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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.

by Randal Sumner

I'll admit I'm in a bit of a rut; I tend to fish with the same worn out trout bums. It's comfortable. These guys are serious anglers and they tend to be very low maintenance companions.

A few months ago I got a call from my cousin Chris; could I teach him to fly fish? Sure I could show him the ropes,but why? What I mean is , Chris is a terrific golfer , he drives a new Saab and is well groomed. I looked at it as challenge, was it possible to build a trout bum from this kind of material?

We didn't get to the river until the last part of October. The Yakima River canyon is gorgeous that time of year; the water is low and clear. The water temperature is in low 50's and the trout are moving to the flies with serious intent. When I talked to Chris on the phone and as we rode out to the river he seemed to be preoccupied with learning the casting stroke. The stroke I found out is what golf seems to base on. It's your form while whacking the ball that is really important. I don't golf.

I explained to him that the rod and line manufactures whole existence is making gear that will cast well. Its true, all modern fly rods cast great, even the cheap ones. That's there purpose. The difference in rods is that some fish much better than others, we are here to fish not cast.

After climbing into our waders I put the gear together explaining the leader system I use for NYMPHING. Yes I started him NYMPHING. It may seem cruel but Chris didn't know the difference. For you non-trout bums I'll explain; nymph fishing is fishing subsurface, essentially bouncing your flies off or near the bottom of the riverbed. That is where the trout live most of the time. We started with a #6 stonefly nymph, a pheasant tail dropper and a splitshot with a huge strike indicator on nine feet of leader and a floating line. Now try casting that mess. Not exactly " A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT" kind of image. It's taken me a long time to enjoy this facet of fly-fishing. Its not for everyone, I know some pretty fine anglers that consider NYMPHING a trip to the dark side of our sport. You should also know that nymphing the deep runs does produce the big trout. The down side is that you'll lose a lot of flies and leaders to the big rocks. It's important to realize that you will be neither casting nor fishing much of the time; you will be rebuilding your gear. Relax, think of it as character building.

Chris is turning out to be a natural. He's stopped thinking about his casting. My sense is he's not thinking at all. His motivation is pure trout bum, he's just glad to be there. On the other hand in a few short trips he has hooked at least three huge trout, wait till spring and he finds out about dry fly fishing.

February fishing on the Yakima River should start to pick up a bit, although we've had great winter midge fishing, its pretty much a single dish entrée. You might want to devote some time to tying your new spring menu. Here are few suggestions; skawala stoneflies, march brown's, pale morning duns, dries,nymphs,and emergers.

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
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
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner