Home | River Info | Images & Articles | Links | Contact Us
Trout Bums At Large | Photo Gallery

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.

by Mark Littlton

I don't own a drift boat. I've got a pontoon boat and a canoe that I haven't used in few years, but I have never owned a drift boat. I've thought seriously about buying one, but haven't done it yet (my current excuse is that with 4 cars and 2 teenagers at home, I don't have anyplace to put a boat). Fortunately, my buddy Randall has a boat, so I can sometimes mooch a ride down the river with him.

Having a drift boat may not be quite as good as it may seem at first. Yeah, it looks great, you can float the river whenever you want. This can be pretty appealing, especially when the river is high and difficult to fish from the bank. The problem is that the boat owner is usually the guy who does most of the rowing. If you can fish and row at the same time, you are one of a kind. So heres where you wind up, you spend $4000 or $5000 on a boat and get to row your pals around so they can catch all of the fish. This doesn't sound like that good of a deal to me.

This month Randal, Chris and I took a float trip down the Yakima to fish the skawala hatch. It turned out to be one of the best days of fishing I can remember. I don't think we went 10 minutes the entire trip without catching a fish. We don't count the number of fish we catch, but Randal said there were 9 doubles (two fish on at the same time) and I think that's probably pretty accurate. The point is that we were catching lots of big fish, and Randal, who owns the boat, caught no fish. In fact he never picked up a rod. If I had been rowing, at some point I would have said "take the oars and pass the rod". He seemed to enjoy the rowing and watching us catch fish. I'm not that self-actualized, I'm still selfish enough to want to catch some fish.

Boat fishing is very different from fishing on foot. Sometimes when I go fishing from the bank with someone else, we hardly talk at all. We wind up fishing so far away from each other, we might as well be fishing alone. Almost all of the conversation takes place in the truck on the way there and the way back. This conversation can be the best part of the trip. In a boat there is usually lots of conversation all day long. Much of this conversation is in the form of either philosophy or laugh therapy. Sometimes the philosophy is the laugh therapy.

When it's Randall, Chris and I in the boat the trips fit like an old shoe, no pretense or self censorship. We cut straight to the laugh therapy without worrying about anybodies feelings or deep inner thoughts. This is hardball comedy so leave your touchy feely, politically correct sensitivities at home. Alan Alda would slit his wrists in the first half-hour, but for me this laugh therapy is the most effective cure I've found for the stresses of modern day life.

If you are thinking about getting a drift boat, my advice is "just do it", your pals will be glad you did.

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
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
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