Put that in your pipe…

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Letters -

In his let­ter en­ti­tled “String him up” (Au­gust), Mr S Buchan states that “The Bri­tish in­vented fly-fish­ing, and we ought not let over­seas in­ter­lop­ers ruin our rich her­itage of fish­ing lit­er­a­ture.” Is he aware that 1,300 years be­fore A Treatyse…, Aelian (Claudius Aelianus) had de­scribed a Mace­do­nian way of catch­ing fish by “wrap­ping crim­son red wool round a hook, and tie onto it two feath­ers which grow un­der a cock’s wat­tles and re­sem­ble wax in colour”? There is also writ­ten ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing from Mar­tial and pre­dat­ing Aelian by at least 50 years that ar­ti­fi­cial flies (musca) had been used for quite a long time to catch fish. This in­for­ma­tion has been around for a while in halieu­tic lit­er­a­ture, with Stephen Oliver bring­ing it to the at­ten­tion of Bri­tish read­ers in 1834. There is an ex­cel­lent and well­doc­u­mented sum­mary of all this early ev­i­dence of fly-fish­ing, in­clud­ing fas­ci­nat­ing in­sights into the rods used, in The Book of the Fly-rod, edited by H Sher­ing­ham and JC Moore (The Der­ry­dale Press, 1993). Dr Hu­bert Pouleur, New Jersey, USA

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