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Unformatted text preview: d which some one kindly lent me, is like a weaver's beam. The high heavy wading trousers and boots are even as the armour of the giant of Gath. You have to plunge waist deep, or deeper, into roaring torrents, and if the water be at all "drumly" you have not an idea where your next step may fall. It may be on a hidden rock, or on a round slippery boulder, or it may be into a deep "pot" or hole. The inexperienced angler staggers like a drunken man, is occasionally drowned, and more frequently is ducked. You have to cast painfully, with steep precipitous banks behind you, all overgrown with trees, with bracken, with bramble. It is a boy's work to disentangle the fly from the branches of ash and elm and pine. There is no delicacy, and there is a great deal of exertion in all this. You do not cast subtilely over a fish which you know is there, but you swish, swish, all across the current, with a strong reluctance to lift the line after each venture and try another. The small of the back aches, and it is literally in the sweat of your brow that you take your diversion. After all, there are many blank days, when the salmon will look at no fly, or when you encounter the Salmo irritans, who rises with every appearance of earnest good-will, but never touches the hook, or, if he does touch it, runs out a couple of yards of line, and vanishes for ever. What says the poet? There's an accommodating fish, In pool or stream, by rock or pot, Who rises frequent as you wish, At "Popham," "Parson," or "Jock Scott," Or almost any fly you've got In all the furred and feathered clans. You
58 ANGLING SKETCHES strike, but ah, you strike him not He is the Salmo irritans! It may be different in Norway or on the lower casts of the Tweed, as at Floors, or Makerstoun; but higher up the country, in Scott's own country, at Yair or Ashiesteil, there is often a terrible amount of fruitless work to be done. And I doubt if, except in throwing a very long line, and knowing the waters by old experience, there is very much skill in salmon-fishing. It is all an affair of muscle and patience. The choice of flies is almost a pure accident. Every one believes in the fly with which he has been successful. These...
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