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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.

Mime Time
by R. Sumner


            My wife Liz and I just returned from a week on the St. Joe River in Idaho, this is our tenth year St .Joe anniversary. I got to see my old pals Chief Dutch Holland ,( USN Retired),  Detail Dan, and Ductape.  Psycho Ray, AKA The School Teacher had inherited some money from his mom so he was busy doubling it in Vegas. 

            The water was a little high this year so I spent a bit more time talking to the boys than I usually do.  Ductape wanted to know all about the fishing guide business.

            I told him it was a little like being a bus driver, you row the boat to where the fish live and then see if the clients are up to the challenge of catching them. When they catch a nice trout we sometimes take a picture and then release the fish, a few days later you row the boat back and catch the same fish again with different clients. This description may have been a little underwhelming for Ductape. Where is the glamour and cachet?

             I told them the real fun of the job comes from the people that hire you, I have met the most interesting people, people I would have never had a chance to spend time with except as a fishing guide. Not just the uber- rich, but research scientists, stock fund managers, soy bean brokers,  actors , NFL football players, etc ,etc.

            It’s a view of the Type A world.  Fascinating.  

            Detail Dan piped up and wanted to know about my strangest client, I had no problem coming up with an answer.

            It all began with an e-mail requesting a specific trip date for two anglers, I responded with the trip details, a few days later I received the deposit in the mail.  The morning of our trip I got the lunch and the gear and boat all organized and headed up to the river. I always like to get to the meeting place a bit early, it gives me time to get my game face on and my fishing strategy dialed in, this is after all, a performance of sorts.

            At  the stroke of 9:00 a car pulled up next to my boat, the doors opened slowly and appearing before me were two  people dressed in totally black outfits including gloves and a hood pulled tight around there faces, and there faces were painted white with big red lips…..Mime’s!!! 

            I don’t mind telling you gentle reader that my heart was racing; there was something defiantly off-putting about these two. After we pretended to shake hands, and I introduced myself, they went into some wild mime name guessing game. See, here’s the deal, mimes don’t say anything they just gesture and pretend, hence the name Pant-o-mime.  They seemed to settle down a bit by the time I had the boat in the river and them in there seats; they actually sat rather than pretend sitting. I was starting to get on to the mime thing.

             I got a fly rod out and put some line in the air, demonstrating the proper casting stroke. The Mimes were giving me a look like I was insane. When I gave the rod to one of them to give it a try, he just pushed it away shaking his little white mime face. Then they both stood up and began pretend casting for pretend fish, I guess.  And that is how we spent the day in total silence drifting down the river, as far as I could tell the mimes were happy and they were getting some good casts in tight to the bank.

            Detail Dan looked confused as he got up and walked back to his own campsite, Ducktape took off too, saying he thought he heard his dog calling.

             Chief Holland was silent as poured himself a coffee cup of Whitehorse Scotch; finally he said “Randal, did I ever tell you my third wife was a part time mime.’ Chief, I said” There everywhere”.

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