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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.

Tying with Pablo
by Randal Sumner



The 2006 fly fishing catalogs have started showing up at my house. So far Iíve gotten Cabalaís, LL Bean, Orvis, and my favorite Kaufman Streamborn, and about another fifty pounds of others. Its late January and the fishing on the Yakima is slow. The river is low and clear and the water temp is around 38 degrees.

 Most of the trout bums I know are tying flies this time of year. Its pleasant work. The tying stuff is cool in a weird road kill kind of way. Iíve got pieces of elk, deer, squirrel, and other varmints, plus partridge and some expensive chicken feathers. There is tying thread, wire and hooks.  Weíre tinkererís working on our latest super fly ideas. That is what tying is really all about; our ideas about bugs and trout. In a complicated world this is pretty simple stuff, we tie up our latest idea and test it out on the trout. Testing always testing.

 There are several schools of fly tying in a way similar to various movements in modern Art. Minimalism, Super realism, Post modernism and of course Impressionism. I find the older I get the more minimalist my ties are becoming for example, I rarely use dubbing on my Mayflies, just thread to form the bodies. Last fall I tied all my Blue Winged Olives without tails and an over sized Dun parachute. The trout bought them like an art collector at a Van Gogh yard sale.  

            One of the more quirky twists of modern fly-fishing is tradmarking and naming flies after yourself.  As you page through Kaufmanís catalog youíll notice he has invented and trademarked a bunch of patterns; Kaufman stoneflies (10 verities), pheasantails (4 verities), wooly buggers (2 verities) etc. You need to be careful not to tie these trademarked patterns. I think it could be against the law; you donít want a run in with the fishing police.

            Iíve wondered about this naming business from time to time. When your a little kid do you dream of a fly with your name; like a bridge or an opera? What if Pablo Picasso had been born in Livingston Montana to a fly-fishing clan, he could have left us with the Picasso midge cripple, instead of a world visually enriched beyond imagination.

 Still, I would have liked to have fished with Pabloís flies, and you can bet they would have caught fish.

            So hereís my advice dear trout bums; If you do invent a fly that is really deadly keep it to yourself, donít name it, donít sell it, use it often and die with the secret. Now that is truly inspiring.

 Still, Kaufmanís is my favorite catalog, they have excellent tying materials and I always know winter is about over when the catalogs turn up in the mailbox.

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