th September. 


Salmon (including Trout and Char). 
Season, 5s. 

Chairman Rev. R. BURDON, Heddon-on-the-Wall, North uml>erland. 
Clerk C. PERCY, Alnwick. 





The Statutory Annual Close Season for fishing for Salmon, otherwise than by 
Rod and Line, in England and Wales, is from SEPTEMBER 1st to FEBRUARY 1st, 
except in those oases where this Close Season has been altered as follows : 

Name of District. Close Season for Nets. 

(All clays inclusive. ) 

Avon and Stour (Hants) ... ... ... July 31st to February 1st. 

Avon and Erme (Devon) (River Erme 

only) ... ... ... ... ... September 30th to April 4th. 

Avon (rest of district) ... ... ... September 30th to May 1st. 

Axe September 20th to April 30th. 

Camel ... ... ... ... ... November 1st to April 4th. 

Cleddy ... September 15th to March 15th. 

Clwyd and Elwy ... ... ... ... September 15th to May 15th. 

Conway ... ... ... ... ... September 15th to April 30th. 

Coquet ... ... ... ... ... September 15th to March 25th. 

Cumberland, West (Elien, Calcler, Irt, Esk, 

Mite) . . . ... ... ... ... September 1 5th to March 3 1 st. 

Dart... ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to March 1st. 

Dee ... ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to March 31st. 

Derwent (Cumberland) ... ... ... September 15th to March 10th. 

Dovey, Mawddach, and Grlaslyn ... ... September 14th to April 30th. 

Dwyfach ... ... ... ... ... September 15th to March 1st. 

Helen, in the Solway, from Old Sandsfield 

downwards only ... ... ... September 10th to February 10th. 

Exe ... ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to March 1st. 

Fowey (below Lostwithiel Bridge only) ... November 1st to April 4th. 

Kent, Leven, Duddon, Bela, Winster ... September 15th to March 31st. 

Lune (in tidal waters) ... ... ... September 8th to March 1st. 

Lune (in upper waters) .. ... ... September 15th to March 1st. 



Name of District. Close Season for Nets. 

(All Jays inclusive. ) 

Ogmore and Ewenny ... ... ... September 15th to April 30th. 

Ouse (Sussex) ... ... ... ... September 1st to April 1st. 

Rhymney ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to April 1st. 

Seiont, Gwrfai, and Llyfni... ... ... September 15th to March 1st. 

Severn (in the Borough of Shrewsbury 

only)... ... ... ... ... September 1st to June 15th. 

Stour (Canterbury) ... ... ... ... September 1st to May 1st. 

TaffandEly August 31st to April 30th. 

Taw and Torridge September 21st to April 30th. 

Teign ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to March 2nd. 

Towy, Loughor and Taf (in the sea 

between Carmarthen Bar and St. 

Govin's Head) September 1st to April 30th. 

Towy, Loughor, and Taf (in other parts of 

the district) ... ... ... ... September 1st to March 15th. 

Usk and Ebbw ... ... ... ... September 1st to April 1st. 


Name of District. * Close Season for Tidal Nets. 

(All days inclusive.) 

Achill Island ... ... ... .. September 1st to February 15th. 

Annagassan . . . ... ... ... ... August 20th to February llth. 

Ballisodare ... ... ... ... ... September 14th to March 3rd. 

Ballycastle (County Mayo) ... ... ... August 13th to March 15th. 

Ballycroy Rivers ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Ballynahinch ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Bandon ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to last day in February. 

Bann... ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to February 3rd. 

Bantry Bay Rivers ... ... ... ... October 1st to April 30th. 

Barrow ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Blackwater ... ... ... ... ... August 1st to January 31st. 

Boyne ... ... ... ... ... August 5th to February llth. 

Buncrana ... ... ... ... ... September 15th to April 14th. 

Bundrowes ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to last day in February. 

Burrishoole ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Bush... ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to March 16th. 

Carragh ... ... ... ... ... August 1st to January 16th. 

* In a few instances in Ireland, the season for fresh water netting differs from the tidal netting. 


I REL AN D continued. 

Name of District. * Close Season for Tidal Nets. 

(All days inclusive.) 

Carrownisky... ... ... ... ... September 16th to June 30th. 

Cashla or Costello ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Cashen ... ... ... ... September 1st to May 31st. 

Clifden ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Clohane ... ... ... ... ... September 16th to March 31st. 

Crumlin ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Dawros or Kyleinore ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Dee August 20th to February llth. 

Deel or Askeaton ... ... ... . . Prohibited. 

Delphi ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February loth. 

Doohulla ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Doonbeg ... September 16th to April 30th. 

Drumcliffe ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to February 3rd. 

Easkey ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to May 31st. 

Ennistymon or Lahinch ... ... ... September 16th to April 30th. 

Erriff ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Erne ... ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to last day in February. 

Eske ' September 18th to March 31st. 

Fane... October 1st to April 30th. 

Fergus ... ... ... ... August 1st to February llth. 

Foyle ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to April 14th. 

Gal way ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Gien of Teelin ... ... ... ... August 20th to last day in February. 

Glenamoy ... ... ... ... ... September 16th to April 30th. 

Gienarm ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to March 16th. 

Glendun August 20th to March 16th. 

Glyde ... August 20th to February 1 1 th. 

Grange ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to February 3rd. 

Gweebarra ... ... ... ... ... October 1st to March 31st, 

Gweedore ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to February 3rd. 

Hen October 1st to April 30th. 

limy... ... ... ... ... ... October 1st to April 30th. 

Inver (County Galway) ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Kenmare Bay Rivers ... ... ... September 16th to March 31st. 

Kilcolgan ... ... ... ... ... August 1 6th to January 3 1 st. 

Laune (County Kerry) ... ... ... August 1st to January 16th. 

Leanane ... ... ... ... ... August 20th to February 3rd. 

Lee ... ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

* In a few instances in Ireland, the season for fresh water netting differs from the tidal netting. 


IRELAND continued. 

Name of District. * Close Season for Tidal Nets. 

(All days inclusive.) 

Liffey ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Lough Neagh ... ... ... ... August 20th to last day in February. 

Louisburgli ... ... ... ... ... September 16th to June 30th. 

Maigue ... ... ... ... ... July 17th to January 31st. 

Maine (County Kerry) ... ... .._ September 16th to April 30th. 

May... ... ... ... ... ... August 13th to March 15th. 

Moyour ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Mulcaire ... ... ... ... ... August 1st to February llth. 

Munhim ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Newport ... ... ... ... ... September IsA to March 19th. 

Nore... ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Owenea (Glenties) ... ... ... ... September 1st to May 31st. 

Owengarve ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Owenmore (County Mayo) ... ... ... September 1st to February 15th. 

Palmerston ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to May 31st. 

Roe ... ... ... ... ... ... September 1st to April 14th. 

Screeb ... ... ... ... . . August 16th to January 31st. 

Shannon ... ... ... ... ... August 1st to February llth. 

Slaney ... September 30th to March 31st. 

Sligo ... July 16th to December 31st. 

Spiddal ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Suir ... ... ... ... ... ... August 16th to January 31st. 

Waterville ... ... July 16th to December 31st. 


The Annual Close Season for fishing for Salmon, otherwise than by Rod and 
Line, in Scotland, is from AUGUST 27TH to FEBRUARY 10TH, except in the 
following Districts : 

Name of District. Close Season for Nets. 

(All days inclusive. ) 

Add ' 

Drummachloy or Glenmore (Isle of Bute)... 

Esk, North ... 

Esk, South . . . 

Fyne, Shira, and Aray (Lock Fyne) 


September 1st to February 15th. 

* In a few instances in Ireland, the season for fresh water netting differs from the tidal netting. 



SCOTL AN D continued. 

Name of District. 


Bervie ... ... .... 

Carradale (Cantyre) 

Claybuni, Finnis Bay, Avennan-Gesen, 

Strathgravat, North Lacastile, 

Scalladale, and Mawrig (East 

Fincastle, Meaveg, Ballanachist, South 

Lacastile, Borve, and Obh (West 


Fleet (Kirkcudbright) 
Fleet (Sutherland) ... 
Inner (Jura)... 
lorsa (Arran) 
Irvine and Garnock 
Laggan and Sorn (Islay) ... 
Luce ... ... ... ... ... ... 

Mullanageren, Horasary, and Loch-na-Ciste 

(North Uist) 


Orkney Islands (River from Loch of 

Stenness, &c.) 

Shetland Islands (River of Sandwater, &c.) 


U rr ... 



Close Season for Xets. 
(All clays inclusive.) 

September 10th to February 24th. 

September 10th to February 24th. 

September 15th to February 14th. 






No. and Name 
of District. 



Skerries to Wicklow. 


Between Howth and Dalkey Island, between 15th August and 1st 
February ; between Dalkey Island and Wicklow Head, between 
30th September and 1st April; for remainder of District, between 
15th September and 4th March. 


Same as Tidal, save between Dalkey Island and Wicklow Head (ex- 
clusive of Bray River), which is between 15th August and 1st 
April ; and, save also in Bray River, which is between 30th 
September and 1st April. 

Same as Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 31st October and 1st February, save Broadmeadow Water 
and Ward Rivers, between 14th October and 1st February. 


