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Big Fish Tradition Continues

PUBLISHED: August 21 2003

By Chuck Brockman
Macomb Daily Boating Columnist

Last week's column was the first of two parts about the fishing tradition of Kevin Backus, grandson of the legendary muskie fisherman Homer LeBlanc and how Backus is following in his grandfather's footsteps.

He most assuredly can produce muskies. Lynn Grime, my nephew and I pulled in five muskies, two northern pike that were almost as large as the muskies, lost three strikes, and a very aggressive walleye that took a lure almost half the size as he was.

Each fish had slightly different hues and markings both light and dark, but all were all good fighters and all were returned to the water to grow even larger.

Just days later, Backus boated a lunker of 36 pounds. We didn't weigh ours but they were in the 20-plus pound range and fought hard pulling out line even though the drag was set fairly heavy.


Grandson of the elder Brockman, Lynn Grime
holds a muskie caught on a charter trip
with Captain Kevin Backus of Mr. Muskie Charters.

Backus helped provide us with the thrill of lifetime and in this case helped us follow the Brockman family tradition of each generation taking muskies from the lake and now returning them to the water.

My father, Harvey Brockman, and my uncle, Lynn Streit, Sr., demonstrated their prowess by leaving the legacy in photographs for the family album.

My dad always had a boat and he and my mother Roma and their friends used to go perch fishing more as an outing on a beautiful summer day than strictly fishing.

They often fished with minnows and one of the stories dad liked to tell was, experiencing great perch fishing when they ran out of minnows, he lifted out the floorboards and found some dropped minnows swimming in the bilge which they used to catch even more fish. In those days dad used to net his own bait in the shallows near broken seawalls.

The inboard open boat I best remember was called "Butterfinger" and although it seemed huge to me, it couldn't have more than 20 feet and was docked at Romick's Boat Livery. Those were days I will always remember fondly. Dad worked hard keeping the boats ship-shape, laying on his back under the boat, in the spring caulking the seams when all recreational boats were wood with an occasional steel craft.

Opening day of bass season was a ritual for our close families. My cousin, Lynn Streit, Jr. and I would sleep on the living room floor to make room for the adults and would arise at 4 a.m. sharp. In that era, the area behind Selfridge ANG Base had many reed beds and was a spawning ground for the small- mouth bass.

Although fishing for the smaller species was great fun, catching a muskie was a real feat then. I kept my dad's tackle box, which contained a half dozen muskie spinner and buck tail lures along with rods and reels. One muskie rod was made out of a fencing rod with eyes that were soldered on. In those days you were resourceful. When in between our boats one year, we stored all the boating equipment in a small storage locker which was broken into and everything was stolen, a real sentimental loss. The thief probably threw away most of it, not knowing what he had.

We documented our charter trip with Backus with lots of photos and when Lynn showed them to his wife Karen, she stated, "I want to catch a muskie too, then asking, Do you think I could pull it in?" We assured her she could. Even though she is a lightweight, it may just take a little more time.

After seeing what will be passed on to future generations with old and new photos, I permitted myself a smile for both the LeBlanc and Brockman families.

© 2003, The Macomb Daily.

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