2007 
July, August & September

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7/25/07  WI 25# 
KD Winner

7/2/07 Manistee
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Ludington Big Fish 
7/20/07
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8/30/07 Leland, MI

9/30/07  If there's any doubt why fish hit meat, today's featured photo certainly clears up any gray area.  Click for obvious meat proof  Some things in plain sight need to be seen, rather than a long wordy explanation leading to a sales pitch!
     By the way, the piece of fillet featured in this photo is the one that caught the fish.  Sometimes the fish tear up the bait, but in the case, the meat was still perfect!

9/29/07  First Day of fall 2007 started 6 days ago on 23rd.  Hunting will be the big deal for about the next 2 months.  Bow hunting for whitetails starting this Monday. 
      Manistee River is decent fishing for river-run Kings.  Pine Creek, a tributary of the Big Manistee has Kings in fair numbers.  Pine Creek is a listed Trout Stream and the season for fishing this small stream closes tomorrow on the 30th.

9/27/07  The Inland Consent Decree is in the process of being agreed to.  All tribes seem to be in accord, with the exception of the UP Bay Mills tribe.  Biggest issue was the word, "settled"  with what it meant in 1836 and what it means today.  Yeah, right like our language has changed that much! Click for 9/26/07 MDNR announcement
       There for a time, Michigan Native Americans were pushing for access to private property, which is now null and void.  This is the only good thing that came out of the mess.  Stepping on the scared cow of property ownership was not allowed.
       OK, let's make some sense with the wording of "Consent Decree."  I did not consent to anything, nor anyone I directly voted for, ....consent to this.  This was a cooked up backdoor done-deal where WE were not given the right to vote on it.
       Heretofore, when I mention this decree mumbo-jumbo stuff, it will be known as the "Dissent Decree," because no hunter, fisherman, or outdoorsman I know would have ever voted for it, ...in the first place.
  
       The Dissent Decree that covers the Great Lakes will be up for renewal in about 12 years.  What will the tribes demands be then?  So, nothing is really ever settled!

9/26/07  Anything that devalues our waters in the Great Lakes, makes it easier down the road for dry parched states to siphon off from the Great Lakes Basin.  By down the road, I mean 25 to 50 years from now as the population grows and the ever growing demand for fresh water intensifies.  Let's hope, smart people in the DNR & NRC recognize this potential theft of our Great Lakes precious water supply.  
       Las Vegas, NV is already fighting to draw water by building a pipeline to a rich aquifer 300 miles to the north (seen this on the national news).
       One fifth of the world's stockpile of freshwater is in the Great Lakes and sooner, or later they will be targeted, as a managed national resource, rather than a regional one.  Perhaps, long range plans are in order to keep our water here, where it belongs!

9/25/07  With the advent of bow season not all that far off, here's the news on whitetails from the Manistee, MI area.  Racks are definitely smaller this year, just like the 2007 King Salmon downsize over 2006.  Most does dropped twin fawns.
      Deer are not hitting bait piles, cuz the acorn drop is pretty heavy this year.  One large deer, I think it was the 10 pointer passed on several times last black powder season. Looks to be only a 8 this year.  I have seen no monster racks, like last year.
      Fished out of Manistee last Sunday morning for 4 hours (9/23/07) and sure didn't find much in the depths inside of 300'.  If there would not have been a brisk offshore wind, we'd have worked to west 400' and deeper.  Temp was down at 100' to 105'.

9/24/07  This coming November 13th, 2007, I will turn 61 years old.  Next year Social Security and the 401k kicks in.  Keeping with that thought, my goal is to sell this website: www.michigansportsman.com and www.michiganangler.com.  Plus, my tackle manufacturing/distribution companies are up for sale in a "all in one" packaged deal.
     
Do not contact me as of yet!  There will be another person handling the transfer of ownership issues.  No price has been set, as I need more financial advise and how best to proceed with my long term plan of being fully retired by 11/13/09.  
      Daily updates will continue as usual and plans for the 2008 tackle season will continue uninterrupted until a new owner takes the helm someplace in the future.

9/23/07  The State of Michigan has been trying to deal with ballast water issues, since the zebra mussels entered the Great Lakes watershed in about 1985.  22 years later, not much has been accomplished.  
     What's the reason for this?  The Great Lakes are a federal waterway more or less governed/maintained by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for national defense and transportation.  If the feds can't eradicate SPAM (unsolicited Emails), what makes anyone think they'll ever get around to limiting what comes into our Great Lakes?
     One good thing did come from SPAM, as I met this Nigerian prince who used to work in that country's foreign oil ministry.  He found a way to make me rich, beyond my wildest dreams.  So, I gave him my PIN number to help handle his expenses during the money transfer to my bank in Manistee, MI.  My fake Rolex was a reel-deal too!

