Friday, June 05, 2009

Butt Huts, bacon, blow-up dolls, and booze: Wrinkleneck XX

For Aaron and myself, May 13 2009 5:55am was the beginning of a great adventure. As the sun pushed its way into the cool air from behind the purple scribble of the Rincon Mountains I fought my way into the shower to clean myself one last time, letting the soap and steam dismantle my hangover. Out in the garage in the fumes and darkness awaited our steel chariot, its suspension already complaining about the ridiculous amount of gear stuffed within, and dreading the moment that we strapped our asses into its sun cracked seats and kicked that pig to the high pines.

To the rest of you, it was just Wednesday: The middle of a week, in the middle of another month of your life.
We turn the key, put in some tunes and fast forward:

Drive, left turn, right turn, drive, biscuits and gravy, drive, onward, upward, dirt road: GO GO GO!!! All systems functional, drive, turn, drive, flat tire…. Fuck. Alright, gimme that wrench, no that wrench…. Jack, twist, turn, pump, tighten in cross pattern. Back up, back out, forward, full speed ahead to Reservation Lake, sitting in thin air at 9000 feet in the top of the White Mountains of Arizona.

The dirt road angrily spits tan plumes as we bumped into camp to meet the other early arrivals. Nutty like a Payday bar these people, already set up directing traffic, beers in hand. We get the camper backed in and cranked up, the poker tent erected, and the polls assembled. We were ready, and in the failing light found just enough time to walk down to the lake and catch a fish. A few hours later in the black-tar mountain night, with a beer in hand and a poker game on the table, we put Wednesday to bed with a buzz.

Thursday, May 14: The first day of the Wrinkleneck. From dusk till dawn, trucks and trailers slow-roll between the pines looking for a flat spot to call home. Committee members walk around in a daze resigned to the fact that if it isn’t ready now, it’s too late. The cooks in the chow tent are getting organized for dinner and anyone person fortunate enough to have passed under the radar is fishing.

I have been told that the early bird gets the worm. I don’t know much about birds, but I can tell you that fishermen who get up at the buttcrack of dawn have a better chance catching large browns. Before I had even scratched my balls and farted myself awake someone had pulled a “twenty something inch” brown out of the cove right near where we were camped. Inspired and confident with a handful of buggers and a pocket full of beer, Aaron and I push out to get ours.

But throughout the morning, reports trickle in and contrary to earlier events the word is “small”. Little rainbows, eager for bug of the black and red variety, but nothing of size. Our morning outing showed the same. We returned to shore for a simple lunch of shrimp scampi over pasta and mixed greens and hit the water again full of good food and renewed confidence.

But water is impartial to the feelings of man, and big fish don’t care if you think you are a badass. To them, you are just another bug in the water to refuse.

Dinner of fried chicken, beans, macaroni and cheese with a whisky chaser took the edge off and prepared the men once again for the card table. There is something beautiful about poker by lantern light.

Friday, May 15: Big Fish Friday
. Any White Mountain lake is game, and weigh-in closes at 5:30. Simple enough. One new rule that was added this year is that the fish must be of salmonoid family of fishes, and it was a hot debate at the committee meetings, but founding father Alex Duncan gave it his blessing, so it remained. I personally feel it didn’t make any difference due to the fact that in the 20 years of the event I don’t believe anyone has ever weighted anything but a trout.

But on the other side of it, the fish were small this year, and that sucker fish I pulled out of the Black river 2 weeks prior would have totally won the Fly Fishing division this year. In fact, everyone was so keyed in on bringing in only big fish, practically no one weighed in anything. I was told later that a fat 13-incher may have clenched the Rookie division for Aaron, more than a few that size were thrown back. Oh well, such is life.
The big fish, a 2.5lb rainbow, was pulled up by hardcore bait-fishing aficionado Steve Weinstein out of Sunrise Lake. No surprises there, on the lake or the man.

Other notable Friday events:

My father and I were beaten out of the horseshoe tournament in the first round by the team that ended up winning the whole thing. Now, I kick ass at a lot of things; throw me on a pool table, or bowling lane and I could have probably showed these fools a thing or two but I have never been that great at the shoes…. Sure, I only throw one or two games a year, but I expect better from myself. There is no excuse for that level of suckery.

