Fishing fanatic

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:01 PM

You know the old saying: The grass is always greener on the other side.

In this case, it’s the water is always bluer — and holds more fish.

Blake Yant is a 15-year-old who lives in Moorseville, N.C., but he spends his summers in the Tri-Cities chasing king salmon on Lake Michigan.

And he doesn’t just chase salmon. Yant catches them.

In the past two summers, he’s caught more than 100 salmon, primarily while fishing with his uncle, Michael Olinsky.

Yant’s mom, Michelle (Olinsky) Yant, grew up in Spring Lake. Her brother, Michael, and her mom, Margaret Olinsky, still live in the area, and make it possible for Blake to spend his summers here.

“He’s just an avid fisherman, and he loves West Michigan,” Michelle Yant said. “He loves fishing so much. He’s just crazy about it. The neat thing is, I don’t know if the people in West Michigan appreciate what they have in their own backyard.”

Michelle Yant works as a flight attendant, so she and her family can travel anywhere around the world.

“ I’m always trying to bribe him to go somewhere else,” Michelle Yant said. “This summer, I was like, ‘Let’s spend the summer in Hawaii. We can fly there for nothing.' He said no, he wants to spend it in West Michigan.”

How deep does Blake’s love of fishing go? His mom let him skip a day of school last February to fly up to Grand Rapids. Blake’s uncle picked him up at the airport and dropped him off at the Grand Rapids Boat Show.

“My brother went back to work, and Blake picked out a boat,” Michelle Yant said. “My brother said, ‘OK, I’ll buy the boat, but you have to buy all the equipment, all the gear, and research how to do everything.”

So Blake spent the next few months saving every penny he could and spending it on gear to outfit the new boat.

“Most people cannot believe how knowledgeable he is on the subject of big lake fishing, even though he has lived in North Carolina,” Michelle Yant said. “He always says West Michigan is his home, even though he doesn’t live there.”

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