It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
There were two of them, both tight to fish, as I neared their position from downstream. I was in transit to a spot I'd elected to visit next, having swallowed a few bitter pills at the previous location. They seemed engaging enough, and I stopped after my presence was noted approvingly to first compliment them on their success which, for me, is a pleasant pre-cursor to digging for details.
They were, at least in their own minds, well-versed in the art of deception, as do many of us who maybe consider ourselves a bit shrewder than those we may deal with in certain situations. That's always something to be aware of in the quest for information, for what you seek is often thought by those you may query to be much too valuable to be responded to in a forthright fashion. It's wise to know this going in. Answers to questions like, "What're you fishing with?" may not be well received. It's more than wise to accept this caveat when posing questions of this perceivably delicate nature, which makes it even wiser to first be able to read situations and employ a level of tact. Of course, all the respect and deference you can muster may not be rewarded with viable information. That probably happens more often than not. That's when it's wise to smile, thank whoever it is you have put on the spot, and move on, wiser for the wear, at least in your own mind.
But these two gentlemen had a very practiced, well-rehearsed production; something I immediately became aware of as they so willingly provided me with 'pertinent' details, and even attempted to skein information from me guised in what I later decided was an insultingly slick attempt at camaraderie.
Two can play at this game, I thought, eagerly disseminating only the most 'precious' details concerning the nature of their future successes while fishing this area.
A short while later, as I tailed a rather large, feisty buck, I was approached by another fisherman who, in his stead, pushed all the right buttons on his way to THE QUESTION. He prefaced his quest with a story about the two fellows he'd talked to earlier, and as his account went on, I couldn't help but smile.
"Yeah, I spoke to them this morning," I told the gentleman, "all I have to say about my chat with them is this. Sometimes you have to take what you're given with a few grains of salt."
He smiled back. "Hm. Lesson learned. Again." He turned, and headed back down the trail, a little wiser than before.