Skill #1 Lie convincingly
A lie that is 100 percent false-while an admirable feat-takes up a lot of space on the old mental hard drive. Lying as close to the truth as possible makes it easier to keep the details straight and ensures that you will be able to remember the lie not only tonight, but for years to come. Thus the wind was indeed out of the west that spring afternoon. Your story is likewise faithful to the fact that you hadn't caught a thing all day with the exception of a large sycamore limb. And you actually did swamp the canoe (twice!) in embarrassingly benign Class II riffles while attempting to hit the slick water behind midstream boulders, soaking your lunch and your last Arturo Fuente cigar. By the time you drifted into the last pool, you were so disgusted that you had all but given up on fishing and you were merely trolling the Murray's Hellgrammite. (All quite true: the perfect setup for the small amount of lying that comes next.) At the very moment the bow scraped sand, a 4-pound smallmouth the size of a mottled olive football slammed the fly, made a frantic run upstream, zigzagged back through the pool, panicked, and somehow leapt right into the boat. You were about to administer the coup de grace when you noticed she was oozing eggs and you couldn't bear to deprive the stream of that much DNA. So you released her. Shrug nonchalantly, as if you wouldn't believe it yourself if she hadn't finned you good just as you let go. Display the wound (actually sustained when you slipped while decapitating the cigar) as proof and ask if any of your buddies has an extra stogie, as you'd like to celebrate.