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sportsmen. They consist mainly of a considerable length of line, from which a dozen or more hooks project, and terminated by a heavy lead. Beyond the lead is a piece of finer line about two yards in length, at the end of which is a button, used for slinging out the affair seaward. Having arranged the whole of the line loosely on the shore, the fisherman baits his hooks, tying on his mussels, if they are using any, for the purpose. He next places the button in a Icleft cut at the end of a broomstick, swings the lead to and fro once or twice pendulumwise, and with a mighty heave sends it out to sea, much as a rocket leaves a life-saving apparatus-the button, of course, slipping from the cleft at the end of the stick. Any one would naturally suppose that with these thirteen or more hooks a large number of fish would be caught; but my experience is, that the angler fishing with an ordinary two-hook paternoster will catch many more fish than can be taken on a throw-out line. The reason probably is this: The angler's line is fine, and this enables a much smaller lead to be used than the one on the throw-out line. The fish, when it seizes the bait, very often pulls the lead a short distance, and the person holding the rod at once feels the bite, strikes, and hooks the fish. With a handline, the fish has something comparatively unresisting to pull against in its struggles, and thus frequently wrenches the hook out of its mouth. Where the rod is used, the yielding top gives to the pull of the fish, and a very lightly hooked codling will be brought on shore. I have seen twelve fish landed by a person using a rod and two hooks, while men who were standing on either side of the angler and working two throw
out lines, each bearing fifteen hooks, only caught two or three codlings between them. In the earlier portion of this paper I gave other instances of many more fish being caught on the rod than on the hand-line.
In angling for small sea-fish the rod is particularly serviceable. That estimable little member of the Pleuronectidæ, the sand-dab, which, when the sole has become extinct, will have to take its place, may be caught by the dozen on many sandy shores by those who fish with light, fresh-water tackle. I never saw the usefulness of a rod for sea-fishing more clearly demonstrated than in Tenby Bay, where this particular fish abounds. The water there is shallow, and the current is not strong; but the local fishermen use handlines bearing heavy leads, suitable for fishing a tideway. These little fish are delicate biters. The handliner will probably feel nothing until the sand-dab has swallowed the bait and is struggling to get rid of it. The angler, on the other hand, and by angler I mean more particularly him who uses rod and line,-who fishes with the lightest lead the current will allow, feels the slightest interference with the bait, and will catch almost every fish that bites.
Not as evidence of my own particular skill, but merely of the superiority of the rod over the hand-line, I may shortly describe one particular afternoon's fishing I had not far from a little bay on the Bristol Channel, called Waterwinch. I was in a boat, and had with me two rods, on both of which were light paternoster tackle. About a hundred yards' distance there soon came a professional fisherman with two customers, a father and his little son. The three were using hand-lines, but
Almost is to say, terminate a piece of fine gut with a pistol-bullet-and place along it at intervals four or five roach-hooks baited with fragments of ragworm or uncooked shrimps. This is lowered among the smelts, which will feed all the eagerly if they are ground-baited with pounded shrimps, herring, or other food in which they delight.
were catching nothing. immediately I lowered my tackle into the water I began to hook fish; and so freely did the sanddabs and large plaice bite that I was unable to attend to more than one rod, while the man who was with me was fully occupied in opening mussels. Witnessing my good fortune, the people in the other boat came nearer, but still they caught nothing. Again they moved, with similar results; and seeing how very grieved and puzzled they were, I begged of them to put their boat as near mine as could possibly be done without the two little craft bumping together. This they did, thanking me profusely, quite believing that the secret lay in my having chosen a particularly good spot. But even then they were no more successful than they had been. In a very few hours' fishing my bag consisted of six dozen flat-fish, while in the boat which lay alongside me not half-a-dozen were taken. It is only fair to say that the hand-lines used by these people were particularly unsuited for the purpose. I have no doubt that if they had used my tackle, even omitting the rod, they would have had a very fair afternoon's sport.
