For the thrill of the catch

POULSBO — Jordan James Orong’s rainbow trout isn’t a state-record catch. But at five pounds and 20 inches, it’s larger than some trout species in the record books.

Jordan is accustomed to such achievements as an angler. While some of his peers might ask for the latest “Call of Duty” as a birthday present, Jordan might ask for a fly fishing rod. Summer day trip to Wild Waves? Jordan prefers an open shoreline, rod, and reel in hand. Some of his peers might look forward to a favorite evening TV show. Jordan looks forward to the night bite.

But here’s the catch: Jordan is 8 years old.

The young angler reeled in his fine catch on May 20 at Buck Lake during his birthday party — fishing-themed, of course.

“We were at Buck Lake for about 20 minutes and heard a lot of cheering,” Jordan’s mother Naomi said. “They came onto the shore and showed us this humongous fish.”

Jordan’s father, James, said if that fish was any bigger, it might have broken the line.

“We were using a 6-pound line,” James said. “We just barely made it.”

The sport of fishing isn’t new to Jordan, who has been fishing regularly with his dad since he was 2. They usually take their 13-foot aluminum boat with an electric motor to Hansville’s Buck Lake, Sandy Shore Lake in East Jefferson County, or Tarboo Lake, just north of Quilcene. They also venture as far as Vancouver, Washington for a good bite and to visit family.

Jordan’s dream? To fish in the Amazon or off some remote island like his idols in the hit reality TV shows “Monster Fish” and “River Monsters.”

“He’ll talk about how he wants to fish all over the world and catch fish in the Amazon,” Naomi said. “He also wants to be a vet, but that’s always the standard — he’s obsessed with fishing, he just wants to fish everywhere.”

The young angler has been calling himself a fisherman since he was 4. He said he hopes to have his own fishing business one day.

“Well, it’s just fun,” he said. “You can fish for fun or for food. Being out in the boat is second place; catching the fish is first.”

After a 15-minute inventory of his tackle and gear — including jigs, jigheads and jig spinners, Rapalas, Catch Master spoons, crankbait, an assortment of hooks and homemade lures, as well as four different fishing poles, Jordan concluded he had used an Eagle Claw pole and a Rapala minnow-type lure to catch his prize trout.

“It’s good for trout and most of all, especially bass,” he said. “Bass love them. They’re big-fish-type lures.”

Of his favorite way to eat fish, Jordan said, “I’ll have to think about that,” but quickly concluded: fish and chips is tastiest. His five-pound fish is cleaned and in the freezer, he and his father plan to smoke it.

James, who began fishing with his own father as a young boy, said the experience is good bonding time.

“It’s the love for the outdoors and maintaining it,” James said. “It’s safe and, just like hunting, it’s all about the harvest. We eat fish and keep what we kill. But most importantly, it’s good family time.”

Jordan agreed.

“It’s a family tradition,” he said.

Jordan’s biggest inspiration is his dad, who taught him the valuable lessons of tying, reading water, casting and boating rules.

“He teaches me to keep your line tight and your tip up,” Jordan said. “We practice casting together, go fishing together, we pretty much do everything together.”

Jordan anticipates he’ll take his own son fishing one day. James added, “He’ll inherit all of my gear.”

Of his various birthday presents, including Legos, fishing lures and a salmon rod, Jordan thinks the memory of catching that trout was one of the coolest takeaways from his birthday.

“I think this is always going to be a part of his life and something he can pass down to his own kids,” Naomi said. “It’s a great life adventure he’ll always be able to have with him. It’s that bonding experience and the challenge of bringing in the fish.”

— Sophie Bonomi is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact her at sbonomi@soundpublshing.com.