AU began in 1988 with a 22-foot Sea Sport boat and me, Captain Tom, fishing out of Neah Bay, Washington in late spring and summer, then in Puget Sound the rest of the season. I already knew Mike Chamberlain as a constant source of wisdom and information on anything to do with Northwest fishing. His store, Ted’s Sport Center in Lynnwood, had all the gear I needed and Mike provided the best advice on what worked and what didn’t. He also sent me much needed customers, some of whom are still fishing with AU over 30 years later. Mike had rock-solid credibility with his clientele and his recommendation was gold.
When AU made the move to Sitka in 1993, Mike continued sending customers and was always a phone call away for tackle orders. He provided me valuable feedback – both positive and the occasional negative – based on talking to clients at his store.
Mike began his business with Ted Odein in 1968. They tied polar bear flies for coho fishing in Puget Sound. A supplier they worked with went belly up and couldn’t pay them back for flies he’d taken, but he gave them his inventory. They opened a temporary storefront, figuring to be in business a month or so to sell off the inventory. A year later they were still going. In 1973 they moved into the store on Highway 99 in Lynnwood, WA that Ted’s still occupies. The span of over 5 decades in the Northwest covers a lot of ground. Highway 99 in 1973 was rural but now it’s well enveloped in Pugetropolis. The fishing in Washington, both fresh and saltwater, provided a lot more opportunity back then. Mike watched over the decades as the serious anglers turned their attention farther afield. He became a great source of information on fishing anywhere from Baja to Bristol Bay. But, he always had a soft spot for Sitka where he knew the fishing was as good as it gets. He’ll be fishing with us again this year, the first time in too long a time.
I’ve often told my wife Linda Mae that one of the great constants in my universe has been walking through the door at Ted’s with Mike working behind the counter. He has always given me a warm greeting and we never failed to find endless fishing subjects. Mike provided one of the cornerstones in the foundation of AU. I’m forever thankful.