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Transom stories: Fishing into the next generation

Tad Davis

On a sunny summer morning, Jim Munoz is on his charter boat, the Carol Dee. It's a 31-foot Tiara that Jim calls "the pride of the Great Lakes." Jim is wearing a fishing hat – one of those bucket hats that he’s got clipped up on each side. 

He's in his late 70s and has been fishing lake trout and salmon out of Leland for over 40 years. In the summer, he fishes every single day.

“I can’t view this as work,” Jim says. “It is hard physically because of the pace that we keep through the summer.

For years, Jim fished by himself – driving the boat and helping customers. But then his grandson, Mike Osorio, joined him, and over the years, he’s helped more and more.

“As the years have progressed, I’ve gotten bigger, stronger, able to help,” says Mike. “He’s taught me more, and now the goal every time we go out is he steers the boat, and I control everything back here.”

Mike’s grandpa won’t always be fishing with him. He’ll retire one day and Mike says the goal is for the business to stay in the family. 

“Hopefully, I get my license, and then we can run [the business] through me in the summers,” Mike says. “But, for whatever reason, if I chose not to, they’d probably have to sell it or something like that."

But Jim doesn’t want the boat to leave the family. It’s really important to him. Mike says the next step towards committing to running the business is “finding the will.”

“It’s [my grandfather’s] passion, and he loves it,” says Mike. “I love it too, but I love doing it with him. So, really that’s the biggest obstacle is finding out if I’d love it without him.”

It’ll probably take a solo trip out on the water to figure that out, says Mike.

Maybe Mike and Jim don’t know who will one day own this business. But right now they make a great team and catch a ton of fish.