Frequently Asked Questions

I hope you find these facts and questions helpful on Lake Michigan Charter Fishing. Please call me if there are any other questions that I may answer for you.

Q. WHY SHOULD I USE A PROFESSIONAL CHARTER?

A. Fishing with a professional is your guarantee of a safe, successful outing. Our captains know the area, fish regularly and work with other captains. Being in the right places at the right time is a very important part of fishing. Pros have a large investment in the latest tackle and fish locating equipment coupled with decades of experience. Many personal fishermen will take a charter with us to learn the secrets of success to increase their own catch rates.

Q-DOES THE SIZE OF THE CHARTER BOAT MATTER?

A- The answer is yes, the boat is an integral part of your total fishing experience. The size of the boat is important because of your comfort, its seaworthiness and space to move around. While boats less than 32 feet can catch fish, and smaller groups of 3-4 people may have enough room, they will generally bounce around more and be less stable and less comfortable. Also some of these boats have such small cabins that you cant even sit in the cabin to get out of the elements. Some very small charter boats don’t even have room for 6 passengers to sit at the same time, yet they will still take 6 passengers. Boats over 32 feet will typically be more comfortable, have a stable ride, have lots of room in the cabin for coolers as well as lots of spacious seating in the cabin to get out of the elements, and have large enough bathrooms to stand up in…all of these will make your trip the most enjoyable experience possible. Larger boats also have less people that get seasick. The larger the boat the heavier it usually is which means it displaces more water and will have a more stable ride. The Leader is a Tiara Yacht which is known worldwide for being the best and most expensive on the market. All of the equipment aboard the Leader is the best available, you can see from the companies that we are Pro-staff for that we are sponsored by the best in the fishing world.

Q-ARE RATES A GOOD INDICATION OF QUALITY?

A-Quite honestly, most times yes. You get what you pay for, which is true for everything in life. The busier a Captain is, the more likely it is that rates will be higher. Captains get that busy by providing clients with an excellent all around experience on the water. It’s not just about catching numbers of fish, it’s about making the whole day fun, and a part of that is the quality of the catch.

Although the price isn’t always an indicator of the quality of experience, it’s a pretty good guideline. You need to decide for yourself if the price is the most important issue, or is it the quality of the experience that you are looking for. Getting a Captains license has nothing to do with fish catching ability or the quality of the experience you will have aboard the boat. 

Q - WHERE SHOULD WE MEET FOR OUR TRIP?

A - The Leader is located in Slip A-21 in Milwaukee Wisconsin’s McKinley Marina. If your trip is in Milwaukee we will meet you at McKinley Marina 1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI53202 at the gas dock, which is located next to the small boat launch. Please park up against the Break wall (wall that stops the water from coming on land) and walk past the boat launch to the gas dock, which is by the round building of McKinley Marina. If you have any issues finding the location please call Captain Ken at 414-482-2336.

If your trip is in Racine Wisconsin then we will meet at Pugh Marina and you will use the address of John’s Dock Restaurant because of its proximity to the boat slip. John’s Dock 303 Dodge St., Racine, WI53402. You will park in the parking lot next to John’s Dock Restaurant, which is a located steps away from the boat. Your captain will meet you at the boat at the time of your trip. If you have any issues finding the location please call Captain Ken at 414-482-2336. Please click for directions.

Q. IS A FISHING LICENSE REQUIRED?

A. All persons age 16 or older are required to have a fishing license. Please purchase your Wisconsin Fishing license and Great Lakes Trout / Salmon Stamp before you get to the boat. You will need to bring a paper copy of your license with you per Wisconsin DNR rules for outlying waters. You can purchase your license online HERE or you may stop by any bait and tackle shop or K-mart and Wal-Mart stores. Make sure you get your license ahead of time as we do not have them aboard the boat.

Q - DO I NEED TO BRING ALONG ANY FISHING EQUIPMENT?

A - No. All fishing equipment is provided for your fishing trip. We have the finest equipment available.

Q - HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I BRING ALONG?

A - In compliance with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations we are licensed and insured to carry a MAXIMUM of six (6) passengers per charter boat. We will be happy to assist you if you would need more boats for your outing. Jack’s Charter Service provides private charters; we do not mix groups or combine single people into groups.

Q - WHAT IF I HAVE NEVER FISHED BEFORE?

A - No experience is no problem with Jack’s Charter Service our Captains are great with newcomers to the sport by giving simple explanations and demonstrations, they will have you feeling like an expert in no time!

Q - CAN I BRING ALCOHOL ON THE BOAT?

A - Yes. Adults 21 years and over may bring beer, wine etc. cans and plastic bottles are preferred over glass as it is very easy to break glass with the boat moving. We request that you drink responsibly as excessive drunkenness will not be tolerated. *Absolutely no illegal substances of any kind are allowed on the boat.

Q- CAN I BRING MY KIDS?

A - There is no definite age restriction on our boats. We do encourage parents to take their children fishing when they feel they are ready and get enjoyment from the experience. We suggest over the age of 5 for the enjoyment of all.

Q. HOW FAR DO WE GO OFFSHORE TO FISH?

A. The reason for my choices in Marinas is the close proximity to the fishing. Whether it’s early Spring in Racine Wisconsin’s Pugh Marina or Summer in Milwaukee’s McKinley Marina we generally fish within 2-4 miles off shore. The result is more fishing time for you.

Q - WHO CLEANS THE FISH?

A - Our Captains or mates will clean, prepare and bag your catch to your liking at no extra cost.

Q - WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE MY FISH LONG TERM?

A - Keep your catch cold (iced) while traveling back home. Before you freeze your catch we suggest packaging individually using a vacuum sealer. Fillets can be stored for up to a year in proper conditions.

Q - WHAT IS A LIMIT CATCH?

A - The limit is 5 fish per person, per day. Of which only 2 can be Lake Trout, there is a minimum size limit of 10” on all species. If a group should get their limit early we take pictures and head back to the dock. We do not stay out once a limit has been caught per DNR rules.

Q - WHAT IF IT RAINS?

A - Rain is not a problem we will head out as planned as we have a hardtop and cabin for you to get out of the rain. Your safety is our number one priority. If the weather causes unsafe fishing conditions your Captain will cancel the trip and reschedule for another date.

Q - WHAT TIME WILL WE LEAVE THE DOCK?

A – Jack’s Charter Service will book up to 3 charters per day 7 days a week. Our morning trips can vary from a start time of 4:30am-5:30am usually prior to Sunrise depending on the bite. Our Afternoon charters can vary from 9:30am -11:00am, and our late trip will usually start between 2:30pm and 4pm. Your Captain will give you the exact time as your trip draws near or just give us a call at 414-482-2336.

Q - WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO CATCH FISH?

A - Abundant catches can happen at any time during the season!! Please refer to the Seasons Section for more detailed information.

Q - WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO WHEN WE ARE THERE?

A - Milwaukee offers the following: A Museum, Art Museum, World class Zoo, Summer fest and monthly ethnic festivals, Fireworks, Brewers Stadium, The Harley Museum, Shopping, Beaches, Historical Sites, Bike Trails, Parks, Pubs & Restaurants, Coffee Shops & Bakeries and special events all summer long.

Racine offers the following: Lighthouse Tours, A small Zoo, Bike Trails, Parks, Beaches, Historical Sites, Bakeries and special events all Summer long.