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A QUITRENT ODE.
"Tunty to-day?" Well, be it so—
A sober strain, dear; one that fits
G. W. Y,
A NEW SPORT.
While some people may be in- men would fail, manage to make clined to deny that sea-fishing is heavy baskets of fish by means of in
any sense a sport, others per- fine tackle and the skill with which aps hold the opinion that it is a they use it, then I think it may very fine sport indeed, but not be said that a branch of sea-fishing new;
so that the title I have has been created which may reasonchosen is liable to be assailed for ably be termed a sport. very opposite reasons.
It is not,
The professional fisherman does however, of ordinary sea-fishing, most of his line-fishing during the which needs long coarse lines, night or at early morning, and the heavy leads, a multitude of hooks, fish take little notice of his coarse and the various appurtenances of lines in the semi-darkness. In the professional fisherman, that I the daytime he is more successful am about to write, but rather of when the sea is rough than durangling in salt-water very much ing calm, sunny weather. The as it is followed in our rivers and troubled surface checks the flow lakes, with certain comparatively of light, and the wave-motion, trifling modifications in the way of where the sea is not too deep, tackle, and variations in the matter stirs up the bottom and slightly of bait.
thickens the water. In bright We should have to go back a sunlight, after a spell of fine long way to determine who was weather, when the surface is like the first man to discover the ad- one sheet of plate-glass and the vantages of the rod for this sport. eye can see down several fathoms, The most primitive form of sea- the professional will tell you that fishing was doubtless done from the fish are shy and unapproachthe shore, and more particularly able. But the salt-water angler from rocks rising out of deep knows better; and by using fine water. The Goth, Pict, or Scot tackle, and lulling the suspicions who stood on some rocky pro- of the fish by a judicious distribuminence and cast out his stone- tion of ground-bait, he may half weighted line, must have found fill his boat, to the great amazethat his hook' fouled the seaweed ment of the professional. beneath him, and a pole of some I well remember how, one kind, to prevent the recurrence of sunny August day, a friend and this mishap, was very quickly de- I walked down to a little quay at vised. On the abrupt, rugged the head of Loch Inchard, carrycoasts of Scotland, Ireland, York- ing pike-rods in our hands. The shire, Devon, and Cornwall, long gillie who was waiting for us said rods of some kind or other have so positively the rods were worse been used from time immemorial. than useless, that my friend went
But sea-fishing does not become back and left his at home. There a sport merely because a rod is were three hand-lines of the usual involved. When, however, we kind in the boat; and during the find that skilful anglers come down two hours we were actually fishing to the coasts, and in places, at my friend worked two of these times, and generally under con- and the gillie the third, thus ditions when professional fisher- having six hooks between them,
I, on the other hand, had a piece exhaustively considered. of tackle known as a "pater- be pardoned, perhaps, for quotnoster," made of single salmon- ing a few lines from the pregut and bearing a couple of hooks; face :and this I used with rod and reel
“The subject of this little work is much as if I was perch-fishing. sea-fishing or rather, sea-angling
— The loch was full of fish, and we for pleasure, as opposed to sea-fishing had a really fine take of large for profit; and apart from any value whiting, grey gurnets, and plaice; attaching to the information given, if but the two hooks of the pater. my endeavours have the effect of sendnoster caught more than the six ing more anglers to the sea, and rehooks of the hand-lines, and the rivers and lakes, I shall not have
lieving the strain on our over-fished gillie frankly admitted that he written in vain. . This book will, I had been mistaken in his views hope, show that angling of a superior on the subject. That fine tackle kind is to be obtained in the sea, and should on
one occasion prevail possibly in a few years the very limited coarse proves little, but I number of persons who angle in saltcould give similar instances with
water may be considerably increased." out number.
Mr Cholmondeley My expectations have been Pennell tells me that, some twenty abundantly realised. There is not or thirty years ago, he and the a pier or jetty jutting out from late Frank Buckland were the shore of the United Kingdom fishing in a boat off Plymouth. where the sea-angler is not to be In a little craft not far distant found, though I fear, owing to the were some persons similarly en- steamboat traffic at most of those gaged. Mr Pennell alone fished places, the majority of the fish with rod and fresh-water tackle, have been driven away, and he and his take exceeded not only catches but little. My little book those of Frank Buckland and the made, indeed, many converts, and boatman, but also those of the was followed by a work very
much people in the second boat.
