Kings For A Rookie

Managing Editor Thomas Allen shares the excitement enjoyed during his first Great Lakes Charter salmon trip.

Here's another inter-personal confession: I've always hated being "guided" to fishing or hunting experiences. I firmly feel that the true satisfaction that comes from catching fish or shooting big deer or turkeys only happens when I do the work myself. I still live by those standards.


The new Ugly Stik Elite trolling series worked like a charm!

But, there are experiences worth having that may require a gulp of pride. On legendary Lake Michigan I had a chance to fish with Capt. Lee of Haasch Guide Service.The experience was one I won't soon forget, in fact it was a blast!

We had to be up very early, before 4 a.m. to be precise, and that's a time of day you don't EVER get used to seeing—it sucks, for any reason. Except fishing. But, I also openly admit to having a daily love affair with my coffee, and the continental breakfast bar in the hotel we were staying in didn't open until 4:30—I needed coffee.

It didn't look like I was going to get my morning nectar until I boarded the Grand Illusion 2 and there was a fresh, hot pot of (flavored even) coffee and muffins, (which muffins are actually cake disguised by a base wrapper and thought of as a more ‘healthy' option for breakfast—but I digress. I ate a few) I was happy and ready to face the big water and hefty king salmon.

Capt. Lee took us out and put the lines out. Before he even had a few out, one took off and he quickly handed me the rod. The battle was on! And the day continued like that as I shared the deck with regular North American Fisherman contributor Mark Hicks, my good friend Kevin Jarnagin and Ugly Stik's Josh Silva. We had a tremendous time, including a few big fish over 20 pounds.


You could see the big arcs on the graph before they would hit. This aspect made for more interesting predictions and of course, more trash talk!

Again, I'm a DIY kinda guy—and proud of it. I know lots of you are, too. But don't let that get in the way of a damn good time. Big salmon on the Great Lakes is an experience that I'd highly recommend. If you make the trip and want some amazing coffee and the best on-the-water service, look up Lee Haasch. You won't be disappointed, I guarantee it!


North American Fisherman contributor Mark Hicks with a dandy King that almost crested that 20-pound mark.


Hicks, a talented angler in his own right was skeptical of this experience, but he, too, also found out just how much fun a Great Lakes charter could be. We had a blast putting the new Ugly Stik Elite trolling rods to the test!

You can also find Haasch Guide Service on Facebook.


The day's catch barely fit in a cooler. Good eats!

We managed to capture this experience on camera as well. Footage in process—stay tuned!


Let me take another selfie


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