This section is from the book "Fishing: When, Where, And How To Fish Without Live Bait", by William Tweedie. Also available from Amazon: Fishing: When, Where And How To Fish Without Live Bait.
The trout is a very beautiful fish, and abundant in nearly all our English, Scotch, and Irish rivers. It is a fish fairly within the reach of a boy. Mr. Robert Blakey, who is the best writer we know on angling, says on fly-fishing what we think is specially applicable to this mode of fishing for trout: "It is graceful and gentlemanly, and can be enjoyed by all who exhibit any anxiety to acquire the art. It is also the most independent mode. You take your rod, fishing-reel, and fly-hook, and roam away over half a kingdom, without any further trouble about baits, or incumbrance from nets, or fish-kettles, or other trumpery. In point of exciting the mind, and sustaining joyous hilarity, it is infinitely preferable to all other modes of exercising the gentle art. The constant attention which the angler must pay to his flies as they glide on the water, the repeated changes of locality, the calm and placid pleasure infused into the soul by sparkling and gushing streams, the constant exercise of his skill in casting and drawing the line, the gentle tantalisings of his hopes by frequent unsuccessful risings at the fly, the dexterity and management requsite in killing a fish with such delicate materials, and the uncertainty which always hangs over his successful capture, - all tend to awaken and keep alive that feeling of mind on which rests the whole charm of the art In short, in flyfishing all the elements are judiciously combined, which contribute to render angling an agreeable and healthy amusement......We have long arrived at the conclusion that anglers are vastly more fastidious about the shape and colour of their flies than trout are."
Trout will eagerly take dead worms. Mr. Blakey says: "On one occasion we happened to have an old bait bag in our pocket, in which were twenty old, dried up, shrivelled worms, so dry indeed that they almost crumbled into powder between the finger and thumb. We steeped them in water, and contrived to thread them on a very small hook. The expedient proved successful; and we returned home with a very fine basket of trout"
Salmon roe is a more seductive bait. The roe is used either as a paste or plain, as taken out of the fish, with a little salt sprinkled over it This bait should be as large again as an ordinary horse-bean, and fastened upon the hook with a single fibre or two of common sheep's wool.