on the same lines so far as the The literature of angling is very practical information went, but large. Izaak Walton's Compleat with the addition of a very useful Angler' has alone run into over a guide to the principal places on hundred editions, and there have the coast-I mean 'Sea Fishing on been five and six hundred other the English Coasts,' by Mr F. G. works published; but nearly all Aflalo. A smaller book, written these related to fresh-water fishing. by an enthusiast, but dealing In 1801 was published Dr Brooke's chiefly with hand - lines, was Mr Art of Angling,' which dealt to Frank Hudson's 'Sea-Fishing for
extent with rock - fishing. Amateurs.' Later on we had a useful book by The first, and, so far as I know, Captain Lambert Young, entitled for many years the only, society
Sea-Fishing as a Sport,' and Mr of sea - anglers was the “Rock Wilcock's important work, The Fishers"" angling club of Aberdeen. Sea-Fisherman.' But it was not But in the early spring of 1893 a until 1887, when my little hand- “ British Sea - Anglers' Society” book, entitled 'Angling in Salt was formed, of which Sir Edward Water,' was published, that fishing Birkbeck, Bart., is the president. in the sea with fine tackle, and very It includes among its supporters much according to the methods Lord Brassey, Lord St Levan, Sir used by fresh-water anglers, was Harald G. Hewett, Bart., Sir
George R. Sitwell, Bart., M.P., think the success of the British Sir Albert Rollit, M.P., Captain Sea-Anglers' Society and the books Lambert Young, Mr R. Biddulph which have been written on what Martin, M.P., Mr H. Cholmondeley I believe I correctly term a "new Pennell, Mr T. A. Dorrien-Smith, sport” are proof, if one Mr J. C. Wilcocks, Mr W. Senior needed, that sea - fishing in its (of the 'Field'), Mr S. Harwood higher branches has taken a great (of 'Land and Water '), Mr R. B. hold on the minds of a large secMarston (of the Fishing Gazette'), tion of the angling community. Mr A. W. Blakey (of the 'Angler'), First-rate fresh-water fishing is and a number of other gentlemen becoming more difficult of attaininterested in sea - fishing. The ment every day, and it is only the chief burden of the undertaking few who can afford to pay large was borne by Mr F. G. Aflalo, who sums for salmon - rivers in the was elected, and has since acted as, North, and trout-streams in the honorary secretary. The society South, who may reckon on obtainwas from the first a success, and ing good sport. Men often spend within a few months the subscrib- their summer holiday in Scotland, ers numbered nearly two hundred. devoting perhaps £50 or more to It may, perhaps, be asked, What travelling, hotel, and incidental
à society of this kind do? expenses. They fish hotel waters, The committee aim, I believe, at and catch perhaps half- a - dozen establishing branches in all parts salmon, often not so many. of the kingdom, with boats and There are not in Northern seas competent men. This, of course, any fish (except big sea - trout, is a work both of time and money. which in certain places may be Then there are to be correspond caught in salt-water) affording the ing members at different sea-coast same sport as that given by saltowns, who will give information
But in the warmer seas on as to the migrations of sea - fish, the south, west, and east coasts of the best periods to visit the lo- England we have in the bass a cality, the best men to employ, and fish which, though very difficult so forth.
All the information to catch, gives almost, if not quite, which is obtained is filed and as great sport when hooked as ready for reference at the office in does the king of the river; while London, No. 66 Haymarket. Ar- the pollack and coal-fish—better rangements are being made with known in Scotland as lythe and different hotel - keepers to charge saithe-take the fly most greedily members of the society a fixed at times, and give very fine sport tariff, and certain of the railway indeed. In using the word "fly" companies have already agreed to in connection with sea-fish, I do carry the members at reduced fares. not refer to the imitation of
So far as my experience goes, natural winged insects such as some of the best sea-fishing to be are the death of trout, but rather obtained anywhere in the United to the various, more or less gaudy, Kingdom is off the coasts of Scot- combinations of tinsel, fur, and land and the outlying islands, and feather which, without much doubt, I hope the time will come when represent in the water a small fish anglers living in the South will be or some marine insect. able to make their journey North Sea-fish most readily take what
more reasonable terms than we are pleased to term artificial those which at present prevail. I flies, when they are feeding on fry
of various kinds, mostly herring Though the mackerel is, perand sprat, several of which may haps, of all marine fish the one be included in the generic term which is generally deemed the “whitebait”; and the best fly is, most ready to take a fly, so far without much doubt, one which as my experience goes it is not to most closely resembles those silvery be caught in numbers by ordinary little fish. I had such a fly dressed, casting with the fly-rod. which was very successful with a rule, mackerel are some little disbillet on the Yorkshire coast (billet tance under the surface, and the is the local name for the young best way to catch them is to trail of the coal-fish, or saithe, which behind the boat a single hook on vary from 1 to 3 lb. in weight). which is a strip of mackerel-skin. The body of the fly was rather A lead fixed to the line some disfat, and covered with broad silver tance above the bait is required to tinsel. Tail and under-wing were sink the tackle. of peacock herle, and over-wing Casting with the rod in freshtwo white strips from a swan's water fashion is of little use except wing; the legs rather long pea- when the mackerel are every now cock herle. With this fly I had a and again breaking the surface as
I really remarkable take of fish, they hunt the shoals of small fry casting from the rocks. A shoal about. If we could follow such of billet had driven the whitebait surface-feeding mackerel, it would (called on that part of the coast be an easy matter to catch a large soil or sile), and I worked my fly number; but if the fish chance to just as I would for sea - trout. appear close to the boat, they are Darkness and a rising tide drove gone again in less than a quarter me from the spot, but in the short of a minute, to reappear perhaps a space of three-quarters of an hour hundred yards away. Tenby Bay I had landed over half-a-cwt. of was alive with these fish fish. That is not an everyday sunny morning towards the end occurrence, of course.
of August. The shoals Looking at the fact that the breaking the water in all direcherring-fry have bluish-green backs, tions, chasing the herring - fry. and silvery sides and belly, it But though a little Welsh boy might be better to reverse the fly and I did our best to get within above described by placing the casting distance, I do not suppose white wing where the legs usually that I was able to place my fly go, and using long pieces of pea- over the mackerel half - a - dozen cock herle to represent the back times. But each cast produced a of the little fish. The more ordin- fish. ary sea-fly, which has been used There are several records of for many years, has a white wool herrings being taken with the body and a white wing; but mack- artificial fly both in the sea-lochs erel, to capture which it is chiefly of Scotland and Ireland. I have intended, do not take it nearly so never yet had the good fortune to eagerly as they do a strip of come upon herrings when thus mackerel-skin, which, if properly disposed. It is when they are cut, looks like a small fish swim- crowding into the narrow inlets ming through the water. Strips of the sea in autumn, and are of skin cut from the side of the in shallow water, that the flygrey gurnard are used for the same fisher has his opportunity. purpose.
Almost any summer's evening VOL. CLVI.NO. DCCCCXLVII.