James Jesus Angleton often compared fly casting for game fish to spycraft. In what way did he find fly fishing and spying analogous?


In Angleton's view, espionage services used the same principles as fly fishermen in recruiting and snaring agents in enemy territory. The fly fisherman first observes what sort of insects fish snap at, and then fashions the lure that most closely simulates it. He continually modifies it, or his cast of it, until he finds an incentive for the fish to bite. He does not fish for a single fish, he fishes for a type that meets his criteria. Similarly, intelligence services, observe the behavior that will most likely attract the attention a particular type of preyŚ a diplomat, for example. They then fashion a lure to be dangled in a likely path. If it is overlooked or rejected, another lure is substituted in its place. With sufficient trial and error, and patience, Angleton, a dedicated fisherman, believed the right lure can be fashioned for any fish or potential spy.

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