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.
After having lunch, we proceeded to put up the tent, then had a couple of hours' nap in the middle of the day, gathered wood for the night, and at four o'clock started for the fishing-grounds again. It was a most beautiful evening. The wind had gone; but, oh, the black flies and mosquitoes! weren't they thick ? We had always on our yearly cruises put up our own fly-protector, made of three-quarters sweet oil, with oil-tar, oil of peppermint, and kerosine in equal proportions for the other quarter; and this we found very effectual, requiring to be used only twice a day. S. was induced by some patent medicine-vendor to try a wonderful preparation he had, that would prevent a fly coming within smelling distance of you, to say nothing of their biting, so he discarded our old standby protector. But we had not been separated half an hour when from our boat I spied him coming on the run, and when in hailing distance he shouted, " For Heaven's sake, Fat, come ashore, and give me some of that fly mixture ! That blamed stuff I had is no good. They almost ate me up." We had a good laugh at his expense, then went to him. When back at the anchorage, I tried for upwards of an hour without seeing a sign, and during that time had changed more than a dozen flies. At last I fell back on my old Yellow-leg, which, my reader will allow me to say here, I have found by experience to be the most reliable of all the flies out of over a hundred in my book. If the Yellow-leg won't start your fish, whether he takes or not, you may as well stop fishing seven times out of eight. I have made this digression for the benefit of young sportsmen. With the Yellow-leg on, I made a cast over the same water I had fished so often, and had only worked it a few feet towards me, when my line tightened, and I drew my rod, but only pricked him, which meant a lost fish for that afternoon.
As my sporting readers know too well, the salmon does not favour the prick of the fly, although I have not infrequently hooked him, when by the return cast after the pricking I threw immediately over him; but this I could not accomplish with this one, so after fishing a while longer without success, I went to camp, to find S. there with a fire under' way. They had captured a nine-pounder at the lead of Little Salmon, which gave them great sport. He started him four times before he hooked him, and then he ran and jumped five times. He caught his with a Silver Doctor. Supper was eaten with keen appetites, and we felt, out there in the woods by the river, like being in a new world a most delightful one apart from the pesky flies. We always arranged with Mr. M. at the village to send for our fish each night, and put them on ice, so that when on Saturday we were ready for home, they were packed and in good order for us.
Tuesday morning very early we had breakfast, but did not get to fishing till seven o'clock, on account of river fog, as salmon will rarely start for a fly when that is on the water. Sea fog is quite different. We failed to move any at the pools at the head of Poltz, so we landed on the west side of the river, and walked down the shore to a very inviting pool halfway down the Falls, formed by a ledge projecting from the shore. Upon the very outside of this I stood and oast my fly, which I had drawn only a few feet towards me when a fellow sprang for it like a race-horse so suddenly and unexpectedly that I did not hook him. I gave him a rest, then tried again and again, but could not start him, so I concluded I must have pricked him, yet I continued changing flies and fishing, encouraged only by the fact that I know he was in the pool. Perhaps he changed his position to some other part of the pool, as they often do, when he made that rush. There was a rock directly below me: he might be lying at the head of it; so I moved my fly above it, working the line across the stream, when out he came fiercely as at first, but no longer free I had him. Then there was a spree. The scamp rushed out into the stream and down the stream, made a jump, then towards the pool and into an eddy, leaving the line slack. I reeled up as fast as possible, but a little too fast, for, after developments for he took a second race off into the stream my line bringing up all standing, and budge it I could not on the reel. The salmon felt the sudden check, gave a leap, parted my cast, and bade me good-bye, leaving a disgruntled-looking chap on the shore. Sol consoled me with a sympathetic " That's too bad altogether ! "
Reader, if you are a sportsman of experience, it is more than probable you know what the "loop on the reel" means. This trick is caused by the hasty winding of a slack line on the reel by forming a loop which is bound in its parts by different successive layers on the line, and is often difficult to get clear when there is no strain on it. I confess to disappointment in the loss of that fish, but he kept me busy while we were attached to each other. Luck seemed against me, but I never handled a wilder fish. We next started for Shoal Ground a mile above Poltz. On the way there a large rook, standing some 12 feet from the shore, is passed, its top being generally out of the water. The stream is moderately swift by it, and although I had often passed there, I had not thought it a spot where, salmon would rest; nor had Sol. This morning, as we came to it, Sol stopped the boat, and I put on a trout fly, thinking some of those speckled fellows, for which the Medway in those days was famous, might be lurking there. I cast the fly above the rock and trailed it for a trout, when " Horoosh!" saluted my ears. Why, it almost took my breath! A salmon, sure enough and not a wee one either. Fortunately, I did not hook him, as I could not have held him. I put on then a small Butcher, and made another cast on the same spot. Scarcely had it come to his first starting-place when he sailed out, as if meaning business; and we both did we hitched. He probably had never been halter-broken, and was much like the Prairie bronco, very unwilling to give up his liberty. So he fought up the stream, down the stream, and across the stream, evidently determined to get around every rock, and hunt every scrag on the bottom, yet never an attempt at a jump. Sometimes he had two-thirds of my line out, when we would have to up killock, and after him! Then again he would sulk and lie still, when our poles and stones would have to be used to make him move, as I knew he could only be drowned by keeping him on the go. After this varied performance had been kept up over an hour and a half, we got him up alongside.