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Home > Articles > Piscatory Archery > Part 2 of 6
Piscatory Archery.[1]
Part 2 of 6

We have marked that, with the rise of the waters the fish grow gregarious, and that they rush along in schools with the waters that flow inland from the river, that they thus choose these temporary sylvan lakes as depositories of their spawn; thus wittingly providing against that destruction which would await their young in the highways of their journey-ings. It is a sight to wonder at in the wilds of the primitive forest, to see the fish rushing along the narrow inlets, with the current, in numbers incredible to the imagination, leaping over the fallen tree that is only half buried in the surface of the stream, or stayed a moment in their course by the meshes of the strong net, either bursting it by force of numbers, or granting its wasteful demands by thousands, without seemingly to diminish the multitude more than a single leaf would, taken from its foliage. We have marked, too, that these fish would besport themselves in their new homes, secluding themselves in the shadows of the trees and banks; and, as the summer heats come on, they would grow unquiet; the outlets leading to the great river they had left would be thronged by What seemed to be busy couriers; and when the news finally spread falling water, one night would suffice to make the Bake, before so thronged with finny life, deserted; and a few nights, perhaps, will only pass, when the narrow bar will obtrude itself between the inland lake and the river that supplied it with water. Such was the fish‘s wisdom, seen and felt, where man, with his learning and his nicely wrought mechanisms, would watch in vain the air, the clouds, and see "no signs" of falling water.[2]

Among arrow-fishermen there are technicalities, an understanding of which will give a more ready idea of the sport. The surfaces of these inland lakes are unruffled by the winds or storms; the heats of the sun seem to rest upon them; they are constantly sending into the upper regions warm mists. Their surfaces, however, are covered with innumerable bubbles, either floating about, or breaking into little circling ripples. To the superficial observer these air-bubbles mean little or nothing; to the arrow-fisherman, they are the very language of his art; visible writing upon the unstable water, unfolding the secrets of the depths below, and guiding him, with unerring certainty, in his pursuits.

Seat yourself quietly in this little skiff, and while I paddle quietly out into the lake, I will translate to you these apparent wonders, and give you a lesson in the simple language of nature. " An air-bubble is an air-bubble," you say, and "your fine distinctions must be in the imagination." Well! then mark how stately ascends that large globule of air; if you will time each succeeding one by your watch, you will find that while they appear, it is at regular intervals, and when they burst upon the surface of the water, there is the least spray in the world for an instant sparkling in the sun. Now, yonder, if you will observe, are very minute bubbles that seem to simmer towards the surface. Could you catch the air of the first bubble we noticed, and give it to an ingenious chemist, he would tell you that it was a light gas, that exhaled from decaying vegetable matter. The arrow-fisherman will tell you they come from an old stump, and are denominated dead bubbles. That "simmering" was made by some comfortable turtle, as he gaps open his mouth and gives his breath to the surrounding element.

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