Q: Whatís the best time to come?
A: My regular customers have different ďfavoriteĒ times to come with me. March and April usually offer steady action on cohos and browns around 3 pounds. The downside is chilly temperatures on the lake. Though limits are possible all season long, as the lake and weather warms, expect fewer, but larger fish. In July and August expect to be fishing 10 to 15 miles offshore.
Q: Is smoking allowed?
A: Captain Mike doesn't smoke, but the Brother Nature is open enough to allow smoking legal products - tobacco, e-cigarettes, corn silk, etc. - is okay.
Q: Are alcoholic beverages allowed?
A: Captain Mike won't drink while on duty but guests are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages if they wish. There are only two rules: 1) No drinking until someone catches a fish. 2) If the fishing is slow, rule one can be put to a vote.
Q: How far in advance should reservations be made?
A: Call me the night before you want to fish and if I'm available, we'll go. However, if there's a particular date or time frame you are interested in going, the farther in advance you call, the better the chance of it being available.
Q: What kind of fish will we catch?
A: There are five species of fish targeted - coho and king (chinook) salmon, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. Any can be caught any day. Some days all are caught. Check out my fish calendar to see whatís most likely to be biting when.
Q: Do you guarantee weíll catch fish?
A: I donít make any money-back or reduced-rate guarantees. I do guarantee Iíll work hard and do my experienced best to put you on as many fish as possible. There are many, many days each season when limits are caught. Some seasons we are never skunked, most seasons catching nothing is very rare.
Q: From what marina do you fish?
A: Since I trailer the Brother Nature to the lake each day, I move from marina to marina. In the spring I usually fish out of either the Hammond Marina or East Chicago Marina, a.k.a. Pastrick Marina. In the summer I usually fish out of Portage Public Marina. It depends somewhat on the weather, mostly on the location of the best area to catch fish.
Q: What time of day do you start fishing?
A: I usually like to be leaving the marina just as the sun is rising. In September we will head out before dawn because the spawning run kings are low-light biters.
Q: Do you run afternoon trips?
A: I will schedule an afternoon trip on weekdays. On weekends, during much of the season, the marinas, parking areas and boat ramps are very congested in the afternoons and evening. Remember, mornings often start out calm with increasing wind speed and wave height as the day progresses. In the summer, most thunderstorms show up in late afternoon or evening.
Q: Do you provide everything?
A: Just about. I provide tackle, fish cooler, life-jackets and other safety gear. All you need to bring is your favorite snacks and beverages. Plus clothing appropriate for the weather predicted.
Q: Will you clean our fish?
A: I will filet all the fish for you and package them in gallon-sized ziplocks. You can repackage into meal-sized packets at home. Fish cleaning is included at no extra charge. I usually clean the fish on the boat near the end of the trip so when we get back to the dock, everyone can be on their way.
Q: What about fishing licenses?
A: As a convenience, I sell single day fishing licenses for Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Each of these states sell single-day and season licenses on line, as well. I sometimes make the decision on where we will fish the morning of the trip so the easiest is to just buy one from me.
Q: How about gratuities?
A: On charter boats with a mate or crew-person, tipping is expected. On operations like mine, tipping is optional, as is the amount. I donít work for tips, but I appreciate them. Usually, I give the tip to my wife for putting up with me and washing my smelly fishing clothes.
Q: What about sea-sickness?
A: It happens. In general the over-the-counter meds do a great job. My advice is to take one the night before and one an hour or so before you get on the boat. Bring another dose with you, but you probably wonít need it. Scopalamine patches, available by prescription, work even better. Some get better as the day progresses, others worse. I will cut a trip short on request. That happens very infrequently.
Q: Is there a bathroom on the boat?
A: I do carry a Porta-Potty. The fishermen on board usually get by with a pee-bucket. Amazingly (to me), the fisher-ladies usually hold it all day. I donít have much privacy on the boat. I promise to keep my head turned if anyone needs the porta-potty, I canít promise what your fishing companions will do.