st. joseph fishing, fishing charter boats, salmon, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon, lake michigan charters
st. joseph fishing, fishing charter boats, salmon, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon, lake michigan charters













Eric called us a head to let us know that the Salmon have not been hitting that hard and wanted to see if we were still interested. Of course! We went out for an afternoon trip. The sky was overcast and we couldn’t ask for anything better. It wasn’t 5 minutes after setting the first two lines and it was hitting already. After the 4th catch, we went through a dry spell and then eventually caught some more. The whole trip was fun and exciting. But, what really was a blast was when we all had 1 fish and it was time to start heading back. When Eric started pulling rods in, it was like fireworks. We had 4 more poles go off. 3 Cohos, 2 Steelheads (Eric told us it was the biggest so far this year) 4 Lake Trouts and capped our day off with a King! Enjoyed Captain Jim’s stories before went out and had a blast with Captain Eric out on the water! I am not sure if they read these, but it really tells you something when The Captain is excited when we have big ones on the line!! Already booking the next trip!


Visited May 2021

-Kyle Sellers(Trip Advisor)













This was 2nd trip out on The Big Bird (4-30-2021, morning trip)) Both times they have put us on fish. They were very helpful and patient with the younger kids, and also took the time to answer any questions they had. Captain Eric and 1st Mate Lori ( top 3 of first mate's I've ever seen, very entertaining). They worked hard to put us on fishing and then even harder keeping order in the controlled chaos of having multiple double hook ups and even 1 triple. Ended the morning with 12 Lake Trout and 3 Coho. I can't recommend Big Byrd Charters enough. For reference, I live in Florida and when I visit family in Jackson, MI, I gladly make the 2 hour trip to St Joseph for the fishing with them. Look forward to many more trips out with Big Bird and Little Bird!!

Visited April 2021

-Chris S


We booked a morning fishing charter with Captain Eric and it was such a fun adventure for our family. Captain Eric and Captain Lori worked hard to set up all the equipment and helped us catch 20 fish total! They answered our many questions and kept everyone entertained on the boat. Lori was fantastic with our 7 year old and kept her involved in the experience. We would definitely recommend Big Bird Charters and look forward to booking with them again in the future. Thank you for such a great first charter boat experience today for our family.

Visited July 2021

-Noelle H.(Trip Advisor)


The best part was catching all the yummy fish, but a close second was the conversations and awesome experiences! Captain Eric walked us through each step, and his dad Jim was kind enough to share some of his stories! Will definitely do this again!

Visited September 2021

-Amy A.(Trip Advisor)













We had a fantastic trip. We did an afternoon trip on 5-23-20. Eric knows his business. Trolled 14 baits and never tangled anything. A miracle if you’ve ever fished in KY. Been showing off pictures all week! Can’t wait to go back.
If you are thinking about going on this trip, do it?

Visited May 2020 

-kmwingbone(Trip Advisor)

We were scheduled for a Wednesday July 30, 2019, 5 hour fishing charter in the morning - but due to 5' waves - Capt. Eric called and we pushed it to Thursday, July 31, 2019. Waves were under 1'. within minutes of putting lines in the water - we were pulling in Lake Trout one after the other. we had our limit of 12 Lake Trout for 4 fishermen within 3 hours of actual fishing. Largest was about 30" and 17lbs. Capt. Eric & Capt. Jim were top notch. Very personable. Very professional. All cleaning and bagging provided. Licenses purchased on the boat. My 2 teen sons loved the experience. Nice boat and equipment too!

Visited Aug 2019

-Russel(Trip Advisor)



Spent the day fishing with a few friends. Captain Eric and Lori kept us entertained and put us on the fish. The day started out with a perfect sunrise as we left the harbor. We enjoyed a beautiful day on Lake Michigan and caught a bunch of fish. Definitely recommend Big Bird Charters.

Visited July 2020

-TJDA(Trip Advisor)















Awesome service, awesome fishing, super professional, and We would definitely go back! Thanks Eric & Lori!

Visited July 2020
-Kyle(Trip Advisor)



We had an absolute blast with this crew. Eric was outstanding answering questions in advance to help us plan a fun day with our 8 and 10 year old boys. He's all about ensuring a great experience for his customers and did not disappoint. He and Lori showed us a great day on the water, helped us bring in a nice variety of fish, and made it fun for us and our boys. Lori was particularly great with the kids.
Highly recommend! If ever in the area again we'll be back on Big Bird for sure!

