Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ditty Wah Ditty

I'm away from my computer for the next three days, so I'm posting some oddball stuff in advance.

Here's Nessmuk -- George Washington Sears, from Woodcraft on the ditty bag and frogging:

And don't neglect to take what sailors call a "ditty-bag." This may be a little sack of chamois leather about 4 inches wide by 6 inches in length. Mine is before me as I write. Emptying the contents, I find it inventories as follows: A dozen hooks, running in size from small minnow hooks to large Limericks; four lines of six yards each, varying from the finest to a size sufficient for a ten-pound fish; three darning needles and a few common sewing needles; a dozen buttons; sewing silk; thread and a small ball of strong yarn for darning socks; sticking salve; a bit of shoemaker's wax; beeswax; sinkers and a very fine file for sharpening hooks. The ditty-bag weighs, with contents, 2 1/2 ounces; and it goes in a small buckskin bullet pouch, which I wear almost as constantly as my hat. The pouch has a sheath strongly sewed on the back side of it, where the light hunting knife is always at hand, and it also carries a two-ounce vial of fly medicine, a vial of "pain killer," and two or three gangs of hooks on brass wire snells--of which, more in another place. I can always go down into that pouch for a waterproof match safe, strings, compass, bits of linen and scarlet flannel (for frogging), copper tacks and other light duffle. It is about as handy a piece of woods-kit as I carry.

I hope no aesthetic devotee of the fly-rod will lay down the book in disgust when I confess to a weakness for frogging. I admit that it is not high-toned sport; and yet I have got a good deal of amusement out of it. The persistence with which a large batrachian will snap at a bit of red flannel after being several times hooked on the same lure and the comical way in which he will scuttle off with a quick succession of short jumps after each release; the cheerful manner in which, after each bout, he will tune up his deep, bass pipe--ready for another greedy snap at an ibis fly or red rag is rather funny. And his hind legs, rolled in meal and nicely browned, are preferable to trout or venison.

Different materials, some variations in contents, but the concept remains valid, especially "... which I wear almost as constantly as my hat ...".  It does no good if you don't have it with you.

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