The rise to surface lures and return.

The rise-to-surface lures and return..

In bottom fishing, the required action is entirely different, because the sinker keeps the lure down. The tip needs to be raised quickly, instead of with a side jerk. Another quite different action is required for the small bottom nymph, caddis-creeper, and trout-hellgram-mite, which are described in a separate chapter devoted to them.

We now come to the best rig to use for these lures, and, assuming the angler to be one familiar with fly fishing, the regulation trout-fly rod, reel, and line, is best to cast these light, floating lures for bass, trout, salmon, or pike - both near the surface or on the bottom. For the heavier and larger lake-shiner, with five-inch hook, a well-built rod is more safe when fishing in deep water for muskellunge or large lake-trout. What I consider of the greatest importance is the leader and the way lures are attached to it. Each and every lure must have a gut leader, six feet long, more or less - not less than three feet. These light lures will not work or float attached to the line only; gut leaders are most necessary. I don't think anything is gained by having more than one lure on the leader, though I have often used two, or even three, in order to test which would first attract trout.

My favorite testing water is a river with chances of a mixed bag. I frequently capture during one day specimens of brown, native, and rainbow trout. Later, in the same water, I get small-mouth bass, all four species being found in different situations of the river. Rainbows occupy the most turbulent, bass the quietest and deepest parts; the browns generally in fairly deep pools, and the natives in the ripply shallows. I know, more or less, just what fish will respond by the peculiarities of the water; so I provide the special lure they prefer. Exceptions occasionally occur to that rule, for fishing is an exceptionally surprising game. Trout are erratic, doing stunts and things you least expect. At one rushing torrent I hooked a fine rainbow on a little silver terror, and felt confidently sure that was the bait for him at another similar place. But here the terror failed. I knew fish were there, so I put on the trout cricket. This was in June, long before crickets were abundant, yet the cricket got the rainbow where the terror failed. This and some other experiences go to show that two lures are wise at times; though as a rule I prefer only one on the leader, and change it according to circumstances as they arise. When more than one lure is used on the leader, the snell attachment should be eight inches long. The reason is that at that length the lure will not so easily twist around the leader, there is more room for the fish to grab it, and it stays out better. It is different with a second artificial fly, a three-inch snell is enough not to entangle with the leader. If two or three are put on the leader, the space apart must be two feet, or even more when a long leader is used. The foregoing applies to surface fishing only. For bottom fishing I find from experience that light buckshot are best, tied at the very end of the gut leader, and the first lure on the eight-inch snell placed twelve inches above the sinker. This rig allows the lure to lie suspended in the water about the same distance trout and other fish usually lie from the sandy bottom. Another lure may be fixed above, two feet higher. In that situation it very often attracts the fish more than the lower one. This is because, although the lower one may be preferred, it may have been seen and refused because the food it imitates is absent. Another thing, when you lift the rod tip to make the lure active and alive, it draws their attention more to the higher-placed lure. I only use river-bed creepers for my lowest lures. The question whether creeper lures should not lie right on the bed of the river which some live creepers in their natural state never leave till they make their final change, is easily answered by the fact that if the artificial creeper lies on the bed, it is not so likely to be visible. The action of the rod tip forces the bait down, then up, so that truth to nature is best accomplished that way, by jerking it. This active jerk, to give life movement, is very essential to success; just the same as with live bait, which, if it ceases to kick around in a lively manner, reduces the chances of a strike.

Lure fishing in deep water.

Lure fishing in deep water..

If the reader will refer to Chapter II, on Characteristic Habits, it will prove a sort of guide how to imitate this life movement with the artificials - an art requiring some practice to perform well, yet at the same time exceedingly interesting to do. The importance of the peculiarly different action of each one of them makes considerable variety in the method required, giving added interest in the game every time you fish. When you are fishing the artificial in deep though still water, it calls for yet more skilful rod-tip movement, because no rush of water assists that life movement. All that can be done is to lift the tip up, sideways, in both rapid and slow jerks. Even when trolling the baits in still water, the jerk movement is decidedly good, particularly for crawfish and hellgrammite. This same jerking is good in live-bait fishing, but with a limit; because the bait may be jerked off, a situation not possible with artificials.

Rising again to the surface, special mention should be made of the tiny baits on No. 10 hooks - the terror, grasshopper, cricket, nymph, caddis, darning-needle, and tiny hellgrammite. I fish them all, as I do flies. They are no heavier but they float better. All are deadly baits at certain seasons for average-size natives, browns, and rainbows from ten to fourteen inches long. With the fish at that size, these baits give better sport than it is possible to get in any other way outside of fishing the fly. The way I play them is superior even to dry-fly fishing for several reasons, one being that the fishing is continuous, with no bother of drying or changing your flies. You can fish with success all day with any one of them and continue to capture fish after you have tested the right one to use. I have proved that both cricket and grasshopper will attract trout long before the live insects are abundant. This is an unheard-of advantage to have at hand, ready for use at a moment's notice, any artificial you want for use during the entire season. Indeed, did I choose to discard trout flies entirely from my fishing,