There are no guarantees in fishing, but I’m pretty confident my next catch is going to be pushing 20 inches and weigh at least 7 pounds.
No matter what the official measurements say, I’m 100 percent sure she’ll be a keeper.
By the time I write my next column — or maybe even by the time you read this one — I’m going to be a dad. My wife, Anna, and I are expecting our first child, a daughter, any day now. We are excited to be parents, but to be honest, it’s difficult to describe exactly how I feel.
Excited. Nervous. Happy. Anxious. Terrified. All of the feelings.
Parenthood — especially first-time parenthood — is one of those rare experiences you can’t really comprehend until it happens. And despite your best efforts, there’s no way to mentally prepare for the brave new world you are about to enter. I mean, you know the hospital part is going to be intense, and that holding your baby for the first time is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and that there are lots of sleepless nights, diaper changes and burp cloths in your immediate future.
And laundry. So much laundry!
There will be other changes, too. Priorities will shift. Free time will evaporate. Fishing trips will be fewer and farther between. Even writing this column will be harder — working on my laptop in quiet solitude will soon be a thing of the past.
Despite the challenges, I know there will be too many awesome moments to count. And one day, when she’s ready, I look forward to taking my daughter fishing for the first time.
I can already picture her choosing her first fishing pole at the tackle shop. If it’s pink or Frozen-themed, so be it! I’ll pack a bag with her favorite treats, and off we will go on a sun-soaked afternoon getaway to catch her first fish.
I can remember my first fishing trips like they were yesterday. I remember getting dressed in the wee hours of the morning, unable to contain my excitement. I remember opening the night crawlers and feeling around for them among the cold, black clumps of dirt. I remember sitting on my mom’s lap and catching sunfish from a Michigan pond with my blue-and-white Snoopy pole. I remember my dad not knowing how to set his drag and running backwards up the shore until a silvery trout arrived on the beach. I remember pouncing on that trout with the net like it was worth a million dollars. I remember frying our catch up for dinner and trying really hard to act like I liked it, even though I didn’t.
These are some of my earliest and fondest memories, and I can’t wait to share the same experiences with my daughter. Who knows? Maybe my obsession with fishing will be genetic. Maybe she’ll beg me to take her out every weekend, quickly surpass my skill level and become the first woman to win the Bassmaster Classic.
But if not, that’s OK, too. Maybe our bonding moments will revolve around music or basketball or ballet or art. There’s only one thing I know for sure, and it’s written on a painting hanging on her bedroom wall:
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors@idahostatesman.