Wisdom from the Great Lakes: HangryOutdoors (Interview #1)

Wisdom from the Great Lakes: HangryOutdoors (Interview #1)

Here’s what you need to know about Captain Ben. When you sit down and talk with him the first thing you’ll notice is that he is incapable of going more than two (2) minutes without cracking a smile or falling into a laugh. He has this positivity that’s downright contagious. There was no mystery to us why his Charter is in such high demand…his repeat business alone could support a second boat. And that’s not even the half of it. He catches a lot of fish, and we mean a lot!

Here’s our conversation from when we sat down with Captain Ben (Manistee, MI - Monroe, MI) earlier this month:


Captain Ben! Great to talk to you again. Tell us a little bit about your background, where did you grow up? Hobbies? What did you envision you would be doing for a living?

  • Capt Ben Heinbokel, I grew up in Wyandotte, MI. I have been fishing since my early childhood for just about everything that swims in freshwater. I drove a semi for years and many years the boat went to work with me and I would fish everyday after work.


Nice. So what are your target species? What port or ports do you charter out of?

  • I target Walleye from Apr 1st -June 30th In Monroe, MI. Then I move up to Manistee, MI from July 1st - Sept 7th and target Chinook (King Salmon), Coho, Steelhead, and Lake Trout.
  • I run full time 7 days a week and offer both morning and afternoon trips. I do as many trips as I can, and wish I had another boat to meet the demand.


How can our readers reach you. Where and how can they contact you or book a charter, email address, phone, website, etc…

  • Anyone is looking to get out on Lake Erie for Walleye or Lake Michigan for Salmon/Trout I can be reached at 734-730-1272 with any questions or you can reserve your spot at www.netdreamsfishing.com


Next question. How was Net Dreams Fishing Charters born? How did you get your start in the industry? Did anyone or Anything influence your career choice? 

  • After years and years of fishing with friends and family I noticed that I enjoyed watching others catch fish even more than myself. I enjoy the challenge and gratification when I'm able to brighten up someone else's day by everything to be had while on the water. When I noticed this there was only one option from here and that was to start Net Dreams Fishing Charters. My fiancé Ren Belic is also a charter boat captain and she runs one side of the boat while I run the other. We both decided that not only do we have the drive to operate a successful charter boat but also the ability and experience to keep customers happy and returning for years to come.


So, based on your experiences in the industry, what would your advice be to others who may be considering starting their own sportfishing endeavor?

When I became a Charter Boat Captain I didn't know I would need to be a meteorologist too. So much is dependent on the weather: from clients not accustom to Big Water, to where the fish will wind up after a big storm. Locating fish is the easy part, you need to also be willing to reschedule events if the waves are too high or the weather too wet.


Favorite Brick and Mortar Tackle Store. Name of Contact Person. 

  • Clear h20 tackle (Darrin), Tangled Tackle (Bud), Captain Chucks (Scott), Domka Outdoors (Dave)


Favorite Online Tackle Store. 

  • We support local first and up and coming people.
  • M&M Custom Painted Lures 

Anyone wanting to chase delicious Walleye in South Detroit, and/or Anyone planning a vacation to the beautiful and somehow still underrated Manistee, MI this summer hit up Captain Ben. There’s nothing quite like landing your first (or 20th) Salmon…Steelhead, Browns, and Lakers are pretty fun too.

Captain Ben Heinbokel




Net Dreams Fishing Charters

Riverside Marina

Manistee, MI 49660





Mike Hiller




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