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IAT. Come, sir, having now well dined, and being again set in your little house, I will now challenge your promise, and entreat you to proceed in your instruction for fly-fishing; which that you may be the better encouraged to do, I will assure you that I have not lost, I think, one syllable of what you have told me; but very well retain all your directions, both for the rod, line, and making a fly; and now desire an account of the flies themselves.


PISC. Why, sir, I am ready to give it you, and shall have the whole afternoon to do it in, if nobody come in to interrupt us; for you must know (besides the unfitness of the day) that the afternoons, so early in March, signify very little for angling with a fly, though with a minnow, or a worm, something might (I confess) be done.

To begin, then, where I left off, my father Walton tells us but of twelve artificial flies only, to angle with at the top, and gives their names; of which some are common with us here; and I think I guess at most of them by his description, and I believe they all breed and are taken in our rivers, though we do not make them either of the same dubbing or fashion. And it may be in the rivers about London, which I presume he has most frequented, and where 'tis likely he has done most execution, there is not much notice taken of many more : but we are acquainted with several others here, though perhaps I may reckon some of his by other names too; but if I do, I shall make you amends by an addition to his catalogue. And although the forenamed great master in the art of angling (for so in truth he is) tells you that no man should, in honesty, catch a trout in the middle of March, yet I hope he will give a man leave sooner to take a grayling, which, as I told you, is in the dead months in his best season; and do assure you (which I remember by a very remarkable token), I did once take, upon the sixth day of December, one, and only one, of the biggest graylings, and the best in season, that ever I yet saw or tasted; and do usually take trouts too, and with a fly, not only before the middle of this month, but almost every year in February, unless it be a very ill spring indeed; and have sometimes in January, so early as New-year's tide, and in frost and snow, taken grayling in a warm sunshine day for an hour or two about noon; and to fish for him with a grub, it is then the best time of all.

I shall therefore begin my fly-fishing with that month (though I must confess very few begin so soon, and that such as are so fond of the sport as to embrace all opportunities, can rarely in that month find a day fit for their purpose); and tell you, that upon my knowledge these flies in a warm sun, for an hour or two in the day, are certainly taken.


1. A red brown, with wings of the male of a mallard almost white the dubbing of the tail of a black long-coated cur, such as they commonly make muffs of; for the hair on the tail of such a dog dies and turns to a red-brown, but the hair of a smooth-coated

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Alstonfield Manor House

dog of the same colour will not do, because it will not die, but retains its natural colour, and this fly is taken in a warm sun, this whole month through.

2. There is also a very little bright dun gnat, as little as can possibly be made, so little as never to be fished with, with above one hair next the hook; and this is to be made of a mixed dubbing of marten's fur, and the white of a hare's scut; with a very white and small wing; and 'tis no great matter how fine you fish, for nothing will rise in this month, but a grayling; and of them I never, at this season, saw any taken with a fly, of above a foot long in my life; but of little ones about the bigness of a smelt, in a warm day, and a glowing sun, you may take enough with these two flies, and they are both taken the whole month through.


1. Where the red-brown of the last month ends, another almost of the same colour begins, with this saving, that the dubbing of this must be of something a blacker colour, and both of them wrapped on with red silk. The dubbing that should make this fly, and that is the truest colour, is to be got off the black spot off a hog's ear: not that a black spot in any part of the hog will not afford the same colour, but that the hair in that place is, by many degrees, softer, and more fit for the purpose. His wing must be as the other; and this kills all this month, and is called the lesser red-brown.

2. This month, also, a plain hackle, or palmer-fly, made with a rough black body, either of black spaniel's fur, or the whirl of an ostrich feather, and the red hackle of a capon over all, will kill, and, if the weather be right, make very good sport.

3. Also, a lesser hackle, with a black body, also silver twist over that, and a red feather over all, will fill your pannier, if the month be open, and not bound up in ice and snow, with very good fish; but, in case of a frost and snow, you are to angle only with the smallest gnats, browns, and duns you can make; and with those are only to expect graylings no bigger than sprats.

4. In this month, upon a whirling round water, we have a great hackle, the body black, and wrapped with a red feather of a capon untrimmed; that is, the whole length of the hackle staring out (for we sometimes barb the hackle-feather short all over; sometimes barb it only a little, and sometimes barb it close underneath), leaving the whole length of the feather on the top or back of the fly, which makes it swim better, and, as occasion serves, kills very great fish.

5. We make use, also, in this month, of another great hackle, the body black, and ribbed over with gold twist, and a red feather over all; which also does great execution.

6. Also a great dun, made with dun bear's hair, and the wings of the grey feather of a mallard near unto his tail; which is absolutely the best fly can be thrown upon a river this month, and with which an angler shall have admirable sport.

7. We have also this month the great blue dun, the dubbing of the

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