The face of fishing is one from Juniata County
COCOLAMUS — Former East Juniata soccer, basketball and baseball standout Bailey Coder loves to fish. A rod and reel is all he needs to find bliss.
His passion for fishing — and the right connection — landed him on the cover of the November/December issue of “Pennsylvania Angler & Boater,” the magazine of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
“It happened through a friend of my mom actually. One of my mom’s friends is the editor of the magazine, noticed a picture on my brothers Facebook profile and asked if she could use it,” Coder said. “The picture quality wasn’t the best so I told her, through my mom, that I had a lot higher quality pictures on my Instagram and it just kind of progressed from there.”
The interest in fishing dates back to the time his grandfather took him at an early age and he snagged his first catch.
“I’ve been hooked on fishing since I was big enough to hold a rod and reel. Avid is a great word but sometimes it borders on addiction. My pap got me into fishing at an early age, and after I caught my first 3-inch bluegill, I just couldn’t get enough,” Coder said. “I think what keeps me going is the thrill of what’s around the next bend. It’s not knowing if there’s a monster brown trout under that undercut bank, or a huge largemouth bass in that sunken tree, that really makes it fun. You truly never know what you’re going to catch. In the future, I’d love to pursue bigger more exotic game fish like golden dorado, tarpon and marlin.”
And while Coder experiments with all types of fishing, including fly, he prefers to use his spinning gear because of the many smallmouth rivers in the area.
“I do a little fly fishing, but really my favorite thing to do is use my spinning outfit. Fly fishing gear tends to be a bit more expensive, and I’ve never really gotten deep into the intricate details associated with it like mending your line,” Coder explained. “Plus, being raised so close to world class smallmouth rivers like the Juniata and Susquehanna, it really helps to use spinning gear, especially when you hook into the occasional musky.”
Fishing is a family affair for sure in the Coder household and each loves to go after a certain type of fish. Bailey is no different.
“My uncle Toby and my pap Roger love to go after smallies and the occasional musky, because they’re so numerous and convenient. They fight like crazy. Along with my pap Coder, we enjoy trout. too,” he said. “My pap Coder, my brother and I love to fish Licking Creek for brookes and brownies. And we’ll go with Uncle Toby and pap Roger to the Delaware River to go after native browns and rainbows. But my favorite fish to catch is probably a striper. A big striped bass fights like no other fish I’ve caught; it’s a ton of fun.”
Coder hasn’t forgotten his soccer roots either. Even though he currently doesn’t play, he kept up with his younger brother’s playoff runs with the Tiger soccer team. When he is done at Harrisburg Area Community College, Coder is looking to transfer and maybe play one or more sports.
“I’m currently commuting to HACC to get my associate’s degree in environmental science, and working 17 hours a week at Rickenbaugh Building Supply,” Coder said. “In the near future, I plan to transfer to either St. Francis and major in aquarium and zoo science or to Susquehanna and major in ecology.
“Right now I’m relegated to being a spectator for the most part, but the love of the game is definitely still there. Watching my brother Gabe go on such deep state runs and make it to the final last year is by far one of the proudest moments of my life. He’s an immensely talented player and I may be biased but I think he could play almost anywhere he wants to. Watching those deep state runs also gets me fired up. I plan to transfer to a university and play basketball, baseball or soccer. I might even try football, who knows?”
No matter what happens in the future of Bailey Coder, one thing is certain — he will be out looking for his next striped bass or brown trout. He will be looking for that next catch and following his bliss.