Dan McNally’s roots on Lake Michigan go back to his younger years and smelt netting at Grand Beach near New Buffalo in Michigan. Salmon fishing was a natural growth out of those early experiences for the New Lenox man.
‘‘I always took to salmon. They are the neatest fish other than largemouth bass,” McNally said.
His formulative fishing experiences in Chicago were riding the CTA with his brother to fish the Marquette Park lagoon with ‘‘a stick, string and a bent paperclip with some rolled-up bread on the end.”
The present is a lot more high-tech. On Thursday, McNally shares fishing on his beloved Lake Michigan with the world via television. He and two fellow pipefitters give southern Lake Michigan a star turn in an episode of ‘‘Brotherhood Outdoors” on Sportsman Channel.
McNally, Fred Popplewell of Lowell, Ind., and Kevin Crum of Lakes of the Four Seasons, Ind., fished out of East Chicago Marina with Capt. Doug Iliff of Anglers Adventures. Iliff is active in charities and somebody Popplewell knew well and suggested for the show.
I haven’t seen a show preview. But, then, neither has McNally.
By the sounds of it, they had a complete Lake Michigan experience.
‘‘Day 1 was fantastic. Day 2 was painful,” McNally said.
On the first day, they caught lots of lake trout at ‘‘The Gong,” one of those old faithful spots on southern Lake Michigan that pop up regularly on the Midwest Fishing Report. The best catch was an impressive 14-pound laker.
On the second day, they focused on salmon and blanked because of yucked-up water.
‘‘They were there, but we just couldn’t get them to hit,” McNally said.
But fishing is always about more than just catching.
As Crum put it, ‘‘Other than getting out of the house? Fishing is a good way to blow off steam. And you have something to bring home, too.”
McNally said the show was a chance to show off ‘‘our city and waters to the nation, to a host who is used to fishing all over.”
And showcase the brotherhood of union workers – hence the name ‘‘Brotherhood Outdoors.” The three are members of United Association (UA) Local 597 who work for the Indiana division of AMS Mechanical.
‘‘I like building things, accomplishing things – good, hard work,” Crum said.
‘‘He introduced me to Freddie,” McNally said. ‘‘That is what the union provides you, a great pool of people in friendship.”
The idea to take host Tom Ackerman on a fishing trip came from McNally. Three years ago, Ackerman took McNally bass fishing in Texas in ‘‘Escape to the Wild,” a predecessor to ‘‘Brotherhood Outdoors.”
McNally had such a good time, he wanted to return the favor and convinced Popplewell and Crum to apply with him to ‘‘Brotherhood Outdoors,” which showcases American workers’ commitment to their communities and their love for the great outdoors.
‘‘I hope the definition of brotherhood rings true in our episode,” McNally said. ‘‘I want viewers to see the value of having a set of friends you trust and enjoy enough to work with and still want to spend time with outside of the shop. That’s what Kevin, Fred and I have, and that’s the example we want to set for a future generation of Chicago anglers.”
The episode airs at 7 p.m. Thursday. For information, go to BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv or unionsportsmen.org.