Oh oh, I suspect that they are being punished by the fish gods

I suspect that some individuals' luck in the fishing world have taken a definite turn for the worse.

I further suspect that those particular individuals are being harshly punished by the fish gods.

And I believe that it all could have begun with the recent John Riordan Invitational Fishing Derby.

If you are a regular reader of this outdoor page, you will recall a recent column boasting about the luck my three regular fishing partners and I had in that derby.

That annual event was headquartered at the Topaz Lodge at Topaz Lake. It ran for two days and consisted of being able to fish in Topaz Lake, the Topaz Canal and the East or West Walker Rivers.

The "Four Amigos," Norm Budden, Don Hettrick, Bob "Slick" McCulloch and yours truly, elected to fish the rugged, four-wheel drive section of the East Walker River. When the derby ended, the four of us gleefully claimed seven of the top 10 prizes. Of those seven winners, I had a first place and a fourth place.

Not too shabby!

Then, there was a change for the worse. My fishing success quickly went from fabulous to pitiful.

-On April 29, McCulloch and I fished at Walker Lake. We had been invited to join Bob Tompkins of the Walker Lake Guide Services in a sport fish filming segment for a Las Vegas television station. Once we got there, we had to wait four hours for the wind to go down so we could launch our boats. Four hours! Then, the wind finally died down and we began fishing. The results were pitiful. For the day, McCulloch and I each caught one small trout.

The big news of that trip was that our bad luck seemed to be contagious. Tompkins and the two other people in his boat trolled along side of us for the entire day. They all got "skunked." And, he's the lake's premier sport fishing guide!

- On May 3, Budden, McCulloch and I trolled most of the day at Lahontan Reservoir. I caught one small white bass. Budden and McCulloch got skunked.

The big news of that day was the damage done to McCulloch's boat when it got slammed into the dock while we were trying to get off the water due to the high wind. His boat now has some deep gouges on the starboard side. The other big news was Budden's hat blowing off his head in that wind and our having to go back and pick it out of the water. That soggy hat was the only thing he caught all day.

Then, finally, there was a positive change for yours truly.

- On the weekend of May 5-7, I had an invitation to be the guest of Bob Leutzinger of Reno at his cabin. That cabin is situated in a high mountain valley, just north and west of Bridgeport, Calif. We were joined there by Adrian Buonchristani of Carson City and Peter Scaroni of Sacramento.

That area contains the Little Walker River, which offers great fishing for small native Eastern brook trout. The upper section of the river has produced many memorable fishing trips for me in the past. I was positive that I would be successful again.

For the weekend, there was an interesting mix of good news and bad news.

The bad news was that the weather for the entire weekend was miserable. It was cold, windy and rainy every day.

The good news was that the scenery was breathtaking as usual, the companionship was totally enjoyable, every meal was a gourmet experience, the Manhattens tasted like nectar of the Gods and the overnight accommodations were snug, warm and comfortable.

Best of all, my fishing was fabulous.

- On May 6, I hiked 3-4 miles up the river, well into the Hoover Wilderness Area, to one of my favorite fishing holes. The biggest excitement of this hike was the black bear that I surprised along the trail. It growled at me and then went crashing off through the trees. I don't know who was more scared, the bear or little "Donnie Q."

The fabulous fishing was the 16 brookies that I caught in that favorite fishing hole. I kept a legal limit of the small fish for the others to have for dinner, released the rest and then hiked back to Leutzinger's cabin in a light rainfall.

- On that long walk back to the cabin, I pondered why my luck had changed so dramatically from bad to good.

How could I catch all those fish in the Little Walker River but do so terrible at Walker Lake and Lahontan Reservoir?

I normally don't have that type of bad luck on fishing trips.

Then the answer suddenly struck me.

I instantly knew what was wrong.

It was my fishing partners, Budden and McCulloch.

Of course! Those two poor souls have somehow managed to alienate the fish gods and their bad luck had been rubbing off on me.

The only time I could not catch fish was whenever I was fishing with one or both of them.

Wow! They are jinxed!

Gosh, that's bad news for them and for anyone associated with them.

Heck, I know how to solve that problem in a big hurry.

The next time they call me to go fishing, I'll just tell them that I have a conflict and can't go.

I'll make up a story that I have to stay home and work on my autobiography as a Noted Outdoor Author (aka NOA). That should get rid of them.

Then when they go fishing, Budden and McCulloch will have to contend with the wrath of the fickle fish gods all by themselves. Yes!

Best of all, when they are gone, the NOA can sneak off somewhere else and catch some nice trout.

And the best part is that NOA can do that with other fishermen who are not jinxed and who can catch fish. Right on!

Geez, that will be sneaky but Budden and McCulloch will never know it.

-Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't name my two favorite lures.

If he has fished with me in the past, he will probably answer, "Q's top two favorite lures are No. 2 Tor-P-Do and No. 5, floating Rapala lures." If he says that, he is absolutely correct.


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