Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hooked Up Sport Fishing Charters Review - Lake Michigan Salmon Fishing at Its Best

We spent the weekend fishing with Hooked Up Sport Fishing Charters out of Sturgeon Bay, WI fishing for monster Lake Michigan salmon.  In a word, the trip was outstanding.   

We stated on Friday afternoon, and met Captain Dean at our noon departure time.  Unfortunately, the wind was howling out of the south at nearly 30 MPH, and the waves on the lake were brutal.  Dean stated very clearly that he'd take us whenever we wanted to go, but strongly suggested that we wait until sundown as the wind was slated to die down at that hour.  I'm not sure most charter captains would bother talking us out of it - he and his first mate are used to the massive waves, and their boat can handle most anything the big lake can throw at it.  However, he knew it would be miserable for us, and he was extremely forthright with his recommendation.  We opted to meet again that night at 5.   

We drove back to Green Bay, a quick hour away, then turned back around at the appropriate time.  While the wind did indeed subside, the lake was still quite violent, and Dean suggested we drive out to the big lake and make a decision.  Should we choose not to go at that point, he'd charge us nothing.  The 15 minute ride to the big lake showed that things were indeed rough, but we were game, and gave the thumbs up to go fishing.   

We should have known what we were into when we got to the location about 5 miles outside of the port and found ourselves in the fishing area all by our lonesome, but we were up for the adventure, lines went out, and we were on fish in about 15 minutes.  We ended up boating 12 before calling it a night.  Here are some photos:   

Despite the massive waves, only one of us got seasick (me), and that was right as we were pulling up lines to leave.  It's the only time in my life where I've been motion sick, and while I felt like a wimp, I was comforted by the box full of Lake Michigan salmon that we boated.   

The following day found little wind and fairly calm seas, but even through the fishery had been changed by the big waves of the day prior, and even though afternoons tend to be more quiet, we immediately got on fish.  In fact a neighboring boat called us to ask Dean how the fishing was going.  Dean told them we were doing OK - we had 8 fish in the boat with multiple misses - whereas the other captain complained that his clients hadn't had a bite.  Why the difference?  Part of it was surely hustle.  Our boat was running 14 rods at one point, and that vast coverage got us on fish.  Dean and Beau, the first mate, flew around the boat, making sure things were set.   

So how did we do the second day?  Look for yourself:   

We ended with a limit of 15 fish for 3 guys.  And note that these fished were cleaned by Beau in an amazing fashion at the back of the boat while motoring back to shore.  How he did it in the waves without losing a digit or two is still a miracle to me, but all fillets were expertly cleaned.   

So here's the upshot on our experience:  
  • I've never seen two guys hustle more for their clients.  You may not get fish, but I guarantee you it will not be because of a lack of trying.  
  • Both Dean and Beau were personable, funny, knowledgeable, and fun.  Just great guys with which to spend half of a day in the boat.  
  • Our bottom line turned out to be 27 fish in two days, at an estimated 160 lbs. of salmon.  Yes, that number is right, and it is conservative.  
  • As stated earlier, fishing was outstanding.  The whole experience was outstanding.  Even me puking wasn't that bad...
We arrived home that second day and grilled fresh salmon for our wives, and everyone agreed that it was the best salmon meal we ever had.  There is something about eating something so incredibly fresh.  

By the end of the weekend, we all decided that this will be an annual event.  We can't wait to do it again.

What an incredible two days of fishing.    

1 comment:

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