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- Healthful Sports for Boys - 5/25 -

It is said that hoops are loosing their popularity, but be that as it may, I am very sure they will never go out of fashion with the young folk who delight in a good outdoor run, while at the same time they find work for the eyes and the hand.

Neat iron hoops, with a crooked iron hook to propel, I find much in use, but--and it may be because I am a bit old-fashioned--I much prefer the well-made, wooden hoop with a wooden stick. Why, I've had no end of fun with a wooden barrel hoop, but I could never make the iron barrel hoop respond to my urging.

Some makers have attached bells and other jinglers to hoops, but no boy fit to wear boots cares for these baby contrivances. Small light wheels--they can be had from a retired baby carriage--are excellent things to trundle, and some of them require more skill than does a hoop. Even tin-can covers or the top of a blacking box may be made to afford fun and test skill.

When I was a boy, and I am sure boys do so still, we used to make buzz wheels out of circular tincan tops. Two holes, about an inch apart, were cut near the center of the tin. Through both openings a string was passed and the ends tied. By trowling, the strings--its ends were held one in each hand--are made to twist. When tight enough, the ends are drawn, and the buzzer starts off with such force that it half winds itself up on the other start.


is a good philosophical toy, for it illustrates air pressure and affords some fun. If you don't know how to make one, this is the way: Get a piece of thin sole leather, about four inches square. Trim off the corners till the shape is nearly round; next lay the leather on a flat substance and bevel off the edges until they are as thin as you can make them.

Now, without cutting through to the under side, cut a hole through the top of the leather, just large enough to force the end of a strong string through. Before using, soak the leather till it is soft. Next find quite a flat stone or brick, force the sucker to the top with your foot, taking care that there is no turned edge, then you can walk off with that stone, forgetting that it is not the stick of the sucker, but the air pressure--some fifteen pounds to the square inch-- that holds the two together.


are as old and as world-wide in their use as marbles, tops and kites. These are the things that set the boy up in the world without making him too proud. The first stilts I ever used--I was brought up on a farm--I cut "with my little hatchet." They were made from two beech saplings, with the section of a branch retained at the same height on each for foot rests, and the length sufficient to come under the arms and be easily grasped. These were rude makeshifts, but they did to start with, and on them I learned to balance.

Much better stilts can be made from sticks or board strips, of sufficient length for grasping with the hands, and with foot rests nailed at any required height from the ground part. In the "Gadabout" stilt you will notice that the stilt above the foot rest is strapped to the leg, just below the knee, which leaves both hands free. Any boy with tools, timber and leather for straps can make "Gadabouts," and the arm stilt is still simpler. The natives of the Marquesas Islands use very high stilts, and they become so expert in their use as to dance with them and to wear them in wrestling matches. The shepherds on the flat plains in the south of France use stilts to enable them to look over a wide stretch of country, and they become so expert in their use that they can travel twice as fast as an ordinary walker on foot. They carry a long pole for balancing purposes and to take soundings when wading through bog or water.


differ from the "Gadabouts" in that they reach to the hips, and are strapped securely about the thighs. These can be made at home, but it requires much practice to become expert.



Do not despise the earth worm. Scientists tell us that without this creature's work in preparing the soil, but little of the earth's surface would be fit for cultivation. To its voluntary efforts we owe our supplies of vegetable food, but not satisfied with this, we conscript him that he may help us to catch fish.

Some boys, and men too, make hard work of getting worm bait, but in this, as in everything else, it all depends on how one goes about it.

If you are going a-fishing in the morning, secure your bait to-night. Worms are nocturnal, and they come out of their holes at night, provided it is not too dry on top. The ideal time for scooping them in is about dusk, after a long warm rain. Get a lantern and with it carry your bait can half filled with wet moss or soft moist earth. You will find, if the conditions are right, swarms of worms along the edges of beaten paths, or in the short grass alongside. Usually the worm has one end of its body in a hole, and as it is very alert, you must catch it before it has time to think, perhaps I should say, to act. For this purpose the bait gatherers will do better in pairs. One holds the can and lantern, while the other seizes the worm. Always grab the worm at the place just above the earth.

Worms, I mean bait worms, are not all of one family, nor is each family equally inviting to fish. The red, fat fellows never come amiss, but the light, flabby kind afford no great lure for even the hungriest sort of a fish. The worm that keeps its tail a-wiggling after he is on the hook, is just the thing. The manure worm, the marsh worm, and a worm found at the root of the sweet flag, all make good bait; but the best of all is the night-crawling earth-worm.


are best kept in a tin box in which a number of holes are pierced to admit air, but they must not be so large as to let the worms out. Moist, but not too wet wood or other moss is better than earth as a nest for worms, if they are to be kept some time. Keep your bait box in a cool, damp place, and whenever you want worms, lift the moss and you will find the worms hanging to it.

Soap suds or luke-warm water, if poured over a place where there are worms, will bring them to the surface. If at the same time you pound on the ground, it is said their egress will be hastened.


The hellgrammite, a black, ugly slug to be found under stones in summer streams, is the most tempting bait you can offer a black bass. After a time the hellgrammite comes to the surface and takes to the air as a beetle, but in that state he interests the naturalist rather than the fisherman.


are the larvae of beetles, and may be found about manure heaps and in rotten logs. They make good bait for trout, bass, perch, cats and other fish, and they may be kept, but not for long, in the manner described for worms.


or the grub of the blue-bottle fly, are an excellent bait for trout, though they are not good to look at nor pleasant to handle. These can be cultivated by placing offal in a tin can, and keeping it where it will be safe from rats or mice and inoffensive to the nostrils of passersby. In this the blue-bottles will lay their eggs, which will soon develop into gentles. They can be kept in a box filled with moist sand or bran. If kept too long they will start off as flies.


which raise such a racket from the trees, particularly at night and after the middle of July, are rather hard to get, but they pay for the trouble, particularly if you want to tempt pike or pickerel.


are always abundant in pasture fields, and are tempting to all kinds of fish, but particularly to bass and trout. They should be kept in a roomy box with chips and stones to hide under at the bottom; otherwise, they will kill and eat each other.


is nearly as good as the cricket, and it is easily captured and kept. They will live for some time in a box filled with green grass. FROGS,

if not too large, are a standard bait for pike, salmon, pickerel, and bass. Frogs are best caught with a net, but they will take a small hook baited with a bit of red flannel, or they will bite without the hook. Be careful in fastening the frog to your hook not to injure it so that it cannot swim. The hook through the web of the hind feet, or through the skin of the back, is, I think, the best way.


are easily procured, and, on the whole, they make the most reliable bait. A small, fine-meshed net, fashioned like a sieve and handled by two, is one of the best means of collecting minnows. They should be kept in a bucket and taken out with a scoop made of meshed wire, and the water should be frequently changed.


to be found under stones in many shallow brooks, make a good bait. Keep them in a box filled with wet moss or aquatic plants.

By dead bait is meant bits of pork, fresh beef, or even other fish cut up into tempting morsels for "skittering"; that is, where you cast your line with a sinker, and then haul it in over the water, usually by lifting the pole, walking back, or reeling in; a dead frog or a dead fish is just as good as a live one.

Boys, as a rule, prefer to fish with bait, leaving artificial flies to the seniors. Any small live creature will answer for bait; even mice

Healthful Sports for Boys - 5/25

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