Visited July 2020

-Divito33(Trip Advisor)


Planned a lake MI charter fishing trip for my 14 year old son (for his 8th grade graduation/birthday) and 2 of his friends, plus another dad. An absolutely incredible experience. From the initial contact with Captain Eric to inquire about and plan our trip, to the actual day of fishing, and the cleaning and packaging of the daily catch, it was an amazing experience for all. When researching, I started with the most favorable reviewed charters and scheduled with Big Bird, and I could not have been happier with the decision. They are pros, and you can tell that they REALLY want your party to have an enjoyable experience. Definitely going to book again.

Visited Aug 2020

-Jim P(Trip Advisor)


Eric and Laurie were wonderful. Our family of four had an incredible trip. We caught huge salmon and we can't wait to come back. Highly, highly recommend!

Visited June 2019

-Kassandre(Trip Advisor)


Absolutely wonderful experience! 100% worth it. Maxed out and Captain Eric was a blast. Caught Coho, kings and lake trout.

Visited June 2019

-Janean(Trip Advisor)


Went fishing for trout and salmon with Big Bird Charters this weekend for a 5 hour afternoon trip. Everything was great! The boat was awesome and the fishing! Caught out limit of coho salmon and lake trout. They worked very hard to keep the fish coming and it showed! We already booked for next year! Eric and first mate Laurie were so helpful and fun!

Visited June 2019

-Jodi P(Trip Advisor)


Amazing experience! Great fishing, great instruction, and great patience. Excellent with my not-so-calm(crazy) child. Can't say enough good things about these guys. Highly recommended!

Visited June 2019

-Snow n(Trip Advisor)


Placed a call a few weeks in advance for a 2 hour pleasure cruise with my family (husband, son, 9, daughter 3) and was quickly taken care of with a date and time to meet for the cruise. I had only selected this charter for the cruise based on the awesome reviews I had found online. The reviews were spot on. This outfit provides no hassle; delivered on everything they said they offered. The beautiful waves and navigation by Eric had my daughter asleep in minutes of hitting the open water....not waking up until we docked! My only regret is that we did not do the fishing tour! Guess we will be going back :) Thanks again to Captain Eric for showing us the St. Joseph River and the outskirts of the local Lake Michigan!

Visited July 2018

-Jenny B(Trip Advisor)


We used Big Bird for a fishing trip this week. I can’t say enough about how fantastic Captain Eric and his Dad are. The fishing was great. Boat was great with good seating, shade, and head. These guys were really patient with an inexperienced group, taking the time to answer all of the groups questions as we poked around the Boat and equipment. I highly recommend a trip with these guys! Thanks again for a great day in the water!

Visited Aug 2018

 -Ken Mortson(Trip Advisor)


Jim and Eric were great with our family of four. We have two kids ages 4 and 6 and they were very patient and good with them. We bagged our limit in fish and had a fantastic time. Thanks guys we will be back.

Visited June 2017

-Erin Jones


Great time. Water was calm and the 9 year olds(2) handled the trip without trouble. If the water is rough or the kids don’t like fishing then think about leaving the little ones at home. We had a great time as a family and caught a lot of fish. Within an hour of leaving the dock we felt that we got our money’s worth. And then we kept fishing for another 5 hours! Eric and Jim are easy to get along with and took great care of us. My tip: bring a big cooler to take fish home with you.

Visited May 2018

                                                       -Aeeleewee(Trip Advisor)




Phenomenal experience!! They put us on the fish early and it never stopped.


Visited Aug. 2017

-Justin Downing

We had a blast! Fantastic customer service and experience. We would reccomend this charter to anyone!

Visited July 2017

-Darrin Bechtel

We had a fantastic time with these guys today! We had the early run, and as we took off the sunrise was unbelievable from the water! Was a little chilly to start, but turned into a great day. Both men are patient and very knowledgeable. Would absolutely recommend Big Bird Charters

Visited July 2016

-Kelli Davis Bendixen

I took my son in law, nephew, and 3 grandsons. We each cauht one, a couple got off, but it was a great day. We all had fun. Captain Jim and Eric were great, very helpful and fun to be with. I would HIGHLY recommend Big Bird Charters. When we go again, it will be with them.