9/22/07  I'm gonna show you something you just don't see everyday.  The rarely photographed mating ritual of the highly unusual insect called, "the walking stick" (I think).  It's enough of a weird oddity to warrant our uncensored photo of the day.  
      This trashy bizarre photograph peering into the private sex life of a bug was captured while constructing storage racks for the 10" BTI flashers.  I didn't have the heart to interrupt their romantic interlude, cuz when you're that ugly, you can use all the help you can get!  Click for 2 breeding creepy-crawly walking sticks  
       Watching these bugs change color to match their environment was fascinating.  In about 5 seconds they blended right into every background they clambered over.  Seen 'em change from green, to tan, to a brownish black, but never blush!

9/21/07  This coming Monday, plan on an important announcement concerning the future of this website and my product line.

9/20/07  Let's rewind this season back to late April & early May when the the fishing was off to a terrible start.  Nay-sayers spoke of doom and gloom and slammed herring as the reason the fish were gone.  VHS had everyone shaking in their boots, like there's be no tomorrow and all the fish were gone forever.  Not many took in account the April 2007 which set records for cold weather & blizzards.
      Well, my friends this group of nay-sayers is out of excuses, cuz after the ball got rolling the 2007 season offered fine fishing with limits of Kings, more August Coho (in Manistee), and a an improving Steelhead situation (from what I seen).
      The fish were and are just late as my archived 2001 page on the Little Manistee Harvest Weir proved, if you compare it to 2007.  Every year is different and there's no way to set your clock by the fish.  Mother Nature knows NO timetable!

9/19/07  Yesterday, I traveled to the Little Manistee River for some photos and to get the story straight on the aluminum plates/boards that was stolen by scrap metal crooks on 9/6/07.  Channel 7 in Traverse City was wrongly touting there was be no egg take this season, cuz of the missing parts for the holding pens.  
      What I found out is too lengthy for a daily update and thought it better just to put up a page with new photos and current explanation.
      If you're interested in something that directly impacts the State of Michigan's Salmon Fishery, then click here for the 9/18/07 reel-story and new photos

9/18/07  Here's some news that has a significant impact on our fishery.  On Sept. 6th, 2007 some thieves stole the aluminum gates/boards from the Little Manistee River Weir.  It's unclear whether the MDNR has been able to find replacement parts.  Today, the plan is to take a quick hike over to the weir to check and see what's going on.   
      Full report and photos in tomorrow's update about conditions at the weir.
Here's another thing that takes the cake, all be it may most of the crowded big lake season is over.  Sometime last summer the Stone tribal netter placed another net slightly north of the 15.4 north net and never said a word about it!  Location on this unreported mystery ghost net was probably 15.5/15.6.  
      Nothing the Manistee Little River Band Tribal fishers said has come true.  No 50 jobs, no website with net coordinates, and no video tape on how the nets are set. This just goes to show their TV PR campaign has nothing to do with real facts!

9/17/07  Original plans for today for a trip to Traverse got cancelled when Capt. Dave Deforest said he had to work to help locate the lost/missing nets off Manistee, MI.  Going to try to reorganize this trip for this coming Thursday with seas more friendly according to the open water forecast.  Wind for today in Manistee is supposed to be 30 knots and from the south.  High winds and big waves have held up the search for the nets that got washed away on 9/7/07.  

9/16/07  Thunderstorm a few days ago knocked out my home and office phones.  So, if you've been trying to contact me and haven't been able to, you now know why.  Phone service where I live in Manistee is terrible.  The reason?  The land phone lines are 50 to 60 years ago and have never been updated.  
      Then, the Manistee DOT dug-up and busted a main junction slice about a year.  While service was poor beforehand, it's a bunch worse now, cuz the splice is by a creek.  With every rain, the phone service degrades and more problems occur.  This is the 4th time this year dealing with this very same exact issue!
      So, it pretty hard to get a fish report, unless I can do it with smoke signals.  To compound matters even further, my cell phone is in between towers and does not get a good enough signal to work at home either.  Hence, the reasons for no fish report!

9/15/07  High winds, gales force winds have made Lake Michigan out of touch for SR 1979 (22 footer) as the last week, or so.  Soon as the seas become manageable, more big pond fishing is definitely in my future.  Traverse City looks very fishable this coming Monday.  Reports from TC are not all that encouraging, but a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.  Unless, you're in the charter business!