15th October, 1874; 21st July, 1882; 27th January, 1883; 4th 
September, 1893. 

Liffey, Bray, Vartry. 


Wicklow to Kiln Bay, east of Bannow Bay. 


Between 15th September to 20th April, save in River Slaney, vhich 
is between 29th September and 1st April. 



No. and Name 
of District. 



Between 15th September and 20th April. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 30th September and 15th March, save River Slaney and 
tributaries, between 14th September and 16th February. 

26th December, 1873; 2nd October, 1882; 24th December, 1888. 

Slaney, Courtown, Inch, Urrin, Boro. 



Kiln Bay to Helvick Head. 

Between 15th August and 1st February. 

Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 30th Sept-ember and 1st February, save River Suir and 
tributaries, between 15th October and 1st February. 

12th November, 1874; 17th February, 1883. 


Suir, Nore, and Barrow. 



Helvick Head to Ballycotton. 


Between 31st July and 1st February. 


No. and Name 
of District. 



Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 

Between 30th September and 1st February. 

8th September, 1893. 



Ballycotton Head to Galley Head. 


From Ballycotton to Barry's Head, between 15th August and 1st 
February ; and from Barry's Head to Galley Head (save in 
Bandon and Argideen Rivers) lietween 1 5th August and 15th 
February; for Bandon, between 15th August and 1st March; 
and for Argideen, between 31st August and 1st March. 


Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


From Ballycotton to Barry's Head, between 12th Octol>er and 1st 
February; and from Barry's Head to Galley Head, between 12th 
October and 15th February, save in the Argideen River, which is 
between the 31st October and 15th February. 

20th September, 1875 ; Hth December, 1881 ; 6th April, 1889. 


Lee, Bandon, Argideen. 



No. and Xaine 
of District. 


Skibber- | Galley Head to Mizen Head, 

Between 30th September and 1st May. 

Same as Tidal. 


Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 

Between 31st October and 1st February. 

17th June, 1891. 




Bantry. ! Mizen Head to Crow Head. 

Between 30th September and 1st May. 

Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 

Between 31st October and 17th March. 

29th January, 1873. 


Glengariffe, Snave, ifcc. 



N'o. ami Name 
<>f District. 



Crow Head to Lamb Head. 

Between 15th September and 1st April. 

Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 

Between 31st October and 1st April. 

7th February, 1856 ; 14th November, 1882. 

Blackwater, Roughty, Cloonee, Sneem. 

Lamb Head to Dunmore Head, including Blaskets. 


Between Dunmore Head and Canglass Point, embracing the Blasket 
Island, the sea and sea coast between these points, and all lakes 
and rivers and their tributaries running into the sea between 
said points, save the rivers Maine, Laune, Carragh, and Rosbehy 
or Behy, and their lakes and tributaries between 31st August and 
1st May. 

In River Maine and its tributaries, between 15th September and 
1st May. In Rivers Laune, Carragh, and Rosbehy or Behy, 
and their lakes and tributaries, between 31st July and 17th 

Between Canglass Point and Bolus Head, embracing the islands and 
sea and coast between these points, and all lakes and rivers and 
their tributaries running into the sea between said points, between 
15th September and 1st June. 

Between Bolus Head and Lamb Head, embracing the islands and sea 
and coasts between these points, and all lakes and rivers and their 



No. and Name 
of District. 



tributaries running into the sea between these two points, save 
the River Inny and the Waterville or Currane River and their 
tributaries, between 31st July and 1st May, 

In the River Inny and its tributaries, between 30th September and 
1st May. 

In "Waterville or Currane River and its tributaries, and all lakes 
running into said river, between 15th July and 1st January. 


Same as Tidal. 


Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 

Between Dunmore Head and Inch Point, and embracing all lakes and 

all rivers and their tributaries running into the sea between those 
points, between 31st October and 1st April. 

Between Inch Point and Canglass Point, and including all lakes and 
all rivers and their tributaries flowing into the sea between those 
points, save the River Maine and its tributaries, between 15th 
October and 1st February. 

In River Maine and its tributaries between 31st October and 1st 

Between Canglass Point and Bolus Head, and embracing all 
lakes and rivers and their tributaries flowing into the sea between 
those points, between 15th September and 1st June. 

Between Bolus Head and Lamb Head, and embracing all lakes and 
rivers and their tributaries flowing into the sea between those 
points, between 15th October and 1st February. 

27th September, 1889. 

Inny, Rosl:ehy, Currane, Baleneia, Maine, Laune, Caragh. 



No. anil 
of District. 


Limerick. Dunmore to Hags Head. 


Bet ween 3 1st July and 1 2th February, save Rivers Cashen and Maiguc 
and tributaries, and save between Kerry Head and Dunmore Head, 
and between Loop Head and Hag's Head, and all rivers running 
into the sea between those points. 

For River Cashen (down to its mouth) and tributaries, between 31st 
August and 1st June. 

For Maigue River, between 16th July and 1st February. 

Between Dunmore Head and Kerry Head, and all rivers flowing 
into the sea between those points, between 15th September and 
1st April. 

Between Loop Head and Hag's Head, and all rivers running into the 
sea between those points, between 15th September and 1st May. 

Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 30th September and 1st February, save in that part situated 
in the County Westmeath, the waters of which flow into Lough 
Ree and the River Shannon, and save in Lough Sheelin ; save 
Shannon, Feale, Geale, and Cashen, save in Mulcair River, and 
save in all rivers running into the sea, between Loop Head and 
Hag's Head, and between Dunmore Head and Kerry Head, and 
save also in Rivers Owenmore and Feohanagh, in the County 
of Kerry, which are situated between Dunmore Head and Kerry 

For Rivers Shannon and Mulcair between 31st October and 1st February 

For Feale, Geale, and Cashen and tributaries, between 31st October 
and 1st May ; between Loop Head and Hag's Head, between 30th 
September and 1st March and between Dunmore Head and Kerry 



No. and Name 
of District. 


Limerick - 

Head (save in the Rivers Owenmore and Feohanagh), between 
30th September and 1st April. 

For Owenmore and Feohanagh, situated between Dunmore Head and 
Kerry Head, between 31st October and 1st May. 

For that part of the Limerick district, situated in the County of West- 
meath, the waters of which flow into Lough Ree and River 
Shannon, and for Lough Sheelin, between 30th September and 
1st March. 


13th October, 1874 ; 17th September, 1878 ; 27th August, 1879 ; 19th 
August, 1882; 8th September, 1885; 27th August, 1889; 14th 
September, 1889 ; 18th January, 1893. 

Shannon, Deel, Fergus, Doonbeg, Cashen, Maigue, &c. 

9 1 . 
Gal way. 


Hag's Head to Sea Point of boundary between Townlands of Keeraun- 
nagark South and Banraghbaun South S.E. of Cashla Coastguard 


Between 15th August and 1st February, save in Corrib or Galway, 
which is between 31st August and 16th February. 

Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 15th October and 1st February, save Spiddal and Crumlin, 
which is between. 31st October and 1st February; and save 
Oughterard and tributaries, which is between 30th September 
and 1st February. 


26th December, 1871; 23rd October, 1876; 20th August, 1878; 
10th July, 1879 ; 27th January, 1887. 

Corrib, Spiddle, Crumlin, Oughterard, &c. 

K K 



No. and Name 
of District. 

9 2 . 



Sea point of boundary between Townlands of Keeraunnagark South 
and Banraghbaun South, S.E. of Cashla Coastguard Station to 
Slyne Head. 

Between 15th August and 1st February. 

Same as Tidal. 


Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 15th October and 1st February, save Doohulla, Cashla, 
Ballinahinch, Screeb, and Inver, which is between 31st October 
and 1st February. 

26th December, 1871 ; 17th September, 1877 ; 20th August, 1878. 

Cashla, Doohulla, Inver, Screeb, Ballinahinch, Gowla, &c. 


Slyne Head to Pigeon Point. 

Between 31st August and 16th February, save in Louisburgh and 

Carrownisky Rivers and estuaries. 

For Louisburgh and Carrownisky Rivers and estuaries, between 15th 
September and 1st July. 


Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 31st October and 1st February, save in Carrownisky River 
between 31st October and 1st July; and save Louisburgh Rivor 
and tributaries, between 31st October and 1st June. 

1st June, 1872 ; 20th December, 1880. 

Erriff, Dauross, Louisburgh, Carrownisky. 



No. and Name 
of District. 


Pigeon Point to Benwee Head. 


Between 31st August and 16th February, save in Newport and Glen- 
amoy, Burrishoole and Owengarve Rivers and estuaries ; for 
Newport River and estuary 31st August and 20th March ; Glen- 
amoy River and estuary, 15th September and 1st May; Burris- 
hoole and Owengarve River and estuaries, 31st August and 16th 

Same as Tidal. 


Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 30th September and 1st May, save in Owenmore and 
Munhim, which is between 30th September and 1st February ; 
and save in Burrishoole, between 31st October and 1st February; 
and save Owengarve and Glenamoy, between 31st October and 
1st May ; and save Owenduff or Ballycroy, and Ballyveeny and 
Owenduff, and all rivers in Achill Island, between 31st October 
and 1st February. 

1st June, 1872; 7th October, 1875; 5th December, 1876. 

