Norm Budden, Don Hettrick, Bob "Slick" McCulloch and I normally fish together, and two weeks ago, we were four of the 110 contestants in the John Riordan Invitational Fishing Derby, headquartered at Topaz Lake.
In that three-day derby, there were four categories of fish: Cutthroat trout, brown trout, any other trout and catfish, which could only be caught from the Nevada waters of the Carson River and the Walker River systems.
Prior to the derby, I suggested that we get in touch with our longtime friend Elmer Bull of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) at the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area for his suggestion on where to catch large catfish at Webber Reservoir, which was one of the waters that contestants could fish.
Elmer has often told me that he is the world's greatest expert on the waters in the Yerington-Fallon-Hawthorne areas, and like a fool, I believed him, until now.
And, also like a fool, for quite some time, I've had a ton of fun, sending lots of photos and cartoons, poking fun at Elmer, to just about everyone on my e-mail list.
Little did I know that he apparently was waiting like a spider to get even with me and my fishing partners for all of my teasing and tormenting. And, boy oh boy, did he ever get even with us!
When Norm contacted him for a suggestion on where to go catfishing, Elmer slyly said, "Heck, that's easy, just take Bybee Lane to the bridge on the East Walker River, turn right, drive toward the dam, and fish in any of those backwaters for really big catfish."
Unfortunately for us, Mr. Bull conveniently neglected to include (or diabolically deliberately omitted) a number of critical points.
On that Saturday morning, as a pre-derby re-con trip, we jumped into Slick's pickup and went looking for Bybee Lane. We finally found that Bybee Lane begins at an intersection with U.S. Alt. 95 east of Yerington and runs north.
During the course of that long, miserable morning, we discovered:
Bybee Lane changes from a paved lane to a dirt road, which probably goes all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska or somewhere else, way up in the far north.
There are a large number of forks in the road and no signs, which makes for an interesting guessing game as to which fork to take, right or left.
Then, once you've finally crossed the bridge, that road has a number of washouts, including one so bad that we had to rebuild it so we could get across.
In some places, the road is composed of fine white dust that billows out in thick choking clouds. The dust was so bad you could not see out of Slick's rear-view mirrors, and we ended up covered with enough to make us look like four pasty white faced zombies straight out of a Class B horror movie.
Not once in the hours that we spent thrashing around in those boondocks, did we see another vehicle, another living person or any buildings, until we finally reached the dam area.
Geez, if we had broken down on that dirt road, we would probably still be there.
Then, once we arrived at the dam, there were all kinds of people, fishermen, picnickers, hikers, overnight campers, and an excellent, very short road leading back to U.S. Alt. 95.
Two days later, when I walked into Elmer's office and confronted him, the first thing I asked was, "Have you ever been on that miserable, stinking road?"
He started laughing and said, "Heck, no, I have never driven on that road. It's too nasty for me. That's why I sent you there."
After leaving his office, I suggested to my partners that we each purchase a Voodoo doll in Elmer's likeness. Then we could start poking sharp pins into those four dolls in all kinds of interesting places to make him hurt, so we could get even for our misery.
I am planning to poke a pin in my doll in places where you should never, ever experience any kind of pain at any time. Right on!
And I am going to continue to send out even more e-mails, picking on him.
And, Elmer Bull has been removed from my gift list for when I hit my California Lotto Ticket.
And, he has also been deleted from my Christmas card list.
I'll show him!
How can you send four innocent souls to where they could be permanently marooned forever in a God awful remote location?
And, worst of all, he hasn't stopped laughing ever since we were sent on that "Death Ride."
He thinks that our woes were hilarious, and said that if we didn't like his suggestion, we should have stayed home to wear an apron, drink milk and eat cookies.
Yipes! That's being diabolical, vengeful, ornery, downright mean and nasty or heaven forbid: It could be all of them!
So, the moral of this particular sad story is: "Don't mess with that big dude in Yerington because he doesn't play fair."
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon he can't tell you about some of the other "small" mishaps we experienced during the course of that derby.
If he grins, takes a deep breath and says, "Don Q. accidentally took Elaine's chest wader boots instead of his own, Don Q. stepped on and broke Don H.'s reading glasses, Don H. forgot his tackle box, Don H. cast his line across Don Q's two lines creating a world record tangled mess, Don H. forgot the worms for catfishing, Slick and Norm filled the interior area between Don H's boat cover and boat with all kinds of colorful party balloons, Slick got a flat tire on that God awful dirt road (AKA "Elmer's Revenge") and Slick locked himself out of his truck at Walker Lake and had to have On-Star unlock it for him," he could be that loudly snickering, whiskey-sipping, candy bar-stealing Norm Budden.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal