fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

best laid plans ruined by success

1 Comment

This whole fly fishing thing is becoming a bit problematic. I prefer to work in the shadows. Or at least with some anonymity.

Maybe my problem lies in the admonishment from the folks who raised us to ‘do your best.’ Mediocrity inherently affords secrecy, and people can’t seek advice from someone who’s unknown. But, apparently, the aforementioned parental advice stuck.

I like praise just as much as the next person, but earlier this summer the realization snuck up on me that I’d become a bit too recognizable and possibly had gained a reputation well above my level of competence when I uncomfortably overheard a fly fishing club member tell another that I was an ‘expert’ on fly fishing in the Eastern Sierras. He claimed to have seen me in action. (I doubt that. Anyone who’s seen my cast would quickly seek another ‘authority.’)

The start of this can be traced back to my failed attempt to become the man behind the curtain in giving something back. The thought was that my modest HTML skills could help craft a website that better represented the club that put me on the path to addictionfly fishing. That snowballed into being asked to become club secretary. I rationalized my acceptance with the thinking that everyone knows an organization’s president and probably the vice president. But secretary? I’d just attend board meeting, write the minutes and no one would be the wiser.

A few months later, flattery overwhelmed the desire to plod along unknown when I was asked to help out with the novice fly fishing seminar, the same class that gave me a broad but solid education on fly fishing. Certainly no one would remember the guy who helped teach basic hooking and landing tactics. Against all reasoning, some do.

Then there was the quiet appeal that ended with my acceptance to become the ‘fishmaster’ for the club’s Eastern Sierra trip. My responsibilities would simply entail keeping track of the folks who sign up, arrange lodging and assign responsibility for meals. All while I was blindly acknowledging these duties, my focus was on the selfish benefit of being able to tell The Wife, with a straight face and with honesty, that another fishing trip to one of my favorite places was a necessity. Again I was certain that they’d be a different group of folks every year. But, for some unfathomable reason more that half of the folks on this trip have gone with me every time. Maybe it’s the excellent fishing, the often great weather, the fantastic scenery, the homemade beer or the witnessesfriendship.

Compounding my problem is Google. Yeah, I blame Google too. During the last 12 months I’ve received a handful of inquiries from folks either asking or thanking me for information about a river, stream or lake mentioned here. I know these folks are digging deep for information. fishing for words ranks as number 12,133,256 in popularity by Alexa Traffic Rank. That said, Google also seems to lend instant credibility. Though the conventional wisdom is that people don’t believe everything they read online, showing up anywhere in Google search results suggests you must know what you’re writing about.

Oh, it doesn’t help that I’ve also made a guide’s fishing report now and again.  And there’s that pesky member of the year award.

Success, of course, is the real problem here. I like to fish. I like to solve problems. So I often fool fish, hook some and even land a fair share. Afterwards, I share fishy stories. And people find me believable.

I’m not complaining, mind you, and I’m certainly not asking for a skunking.  It is ironic, however, that doing well would mean failure at being just another face in the crowd.

I’m not a fly fishing expert, but maybe I could play one on TV.


One thought on “best laid plans ruined by success

  1. Hello from over the hill. Mark from Northern California Trout Blog. I’m on the Western side of the hill. I liked your last comment about playing a fly fishing expert on TV. Maybe you could fill in for Brad Pitt in, you know the movie.
    Just thought I’d stop by and say HI. Be following along regularly from now on.


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