This section is from the book "Moose-Hunting Salmon-Fishing And Other Sketches Of Sport Being The Record Of Personal Experiences Of Hunting Wild Game In Canada", by T. R. Pattillo. Also available from Amazon: Moose-Hunting, Salmon-Fishing and Other Sketches of Sport: Being the Record of Personal Experiences of Hunting Wild Game in Canada.
Sundown was near, so I concluded not to fish more then, but land and get my rod repaired for early morning; so I poled the boat to the shore, and there met the friends mentioned before, two of them taking my fish to Tybert's Hotel at the village, half a mile below.
My success was made all the more apparent by meeting a team containing two Halifaxians with their guides, returning from an all-day's fishing on the choicest pools down the river, with but a single 9-lb. fish. I confess, reader, although generally a very modest man, that I felt very proud just then. Would not you, under similar circumstances ?
The next morning, a fine one, 4.30 o'clock found me, with the rod spliced, alongside the boat, ready for another experience, and I was soon anchored near where the first capture was made. The Yellow-leg was the first tried, and started a fellow sufficiently to'show me his whereabouts, but I could not get him to take ; then a White Admiral was tried, which he treated entirely with contempt. The next selection was a small-size double-hook Grey Doctor. When this was worked up near where he had shown himself, he came like a porpoise, and was hooked. All of 40 yards of line was out, so, as he seemed pliable, the reel was kept at work, and he came within a few yards of me, when suddenly he started at rail-road pace up into the lake, jumped and raced, double-jumped and ran. until he had 70 yards out, then turned direct for a salmon net which was setting from the foot of an island towards the head of the pool, and entangled himself, so I had to raise the killock and work the boat to him, not only to gather in the 100 yards that were out, but to free him of the net. His meshing himself settled the question of his capture. Ordinarily, with a helper, the killock would have been weighed when he first took into the lake and been followed, thereby keeping him more under control; but being alone, this could not be done, so he manoeuvred himself into the net. Its owner, one Indian Glode, was encamped on the shore of the mainland, who, seeing my fish flouncing in it, came off in his canoe, and was there by the time the line was reeled up, and claimed possession of him. My fly was fast to him, and so was his net. Appearances were fast putting on the tug-of-war style, with the advantage in my favour.
It was contrary to law to have out a net in fresh water, with a penalty for violation of $10. This we both knew, so, after parleying with him for half an hour without much headway, the salmon still in the net, I told him that if he did not consent to my taking out my fish peaceably inside of an hour, I would have him arrested as a law-breaker, and his net forfeited.
Concluding discretion the better part of valour, he told me to " take the salmon, and get out." " All right, sir. Now I tell you to get up that net, and get out of this neighbourhood, or I'll have you arrested any way." Before he went back to camp, he took up the net, and left for other parts that p.m. The salmon weighed ISh lbs., a very pretty-shaped fish.
After this episode the pool was fished in all the likely resting-places, only one being started, which, being pricked, prevented my getting him to come again. The afternoon before and that forenoon every little eddy and run was literally alive with trout, feeding on a little brown fly, closely resembling what anglers call the " cow-dung" fly, that at this time, in June, yearly settle on this pool in millions; and these swarms of trout out of the Nine-mile Ponhook Lake, apparently knowing of the time of their arrival, are there, as we stated, to receive them. Putting on a single cast, and a fly closely resembling the natural one, I was soon into lively business.
Having no landing-net, and my gaff too large for most of them, placed me at a disadvantage. As soon as my fly touched the water, it was fast; and such beauties! I fairly groaned in spirit, as so many fell off when raising them over the side of the boat mostly all very large. My gaff was requisitioned on some of them, and thus the two largest, 2 lbs. 7 ozs. each, and five varying from If lb. to 2 lbs. 3 ozs., were saved. When I landed at 8.30, there were twenty-seven in the boat, with only one less than 5 lb.