Visited August 2016

-Rod Boerman

One of the best days (8/4/16) on the water was with Jim & Eric from Big bird Charters...We had a beautiful Sun Rise, wonderful sea's and plenty of fish...Jim & Eric it was a honor to be a guest on you fishing Boat. You two work well together...Thanks for making My Family and I feel welcome...

Visited August 2016

-Steve Hughes










Our entire family was thrilled with our day out on Lake Michigan with the father and son team who run Big Bird Charters. They were extremely kind and helpful and successful in leading us to areas where we were able to land several large lake trout. We especially appreciated their ability to relate to all of us...from a retired set of grandparents, their children, and grandchild. Our grand daughter immediately became Eric's new best friend and he responded with the enthusiasm of one who indeed had found a best friend in her. If you want to have a wonderful experience, then be sure to book Big Bird Charters. You won't be disappointed! Thanks, guys, for helping us to create a wonderful family memory.


Visited July 2015





Our entire family, even our teenaged son, enjoyed the afternoon we spent on the lake fishing. It is a family run business, and it is easy to tell they love what they do. We have little to no experience, and Eric really took care of us. My daughter especially enjoyed watching them clean the fish afterwards. Highly recommend if you                                               are anywhere in the area.

Visited July 2015


- Nicole



Loved our trip. Weren't sure what to expect. The night before Captain Eric called and warned water might be a bit rough the next day and we should take a Dramamine that night and the next morning. Advise taken! Gave us the option the next morning after leaving the channel. We took the challenge of course and braved the waves. All in all, caught 2 steel head and 8 lake trout. Two were double/doubles which added to the excitement. They showed us the ropes and explained the process as we went along. Great time!

Visited August 2015


- Corey V.

Father and son crew were responsive before the charter, and a joy to work with on the afternoon outing. Very good with a couple of younger, very enthusiastic fishermen. Boat was clean. They patiently explained what they were doing, kept changing things up when the fishing was slow, gave great directions the two times we had fish on multiple lines.

Visited May 2015 - Mark



This father and son team are awesome we had a good trip. They worked really hard to do the fishing and we caught some big ones giving me a lasting memory's with my son!!


Visited June 2015

- Joe C.

My brother-in-law, his dad, and his uncle and I went out last week with big bird charters. It's not an understatement to say that this was one of my favorite trips (fishing or otherwise) of my life. They put us on to some huge trout and salmon, did it with professionalism, and there was a real family feel to the whole occasion. Everything from start to finish was done with excellence.

Visited May 2015

Aaron C.

fishing, michigan salmon, salmon charters, salmon fishing charters, michigan piers Plenty to go around

I chartered a trip in 2011 for my wife's birthday and have been returning each year since. Every trip has been a fantastic experience. Last year we had family visiting from out of town and needed to charter two boats. One phone call to Jim and he handled coordinating another boat for us. He even called us the day before and offered to leave an hour earlier in order to maximize our chances of getting a great catch. And what a catch it was. Our out of town family and guests were highly impressed and we have decided to make get together every couple of years to fish with Jim and Eric. You cant go wrong booking with Jim and Eric.

Visited May 2014


- Jeffery H


We have been using Big Bird Charters for many years. Capt. Jim and first mate Eric are always a so enjoyable to be around. You couldn't ask for a better charter to take you out on Lake Michigan. We enjoy this trip every year and they are always teaching us new things every single time. I highly recommend using them! Great guys!

Visited July 2014


- Stephanie

boats, michigan fishing, marinas, nautical, freshwater fishing, fishing charters, charter fishing, fishing trips Fun in the sun

My family decided to book a charter fishing trip for a Father's Day gift. We starting looking online and came across Big Bird Charters. I called and Jim answered the phone. I had a ton of questions as I had never gone on a charter fishing trip before. Jim was very kind and patient, I told him I would call back to book the trip and he told me he would answer up until 11pm-I smiled and thought about how dedicated he must be to his business and his customers.

When we arrived on the day of our trip Jim and Eric were there setting up the boat. They were extremely welcoming and we instantly felt like we were part of their family; which was one of the reasons we were eager to book with them, their commit to and focus on family!

