Ethel Watts Mumford Grant.

The art of angling greatly improved, containing the most esteemed methods of angling for pond and river fish .. online

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Online LibraryEthel Watts Mumford GrantThe art of angling greatly improved, containing the most esteemed methods of angling for pond and river fish .. → online text (page 1 of 4)
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In summer, calm, clear, 01% which is pre-
ferable, cool, cloudy weather, the wind blow-
ing gently, so that your angling instrument?
jiay be used with ease and facility.

When a sudden violent shower has slightly
raised the mud in the river, and it appears
of a whey colour, then angle with a red
worm at the ground, and good sport will be

In Marc}]pr4^^t^i.^^i^piijg of April wxd

at the latter end of September, and during
the whole of the winter, the fish bite best
in the warmth of the day, when no wind is
stirring and the air quite clear. During the
summer months the morning and the even-
ing are the best, or in cool, cloudy weather.

Fish rise best at the fly after a shower
that has not raisecVthe mud of the river, but
which has beaten the gnats and flies into the
water. The best months for the fly are
March, April, May, and part of June. In
the cooler months, in the warmest time of
the day, or in warm weather about nine in
the morning, or three in the afternoon, if a
gentle breeze be blowing,

A Trout bites best in dark, cloudy, windy
weather, early in the morning, from about
eight to ten, and in the afternoon, from three
to four. About nine in the morning, and
about three in the afternoon, are his chief
and most constant hours of biting at ground
or fly. March, April, May, and part of June,
are his chief months, although he will take
the bait well in July, August, and September.
After a shower in the evening he rises well
at gnats.

Salmon bite best at about three in the
afternoon, chiefly in May, June, July, and
August, with a clear water and some wind.
He takes the bait best when the wind is
blowing against the stream, and near the sea.

Carp and Tench morning and evening,
very early and late, in June, July, and
August, or even in the night.

Chub from sun-rising or earlier. In the
heat of the day, he will seldom bite. In
June and July, till about eight, and at three
in the afternoon, at ground or fly, if the
weather be cool.

Pike bitss best at three in the afternoon,
in a clear water, accompanied by a gentle
gale, in July, August, September, October.

Bream from about sun-rising till eight, in
a muddy water, and a good breeze of wind.
In ponds, the more violent the wind, and the
higher the waves, the better. From the end
of May, June, July especially, and August.

Roach and Dace, during the whole of the
day, in clear weather, with a slight breeze.
Gudgeon from April till he has spawned in
May, and then to the end of the year, in
warm clear weather.

Flounder, during the whole of the day, in
Aprils May, June, and July, when the water
has been disturbed by rain.


On Baits in general.

Worms are the most natural baits under
water for almost every fish, instances having
even occurred of Pike taking them. They
should be preserved and cleansed in mode-
rately dry moss, in a cool place in the sum-
mer, and out of the reach of the frost in the
winter. The greater the quantity of moss
вЦ†which is used, and the oftener it is changed,
the longer they will live, as they cannot bear
being exposed to the open air. The largest is

The Loh, or Dew-wormy

which is found in old gardens, fallow fields,

and early in the morning it may be taken
upon the surface of grass fields. It is a good
bait for Salmon, Trout, Perch, Chub, and
Eels, particularly in muddy water.

The Red Worm

is found in all loamy soils, and nic^y be ga-
thered by following a plough, turning up gar-
den soil, and under boards, bricks, slates,
tiles, stones, &c. that have lain undisturbed
a short time. It is a good bait in clear water
singly, but when the water is discoloured two
are preferable, particularly for Trout. When
two worms are used, the hook should be thrust
through the knot of that which is to remain
uppermost, and when forced through only
one-third of its body, must be drawn to the
top of the shank until the wire be covered,
and it v/ill then remain secure; observing to
reverse the end that you begin at, and the
knot being held by the barb, they will remain
sufficiently firm.

The Brandling, or Gilt-tail ^

is a beautiful littlfe worm, dark at the head,
becoming gradually paler towards the tail,
which is decorated with bright yellow circles,
that distinguish it from all other reptiles of
this class. They are found in old dung-hills,
old hot-beds, especially where tanners' bark
has been used, and often in tanners' bar^


alone^ provided it has lain a sufficient time to
rot. From the beginning of May to the
middle of September, it is the best worm that
can be used, and what few fish when on feed
will refuse.

