Yours truly was one of four "amigos" who competed in the annual President's Day fishing derby. That derby was held at Walker Lake, just north of Hawthorne.
Those four amigos were Norm Budden, Bob "Slick" McCulloch, Don Hettrick and myself, all from Carson City. Each of us paid our $30 entry fee with high expectations of doing two very important things:
1. Winning one or more of four, very nice cash prizes being offered to the top winners in the derby. Those four prizes included $500 for the heaviest Lahontan cutthroat trout and $1,500, $750 and $500 for the three fishermen who came the closest to matching three, pre-selected "Blind Bogey" weights.
2. And most importantly, the winner within our little group would gain enormous bragging rights over the other three losers! That is extremely important in our own world. If you can gain any kind of an edge on the other three, you can gloat all year long.
However, once the four of us entered the derby, a number of questions arose.
Those questions included:
Q. Why do they pick on my little, bright-red truck?
A. Budden and McCulloch continuously ridiculed my little, bright-red pickup. They mockingly referred to my pride and joy as a "Tinker Toy Truck." Hettrick was the only one who did not poke fun at my truck and he instantly became my warm, close, personal friend.
Q. Who would be roommates in the motel rooms at Hawthorne?
A. Budden and McCulloch firmly stated that they refused to be roommates with either Hettrick or myself because of our loud snoring. Our feelings were hurt, so my new, warm, close, personal friend Hettrick and I got a room together. Then, we tried to out-snore each other. Geez, Hettrick won hands down! He sounded like a high-powered chain saw. I had this urge to stuff a dirty sock in his mouth so I could get some badly-needed sleep.
Q. Who would be fishing companions in which boat?
A. Budden and I decided to fish in his boat. This left McCulloch and my warm, close, personal friend Hettrick to fish in Hettrick's boat.
Thank God for that decision!
Shortly after they began to fish, Hettrick dropped a metal fishing net across his battery. The battery shorted out, causing an electrical fire in the boat's wiring. There was lots of smoke and loud, scared yelling by both Hettrick and McCulloch. Fortunately, there was no harm done except to their nerves and the electrical wiring system in the boat.
After that, whenever we got anywhere close to their boat, we pointed at them, snickered and laughed. They gave us the "one finger" salute and tried to troll across our fishing lines.
Q. Where to fish at the lake?
A. My warm, close personal friend Hettrick and McCulloch wanted to fish on the north end of the lake (AKA "the sterile end"). Budden and I snickered, laughed and gleefully told them to do so. They did and they got totally "skunked." We went to the 20-mile beach area of the lake where we caught all of our fish. I caught three nice cutthroat and so did Budden.
Q. What to use for fishing lures during the derby?
A. My warm, close, personal friend Hettrick and McCulloch refused to tell us what type of lures they were using, because they were still sulking at our laughter about the fire on their boat. It didn't really matter because Budden and I caught all the fish and they got skunked. We used Chartreuse/black dot, No. 2 Tor-P-Do lures. Those other two poor souls probably couldn't catch a fish in a fish hatchery.
Q. Which of the four of us would screw up the most during the derby?
A. My warm, close, personal friend Hettrick won this one, hands down.
Here's some of his escapades:
The registration decals on his boat were put on backwards. This really dazzled the game warden when he pulled up next to Hettrick's boat to check their boat registration and fishing licenses. The warden couldn't figure out what state's name began with the initials "DK."
He forgot to bring his new 2000 boat registration papers and decals. The warden did not find this very amusing either.
He forgot his cellular phone so we could not communicate between boats.
He forgot his beloved cigars.
He continually forget where he placed his glasses.
He threw a lure half way across the lake when his line broke.
He broke the cable on his motor's trolling plate.
He tried to "torch" his boat when he shorted out his battery with that net.
He melted his gloves trying to put out that electrical fire.
He burnt his fingers.
He scorched the gas line to the boat motor in two different places.
Finally, he broke the front wheel on his boat trailer.
Wow! This guy is a mega-sized disaster just waiting to happen!
Q. What to do with any money that one of us might win?
A. This was the most serious problem of all because of a number of different types of possible scenarios:
If either Budden or McCulloch would have won, my warm, close, personal friend Hettrick and I would have immediately demanded our fair share of their winnings. Hey, we're fishing buddies!
If my warm, close, personal friend Hettrick had won, I would have expected at least half of his winnings. To hell with Budden and McCulloch!
If I had won, I would have immediately bought one, one-way plane ticket to Brazil. To hell with that warm, close, personal friend myth!
Hettrick and McCulloch never got one bite in a full day of fishing on Saturday.
None of us could fish Sunday because McCulloch was "love-stricken" and in a hurry to return home to his "squeeze."
None of us won any money but at least Budden and I caught fish.
Hettrick is permanently banned from ever handling a metal net when he is in a fishing boat.
I saved a ton of money by not having to purchase a one-way plane ticket to Brazil.
All of us have vowed not to fish with any of the other three ever again.
And I wouldn't spend another night listening to Hettrick loudly snore again if you paid me $1,000 per hour.
Geez, fishing in a derby is complicated.
-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you how little Dillon McKinnish, age 6, of Douglas County did in the Walker Lake derby.
Dillon and his dad Pat got skunked on Saturday. On Sunday, they left Walker Lake and went to Topaz Lake. At Topaz, Dillon caught a 5-pound, 10-ounce rainbow. That beauty won the weekly Topaz Lodge fishing derby. Well done to a great little fisherman.