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TED WILLIAMS AT MIDSTREAM
John Underwood
June 29, 1981
At 62, the Splendid Splinter is none too slender, but he still is hard-hitting when talking of baseball and the outdoor life
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June 29, 1981

Ted Williams At Midstream

At 62, the Splendid Splinter is none too slender, but he still is hard-hitting when talking of baseball and the outdoor life

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"See that?" said Roy. "He drives it out there. He has a bull arm. That's one reason he gets more than anybody. He reaches 'em where the ordinary fellow can't."

Roy pointed down and across the river, to a crude log cabin high on the bank. He said he'd been born there. He said one windy fall morning a few seasons ago he'd come over from that point in a canoe and spotted a big salmon lying by a submerged rock. "When we fished that day we couldn't get anything, and I finally said to Ted, 'The waves is high and the wind is right on you, but if you can get it out there, there's a dandy big salmon. I can't reach it, but I can tell you when you're over it.' The wind was in his face and the waves was pullin' his line over every time he cast, but finally he got it right there, and I said, 'That's it.' And he kept casting. He stood there for two hours, casting. And do you know, he nailed the fish. A 15-pounder."

"That was a holding fish," Ted said. He'd come back to change flies. The light had changed, he said, and with the higher water he needed something brighter. From the pocket of his flannel shirt he took out his fly case. Inside, in neat little rows, like earrings in a jeweler's display, were the flies he'd been tying at night in the basement.

"You know, Roy," he said, "I discovered something about tying a Conrad a couple days ago and I think you ought to know—something that could help you a lot."

But instead of showing Roy the fly, he cupped his hand over the case mysteriously.

Roy grinned and waited.

"Naw, I better not," Ted said. "I better keep this to myself. You're a big Canadian guide, up all night tying flies. These amateur efforts wouldn't interest you."

He turned and held the fly out of sight, studying it.

"I don't know if you're ready for this or not."

Roy waited. Finally, inevitably, Ted turned back to reveal his creation. Roy adjusted his glasses and held the fly up to the morning light. "Yeah, that's a good one," he said.

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