Fishing

Crane Falls bass joined my boat-warming party — before lousy weather struck again

Anglers: Give the Bruneau area a shot (fishing report, May 12)

Fishing report: The water isn’t great but the fishing is pretty good at C.J. Strike Reservoir and surrounding lakes.
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Fishing report: The water isn’t great but the fishing is pretty good at C.J. Strike Reservoir and surrounding lakes.

As I wrote about in December, I bought my own boat. It was one of those special, wish-come-true kind of moments when something I’d hoped for since childhood finally became a reality.

There’s only one bummer about buying a boat at Christmastime — you have to wait a while to take it out. And so wait I did, through the wild winter of 2017, the ensuing flood conditions that have swamped many fishing holes, and countless other work- and schedule-related delays.

Still, the maiden voyage was never far from my mind. I spent the winter months purchasing an outboard motor, securing a battery and fish finder, installing an anchor crank, greasing the trailer axles and making the dreaded trek to the DMV to take care of licensing and registration. Turns out this boating thing is a lot of work.

But this spring, the clouds parted — if only briefly — and the moment finally arrived.

It was time to take this baby out on the water.

The maiden voyage was to be a family trip, with my wife Anna as co-captain and our dog Winston as first mate. On a 75-degree afternoon, we headed east to Crane Falls Lake, one of my favorite bass spots.

Conditions were perfect as we launched, with partly cloudy skies and only a light breeze. Standing atop the custom-made platform the boat’s previous owner had expertly installed, I kicked on the electric trolling motor and buzzed toward some submerged weed beds.

This was awesome. And there may or may not have been Lonely Island rap lyrics playing in my head.

Anna handed me a rod loaded with my first weapon of choice, a bluegill-patterned spinnerbait. I gave it a good toss and watched as a bass nearly snatched it within feet of the boat, but no dice.

I casted again, and wham! Fish on. A minute later, we hoisted a spunky, 14-inch largemouth over the side of the boat.

Two casts in, I could tell this boat was a keeper.

We fished on, enjoying cold drinks and assorted munchies as I got acclimated to the trolling motor and steering. Winston took a quick swim to cool off, and another half-dozen bass were welcomed aboard our new vessel. It was shaping up to be an epic day.

Alas, Mother Nature had other ideas. Ominous clouds billowed over the canyon rim, prompting a hasty retreat to the ramp. Within 10 minutes, it was raining sideways and white capping. Game over. (A big thanks to the gentleman who helped me load the boat back on the trailer before things got worse.)

And so, the maiden voyage was cut short. But I’m still counting it as a success. We got the boat on the water, caught some nice fish and avoided being capsized by a rogue Idaho storm. And after 31 years, I finally know how it feels to captain my own ship.

I hope to see you on the water this weekend. 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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