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.

Friday, January 20, 2012


 Long ago (courtesy of Storm Lures - now a part of Normark), I was the first person to put a fishing lure called the Rattlin’ ThinFin into Lake Michigan. Long story shortened, they quickly became one of the best lures to catch coho salmon in the southern part of the lake.

 I take that back. Rattlin’ ThinFins, a.k.a. R.T.s, then morph that into “Arties,” are the best body bait ever made to catch cohos in my part of the lake. Any color will work but the “red with black squiggle,” Storm’s #29 color, beats ‘em all. We call them “Red Arties.”

 But when Storm Lures was bought by Normark, the Red Arties soon went out of production. Myself and a few other avid anglers scrambled as best we could to gobble up remaining stocks; but now, if you can find any, they command steep prices.  When I lose one (and that happens) or one breaks (worn out from use), I almost cry. 

Last weekend at the Northwest Indiana Steelheader’s winter show, a booth was set up, flea market style, and the proprietor was selling Red Arties! Real ones, not knock-offs, not the larger ½ ounce size, but the genuine coho-killing 3/8 ounce originals.  I had to stop. 

Soon, I learned I was mistaken, but it was a good mistake. The man behind the counter, Ed Erdelac, was selling repainted Rattling ThinFins. 
Red Arties put more cohos in my boat than any other lure. 

Normark/Storm no longer makes any Rattlin’ ThinFins, but they did produce them in some colors (not #29)  for several years after they bought out Storm.  So while no new ones are available, it’s just the #29s which are super rare.

 I’ve seen and used hundreds of Red Arties. The paint job on the repainted lures is authentic to the last squiggle. 

I told Ed how I discovered the lures, then how, in cahoots with Storm Lure’s PR department, I promoted the lure to bring it into prominence. 

The next day, in my Spring Salmon Fishing seminar, I plugged the Red Arties and mentioned Ed’s booth. After the seminar, Ed did a brisk business on the repainted Arties. I wasn’t trying to boost Ed’s sales. I only wanted my seminar students to go to the lake armed with the best knowledge and gear. 

During a midday lull in traffic, Ed came over to thank me.  Better yet, he left me with 4 of the “new” Red Arties to add to my dwindling supply. If you would like to contact Erdelac for some Red Arties for yourself, his email address is derdelac@comcast.net. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Licenses used to be Certificates "suitable
for framing." Now they are a booklet, similar
to  a Passport
Every person who operates a boat for commercial purposes is required to have a federal license. The document is often called a Coast Guard license, since it’s the USCG who handles the licensing and does most of the enforcement work, but the license is actually a captain’s commission in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

The U.S.M.M. is a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Navy and the merchant mariners can be (and have been) pressed into service during wartime.

Getting licensed the first time requires proof of sea service, proof of passing both CPR and First Aid training courses, a background and security check, passing a drug screening, taking a physical exam and passing written examinations dealing with seamanship, navigation, boating rules and regulations.

Oh, and paying a hefty fee to the government.

Renewal is just as cumbersome and requires all of the above along with proof you have been consistently enrolled in a random drug screening consortium. As long as you don’t let your present license lapse, the renewal doesn’t require retaking the written examinations.

 Oh, and there’s another hefty fee to the government due.

I earned my first commission in 1997 and renewed in 2002 and 2007. Do the math. This is my renewal year.

I started the ordeal of filing the paperwork in October and just received my new license.  So I’m good for another 5 years.  I’ll start saving my nickles.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The Northwest Indiana Steelheaders Association has changed their annual "spring fever" show, normally one of the last of the season outdoor expos, traditionally held the final weekend of February, to January 14 and 15 making it one of the show season's kick-off venues this year.
They've also changed the location for the show. The Porter County Expo center kept raising prices on the club turning the show from a fund raising event to an almost break-even proposition.
So the show is now going to be held at the Marquette Mall in Michigan City, Indiana. Show times are 9AM to 8PM on Saturday and 10AM to 5PM on Sunday.
I'll be there giving seminars on spring salmon fishing at 10 AM each day then waiting for you to stop by my booth the rest of the time. Stop by!  I'll have my reservations book with me and to set you up for a fishing trip next spring or we can just talk fishing.  See you in Michigan City....