My business is to provide people the opportunity to sample the exciting and challenging fishing available at the southern end of Lake Michigan. This page is dedicated to showing a bit of the behind-the-scenes work it takes to do that and to highlight the trips and fun my customers are able to experience.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I run a full service charter boat. I supply all the rods, reels, bait–basically, anything that’s needed to catch fish is on board. I even supply ziplock bags and filet the fish that get caught.

So when my customers ask, "What do I need to bring?" I tell them drinks, snacks and whatever clothes are suitable. In the early season suitable clothes include thermal underwear, thick socks and a warm coat, but by mid-summer, not much more than a light jacket is required for the first hour or so. My last group taught me something else I may consider adding to my suggestion list.

Try to wear bright colored shirts and coordinate the colors. As I was snapping a photo of the last fish of the day, the other 2 fishers joined the happy angler for a group photo. Don't they look stylish and colorful in their bright Tees!

Why have a color camera if everyone is going to wear muted tones! So be on the bright side. Dress up for your next outing. It’s the stylish thing to do!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


When I bought a Lowrance LMS 350A sonar/GPS unit for my boat it was the top-o-line unit available. That was 15 years ago or more. It served me well but the sonar part of the unit failed last summer.

I replaced the unit with another top Lowrance unit, the HDS 7. It has a color screen, maps, connects to the Sirius Marine Weather system and has more screens, apps, buttons and features than I’ll ever use. So when I installed it, I left the 350 in place and relied on the old unit for 98% of my GPS needs. (And 98% of the time all I need is my current position, the speed I’m going, the direction I’m heading and the direction I need to go to get to somewhere else.) The HDS 7 will do that, but punching through the various buttons and commands to get the basic info kept me relying on the antique model.

The 350 burned out about 6 weeks ago. One of my first thoughts was to purchase a used 350 on eBay. My wires were still in place, just swap out the old and in with the new(er). A few units were listed and I hoped to pick one up for about a hundred bucks. I lost the first auction at $150. Haven’t seen a unit since go for less than $200–some much more if the seller offers a money-back "guarantee" the unit works. Most sellers say in their description the unit was working, last they knew–take your chances.

I have a hand-held GPS but the batteries are usually dead, the screen is so small I need my "cheaters" to read it and I use it so infrequently, each time is a learning experience. They no longer make "stand-alone" dash-mount GPS units.

Plan "B" came when I got a sale flyer from Cabela’s. The sale was for a Lowrance Cuda 350 for $169. It’s a sonar/GPS, but with a small sonar screen with fairly low resolution. Since I only wanted it to show a screen which shows my location, speed and direction of travel--98% of the time--and in a font size I could read, easily. I didn’t need the sonar–I already have 2 of those on board. I’ve used it on several fishing trips and it does exactly what I want. (I didn’t even install the sonar transducer.)

So what about my LMS 350A? At the time it was made, the best GPS units required remote GPS module/antennas to work. I sold the antenna module on eBay for $145. And for giggles and (35 cents) I listed the 350 unit, announced it was broken, blew fuses as fast as you could change them and came with no wires, GPS, transducers or guarantee of anything other than it was broken.

Go figure! I sold that unit for 50 bucks. So I’m happy, I’ve got a user-friendly back-up GPS on the boat and I’m money ahead!



Tuesday, July 12, 2011


There’s nothing I worry about more in my Lake Michigan fishing business than the weather. The weather affects the fish. The weather affects the fishermen. The weather affects where we can fish and affects if we can fish. On a lake the size of Lake Michigan, the weather affects whether it’s even safe to be on Lake Michigan.

So during the season, I’m constantly in tune with what the "great minds" on TV, Internet, the National Weather Service and others are thinking, saying and predicting.
By and large, they are good at what they do. Good enough–most of the time.

We Watched Storms in Iowa quickly blew up and over Lake Michigan on the HDS 7 screen. -> -> ->

But since I’ve been doing this for 3 decades, I’m an expert, as well. I also have the tools I need to make my own opinion of expected weather conditions.

The newest tool is my Sirius Weather Radio module that interfaces with one of the Lowrance GPS units on the Brother Nature. It paid off on Monday when storms grew overnight in the Great Plains and headed for Lake Michigan.

When we left the dock, the wind was calm, the sun struggling to burn through the summer haze. A great day. But the Sirius Weather Module showed storms at the Mississippi River on the screen of my HDS-7 unit. In an hour, it the storms were halfway across Illinois and soon knocking on the west suburbs of Chicago. With 12 miles back to the dock, I pulled the lines and we headed for shore. As we were tying the boat at the dock, the sky unloaded, the wind whipped but we were safe.

The weathermen were surprised about the speed and ferocity of the storm. I didn’t worry about surprise. I used the technology, my experience and was safe, once again.

Saturday, July 9, 2011



There’s a new generation of Great Lakes anglers coming along. I monitor a couple of Internet sites that host discussion groups and hardly a week goes by that some newcomer doesn’t post a question asking basic information about some aspect of the sport. What’s a slider? Where’s the gong? How do you get to a specific marina? You see them at the lake, as well.

They have a recently commissioned boat, some gear and enthusiasm. I was one of them long ago and I did it the hard way–all trial and error.

Luckily, much of my gear was home made and I could make it, try it, then come home and remake it or alter it to make it better.

That’s why, when a newby posts on one of the sites, I suggest they hire me for a charter one day and I’ll take them fishing while they go to school.

Steve and Bob did just that recently. Steve has a smaller boat and Bob a 19-footer with some of the gear they need to fish Lake Michigan. So we headed out, I set lines and then instead of just letting our conversation drift to whatever popped to mind, I went over the equipment I use.

We covered rod holders, their location and other details. We covered electronics, rods, reels, lead core and copper wire. Colored line, clear line, wire line, divers, nets, places to go, when to go, how to go.....Oh, and we caught a few fish along the way, as well.

Money well spent? They thought so! I think so too. It probably cut 3 or 4 years off their learning curve and saved them from making some costly mistakes. Want to go to school? Give me a call–and we’ll catch a few fish, as well!