Newport, Owenmore, Burrishoole, Owengarve, Glenamoy, Ballycroy. 


Benwee to Coonamore. 


Between 12th August and Ifith March, save Palmerston and Easkey 
Rivers, which is batween 31st August and 1st June. 


Between 31st July and 1st February, save Palmerston and Kaskey 
Rivers, which is between 31st August and 1st June. 

K K 2 



No. and Name 
of District. 



Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 15th Septemlier and 1st February, save Clounaghmore or 
Palmerston River and tributaries which is (in Tidal) between 
31st October and 1st February (upper) between 31st October and 
1st June ; and save Easkey River and tributaries, which is 
between 31st October and 1st February. 

19th December, 1870; 10th July, 1877 ; 25th January, 1881. 

Moy, Easkey, Cloonaghmore. 


Sligo. Cooiiamore to Mullaghmore. 


Between 19th August and 4th February, save in Sligo River and its 
estuary, whicli is between 15th July and 1st January; and save 
also in Ballisodare River and its estuary, which is between 13th 
September and 4th March. 


Between 19th August and 4th February, save Sligo River, which is 
between 31st July and 16th January; and savealsoin Ballisodare 
River and its estuary, which is between 13th September and 4th 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


13th September and 1st February, save in Brumcliffe River and 
Glencar Lake, between 19th October and 1st February; and in 
Grange River between 31st October and 1st February; and save 
also in the Tidal parts of the Sligo or Garvogue River, which is 
between 15th July and 1st January. 



No. and Name 
of District. 


i-o n tinned. 




24th April, 1871 ; 27th September, 1877 ; 30th January, 1886 ; 
llth October, 1886; 9th June, 1893. 

Sligo, Ballisodare, Brumcliffe. 

Mullaghmore to Rossan. 


Between 19th August and 1st March, save River Eske and tributaries, 
which is between 17th September and 1st April. 

Between 19th August and 4th February for Tidal and for one mile 
above tideway, save Crana or Buncrana and Gweebarra Rivers, 
Trawbreaga Bay, and Owenea and Owentocker Rivers. 


Same as Tidal, save Bundrowes, which is between 31st July and 1st 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 9th October and 1st March, save Bunduff, Bundrowes, and 
Erne Rivers and tributaries ; Bunduff River, 30th September 
and 1st February ; Bundrowes, 30th September and 1st February ; 
and Erne River. 30th September and 1st March. 


24th November, 1871 ; 26th June, 1875; 3rd December, 1884; 31st 
October, 1891. 

Glen, Inver, Eske, Bunduff, Dundrowes, Erne. 



No. and Name 
of District. 




Rossan to Malin Head. 


For Crana or Buncrana River, between 14th September and 15th April ; 
for Gweebarra, between 30th September and 1st April. 

For Trawbreaga Bay, between 30th September and 1st July. 

For Owenea and Owentocker Rivers, between 31st August and 1st 


Between 19th August and 1st March; Crana or Buncrana River, 
Lennon and Gweebarra Rivers, same as Tidal for these rivers 
Owenea and Owentocker Rivers, between 19th August and 1st 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 1st November and 1st February, save in Crana or Buncrana, 
between 31st October and 1st March; and Owenea and Owen- 
tocker rivers between 30th September and 1st April. 


2nd September, 1857 ; 28th February, 1874 ; 25th November, 1874 ; 
21st March, 1876 ; 3rd August, 1885; 26th August, 1885. 

Lennon, Gweedore, Gweebarra, Buncrana. 



Malin to Downhill boundary. 

Between 31st August and 15th April. 

Same as Tidal. 


Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 



No. and Name 
of District. 




Between 10th October and 1st April, save in the Culduff, which is 
between 15th October and 1st March. 


27th January, 1862; 19th July, 1877; 30th December, 1880; 
18th April, 1890. 

Foyle, Roe. 


Coleraime. Downhill Boundary to Portrush. 

Between 19th August and 4th February. 

Between 19th August and 1st March. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 19th October and 16th March, save Rivers Bann, Maine, 
Sixmile-water, Moyola, and Ballinderry, between 3 1st October and 
1st March. 


15th December, 1856; 31st March, 1871; 23rd August, 1875; 15th 
January, 1876. 




g ,, Portrush to Donaghadee. 



Between 19th August and 17th March. 


Same as Tidal. 



No. and Name 
of District. 



Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


Between 31st October and 1st February, save in the Bush River, which 
is between 30th September, and 1st February. 

23rd July, 1890. 

Ballycastle, Glenarm, Bush, Glendun. 




Donaghadee to Clogher Head. 


Between Ballaghan Point in Co. Louth, and Donaghadee in Co. Down, 
embracing all lakes and rivers and their tributaries flowing 
into the sea between said points, between 15th September and 
1st April. 

Between Clogher Head and the northern boundary of the mouth of the 
River Annagassan, Co. Louth, embracing all lakes and rivers, and 
their tributaries flowing into the sea between said points, between 
19th August and 12th February. 

From the northern boundary of the mouth of the River Annagassan to 
Ballaghan Point, and embracing all lakes and rivers and their 
tributaries flowing into the sea between said points between 30th 
September and 1st May following. 

Between Ballaghan Point in Co. Louth, and Donaghadee in Co. Down, 

embracing all lakes and rivers, and their tributaries flowing 

into the sea between said points, between 15th September and 1st 

Between Clogher Head and the southern boundary of the mouth of the 

River Annagassan, Co. Louth, embracing all lakes and rivers and 

their tributaries flowing into the sea between said points, between 

19th August and 1st April. 
From the northern boundary of the mouth of the River Annagassan 

to Ballaghan Point, Co. Louth, embracing all lakes and rivers, and 



So. and Name 
of District. 


Dundalk - 

their tributaries flowing into the sea between said points, between 
30th September and 1st May. 

In the Annagassan, Glyde, and Dee Rivers and their tributaries, 19th 
August and 12th February. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 


In the Upper or Fresh Waters between Clogher Head and the northern 
boundary of the Mouth of the River Annagassan, and embracing 
all lakes and all rivers and their tributaries flowing into the 
sea between said points, 30th September and 1st February. 

In the Upper or Fresh Waters between the northern boundary of the 
mouth of the River Annagassan and Ballaghan Point, and em- 
bracing all lakes and all rivers and their tributaries flowing 
into the sea between said pointu, between 30th September and 
1st May. 

In the Upper or Fresh Waters between Ballaghan Point and Donag- 
haclee, between 31st October and 1st March. 

In any Tidal Waters between Clogher Head and the northern boundary 
of the mouth of the Annagassan River between 19th August and 
12th February. 

In any Tidal Waters between the northern boundary of the mouth of 
the Annagassan and Ballaghan Point, between 30th September 
and 1st May. 

In any Tidal Waters between Bullaghan Point and Donagh;idee, 
between 31st October and 1st March. 

30th October, 1880; 13th December, 1888; 18th November, 1892. 

Fane, Annagassan, Glyde, Dee. 


Drogheda. Clogher Head to Skerries. 

Between 4th August and 1 2th February. 



No. and Name 
of District. 




Same as Tidal. 

Same as for Nets in Fresh Water. 

Between 1 5th September and 1 2th February. 

1st October, 1888 ; 6th December, 1892. 



NOTE. Pollen Fishing by Trammel Nets in Lough Neagh between 1st Nov- 
ember and 31st January, both days inclusive. 

NOTE. The 21st Section of the 26th and 27th Vic. C. 114, requires there 
shall not be fewer than 168 days Close Season in each Fishery. 

WEEKLY CLOSE SEASON. By the 20th Section of the 26th and 27th Vic. C. 
1 14, no Salmon or Trout shall be fished for or taken in any way, except by Single 
Rod ami Line, between six of the clock on Saturday morning, and six of the clock 
on the succeeding Monday morning. 

t Close Season for the capture of Kels by means of any Coghill, Eel, or other 
Net or Basket work in the eye, gap, or sluice of any Eel or other weir, between 
the 10th January and 1st July, save in the River Shannon, which is between 31st 
.January and 1st July, and in all other rivers in the Limerick District between 
31st December and 1st July in year following, and save in Drogheda District, 
which is between 30th November and 1st July, and save in the Coleraine 
District, which is between 10th January and 1st June in each year, and 
save also in Corrib or (ialway River, which is between the 10th February and 1st 
July in each year. 





N.B. Observe that, in the following List, the days fixing the commencement 
and termination of the Annual Close Time and of the extension of Time for Rod- 
fishing are, in all cases, inclusive. 

Name of River. 

Close Time. 
(Both days inclusive.) 

Extension of Time 
for Rod-fishing. 
(Both days^inclusive.) 


Sept. 1 to Feb. 15 

Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 

Aline ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Annan ... 

Sept. 10 to Fel). 24 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Nov. 15 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Arnisdale (Loch Hourn) 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Aylort (Kinloch) 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Baa and Glencoilleadar 
Badachro and Kerry (Gairloch) 
Balgay and Shieldag ... 
Beaulv ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 15 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


Sept. 10 to Feb 24 

Sept. 10 to Oct 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Broom ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Brora ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Carradale (in Cantyre) 
Carron ... 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Clayburn, Finnisbay, Avennan-Geren, 
Strathgravat, North Lacastile, 
Scalladale, and Mawrig (East 

Sept 10 to Feb 24 

Sept 10 to"Oct,31 

Clyde and Leven 
Conon ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct.31 
Aug. 27 to Oct.31 

Cree . 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Au<*. 27 to Oct.31 

Creed or Stornoway, and Laxay (Island 
of Lews) 

Au" 27 to Feb 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Creran (Loch Creran)... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 



Name of River. 

