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Artificial Baits For Fishing

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Artificial Baits-The spinning-rod, however, is largely used also for salmon and trout. It is certain that the practice of spinning for salmon has increased during the last quarter of a century ; and were all the truth made known, it would be found that many of the bags made upon salmon rivers, and published weekly in the sporting newspapers, are made by the blue phantom, or silver and golden minnow. The principle underlying the art of spinning is to attract the fish by the movement through the water of an object that shall imitate, in shape and action, some form of aquatic life. The artificial baits which have been invented to effect this object are legion. They are of metal, gutta-percha, and of soleskin, in the case of the phantom, which is a collapsible object when out of the water, but a plump imitation of trout, gudgeon, or leach when, set in motion by the spinning-rod, it becomes filledwith water. Some of the artificial baits, brightly glittering, or artificially coloured, are armed with fans at the head to ensure the spinning, but these permanent outstanding fixtures are not in unison with the tastes of all anglers ; to meet their wishes a very effective pattern of artificial fish is produced, the spin of which is effected by a fixed curvature of the tail. Notwithstanding the host of " notions " which have been placed upon the market as registered or patented inventions, there is probably no better all-round artificial spinning-bait for salmon and pike than the spoon, which spins, as the saying goes, like a flash, is without the complications which often render the ingenious patents useless after a few trials, and which, by the colouring of the inner surface (gold, copper, or even red), presents a brilliantly tempting appearance in the water. In the salmon rivers of Norway, in the estuaries on the Pacific coast, there is no more trusted lure than the spoon. For pike fishing also this rough and ready imitation of a darting fish is most effective, and when the pike run large, a spoon of five inches in length is not a whit oversized. It is maintained that the spoon as a bait for predatory fish was first discovered by accident in the United States, and at the Chicago World's Fair, what was labelled as the first spoon ever used in angling, was exhibited. The rude mother-of-pearl and bone hooks that are used by the South Sea Islanders, and certain devices known to the New Zealand Maories when the white settler first visited them, were the crude originals of the beautifully finished spinning-baits of today.

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