9/14/07  Project SR 1979 is living in tall cotton now!  Fully enclosed cabin has the skipper pretty happy too!  No longer will we have to endure the biting cold wind that makes fishing Manistee Lake in Oct/Nov plain outright miserable.  Manistee Lake lays in a N to S direction & is for the most part, it's always windy. Click for new backdrop
      Today's featured photo of Project SR 1979 was taken on 8/18/07 by message board member, "Getaway" while we were fishing out of Arcadia in the Herring Hole.  Kinda nice to see your own rig from someone else's point of view.  Click for SR 1979

9/13/07  Here's a email from Tom B in regards to one of the Manistee's missing nets:
"Last Saturday (9/8/07) we passed by an inside staff & wing buoy's @ 10.25 N in 80' fow. We thought this might have been a new set, but we never did see the the outside staff. This may have been one of the missing net's."
    
  There were no nets in the area Tom B. reported prior to last Friday's blow and goes to show how dangerous the situation is in Manistee, MI for the time being.  The way things stand, either fish around the harbor, or out past 200' to stay clear of ALL potential problems ....no matter where you fish out of Manistee.
       I've seen rip currents along Manistee's shelf that look like a fast flowing river before.  So, it's no wonder why these nets are drifting in places unknown!

9/12/07  Manistee's tribal net fishers the Stones are in a world of hurt and looking less enlightened all the time, as the nets in the 11s to the 15s seeming got lost.  This could mean there's miles of nets unaccounted for, until you get tangled in them.
      There's no way to hold any nets when the current starts ripping along the shelf.  While the Stones are crying vandalism, the truth is gale force winds from the SW last Friday (9/7/07) caused this mess.  Lost gear on the bottom is unsafe!  This just goes to show the inexperience of where these nets were put in the first place.
      Also, inside sources at the LRB of Native Americans says the Stone netter is taking the tribe to tribal court, cuz the tribal council has put a hold on the 2000 Consent Decree monies that were being dipped into at a alarming rate!
      I doubt the tribe will be unwise enough to reimburse the Stones for their lost gear, cuz they pulled this same crap before in Ludington.

9/11/07  Dropped off SR 1979 to have new side windows and a full back drop installed.  The weather is cooling and having an enclosed cabin to fish out of is the way to go.  Just keeping the wind off you is 90% of the battle of staying cozy.  
      This new canvas will pay further dividends in Oct. & Nov. on Manistee Lake, when Steelhead will grab center stage.  Overall, I'm happy with my new/old boat.  It's fuel stingy and OK in seas pushing 3 footers.  So, far this season, in my trips out of Manistee, Arcadia & Leland has put 18 hours of runtime on the main engine.
      This week, if we catch the right day, fishing off the Boardman River out of Traverse City, MI is the next target .....weather permitting.  Any west, or south wind in TC, means the bay is fishable and it's only a little better then a hour from my place.

9/10/07  Mondays are always a mystery, as I never know what's going to happen with orders.  Plans for this week include more product test fishing, weather depending.
       Yesterday, Capt. Dave Deforest had a good charter trip with former guests of mine, from back when I was still in the charter business.  The late morning bite put 11 fish in his box.  Capt Dave said, "200 feet of water with depth down 100' to 150' feet using flashers & meat.  Early bite did not happen in 80' to 100' of water."  
      Capt. Jim Munoz called me from Leland, MI around 10pm yesterday morning.  He finished his trip early with 18 Kings, using BTIs & flies (3 rigger & 2 diver spread).  
      Here's Capt. Jim's exact words, "it took longer to motor out to North Manitou Island,  then it did to pull the 18 fish ...6 person limit catch!
     The tackle store in Leland, MI, the "Fish Hook" now carries BTIs in the popular colors/patterns (the same ones the charter skippers are using).

9/9/07  Fishing remains good to excellent in Manistee, MI.  Yesterday's action was over the depths of 200 to 250 feet, as there's a lot of water warm piled up on the Manistee's "shelf."  100' to 125' down on the riggers is where the bites were coming.
      Kings are scooting up the Big and Little Manistee Rivers in fair numbers, but the run is far from over. 2 things will bring down the curtain in Salmon Season 2007: either the lake will roll (cold surface temps), or a cold rain will draw the adults still holding out in the deep water. We have 10 days to 2 weeks to the outside left for adult Kings.

9/8/07  After yesterday's humongous seas and gale force winds, Lake Michigan is behaving itself quite nicely today.  I have an former charter guest fishing aboard other boats today and tomorrow.  Expect a full fish report as this weekend progresses.

