I have a confession to make, as painful as it will be to see it in print:
I recently turned 30. The big 3-0. The official end of my youth.
The good news is, at least so far, I don’t feel any sorer or crankier and my hairline doesn’t seem to be receding any faster. Knock on wood.
But all this talk about age got me thinking about something. As we get older, a lot of the activities we enjoy become more difficult. The bike pedals feel a little bit heavier. The basketball rim looks a half-inch higher. And our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they once did after a hard run or workout.
But all is not lost! It’s best to look for the silver lining in things, and if you ask me turning a year older serves as another reminder of why fishing is the best — it’s one activity that you actually become better at the older you get.
Think for a moment about the best angler you know. I’ll bet he’s got a few gray hairs, if he has any at all. That’s what makes fishing a true lifetime sport. You don’t become better through physical prowess, but by the accumulation of knowledge acquired via hours of trial and error. Every time you catch a new species, have success with a new lure or fly, visit a new body of water, or learn a cool trick from a fellow angler, that piece of information goes into your mental tackle box. You get to keep utilizing and adding to the tools in that box every year you spend on the water.
I think back a decade and consider my fishing skills and experience as a 20-year-old. Up to that point, I’d never really fished from a boat. Last year alone, I probably spent 30 days on a boat, chasing smallmouth in the Snake River, largemouth at Lake Lowell or kokanee at Lucky Peak. Who knows? This year, I might even buy a boat of my own.
My 20s were definitely full of fun fishing memories. I was lucky enough to land a 28-inch brown trout — “Behemoth Bob,” my buddy Skyler named him — on the South Fork Snake River. I was blessed to catch and release an incredible 8-pound largemouth at a Southwest Idaho location that shall remain nameless for now. I even had the fortune to tangle with ling cod off the Oregon Coast, barracuda in the Florida Keys and black-tipped reef sharks in the Mexican Riviera. A decade from now, who knows what fish stories I’ll have to add to the list?
Come to think of it, this whole getting older thing might not be so bad after all.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen, which was a long, long time ago. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at email@example.com.