Fishing

Playing Outdoors Fish Rap (Feb. 17): Last call for your crazy fish stories

Jordan Rodriguez
Jordan Rodriguez

We are just two weeks away from our annual Fishing Guide, and this year, we want you to be part of the fun. Email your craziest, most memorable fishing stories to outdoors@idahostatesman.com and we’ll select some of the best to publish in the Fishing Guide.

We’ve had some great submissions already, and it’s been a lot of fun reading about your adventures.

Reminder: Please make all submissions 400 words or less and suitable for family audiences. And your stories don’t have to be as bizarre as the Lake Mead turtle surprise I wrote about last month. Maybe it was a time you caught an expected species in an unexpected way, like what happened to me on Lake Lowell two springs ago.

It was early in the boating season when I got one of my favorite kinds of phone calls — an invite for an afternoon on the water with my partners in crime, Caleb and Ernie. It was a perfect day for spring bassin’ — low 70s with just a hint of a breeze. The fishing was great, and life was good.

And then it happened. I threw my lure into a promising pocket and BAM! Fish on. And this was a big one. Unfortunately for me, the bass immediately bolted for the thickest, nastiest cover she could find — a huge, knotty pile of dead roots and foliage.

I tried to turn the fish away from the jungle, but it was too late. She promptly planted herself right in the thick of things, and my chances of ever seeing this fish started to look slim. I couldn’t tell if I still had the fish or if she had lost me in the brush, but I wasn’t going to break the line until I was sure.

It was time to call in the cavalry.

I promised Ernie I’d give him some of my lucky soft plastics if he helped me out, so he trolled the boat right on top of the brush pile. Caleb didn’t need any convincing. He wanted to see this fish. He was already hard at work, digging and hacking away at the thicket with one of the boat oars.

My rod was doubled over the entire time, and it felt like my 8-pound test might snap any minute.

We dug and hacked for what felt like forever. Several nearby boats even stopped to watch what the heck we were doing, and I’m sure we were quite a sight. Ernie was in my ear the entire time, predicting that after all this trouble, we were just going to pull up a big old stump. But when I reached down and grabbed the line, I could feel the wiggle of the still-attached fish.

After 10 solid minutes of digging, we essentially cleared out the entire brush pile. And when the last of the water-logged sticks came up, so did one of the best-looking bass I’d ever seen. Five pounds of fat, healthy largemouth goodness.

After a quick photo, we released the fish. I thanked Caleb for the big-time assist and besmirched Ernie’s good name for ever having doubted. To this day, that fish is the biggest bass I’ve ever seen at Lake Lowell. She was definitely worth the extra effort.

I look forward to reading more of your memorable fishing tales.

Happy writing, and 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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