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.
Wasn't he a bouncer? "Now, Sol, look out! make sure work of it! " He raised the gaff and put it into him. When the salmon felt it, he jumped towards the boat, and was clear. As I was holding him with all the tension my tip would bear when he sprang, snap went the tip, and snap also went the cast, while the salmon went floundering away from us. Was not that hard luck, reader ?
It needs no great flight of imagination to picture the happiness of the two fellows in the boat. " Dang the salmon 1 I wish I had not seen him! " went ruthlessly from my lips. He was so near, and yet now so far. Old Sol ejaculated, "Too bad! too bad!" We were so sure of him when he was within gaff-length, that the thought of losing him never occurred to us. Had Sol gaffed him from underneath, which is the proper way, when he jumped and lifted the gaff, he would still have had him on it. This taught us both a lesson, which, if you have not learned it yet, reader, you had better now, and put it into practice on each and every fish you get hold of. It is often said the biggest fish are those the fishermen lose, but if I ever saw or caught a 25-lb. salmon and I have that one weighed every pound of the 25. 'Tis true, I had all the sport there was to be had in capturing the fellow, but the end was so disappointing it took the pleasure out of the sport. After sighing, groaning, wailing, and biting our teeth a while, we concluded it was too early to go back to camp, and would see further what was in store for us. Sol repaired the tip, and I the line. But no mere single casts for me, so long as there are double ones. That morning single gut had cost me two salmon, which I have not a doubt would have been saved with double. Of course I don't know your ideas of single casts, but mine are now proven by many years' experience since, that while, the single make the neater gear and are less disturbing to the water, the double capture quite as many, without the risk of any such disappointment as above related.
To return to our morning cruise. Our gear being repaired, we proceeded to fish Shoal Ground, which is a long, smooth, rather shoal run of nearly half a mile a favourite spot for fishing when the salmon are moving out of the deep water between Poltz and it. As we were not successful in starting any on these runs, we concluded to try for trout at the mouth of Dean's Brook, a short distance below a famous resort then for large ones. So, changing my fly for a sea-trout one, and dropping to the spot named above, I hooked a noble one on the second cast, and landed him after a plucky fight. It was only a few moments when I was fast into another, and then another, until I had five none less than a pound, while two of them were If lbs. Then, as we had disturbed the water so much, we moved nearer the middle of the river, where, at the very first cast I made, up rushed a salmon; but I took the fly from him. Then I put on the heavy gear, judging he would take it after being once started; but not he. I changed flies till I got disgusted with him, then went back to the trout-gear, and ran the risk of a capture, if he came, or add him as No. 3 of lost fish. I had fished only a short time, when up he came, but evidently not to take. He had been fished over too much, so I tried a new dodge to fool him. I threw a long line, let it sink a little, then drew it a yard or so very quickly, then a little quite slowly, and again quickly, until the line came near where I thought he was; then I drew quickly again, and paused, when he made a furious rush for it, and was fast. Well, reader, if you ever saw a horse running away, this fellow started at once on an equally fast pace down the river, my reel buzzing out its swiftest. " Sol, for goodness' sake, get up the killock, and get the pole at work!" was my salutation, for I saw the necessity of speedy and immediate action. The boat was soon following with all the speed Sol could get on her, and that was not slow, yet the fish was going directly from us, and had two-thirds of the line out. " Hold on, good fly! Hold on, good cast I " The scamp had jumped four times the first a double, for as soon as he touched the water he made a second scoot and jumped. " Sol, he must be hooked in the tongue or some equally tender part to be so unusually wild," said I. " Well, old man," he replied, " I never saw a wilder fish. There is no let-up yet." Presently he began to sail from one side of the river to the other, as if looking for snags; then he made a jump, and merely cleared the water, which evidently showed he was weakening, and as the boat was gradually approaching, I got in most of the line, and was beginning to be hopeful. Sol proposed our landing, as he had stopped running, and that would give us a better chance of gaffing him without so much strain on our light trout-gear, or danger of tearing out the fly when getting him to the boat.
Accordingly, we poled to the shore. I got out and went up the bank. Sol did also, but waited with gaff in hand, ready to meet the salmon when I worked him into shoal water. To do this I continued walking back from the shore, drawing the fish very gradually towards it. Presently I had him where he began to kick, when Sol sprang into the water, thrust the gaff into him, and he was soon kicking in the bushes. Hurrah! hurrah ! hurrah 1 It is not all hard luck. This one weighed 10¼ lbs., one of those thick, plump fellows that, when in the pan nicely cooked, makes a man hungry, whether he was before or not. He was hooked in the tongue, as I surmised. In my experience the only other place a fish could be hooked to be so wild, is the eye.
We had had sport enough for one day, and were hungry enough to seek the camp, so, dropping down to our landing-place, we were soon on the road to camp with our fare. When it was sighted, we saw the other boat at the shore, and S. nearly stripped, standing by the fire. " What in the 1 diggens' does that mean ? " said Sol. " It looks as if he had been overboard." Well, sure enough he had fallen out at the head of Hemlock by making a miss step, when he was changing his position with Peter to bow after he had hooked a fish. The boat was a crank affair; he lost his balance, and over he went. Fortunately, the boat was moored, and as he went out he had seized the gunwale with one hand, and held the rod with the other, which Peter immediately grabbed, thus keeping the salmon in check, while he could give him some help to get into the boat. They had evidently had a laughable time after they secured the fish, and Sol and I had the second edition when we found them in this predicament. The black flies and mosquitoes were also on the track of fan, and had it too, where the preventive ceased to prevent. After dinner, the events of the morning were recited, and then all went in for a nap till four o'clock, when we started for the evening fishing, exchanging our ground and boats; S. and Peter going above, Sol and I below.
At sundown we met at camp without either having started a fish, so we concluded the body of the first run must be above us, and the last had not reached the ground we were on; we therefore decided to have boats and gear moved some three miles and a half further up, to Little Salmon Falls and Rocky Falls, early the next morning.