13 JULY 1956, Page 29


'We took a pair of otters last week,' the Fishery Superintendent told me when I visited him a day or two ago. These otters were not, however, the whiskered and playful sort, but the otters used on remote lakes by men more familiar with them than they might be with the animal from which the device takes its name. The otter is a board, cut and keeled in such a way that it will carry a line out into a lake, drifting to cover the maximum area of water. Poachers use them to work a long string of flies to catch trout. In the hands of an expert it works well. If the expert falls into the hands of the bailiff the trout prove rather expensive. An alternative method preferred by river poachers is cross-lining, Which is equally effec- tive. The otter-man can work alone and is rarely caught, for all he has to do at the sign of danger is to drop his line and let it be carried out with the abandoned board. When he leaves a lake with his bag of fish he may take his flies with him, but the board is usually hidden away among the boulders for use on future occasions.