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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.

Anchors Away
by Mark Littleton

I’ve been at this flyfishing thing for a long time, but I am fairly new to being a boat owner.  I have owned a drift boat for a little over a year now and it has been quite a learning experience for me.


I am one of those guys that are always looking for a better way to do things and this summer I found a design for a pulley system to make it easier to pull up the anchor on a drift boat.  There is no free lunch because, while this makes the anchor twice as easy to pull in, you wind up pulling in twice as much rope.  I would have been okay if I had stopped there but I didn’t like the way the anchor attached to the rope so I bought one of those snap-hooks for attaching the anchor.  No more of that slow process of screwing a link closed for me, I am way too smart for that.  When Randal saw this, he gave me one of those looks that says “you’ll see - moron”. 


The anchor trouble started one summer day when I had Chris Bolm in the boat with me.  The anchor got hung up in the rocks and, since the water didn’t look too deep, I talked him into getting out and wading to pull the anchor free.  The water turned out to be deeper and faster than we thought, but with a Herculean effort while clinging to the side of the boat, he made it to the back of the boat and pulled the anchor free.  Then came the part I hadn’t considered, we needed to get Chris back in the boat.  In water so deep that it was lapping at the top of his waders he couldn’t get back in, so I went over to help him over the side.  We finally did manage to get him back in the boat, but since the two of us combined weigh over 450 pounds, we almost swamped the boat.  A short time later the anchor got hung up again and for some reason I couldn’t get Chris to go over the side to yank it loose.  I cut the rope and from then on it was “run and gun”, we were through anchoring for the day as we passed by pod after pod of rising fish.


By the next time I went out I had replaced the anchor, pulley and clip.  This time, wizened by experience, I brought a spare anchor.  The first time I anchored up the boat wouldn’t stop.  When I pulled up the rope I saw that I still had the pulley and clip but somehow the clip had opened and the anchor had come unlatched.  “That’s a flook, who would have thought that clip could be knocked open” I said as I attached the spare anchor to the clip.  I couldn’t understand why Randal and Chris were giving me those funny looks.  An hour later lightening struck twice and the spare anchor fell victim to the evil clip resulting in another short anchorless trip down the river.


By the time we went on our next trip down the river I had replaced the defective clip with one of those chain links that screw closed.  I didn’t want it to seize up on me like they sometimes do, so I screwed it closed but didn’t tighten it.  There was no way it would come unscrewed, I thought.  Two hours later we were taking another fast trip down the river with no anchor.


In the space of 10 days I had lost 4 anchors and was out about $240.  This has got to be some kind of record.  I am a little smarter for the experience though.  Now I use a clip that pulls open instead of pushing open.  There is no way this clip will come open when you don’t want it to.  Randal is still using the screw closed chain link and screwing it tightly closed.  What’s he know about losing anchors – he’s only lost one in the last 5 years. 



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