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Fishing for Buffalo's
By Dewey Maggard, WINS#193

Fred and I were avid Trout Fishermen, and during the season our wives seemed content that we have an occasional week-end "fishing trip". Well, the fact is we were both avid coin collectors and belonged to the same clubs. Our passion for the pursuit of these objects-de-art caused us to create some carpools so we could visit other clubs. But, the elusive trout was our quarry as often as coins.

Now Fred's wife was not as tolerant of his coin activities as she was for his love of fishing. Well, Fred contrived a plan that would work well for us for a considerable length of time. My wife, bless her, fully supported both activities so she was not adverse to our hitting the trail at 4:30 a.m. in quest of those big rainbows just over Sonora pass a few miles this side of Bridgeport, California. Our destination would be the old Paiute trading post-trail head for lost lake, but we had not time for lost lake when we were fishing for very big game. While we let our flies drift, we could think about another objective that we would realize perhaps by midnight. After Walker River and a few nice trout in our bags, we would head to the junction of the Carson River, just short of Bridgeport. Now we began to fish the Carson River holes as we found them vacant. This would happen over at least 70 miles until the Carson took a turn away from the road to our destination. Up we went over Luther Pass and into the Lake Tahoe basin where highway 89 would take us to Lake Tahoe.

By now it would be late, but we made use of their facilities to clean up, eat a bite and you guessed it? We made a beeline for the slots. Now I must say here and now that neither of us are gamblers. Our sole purpose was to mingle around those slots and ask the floor people for rolls of nickels trying to be very discreet of course. We felt the house would take a dim view of our not using those nickels in the slots, that is on a fast pace. We would find a table after about ten rolls where we could sneak a good look at our nickels. Now in those days there were still a fair number of Buffalo Nickels in circulation. This is what I was after, but Fred had gotten hooked on Jefferson Nickels so of course we would look for and find 38-S&D and 39-S&D. These were our Jefferson targets. We never found a 50-D Jefferson in circulation, but we had great fun looking through the casino nickels. Our thought was (correctly) that gamblers could care less about the date of what they were placing in those slot machines.

Now by midnight, we would sleep in the station wagon best we could and hit the trail red-eyed down highway 50, and fish the American River on the way home back to Modesto, in Central Valley California. Now folks, as you can see this coin collecting can get a bit serious. We had great fun with the Hunt (as we fished for buffalo's). Yes we found semi keys fairly often. Fred's wife was none the wiser since we had a chunk of dry ice in the cooler box to keep our treasured trout catches in good condition.

Finally, one Saturday night with Fred and Frances, he let the cat out of the bag, said his conscious was bothering him for the deception that we had engineered. Telling her in the presence of my wife and I prevented a family feud. In fact as she began to see our coinitis problem, she gave us her support, but with the admonition that we must spend most of our time fishing. - (For Buffaloes-that is..)




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