Captain Ken Nulph

The Early Years

Captain Ken Nulph has always loved to fish. He grew up on the banks of the Allegheny River in Southwestern PA, fishing for whatever bit. As he grew older, different styles of fishing peaked his interest such as fly fishing and centerpin fishing.  After becoming proficient and comfortable with each technique, he wanted to share and teach others. He learned the art of fly tying and became an instructor. He learned the art of fly casting and became an instructor. He learned the art of centerpin fishing and instructed hundreds of guests.

The Beginning of a Profession

Captain Ken's professional fishing career started on the Alagnak River in western Alaska, working 3 seasons (June-August) for the Alagnak Lodge (1998). This is also the year he obtained his Master Captains license. He guided guests from all over the world. Their target species included King, Coho, Sockeye, Chum and Pink Salmon along with Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling and Northern Pike. During that same time period, he started his own guiding business, Ironhed Fishing Expeditions, specializing in steelhead on the Lake Erie tributaries in Ohio, PA and NY. He guided hundreds of guests up until 2005. Spin, fly or didn't matter, he could teach you.


Backing up to 2001 he bought a small 22' tin boat to learn how to troll Lake Erie for walleye.  Not knowing anything, many days were spent fishing without a bite. The turning point was when he met Captain Todd McKinney of Wolfman Charters.  Captain Todd took him under his wing and showed him the ropes. Catch rates started to go up. This created a "trolling monster" and led into first mating on a limited basis for a few Erie-area captains.

From Buckets to Blacktop

In 2005, Captain Ken was approached by Captain Dan Kelly of Buckets Charters and asked if he would be interested in piloting Captain Dan's 27' Sportcraft "Buckets 3."  Captain Ken jumped at the chance!  He operated the B3 for 6 years before buying the boat in 2011.  He operated under Buckets Charters through the 2014 season.  With Captain Dan wanting to expand his own fleet of charter boats, it was time to part ways.In the fall of 2014, Captain Ken purchased a 1999 Baha Cruisers 299 Fisherman. They named her "Blacktop."

Not Just a Captain

When not fishing, Captain Ken is a Local 66 Operating Engineer works for Lane Construction running asphalt equipment such as pavers, rollers, shuttle buggy, skid loader, backhoe and excavator. He also enjoys archery hunting, custom painting spoons, blades and crankbaits.