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it! Do you not remember when that was made and used for the first and only time ? —Shut your eyes, and it all comes before you as plainly as if a painter had limned it. The hot, bright day--so hot and bright, that it was hard to find coolness or shade anywhere. The river low and clear, and the fish most decidedly not on the feed. You are sitting on a sloping slab of limestone, the lower end of which is laved by the water. Above you is a high steep rock which gives you welcome shade, and is festooned with ferns, harts-tongue, and maiden-hair, in luxuriant clusters. On the grey limestone and the vivid green vegetation the corruscating reflections of light from the sparkling wavelets play like myriads of fairy shuttles shooting to and fro and weaving a brilliant web. On a boulder in midstream a dipper sits, ever and anon making a dive into the stream and reappearing a yard or so above the stone, and floating back to it to resume its position. Happy dipper ! so cool this hot day, and enjoying a bathe without the trouble of undressing. Suddenly a caterpillar falls pat on the water from a tree overhead. Writhing in evident discomfort at his sudden change of element, he is carried away by the stream. All at once there is a regular" boil” in the water as a big trout rushes at him! The hint is not lost. As you fail to find another caterpillar, you make
the best imitation you can from the materials in your fly book; and the big trout, trusting to secure another tasty morsel, rises incautiously at it, and finds that he has “caught a tartar.” This black hackle enticed a hungry salmon whom you were not seeking to capture, and your slight trout rod had its work cut out to land him. That white fluffy fly brought to basket the famous trout which used to lurk beneath the buttresses of the grey old bridge, and defied scores of anglers who from the roadway above had spent hours and hours employing their most seductive wiles. But you, in the still summer evening when the gloaming was darkening the valley, half waded half swam to the ledge of rock at the foot of the massive buttress, and while from the deep dark pool sounded faint but numerous splashes of rising fish, you quietly and cautiously dibbed” your “white moth” on
" white moth” on the water, and secured the four-pounder, which half the population of the little village came to see the next day, and you walked about, the hero of the hour.
Such reveries and memories will turn the veriest winter's day into summer; but not all the angler's winter is so passed. In late autumn and early winter are still, mild days when such leaves as have still to fall, fall straight down to the ground, neither wafted this way nor that by the faintest breath of wind. The
water's surface is quiet and unrippled, and the water is very black and clear.
On such days the big old roach come on the feed. The cunning old fellows that during the summer only come furtively and at night from the fastnesses of their deep holes, and are too deep and crafty to be often tempted by the angler's bait, now seem to have lost some of their caution. Either the cold sharpens their hunger or the river is less disturbed by bipeds, or whatever the reason is, these big old roach may be taken pretty easily in the noontime of these fine open winter days. I recollect a spot where we used to catch some very fine ones. It was where a trout stream, dammed up by a millpool, flowed quietly and canal-like under the road—a quiet country one. The stream was spanned by a low brick bridge, so low as to be a culvert merely, for the water reached to within six inches of the top of the arch. We discovered it in this wise. We had been spinning with a spoon bait for jack in a neighbouring canal, without success, and in the faint høpe of securing some gudgeons, as a more attractive bait, we put on a worm tackle, and, fishing off the road, quickly saw the float dip in the quiet way in which a roach moves it. To our astonishment, a roach of three-quarters of a pound in weight was the result. Afterwards we made many journeys to the place, and baiting with wasp grubs, which had been carefully baked and kept in the cellar on dry straw since the storming of the nest in the summer, we generally had good sport; but only in the winter. In the summer the fish seemed to have moved away, or at all events only the very small ones would bite. We would let the float swim quietly, in company with dead leaves and sticks, through the scum which generally formed at the head of the culvert, as far underneath as it would go, and upon pulling it up again we often found that we had a fish on. That was in Shropshire, but I would particularly mention that in the Norfolk waters this season of the
is prolific. If Mr. Francis still wants to catch a twopounder, let him try his hand in some of the nineteenfeet deep holes in the narrow Yare above Harford and Cringleford bridges, or in the Bure by. Buxton. Nor are roach the only members of the finny tribe which are “getatable.” Chub (and carp, also, they say, although I have never succeeded in catching any in the winter, albeit I fished in perhaps the best stocked piece of water in England) will also take the bait. But the charm of chub fishing is not now. There is none of the delicious wandering from deep to deep and picking up a fish here and there from the scores basking under the fringing willows. · Steady, patient angling in deep holes alone will produce success.
Happy is the angler who lives near a grayling river ! He need not hide away his fly rod until Christmas. He will take advantage of fine midday hours to flog the cold, steely-blue fords, and consider himself repaid if a brace of sheeny grayling rewards his efforts. Alas for their rarity! grayling are so seldom met with, in comparison with trout. But possibly if they were more common they would cease to be so prized as they are now. We may as well be thankful for small mercies.
Pike and perch are, however, the stock fish of the angler in the winter. The largest perch may now be taken by spinning; while pike fishing, so that it be trolling or spinning, and not live baiting, is to my
mind the most exhilarating pastime possible to the angler at this season of the year. To issue forth on a bracing, windy day; to wander by the river side, which even in winter is a delightful place, is of itself pleasant, if taken as a walk merely. But when to this is added the constant exercise of wielding a heavy pike rod, the excitement of anticipation and the still keener excitement of hooking, playing, and landing a heavy fish, while healthful breezes boisterously embrace one, bringing a ruddier glow to the cheek and a clearer white to the eye, a firmer tread to the fuot and greater vigour to the brain, why, then I say that we