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side downwards which grew uppermost before upon the back of the hook, leaving so much only as to serve for the length of the wing of the point of the plume lying reversed from the end of the shank upwards : then whip your silk twice or thrice about the root-end of the feather, hook, and towght; which being done, clip off the root-end of the feather close by the arming, and then whip the silk fast and firm about the hook and towght, until you come to the bend of the hook, but not further, as you do at London, and so make a very unhandsome, and, in plain English, a very unnatural and shapeless fly. Which being done, cut away the end of your towght, and fasten it. And then take your dubbing which is to make the body of your fly, as much as you think convenient, and holding it lightly, with your hook, betwixt the finger and thumb of your left hand, take your silk with the right, and twisting it betwixt the finger and thumb of that hand, the dubbing will spin itself about the silk, which when it has done, whip it about the armed hook backward, till you come to the setting-on of the wings. And then take the feather for the wings, and divide it equally into two parts; and turn them back towards the bend of the hook, the one on the one side, and the other on the other of the shank; holding them fast in that posture betwixt the forefinger and thumb of your left hand : which done, warp them so down as to stand and slope towards the bend of the hook; and having warped up to the end of the shank, hold the fly fast betwixt the finger and thumb of your left hand, and then take the silk betwixt the finger and thumb of your right hand; and where the warping ends pinch or nip it with your thumb nail against your finger, and strip away the remainder of your dubbing from the silk : and then with the bare silk whip it once or twice about; make the wings to stand in due order ; fasten, and cut it off. After which, with the point of a needle, raise up the dubbing gently from the warp ; twitch off the superfluous hairs of your dubbing ; leave the wings of an equal length, your fly will never else swim true; and the work is done. And this way of making a fly, which is certainly the best of all other, was taught me by a kinsman of mine, one Captain Henry Jackson, a near neighbour, an admirable fly-angler; by many degrees the best fly-maker that ever I yet met with. And now that I have told you how a fly is to be made, you shall presently see me make one, with which you may peradventure take a Trout this morning, notwithstanding the unlikeliness of the day; for it is now nine of the clock, and fish will begin to rise, if they will
rise to-day. I will walk along by you, and look on : and after dinner I will proceed in my lecture of fly-fishing.
VIATOR. I confess I long to be at the river : and yet I could sit here all day to hear you : but some of the one, and some of the other, will do well ; and I have a mighty ambition to take a Trout in your river Dove.
PISCATOR. I warrant you shall : I would not, for more than I will speak of, but you should ; seeing I have so extolled my river to you ; nay, I will keep you here a month, but you shall have one good day of sport before you go.
VIATOR. You will find me, I doubt, too tractable that way; for, in good earnest, if business would give me leave, and that if it were fit, I could find in my heart to stay with you for ever.
PISCATOR. I thank you, Sir, for that kind expression. And now let me look out my things to make this fly,
PISCATOR. BOY! come, give me my dubbing-bag CHAP. VI.
here presently; and now, Sir, since I find you so honest a man, I will make no scruple to lay open my treasure
in the year.
VIATOR. Did ever any one see the like ! what a heap of trumpery is here ! certainly never an angler in Europe has his shop half so well furnished as you have.
PISCATOR. You, perhaps, may think now, that I rake together this trumpery, as you call it, for show only, to the end that such as see it, which are not many I assure you, may think me a great master in the art of angling : but let me tell you, here are some colours, as contemptible as they seem here, that are very hard to be got, and scarce any one of them which, if it should be lost, I should not miss, and be concerned about the loss of it too, once
But look you, Sir, amongst all these I will choose out these two colours only; of which, this is bear's hair, this darker, no great matter what; but I am sure I have killed a great deal of fish with it; and with one or both of these you shall take Trout or Grayling this very day, notwithstanding all disadvantages, or my art shall fail me.
VIATOR. You promise comfortably, and I have a great deal of reason to believe everything you say : but I wish the fly were made, that we were at it.