Many of the harbours on the east coast are frequented by that most excellent of fish, the cucumber-smelt, which is a true smelt, and member of the Salmonida family. It may be distinguished from the atherine or sand-smelt by the adipose or fatty fin. Handlines would be quite out of the question for these fish, which may be often caught in considerable quantities on exactly the same tackle as the fresh-water fisherman uses for roach,-two or three hooks, however, being more deadly than one. Another plan is to make up a tiny paternoster-that
This reference to pounded shrimps reminds me that the elevation of sea-fishing to a fine art has led to the introduction on our coasts of the fresh-water fisherman's method of collecting fish and bringing them on the feed-a practice, by the way, which has prevailed in other countries for many years. It is no uncommon thing now for sea-anglers to smash up a number of crabs, pieces of herring, and other fish-food, place the mixture in a net, weight it with stones, and sink it by means of a light line at the spot where the fishing is carried on. For the purpose of collecting fish there is nothing so sure as the interiors of pilchards, which give off a quantity of oil.
Since I first commenced to seafish, one of the greatest improvements which has been brought about in tackle is in connection with the rod. At one time I deemed it almost impossible to use a rod along with a weight of over half a pound, but now the sea- - fisherman can use a weight of 2 lb. or more without being obliged to have recourse to even a hand-line. The rod is, in a sense, a lever, and the longer the rod the more powerful the leverage on the angler's hands and wrists. Two lb. at the end of an eighteen-feet rod would feel, and would be, an enormous and quite unmanageable weight. But reduce the rod to six feet, having in lieu of the ordinary end ring a miniature
block through which the line may run with the least possible amount of friction, and we are at once able to fish with a 2-lb. lead. Seafishermen should bear in mind that, given a certain depth of water and a certain speed of current, a stout line will always require a much heavier lead to keep it on the bottom than one finer. By using running tackle and rod, which enable him to play his fish, the angler can dispense with very coarse strong tackle, and, as a natural consequence, is enabled to use leads of moderate weight.
I have endeavoured in this short paper to take a broad view of sea-fishing as a sport, and have touched upon as many branches of it as was possible within reasonable limits of space; but I cannot help feeling that there are necessarily many omissions, some of importance. This new sport has a great future before it. It is as
different from the methods of the professional fisherman as fly-fishing for salmon is from the salmon-fishing as pursued by our great-grandfathers. It is, in a sense, a new branch of angling, and therefore we know at present comparatively little about it. As population, anglers, and river-pollution all increase, fresh-water fishing worth the having must necessarily become more difficult of attainment. We may do well, therefore, to find out to the full the sport the sea is likely to afford us. The salmon and sea-trout angler, too, is reminded that in time of drought, when rivers are streamlets and streamlets dry beds, a turn at the sea-loch, or round yon rocky point, may yield better sport than the gloomy contemplation of a book of salmon-flies, or the thin streak of water which winds its tortuous way among the boulders.
A FRAGMENT OF RUSSIAN LIFE.
IT was a few weeks before Christmas. The pope of Nitchvorad was thinking already of his tithes the geese, and the pig, and the sacks of apples-and per haps of the New Year's dinner up at the Castle; his wife, the popadia, was wishing, in her usual dumb patient fashion, that the holy season, with certain contingencies pertaining to it, were well over.
It had been an open winter, so far, at Nitchvorad; but now the frost seemed to be strengthening, and the low blanket clouds, full of snow, were hanging in the firtops, ready to empty themselves in a few hours. The popadia stumped to and fro between the kitchen and the wood-shed, bring ing in fuel for the ovens. Her husband had told the boys to help their mother, but none of them had attended to his orders: the best that could be said for the parson's boys was, that in holiday-time one saw very little of
Suddenly there was a rallying and a scuffling on the street side of the house, a jingling of bells, a clatter of horses' feet sharply turning the corner, where the ice from the pool round the midden splintered like glass. The Count's servant jumped off the box-seat of the Count's own droschky, and would have half thumped the pope's door down with his fists, had not the pope himself, rushing from his seat by the oven, appeared in an instant on the doorstep. The little desolate street was alive with darting black eyes,
the shock black heads of the parson's boys protruding from every unexpected cranny: it was not a common thing for the Count's carriage to stop at their door, and for once there was something to stare at.
