er may ask, do I fish? Well, it is
stronger than myself, the love of fishing; perhaps it is an
inherited instinct, without the inherited power. I may have had a
fishing ancestor who bequeathed to me the passion without the art.
My vocation is fixed, and I have fished to little purpose all my
days. Not for salmon, an almost fabulous and yet a stupid fish,
which must be moved with a rod like a weaver's beam. The trout is
more delicate and dainty--not the sea-trout, which any man, woman,
or child can capture, but the yellow trout in clear water.
A few rises are almost all I ask for: to catch more than half a
dozen fish does not fall to my lot twice a year. Of course, in a
Sutherland loch one man is as good as another, the expert no better
than the duffer. The fish will take, or they won't. If they
won't, nobody can catch them; if they will, nobody can miss them.
It is as simple as trolling a minnow from a boat in Loch Leven,
probably the lowest possible form of angling. My ambition is as
great as my