From the Publisher
THE peculiar and indescribable charm and fascination of grayling fishing has been realized by those few whose tastes lie in the direction of this preeminently winter pastime. The fish, indeed, has been designated the 'Lorelei' of the river, and rightly so. But there is this all-important difference between the German siren and the grayling: the former by her silvery voice enticed the unfortunate boatman to his doom, but the grayling, through the all-alluring interest it excites in the breast of the angler, falls in the end a victim to its own enchantments.
Once a grayling fisher always a grayling fisher may be well said of those who affect this branch of the piscatorial art, for when the die is once cast, when the cold-weather fly-fisher has foregone his old loves, the roach, chub, and pike, for a new love, the grayling, the passion not only endures but grows upon him as season after season comes round; and it is not surpassing strange that this should be so. Thymallus is not, like the hard-fighting speckled trout, approached when “the palm and the may make country houses gay”, nor when “the fields breathe sweet, and the daisies kiss our feet”, when Nature is bursting forth into new life; when the migrants amongst our feathered friends are beginning to return to this little isle of ours to add to the pleasure and enjoyment of our rambles by the riverside; when March Browns fill the air and dark glossy Alders are here, there, and everywhere about; when Duns without number and in varied shades of color bring joy and delight to the heart of the angler; when, too, the fairy Mayfly, that “frail and lovely thing, engendered by the sun”, appears in all its fragile beauty raising high the hopes of the youthful fly-fisher, and the counterfeit of which plays such dire havoc with the spotted population of the streams we love to fish; and when later on the hum of the big brown sedge causes the lazy trout to wake up just when the sun is fast sinking in the west, and ordinary mortals are bethinking themselves of home, refreshment, and rest.