Guys Epic Fishing Trip

In good hands with Maine guide Charlie McGee

Published in the June 2023 Issue April 2024 Feature Brady L. Kay

“Just get up here; we'll take good care of you.” This was the reassurance our professional fishing guide Charles McGee offered me as we got closer and closer to my guy's fishing adventure in Maine last August. This was going to be a epic family trip that my father-in-law, my three brothers-in-laws and I had been planning for years. Forgive me if I was a little anxious to make sure all the details were worked out prior to our vacation to the northeastern-most U.S. state, but through it all Charlie kept the lines of communication open.

As an avid angler (and unofficially the over-thinker of my family), there's something about not having to worry about tackle or rods and just being able to show up to the lake to go fishing while letting someone else sweat the details.

I came across the Bucks Bass and Beyond website when searching for a fishing guide in the Southern Maine region and was excited to discover Charlie, who is a certified guide not only for fishing but for hunting adventures as well. His qualifications went above and beyond what I normally look for in a guide. For starters he's a registered nurse. Doesn't everyone strive to find a guide who can stay calm under pressure and treat any on board emergencies that could come up? The other factor is after meeting him in person, I could clearly tell he has a love and an appreciation for the outdoors.

Why Sun Tracker
As an added bonus, Charlie guides from the comfort of a 22-foot SUN TRACKER FISHIN' BARGE 22 DLX. This is Charlie's third SUN TRACKER pontoon, but his first brand-new one that he just bought prior to the 2022 fishing season.

“I have really enjoyed my three pontoons and the SUN TRACKER brand,” says Charlie. “I believe it's considered an entry-level boat line or at least known as one of the lower-priced pontoons available. They seem to get a bad rap due to a rumor of lower quality, but I've had nothing but great luck with them and if anything ever breaks on my boat they'll work with me to have the warranty cover it.”

SUN TRACKER thrives in the industry with its no haggle, no hassle national pricing. When ordering his new pontoon, Charlie went with the midnight blue exterior panels for his FISHIN' BARGE 22 DLX and the added value and budget-friendly price helped influence his decision.

“I like that with SUN TRACKER it's reachable, it's doable,” explained Charlie when talking about the price. “With some other boats you have to be in a different economical class, but SUN TRACKER is within reach for the working, middle class person. You use it for five or six years and enjoy the most amazing sunsets with your family then sell it for three-quarters of what you paid for it. It's a minimal investment; they hold their value if you take care of them. I run my fishing charters on Sebago Lake and it's the second largest and the deepest lake in Maine. I need my boats to be both reliable and professional and that's why I've stayed loyal to SUN TRACKER.”

Meeting Up
The professional guide was very accommodating and worked with our schedule. We met at Nason's Beach & Campground, which is a beautiful beach just off ME-114 in Sebago. Charlie was just wrapping up his eighth year as a full-time guide when we met him and his adorable 8-year-old daughter Naomi who joins him when she can.

“Naomi has been my co-captain on my fishing charters ever since she was 2 years old,” says the proud father. “She doesn't always go, but she goes on a lot of them. She is my good luck charm in life as well as on the boat.”

A Custom Fit
With a combination of standard features plus the upgrades that Charlie switched over from his previous pontoon to his new one, he was able to get his FISHIN' BARGE exactly the way he likes it.

“The SUN TRACKER brand offers plenty of railing space for items such as rod holders, downrigger mounts and I absolutely love my Lowrance,” adds Charlie. “Sebago Lake is the deepest lake in Maine at 316 feet and the bottom is not even; it's a topographical nightmare. There are hills, underwater islands and if I can't see exactly what's going on and how deep I am we won't be successful. I need to be able to stay on the bottom and the Lowrance coupled with the SUN TRACKER is a winning combination. It has a big 9-inch screen and it's been really good for us.”

He's also been using the Cannon Magnum 5 down riggers for years and that was one of the first things he transferred over from his last pontoon. “It's not the most expensive one you can get, but it can take a lot of wear and tear,” says the fishing guide.

Room For All
On our day of fishing there were five of us, Charlie, plus his daughter Naomi, and there was plenty of room on this 22-footer for everyone to have their space and be comfortable. When fishing with downriggers there can be a little time between bites and that's another reason Charlie loves his SUN TRACKER.

“There is plenty of space for patrons to relax, stretch out and and wait on the big one to bite,” says Charlie. “I love how wide the pontoon is so I can put eight guys, all spread out and everyone still has plenty of space. I have the same atmosphere going on with the same amount of lines as those $100K fishing boats but with those you're going to all be packed and jammed into the back. However, with my boat you can spread out and there is a comfortable seat for everyone, just like sitting on your own couch at home. You just sit back, have a cold drink and wait on the biggest lake trout Sebago Lake has to offer. You can't beat the comfort of a pontoon boat.”

Worth The Trip
Charlie says hanging out with the people he meets is the best part of being a fishing guide. It was a professional fishing charter but on our trip it felt more like a group of friends enjoying a beautiful day on the water together while reeling in some fish. Maine is a beautiful state and while out on Sebago Lake it looked postcard-perfect as we took in the day on the water. 

The planned trip lived up to our high expectations as Charlie went above and beyond to make sure we all had a good time. The next time we're back in Maine and looking to do a little fishing, we'll be looking up Charlie and his comfy SUN TRACKER from Bucks Bass and Beyond again to put us back on more fish.

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