Close Time. 
(Both days inclusive.) 

Extension of Time 
for Rod-fishing. 
(Both ilays inclusive.) 

Crowe and Shiel (Loch Duich) 

Dee (Aberdeenshire) ... 
Dee (Kirkcudbright) ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
.Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb 10 

Aug 27 to Oct. 31 

Drummachloy or Glenmore (Isle of 

Sept. 1 to Feb. 15 

Sept. 1 to Oct. 15 


Aug. 27 to Feb 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 15 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Eckaig ... 

Sept. 1 to Feb. 15 

Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 

Esk, North 

Sept. 1 to Feb 15 

Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 

Esk, South 

Sept. 1 to Feb 15 

Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Fincastle, Meaveg, Ballanachist, South 
Lacastile, Borve, and Obb (West 

Sept 10. to Feb. 24 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 10 

Fleet (Sutherlandshire) 
Fleet (Kirkcudbrightshire) ... 
Forss ... 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Fyne, Shira, and Aray (Loch Fyne)... 
Girvan ... 

Sept. 1 to Feb. 15 
Sept. K) to Feb 24 

Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 
Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 


Aug 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


A\i" 27 to Feb 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Greiss, Laxdale, or Thunga ... 
Grudie or Dionard 
Gruinard and Little Gruinard 

Halladale, Strathy, Naver, and Borgie 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Close time for Kod- 
fishing, Oct. 1 to 
Jan. 10 
Close time for Rod- 

Hope and Polla or Strathbeg 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

fishing, Oct. 1 to 
Jan. 10 
Jan. 11 to Feb. 10 
and Aug. 27 to 
Sept. 10 



Xame of River. 

Close Time. 
(Both dates inclusive.) 

Extension of Time for 
(Both dates inclusive.) 


Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 


Au" 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct 31 

Inner (in Jura) 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Au' 27 to Feb 10 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Au<*. 27 to Oct 31 

lorsa (in Arran) 
Irvine and Garnock ... 

Keiuiart ... 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 

Auc. 27 to Oct 31 

Kilchoan or Inverie (Loch Nevis) ... 
Kinloch (Kyle of Tongue) 
Kirkaig ... ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct 31 

Kishorn .. ... ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct 31 

Kyle of Sutherland ... 

Laggan and Sorn (Island of May) ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Auo- 27 to Feb 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 15 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Au<* 27 to Oct 31 

Leven . . ... ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct 31 

Little Loch Broom 
Lochy ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Loch Duich 

Auc 27 to Feb. 10 

Au<* 7 to Oct 31 

Loch Luing 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Au". 27 to Oct 31 

Loch Hoag . ... ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct 31 

Lossie ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Luce ... ... ... ... 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 

Lussa (Island of Mull) 
Moidart . ... ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Au". 27 to Oct 31 


A\i". 27 to Feb. 10 

Au<* 27 to Oct 31 

Mullanageren, Horasary, and Loch-na- 
Ciste (North Uist) 

Nairn . ... ... ... 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Au 27 to Oct 31 

Nell, Feochan. and Euchar ... 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct 15 


Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

Sept. 10 toNov 15 

Orkney Islands (River from Loch of 
Stenness, &c.) 
Ormsary (Loch Killisport, Loch Head, 
and Stornaway Mull of Cantire) 

Penygowan or Glenforsa and Aros . . . 

Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 



Name of River. 

Close Time. 
(Both elates inclusive. ) 

Kx tension of Time for 
(Both dates inclusive.) 


Au 27 to Feb 10 

Aug 27 to Oct 31 


Sept 1 to Feb 15 

Sept 1 to Oct 31 

Sanda . . 

Au<* 27 to Feb 10 

AU" 27 to Oct 31 


Au< 27 to Feb 10 

Au- 27 to Oct 31 

Shetland Islands (River of Sandwater, 

Sept 10 to Feb. 24 

Feb. 1 to Feb 24 

Shiel (Loch Shiel) 
Sligachan, Broadford, and Portree 
Snizort, Orley, Oze, and Drynoch (Isle 
of Skye) 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Au<* 27 to Feb 10 

and Sept. 10 to 
Nov. 15 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Au 27 to Oct 31 


Aug 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 15 

Stinchar ... ... 

Sept 10 to Feb 24 

Sept. 10 to Nov 15 


Au 27 to Feb 10 

Jan 15 to Feb 10 


Aug 27 to Feb 10 

and Aug. 27 to 
Oct. 15 
Jan. 11 to Feb 10 

Torridon, Balgay, and Shieldag 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

and Aug. 27 to 
Sept. 14 
Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 

Ullapool (Loch Broom) 

Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 
Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 
Sept. 10 to Nov. 30 


Aug. 27 to Feb. 10 

Aug. 27 to Oct. 31 


Sept. 10 to Feb. 24 

Sept. 10 to Oct. 31 



Str-and, London, W.C., 


Special Patterns of Qreenheart Salmon Hods 

Of which we have exact models in Stock, as supplied and made by us lor the following 
well-known gentlemen. 

MAJOR TRAHERNE . . 17 ft. 4 in., 3 pieces, spliced or ferrule fittings 

1** *t. 

(These Bods are strongly recommended in the volume on " SALMON AND TROUT," of the 
Badminton Library.) 

G. M. KELSON, ESQ. . . Celebrated " 108," 3 pieces, 18 ft. long. 

(It was with this particular Rod that Mr. KELSON won First Honours when competing for the six 
different methods of Salmon Fly Casting, at the International Tournament of 1885. The Rod is specially 
recommended by the Author in this book.) 

W WELLS RIDLEY, ESQ. 3 pieces, 18 ft. (much liked). 

H. CHOLMONDELEY PENNELL, ESQ. A well-known pattern. 

These Rods are made of the choicest logs and bext cammed w<nl obtainable., none being used vnless it has been in 

stock four t/earx. 
All Rod* are balanced ami constructed at our own factory by the m<tnt experienced and reliable workmen. 



* * 

,41'lics a 






Catalogue containing upwards of ISO Illustrations Gratis. 







Kxtra Stout Soles, 

18/8, 28/e 

Leather Lined, 
Good Sole, 



Hand Sewn, 



Blacking Calf, 

Leather Lined, 

Stout Sole, 


Hand Sewn, 




WATERPBOOFINO-. Customers' own Boots (either new or old) can be rendered thoroughly 
wate rproof in twelve hours by our new patented process, at a cost of 2s. per pair. 

Term* Cash icith nnler. Carriage j'alil nn British Irttri- o, ,;,,. Write for I'ric; List containing SU> illustration*. 

City Warehouse 228 & 239, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, B.C. 
Branch Warehouse 116 & 117, NEW BOND STREET, W. 










Highly approved by 



Black or Brown 

Cow Hide, 



Best Hand Sewn, 

Best Hand Made, 


Hand Made, 
The best boot 
possible to make, 

City Warehouse-228 & 229, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.G. 
Branch Warehouse-116 & 117, NEW BOND STREET, W. 






Fishing, Shooting, or Golfing Coat. 

Pronounced by every Sportsman who has seen it to 

be the most practical and perfect invention of its 

kind. (lirg. Xo. 13.S89.) 

From "Horse ami Honrd" 

It makes a wonderful difference to one* comfort and 
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never worn so good a shooting coat as the * Westlmrr,' invented 
ly Rice ISrothers, of Bond Street. It is a kind of Norfolk 
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ments of the arms and body, and tho e<>nsequfin-t? is there i 
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thesu coats a trial will swcv.r hy them in the same way that 1 do." 





For Touring, Shooting, Riding, Fishing Suits, and 



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OO- 3 






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Ditto SALMON RODS, from 660 

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Salmon and Trout Flies, Casts, etc., of every description. 

+ ^ 






See the Field, 
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Improved BUCKLAND" Waterproof 

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Practical in every detail, has 
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cau be shortened quickly for 
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makes an excellent Riding 



With single or double feet, made in our No. 3 Gold Medal quality. Intended for 
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Ent. Sta. Hall. 


Can be confidently recommended for the very 
hardest wear, quite a new cut, design, unit fas- 
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The New Solid Built " Buckland " Waders. 

These Waders are most practical in every wy, 
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The " Hampshire " Waders. 

Speciality Lightness. Weighing about 3 Ibs. 
Comfori^ule and, considering their lightness, are durable. 

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Speciality Price, combined with durability. Weighing 
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Knee Waders with exten- 
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Improvements from suggestions of practical Fishermen, and the exprricnce of 

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Billiard Tables 


Sale appointment to $tr $tnjsstti. ^Bn appointment to ij.U.H). (The |)rinci of (KSnlcs. 

VHHE Parent House of the Traile and Patentees or introducers of all the chief improvements 
^- in connection with Billiard Tables* from the Slate Bed and the India Rubber Cushions 
early in the present century, to the Patent " Adamant " Block, " Perfect " Low, Cold, 
Resisting Cushions, and Improved Double Ring Bottomless Pockets, now in general use. 