9/7/07  Today's featured photo is the north tip, of North Manitou Island, MI.  This area is about 16 statute (land miles) from Leland.  Be sure to check the settings in your GPS, as nautical miles are approx. 1/7 larger.  Click for North Manitou Island, MI
      So, there's about 15% difference between these standards.  Look into the settings menu to see how your GPS is configured, default in most cases is nautical.
      Big time blow is predicted from the SW with gale warnings for today.  Gale warnings kick in once the wind exceeds 34 knots.  In land lubber terms: a 40 knot wind is pretty close to pushing 46 mph (in land, or statute mph).  
      The reason behind the two differing measuring standards that dates back to the 1500s when Dutch mariners calculated water speed with set distance between knots on a piece of line (rope).  Counting the knots over a fixed period of time measured by an hourglass gave them their speed thru the water.

9/6/07  Joined a message board on the west coast.  Someplace around Puget Sound, in the State of Washington.  We have a lot in common with these fishermen in WA.  They have same problems with the tribal fishers, only much worse from what I read.
     The name of the parenting club sponsoring this message board is Puget Sound Anglers.  Something I thought was unique, they hold derbies for scholarship monies for students going into the fish biologist business.  Click for Puget Sound Anglers
     So far, this year they raised 24k to help out 4 students.  What a great way to put tournament money exactly where it needs to go.  Students receiving financial help will always remember the money came from sport fishermen and be more apt to give them a fair shake.  Hopefully, this is an idea that should catch on in our Great Lakes States!

9/5/07   Fished four out of the past six days.  That's probably almost as much as I fished in all of the 2006 season and part of 2005!  
     Starting to put a program together out of Manistee where I feel comfortable not running into the BS trap nets.  I've jumped on the fish off Guerney Creek in the 7 to 11 numbers fairly hard 3 times.  My north results in the 15s to 20s net vacant area, has been OK, but not stellar.  Guerney Creek vicinity has been far better to me.
      5 of the 6 we took yesterday morning were still a long ways from running the river.  This fact is evidenced by the skein being tight holding the eggs in the hens we caught.  Supposed to be lumpy all week and the next reel chance to fish Lk. MI looks to be this coming weekend.  Nice to see the fleet of August pack up and go home!  From here on out, only the reel dyed in the wool fishermen will be harassing the fish!
      Got a bunch of great photos of our fish box from yesterday morning, but you'll have to wait until Prototype 2008 is properly announced later this year.

9/4/07  New product testing for the 2008 season took an even better turn this morning.  We dropped lines at 7:30am and hooked up our 6th King by 9:30am.  The fish came in 3 sets of doubles, which was not easy, seeing there was only John J and myself onboard. Plus, a really stout 20 knot SE wind played havoc with boat control.
All fish came on Prototypes 2008, which was a good thing! Click for our largest King
      Fished last Thursday and had a helluva catch out of Leland, MI.  Then we fished Manistee last Friday morning in a zoo and Sunday evening in very lumpy waters.  
Click here check out my Captain's Log for a full report over Labor Day Weekend 2008.

9/3/07  11am fish report from Manistee: this morning, the bite is over 200 to 250 feet of water, fishing down 90 to 120 feet.  Heard action was good, but hooking up was difficult.  Lk. Michigan has laid down and is very fishable, after yesterday's big seas.
     If you're looking for a good read?  Check out what happened on 8/30/07 in Leland, MI.  Click here for the reel story on that fishing trip

9/2/07  More testing was on the agenda last evening.  I fished with John J & his fine grandson, Kris.  It was a very slow bite for us.  We dropped lines on the fish around 5pm and pulled at 8:45pm.  During this time span we only managed 4 bites, 3 stayed stuck and we ended up with 2 Cohos, along with a fair King. Click for Kris's King
     Yesterday's morning fishermen had a lot better results compared to what I heard and seen caught during the evening set.  Solid, lumpy 3 footers and 22' boat made for not ideal conditions, severely limiting our travel and troll direction.  
      By the way, 3 of our 4 strikes came Prototypes 2008.  Three rods accounted for 75% of the action and out-fished the other 4 in our well separated 7 rod spread! 

