Rage, Curiosity, or Playfulness?-Flies-How Salmon Flies Differ from Trout Flies-An Empiric Craft-The Dusty Miller's Success-Salmon have Marked Preferences- Flies of the Seasons-An Incident on the Tay-Its Possible Significance-Is the Gut too Thick ?-Eyesight of Salmon-Mr. Andrew Lang's Surmise-The Weather -Trout, Char, and Salmon-Where Salmon Lie-Times o' the Day-Simultaneous Appetite or Anger-Spring -Autumn-Highland Rivers Clear-Harling and Trolling-Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Curzon, and Mr. Malloch-A Wonderful Discovery.
It was not from idle curiosity that we so closely considered whether salmon when in fresh water feed or abstain from food. Any understanding on that problem at which we may arrive determines a very practical question. If in rising when he sees the invitation a salmon is moved by something other than hunger, or what Mr. Carlyle called " artificial appetite," we are only, though the sport is centuries old, mere novices in the craft of luring. The alternatives to hunger or fictitious hunger have been discussed. The salmon may be inquisitive. He may be enraged. He may be frolicsome. Which? If he be inquisitive, what shapes and hues and sizes pique him ? If he be irritable, what are they that infuriate ? If he be playful, by what good luck do we tickle his humour ? The questions have only to be stated in order that their nature may be perceived. They are not definitely soluble. Our own motives are often so obscure that any endeavour to elucidate the motives of a fish would be ridiculous. At any rate, The Psychology of Salmon is no subject for this hesitating quill. Fortunately, there seems to be considerable reason for believing that it may be eschewed with confidence. Although we cannot tell whether a salmon has temper, or curiosity, or a sense of fun, we need not, in despair, abandon the study of his ways. It is beyond all question, I think, that often, when we come upon him in river or lake, he is in a mood to eat or to try to eat. He may not be able to eat, but he thinks he is. That is something to be reckoned with. Besides, it is all we have to go upon.
As regards flies, it is not much. I allude to flies such as those which are pictorially presented at the beginning of this volume. These were made by Mr. P. D. Malloch, Perth, who is a supreme master of all the lore, craft, and handicraft of salmon fishing. In every respect they are absolutely perfect. The steels, of proper bend, were made and tempered and sharpened specially for the purpose of this book. The feathers, the furs, the hackles, the silks, and the tinsels are of the finest. The busking is exquisite.