The whole day was perfect. We had great weather, and we're pleased with how many Salmon we would be taking home with us! It was also very entertaining watch them clean the fish when we docked. Jim's wife was even there to greet us!

It was a very memorable and exciting experience. We brought coolers with all of our snacks and beverages and it was a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. I have many pictures to remind us of the great time we had and we cannot wait to book our next trip with these guys this summer!

I would highly recommend them, you will not be disappointed!

Visited June 2014


- Erin

My brother invited us to go fishing on Lake Michigan with him and his wife and some of his friends. He chose Big Bird Charters, what a great choice. Captain Jim and First Mate Eric work very well together, know how to put you on the fish, and are just great to be around. What an awesome experience, catching quality fish, enjoying their company. My wife's first time out she hooked into a large salmon, the largest fish caught on the boat that day, Eric was right there instructing her until she landed her salmon. We look forward to our fishing trip every other year, being from California. I would love to go fishing with Big Bird Charters every year if we lived closer,

Visited May 2014

- Shardenbears

fishing tackle, fishing line, fishing hooks, condor, big bird charters fishing, leisure, michigan tourism, mi travel Caught the biggin'!


Have been on many fishing charters and Capt. Jim and Capt. Eric are the best. We went out with them twice last year and had a great time. They are very friendly and know what they are doing. Whether you are going out with the guys, taking a customer (as we plan to do this year) or the family, these are the guys to go with. They make sure you have a great time and catch fish. Can not wait to get back out on the lake this spring. Have already booked a date for May and hope to do several this year!!!

Visited 2014/2015

- Bob

family activities, pure michigan, sw michigan fishing, st joseph mi., saint joseph mi fishing, mi tourism Sabatinos and Salmon!

Our family went on this trip with Big Bird charters the fishing was phenomenal the people were excellent. It was the best charter I've ever been on.the whole family made you feel like you are part of their familyI can't say enough about them I am looking forward to taking several more charters in 2015 with them.

Visited June 2014

Timothy S

charter fishing, fishing michigan, saltwater fishing, king salmon, walleye, fish recipes The Vannatta Family Salmon Slam!

My wife and kids booked this charter for me for Father's day. I have been on several other charters in the Florida area and this was my first in Michigan. This is by far the best charter ever. Jim and Eric were great with the kids and allowed us to enjoy the charter, not to mention we caught a ton of fish. They cleaned and packed the fish for us and we can not wait to get back out on the water with them. If you looking for a great charter this is one to book. Thanks guys for a great time that the kids still talk about!

Visited May 2014

Gary V.

lake trolling, lake michigan, salmon, fishing, great lakes, big bird, charters Dave & Terry - Brothers Fishing Good Times

Fishing with Capt. Jim and First Mate Eric on board "Big Bird" is a real treat! My brother (Terry) and I have made it a yearly tradition in the early Spring to spend an afternoon on the lake with Jim and Eric. We have always caught plenty of fish and always go away having learned something new about the fishing on Lake Michigan. You won't find a better Capt. or First Mate to "put you on the fish" like these two! Already looking forward to 2015!!! All the Best to you Jim and Eric!

Visited May 2014/2015/2016

Dave P.

lake trout, boat shows, benton harbor mi., tackle, salmon trips, rainbow trout, southwest mi fishing, steelhead Time to start cleanin!

Out with Big Bird and Eric, twice last year, They stayed on top off everything and made certain we not only caught fish but we enjoyed our time, Top Notch folks! Look forward to going out again a time or two this year.

Visited 2014/2015

- Kevin J.

fishing bait, river fishing, lake fishing, michigan sunset, family activities, trolling flies, trolling spoons Great Catch Jeremy!




Had a blast with Big Bird Charters last spring. I would highly recommend them for your Lake Michigan charter fishing excursion! The captain and crew can make a beginner fisherman look like a pro to help you land some monster fish. I am looking forward to booking another outing in the coming year!


Where to Find Us:

Big Bird Charters
143 Anchors Way Slip 94
Saint Joseph, MI 49085

Phone:  Capt. Eric 269-243-0633

                   Capt. Jim 269-470-4149

Make your charter request today!

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