9/1/07  Yesterday morning, I fished Manistee with my very best fishin' bud, John J.  We set lines a little after 7am in front of Orchard Beach State Park in 60' of water and headed west.  From 7:15 to 8:15 we hit 5 fish on Prototype 2008s.  
       Then disaster struck, as a 22 footer tangled into our far-side rigger while we were opening a can of whoop a-- on a King in the low teens.  Now, this meant his diver was tied to our fish and starboard rigger, though we did our best avoid this unknown vessel, crossing on our portside.  Click for released Steelhead
        Weird ...as his diver crossed over our entire 2 rigger, 2 diver spread?  The boat that got into us was towing a mono diver dialed on 3, with a 11" finned flasher and squid combo.  His sorry rig was a long ways from ever getting down to the fish in the 70' range.  Plus, he had at least 200' of string off his reel! 
      Well, to make a long story short: I pulled up our starboard rigger, cut his line, we landed our King and kindly gave him back is diver rig.  Was I pissed? ...nope!  
       In fact, I kinda chuckled to myself and found the true meaning to the word, "weekend warrior!"  It's a war to fish around Labor Day Weekend in crowed Manistee.
       Having lost our mojo, we pulled lines and went back to the dock at 9am.  We kept 2 Cohos, tossed back a King, along with a fair Steelhead.  We got 4 more great photos of Prototype 2008s stuck in fish faces, and that's what our trip was about!

8/31/07  Yesterday, it was my great pleasure to fish Leland, MI with charter skippers: Bill Wright, Jim Munoz, Dave Deforest and budding first mate, 9 year old Mike.  Mike was the reel joy of the trip & he's gets his own rod when a rigger goes off!
      We fished the mid-day time frame, from 1:30pm and pulled lines at 4pm.  We took 15 Kings, had 3 doubles and 1 triple! Click for young Mike & our 15 fish brag board
      Hang on to your socks here folks!! We never stuck any meat in the water.  Using just flies and the BTI 10" flashers.  I've known for a quite while how deadly BTIs are with flies, but for production reasons ...never said a word about it here on the website.  We can only make so much product and my manufacturing facility is already stretched to the limit.  So, am I, as far as that goes. Click for a fish box from hell
      That's why I chose towards the end of the big lake season to bring your attention to this reel-fact!  A superior meat flasher like the 10" BTIs can only be more deadly with flies. 30% less water drag than what any of competition offers too!
      Also, yesterday was the world debut of the King Emerald Green Glow BTI and caught fish with prototype 2008, which I intentionally did not photograph! 

8/30/07   North winds might be bring up the temp before Labor Day Weekend.  If you're faced with all warm water from top to bottom in depths to and exceeding 150', just move to the deeper water. Fancy-dancy tricks with a large spread will cause only tangles when targeting depths to 200' with your riggers.  Pull the speed out of your program and choke up the leads to your offering to NO more than 10' from the cannon ball.  Speed will only make more carry back in the rigger cables.  So, slow is your best bet.  You might be amazed at what just 2 good working rods can do for your fish box!
       Weather is predicted to be out-right beautiful thru the Labor Weekend with no rain until Monday evening.   Seas look like they could be on the cooperative side too!  Good luck to those lucky enough to leave today and avoid the traffic snarls.

8/29/07  Here's a worthy tip for all Lake Michigan fishermen:  Recent south blow pushed the temp down to at least 120' by 11am yesterday.  I suspect there's no cold water on the inside of 150' and it's about the same temp from the top to the bottom.
      Warm and cold water do not readily mix, being of different molecular densities.  Keeping in mind, Lk. MI has had all season to warm up.  Huge amounts of warm water can get pushed towards shore in my neck of the woods.  I understand the ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort.  These ports are capable of huge temp swings.
      Unless we get some noticeable north wind, fishing over water depths from 250' to 450' will be the program.  The further out you go, the temp will climb higher.  So, pay attention to this fact and look to 120' to 180' down on the riggers for action.
      Tomorrow's update will focus on A.M. (after meat) and reel-tactics to turn these deep fish into biters with consistency.

8/28/07  It's game on for all Lake Michigan big water anglers as Salmon action intensifies at all ports.  Being flexible is the secret to full boxes.  What worked last week, or a couple of days might not turn the trick.  Getting locked into a program, or a certain depth range is a recipe for a struggle down the road! 
     I had to re-teach myself this lesson learned a couple of weeks ago when I fished out of Arcadia, MI, with little to show for our 4 hours on the pond.  My mistake was concentrating on the inshore depths of 70 to 150 feet.
     It's hard to switch depths/colors/speed, cuz once confidence is gained, but it only comes back to haunt you.  My success on the evening of 8/26/07 was due to being able to wander out to the deeper water, by giving up on the "normal" (if there is such a thing)  inshore depths of 50' to 150' that should have been producing fish.
     Here's a worth while tip: never re-trace a route/direction/depth is it's not working.  Be open-minded, which goes hand in hand with boxes full of fish!

8/27/07  Manistee, MI, last evening's report:  Major traffic drove the fish out deeper, is the only thing I can come up with.  Not many fish in the inside of 170' and biters were out to, and past 325'.  Best Rigger was equipped with Prototype 2008 at 111' down, over the deep stuff.  Had a bite every 15, or 20 minutes from 5pm until we pulled lines around 8:30pm and headed for the dock.  Click for BTI Froggie fatality
      Released all landed fish.  Intentionally shook fish off the divers, as testing is not about catching.  Besides, pulling in diver fish is all work, even if the Kings are only 12 to 15 pounds.  Secret One & X-Glow Green Frog BTIs with matching 2 Fly Meat Rigs made their presence known to Mr. King on divers and core.  Great evening to be out, water was almost flat, crowds went home, and the fish were biting!  
      Took a bunch more photos of Prototype 2008 stuck in fish that will be shown sometime later this year, when this new fish whackin' product is formally introduced!

8/26/07  Word from Frankfort, MI: 6:30am to 7:30am fish are on fire during the early bite.  Later in morning action in West Platte Bay has been fairly decent with Kings to 18 pounds, but fish over 20 seem to be extinct.  Never the less, fishing is reel good! 
      Arcadia, MI is still producing Kings to just past 17 pounds.  Mid-morning bite won the Oakland County Sportfishing Tournament for message board member, "Reel Adventure" ...aka Steve B. Click for Steve's choice of flashers & meats rigs 
     Steve fished this event with his son Allan and his girlfriend Brie.  Many thanks to Steve for today's great featured photos. Click for Brie's Salmon

8/25/07  When rigging  Project SR 1979, I decided to go with Big Jon riggers and rod holders.  Big Jon Inc. is located in Michigan, within 60 miles of Manistee.  Main reason behind BJ products? ....is they're made in America, by American workers.
      Due to normal pounding and vibration all boats take, the pull-out knob on my FR423 diver rod holders vibrated loose and fell off (more than likely in the drink).  
      I emailed the service department as Big Jon  Inc. last Wednesday (8/22/07).  Yesterday, Sat. 8/24/07 a new complete assembly arrived free of charge. 
      I did not use my website's high traffic to purchase any products at promo rates, paying over the counter prices, just like 99% of you.  Discounted cost, or free comes with the price of not being able to report 100% truthfully on performance issues.
      Incidentally, back in 1986, I was among the very first to install the FR423 diver rod holders on my boat.  In my opinion, there's not a stronger, better made rod holder available for divers on the market since!  The BJ service department is to be commended to their fast resolution of a minor problem.  Click for warranted part

8/24/07  Updated the Manistee net locations thanks to Capt. Dave Deforest.  Dave is both a charter skipper and Tribal Law Enforcement Officer.  There's only one mystery net and that's the one up towards Arcadia, MI, said to be south of the golf course.
      Now is the time for testing.  This ties in with advanced prototypes for 2008 that needs more water time and durability trials.  I test thoroughly.  So, you don't have to!
      Good luck to all fishing this weekend!  If the seas cooperate ....there should be some pretty hefty catches reported in next week's daily updates. 

8/23/07  Let's rewind to Tuesday's update (8/21/07) when sharp hooks were mentioned.  This is important, cuz as our Salmon mature, their gums shrink, skin gets hard, and the mouth is a bunch more boney, then back in May.  Pay attention to extra sticky sharp hooks and the rewards will be self evident.
      Looks like the squawk the from Manistee residents and businesses about boycotting the casino are starting to show action.  Ducks Unlimited cancelled their convention at the Little River Resort/Casino.  According to minutes of a tribal meeting, this is gonna cost them around 50k in lost revenue.  No organization wants to get involved in any local pissing match.  Much less, be linked to controversy.  
      The question is: how much more can they tolerate before the tribe brings moderation to the tribal netters that now have more nets in Manistee, than any other place on the Great Lakes.  More LRB credibility will be lost when the inland consent decree is finally settled, as the LRB pushed for a spring Steelhead spearing season.

8/22/07  As we've entered the third week of August, all the photos posted, show mostly silver Kings, ....a long ways from running the rivers.  Generally, more darker spawner fish predominate the catch at this time of the season.  Excellent Salmon fishing should last thru the 10th of September (at least).  Prime time is here NOW!
      Today's featured photos are courtesy of Ludington Skipper Chris S.  While some might stuff turkeys, Capt. Chris stuffs his fish boxes to the point of overload. Check out his photo of mostly all silver Kings on 8/16/07 by clicking here!  Hoisting a 200 lb. box like that off the boat, ...is a lot of grunt and groan. Click for stuffed fish box

8/21/07  Ludington and all ports leading north are on fire.  If fishermen aren't limiting on Kings? .....they're getting more than enough the bites.  Tighten up your releases and sharpen those hooks, to cut down on the missed opportunities.  
      Here's a testimonial from one of our message board members:
"It was down right catching in Manistee this last week, or the salmon had death wish. We had 4 boats and 21 people our best morning was 46 kings and Cohos.  The meat program dominated after light working 130 to 150 fow 110 down with the Black Mamba. I would be surprised if your stock in manistee was out, because we were all on the radio when it was going.  Limits most mornings with 9 to 11 in the evening trips the guys would fish the mornings and the women would go out at night can't wait till next year to get back.  Hottest lures were the Black Mamba, Krystal killer and Green Doub L Glo after light." Snagglepuss aka Darren H  Click for a reel meat catch!

8/20/07  Need expand a little further about our message board member's gathering in Arcadia, MI last Saturday (8/18/07).  Member "Getaway" had the best box numbers wise.  Winning member, "Codfish" had the best weight in his largest 3 Kings that blew everyone else away by several pounds  Click for Getaway's 8/18/07 fish box
       What did these two tournament contestants have in common?  Both were using this tournament to test special some of my new 2008 prototype tackle.
       Also, another member, "Reel Adventure" won the big fish award in the Oakland County Sportfishing Tournament on 8/19/08 with the same 2008 prototype products held in Arcadia.  Once these new trial products undergo more rigorous/durability testing, full production will be reached sometime in late fall of this year.  Look for a future special announcement about these secret new dynamic products slated for 08.

8/19/07  Fishing is about memories, either in the making, or remembering them.  That's exactly what happened yesterday when we fished out of the Port of Arcadia, MI.  Seeing the "Herring Hole" and the Frankfort fleet brought me back to 1968 when I first fished this stunningly scenic area.  Click for Getaway's 8/18/07 fish box
      The overlooking soaring bluffs, sugar sand beaches, and deep water (over 100') just a mile off shore shows why I went into the charter business in Frankfort, MI back in 1983.  Other than Leland, MI & Glenn Arbor, MI no ports come close Arcadia & Frankfort for a beautiful background to fish in front of.
       Yesterday's 2007 Arcadia Challenge message board get-together went well, with all boats catching fish!  Many thanks to my fishin' bud, Bob K. aka Getaway for handling the details.  Congrats to board member Codfish for winning our tourney.  

8/18/07  Good luck to all the weekend warriors everywhere!  I'll be fishing our message board event being held in Arcadia today.  Our message board members will be on the look out for the new trap nets said to be in this area.  Boats that fished Frankfort's Lower Herring Lake Hole did fine early yesterday morning, as did the Arcadia boats before the wind/sea conditions got down right nasty with 4' to 6' seas.

8/17/07  Be flexible this weekend when it comes to places to fish.  The wind has came full circle twice.  I've heard reports of fish in close, like 40 feet of water, all the way out to plus 250'.  It's gonna be a crap shoot to find the best spots.
     Here's a late report from R. Ellis about Onekama, MI last weekend:
"John, here is a pics of my WI fishing buddies from last weekend. The kids had a great time and are both good fishermen. 1st Pic is Cody battling one between Arcadia and Onekama. second one is Jake Craig and Cody at the dock on Monday night. As you know, we run an exclusive Meat program and a 4 road spread with an occasional lead core out the back"  Capt. Rich. E. Click for catch from evening of 8/12/07

8/16/07  It's often said, one picture is worth a thousand words.  Today's featured photo of "so-called" tribe spear fishermen is proof of that.  They claim this is their right, way of life, or heritage.  Did this long standing tribal tradition include the modern technology 5 tine steel spears and Hodgeman hip-waders?  Click for this photo 
       Please let me bring attention to the fact: legal, law abiding US citizens paid for the King Salmon speared and there was no Salmon when the Treaty of 1836 was signed.  Some things are just blatantly wrong with our out of control liberal court system and this is a perfect example of it.  

8/15/07  Tried of dealing with heavy traffic for the first light sunrise bite?  Here's another quotable testimonial from Rob M. that verifies what Grant F did last Monday in the mid-day timeframe.  News like this could lead you to re-thinking your normal program.  Especially, if you're in an extremely super busy port ...like Ludington.
     "Sure glad I purchased the Pearl Squirrel flashers and heads from you two weeks ago.  Ran your Pearl Squirrel out of Ludington last weekend. Friday we setup at 11:30am and pulled lines at 3:00pm with a 3 man limit. We went 10 for 22.  Saturday setup was at 1:00pm and pulled lines at 4:00pm going 11 for 20.  
     The middle of the afternoon is the ticket with no pressure. Your Pearl Squirrel performed awesome in high sun and calm seas.  I suspect my fishing buddies like Jim N. and Mike L. will be calling for more product as well.  Since they were with me this weekend and were amazed we could go out in the middle of the afternoon and catch so quickly!" .....Thanks again, Rob M.
     
