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In Remembrance of Jon Baiocchi

Our May speaker was again for the third time in more than a few years, going to be Jon Baiocchi, talking to us about the Skwala (stone fly) hatches and fishing on the beautiful Yuba River, Jon’s home river where he has been guiding nearly every day, all day, for years. 

If you were Jon’s friend, or new him from Facebook and Instagram, every photo is a smile a mile wide, and not just from Jon’, but the hundreds of men, women and children in his photos.

I knew Jon’s dad, Bob Baiocchi, when I was working so hard to change the regulations for the entire state of California when it came to fishing for Steelhead and Coho.   We are responsible for the emergency changes that took place, after three years of work, in 1998, and which are part of every Steelhead and Coho river/creek in California today.    Jon was just a few years younger than me.   He was a free-spirited guy who started out as an amazing shred expert on a skateboard and snowboard.   He was also super proficient on a moto-cross bike.    Everyone that knows Jon says the same thing about his energy, friendship, smile, dedication, …

I didn’t meet Jon until I came back to the club in ’17.   His dad had passed away and I was sorry I didn’t know that.   But we became friends and I got him to the club to speak his second time, and then I found excuses to have him back every year.   

Jon and I were communicating on Wednesday night while we were having our board meeting.  I was excited to be seeing him for the club meeting and looking forward to fishing with him after he got back home.  

Thursday, Jon went to work on his favorite river and had two friends with him.   They were on the warm, sunny, rocky bank of the river, starting to fish.   It’s reported he mentioned he had a pain in his neck, then his arm hurt, then he fell and was gone.   

Selfishly, I am missing a true hero of our rivers and steward of our rivers and those who get to learn from his infectious enthusiasm.   I can’t believe I was just talking to him the night before and how excited he was to be with us, and then the chance to fish together.  Weather and fishing had been so epic for Jon and his clients during Covid.   He had a new truck, new friends, and business was so very good.   He was only 56.   

This is why I challenged you to join our club- if you’re also reading this and you’re not a member.   Life is too short and can be taken from us at any moment.   

If you’re reading this, please join us on Wednesday May 6th, at 6:30 p.m.   We are going to hang out together, check in with each other, maybe make sure we’re all where we need to be right now,  remember Jon, and figure out where to go from there.   I will suggest we take Jon’s fee and maybe something more to contribute to a cause in his name.   

Even if you don’t stay  – come say hello.