Last week, I had the chance to go fishing from a boat for Lahontan cutthroat trout at Walker Lake. And as usual, I also had the chance to spend the day with my two fishing partners (AKA "my usual pigeons"), Norm Budden and Bob "Slick" McCulloch.
They are both long-retired, live in Carson City and the three of us have been involved in many, hilarious escapades in the past in the outdoors.
This outing was to be no different.
As soon as they asked me if I wanted to go to Walker Lake, I got a familiar, funny feeling.
It was a premonition that Monday was going to be combination of both a good day for Donnie Q and a bad day for my pigeons. As it turned out, my instincts were absolutely correct.
It was another great day for me and a bad day for them. Here's how the day, slowly but surely, developed:
Slick and I were to meet at Norm's house at 6 a.m. Then, we would leave from there for the long, 1 1/2-2 hour drive to Walker Lake.
Typically, whenever the three of us go on a fishing trip, I am "expected" to provide the doughnuts for the ride to wherever we are going. That roughly translates into: "Yours truly is expected to buy the doughnuts because the two of them are too cheap to buy."
As a matter of fact, I dearly love to buy the doughnuts. I usually buy them, the day before, just to hear them loudly complain about "day-old" doughnuts, while busy stuffing their faces with those rock-hard and stale pastries.
However, this time I decided to fake them out. On the way to his house, I stopped at a bakery and bought some goodies, right out of the cooking vat: Two, warm, very sticky, cream-filled, chocolate-covered pastries for Norm; two, warm, very sticky, chocolate-covered bars for Slick and two, warm, nice cinnamon rolls for myself.
Most importantly, I did not get them any paper napkins.
Then, because I love to be a big brat, instead of arriving at 6 a.m., I deliberately arrived 20 minutes early.
This was for the sheer joy of hearing him get upset at my early arrival.
When I got there, I loudly pounded and pounded on his back door.
This proceeded to produce some very loud and colorful language as Norm stumbled across the kitchen and opened the back door.
When I said, "Good morning, good friend," he just snarled at me. I entered his house, with a big smile on my face, while he just glared at me.
Geez, what in the heck did I do wrong? Isn't it better to be a little bit early rather than late?
Slick finally arrived at 6 a.m. with his pickup truck and the boat.
The three of us quickly loaded all of our fishing equipment and extra clothing and then jumped into his truck. The Captain (McCulloch) and Co-Captain (Budden) immediately claimed the front seat and the lowly crew member (Quilici) was relegated to the back seat.
We had no sooner pulled away from the house than they both dove into my bag containing the freshly-baked, breakfast goodies and proceeded to wolf down their pastries. Geez, it was something to see. I even had to warn then to slow down when they got to the "Pink Parts" because that was their fingernails.
While they were gulping down the pastries, they were both loudly complaining that their pastries needed to be warmer.
Yeah right! Like those two know anything about good food and how to eat it.
It was really amazing how much sticky stuff they got on their faces and fingers while eating. It was a sight to behold, watching them lick, suck and slurp all of that sticky gunk off their fingers because they did not have any napkins.
I quietly sat in the lowly back seat, happily sipping my cup of coffee, slowly munching on a cinnamon roll and daintily wiping my face and fingers with my own supply of paper napkins.
We arrived at Walker at about 7:45 a.m. and it didn't look very good.
There was a strong wind blowing out of the south and the lake was choppy. I suggested that we return home and they both sneered and called me some nasty names.
They said we were going fishing and that they were both going to outfish me for the day.
So, I thought, "What the hell, I have two pigeons with me, why don't I take advantage of the situation?"
So I did. I proposed that the three of us bet on the first fish of the day, the biggest fish of the day and the most fish of the day. They instantly agreed without realizing what they were doing.
Geez, sometimes I hate myself for doing things like this, but not very often!
Heck, when you get the chance, it's fun to pluck a pigeon, or in this case, to pluck two very plump pigeons just begging to be plucked!
We left the boat landing at Sportsman's Beach, turned to the left and began to head north toward Sand Point. That's when they informed me that the Captain and the Co-Captain had decided that the two of them would be using the only two downriggers on the boat.
I, as the lowly crew member, would have to fish on top, straight back behind the boat. I figured "No sweat, this is going to be easy."
I quickly rigged up my fishing pole, put on my favorite, white/red dot, No. 2 TOR-P-DO lure and cast it a long distance behind the boat.
Then I sat down and watched the Captain and Co-Captain struggle to rig their lines to the downriggers.
As I did, I quietly sat in the lowly back seat, happily sipping my cup of coffee, slowly munching on a cinnamon roll and daintily wiping my face and fingers with paper napkins.
Yep, you guessed it!
In just a matter of minutes: BAM!
I got a nice strike on my lure and proceeded to land the first cutthroat of the day. This immediately won Little Donnie Q the "first fish of the day" category.
They both called me some very nasty names. I laughed and cast my lure back out, far behind the boat, while the two of them continued to struggle with their fishing poles and the downriggers.
BAM! I caught my second trout, another nice Cutt.
I was now also winning the "most fish of the day" category. Cool!
It is really amazing how some people's faces can get so red and the veins stand out in their necks while they are shouting obscenities at you. They both lost my vote for "Mr. Congeniality of The Year" with that loud outburst.
The wind continued to get worse and the lake began to get very choppy and white-capped.
After much struggling and after Norm finally unwrapped his fishing line from around his downrigger reel and after Slick almost fell overboard from the wildly pitching boat, they finally began to fish.
A short time later, the wind got even worse and the lake got so rough that we were forced to quit fishing and to return to the boat dock.
It was sure quiet on the ride back home to Carson City but, what the heck, who cares. I had a fun day at Walker Lake with my fishing partners, caught some nice fish and made some money for my efforts.
It doesn't get any better.
I love fishing with my pals.
-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you if there is a charge to use the boat launching facility at Sportsman's Beach.
If he says, "There is no charge to launch your boat," you lose this bet.