Chicago fishing: Mik-Lurch building for sale

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I hoped this day would never come, but the building housing Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond was put up for sale.

Until the building is sold, Mik-Lurch will continue to function as a full-service independent tackle/bait shop.

“We are not doing a fire sale, it will be business like usual until the building is sold,” one owner Ed McCain said this morning.

Even it takes a year or more. I hope it takes years.

I remember when McCain and Mike Starcevich told me they were opening a tackle/bait shop in 1999.

I told them they were crazy, but they pulled it off.

The shop on 7025 Indianapolis Boulevard became a gathering spot for serious fishermen and for the casual fishermen who wanted to learn from them.

“I told Ed, `What you provide is a fishing service,’ ” said Brian Breidert, Lake Michigan fisheries biologist for Indiana. “It’s where a guy could put his minnow bucket on the counter and find out where the fish were biting and have a cup of coffee with the other three guys there.”

That puts it well.

Guides, young guys who became guides, captains all worked their way through Mik-Lurch or continue as staff. It was a place to learn from the most able staff of any bait shop or tackle store I know of.

I met guys at Mik-Lurch before going to fish smallmouth bass, perch, coho and Chinook. They had some of the best steelhead fishermen in the area working there.

The problem came with the arrival of Cabela’s down the street. Mik-Lurch’s business was cut more than in half.

Mik-Lurch hung on for years, honing its piece of the market, both as an online business and fishing business focused on the region.

They knew where fish were biting and would happily tell customers to go to Heidecke Lake instead of Lake Michigan, if that was a better spot that day. They would give coordinates for perch spots or salmon.

McCain said they still plan to do the Hammond and Tinley Park outdoors shows this winter.

McCain and Starcevich gave countless seminars to clubs and at outdoors shows.

They were one of us.

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