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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.

Life is Funny
by Mark Littlton

Life is funny. A guy I once worked with often said "you couldnít make this stuff up". He was right, some of the things that happen are way too warped to be conjured up by the most creative imagination. I once saw an episode of a reality show where the contestants hadnít seen any news in two months. The producers presented them with recent news stories Ė half true and half made up- and had them guess which really happened. They got almost all of them wrong. A year ago if I told you the Terminator, Gary Coleman and a stripper would be running for the governor of California, would you have believed it?

You might think it would be great if things moved along in an orderly and predictable manner, but, with the exception of the stock market, I donít think so. Most of the fun in life ( and in fishing) comes out of the unknown and unpredictable. What will happen tomorrow? - what a wonderful mystery.

Anybody who thinks this fly fishing thing is all about catching fish just doesnít get it. If that is what it is about for you, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by going out to the trout farm. Donít get me wrong, catching is an important part of fishing, it just isnít everything Ė or even the most important thing. We all have fantasies of the big day where you catch big fish on every cast until your arm hurts, but how much fun would it be if it were like that every time. No mystery, no challenge, no need to learn anything, just the certainty of another boring day of hauling in fish after fish. I think a little of this would go a long way. I know it wouldnít hold my interest for long. This is why there arenít long lines at the trout farm.

It is frustrating sometimes when the hatches donít come off as planned. All of the fly shops and guide services have hatch charts that tell when the hatches should come off. If youíve been fishing long enough on the same river, you already know not only the time of year, but also the time of day that the major hatches will come off. They should but sometimes donít. Even the most consistent hatches donít always come off when they should. Sometimes a hatch, even a major hatch like the Blue Winged Olives, is a no show for the whole season. On the other hand sometimes serendipity smiles on you and you run into a hatch that is totally unexpected and everything you would have hoped for if you could have imagined it. Why does this happen? Iíve puzzled on this quite a bit and have some half baked theories but I donít know, and I donít think anybody else does either.

Some fishing holes on the river are just as inconsistent. I know some places that are great one year, and then seem to have no fish in them the next. You know that the reason the fish were there was because that part of the river provided great habitat for them, and nothing appears to have changed from year to year, but something did change because the fish are gone.

I think the inconsistency, the mystery and the challenge are the things that make fishing interesting and fun. I donít think Iím in any danger of ever knowing it all, although I have met a few fishermen that think they do. If you are one of these guys, please donít share it with me. It would spoil it for me and Iím getting too old to take up a new hobby.

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
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
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
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