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Female charter captain has been making a splash on Lake Erie for nearly 40 years

Carole Vukmer of Myrmidon Charters is one of the few woman captains in Lake Erie's sportfishing fleet.

ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, Ohio — At Anchors Away Marina in Marblehead, the charter boat "Myrmidon" awaits her captain. Making her way down the dock is Carole Vukmer, one of a handful of female charter captains on Lake Erie.

Carole has been a charter captain for 37 years. Over that time, she's made her mark fishing around the Lake Erie Islands.

"Well, I work hard at it," she tells us.

Carole has got the perch rods ready and is putting new line on her walleye reels for the 2023 season. Her pride and joy? The Myrmidon. 

"This boat is a handmade boat out of Toms River, New Jersey. It's a Henriques Maine Coaster. And as of today, there are only two of them in fresh water anywhere," Carole explains.

Her love of fishing is contagious and getting her clients catching is very rewarding.

"I like to teach them how to do it," Carole adds. "You can't teach feel but you can teach technique and so once they get it down, they're great."

Being a female captain in a male-dominated industry is a challenge. There are just over a thousand licensed charter captains that make a living fishing Lake Erie. Of that number, just 46 are women. 

"There are a lot of guys that think women can do this kind of thing. But it isn't something that's unique to men or to women. It's what you like to do. How you do it and perceive it," says Carole.

She's an inspiration to others. "There are more women getting into this. I've had a couple girls call me here that are just getting started. I think it's something they need to do. If they like to do it, share it."

A great captain, fisherman, and mentor. Carole is a true "Lady of the Lake." Just don't ask her for her age. "I wouldn't have told you anyways (laughs)."

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