It is the birds and other creatures peculiar to the water that render fly-fishing so pleasant; were they all destroyed, and nothing left but the mere fish, one might as well stand and fish in a stone cattle-trough. I hope all true lovers of sport will assist in preserving rather than in killing them.
The Sil also, near Petrosèny, is a fine-looking river, and used to be celebrated for its so-called 'salmon-trout; but these had quite disappeared when we saw it, having been blown up with dynamite, a method of fishing very commonly practised in the country, but now forbidden by law. Indeed fly-fishing is gaining ground, and English tackle in great demand."
In this spot an accident, which had nearly been fatal to me, occasioned the renewal of my acquaintance in an extraordinary manner with the mysterious unknown stranger. Eubathes, who was very fond of fly-fishing, was amusing himself by catching graylings for our dinner in the stream above the fall.
But perhaps they apprehended that it was merely a bridal party, and they were leaping all over the lake, flipping their tails in the sun, and scorning all the visible wiles. Fish, they seemed to say, are not so easily caught as men. There appeared to be a good deal of excitement in the boat that carried the artist and Miss Lamont. It was fly-fishing under extreme difficulties.
No rain having fallen as yet, the springs and rivers were all nearly dry; but we saw several rocky beds, which gave good promise of fly-fishing, should they receive a further supply of water. About nine A.M. we reached our halting-place, "Serai Saidabad," a ruined old place, with a mud tenement overlooking, at some elevation, the banks of a river.
Doesn't every standard writer on angling say that fly-fishing is the perfection of the art?" "Not at all," Cotton Mather replied, with some exultation, "Izaak Walton's book is all about bait-fishing, except two or three pages on the artificial fly, which were composed for him by Thomas Barker, a retired confectioner. But suppose all the books were on your side.
As to the lochs themselves, now that anyone may put a boat on them, now that there is perpetual trolling, as well as fly-fishing, so that every fish knows the lures, the fun is mainly over.
This is most successful when rivers are low and weather hot, and it needs an expert angler to succeed in it. The worm has to be cast up-stream rather like a fly, and the method is little inferior to fly-fishing in delicacy and difficulty. The other baits for trout, or rather the other baits which they will take sometimes, are legion.
When the sun is hot and the weather grows warm, trout leave the ripples and take to cold springs and spring-holes; the largest fish, of course, monopolizing the deepest and coolest places, while the smaller ones hover around, or content themselves with shallower water. As the weather gets hotter, the fly-fishing falls off badly.
None, however, of these valid reasons were sufficiently potent to turn the countess from her point. "Nonsense, Frank," said she, "I wonder that you can talk of fly-fishing when the property of Greshamsbury is at stake. You will go with Augusta and myself to Courcy Castle to-morrow."
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