Spring Thoughts for Fishermen
Angling Theories and Methods. By Major R. A. Chrystal (C. Trout). (Jenkins. lOs. 6d.)
Trout Streams, their Management and Improvement. By W. Carter Platts. (Field Press. 7s. 6d.) IT is close on the time when according to Chaucer " longen folk to goon 'on pilgrimages " ; and so do many of us— pilgrimages to the happy waters of hop:. Trout are stirring already, though there is much to be said for Sir Herbert Maxwell's contention (in his introduction to Major Chrystal's book) that there should be a close season for them till March 31st. But for ten weeks lucky men have been killing spring salmon and, as Major Chrystal says, " there is something about a spring salmon which is different from all other salmon." No other capture of the season has the same extraordinary fresh- ness and vitality, though in point of fact he does not generally run so hard or jump so often as one that takes in warmer water. But when a March twenty-pounder does run wild, then indeed the reel's screaming and the quiver of' the rod whip the nerves. The limitation of this delight is that the spring fisher seldom has the thrill of seeing his fish rise, for the fly has generally to be fished deep ; and on the whole I incline to agree with Major Chrystal that the best fishing of all is that of which he chiefly writes, on streams which a light rod can cover, where you are fishing for sea trout with the chance of a grilse—or for grilse with the chance of sea trout. He has also a great deal to say about lake fishing (especially in Uist), and for those who do not mind cold much is to be said for this way of sport, which makes least demand on the angler for physical exertion, and for skill.
But the cold should not be forgotten. A couple of years ago I was asked to recommend an elderly Frenchman to a free salmon fishing in Ireland, Lough Fern in Donegal was chosen ; and that May boats came in repeatedly with four or five fish aboard (not bad for a free water). But the Frenchman
had come from Provence, he had brought a neat suton suiting, and he found it impossible to stay out on the lakel the weather that just suited fly-fishing. By the mercy Providence he got a fish in the river and went home hap but those who recommend lough-fishing should consider china Major Chrystal has much to say about the habits and ge of trout, as well as on the problems which have always cised anglers—such as, when and how to strike. One Jr agree with him that people are much oftener too quick tk too slow ; and the old rule in Ireland for salmon used to to " Never till you feel him." But in summer and light watt when fish come up and explore the fly, it is likely that son actually close their mouths on it, and open them again withal making a strain that can be felt. When this is happenit (and the writer has risen fourteen salmon in an hour to Ries in a lake with only one fish hooked) it is better to skit Mr. Platts is concerned chiefly with the improvement trout fishing in the English North Country, which is indeed great public amenity ; and it is natural to sympathise mil his dislike for what happens when the British artisan adopts trout river and begins to ground bait with maggots. trout have regrettably indelicate palates. They take fli only when they can get nothing solider. A bacon facto was started on a well-known Irish river and the trout about increased greatly in weight, but would not look near a if The leading fish among them—it weighed 14 lb.—was final taken with a lump of pigs' brains.
Mr. Hunter's handy little pocket companion is mostl about knots and splices, but gives other useful tips ; especial this for unhooking undersized fish which must be returned I the water. Catch the hook by the top of the shank, shake lightly, without holding the fish, which will generally wrigg off. It is the handling that injures them„