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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 sometimes in January, so early as New-year'stide, and in frost and snow, taken Grayling in a warm sun-shine 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.
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 it's 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.
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 warpt 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 Hog's ear: not that a black spot in any part of the Hog will not afford the same colour; but that the hair in that plane is by many degrees, softer, and more fit for the purpose: his wing must be as the other, and this kills all this month, and is called the Lesser Red-brown.
2. This month also a Plain Hackle, or Palmer-fly, made with a rough black body, either of black Spaniel's fur, or the whirl of an Estridg feather, and the red Hackle of a Capon over all, will kill, and, if the weather be right, make very good sport.
3. Also a Lesser Hackle with a black body also, silver-twist over that, and a red feather over all, will fill your pannier if the month be open, and not bound up in ice, and snow, with very good fish; but in case of a frost and snow, you are to angle only with the smallest Gnats, Browns, and Duns, you can make, and with those are only to expect Graylings no bigger than sprats.
4. In this month, upon a whirling round water, we have a Great Hackle, the body black, and wrapped with a red feather of a Capon untrimmed; that is, the whole length of the Hackle staring out; for we sometimes barb the Hackle-feather short all over; sometimes barb it only a little, and sometimes barb it close underneath, leaving the whole length of the feather on the top, or back of the fly, which makes it swim better, and, as occasion serves, kills very great fish.
5. We make use also, in this month, of another great Hackle, the body black, and ribbed over with gold twist, and a red feather over all; which also does great execution.
6. Also a Great Dun, made with Dun Bear's hair, and the wings of the gray feather of a Mallard near unto his tail; which is absolutely the best fly can be thrown upon a river this month, and with which an Angler shall have admirable sport.
7. We have also this month the Great Blue Dun, the dubbing of the bottom of Bear's hair next to the roots, mixed with a little blue camlet, the wings of the dark gray feather of a Mallard.
8. We have also this month a Dark-brown, the dubbing of a brown hair off the flank of a brended Cow, and the wings of the Gray Drake's feather.
And note, that these several Hackles, or Palmerflies, are some for one water, and one sky, and some for another, and, according to the change of those, we alter their size and colour; and note also, that both in this, and all other months of the year, when you do not certainly know what fly is taken; or cannot see any fish to rise, you are then to put on a small Hackle, if the water be clear, or a bigger, if something dark, until you have taken one, and then thrusting your finger through his gills, to pull out his gorge, which being opened with your knife, you will then discover what fly is taken, and may fit yourself accordingly.
For the making of a Hackle, or Palmer-fly, my Father Walton has already given you sufficient direction.
For this month you are to use all the same Hackles, and flies with the other, but you are to make them less.
1. We have besides for this month, a little Dun called a Whirling Dun, though it is not the Whirling Dun indeed, which is one of the best flies we have, and for this the dubbing must be of the bottom fur of a Squirrel's tail, and the wing of the gray feather of a Drake. . •
2. Also a Bright Brown, the dubbing either of the brown of a Spaniel, or that of a Cow's flank, with a gray wing.
3. Also a Whitish Dun made of the roots of Camel's hair, and the wings of the gray feather of a Mallard.
4. There is also for this month, a fly, called the Thorn-tree Fly, the dubbing an absolute black mixed with eight or ten hairs of Isahella-coloured