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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.

Falling In
by Mark Littleton

When I am on the river this time of year, my thoughts often turn to falling in. If you fish enough you are bound to fall in a few times, and I have. So far I have managed to limit my falling in to the warmer months. I’ve never fallen in during the period from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick’s Day, but I do think about falling in more this time of year. I wonder if it has anything to do with the cold?

I’ve seen and taken enough falls to be something of an aficionado of them. I rate them based on criteria developed during years of practice and experience. The primary scoring factor is the laugh therapy value. Here are a few of my favorites:

The “One knee down quickie” This is where you know you are going down and just put a knee down. If you do it fast enough, maybe your fishing buddies won’t even notice and you can avoid the laughter and ribbing that always accompanies a fall. This is a very common low point value fall, although if you ship enough water over the top of your waders, it can turn into a “double fall”, or better yet a “bottom crawl” increasing the point value considerably.

The “Sit down before you fall down” – this is where you slip around, lose your balance, know you are going down, and finally just decide to take a seat. You usually get a fair amount of water in your waders with this fall. The controlled nature of the fall itself is a limiting factor in the scoring, but the amount of thrashing around done before and after the sit down can increase the score significantly.

The “Head first off the bank into the river” - This is a very painful and loud fall. While the short duration of the fall limits its point value, this can be a spectacular fall good for a decent score.

The “Bees in the waders belly flop” – A personal favorite of mine due to a particularly memorable fall I observed one beautiful summer day. One minute all is right with the world and suddenly your partner is spinning and thrashing around like his waders are full of stinging bees. Sometimes they thrash like this for a fairly long time before they get tired and lay down for a little rest on the bottom of the river. I can tell you from experience that if your fishing partner is bigger than you, it is a good idea to start moving away from them as fast as you can while you are laughing that hard. This gives them time to recover their sense of humor before they can get to you. This is always a very high point value fall.

The “Double Bolm” – This can be a combination of any of the above falls. The second fall may be partially due to the extra hundred pounds or so of water that is in your waders from the first fall. Getting up that second time is the trick. One of the guys I fish with did this fall in January a few years back. After the second fall he was so tired and cold, and his waders were so full of water, that he couldn’t get up. The water was too deep for a “bottom crawl” so he had to be towed to shore, costing him valuable points. This fall tends to score very well but drowning will result in disqualification.

The “Bobalouie High Dive”– This fall is the only one I have seen that scored a perfect 10. I saw this fall on the Mckenzie River when I was going to school at the University of Oregon. My roommate Bob got his fly hung up on a large branch hanging over a deep pool. The branch must have been rotten because when he climbed out on it to get his fly back, it broke sending the fly, the branch, and Bob into the icy depths. This fall had it all, it was loud, spectacular, and Bob was totally drenched. It has provided years of the best kind of laughs; the ones that are at someone else’s expense.

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
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