To prepare the tackle for worm fishing in
streams, a small piece of music-wire should
be whipped to the upper end of the shank of
the hook, in order to keep the bait in a proper
position. No precise directions can be given
for leading the line, as it depends so much on
its length, the depth of the stream, and the
rapidity of the current; the bait should sink
quickl)', and fish near the bottom ; if the line
be overleaded, it will be found extremely
troublesome, as the hook will frequently be
entangled with whatever it meets at the bot-
tom ; such as stones, roots of trees, &c.

Cod-halt Fishing.

It is a good bait about mid-water, and near
the bottom in clear streams, on a hook Xo. 8,
whipped to fine gut lightly shotted. Many
anglers, in preparing their hooks for cod-bait
fishing, prefer the shank being leaded to a
shot on the line ; but it is a method which we
cannot approve, being but a tender bait, the
lead renders it almost impossible to be drawn
neatly over the shank. When used in still
water, a small float is necessary. The cod-


bait which is the most aiseful to the angler, is
found in stony brooks or gravelly rivulets,
closely adhering to any solid substance it
finds at the bottom. When taken out of the
v/ater, they may be preserved a month by
putting them in a woollen bag, with or with-
out moss, upon a cool floor. If the bag should
become too dry, care must be taken not to
use too much water to damp it again, as these
insects cannot endure their native element
after they have been taken from it four days ;
still they must not be exposed to the other

Maggot Fishing

commences as soon as the frost disappears in
the spring, and is a good bait in open wea-
ther every month in the year. It is used for
the same purposes as the cod-bait, and is rea-
dily taken by all kinds offish that take small
baits. Maggots generated in October will
live through the winter, at which time Chub,
Grayling, Carp, Tench, Perch, Roach, and
Dace, are in perfection, and may be enticed
to any part of a pond to feed, by suspending
a piece of carrion at the end of a pole over
the spot that it is desired that the fishes should
frequent. It is not unusual to bait particu-
lar places with worms, maggots, gi'ains, stew-
ed malt, clay balls, clotted blood, &c. but it
is to be supposed, that the fish will become


fonder ofa spot where they can peaceably en-
joy then- food which is continually dropping
to them, than where they are often disturbed
by being fed at stated intervals.

The method of baiting a hook with a mag-
got or gentle is as follows : Take one or two
maggots, and put the hook into the second
joint above the tail, then draw it forv/ard
upon the hook; having performed this with
one or two, put the hook into the second
joint of the last maggot, and cover the beard
of the hook with it, but let not the point ap-
pear in sight; if the hook be run too deep, the
substance of the gentle will come out, and
then it is good for nothing ; therefore, care
must be taken to run it under the skin, as gen-
tly, and as close to it, as possible.

The Cow-dung Bait

is found from the beginning of June to the
end of August, amongst the droppings from
cattle in dry pastures ; and far excels both the
cod-bait and maggot during its short stay,
and must be used for the same purposes. In
shape it resembles a maggot, but its colour
is much brighter; it is extremely tough, con-
sequently a lasting bait.

Cahhage Worms
are of different colours, some of them are
green, some are gray, and others speckled.
They are useful baits in the hot months


for Trout, Chub, Carp, Teucli, Roach, and
Dace, and are procured by shaking oak and
ash trees, hazle bushes, and upon cabbage
leaves. They must be used on the top upon
streams, and mid-water in pools. J3eing ten-
der baits, they require some attention to fix
them neatly on the hook.

The GrassJwpper
is generally found about the mowing season,
and continues until it is destroyed by frosty
nights. It is eagerly taken by almost any fish
in clear streams about mid-water, on a hook
No. 6, with fine gut, and one small shot.

Boiled Wheat and Malt
must be simmered in milk over a gentle fire
in a saucepan, but it must not be suffered to
boil fast, as it will burst the corns ; or it may
be set in a gentle oven all night, and the out-
ward husk taken off: either wheat or malt is
an excellent bait for Roach, Dace, and White

Wasp Grubs.
In July, August, and September, good baits
may be provided from a wasp's nest far every
kind of fish that will take maggots and cod-
bait. The grubs must be taken from the
comb, and baked before a moderate fire, with
a tin bonnet behind it, which makes the baits
tough, and blackens their ends.



