Capt. Randy J. Cornell
Born in Owosso, MI
Raised in Manistee, MI
Father; Captain Duane W. Cornell, Duane's Charter Boat
I began my fishing career as a First Mate for my father on board the "PENNY JO" out of Manistee when I was 8 years old. I spent a lot of summer days driving the boat as we trolled for Salmon and Lake Trout on Lake Michigan.
At 14 I became the First Mate for Captain Emil Dean on board the "MARY E", fishing for Salmon and Lake Trout from South Haven, to Frankfort, MI. At the end of my first season on the "MARY E", Emil asked my dad if he could have me back for the next season. Dad agreed and between he and Emil set up some pretty stringent requirements for me to achieve in order to be able to leave home the following May and spend the next summer living with the Dean family and staying onboard the "MARY E" for the entire summer/fishing season. The next three summers were spent honing my boat operating skills and developing my fishing skills. As my experience increase it wasn't long and I spent the major part of every day running the lines and netting the fish. Emil and I set an unprecedented average daily catch of 16 Lake Trout for a 30 day period in July and August. I stayed with Emil until the middle of the summer between my junior and senior year of high school.
In October of 1976 on of my high school guidance counselors came to me with an opportunity to participate in co-op program. Again, with my fathers consent I found myself in a situation to add to my expanding fishing skills. I began working for Gunia's Campground. I spent my afternoons that fall managing the campground and training to become a Steelhead guide on the Manistee River.
I graduated from Manistee High School in 1977. In July of 1978 I enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. I joined the Coast Guard because I wanted to go to Alaska. At the completion of basic training I was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Sweetbrier stationed in Cordova, AK. While in Alaska I was exposed to hunting and fishing opportunities that others had only dreamed about, including King and Silver salmon, Arctic Char, and Dolly Vardon fishing. Throughout my 29 year long career in the Coast Guard I was stationed in Cleveland, OH; Elizabeth City, NC; Juneau, AK; Sault Ste. Marie, MI; Miami, FL; Washington, DC; and Topeka, KS. Each new duty assignment afforded me the opportunities for expanding my hunting and fishing experience. I have caught a 300 pound Halibut in the Prince William Sound, trolled for Kings in the Lynn Canal; landed and ate a 16 inch Grayling while on a canoe trip down the North Fork of the Denison River between Tok and Eagle Alaska, and caught 6 inch Brook Trout through the ice in a lake atop of the Chugak Mountain Range. I have landed a 25 pound barracuda in Key Biscayne FL. I spent a total of 8 years as a semi pro bass fisherman; participating in both the Bassing America Corporation Military Bass Anglers Association and Red Man Tournament Trails. I held the point leader position in the South Florida, Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and Potomac River divisions several times between 1994 and 2000.
I was a member of the top five Coast Guard team anglers four years in a row and participated in National Tournaments at Lake Seminole, GA; Kerr Lake, NC; and Lake Murray, SC. I served as a Pro Staff member for JawTech Lures, Twice Hooked spinner baits, and as a member of the Javelin Boat Team with a sponsorship from Anglers Choice Marine out of Daneville, VA.
After retirement from the Coast Guard I became a corrections officer for the Jackson County Detention Center in Holton, KS, for 4 years, and spent a short period of time serving as an extradition agent with Security Transport Company out of Topeka, KS. In March of 2012 I relocated back to my home town area of Manistee, MI. Picking up at a point I had left so many years ago, I bought another boat and went right back to fishing on Lake Michigan. I am at the end of a five year period serving as a Deputy for Manistee County Sheriff's Office, Court Security Division. I have continued to expand my fishing experience to include the pursuit of Walleye on Saginaw Bay. I have participated in and completed the Maritime Learning Center OUPV/6 passenger for hire course and have opened up C.A.R.M.A. Sport Fishing Service. Upon participating in and passing the U. S. Coast Guard exam in May 2018, I will be following in my father and Emil's footsteps.