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nor such sport can all the rivers about London ever afford, as is to be found in this pretty river.
Pisc. You deserve to have better, both because I see you are willing to take pains, and for liking this little so well; and better I hope to show you before we part.
Come, Sir, having now well dined, and being again set in your little house, I will now challenge your promise, and entreat you to proceed in your instruction for flyfishing; which, that you may be the better encouraged to do, I will assure you that I have not lost, I think, one syllable of what
well retain all your directions, both for the rod, line, and making a fly, and now desire an account of the flies themselves.
Pisc. Why, Sir, I am ready to give it you, and shall have the whole afternoon to do it in, if nobody come in to interrupt us; for you must know, besides the unfitness of the day, that the afternoons, so early in March, signify very little to angling with a fly, though with a minnow, or a worm, something might, I confess, be done.
To begin, then, where I left off: my father Walton tells us but of twelve artificial flies to angle with at the top, and gives their names; of which some are common with us here : and I think I guess at most of them by his description, and I believe they all breed and are taken in our rivers, though we do not make them either of the same dubbing or fashion. And it may be in the rivers about London, which I presume
he has most frequented, and where 'tis likely he has done most execution, there is not much notice taken of many more: but we are acquainted with several others here, though perhaps I may reckon some of his by other names too; but if I do, I shall make you amends by an addition to his catalogue. And although the forenamed great master in the art of Angling, for so in truth he is, tells you that no man should in honesty catch a Trout till the middle of March, yet I hope he will give a man leave sooner to take a Grayling, which, as I told you, is in the dead months in his best season : and do assure you, which I remember by a very remarkable token, I did once take upon the sixth day of December, one and only one, of the biggest Graylings, and the best in season, that ever I yet saw or tasted ; and do usually take Trouts too, and with a fly, not only before the middle of this month, but almost every year in February, unless it be a very ill spring indeed ; and have some. times in January, so early as New-year's tide, and in frost and snow, taken Grayling in a warm sunshine day for an hour or two about noon; and to fish for him with a grub, it is then the best time of all.
I shall therefore begin my fly-fishing with that month,—though I confess very few begin so soon, and that such as are so fond of the sport as to embrace all opportunities, can rarely in that month find a day fit for their purpose, -and tell you, that, upon my knowledge, these flies in a warm sun, for an hour or two in the day, are certainly taken.
JANUARY 1. A RED BROWN, with wings of the male of a mallard, almost white; the dubbing of the tail of a black long-coated cur, such as they commonly make muffs of; for the hair on the tail of such a dog dies, and turns to a red brown; but the hair of a smooth-coated dog of the same colour will not do, because it will not die, but retains its natural colour: and this fly is taken in a warm sun, this whole month through.
2. There is also a very little BRIGHT DUN GNAT, as little as can possibly be made, so little as never to be fished with with above one hair next the hook; and this is to be made of a mixed dubbing of marten's fur and the white of a hare's scut, with a very white and small wing; and 'tis no great matter how fine you fish, for nothing will rise in this month but a Grayling; and of them I never, at this season, saw any taken with a fly, of above a foot long, in my life : but of little ones, about the bigness of a smelt, in a warm day and a glowing sun, you may take enough with these two flies; and they are both taken the whole month through.
FEBRUARY. 1. Where the red brown of the last month ends, another, almost of the same colour, begins with this ; saving, that the dubbing of this must be of something a blacker colour, and both of them warped on with red silk. The dubbing that should make this fly, and that is the truest colour, is to be got off the black spot of a