I first met James about twenty years ago when his father Matt brought James and his brother Ian into the shop. James was nine years old at the time. I knew Matt had a reputation as a phenomenal fisherman and years later when I had a chance to fish with him I witnessed something I had never seen. He fished with an effortless nonchalance. It was as if he knew he would catch fish yet he genuinely didn’t really care if he did or not. As the years went on I would often hear stories from Matt about the fishing exploits of James and Ian. The stories seemed fantastic but I knew that they were true. James is now 29 years old and reminds me a lot of his father. When everyone else is crying the blues about how bad the fishing has been, he’ll stop by the shop and in his cheerful mannered way tell us about the fish he’s caught and the flies that have been working for him. It’s been going on for years and has become a great source of amusement for us. A few weeks ago I realized that I had never invited him fishing and decided to do so. We went out on Wednesday and had a great day of fishing! We were into some nice stripers almost from the get go and even had a 4/0 tarpon hook straightened by a fish we never saw. I was fishing my Pollock fly and James was fishing his Lil’ Mule fly. When I first saw the Lil’ Mule I didn’t expect James to have much luck with it but I was wrong. Stripers love that fly. Late morning the conditions were good for sight fishing so I asked James if he wanted to give it a try. He said that he was up for anything so I told him, “prepare yourself to be frustrated”. After about 15 minutes on the flats two small schoolies came swimming by and James threw to them. I was thinking to myself “I hope this kid takes rejection well” when one of the bass swam right over and ate the Mule. I couldn’t believe it! A few minutes later the same scenario played out with a bigger bass that ate the Mule. After that James decided to try out a new crab that he tied and almost every bass he presented it to ate it. He landed 7 stripers on his crab fly, the biggest was 30”. Towards the end of the tide he had a shot at a legitimate 45” cow in two feet of water that calmly left the flat after a slow inspection of the crab. Not five minutes later two bass close to 40” did the same thing. James took the rejections with a smile and a laugh, much like his father would do.