" Renders the Cushions fast and noiseless." W. J. PEALL. 


" Your Cushions are simply perfect." JOHN ROBERTS (March, 1885). 

" Your ' Perfect' Low Cushions are unequalled." W. .1. PEALL (November, 1890). 

The above, with our Bottomless Pockets, can be fitted to any 

Billiard Table. 


W, gtthirbte $fpet, J/W/, If-S 




Gun and Rifle Manufacturers. 


These Guns are made in 
our Workshops in London, 
and are of the highest 
class of workmanship. 

Barrels of Steel made to our own 
specification; also best Damascus 
Whitworth Steel 
if desired. 

This Gun will be found to contain 
all the latest improvements in the ejector 

anil lock mechanism. In addition to the ordinary double bite on the lumps it has 
our Patent Top Connection with Vertical Bolt, adding greatly to its strength for nitro 


Single and Double 

rel in all bores for 

577 BORE. 

Using large charge of powder, with nickel- 
covered or soft lead solid bullets, gives 
enormous shock. 

The nickel-covered bullets are perfect where 
great penetration is required. 

H. H. \V- 

-, just returned from Africa, writes : 

" With KCjce'.-coctrtd bullets I killed U Bit/aloes ont 
of l-'i hit, losing only one, u-ounded. And in nearly 
every case with a single bullet." 

" TltURO, A'OB. 18th, UKI.'i" 


For years past these weapons of our make 
have proved most successful. 

Sportsmen requiring this combination will 
find that with ball at 100 yards and shot at 
40 yards the shooting cannot be surpassed. 

all kinds of game. 


A Grea,t 

After numerous and costly experiments we have 
designed a new Kitting which stands over 10,000 shots 
per barrel, and gives the greatest accuracy. It is 
also very easily cleaned. 


are perfect for all kinds of game. 



The originals we shall have much pleasure in showing 


With :i specially designed TRY GUN we are able to guarantee, after a visit to our 
shooting ground, a perpeet fit. 

72, St. James' Street, London, S.W., 

Telegrams : " RIFLING, LONDON." 

and 24, Suffolk Street, Dublin. 






Opinion of the 

" We have lately liad on 

l']'l il! tUmU Of cviminillk' 

tlie Safety Habit made l>y 
Mr. Shingleton, of 60, New 
Bond Street, ami must 
my that it seem* exceed- 
ingly well calculated to 
answer I In- end and aim 
of the Inventor. While 
it differs entirely from all 
other Habits that we hare 
f-ft'ii, it will be noticed, 
that as the Habit is fast- 
ened tightly to the inside 
of each leg, there are no 
openings in which the 
crutch can become en- 
tangled ; so far, therefore, 
as any Habit can be a 
safety one, thin peenu us 
much deserving of the 
title as any other that hug 
come to our notice. Then 
again, the Habit is not 
an unsightly affair when 
a lady is dismounted . 
Ladies who purpose in- 
vesting in new Habits 
shoulu certainly look at 
this one before deciding." 
The Ficltt, Oct. ac, 18W- 

"Not only is the 'Twin 
Zenith ' both safe and 
comfortable for the rider 
when she is in the saddle, 
but neat and pretty when 
she is on foot. The Latly. 

Opinion of the 

"Of all those which 
have been invented up t" 
the present time, the 
'Twin Zenith/ jU-nted 
by Mr. ShinKlfU.u, of 80, 
New Bond Street, Is the 
most ingenious- It is. In 
fact,aCombinati"n Habit, 
the skirt and trouw-rs, 
or knee breeches, being 
firmly attached to each 
other, and in the event of 
an accident, the rider is 
clean thrown out of the 
saddle without the most 
remote possibility of her 
being dragged." yuwn. 

" It is with genuine 

satinf action that we again 
bring before our readers' 
notice ttu> 'Twin Zenith* 
Habit, whirh we first re 
oomnundad a year ago. 
Time and trial. Oil Miivot 
tetitsof worth, have proved 
-Mr. Shingh'tcn's inven- 
tion to be what we antici- 
pated the best patent 
Safety Habit that ran be 
made. We would >u^i -t 
a visit to 60, Nt-u- Ibnul 
Street, where Habit and 
TttttinionialN t-an ln-st'cn." 

" The Safety Skirt of the 
ago." Black unit White. 

ombination Hiding IfaMts 




, W, 





Tlie "SCOT" Golf Clubs. 

Manufactured from the Finest Materials only. 






Aiul to be had of ail the leadimj London ff onset, including 
THE ABMY AND NAVY CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, LIMITED, 105, Victoria Street, Westminster. 
GAMAGE & Co., 126, Holborn, London. 
JAMES WISBEY & Co., 77, Honndsditch, E.C. 
DERBY & TOM, High Street, Kensington, W. 
JOHN BARKKK & Co., LIMITED, High Street, Kensington, W. 
HABBOD'S STORES, LIMITED, Brompton Street, Park Gate. 





^Hardy's "GOLD MEDAL" Brand 
Steel Centre Cane Built Kods 
as made for H.K.H. the late 


^T^ \ an d most leading 


Only Makers of 

' TURLE ' 




Post Free 3 Stamps. 






Tested Dublin, Limerick, Kendal, Round, Sneck and Kirby 
Hooks for Fly Dressing. 


Patent Serpentanic Bait. 

"Archer" Spinner (Haynes' 

" Archer " Reel. 
"Archer" Hooks to Gut. 

Solid Square Plait Water- 

" Archer " Solid Square Plait Taper 

and Double Taper Lines. 

., Extra Selected Gut Casting 


Flies of every Dressing. 
Eyed Hooks (TESTED). 

proof Silk Lines. Perm ell's Eyed Hooks. 



W. BARTLEET & SONS' Goods can be obtained from any Dealer in Fishing Tackle. 

" The very best artificial Bait ever yet invented." 


Phantom pnnocus 



Can be had direct from the Inventor and Maker, or from the best class of Tackle Shops 
throughout the Kingdom. The "Phantoms" are stamped " W.B." on the Spinners, and all 
others are inferior imitations 

Send stamp for Catalogue of Bods, Lines, Heels, Flies, Baits, and all kinds of 

Sundries, to 


64, George Street, ABERDEEN. 



Messrs. RED PATH & Co. 



ishing Rods, Reels, Lines, 

Flies, Baits, Gaff Hooks, jEX 




S / ' J S S 



/are artem. 

Exhibited for the first time at the International Fisheries Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1882. 

GOLD MEDAL and SPECIAL PRIZE for FISHING RODS, &c. ... Edinburgh, 1882. 

SPECIAL PRIZE for Materials used in dressing SALMON and TROUT FLIES do. 1882. 

and TACKLE ... ... ] Tynemouth, 1882. 


Messrs. Redpath & Co. have NOT Exhibited at any Foreign or Colcnial Exhibition. 



The only Gold Medal at the London International Fisheries Exhibition for'Gut 




Send for Annual G-ut Report and Price List, and secure the benefit of the 
first choice from more than half of the total crop. 





GENERAL DESCRIPTION. The line gradually acquires the maximum thickness at about 15 yards from 
the beginning, and continues at this size for 10 yards, when it rapidly diminishes to the size at which it 
began, and so continues to abont 25 yards from the end, at which point it increases, runs parallel, and 
diminishes in facsimile of the other end. 







QUALITY OF SI1.K; breaking strain of thinnest end, 45 Ibs. dead weight. 

SPECIAL TAPER, ensuring a much longer cast with less effort. 

A SMALLER REEL accommodates a longer line. 

WATERPROOFING, effected during process of plaiting ensuring its being permanently 

impervious to water, even after all surface is worn off. 
THE PERFECT SATISFACTION given wherever used. 


XV 1 


Without Drag. 

at ... ice 

3 ... 12 



With Drag. Weight. Without Drag. 

12/6 ... SOZ. 
14 6 ... 7 
17/6 ... 10 

Sent on approval on receipt of P.O. 

With Drag. Weight. 





J. B. MOSCROP, 25, Market Place, Manchester. 

Advantages of the Reel. 

Framework, without Screws, being in one casting ; can be 
taken to pieces and put together again in ten seconds by the 
fineers alone. 

Only one Plate on handle side instead of three, consequently 
no liability to a host of mishaps Rod plate Axed to solid 
castin? , no possibility of any shake. 

Holds line to the full diameter (nearly) ; a 3 In. reel holds 
as much as an ordinary 3; in. 

Is ventilated ; has an adjustable drag to the 3{ In. and 
upwards with or without to the small sizes. 

Strength, simplicity. In case of accident, can get at the 

Every reel thoroughly examined and tested by the 
patentee, J.B. Moscrop, before sending out. 

Disadvantages of Ordinary Reel. 

Screws becoming loose ; nick In head of screw getting 
worn ; tedious work of taking to pieces. Reel Plate 
getting shaky. 

Plates becoming bent sand getting In ; rivet of handle- 
pin rubbing against Inner plate, causing unequal drag. 

Holds line only to the cross bars. 

The complicated and delicate work make it liable to get 
out of order. 