It was now getting very hot, and the black flies were in pursuit of their breakfast, as the call from my inner man said I ought to be; so my line was reeled up, and the fish prepared for carrying to the hotel. My friend of the night before lived in the immediate neighbourhood, and had been watching my morning's performance, and seeing me capturing so many fish, he brought his wheelbarrow to help me, so that with his assistance we got them easily where they were placed in my friend Tybert's ice-house, as were the salmon the night before. It was 6.30 p.m. before I could get on the pool again. The trout were as plentiful as before, and the flies also. It might truthfully be said it was like rain.
If you have witnessed a school of mackerel coming to the surface, you can form some idea of the sight that was before me. Don't judge of the sight I saw, reader, if you have been a fisherman at Greenfield in these later days, for then there was scarcely a fisherman where now there are scores. Fish then had a chance to multiply and grow large, while now there is some one after them as soon as spawned. When there on the pool, I was puzzled which to fish for, salmon or trout, so I put on a small Yellow-leg, double hook, of sea-trout size, which it was hoped would attract a large trout, or fool a salmon. It was soon evident the trout did not want Yellows, and a brown had been selected to replace it, when a whirl of a large fish was noticed as the line was being reeled in, so another cast was made at. once; but he did not show, nor could he be started in the same place again, for the lad had changed his position, and when and where not expected he made a rush and hooked himself.
Wasn't there a mad fish then ? He took to the bottom, and rubbed hard to rid himself of his entanglement, then made a rush across the stream until he almost struck the shore, then turned and made equally as mad a start for the opposite, giving me interesting work to get my line in without looping it, which, as my experienced fishermen-readers know, is dangerous work. To make the danger still greater, when in the middle of the river he made direct for the boat. The line was thus left very slack, in spite of anything that could be done. At this crisis, as if the fellow knew it was his time, he jumped. My rod was thrown behind me, but did not and could not gather in all the slack, so that the salmon threw his raspy tail across my single cast, and was not there, but free. " Hang the fellow! " I groaned. " I wish he had kept out of sight; then the disappointment would not have been mine.,,
This experience has been the sad one of many an angler, but can only happen to one who knows their trick, by a circumstance like the foregoing. To keep them from throwing their rasp-like tail over the cast, the rod must always be kept up, and the line tight. Another cast was soon in place, and a Yellow Doctor upon it; then the boat was dropped down to the head of a rock a promising spot, in fact, one where in previous seasons sport has been found. Just before the cast was made, up rolled a bouncer after a little eel. It was a satisfaction to know he was there; but not a very encouraging motion for my fly, as, when after eels, they don't fancy flies. However, never venture, never have ; so the fly was dropped very slowly over him and fished coax-ingly, but did not move him ; then it was put below him, drawn a little, stopped, drawn a little further, stopped, drawn faster, stopped. " There I by George, he's got it! Hurrah I well done! " My work for the next half-hour was cut out, as a wilder scamp my fly was never fast to. He ran, he jumped, he scooted, then jumped again, and, to cap the climax, he turned over and over. Hold on, old splice! hold on, double hook! Don't know what he'll try next. These last performances I had heard others speak of, but never had hold of a fish that practised them. Certainly, if ever a fish fought hard for freedom, this one did; yet by this time it could be seen he was yielding rapidly.
The water was strong where the boat lay, and it was doubtful if he could be got up near enough to gaff. There were some friends on the shore watching me, so I decided, as he was resting quietly in the eddy of a rock, it would be a good time to try to pole to the shore. So, laying down the rod with a couple of fathoms of slack line to draw out, the killock was raised and the boat successfully poled there.
Now a friend took the gaff, and with my rod again in control, I walked slowly from the shore, drawing him across the stream, which helped, in his weakened condition, to work him closer to it (the shore). In a few minutes the gaff had charge of him, and he was safely landed another fine one, 12 lbs. It was so near sundown now that, being very tired, I concluded to close up the season's fishing, and took the rod apart. It was very trying to bring myself to believe this fine sport had now to be closed for a whole year; but there was no remedy. During the two hours out in the boat that afternoon, hundreds of those great speckled beauties could have been captured. The water was then, as it had been every time I was on it, literally alive with fish.
These flies only last about four days, then the fish that have settled down from the lake turn there. I am assured that the same id of fly make their annual visit there now, rsued by the trout, but in much less numbers d of smaller size.