« PreviousContinue »
beard on the top of the hook, in your arming, so as to be turned up when you warp on your dubbing, and to stand almost upright, and staring one from another; and note, that your fly is to be ribbed with yellow silk; and the wings long and very large, of the dark grey feather of a mallard.
14. The next May-fly is the black-fly; made with a black body, of the whirl of an ostrich-feather, ribbed with silver-twist, and the black hackle of a cock over all; and is a killing fly, but not to be named with either of the other.
15. The last May-fly (that is, of the four pretenders) is the little yellow May-fly; in shape exactly the same with the green-drake, but a very little one, and of as bright a yellow as as can be seen; which is made of a bright yellow camlet, and the wings of a white-grey feather dyed yellow.
16. The last fly for this month (and which continues all June, though it comes in the middle of May) is the fly called the camlet-fly, in shape like a moth, with fine diapered or water wings, and with which (as I told you before) I sometimes used to dibble; and grayling will rise mightily at it. But the artificial fly (which is only in use amongst our anglers) is made of a dark brown shining camlet, ribbed over with a very small light green silk, the wings of the double grey feather of a mallard; and it is a killing fly for small fish; and so much for May.
From the first to the four-and-twentieth, the green-drake and stonefly are taken (as I told you before).
1. From the twelfth to the four-and-twentieth, late at night, is taken a fly, called the owl-fly; the dubbing of a white weasel's tail, and a white grey wing.
2. We have then another dun, called the barm-fly, from its yeasty colour; the dubbing of the fur of a yellow-dun cat, and a grey wing of a mallard's feather.
3. We have also a hackle with a purple body, whipt about with a red capon's feather.
4. As also a gold-twist hackle with a purple body, whipt about with a red capon's feather.
5. To these we have this month a flesh-fly; the dubbing of a black spaniel's fur, and blue wool mixed, and a grey wing.
6. Also another little flesh-fly; the body made of the whirl of a peacock's feather, and the wings of the grey feather of a drake.
7. We have then the peacock-fly; the body and wing both made of the feather of that bird.
8. There is also the flying-ant or ant-fly; the dubbing of brown and red camlet mixed, with a light grey wing.
9. We have likewise a brown-gnat, with a very slender body of brown and violet camlet well mixed, and a light grey wing.
10. And another little black-gnat; the dubbing of black mohair, and a white grey wing.
11. As also a green grasshopper; the dubbing of green and yellow wool mixed, ribbed over with green silk, and a red capon's feather over all.
12. And, lastly, a little dun grasshopper; the body slender, made of a dun camlet, and a dun hackle at the top.
First, all the small flies that were taken in June are also taken in this month.
I. We have then the orange-fly; the dubbing of orange wool, and the wing of a black feather.
2. Also a little white-dun; the body made of white mohair, and the wings blue, of a heron's feather.
3. We have likewise this month a wasp-fly; made either of a dark brown dubbing, or else the fur of a black cat's tail, ribbed about with yellow silk; and the wing, of the grey feather of a mallard.
4. Another fly taken this month is a black hackle; the body made of the whirl of a peacock's feather, and a black hackle-feather on the top.
5. We have also another, made of a peacock's whirl without wings. 6. Another fly also is taken this month, called the shell-fly; the dubbing of yellow-green Jersey wool, and a little white hog's-hair mixed, which I call the palm-fly, and do believe it is taken for a palm, that drops off the willows into the water; for this fly I have seen
trouts take little pieces of moss, as they have swam down the river; by which I conclude that the best way to hit the right colour is to compare your dubbing with the moss, and mix the colours as near as you can.
7. There is also taken, this month, a black-blue dun; the dubbing of the fur of a black rabbit mixed with a little yellow; the wings, of the feather of a blue pigeon's wing.
The same flies with July.
1. Then another ant-fly; the dubbing of the black brown hair of a cow, some red wrapt in for the tug of his tail, and a dark wing; a killing fly.
2. Next a fly called the fern-fly; the dubbing of the fur of a hare's neck, that is, of the colour of fern, or bracken, with a darkish grey wing of a mallard's feather; a killer, too.
3. Besides these we have a white hackle; the body of white mohair and wrapped about with a white hackle-feather, and this is assuredly taken for thistle-down.
4. We have also this month a Harry-long-legs; the body made of bear's dun, and blue wool mixed, and a brown hackle-feather over all. Lastly. In this month all the same browns and duns are taken that were taken in May.
This month the same flies are taken that are taken in April.
1. To which I shall only add a camel-brown-fly; the dubbing pulled out of the lime of a wall, whipped about with red silk, and a darkish grey mallard's feather for the wing.
2. And one other for which we have no name; but it is made of the black hair of a badger's skin, mixed with the yellow softest down of a sanded hog.
The same flies are taken this month as were taken in March.
The same flies that were taken in February are taken this month also.
Few men angle with the fly this month, no more than they do in January; but yet, if the weather be warm (as I have known it sometimes in my life to be, even in this cold country, where it is least expected), then a brown, that looks red in the hand, and yellowish betwixt your eye and the sun, will both raise and kill in a clear water and free from snow-broth; but, at the best, it is hardly worth a man's labour.
And now, sir, I have done with fly-fishing, or angling at the top, excepting once more, to tell you, that of all these (and I have named you a great many very killing flies) none are fit to be compared with the drake and stone-fly, both for many and for very great fish; and yet there are some days that are by no means proper for the sport. And in a calm you shall not have near so much sport, even with daping, as in a whistling gale of wind, for two reasons, both because you are not then so easily discovered by the fish, and also because there are then but few flies that can lie upon the water; for where they have so much choice, you may easily imagine they will not be so eager and forward to rise at a bait, that both the shadow of your body, and that of your rod, nay of your very line, in a hot calm day, will, in spite of your best caution, render suspected to them; but even then, in swift streams, or by sitting down patiently behind a willow bush, you shall do more execution than at almost any other time of the year with any other fly; though one may sometimes hit of a day, when he shall come home very well satisfied with sport with several other flies but with these two, the green-drake and the stone-fly, I do verily believe I could, some days in my life, had I not been weary of slaughter, have loaden a lusty boy; and have sometimes, I do honestly assure you, given over upon the mere account of satiety of sport; which will be no hard matter to believe, when I likewise assure you, that with this very fly, I have in this very river that runs by us, in three or four hours taken thirty, five-and-thirty, and forty of the best trouts in the river. What shame and pity it is, then, that such a river should be destroyed by the basest sort of people, by those unlawful ways of fire and netting in the night, and of damming, groping, spearing, hanging, and hooking by day, which are now