Well, after 18 years and close to 1,000 columns, it’s time for me to say goodbye. Yes, this is my last column. It was a tough decision, but I’m also excited to be moving on to some new projects.
It’s a been an amazingly fun and exciting run, and I’m humbled by all of your support over the years. You, the readers, have made writing this every week an extremely rewarding venture, and for that I will forever be grateful.
The positive feedback from you through the years has been overwhelming. Thank you for all the calls, letters and emails you took the time to make!
So many good memories! One of my favorites came a year or so back when a young man told me that my column was one of the things that helped get him through a particularly rough patch in his childhood. I was blown away — before that I had no idea that something as simple as a fishing column could have an impact like that. Wow...chills!
I also remember a time when Todd Mordhorst, the sports editor at the time, called me and told me to lay low for a day or two and not show up anywhere near the Journal offices. Apparently, a group of angry guys had come looking for me after they skipped out on work one day to fish for some giant fish they had read about in one of my columns. The problem was they hadn’t read all the way to the end of the article, which was one of my famous April Fool’s columns and they had gone on a quest for fish that didn’t actually exist. I guess they were a little hot when they found out.
Speaking of those gags, another funny moment came when a long-since moved on sports editor took a photo-shopped picture of me with a halibut from Lake Englebright that was the centerpiece of an April Fool’s column and later ran it as a file photo for a serious article.
Oh man, I could go on and on! There was a time a few years back that the paper was considering going a different direction with the column space but a bunch of you made calls and wrote letters demanding that my column continue. That was amazing and something I will never forget!
Yes, it’s been a great ride, and I’m privileged to have had you along for all these years. When I took this column over from Bud Neville back in 2000, I had no idea I would make it so long. I think I have outlasted at least three editors and five sports editors in my time. Crazy!
Again, a heartily thank you to all of you — and the fine folks at the Auburn Journal for putting up with me for so long. I’m going to miss doing this column and all the people connected to it.
But I’ll still be around doing my guiding locally and in Alaska, and you can always keep up with me on my website, www.fishwithjd.com. I’m on social media as well as @fisjwithjd on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Please don’t be strangers — say hi anytime!