FISHING FOR FRIENDSHIP

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There may be ulterior motives intertwined in this passion of mine for fishing distant lands. Judge for yourself.

Understand first that a rod strapped to your back serves as more than just a device by which you can yank unfamiliar fish from unfamiliar waters. As a stranger without motive in a strange place, your presence is often viewed with mistrust if not outright suspicion. Carry a fishing rod, though, and people who normally wouldn't stop to give you directions will drop everything to give detailed misinformation and lie about the local angling. Women will sometimes even offer food, assuming - too often correctl y - that you haven't caught anything and probably won't. Also, I always choose a country where the fishing is supposed to be superb, yet has enough local character so that the fishing doesn't really matter so much.... I settle upon a place I would like to see, then spend evenings after my charters with books and maps, doing research while I tie the prescribed flies beneath the reading light in my office. This is called armchair fishing, a fantasy sport discouragingly more productive than the real thing.

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