Almost every experienced angler, who uses
paste, has his peculiar method of making it;
the following recipes, however, may be con-
sidered as the most approved, and most
generally to be relied upon.

Salmon Paste.

Take one pound of salmon spawn, about
September or October, boil it about fifteen
minutes, beat it in a mortar until sufficiently
mixed, with an ounce of salt, and a quarter
of an ounce of salt-petre ; carefully pick out
the membrane, as you find it disengaged.
When it is beaten to a proper consistency,
put it into cups or gallipots, over which tie a
piece of bladder close, and it will keep many

Shrimp Paste
is prepared precisely by the same method as
Salmon paste, observing to separate the solid
part from the shell, before it is put into the

Paste to catch Chiih and Carp in the Winter.

Beat strong Cheshire cheese, mixed with
cotton wool, to the consistence of paste. If it
be too moist, temper it with wheaten flower:
if too dry, moisten it with honey. The bait


should be formed about the size and shape of
an acorn.

Paste to catch Pike. -
Mix four ounces of fine wheaten flour with
a little cotton wool, the whites of two eggs,
and a very small quantity of vermilion or red
lead. This paste should not be made above
one day before it is used.

Sweet Paste for Carp, Tench, or Chub.

Take the crumb of white bread dipped in
honey, and work it with the fingers in the
palm of the hand until it is of a proper con-
sistency. When honey cannot be procured,
lump sugar dissolved in warm water will
answer nearly as well.

Paste for Barhel.

Dip the crumb of white bread in water in
which chandlers' greaves have been boiled,
and knead it stiff. If a small quantity of
the greaves be mixed with the bread it will
prove more enticing.

Many authors recommend oil of aniseed,
and a variety of other essential oils, to scent
paste with ; these are communicated as se -
crets, and, having an air of mystery, are eager-
ly sought after by the young angler. We
have, however, tried a variety, but never had
reason to suppose they were instrumental in
taking a single fish, and believe them all to
be a wasteful and ridiculous expense.



Fishing-lines are most generally compos-
ed of a mixture of silk and hair, and are spun
of various lengths. For common Trout-fish-
ing in rivers, twenty to twenty-five yards are
sufficient; for lakes, where the fish are large,
and a boat is not used, forty to fifty yards
may be required. Single-handed-rod fish-
ers prefer their reel-lines to run taper to the
point, so that they may, by merely fixing
their foot length of gut to the lir ~, wind it up
close to their hand; and where the stream
is narrow and bushes numerous, this is
certainly a good plan, but for bold streams
the reel-line should be of equal thickness
throughout, and not too fine, in order that a
taper hair-line, of ten yards in length, may be
attached thereto.

The most important consideration in mak-
ing lines is, the selection of the hair, which
must be round, even, and free from scales.
If plucked from the tail of a young horse or
mare, it is not so good as that vrhich is to be
procured from a four-or-five-year-old gelding.
The best is to he had from the tail of a well-
grown stallion. Black, although the strong-
est, is the least serviceable colour; brown,
gray, and white, are to be preferred, and ought


to be picked with care. Hair-lines are proper
for Roach, Dace, Bream, Gudgeons, Rulle, and
Bleak, and may consist of six or nine hairs.

The links of lines for the artificial lly should
be softly twisted, as they fall much lighter on
the water, and are greatly superior to lines of
silk and hair; the two top links should con-
sist of twelve hairs, the three next of nine,
the four next of six, and the five bottom links
of three hairs, which, with the addition of a
yard of silk-worm gut, \fi\l make the line
long enough, and no other number of hairs
will twist regularly or bed well together.

Lines for Salmon, Pike, Barbel, Chub, and
large Bream, are made of silk or hemp, and
should not be too hardly twisted. The whip-
cord lines sold in the country are sized, rub-
bed even, and tied very tight in hanks ; in
this state they look well, but have a very
different appearance after they have been in
the water; and out of a line of sixty yards
it will be difficult to get twenty yards of one
entire piece even and good. Raw silk makes
very good lines ; the finer sort twisted toge-
ther for Salmon, Trout, Perch, Chub, and
large Bream, and the coarser for Pike, Barbel,
and Eels. These as w^ell as lines made of
silk, v/hen new, ought to be tied tight at both
ends, and rubbed with elder or cabbage
leaves, and afterwards trailed on the grass,
which will render them soft and pliable.