DEAR SIB, " I have worked your reel thro 1 the Mason 
without a hitch. I look on it as most reliable reel I ever 
hail."- Yours faithfully, U. * BRENAN. 


DEAR SIB, "The trial reel you sent me in the spring has 
done its work splendidly, and given me uninterrupted 
satisfaction the simplicity of its construction, and its 
ventilating powers, place it far beyond any other reel I 
have ever used, while the advantage of being able to take 
it to pieces in a few secon is, without the aid of any 
mechanical appliances, is untold. -Yonr^trul^, Ki ^ v 

DEAR SIR," I have found the Moscrop Heel satisfactory 
In every way. The check on my particular reel IB a trifle 
easy for the large trout in Hampshire, but the adjustable 
drug obviates this."-Yours faithfull 


DEAR SIR, " Your reel has stood exceptionally well, and 
shows no sign of weakness. The adjustable drag works 
admirably. Should you like a testimonial I would have 
pleasure in bending one. as I consider ?" 
the market. 1 Yours truly, 


DEAR SIR." So far from finding faults In your reel, my 
opinion is that It Is as near perfection as human skill can 
attain. 'Yours faithfully, T. 8. TURMBULL. 


DEAR SIR, " I have pleasure in expressing my satisfaction 
with the reel you supplied to me last spring. There is no 
suggestion I can make as to its improvement. The reel la 
In perfect order after having had a good cleaning and 
the end of the season (a very easy matter with your oiling 
at patent). Yours truly, JOHN Bt'SHBY. 


DEAR SIR," Your reel has given me the greatest satis- 
faction. After real hard wear, it is as good as It was on the 
day you sent it." Yours truly, L. W. 8COTFORD. 

DEAR MOSCROP, * By the way. anent the winch I. 
until', were trolling in the pass (Brander) deep down 10 to 
12 feet chance for a ferox 60 yards of line out, there was 
a stiff westerly, and when we neared the open the boat 
began to pitch and the winches to click at each lurch, a 
turn at the adjustable drag set mine right but P. had to 
haul in to lessen the pull. You ought to impress on every- 
body to clean and oil two or three times a season, it does 
not take a minute and the winch is very grateful. It won't 
do for spinning, it is not in it with Mullock *, but for fly, I 
like it better than any I nave, and I could set up a shop." 




t Double -Tapered Facsimile of the celebrated '' RIDLEY ' line. Finished under the Air Pump on tho " Kelson " principle. 
t These Lines are perfectly Solid, Flexible, and Hmooth, and are made in four sizes, of the Purest Silk, 4i yards in length. 

Sole Manufacturers M. CARSWELL & CO., 


To be obtained retail through any Fulling Tackle Dealer. 




[We perfectly remember the " UIDLK v " line which was, however, never in such general use as its sterling qualities 
deserved. Wiui Mr. IUDLF.Y it was a labour of tove, and he was never so happy as when presenting his own intimate friends 
with specimens of his favourite hobby. Having carefully examined the line submitted for our inspection, we can confidently 
endorse the opinions of our correspondent, Mr. GRANT. No such line has ever been on the market before, and, although we 
know how hard it is to reach finality in this age of rapid improvement, we are not afraid to hazard the prediction that no 
better line than this will be seen out in our time at least. It can be procured in forty-two yard lengths, double tapered, so that 
after splicing it to the back line, it can be turned. Anglers who have from time to time in our columns made complaints of 
the quality of the material used In the manufacture of Casting Lines, may now rest assured that in future they can become 
possessed of a salmon line at once suited to their purpose, and also to be had at a moderate figure. ED. Lund and Water.} 


JHCTHE chief object achieved by the PHANTOM-DEVON is the uniting in one all the special advantages of the two well-known 
-,-* 11 and deservedly popular Baits which &o to compose its name. 

The PHANTOM-DEVON* has all the appearance and flexibility of the ordinary Phantom, but as the Hooks lie much closer 
into the body of the Bait, the spinning power is largely increased. It resembles the Devon as regards the Bait freeing itself 
from the mounting and running up the Line, this feature of the New Bait is sure to add to its durability, and will render the 
work of unhooking a fish much easier 

The sizes are the exact same ae the ordinary Phantom. 

Cart be obtained through any Fishing Tackl- Dfahr. 

Manufactured by M. CARSWELL & CO., 







. :.i - sliimii open. It IK InRtaiit.y aillu<*lul>le 
to any HlKlit or IOCUM. 

Glass closed. Only one inch in thick 

most handy for the waistcoat pocket. 

Among kuudredt of Testimonial! received from iliitimjiiinhed peoj/le all over the world, there 
ii room here for only a reryfeic ' 

LORD NELSON writes as follows : " I 
am much pleased with your Binocular. 
It is light, compact, easy of adjustment, clear 
and extensive in its field of vision." 

" Mr. Aitchison's Patent Pocket Binoculars 
are satisfactory in every way, and answer 
their purpose well." 

M.P., writes : " I am pleased to turn to 
account a work of such beautiful construction 
as your Patent Pocket Binocular Field 

" Works admirably, and very satisfied 
with it," writes S. HANSEX, Esq., Stavanger, 

" Binocular is all I expected, it brings out 
objects solid and clear, and it is light and 
portable." C. G. WATSON, Esq., Poonah 
Lodge, Cadman. 

" The Patent Pocket Binocular is a most 
ingenious article. The lenses arc excellent, 
the whole instrument in fact is a combination 
of excellency, lightness, and cheapness. It 
is much admired, and \vill soon become 
popular in S. Africa I am sure," writes 
NOURSE VARTY, Esq., Stag Stones Estates, 
Natal, S. Africa. 

" Compliments to Messrs. Aitchison, and 
beg to say that the Binoculars arrived safely, 
and give satisfaction," writes Miss MULI.INS, 
Bungalore, India. 

Pxice 3 : 3 : O, in soft leather case; bard leather case with sling, 5s. extra. 

Post Free to any part of the World. 






Billiard Table Manufacturers, 

158 to 164, 

Bridge Road 

West End Show Booms 
and Billiard Hall 

7, Argyll Street, 

Regent Street, W. 

Hi/ Special Appointment tc II. The Prince of Wale*, and the 

* Leaditig Cvtirts of Europe. o 


And Stock of 

a> _. 

Maters to H.R.H. The Duke of York, 

H.M. Government, 
War Office, and Aimiiilty. 





Guaranteed soft in any temperature and fast. 


(Geo. Wright & Co.'s Patent.) The must perfect and the best Combination Table ever invented. 

Handsomely <'iitiilgnr '.'"" ptme> Torwanleil l'o*t I i. . on nupllrnllmi lo iin.v 

of flic World. 



Price (for 2^ inch) 10s. 6d. per Ball; other sizes in proportion. 





JOSEPH BENNETT^ Retired Champion, 


(20 Years at 283, Oxford Street, W.) 

In case of Removal, for Address 
see " Sportsman" daily. 

Read " Bennett on Billiards." 




He always studies the convenience of Pupils as regards the hours for giving Lessons. 
He attends at Gentlemen'* Ilrnitex to give LeHttons or to play at Private Entertainment*. 

Tables by Messrs. G. WRIGHT & Co., London, fitted with their famous Low Excelsior Cushions. 

Private Address: 27, SOUTH 1VIOLTON STREET, TUT. 

A Telegram received from the Author of " THE SALMON FLY " in KM i here appended by comtriit. 

"I won the Match. Col. R scored 82 twice. My best break 111; and I attribute my success 

entirely to your patient instruction." " KELSON." 






[umiKichircr? of finest J^o&s anb ^.ae^fe. 


SALMON ' RODS J In Greenheart, Hickory, or other Material. 


1KUU 1 rfvJlJo ^^^^^__ 


f Tin- <>i ii i M i:oi> Tin- i <ii:i:i - i KOl>. 

TARPON RODS . ih< < t-iii <<M 11 i:i> The KKKSS KOI>. 


i Special Patterns to Order on Shortest 


TROUT FLIES * Gut Loops, Metal Eyed, or on Single Gnt. 

SALMON CASTS! Strongest Salmon Casts. 

Strongest Salmon Casts specially selected. 


Grilse, Sea-Trout, Lake Trout, and River Trout 
II degrees of streng 
rcry best quality. 

TROUT CASTS * Casts ' in al1 degrt ' es f St . ren 9 th < and f 






f\r( of 

(5th EDITION) 

An Illustrated treatise on "THE ART OF SHOOTING," with 

extracts from the best authorities, combining full-page 

explanatory illustrations from instantaneous and 

other photographs. 

Th- Field. " Supplies what has long been a 

The Tlnieti. ' Really one of the most practical 

books on the subject we remember to have met." 
Sporting Lift. "Well illustrated and highly in- 
Si-olninn. "Is likely to prove of practical 


Shooting Time*. "Is brimful of practical hints." 
Horning Post. "This treatise is likely to prove 

acceptable to many." 

4ir;i|tli jr. "Contains a deal of good advice." 
St. James's ;azette. " Passes in review every 

kiml of shot that can present itself." 
Army nnd -Vavy Gazette. " A generally useful 

Roil and linn. " Always entertaining as well as 

Dally Telegraph." It isji well written and reliable 

handy guide, and is worthy of careful study." 

