Make a Lake Michigan Memory this Summer

I’ve always been a big proponent of “Take a Kid Fishing.” I remember as a young lad going fishing with my dad, my brothers and my grandfather. We crammed into a 14-foot aluminum boat and ventured out across the ship canal in Sturgeon Bay in search of the elusive perch. My grandfather was a very patient fisherman, and those traits were passed down to my father. Having three youths confined in a small boat is no small task.

Of course, not being accomplished fishermen at that time we were determined to discover the “secret” to catching those elusive perch. Grandpa would tell us that we weren’t holding our mouths right and every time grandpa’s bobber would start to jiggle, we would wiggle, bend and twist into a position to watch grandpa’s mouth to catch a glimpse of the “secret” mouth pose.

When this failed to produce substantial results, we turned our attention to our father to see what “secret” he could possibly share with us to increase our luck. Dad was very candid with us and that seriousness could only mean that what he was about to tell us HAD to be true. My dad, not missing the opportunity to keep the three of us going, had to tell us that if we wanted to catch fish, we needed to “spit on our worms.” Like clockwork, the three of us would for the next couple of hours wind up our baits to “spit on our worm” and reset our baits. Now, over the years if there’s one thing that I’ve learned is if you want to catch fish you have to have your baits in the water.

Needless to say, our perch production did very little to add to the basket to bring home for dinner. But what it did do is make one heck of an early memory and one of very few times that we got to fish with our grandpa.

Back then I don’t really think that my father thought for a moment that those early afternoons spent in the old aluminum boat would lead to one of those sons becoming a professional fisherman. Not an easy occupation, but it is one that has become rewarding in that I’ve been able to make a career out of sharing something I’m very passionate about. I’m able to help many people while on the water and help them make memories.

One of these moments for me is that special time when I have the opportunity to share my sport with a first-time Lake Michigan angler.

For younger Lake Michigan anglers, that first salmon or trout is most likely the largest they’ll catch in their lives. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to share this experience with so many, including my own kids, Katie and Tyler.

Sharing fishing adventures with young anglers can be rewarding, and teaching the sport while spanning different generations has become popular. Like my brothers and I experiencing our first fishing lesson with our father and grandfather, I’ve had the honor of participating with the next generation over the past summers. Sharing those special family moments and watching the kids reel in some big fish is a rewarding event. And nobody was more proud of the time spent than grandpa, watching as his grandkids reeled in some hefty Lake Michigan salmon.

Out of those fishing events with family I’ve gotten my most recent (and best) deckhand, my nephew Trevor. Now into his third season on the back deck, he’s looking to get his captain’s license and someday taking over the business.

Sharing passions with the next generation is something that will keep outdoors activities going. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, hiking, biking or camping, it’s important to share those hobbies and passions with out youth. Passing the love of the outdoors on to our kids is a good thing, and our children and grandchildren deserve to learn about the finer points. I’m thankful that my father passed his love for hunting and fishing on to me and got my brothers and I interested at a very young age. I’ve been able to enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my children and make memories. I’ll continue to take my children and grandchildren out on Lake Michigan for large family outings.