PISCATOR. That will not be long in doing : and pray observe then. You see, first, how I hold my hook; and thus I begin. Look you, here are my first two or three whips about the bare hook ; thus I join hook and line ; thus I put on my wings; thus
I twirl and lap on my dubbing; thus I work it up towards the head; thus I part my wings ; thus I nip my superfluous dubbing from my silk; thus fasten ; thus trim and adjust my fly. And there's a fly made ; and now how do you like it?
VIATOR. In earnest, admirably well; and it perfectly resembles a fly : but we about London make the bodies of our flies both much bigger and longer, so long as even almost to the very beard of the hook,
PISCATOR. I know it very well, and had one of those fies given me by an honest gentleman, who came with my father Walton to give me a visit ; which, to tell you the truth, I hung in my parlour window to laugh at : but, Sir, you know the proverb, “ They who go to Rome, must do as they at Rome do ;” and believe me, you must here make your flies after this fashion, or you will take no fish. Come, I will look you out a line, and you
it on, and try it. There, Sir, now I think you are fitted ; and now beyond the farther end of the walk you shall begin : I see, at that bend of the water above, the air crisps the water a little : knit your line first here, and then go up thither, and sce what you can do.
VIATOR. Did you see that, Sir ?
PISCATOR. Yes, I saw the fish : and he saw you too, which made him turn short, You must fish further off, if you intend to have any sport here; this is no New River, let me tell you. That was a good Trout, believe me : did you touch him ?
VIATOR. No, I would I had, we would not have parted so. Look you, there was another : this is an excellent fly.
PISCATOR. That fly I am sure would kill fish, if the day were right : but they only chew at it, I see, and will not take it. Come, Sir, let us return back to the fishing-house : this still water, I see, will not do our business to-day : you shall now, if you please, make a fly yourself, and try what you can do in the streams with that; and I know a Trout taken with a fly of your own making will please you better than twenty with one of mine. Give me that bag again, sirrah : look you, Sir, there is a hook, towght, silk, and a feather for the wings : be doing with those, and I will look you out a dubbing that I think will do.
VIATOR. This is a very little hook.
PISCATOR. That may serve to inform you, that it is for a very little fly, and you must make your wings accordingly; for as the case stands, it must be a little fly, and a very little one too, that must do your business. Well said ! believe me, you shift your
fingers very handsomely. I doubt I have taken upon me to teach my master.
So, here's your dubbing now. VIATOR. This dubbing is very black.
PISCATOR. It appears so in hand; but step to the doors and hold it up betwixt your eye and the sun, and it will appear a shining red ; let me tell you, never a man in England can discern the true colour of a dubbing any way but that; and therefore choose always to make your flies on such a bright sunshine day as this, which also you may the better do, because it is worth nothing to fish in. Here, put it on; and be sure to make the body of your fly as slender as you can. Very good! upon my word, you have made a marvellous handsome fly.
VIATOR. I am very glad to hear it; 'tis the first that ever I made of this kind in my life.
PISCATOR. Away, away! You are a doctor at it : but I will not commend you too much, lest I make you proud. Come, put it on; and you shall now go downward, to some stream betwixt the rocks, below the little foot-bridge you see there,* and try your fortune. Take heed of slipping into the water as you follow me under this rock. So now you are over : and now throw in.
VIATOR. This is a fine stream indeed. There's one! I have him !
PISCATOR. And a precious catch you have of him ; pull him out ! I see you have a tender hand. This is a diminutive gentleman; e'en throw him in again, and let him grow till he be more worthy of your anger.
VIATOR. Pardon me, Sir, all's fish that comes to the hook with me now.
VIATOR. I see I shall have good sport now. Another ! and a grayling. Why, you have fish here at will.
PISCATOR. Come, come, cross the bridge ; and go down the other side, lower, where you will find finer streams and better sport, I hope, than this. Look you, Sir, here is a fine stream
You have length enough ; stand a little further off, let me entreat you ; and do but fish this stream like an artist, and peradventure a good fish may fall to your share. How now! what ! is all gone?
VIATOR. No, I but touched him ; but that was a fish worth taking. PISCATOR. Why, now let me tell you, you lost that fish by * This bridge has been removed.
See the note in p. 251.