Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 774–81.
H P Wells
Natural History, Amusement, Health, Entomology, Acclimatization, Industry, Experiment, Light
Contends that of all outdoor pursuits, fly-fishing alone brings its practitioners 'face to face with nature', and gives to anglers of all ages 'that peace and content which open the heart of man to see and love the ever-changing beauties of nature'. Earnestly recommends the pastime to the 'weary brain-worker within whom nature clamors for occasional respite from the toil of life', and assures the potential angler that by taking up fly-fishing 'he will add a year to his chance for life'. (774) After celebrating the role played by 'the revered Dr. Theodatus Garlick, the father of fish-culture in this country [i.e. America]', describes the various Chinese and Japanese silk worms that produce the 'gut' which is used to make 'hard, transparent, and colorless' fishing line (777). Several of these worms are 'now acclimated and occasionally found wild in this country', and their presence provides an 'opportunity for a new industry in this country, one well adapted to those who from sex or other causes are unfitted for severe manual labour'. Recounts a 'series of experiments in the open air, extending over months' conducted by the author, which show the necessity of having line that is 'absolutely invisible to the fish'. The experiments used a 'tank filled with water [...] provided with a glass plate where the bottom joined one end', and 'furnished a solution to [the] interesting question' of how 'fishes manage to see objects on land, as they unquestionably do', showing that objects at a certain distance from the surface of water are 'visible by refraction on its margin'. (778)
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