Fishing began as a child, as a young as he can remember. He spent his time on the lakes and rivers of Western New York, learning techniques and teaching himself. Starting with a 16' runabout and gradually working his way up over the years to a 31' fully rigged charter/tournament boat. The fun of fishing as a child started and fueled the obsession as an adult and has continued into sharing that information to get others to enjoy our regions incredible fishing.
Owner of Dream Catcher Sportfishing and operator of the 31' Tiara, "Dream Catcher", Jim is a U.S. Coast Guard Master Captain, certified to 50 ton and near coastal (200 miles offshore). Also an active member of the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association. Predominately he spends the spring time fishing for salmon and trout on Lake Ontario and summer/fall for walleye, trout, perch and bass on Lake Erie chartering and tournament fishing. To see more about Jim and Dream Catcher Sportfishing, visit the website at www.dreamcatchersportfishing.com. They are now offering instructional, hands on, on the water charters to help the beginner to advanced anglers.
The tournament team participates in all the major walleye tournaments in the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie. A solid team consisting of Jim Steel, Diane Steel, Rich Fliss and Jeff Whipple and have been fishing together for several years. Occasionally they are joined by Craig Sleeman. They are proud that their teamwork and dedication which has consistently put them in the top of the field. A few of the team's recent highlights include 1st place overall and 3rd place heaviest fish in the 2019 Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Derby and finishing with 2nd heaviest fish and 3rd place overall in the 2016 Sunset Bay Shootout, 2nd heaviest fish and 6th place overall in the 2015 Sunset Bay Shootout as well as winning the Amara-Can tournament in 2012 to name a few.
Conducting many seminars at fishing clubs, outdoor shows and educational venues as well as representing manufacturers at dealer shows and events gives Jim the ability to share his knowledge and experience as well as promote techniques and products to educate others to increase their success.
In 2012, Jim and his wife/fishing partner, Diane, took their passion for the outdoors to a new level creating Innovative Outdoors. Their business focuses on promoting fishing and hunting and products that have been personally tested and proven. Shop the online store at www.innovative-outdoors.com.
The Innovative Outdoors Walleye Challenge tournament was a new addition to the tournament series in 2016. This year it will take place on Saturday, August 22, 2020 in Dunkirk, NY. The teams from NY, PA, OH and Canada that have participated in this event has made it a great success. For more information or to register, visit the website at www.innovative-outdoors.com or stop by the Innovative Outdoors booth. Anyone registered by March 31, 2020 will be entered in a drawing for a refund of their entry fee.
In 2017, Innovative Outdoors began partnering with WNY Heroes to organize a veterans fishing day as part of their Operation B.O.O.T.S. program. The event takes place in Dunkirk, NY. A dozen
charter captains donated their services to take over 30 veterans fishing. In 2019 the event grew to 45 captains and over 150 veterans, with anticipations of even more in 2020. There was a friendly completion amongst the veterans, each of them weighing in one walleye. The day concluded with a luncheon at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. Plans are for June 26, 2020, volunteer captains please contact Innovative Outdoors at (716) 481-5348 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our booth. Veterans wanting to attend please contact WNY Heroes at (716) 630-5020.
New for 2019 Innovative Outdoors teamed up with Lance Valentine Walleye 101 to put on a Teaching Fishin Walleye Fishing Education Weekend in Dunkirk NY. This 4 day event combined workshops on and off the water, seminars, electronics and equipment evaluations, information sharing and meals. Lodging was also available. There are plans to bring this back in September 2020. More information will be available on the Innovative Outdoors website.