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Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.

Vested Interest
by Randal Sumner

I had some new clients on the water a couple days last week, both new to me and to fly fishing.

Two days is hardly enough time to cover all the intricacies of catching trout on a fly rod. What I mean is, we caught some fish but will they be able to go cold turkey without the aid of fishing professional and repeat the experience? I hope so, it is a very simple concept that takes years to perfect.

One of the guys had a brand new empty vest and wanted to know what to buy to fill it up, what tools are useful, what are junk. So lets start with the vest itself, almost all the major brands are good. Like most purchases if you buy quality the first time it always pays off long term. My old vest is about ten years old itís only the second one Iíve owned. It has fifteen different size pockets that are full of really used fishing goods. Let me go through it with you.

First I carry two fly boxes both are Richard Wheatley swing leaf models; they hold a ton of flies. These are great boxes Iíve worn the paint off both of them, they are durable and elegant, unlike plastic they add some English tradition to my fishing experience.

The second item is a stainless steel nippers on a retractable lanyard, a good one will cost about $10. On the front upper pocket is a hard foam fly patch; the ones that come with some vests are sometimes a hunk of wool, which is visually interesting but a bad way to keep track of expensive flies.

I carry a Ty Fast nail knot tool for attaching the leaders to the fly line. I notice they are selling all kinds of leaders and fly lines with loops already attached, learn to tie a nail knot its not that hard. The perfection loops just add a little more drag to your presentations. Itís not that hard to do it right.

The only exotic piece of equipment I carry is a stream thermometer; the one I have is for testing refrigeration equipment. A thermometer is one of the few ways we have of predicting trout behavior. No we donít take the fishís temperature, itís for the river water. The water temp is a great indicator of what the bugs and trout are up to.

As for the rest of the pockets I carry four different spools of Climax tippet material, from 6x to 3x and a couple spools of 8lb Maxima. I also have packages of Climax tapered leaders, usually 9í 5x, just cut the loop off. In the last pocket I have some strike indicators both the poly yarn and corky type for different nymphing situations and a couple of bottles of Loon Aquel fly floatant. In the big back pocket I put my old catch and release net, itís an old wooden thing that has seen a lot of beautiful trout. I have quite a few empty pockets, that at one time or another may have carried things I was sure I needed. The last piece of advice I have is keeping the vest out of your spouses view; she WILL want to wash it sooner or later. Wash my vest, you must be kidding.

More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
05/01/2013: Subaru Magic by Randal Sumner
01/19/2012: Ding Ho by RandalSumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
11/30/2006: Old Whitey by R.Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
04/01/2001: What Are They Doing Up There? by Mark Littleton
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner