Canoeing in the Wilderness

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Read Books, 2008 - Sports & Recreation - 216 pages
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PREFACE. THE Author of this very practical treatise on Scotch Loch - Fishing desires clearly that it may be of use to all who had it. He does not pretend to have written anything new, but to have attempted to put what he has to say in as readable a form as possible. Everything in the way of the history and habits of fish has been studiously avoided, and technicalities have been used as sparingly as possible. The writing of this book has afforded him pleasure in his leisure moments, and that pleasure would be much increased if he knew that the perusal of it would create any bond of sympathy between himself and the angling community in general. This section is interleaved with blank shects for the readers notes. The Author need hardly say that any suggestions addressed to the case of the publishers, will meet with consideration in a future edition. We do not pretend to write or enlarge upon a new subject. Much has been said and written-and well said and written too on the art of fishing but loch-fishing has been rather looked upon as a second-rate performance, and to dispel this idea is one of the objects for which this present treatise has been written. Far be it from us to say anything against fishing, lawfully practised in any form but many pent up in our large towns will bear us out when me say that, on the whole, a days loch-fishing is the most convenient. One great matter is, that the loch-fisher is depend- ent on nothing but enough wind to curl the water, -and on a large loch it is very seldom that a dead calm prevails all day, -and can make his arrangements for a day, weeks beforehand whereas the stream- fisher is dependent for a good take on the state of the water and however pleasant and easy it may be for one living near the banks of a good trout stream or river, it is quite another matter to arrange for a days river-fishing, if one is looking forward to a holiday at a date some weeks ahead. Providence may favour the expectant angler with a good day, and the water in order but experience has taught most of us that the good days are in the minority, and that, as is the case with our rapid running streams, -such as many of our northern streams are, -the water is either too large or too small, unless, as previously remarked, you live near at hand, and can catch it at its best. A common belief in regard to loch-fishing is, that the tyro and the experienced angler have nearly the same chance in fishing, -the one from the stern and the other from the bow of the same boat. Of all the absurd beliefs as to loch-fishing, this is one of the most absurd. Try it. Give the tyro either end of the boat he likes give him a cast of ally flies he may fancy, or even a cast similar to those which a crack may be using and if he catches one for every three the other has, he may consider himself very lucky. Of course there are lochs where the fish are not abundant, and a beginner may come across as many as an older fisher but we speak of lochs where there are fish to be caught, and where each has a fair chance. Again, it is said that the boatman has as much to do with catching trout in a loch as the angler. Well, we dont deny that. In an untried loch it is necessary to have the guidance of a good boatman but the same argument holds good as to stream-fishing...

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About the author (2008)

In September 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne noted this social encounter in his journal: "Mr. Thorow dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character---a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty. On the whole, I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know." Most responses to Thoreau are as ambiguously respectful as was Hawthorne's. Thoreau was neither an easy person to like nor an easy writer to read. Thoreau described himself as a mystic, a Transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher. He is a writer of essays about nature---not of facts about it but of his ideals and emotions in its presence. His wish to understand nature led him to Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845 to 1847 in a cabin that he built. Though he was an educated man with a Harvard degree, fluent in ancient and modern German, he preferred to study nature by living "a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Knowing this, we should beware of misreading the book that best reflected this great experience in Thoreau's life: Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854). It is not a handbook of the simple life. Though there are elements in the book of a "whole-earth catalogue" mentality, to focus on the radical "economic" aspects of Thoreau's work is to miss much in the book. Nor is it an autobiography. The right way to read Walden is as a "transcendental" narrative prose poem, whose hero is a man named Henry, a modern Odysseus in search of a "true America." Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1846, exactly two years, two months, and two days after he had settled there. As he explained in the pages of Walden: "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went to live there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." Growth, change, and development were essential to his character. One should not overlook the significance of his selecting July 4 as the day for taking possession of his residence at Walden Pond, a day that celebrates the establishment of a new government whose highest ideal is individual freedom. In terms of Thoreau's redefinition of the nation-idea, "the only true America" is that place where one may grow wild according to one's nature, where one may "enjoy the land, but own it not." Thoreau believed that each person should live according to individual conscience, willing to oppose the majority if necessary. An early proponent of nonviolent resistance, he was jailed briefly for refusing to pay his poll tax to support the Mexican War and the slave system that had promoted that war. His essay "On Civil Disobedience" (1849), which came from this period of passive resistance, was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi (who read it in a South African jail) as the basis for his campaign to free India. Martin Luther King, Jr. later attributed to Thoreau and Gandhi the inspiration for his leadership in the civil rights movement in the United States. Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden. Recognizing the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursions, and petitioning publishers to print revised editions of A Week and Walden. He died on May 6, 1862 at age 44.

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