FISHING-FLY. A bait used in angling for divers kinds of fish. Of the artificial fly there are reckoned no fewer than twelve sorts, of which the following are the principal:— 1. For March, the dun fly, made of the muddy fly; made of red wool, and bound about with black silk, with the feathers of a black capon hanging dangling on his sides next his tail. 4. For June, the greenish fly ; the body made of black wool, with a yellow list on either side, the wings taken off the wings of a buzzard, bound with black broken hemp. 5. The moorish fly, the body made of duskish wool, and the wings of the blackish mail of a drake. 6. The tawny fly, good till the middle of June: the body made of tawny wool, and the wings made to stand contrary, one against the other, of the whitish mail of a white drake. 7. For July, the wasp fly ; the body made of black wool, cast about with yellow silk, and the wings of drakes' feathers. 8. The steel fly; proper in the middle of July; the body made with greenish wool, cast about with the feathers of a peacock's tail, and the wings made of those of the buzzard. 9. For August, the drake fly; the body made of black wool cast about with black silk; the wings of the mail of a black drake, with a black head. The best rules for fishing with the artificial fly are : To fish in a river somewhat disturbed with rain; or in a cloudy day, when the waters are moved by a gentle breeze : the south wind is best; and if the wind blow high, yet not so but that you may conveniently guard your tackle, the fish will rise in plain deeps; but if the wind be small, the best angling is in swift streams. Keep as far from the water side as may be; fish down the stream with the sun at your back, and touch not the water with your line. Always angle in clear rivers, with a small fly and slender wings; but in muddy places, use a larger. When, after rain, the water becomes brownish, use an orange fly; in a clear day, a light coloured fly ; a dark fly for dark waters, &c.
Every angler should know how to tie his own flies, and should always take with him a supply of materials to make a fly, upon the instant, resembling the natural one at which the fish appear to rise.
Let the line be twice as long as the rod, unless the bank of the river be encumbered with wood. Of every sort of fly, have several of the same, differing in colour, to suit the different complexions of several waters and weathers. Let the fly fall first into the water, aud not the line, as it will frighten the fish. In slow rivers, or still places, cast the fly across the river, and let it sink a little in the water, and draw it gently back with the current. Salmon flies should be made with their wings standing one behind the other, whether two or four. This fish delights in the gaudiest colours that can be woven; chiefly in the wings, which must be long, as well as the tail.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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