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The Perfect Cast A Celebration of Fly-fishing

Edited by Tom Quinn Quiller

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Compilation copyright Š 2011 Quiller Publishing Ltd First published in the UK in 2011 by Quiller, an imprint of Quiller Publishing Ltd British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 84689 042 0 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the Publisher in writing.

Jacket and book design by Sharyn Troughton Printed in China

Quiller An imprint of Quiller Publishing Ltd

Wykey House, Wykey, Shrewsbury, SY4 1JA Tel: 01939 261616 Fax: 01939 261606 E-mail: info@quillerbooks.com Website: www.countrybooksdirect.com

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Contents

Credits

8

Acknowledgements

9

Introduction

10

Verse and Worse

11

Fly-fishing: the magic

15 16 20 22 26 29 33 36 40

The Red Hole The Right Fly Saving a Blank A Lost Fish Enjoyed On the Rise The Trickle Trout…and a Salmon Dace on the Fly

Trout Chalkstream Fighters The Benign Moment Watercraft Autumn Stillwater

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On Loch-na-Larich Fishing in Lilliput Pleasant Brooks and Store of Trout… Spinner Time Larger than Life Halford Meets Skues London’s Rivers Mayfly Time North Country Pea-shooter Not as Big as You Think On the Wylye

Salmon A Day with the Grilse Incredible Bigness Norwegian Giants Sabie’s River The Most Stately Fish Not in a Taking Mood Tweed Fifty Pounder

Perfect days First Fish Paradise Back to Basics

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53 58 61 62 66 68 70 72 75 78 81 85

89 90 95 98 101 104 106 108

111 112 115 118


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The ones that got away A Gallant Fight Attached to a Submarine Cannibal Getting Started

Sea trout Red-letter Day In the Western Isles On the Moidart

Flies and their use Delightful Sport Aided by Hope Plain Black Hackle For Making Flies Flies and Salmon

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145 146 150 152 156 158


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Delightful Sport

M

y Lord, I will shew you the way to angle with a flye, which is a delightfull sport. The rod must be light and tender, if you can fit your self with a hasel of one piece, or of two pieces set together in the most convenient manner, light and gentle.

Set your line to your rod, for the uppermost part you may use your own discretion, for the lowermost part next your flye it must be of three or four haired links. If you can attain to angle with a line of one hair, two or three links one tyed to another next your hook, you shall have more rises and kill more fish. Be sure you do not overload your self with lengths of your line. Before you begin to angle make a triall, having the wind on your back, to see at what length you can cast your flye, that the flye light first into the water, and no longer, for if any of the line fall into the water before the flye, it is better uncast than thrown. Be sure you be casting alwayes down the stream with the wind behind you, and the Sun before you. It is a speciall point to have the Sun and moon before you, for the very motion of the rod drives all the pleasure from you, either by day or by night in all your anglings, both with worms and flyes, there must be a great care of that. Let us begin to angle in March with the flye. If the weather prove windy or cloudy, there are severall kinds of Palmers that are good for that time. First, a black Palmer ribbed with silver. Secondly, a black Palmer ribbed with an orenge-tawny body. Thirdly, a black Palmer made all of black. Fourthly, a red Palmer ribbed with gold. Fifthly, a red palmer mixed with an orenge-tawny

body of cruell. All these flyes must be made with hackles, and they will serve all the year long morning and evening, windy or cloudy. Without these flyes you cannot make a dayes angling good. I have heard say that there is for every moneth in the year a flye for that moneth; but that is but talk, for there is but one monethly flye in the yeare, that is the May-flye. Then if the aire prove clear you must imitate the Hawthorn flye, which is all black and very small, the smaller the better. In May take the May flye, imitate that. Some make it with a shammy body, and ribbed with a black hair. Another way it is made with sandy hogs hair ribbed with black silk, and winged with Mallards feathers, according to the fancy of the angler, if he hath judgement. For first, when it comes out of the shell, the flye is somewhat whiter, then afterwards it growes browner, so there is judgement in that. There is another fly called the oak-flye that is a very good flye, which is made of orenge colour cruell and black, with a brown wing, imitate that. There is another flye made with the strain of a Peacocks feather, imitating the Flesh-flye, which is very good in a bright day. The Grassehopper which is green, imitate that. The smaller these flyes be made, and of indifferent The fishing picnic, from an 18th century painting

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Flies and their Use

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The Perfect Cast

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Flies and their Use

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small hooks, they are the better. These sorts which I have set down will serve all the year long, observing the times and seasons, if the angler have any judgement. Note the lightest of your flies for cloudy and dark, and the darkest of your flyes for the brightest dayes, and the rest for indifferent times; a mans own judgement with some experience must guide him: If he mean to kill fish he must alter his flyes according to these directions. Now of late I have found that hogs wooll of several colours makes good bodies, & the wooll of a red heifer makes a good body, and beares wooll makes a good body: there are many good furres that make good bodies: and now I work much of hogs wooll, for I finde it floateth best and procureth the best sport. The naturall flye is sure angling, and will kill great store of trouts with much pleasure. As for the May flie you shall have him playing alwayes at the rivers side, especially against rain: the Oak flie is to be had on the but of an oak or an ash, from the beginning of May to the end of August; it is a brownish flie, and standeth alwaies with his head towards the root of the tree, very easie to be found: the small black fly is to be had on every hathorn tree after the buds be come forth: your grasse-hopper which is to be had in any medow of grass in June or July. With these flies you must angle with such a rod as you angle with the ground bait: the line must not be so long as the rod, drawing your flye as you find convenient in your angling! When you come to the deep waters that stand somewhat still, make your line two yards long or thereabouts, and dop or drop your flye behind a bush, which angling I have had good sport at; we call it dapping. Thomas Barker, Barker’s Delight, or the Art of Angling, 1659

Trout fishing, by Henry Alken

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The Perfect Cast