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Rosa the Dancer
Rosa the Dancer
May 25, 2024

Cody Domingos: FISH OUT OF WATER

Cody+Domingos%3A+FISH+OUT+OF+WATER

Looking out over the horizon, senior Cody Domingos admires the  dark and gloomy sky filled with grey clouds. He thinks to himself, ‘perfect weather to catch some bass.’ Out on Lake Shasta, the water is calm and Domingos is eager to get a bite. The bass are in a feeding frenzy right now because they can sense a storm coming. Suddenly he feels a sharp jerk on his line. He quickly realizes an opportunity has arisen. His heart starts to pound as the battle with the bass begins. He struggles to reel it in–this bass is a fighter–but Domingos is persistent and clever with his fishing game. Finally after a well fought match of constant tugs and clever reeling, Domingos is the victor. A massive 7lb largemouth olive-green bass, marked by a series of dark blotches along each flank, is pulled out of the water. With the defeated bass in the live well, now it’s onto the next fish…and the tournament continues with $25,000 on the line…

Beginning when he was 3 years old, Domingos has been fishing ever since he can remember. “I’ve fished my whole life. Since I could barely walk I fished,” Domingos said. 

 It was always a priority for his parents to emerge themselves in the outdoors; whether that was camping in the mountains and trout fishing, day trips to lakes, ponds or rivers–or even planning their vacations around fishing– Domingos was found with a fishing pole in hand.

 “Almost everything we do revolves around the outdoors and mostly where there is water with some sort of fish in it,” Cody’s dad Jason Domingos said. 

Domingos is self taught; mainly educating himself by watching YouTube tutorial videos about bass fishing, fish behavior, and also by “just going out there [on the lake] for fun,” (Cody).

During his early childhood, Domingos and his father would go fishing on a short ten foot boat. Though this was a humble start, Domingos now competes in statewide tournaments with prizes as large as $25,000. 

“Both Julie (Cody’s mother) and I have contributed to Cody’s hobby by providing him opportunities to succeed in something he has shown a tremendous interest in. It was my idea to take him fishing when he was little. Cody continued to want to go fishing, so I would take him whenever I could,” Jason Domingos said.

Domingos (left) and Goldstein (right) at Lake Nacimiento

In addition to his father, Cody has another fishing partner, Kyle Goldstein. Goldstein is a sophomore at Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School in San Luis Obispo, who has known Domingos for a couple years. They first began fishing together by sneaking into various winery ponds and lakes, until they eventually began fishing together in some of the local tournaments such as the Good Ole’ Boys and Ambushers. 

“When it comes to Cody as a friend, I’d say he’s the best friend anyone could ask for. He’s hilarious, and always willing to help me out with Spanish homework. He always responds to my 10:00pm 911 texts and helps me through girl problems. Everyone loves Cody and that’s because he’s an all around awesome guy,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein and Domingos casting a line

This year, Domingos and Goldstein will compete in a Major League Fishing (MLF) Series for high school. They are also planning on going to a couple out of state tournaments: Lake Havasu in Arizona, Delta, and Clear Lake.

 Cody’s father placed the stepping stones that propelled him into a future filled with fishing. But it wasn’t until Cody turned 14 when he really dove into the competitive side of fishing. 

Domingos has competed in over a dozen fishing competitions in the last two years he has been in the sport. Most of the tournaments he has attended were held at Lake Nacimiento, an 18-mile (29 km) long lake on the Nacimiento River; 15 min out west of paso, Past Flamson Middle School. The largest tournament he has competed for so far was with his father in Jan, 2021 at Lake Shasta with 200 boats–the prize money was $25,000. 

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As of right now, Domingos is a member of multiple “clubs” including Good ol Boys and Ambushers (which are both local clubs), as well as Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT,  200+ boats each tournament), American Bass Association (ABA, 50-60 boats each tournament), and Best Bass Trail (BBT,  40-50 boats each tournament); which are all over the state of california. As a team, Cody and his father won “Angler of the Year,” in a BBT tournament they competed in this year. BBT is a statewide bass organization that divides the state into 5 regions. Cody and his father are also the Coastal Division Champions and will compete in a Tournament of Champions on Oct. 9-10, 2021 at Lake Don Pedro, which is nestled in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, east of Modesto, California and offers 160 miles of shoreline with 13,000 surface acres of water.
Cody is leading the points race for “Angler of the Year” at the local

 Ambushers Tournament Series.  There are around 30 competitors that fish these tournaments on a monthly basis and he is the youngest one there. 

“It’s pretty cool to see all the older guys look up to him as an accomplished angler. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him in the sport,” Jason said.

Despite the competition, Cody enjoys fishing with the guys in his club.

“I pretty much know all the guys. And it’s just kind of cool because whether you know them or not, the whole fishing community is pretty cool. Everyone’s so welcoming to each other. It’s just a bunch of guys who go out and they’re all having a good time. You know? I mean, obviously, it gets pretty competitive at times, because you’re all fishing for a bundle of money, but everyone’s pretty supportive of each other,” Cody explained. 

 As a member of these clubs he has access to various different tournaments, locally and throughout the state that he competes in during the beginning of the year to mid summer. The first club Domingos competed in was the Good Ol’ Boys. He placed fourth out of 10-20 boats.

At 15 years old, Domingos won his first tournament. It was an individual tournament, which means he was the only one on the boat, and the prize money was $500.

“The feeling of catching a fish alone is what got me hooked on the sport. From the moment the fish bites the line to the time it takes my brain to recognize that there’s a fish on the line is what gets the adrenaline going. The amount of support I got from the people around me to sinking in all the countless hours of work I had put in to get to that moment…winning that [first] tournament was the cherry on top,” Domingos said.

After that first triumph, Domingos was motivated to win more tournaments, not just for the money, but mostly because he fell in love with the process and the challenge of the sport.

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“From the time that my hand recognizes that I’m getting a bite, to my brain realizing that it’s all happening and then setting the hook…that’s just like the magic of it all,” Cody said. “It’s like a puzzle to figure out where the fish are, where the bigger ones are, what color they’re biting, what looters are biting…there’s all these different components that make it a mystery. And once you start to figure it all out, and you’re slowly peeling away at it, you realize, ‘wow, it’s really happening, I can feel it.’ And a lot of the time before you even weigh in to the tournament, you’re gonna know how you did so if you feel pretty confident about the day, usually you’re gonna do pretty good.” 

Domingos’ long term goal is to fish professionally as a career. Ideally he would like to earn a scholarship to compete in collegiate fishing competitions in college, and then from there go pro. But if that doesn’t work out for him, he would be interested in any career in the fishing industry.

“There’s hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fishing industry, which means marketing itself, or creating a fishing company, or representing a company. A lot of that stuff is like, it’d be awesome to do,” Domingos said.

Out of the 14 years Domingos has been fishing he has learned “that you really have to enjoy your time with whoever you’re with, whether it’s fishing, or whether it’s doing your chores, or whatever, because a lot of that time goes by so fast,” (Cody). Since he will be leaving to go to college soon he has reminisced over the many years he has fished with his father and he would like to savor every moment he has left with him.

“I’m taking off for college soon, and I won’t have my dad as a tournament partner forever. And so some of the times you might get annoyed or butt heads with one another, but you want to make sure to enjoy the time you have together,” Cody said.

“It makes me both happy and proud to fish with Cody.  It’s truly amazing to see how far he’s come as an Angler,” Jason said.

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