This 281/2-pound chinook was caught Monday afternoon aboard Andy's Silver Strike Charter Fishing at Baileys Harbor. / Submitted
Lucas Mason of Naperville, Ill., landed a rock bass, shown, and round goby on back-to-back casts fishing Thursday from shore with his father, Rick, off the breakwall at Egg Harbor. / Photo by Kevin Naze
One of the things I’ve always liked best about the sport of fishing is you can make it as simple as you want it to be.
Digging your own worms by day, catching your own nightcrawlers by night and — for the really adventurous — adding a small chunk of cheese hot dog to a Panther Martin spinner attached to your line with a large swivel.
Believe it or not, the latter was the ticket to a tug at the end of the line for young Lucas Mason of Naperville, Ill., Thursday. I watched one fish after another dart out from the rocks lining the outside of the Egg Harbor breakwater and attack that odd combo of wire, paint, pork and cheese.
His dad, Rick, had the prestigious position of hot dog breaker-upper, and was kept busy as one fish after another stole the bait. The elder Mason admitted they were pretty much rookies at fishing, having purchased a spincast rod combo hours earlier. But it eventually worked, with back-to-back drops producing a rock bass and a round goby at one point.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got guys with five or six figures tied up in a boat and tackle targeting salmon with Howie Flies and dozens of other baits, each of them costing more than a dozen nightcrawlers or minnows.
While an interesting contrast, the fanatic and first-timer share a common bond: the love of the water, and the wild things swimming within.
The winds have picked up of late, making for some challenging outings for small boat anglers hoping to pick up some perch, bass or walleyes on the bay or salmon and trout on Lake Michigan.
Anglers may be able to get out of the wind by sticking inside some of the bays and harbors, or fishing from shore until things settle down.
Water temperatures have warmed up about 10 degrees in the past week, and thermoclines are finally setting up on the big lake. That has helped improve the numbers of salmon caught, and the size continues to be impressive.
Chinooks of 27, 28½ and 30 pounds have been hooked from Baileys Harbor to Algoma, prompting many anglers to believe it’ll take a “king” in the low to mid-30s to win the 31st annual Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament.
The forecast is for mostly sunny skies yet this weekend, but a chance for rain almost every day in the coming week.
Next Saturday is the 8th annual Kewaunee Trout Festival Offshore Challenge, a team tournament for all salmon and trout species, with a maximum nine lines in the water at one time per boat. You can sign up at the Kewaunee Marina, or call (920) 255-7888 for information.
Meanwhile, the K/D Salmon Tournament is offering an incentive drawing to those who buy tickets by July 15: $100 gift certificates at all four local outlets — Howie’s Tackle and Greystone Castle in Sturgeon Bay, 57 Depot in Baileys Harbor and Kap’s Marina on Washington Island — plus a chance to win a Kindle Fire.
Once again, there will be daily port prizes as well as an overall payout more than 100 places deep.
Top prize is $10,000 cash, a silver salmon ring and a free mount of the winning fish. More information is available at www.kdsalmon.com, or you can check out fishing updates and photos by liking the K/D Salmon Tournament’s Facebook page.
— Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Call him at (920) 883-9792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.