"Jump in, jump in !" cried the Countess, as the pope came bowing and smiling to the carriage door. "The Count has visitors, come for the horse-fair, and they have all sat down to skat. They began to play at eight last evening, and, save for supper and for breakfast, they have not moved yet. My husband said, 'Fetch the pope,— he will enjoy the fun;' and I can give you five minutes to make your packet. Ask the popadia to put together your things for a couple of nights, for the snow is coming, and you will not mind being kept a bit at the castle, eh ? Ah! there you are, Sophia Petrovitch; a hundred greetings to you," as the popadia appeared in the passage. "You will spare us your husband for a short visit? You have plenty of sons to look after you how many? Ah! eleven: that is a brave family; and you will soon make up your dozen, if I don't mistake," rattled on her ladyship the Countess with ready wit, and in a shrill voice which carried half-way down the street.
The pope was bustling about, struggling into his Sunday kaftan, stuffing things into a bag and pulling them out again in his excitement, bawling at his wife, who in the inner room was hastily putting a few stitches and apply
1 A Russian colloquialism signifying "N'importe," "Nothing matters."
ing a brush to garments that were not in general use.
"Here, Sophia Petrovitch, there is candle-grease on my sleeve. Lend me thy gaiters, mine are all spattered with mud. If thou hast an iron handy, just pass it over these spots, and smooth out the silk handkerchief. Come! come! how slow thou art, while the Countess waits! I might be a widowerGod forbid it!-with a wardrobe all so unready in an emergency. Where is thy fur cap? it is better than mine, and no one will see thee."
The popadia worked with a will, her broad sallow face showing no sign of emotion. In five minutes the pope was brushed, dressed, packed, stepping into the carriage beside the Countess, his wife handing his little leather wallet to the footman with her own hands.
"Bah! not inside," shrieked the Countess, as the man would have put the modest luggage on the front seat; "the smell of leather and of grease makes me sick! I would not have it near me for ten roubles;" and the servant swung it carelessly to the box-seat by the long broken strap which the popadia had not had time to sew afresh.
"Home!" cried the Countess; then with an afterthought, "Goodbye, Sophia Petrovitch; good luck to you in making up your dozen : and with a peal of laughter at her own sprightliness, the lady leaned back among her furs, and the carriage drove away.
and let her hands drop on her knees for full ten minutes without moving. The unexpected bustle of the Countess's visit and her husband's departure had shaken her, and a little red spot came on each of her prominent cheek - bones. Outside, the sky seemed to be bending nearer and nearer with its weight of snow. Everything was very still, for the boys had rushed off again to their lairs, to rejoice over the disposal of the "little father" for the next two days. The popadia almost fancied, as she sat alone in the house, that she could feel the great earth plunging round on its course-a strange sensation that had come to her once or twice of late, and made her grasp at the chair-arms or at anything that came handy while it lasted. Then the Countess's reiterated words came back to her. The baby that was to come at Christmas-time was the thirteenth, not the twelfth, though she had not seen fit to correct her ladyship.
There were eleven boys, to be sure, belonging to the pope's family, ranging from sturdy, untamable Alexander, of nearly sixteen, to the pair of eleven-months' twins in the box-cradle behind the stove; but Tinka, the pretty blueeyed girl-the only blue-eyed, fairskinned child in all the swarthy, shock-headed crew-had died five years before, just as she was beginning to fill the place of friend and assistant to the poor patient mother, who had never known what it was to be befriended or assisted in her life.
The popadia went back into the house and shut the front door. A little soft, light snow, like eider- family. like eiderdown, had blown into the passage, a precursor of the downfall that was due. Sophia Petrovitch sat down in her husband's chair by the oven-the one seat in the house that was really snug and warm
Tinka was the eldest of the family. She had faded away before the Countess came, as a bride, to the Castle; and as no one in Nitchvorad went in for such sentimentality as decorating graves, the remembrance of the little girl had passed from all men's minds.