Angle rods should be proportioned in
length and strength to the dilierent fish which
it is intended to be angled for. They ought
to bend regularly^ and taper gradually; be
light in hand, and spring from the butt -end
to the top. The great fault of most rods is,
that the play of the rod is in the middle^ owing
to that part being too weak, and like a wago-
ner s whip: it is impossible with a rod of
this kind to strike or command a fish of any
size. Rods for Pike and Barbel ought to be
sixteen feet long; the butt-end made of red
deal, the middle parts of ash, and the top of
hazle, the bark not to be taken off the hazle,
as it weakens them considerably.

Rods for Trout, Perch, Chub, Eels, Bream,
and Flounders should be finer, and rings for
the running-line will be necessary. The rods
for Roach, Dace, Gudgeon, Ruffe, Bleak, and
the smaller tribe of fish, should not exceed
eight or ten feet in length.

The rod for the artificial fly is made much
lighter and of a different construction. It
should be very elastic, and spring from the
butt-end to the top. The lower part of the
rod should be made of any wood that is tough
and straight, but in the formation of the upper
part too much attention cannot be paid. Our
own country produces a variety of wood that
will make good tops, and they should be cut


at Christmas, and if placed in the open air to
season for twelve months, they will be the bet-
ter for use. The best kinds are elder, holly,
mountain-ash, and brier, but the American
hickory far excels them all, nor is it surpassed
by any wood, with the exception of the bamboo
or hollow cane. It is a custom founded in error,
of loading the tops of rods with eight or ten
inches of whalebone ; a good top, too, should
be light and elastic, whereas whalebone is
dull, heavy, and much too flexible.

It is necessary to guard against the influ-
ence of moisture on the rod as much as pos-
sible, although a shower of rain will not spoil
it : unless the rod be protected by varnish, it
wall soon be deprived of its elasticity.

Rods should not be kept in too dry a room ;
the practice of steeping them in water is a bad
one, and will soon spoil them.

It is the practice of some anglers, when the
season is over, to take the rod to pieces, and
bind the parts to a straight pole, and to let
them continue in that state until fishing sea-
son returns.


The excellence of hooks depends on their
being properly tempered, not too high to snap,
or not sufficiently that they may be bent with
the fingers. In choice of them, take care that
the points are sharp, the beards of a good


length, and the shanks not too long. As lish
differ so much in size, a great deal must be left
to the judgment of the angler in the choice of
them ; a little experience will soon point out the
proper size ; but as some directions in a trea-
tise on this subject may be expected, the fol-
lowing table is added, for the information of
young anglers, first premising, that it is a
guide only vrhere single hooks are used. The
figures denote the sizes of the various kinds of
hooks :

Barbel 1 | Eel 4

Bleak 13

Bream 9

Carp 3

Chub 2

Dace 12

Flounder. ... 5

Grayling 10

Gudgeon 12

Loach 13

Minnow 13

Perch 4

Roach 11


Salmon .... 1

Tench 3

Trout 3

Never choose a hook, the point of which
stands outward, as it will often scratch a fish
without laying hold, consequently he will be
lost; for after being pricked, he will not rise
again for two or three hours.

T7ie several Hmints or Resorts of Fish, and

in what Rivers or Places they are

most usu ally found.

To the angler it is of no small importance
to be acquainted with the several kind of ri-
vers, streams, soils, and waters, which each
sort of fish usually frequent ; for although it


is well known, that fish are somethnes to be
met with in rivers and places which they do
not usually frequent, yet the exact know-
ledge of what particular river or soils, or what
part of the river such or such kinds of fish
usually frequent, will be almost a never-fail-
ing guide to the knowledge of the most suit-
able baits, and of the fish which are likely to
be caught.

The Salmon frequents large swift rivers,
which are influenced by the tide ; they are,
however, to be found in lesser rivers, high up
the country, but chiefly at the latter end of
the year ; and when they proceed thither to
spawn, they choose the swiftest and most
violent streams, or rather cataracts, and the
clearest gravelly rivers abounding with rocks
and weeds.

