Veterans from 165 communities across the state of Michigan will have the opportunity to land a record catch during Manistee’s 4th Annual Tight Lines for Troops on Armed Forces Day, May 18. Take part in saluting them as they return to port, as well as enjoying a day of special events in downtown Manistee.
Sixty private and charter boat captains will donate their boats, crew and time to host 240 Vets for a day of fishing on Lake Michigan. Manistee County’s Explore the Shores program makes many of the fishing piers, beaches and the city’s Riverwalk universally accessible as well, for those additional 60 Vets who fish the Shore Division. Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, the Cold War, plus Vets from conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo and Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to join in the fun.
The boats, crew and Vets will head out on Lake Michigan from the Manistee River basin at dawn. While the Vets are fishing, downtown shopkeepers and business people will host a variety of activities and specials for the Vets’ families, including the Farmers Market, entertainment, SOS Cook-Off, Customs ‘N Classics Car Show, Art of the Military Art Exhibit, and more. At noon the fishing teams will return to the channel to make the two-mile trip upriver to Seng’s Marina on Manistee Lake, saluted by the welcoming cheers of thousands of flag-waving onlookers from the piers, Riverwalk and drawbridges.
Charter boat captain and event founder Bob Guenthardt, with the help of Manistee’s Little River Casino Resort, created Tight Lines for Troops to produce an event that would show appreciation and offer an entertaining day of fishing, fish tales and life stories. Manistee area boat captains and crews also have the chance to share their passion for fishing Lake Michigan’s premier fishing destination with Vets who might not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy the experience.
Over 500 sponsors and volunteers contribute to the success of the program. Veterans pay no charter fees or entry fees. Residual proceeds from donations benefit the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Manistee County Veterans Endowment Fund and the Veterans Program at Brain Injury Association of Michigan. For more information, call the Manistee County Visitors Bureau at 877.626.4783 or visit www.visitmanisteecounty.com.
Maralee Cook is a freelance writer living in Manistee, Michigan.