1 rli- hi IT Font. "A useful and well illustrated 

Dully <'lironlele. "Mr. Lancaster goes patiently 
over the minutest points." 

Illustrated London \r> "Experts would be 
first to praise for the pains taken to explain 
simple principles and to illustrate details." 

The 4'rltle " Should be perused by all sportsmen 
desirous to become good shots." 

Blai-k wood's " A very useful book . . . which 
will be serviceable to many." 

Bazaar. "The instructions are the most valuable 
that have ever been placed before the public." 

British Truili- Journal " Ought to be read by 
every sportsman." 

Forre's Sporting Soles "A work that will supply 
pleasure and profit even to the most skilful 
gunner, but to the tyro it will be found in- 

Price 7s. Gel. Postage, 6d. extra.. 

Published by CHARLES LANCASTER, 151, New Bond Street, W. 





Fishing Rod & Tackle Manufacturers, 

19 doors from HOLBORN, LONDON, W.C. 


4d., 6cL, 8d., 


I/-, 1/3, 1/6. 

Best GREENHEART SALMON HODS, 16, 17, and 18 feet, 2 Tops, Double Brazed, 
Bronze Fittings, Brazed under Winch Slide, Universal Winch Fittings, Rubl>er Button 
and Division Bag, 30s. 

Best BRONZED GUN METAL or EBONITE, Revolving Plate, Hardened STEEL 
CHECK SALMON KEELS, 4 inch 18s., 4J inch 20s. 

Best WATERPROOF Plait SILK SALMON LINE, 12s. 6d. 100 yards. 
Best SINGLE SALMON CASTS, 3 yards 3s., 4s., 6s. 
Best TWISTED SALMON CASTS, 3 yards Is. 6d. 
Best TWISTED SALMON TRACES, 2 Swivels, 9d. 
TELESCOPIC METAL GAFF, 3 Joints, 11s. 6d. 

Best WADING STOCKINGS, 18s. 6d. 









THE "KsLsotf" COAT 









Gun. Fishing Rod, Reel & Tackle Maker, 


RESPECTFULLY invites the attention of Sportsmen to his Stock of 


The quality of the material and the excellence of workmanship have gained them 



For Inverness, Ross and Sutherlandshire, Ireland, and Norway. 


i) fejo ^i<53W> Sf 533^^Sgg5^Va>Ti 
W. G. being a practical Workman as well as Angler of many years' experience, takes 
particular interest in this department. All Rods are hand-made on the premises. 





\ Of the 




Insuring uniform charges and regularity of compression, so very essential to satisfactory Shooting. 





High-class Fishing Tackle Manufacturer, 


Standard Salmon Flies dressed true to pattern. 
Private patterns for Salmon and Trout made and sent by return of post. 

A lifelong experience of all rivers and lakes, including a practical knowledge of flies best suited 

to Norwegian fisheries. 

The well-known patterns invented by Mrs. COURTNEY (nee 1 KATE DALY 
dressed in all sizes and forwarded on application. 


Highly patronised by the Author of THE SALMON FLY and other leading 
Salmon and Trout Fishermen. 



Only Addrenit itecetatart/ fnnn an;/ part o/ the \\'<n-l<l. 



l-'ln Material and Cabinet* ax xnpjilied the leading Amateur tycrx. Send fur Lijtt. 
Within five minutes of Windsor Castle anil both Hallway .Stations. 







By a special process of our own the leather is tanned and dressed with materials 
absolutely free from all staining matter. 


These splendid Shooting and Fishing Boots are made upon new and approved 
lasts and forms of a specific character unknown in the Trade. 


GEO. M. KELSON, ESQ., writes : that his Boots supplied in 1885 
" are still soft and watertight." 

. , ,. A cash price 28 - 

The "Wye" Boot - _, R ' 

i^ldbb Z> *>/" 

The Ladies' " Wye " Boot 25/- 

The Special Shooting Boot 42 - 

Hatton's " Wye " Waterproof Composition, per box I/- 


And all kinds of Sporting Boots for Home or Colonial wear. 



Sportsman s Bootmakers, 




W. T. HANCOCK & Co. 


Best Quality Only, 


The Sole Makers and Patentees of the 







Complete with Automatic Fitting, J31 : 5 : 0. 




The Largest Illustrated Catalogue of Fishing Tackle published, including Valuable 
Hints and Information to Anglers, post free, 3d. 






The Field says: "It should never be forgotten that it is to 
Messrs. HARDY BKOS. we owe the supremacy we have 
achieved as Rod Makers." 

Highest flwaids in me World, 


As manufactured by us for the Author of this Book, is the 
finest type of a 17J to 18 ft. Salmon Rod made. All cane built, 

all improvements. 

Price 11 16s. Si., if with Steel Centre, 12 16s. 6d. 


As made by vis for Capt. DUNNE, Author of " How and Where to Fish in 
Ireland," is acknowledged a magnificently powerful Bod. It is 16 
feet, cane built, steel centre. Price J31 0. 



EDINBURGH BRANCH 5, South St. David Street. 
MANCHESTER BRANCH :-14, Moult Street, Cross Street. 



The Biltor PipeMlie_Sportsman's Companion! 


Prize TVIednl Chicago Exhibition. 

i: -I Brlur DIM - li 3s. 6cl , .n h. liiclnilliiK u IMIX of :. rnrtrlilgrs, r<>in|>i>sr<l 
ot a xprrlrs of tiller IIMIHT mill an- [In <>srnlliil in in r 'Ilir Klllor'* snrrrx. 


I H 












13 K 
31 R 

12 Y 

^^^^BBfc^^U ^^ 






i i 


The Biltor Co., 93, Oxford Street, London, W. 




Enclosed, lighted by electricity, and padded to stop all vibration, 



New Tar get # S Flying Jtirdtt, and adjustable Try Gun, can be altered to 

any shape and fired. 

-"Vv Use of Try Guns, Targets, and experienced 

fitter (no charge to customers ordering new guns), 
obtaining correct fit, with view of alteration to old 
gun, IDs. 6d. Cartridges and pigeons according to 
>:"."* number used. 


H. H. BAHNES, Esq., Pinner: " Excellent com- 
bination for testing fit. More than satisfied with 

The "AV ANT-TOUT" and The "VICTOR" Self-ejecting- Guns. 


Cash Prices, 17 Guineas to 50 Guineas ; London made throughout. 

142, New Bond Street ; 226, Strand ; and Factory, 29a, Gillingham Street. London. 





H- Manufacture all kinds of Boots and Shoes for Sporting purposes, fc- 

Within a reasonable time and at reasonable prices, and they also keep in 

stock, of their own make, a large assortment in the most approved 

styles for immediate selection. 

Shooting Boots, Riding Boots, 

Fishing Boots, Field Boots, 

Dress& Walking Brogues, Polo Boots. 

Livery Boots, 
Outfits for India, 
Outfits for Africa. 


Telegrams " Lorimer, Bootmaker, Aberdeen." Telephone 724. 




FislpgTackle for Salnjon&Trout. 


Greenheart Rods of various well-known types. 











Kincardine ffffeU f Aberdimshire, 



Greenheart and Washaha Rods and Salmon Flies, 


The best wood and good workmanship guaranteed. 


/ j j 

A Large Stock of New Salmon Gut on hand. Highly recommended. 


Wading Trousers, Stockings and Brogues. 



DEAR SIRS, I am delighted with the Rod, which I have Riven a good trial. If any of your visiting 
customers should care to have my opinion of your wood and workmanship you may cer'tainlV refer them 
to me. Yours faithfully, GEO. M. KELSON. 





Works: Castle Mills, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. 


Measurements Required 

If ordered thereby. 

Length, A to B Inches. 
Length, B to C 
Length, B to E 
Girth at A 

Girth at T> 1) 

Manchester 69 & 71, DEANSGATE. 
Liverpool 9, LORD STREET. 
Leeds 65 & 66, BRIGGATE. 
Newcastle-on-Tyne 39, GRAINGER STREET. 
Edinburgh 106, PRINCES STKEET. 

These Goods IKMMJJ thoroughly vulcanized, arc 
warranted to remain xnft and pliable although rolled 
up and laid aside in hot or cold weather in any 
climate. Unlike the partially vulcanized articles, 
which require to he warmed before they can be even 
safely unfolded by the dealer, or safely and comfort- 
ably put on by the wearer, these Patented Goods can 
be kept folded for months, then unfolded and im- 
mediately put on without any risk of injuring the 
proofing of the cloth, and without any discomfort to 
the wearer from lumps and ridges at the seams. The 
seams of these goods are smoother from the first, and 
there is no chance of ridges being formed in them, as 
in those with the seams unvulcani/.ed. These advan- 
tages, combined with the employment of only the 
very best materials in the manufacture of these 
articles, give the Company confidence in offering 
them as unequalled for 

Durability, Comfort & Convenience, 





J. GILLETT & Co., 


il-Hrt-rh.tnr-.l^l-'-l-"!- tl infftgTIP- 9 




J rout & Salmon j^ods 

g_O Oil TBOTJT BODS, with Two Tops, Bound Cane Handle, Three or Four 

Joints, price 21s. up to 12 feet. 

SALMON BODS, 16 feet, with Two Tops, price 31s. ; 18 feet, ditto, price 37s. 