Aaron drew a big cock and balls on the back of a fellow Wrinklenecker’s dusty vehicle. (more on that later)
Duncan just happened to pick the magic cigar out of the box and won “Meme- The Midget Love Doll”

Aaron’s manliness was questioned and his man card was at stake when his fart’s potent-ness was questioned by an upwind competitor, which is a serious accusation. I think Aaron almost shit himself twice trying to prove the guy wrong.

Jim Murphy ended up on the ground in a choke hold when he decided it was a good idea to tackle Mike Leed. Roger Haines who was also involved in the assault, denies all involvement in the plot, claiming he was only trying to help, which is a total crock. After the event, Leed was quoted saying “I guess he just wanted to roll around in the dirt a little.” The following day, when questioned about the incident Murphy had no comment.

Saturday, May 16: The Team Event. This is the big day, where the hackers step away from those who can’t and the men are separated from the boys.

At 0630 the breakfast bell chimes and the stench of hangover and ball sweat slowly makes its way to the Bloody Mary bar to refuel.

Some are already on the lake, others still lay in their beds fighting against the rising sun and the nausea that accompanies it.
I stagger through the woods, and down the road. The sun is bright, oh so bright but the smell of frying bacon calls to me, keeps me moving forward; right, left, right, left, one foot in front of the other.

Aaron is already seated under the tent, and with a small-child-sized pile of breakfast I make my way over to discuss the days strategy. A half hour later with a flask of Makers, we’re on the water.

Our team consists of Aaron, my father and myself. Aaron and I chose the boat to cover more water, while my father trolled deep in the orange “pontoon”, and within half hour, he radioed with some good news: A 16 inch brown, the largest fish in competition from Reservation Lake thus far. We troll over and add it to the live well. A good start.

The remainder of the day Aaron and I pulled in 12-13 inch rainbows and kept a big-fish rotation in the well. By lunch, my father’s fish was rumored the largest so far and we seemed to be sitting pretty, but Aaron and I heard tales of large stringers, so we ate a quick chicken fried steak lunch and beat feet back to the boat.

The afternoon held no noteworthy fish on the line, and at 5:20 we weighted in, carrying the fish to the scale in a rubbermade full of lake water (Aarons idea) for maximum release-alive-ability. One fellow relaxing near the scale looked up and said, “this ain’t the bassmasters, dude.” Well, maybe it should be. After getting our weight, 40.5oz, we successfully released the fish.

Roger, who was manning the scales did a good job of keeping us in the dark, and we went to dinner with mixed feelings. Did we do enough? Fish hard enough?

Yes, we did. Overall winners for the second year. A victory for fat guys everywhere!
The auction went great, and raised a record amount for the Send a Kid to Camp foundation, Aaron won a pair of gloves and a chest pouch, and my father won a Garmin GPS unit, which I quickly stole from him.

The party was hardy, and the men were in high spirits as the auction ended and the after party began. The lantern was lit, and the poker action was once again hot.
Remember the dick and balls Aaron drew on that truck? Well, apparently once drunken people see some junk drawn on a car, they feel they have to follow suit. By now, there are 10-12 vehicles in the vicinity with dicks on them. Nobody seems to care. And I know that in the hungover, in-a-hurry-to-leave state these guys will be in tomorrow morning, there will be a few overlooked dicks flying down the highway.

But as Mike Leed said, “after a weekend like this when you’re packing up, you don’t care about a big veiny cock on your windshield.”

The Butt Hut

Duncan with his "little" prize

Breakfast, bitchin'

A fantastic example of a "walkin piss"

-Alex who think that about sums it up.

-Authors note: This is only a small portion of events that transpired at Neck XX, and if you feel you have been neglected, get over it. Remember, "no whining."


  1. That is some fancy writing dude.

  2. Anonymous11:32 AM

    No amount of fancy writing could ever diminish the sheer and utter badassery of a fishing story that includes a blow-up doll.

  3. Anonymous11:04 AM

    just freakin awesome!!

  4. Thanks guys, the Neck is truly something to behold and I only hope to be able to give a little of the joy to others that it gives me.

  5. Great Yarn, and the walking piss likely deserves a medal - assuming he didn't get none on him...

  6. No, I didn't get any on me, but I did almost get run over.

  7. Hey dudes.

    I came across a new article on fish feeling pain. It's written by a fellow angler. It's pretty comical, as well. Hope you enjoy.

    fellow fat fly fisher,

  8. Top read Alex...although that shoe you were tossing looked more like a small beaver!

  9. Great Job, unbeliveable writing.


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