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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.

The Base Lake
by Randal Sumner

  Its only been 43 years since Iíve been to the Base lake in Nebraska Iím probably    old enough now to revisit the memory. In 1962 my Dad was assigned to Offutt AFB, Omaha Nebraska. Offutt (or Awful) AFB was the home of Strategic Air Command.  In case your too young to remember SACís mission was to keep a fleet of B-52 bombers in the air loaded with nuclear weapons twenty four seven in case the Sovietís decided to try a first strike: the doctrine of mutual destruction. You might also remember that October 1962 was the height of Cuban missile crisis, I was 10 my brother Gary was 8, interesting times.

            None of this made much difference to Gary or myself we were just kids; school was enough to sweat out. In the summer we had it made, just lying in the cool basement watching a little black and white TV with our psycho dachshund, Hanís. The dog was full size pure breed Dachshund about 35 pounds of terror, he would hide soup bones in the sofa and growl like a Doberman if you happened to sit down, a wiener dog with a bad attitude. Horrifying.

            Outside the basement the summer Midwest temps were over a hundred with as much humidly. One thing my Dad the old Chief couldnít stand was to see his boys relaxing, he had lots of yard jobs to keep us busy, sometimes not even our yard.

 Then one day he had an epiphany ď You two are going to the Base Lake tomorrow and your taking the DogĒ. Fishing was always a part of his life and he passed it on to us like a family business. The next morning early we made a lunch, ate some eggs, found the dogs chain and the Chief took us to the Base lake.

            The lake was five acres of sludgy still water sitting in the middle of a cow pasture. After unloading our fishing gear, lunch and the Dog, Dad drove off leaving us stranded in this sweltering prairie landscape. The lake supposedly had some bass in it but we just sat sweating, catching sunfish by the thousands no bait needed. Iíve never heard the expression: smart as a sunfish.

            Of course the first thing the Dog would do is run off a couple miles and start digging up a varmint or a snake. This added some anxiety to the adventure because if we lost the Dog there would be big trouble when the Chief returned. I must say by the end of summer we didnít really care if the dog ever came back.

             In hindsight realize that Dad was not trying to torture us at the base lake, he really thought that was a great place for us to be. Nobodyís perfect, after all it was his one and only shot at parenting.

 To this day I never fly fish in lakes, although I know the trout are usually larger and the fishing is easier.

Maybe if I had a dog to take along.

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
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
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner