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HE plants are awakening and peeping their delicate green heads from under the cover old Mother Earth so carefully put over them but a few months ago. The birds have returned to their home haunts and are proclaiming in rapturous song the joy of their homecoming. The gentle, sweet call of the bluebird is mingled with the prattle of the wren, and the half plaintive song of the robin, as he sits on the topmost branch of the tallest tree, swaying to and fro, calling, as we have been taught to believe, for rain, fills the air with melody.

My heavy clothing becomes uncomfortable as I walk through the fields, and I long to take off my shoes and stockings, as in days gone by, to feel the velvety softness of the fresh green grass and to dabble my feet in the water and mud of the stream, even though I know the icy chill has not yet left it.

It is spring. I know it, for the fever has caught me. I have been at the stream for many an hour, holding with aching arm and benumbed hand my long cane pole, wearily watching the tip for indications of a bite, for I am so tired I could not feel it should there happen to be one.

The ground is soft and wet, not having recovered from the icy grasp of winter; the log on which I sit is damp and slippery; my feet and, I dare say, other portions of my anatomy, are uncomfortably wet. I know I am catching cold, as I sit and think of the many moods of the fishes, and I cannot help but express to these fanciful nymphs of the deep my candid opinion of their neglect.

Gradually the fishing fever abates; I am disgusted with fishing; have caught nothing-have not even had a bite and I go home, vowing never to make such a "phool" of myself again.

But in a short time I forget all these discomforts, and that delightful human or animal instinct, I care not which, is aroused in me and I collect my scattered tackle again, handling each piece lovingly and wondering how I could ever be so thoughtless as to Copyright, 1906, by WM. E. ANNIS.

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leave it lying so carelessly around, and away to the lake this time-no more stream fishing for me. Give me a bright, clear, sunshiny day, and how delightful to lie back. in the boat, to be rocked by the gentle waves and fanned by the delightfully cool breeze, and what seems better still, absorb some of the grandeur of God's sunshine. In my mind, I vary the monotony of this programme by occasionally pulling in one of the fighting beauties of the deep.

How perfect and delightful this appears (on paper), but how many of us have had visions, thought thoughts, and dreamed dreams the night before, only to have them shattered when experiencing reality the next day.

First, we have difficulty in securing a boat, and invariably get a leaky one. One of the strange things of life is that a boat will remain in the water for two weeks as dry inside as a drum, but when the fisherman is a half-mile from shore it will develop no less than forty leaks, and soon it seems

there is more water in the boat than in the lake.

Then the hot sun burns the back of our neck, until we are convinced that we are more of a lobster than we ever imagined— and the end of our nose! For weeks we must stand the scoffing of our friends about the kind of bait we used on that trip.

The hard side of the board which we held down! They always make boat seats with the hard side up. A rod in one hand and a hand line in the other, we wait patiently with only occasionally a nibble, as a ittle perch, or "punkin-seed," mistakes the sinker or the knot above the hook for something eatable.

The angleworms become soft and useless; the minnows all die; then we decide to move. "This isn't a very good place, anyway; we wanted to try it, though-a feller caught a five-pounder there once." Now we get hold of the anchor rope, at the bottom of which was a modest little weight which would only tip the scales at about four

pounds when we let it down, but when we attempt to pull it up, as we lean over the edge of the boat, trying to keep our balance, we are convinced that the pesky thing went clear to China and they have it tied there, but at length by much tugging and hauling we manage to loosen it; it gives suddenly, and if we are not on our guard, away we go, over the other side of the boat, and head first.

We pull it up, hand over hand, while the water runs down our arms to our elbows, thoroughly wetting our clothing, and when the anchor is just at the edge of the boat, a mighty heave and about a bushel of moss, mud, etc., is dumped over our feet.

But at last a start is made, and we row around until we see a stick projecting out of the water. "By gee! here's the place! See! some one has marked it." In our eagerness to get to fishing, we cast the anchor overboard, and it is a hundred to one the coils of wet rope entangle some of our tackle, wearing apparel or bait, and overboard it

goes also; but never mind, the big string of fish we shall catch will more than repay us for the loss. But very soon, my dear fisherman, we must come to the conclusion that the moment we sighted the lake the fish saw us, and sent out a general alarm, with fiveminute bulletins as to our position, bait, and a general report on our piscatorial abilities. The few we did catch on rare occasions were only some of the weaker-minded or careless who paid no attention to the reports.

How often have we waited outside the town till after dark, and then gone home the back way-not that we were ashamed, but our clothes are soiled and it is nearer.

After a number of experiences like the above I soured on fishing, and became a scoffer at all things pertaining to the sport. No amount of persuasion could get me on the lake again to fish by these old methods, but soon I began reading a little, and seeing much of the results of that excellent sport, bait casting, and still possessing the fishing instinct, I bought a rod, reel, line and some

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baits, but before trying them on the fish, I did some practice on the lawn. In a remarkably short time I learned how to handle the rod and reel fairly well.

Of course this outfit was very crude compared to the one I fish with now, and I have spent many hours improving, building and

light, of small diameter, and the parts are balanced perfectly, giving the proper amount of momentum to the spool and handle, so that a perfect cast is possible.

The very best line for casting I have found to be an exceedingly hard-braided silk line of small diameter. This I treat with ordin

Photo by L. J. Tooley

MY FAVORITE ROD

fixing my tackle, but to-day I think I am using the best tackle which could possibly be construtcted for fishing or tournament casting.

My rod is a four-foot, ten-inch, hexagon, split bamboo, made up in two sections, a tip thirty-six inches long, and a butt-joint twenty-two inches long. The tip is fitted. with two guides having steel rings instead of the usual agate. These are much lighter and just as efficient. The butt-joint has one guide with narrow agate ring. This guide is fitted to the ferrule.

! -At the tip is a special offset agate top, having one-eighth inch hole. All the guides are set up off the rod, keeping the line from coming in contact with the rod and thus greatly retarding its movement. The buttjoint has a double reel seat and grip, and the Kalamazoo trigger is set in position for the second finger in such a manner that the rod is perfectly balanced.

The tip is wound with very narrow windings at intervals of about two inches at the butt, and gradually narrows until the tip windings are very close together.

For a reel I use a No. 3 Meek, and am convinced, for both fishing and tournament casting, after having used nearly every reel made, that this reel has no superior. It is

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ary oil on a cloth each time before using, being particular to see that it is properly dried in the shade after the trip.

As to baits, I am tempted to say with the old woman, "Every one to their own tastes," as she kissed a cow. To be perfectly candid, I prefer the wooden minnow over every style of bait. The makers have brought the construction of this style of bait to such a state of perfection that it is really a pleasure to use one they appear so lifelike and beautiful as they come through the water, and, what is more, they catch fish.

I have described these different articles of my outfit that the beginner who reads this may not experience the same difficulty I did in securing proper tackle, and for the same reason I shall give a brief description of my method of using the various articles.

Connect up rod, reel and line, and in lieu of bait with hooks attached tie a weight weighing one-half ounce to line, which should be reeled up until the weight is about five inches from the tip of the rod.

Grasp the lower grip firmly in the right hand, with the trigger between the second and third fingers, having the thumb pressed firmly upon the line that is spooled upon the reel.

The overhead cast is used very much in

Photo by L. J. Tooley

THE PROPER WAY TO HOLD THE ROD

fishing, and entirely in tournament casting, and is easily the most important; therefore I shall describe it first.

Swing the rod back over the right shoulder until hand is just above shoulder and rod is held in an easy position, the weight coming about in line with the waist; then swing smartly to the front, and as rod reaches a perpendicular position release the pressure of thumb on reel (but do not remove the thumb entirely from it), gradually increasing the pressure as the weight nears the end of the cast, continuing the swing with rod until it is in a horizontal position in front of the body. It is always best to cast at some object; three pieces of white paper placed at twentyfive, fifty and seventy-five feet do very nicely. When the weight is just over the object ca t at, press the thumb tightly on the spooled line, thus stopping the weight, which should drop very lightly upon the paper. Just as the weight strikes the paper swing the tip of the rod back. By so doing the weight is started on the retrieve, just as it touches the ground.

In tournament casting for distance, I find that I can put more power in the swing by starting about five feet from the starting line

and stepping up to the line slowly, swinging the rod in perfect rythm with body.

In the retrieve, grasp rod at the winding grip with second and third fingers and little finger of the left hand, leaving the thumb and first finger free to guide the line on the reel. Grasp the handle of the reel in the right hand, place the butt of the rod against the body and proceed to wind up the line, guiding it evenly with thumb and first finger of left hand.

When making the underhand cast, grasp the rod as for the overhead; swing it back so that the hand is behind the body, and just below the waist line, with the weight clearing the ground. Swing smartly up and to the front, releasing pressure on reel as tip of rod comes in line with body. Stop when directly in front of the body and tip is about level with the head and proceed to reel in line as before.

The "cross cast" is difficult to learn, but is very useful at times, and for this reason I will explain it: grasp the rod in the right hand, as before; bring the arm across the body until the right wrist rests in the angle of the left elbow. With the rod held back of the body and weight just off the ground,

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