Column: Case of mistaken identity provides brief boost to ego

Great Outdoors by James Murray

When it comes right down to it, we all like to receive the occasional compliment, say for a job well done or some personal accomplishment.

Such recognition can go a long way sometimes in lifting a person’s ego. The thing is that it’s important not to let such compliments go to your head.

A fellow walked up to me on the street a few weeks back and said that he wanted to compliment on some flies that he had received as a gift – flies that I had tied.

He went on about how well they had worked and I have to admit, all his accolades were making me feel pretty good.

“I don’t know how you do it” he said. “They were all just so well tied. I mean, I couldn’t keep the fish off… almost every cast there for a while I had a fish on… my arms were getting tired hauling them in… all nice rainbows. Real scrappers. Every one of ‘em hit hard, and fought hard too.”

My head was getting more swollen by the minute.

Read more: Column: How to think like a fish

Read more: Column: Satisfaction to be had sitting outside in an Adirondack chair

“I don’t mind telling you, it was your flies that made all the difference.”

The more he talked, the prouder I felt. I mean, who wouldn’t have. Then he happened to mention one fly in particular. “Yes, sir that caddis pupae you tie with the wing case made out of pheasant feather folded back. That one sure did the trick.”

My heart sank. I don’t tie that particular pattern, but I know who does. Bill Keown is just about the best utilitarian fly tier I know of. He doesn’t tie fancy flies, he ties flies that catch fish. I know because I use them.

The thing is that Bill and I sort of look alike and are fairly close in age. So I had to stop the fellow right in the middle of his going on about my fly tying skills and tell him that he had the wrong person.

“Oh, so you’re not Bill from over at Westside Stores” he said.

“No. I’m James Murray, the guy that writes the outdoors column in the newspaper.

“Too bad” he said and walked way.

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