English and American Built Cane Trout Rods, 10, 10J, 11, 11 J, and 12 ft., Two Tops, 21s. each. 
Split-Cane Spinning Rods, Two Tops, Cork Grip, 21s. each. 


2s. each, with Strap, Is. extra. 


In one, two, and three yards, 8d. per yard. 
Money promptly returned if Goods (not approved of) are returned at once. 



Contains large blade, small blade, disgorger, 
button-hook, scissors, tweezers, pliers, cork- 
screw, leather borer, stiletto (to untie loops), 
broken-eyed needle to thread prawns, &c. 

Any Knife made to Order in a few days. 

Fishermen's Flasks 


In Silver, Electro-plate and Aluminium. 

THE OLD CUTLER'S (Established 1838). 


188, Strand, 



sh Counting, 

28, Radnor Street, St. Luke's, 
















Salmon, Lake, Trout, & American Fly Dressers, 





OUR " SPECIAL " DOUBLE TAPER LINES are the very Best Lines made. 



Our stock of SALMON FLIES is the most complete and varied in the Trade, and 

includes all the leading patterns for 



Printed Salmon and Trout Fly Books in Best Binding*. Fly Books, Fly Boxes and Cases. Tackle Catct. 


The same address for upwards of Seventy years, 




Garter's Pneumatic Button. 

in. Is. 6d. 2 in. 2s. 


Gazette says :_ Best H||K W I le . t invention of its kind I have 

Button we have ever seen." ever aeen ." 

Rod, and Gun :" Should prove a Fishers would find it a great 

boon to the Salmon Fisher." comlort." 


[HCi^ Best in the World, a: ^&'] 

Double-built, Unbreakable, Splint-end Ferrules, Universal Winch Fittings, Snake Rings, 
Double Cork Handle, Revolving Loops, Spiral Lock Joints, Division Case, 5 5 0. 

Steel Centre, 1 extra. 

Greenheart Salmon Rods, 16 to 18 feet, 

Bronze Fittings, Universal Winch Fittings, Double Brazed in G. Silver, Snake Rings, Rubber 

Button, Division Case, 30s. 

Hardened Gun Metal or Ebonite SALMON REEL, 4 inch, Best Quality, all latest 
improvements, 20s. Bronze ditto, 12s. 6d. 

SALMON FLIES WITH SPINNING HEADS (Patent), very Killing, from Is. 

Best Silk Salmon Line Waterproof, l|d. yard. 
Finking Gazette says :" Undoubtedly do one of the Largest Trades in the world." 

$ $ J C-A-T.A.XjOC3-"CTES G-IR,.A.TIS, 5 *S* *$* 

A^i A T5 rn T^ T5 JP^ /"^ ^^ 
V^X\.XXl J. Jl JIXl O6 VH/V/** 


Near the Angel, Islington, 

Factory-1, 2, & 3, MYDDELTON PLACE. 
Timber and Cane Stores MERLIN'S PLACE. 






^ Prize Medalists :-FISHERIES EXHIBITION, 1883. -^ 
8 International Awards for SALMON and TROUT. RODS and PLIES. 





" -A. 


The "Multum in Parvo " Trout Rod ... 1 Is. 

The ' ' J.B." Box (Protected). The most compact Fly and Cast Box 
for Salmon or Trout Anglers, with place in lid for spare gut, 
scissors and pliers ... ... 10s., 12s. Gel., 15s. 6d. 

The "Scotford" Box (Protected). The most complete for 
carrying Baits, Casts, Flies, Tackle, etc., for Salmon and Trout 
Fishing 12s. 6d., 16s., 17s. 6d. 

THE NEW "IDEAL" MAY FLY (Protected). The most 
perfect imitation of Nature, highly commended by the most 
experienced Anglers ... ... ... 6s. per dozen. 

The "Gresham" Sea Rig (Patent). Highly recommended to 

all Sea Anglers. Can be carried in the pocket ... 2s. 6d. each. 


N.B. Prices 25 per cent, less than other West-End Houses. 





JOHN BICKERSDYKE (the talented author of flea Fixhiny, Badminton Library series 
of British Sports), says in Sea Finking, page 212 : 

"The Best Rod for boat work I have yet seen is one which has ben gradually worked out by 
members of the Cresham Angling Society, with the assistance of Mr. HEMENS, of the New North Road 
With it leads up to 2 Ibs. can be easily worked. I have even used a 3i Ibs. le<wl with its assistance without 
much difficulty. It is made in two pieces, and is by no means so stiff as tackle makers generally think it 
necessary to make Sea Rods. It measures only about seven feet, and I may say here that eleven feet is 
the outside length of a rod for boat work when ground tackle is used, owing to the great strain which it 
his to bear : it is fitted at the end and next the reel with a roller apparatus over which the line passes. 
There are two good arrangements for the rod. One is simply a little block fixed on with wire, anil in place 
of the ring next the reel there is a metal sheave and two Tittle metal supports into which it is carefully 
countersunk. Here the friction is considerable, and a roller of some kind is very necessary. The sheave 
and its supports are shown in the illustration." 

. - PRICES. 

Two joint, or 7 feet long, brazed tongue, flat brass stopper, snake rings, 
universal winch fitting, countersunk boxwood block, countersunk butt line 
guide, rubber button, universal winch fittings and leather capped partition 
bag ...0 16 

Metal-lined under winch locking ferrule 3/- extra. 

The special test dry fly rod, Greenheart, 10 feet, in 3 joints, and 2 tops, brazed 
tongues, Hat stoppers, metal lined, universal winch fittings, snake rings, 
revolving end rings, lock-fast fittings and leather-capped partition bag ...1 5 

Fly Rods, 10, 10J, 11 or 12 feet, from, each ... ... ... ...0 10 6 

Best 18 feet, 3 joint Greenheart Salmon Rod, with 2 tops, brazed tongues, flat 
brass stoppers, metal lined, universal winch fittings, snake rings, revolving end 
rings, in leather-capped partition bag and rubber button ... ...116 

Not to be equalled anywhere under 2 10 0. 

BEING THE ACTUAL MAKERS we can guarantee these goods as being the 
very best possible make, and the wood the very best quality, and well seasoned. 

Rods, Lines and Winches of every description kept in stock. 


^ A. BULMER & Co., *- 



Corner of Nine Elms Lane. 

P.O.O. payable 157, Wandsworth Road. All Orders must be prepaid, postage extra. 

Three minutes' walk from Nine Elms Boat Pier and Vauxhall Station, S.W.R. 

A Gossamer Gut Line and 1 dozen hooks to match, Crystal, Roach, Sneck bend or 
assorted, post-free 1/5. Twisted Gut Traces, with or without lead, I/- each. Japanned 
Treble Box, for holding casts, traces, hooks, flies, &c., 1/9, post-free 2/-. 

Catalogues Post Free. Baits of every description kept in stock. 



ISsgSS'g, >E 



T. P. LEE & CO., Ltd., 



GENTLEMEN'S REAL BUCK GLOVES, Brown, 2 Buttons ...... 5/6, 6*6, Q 

Do. do. Tilbury's Gold Tan Cape, 2 Buttons 5/6, fl/6 

LADIES' REAL BUCK GLOVES, Brown, 4 Buttons, 7/6 ; 6 Buttons ... 8/6 

OFFICERS' REAL BUCK GLOVES, Regulation Pattern, in White, ) ,,, ,-, Qia 
Brown, or Black. (The Brown and Black are perfectly Fast Dyed.) f '' '/' M 

BREECHES PASTE, 2/6 per Jar. BLEACHING POWDER, 2/6 per Tin ; and COLOR 

BALLS, I/- each, for Cleaning all kinds of Leather and Cord Hunting Accoutrements, &c. 
CHAMOIS LEATHERS, for Plate Carriages, &c ....... Per dozen 16/- 18/- 21/- 


%" In ordering, kindly state size of Gloves, and if required for Hunting, Walking, or Driving. 




, Litd., 

atv3 Saw Stations t, 

PRINTERS, &,c., 

63, 65 & 67, Carter Lane, Doctors' Commons, 

Telephone No. 1838. ^^= T-jOlSTTDOKT., E.G. 





Ry Special Appointment to 

His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, K.G. 


VERY BEST FINISH, 7 70, 88 0, 9 9 0. 



30 yards 10s., 40 yards 13s. 4d. 


Trout Casts of specially Long and Fine Natural Gut, 









Gold Medal for Waders, Fisheries' Exhibition, 1883. 

High-Class Goods of Guaranteed Quality. 

Kre>-y attention given to Special Orders. 


stout ss/e 





BOOTS, &c. 



SKIRTS. &c. 

'Baxter" Brogue 


Kane in fmtting on, owing^ to 

fin- 1' a 'finof litinitli. llnmttff 
(uldinj tonym 1 * makes them 





CHEAp siDE, 





This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 



jui ?n WK 



- *<M9SB 

lOSnr'RQk 1 

lUApr 09A J 

' . 

MAR 2 ? 1959 

OCT 1 81981 

. - - 

m DEC 1 4 ^ 


jjTD w fcg 

JAN 21985 


1 1QQR 

LD 21-100m.6,'56 

General Library 

University of California 


YE 01 131