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Father’s Day on Lake Michigan with Kristen Monroe

June 20, 2013
Filed in: Fly Fishing, Travel

KristenMonroe-Filson-LakeMichigan-7Growing up in a family of hunters & fishermen led Kristen Monroe of OutdoorNews.com to have a deep passion for the outdoors. Kristen celebrated Father’s Day by fishing with her family on beautiful Lake Michigan.

A new tie, the latest gadget, or a new fishing lure are all familiar gifts a dad might receive on Father’s day. As I get older, I realize it’s not the tangible items that create the best memories and the biggest smiles. It’s the time and thought that goes into the gift. This year, I took my well-deserved father, Phil Durbin, and children on a fishing charter on Lake Michigan.

My father has taken me fishing hundreds of times throughout the years. Waking up before the before the birds started to sing was a cinch as a youngster.  The anticipation of hooking fish with my dad and brother was all it took. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the old bait shop we would frequent, although I can’t recall the name.KristenMonroe-Filson-LakeMichigan-2My children are growing older. Maddex is 7 and Madison is 5.  The importance of outdoor adventures to a youngster hit me when I heard Maddex praying.  He said, “Dear God, please keep it from raining so we can go fishing with Grandpa tomorrow.” He knew there was a possibility of rain and storms in the forecast.  We were greeted with 70 degree weather and partial clouds the next day.

We arrived in Waukegon Harbor, Illinois, for our afternoon fishing excursion. Captain Bob Bachelor with Battalion 1 Sport-Fishing Charters greeted us at the end of the dock with a smile. Although anxious to get on the water, the big carp were a spectacle for the kids. We had to make several stops so they could get a good look.

KristenMonroe-Filson-LakeMichigan-3“We have to drive out about eight miles out, to get into the clean water,” said Captain Bob.  First mate Scott Sekula rigged two rods with Dipsey Divers, four downriggers, and eight planer rods. He used lead core line to present baits throughout the water column. We were only fishing about 60 feet deep which means the salmon would have a lot of fighting power being so close to the boat.

Sometimes my Filson bag is filled with shotgun shells and field gear. This time toys, crayons and snacks were packed tight. When bringing small children on a long boat ride it’s important to bring items to keep them entertained. The black toy truck took a few laps around the boat deck while my son waited for the salmon to hit. Madison had fun catching the lake flies. Luckily, they were young lake flies not ready to bite yet.

KristenMonroe-Filson-LakeMichigan-5“Fish on,” said Sekula. Honoring my dad on Father’s Day, he was the first to fight a fish. The kids watched in awe as the great big steelhead jumped out of the water. Maddex’s eyes were the size of saucers while Madison jumped up and down. It was another great memory created for my kids and for the man responsible for my fishing heritage. Thanks for taking me fishing all those years, Dad. I’ll try my best to do the same.

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