Fishing

Seven species caught in one weekend — and other reasons this Idaho angler is thankful

Jordan Rodriguez writes that 2016 has been a banner year for fishing — especially for him.
Jordan Rodriguez writes that 2016 has been a banner year for fishing — especially for him. Courtesy of Jordan Rodriguez

It’s hard to believe another year is already coming to a close. It has been a crazy year in our crazy world, and when I look at social media, 2016 mostly seems to be viewed in a negative light.

“Good riddance, 2016!”

“2017 can’t get here fast enough.”

When I see comments like these, I can only make one assumption about the folks posting them: Clearly, they aren’t fishing enough. Because from an angler’s perspective, 2016 has been awesome. And for this particular angler, it has been a year to remember.

And so, in the spirit of my favorite holiday, I’d like to give thanks for a few of the many blessings that made 2016 such a great fishing year.

▪ I’m thankful for variety: I had the chance to fish in four states this year, not to mention the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize. Each journey was filled with its own special memories and experiences.

But even here in our own backyard, we are blessed with a rare abundance of angling opportunities. Over Labor Day weekend, I caught largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, bluegill and channel catfish — all within an hour of home. It doesn’t get any better than that.

▪ I’m thankful for fishing buddies: When I think back on 2016, my fondest memories aren’t tied to the number or size of fish I caught. What sticks out most are the good times spent with great friends, like the time we gave Nick the “broken” spinnerbait. Or the time Skyler’s kids helped catch the monster. Or the time Justin burned himself to a crisp (but it was totally worth it). Or the many times Caleb and I “fish bumped” after doubling up on largemouth bass from his boat. Because the only thing better than a day on the water is a day on the water with your best friends.

▪ I’m thankful for Louisiana Fish Fry: I’m all about catch and release, and 90 percent of the fish I catch go back to swim another day. But those other 10 percent are coming home for the frying pan, and there’s nothing more delicious and rewarding than a fresh fish fry.

I’ve gone through several bags of Louisiana’s Cajun recipe this year — it’s the perfect batter for crappie, perch, catfish or trout. And then there was my prized Chinook salmon. No need to bread that beauty — just sear, serve and enjoy.

▪ I’m thankful for you: My friends often poke fun at how tough it must be to get paid to write about fishing. And I’ll be honest: It’s pretty awesome, and I’m very lucky. But my favorite thing about writing this column is the exchange I get to have with readers. I got to meet some of you during my College of Idaho Community Learning class.

I’ve heard from dozens more in person or through email. And I always enjoy hearing your stories and feedback. So thank you. Thank you for reading, and for sharing in my fishing adventures this year.

Tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors@idahostatesman.com.

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