The Trout is found in small purling
brooks or rivers that are very swift, feeding
behind a stone, or log, or some small bank,
which, shooting into the river, acts as a par-
tial dam to the water. He there lies watch-
ing for what comes down the stream, and
suddenly darts upon it. His hold is usually
in the deep, under a hollow place of the bank,
but his most favourite resort is, under a
stone, beneath a part of which the carrcnt has
carried away the gravel. He is seldom found
amongst weeds.

The Perch prefers a gentle stream of mo-


derate depth, but it seldom frequents the
shallows. There are very few of the canals
of England in which the Perch is not to be
found in high condition. They are some-
times found in slow muddy rivers, but not
in such plenty nor goodness.

The Carp, Texch, and Eel choose a mud-
dy and still river ; the two former prefer the
deepest and stillest part of a pond or river ;
and the same remark will apply to the larger
Eels, but the smaller ones are found in all
kinds of rivers and soils.

The Pike, Bream, and Chub choose sand
or clay; the former prefers the still pools
which abound with fry, and he shelters him-
self, in order to come upon his prey una-
wares, amongst bulrushes, water-docks, or
under bushes. The Bream prefers a gentle
stream, and the broadest part of the river.
The Chub delights in the same ground, but
is rarely found without some tree to shade
or cover him in large rivers and streams.

The Barbel, Roach, Dace, and Ruffe,
prefer gravel and sand, and resort to the
deepest parts of the river.

The Gudgeon is to be found chiefly in
sandy, gravelly, gentle, streams, and smaller

The Flounder covets sand and gravel,
deep gentle streams near the bank, or at the
end of a stream, in a deep still place.


It must, however, be understood, that as
some fish covet one soil more than another,
so they differ every season in their choice of
places. Some keep during the whole of the
summer near the top, whilst others never
leave the bottom. The former may be ang-
led for, with a quill or small float, near the
top, with a fly or any sort of worm bred in
herbs or trees, or with a fly at the top ; the
latter will be found at the tails of weirs, mills,
flood-gates, arches of bridges, or the more
shallow parts of the river, in a strong, swift,
or gentle stream. During the winter, they
all retire into the deep still places.

Artificial-fly Fishing.

The most seasonable time for fishing with
a fly in a river, is when it is somewhat dis-
turbed by rain, or on a cloudy day, when the
waters are moved by a gentle breeze. The
most favourable winds are from the south and
west, if the wind blow high, but not with
such violence as to prevent you from conve-
niently guiding your tackle ; the fish will rise
in the still deeps, but if there be little wind
stirring, the best angling is in swift streams.

In casting the line, it should be done in a
straight direction before you, and in such a
manner that the fly may fall just on the wa-
tei\ and as little of the line with it as possi-
ble ; but if the wind be high, you will then

be forced to drovrn a good part of it, in order
that the fly may be kept on the water. En-
deavour as much as possible to have the wiiid
at your back, and the sun in your face ; but
the windings of a river w^ll frequently render
that position impracticaLxe,

When you throw your line, wave the rod
in a small circle round your head, and never
make a return of it before it has had its full
scope, or otherwise the fly will be snapped

Although the day may be cloudy and win-
dy, and the water thick, the ily must still be
kept in continual motion, or the fish will easi-
ly discern the deceit.

The line should be twice as long as the
rod, unless the river be encumbered with
wood. When the fly is cast to the opposite
side of the river, always stand as far off the
bank as the length of your line will permit ;
but if the wind blov/s from such a quarter,
that you must throw the line on the same
side as that on wdiich you are standing, then
station yourself on the very brink of the river,
and cast the fly to the utmost length of the
rod and line, up and down the stream, ac-
cordingly as the wind is favourable.

A quick, sharp eye, and an active hand are
necessary, to strike the flsh directly as it ri-
ses, or else, finding out the mistake, he will
dislodsre the hook from his mouth.


Small light-coloured flies are appropriate
for clear waters, and a clear atmosphere;
large dark-coloured flies, when the contrary.

When fish rise at the fly very often, and
yet never take it, it may be concluded that
it is not the fly which they like. When you
see a fish rise, the fly must be thrown beyond
him, and drawn gently over the place where
it rose, and if it be a proper fly for the sea-
son, and the fly be cast with a nicety, the

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Online LibraryEthel Watts Mumford GrantThe art of angling greatly improved, containing the most esteemed methods of angling for pond and river fish .. → online text (page 1 of 4)