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Unformatted text preview: ried all the rivers and burns to
34 ANGLING SKETCHES no purpose, and the lochs are capricious and overfished. One loch we had not tried, Loch Beg. You walk, or drive, a few miles from any village, then you climb a few hundred yards of hill, and from the ridge you see, on one hand a great amphitheatre of green and purple mountain-sides, in the west; on the east, within a hundred yards under a slope, is Loch Beg. It is not a mile in circumference, and all but some eighty yards of shore is defended against the angler by wide beds of water-lilies, with their pretty white floating lamps, or by tall sedges and reeds. Nor is the wading easy. Four steps you make with safety, at the fifth your foremost leg sinks in mud apparently bottomless. Most people fish only the eastern side, whereof a few score yards are open, with a rocky and gravelly bottom. Now, all lochs have their humours. In some trout like a big fly, in some a small one, but almost all do best with a rough wind or rain. I knew enough of Loch Beg to approach it at noon on a blazing day of sunshine, when the surface was like glass. It was like that when first I saw it, and a shepherd warned us that we "would dae naething"; we did little, indeed, but I rose nearly every rising fish I cast over, losing them all, too, and in some cases being broken, as I was using very fine gut, and the fish were heavy. Another trial seemed desirable, and the number of rising trout was most tempting. All over it trout were rising to the natural fly, with big circles like those you see in the Test at twilight; while in the centre, where no artificial fly can be cast for want of a boat, a big fish would throw himself out of the water in his eagerness. One such I saw which could not have weighed under three pounds, a short, thick, darkyellow fish. I was using a light two-handed rod, and fancied that a single Test- fly on very fine tackle would be the best lure. It certainly rose the trout, if one threw into the circle they made; but they never we...
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