There's probably 10,000 lures that catch the early eager to bite Salmon.  The tackle I offer can do it all day long, cuz it works on neutral to negative lethargic fish.

8/14/07  Ludington is whack city, cuz what's going on there is catching, not fishing!  Early am daybreak set is in shallow water, like 40' deep for out of temp adult Kings.  Then moving to deeper to temp once the sun clears the horizon.  Bath house to Big Point Sable has been rocket red-hot!  Be forewarned, boat traffic is intense in Lud.
     Yesterday morning in Manistee was almost the same story, with limit boxes by 8am.  Action was inside the deep part of the shelf, like over 60 to 70 feet of water.  Best areas include straight out of Manistee, to just the north of the trap net set in the 15s.  Heard good stuff about the 16s-18s & 10s to the 8s, being in net free zones.
      Message board member Grant F. proved a point to himself about meat fishing.  He went
Mano a Mano in the middle of the day (12 noon to 1:30pm)  He boxed is MI limit of 3 Kings on my tackle.  Not bad for a solo fisherman & a middle of the day bite.  Grant was fishing the Port of Manistee, MI and I got this story first hand.

8/13/07  Here's what I know, or heard about this past weekend's fishing results.  Manistee was good, Ludington was "stupid" reel-good.  Arcadia was good Saturday morning, but fishing was suckie there in the afternoon when the wind came up.
      Posted a picture of my fishin' bud, Roscoe with a fair Steelhead we took on last Thursday evening's fishing trip.  The interesting thing about this photo, as luck would have it, often mentioned Guerney Creek was dead smack in the background.  Guerney is a favorite with all Manistee big water anglers.  Now you know how this landmark looks on Manistee's famous shoreline.  Click for Roscoe's Steelie & Guerney Creek

8/12/07  Was on an intelligence mission to reconnoiter the Port of Arcadia, MI for our first annual message board outing, forward slash ...friendly tournament.
     Next Saturday (8/18/07) is the date.  Message board members will have the scoop on how to navigate this port safely.  Click for Arcadia's harbor entrance  
      Also, they'll have an idea of how the structure runs either to the north, or south and some landmarks to go by.  I chose this port, cuz there's no net's for those newer to the Manistee area to deal with, like the net farm off the Port of Manistee, MI.
    
    Speaking of that, there's a new trap net on the north rim of Onekama's "barrel."  No exact location for now.  So, be on the look-out if you fish this area.

8/11/07  Posted a photo of how well the double trebles stick fish.  Capitalizing on bites is what our game is about.  Click for stuck fish!  The pattern/color featured is called the "Secret One" and it's been hot as of lately.
     Today's plan is to check out the Port of Arcadia for our upcoming fish-together for our message board members next Saturday.  I'll be fishing there this afternoon with member, Steve B who has a place close to the launch ramp.  Hopefully, I'll have a report on our results in tomorrow's update.
      Tight lines, calm seas, full boxes and good luck to all big water anglers!

8/10/09  Fished last evening out of the Port of Manistee, MI with my fishin' buddy, Roscoe, aka Steve B.  Time frame was from about 5pm until late dusk, being a little after 9pm.  We took 6 Kings (2 person MI limit) & one fairly decent Steelhead.  
    Fished south off Guerney Creek (net free zone) and had most of our bites between 55 to 77 feet down over 100 to 150 fow, with 120 to 125 seeming best.  We ran a 2 rigger, 2 diver program & a 300' copper rig.  Click for our fish box & hot rigs!
      All the hits came on BTI 10" Flashers and matching 2 Fly Meat Rigs.  Best was the Secret One (see Roscoe photo), the super deadly Black Mamba Glow/Clear Red, & the ever in demand X-Glow Green Froggie. Click for Roscoe's "Secret One" King
New Tactic?  Did something a little different last evening, by stacking two "B" sides of hand-cut bait together for a more tantalizing lifelike presentation.   This was our best rig action-wise and out-fished the normally better "A" sides (with the backbone and tail left on).  Click for double-decker Big Mac meat sandwich
      If you're new to this website? Click to see a "how to" on making bait.
  
Used the new 2007 Super Mag Heads to accommodate
the two "B" sides of meat.

8/9/07  Score another tournament victory for my product line.  Especially, when big fish count!  Here's the exact words from Charter Skipper, Bruce N:
"Hey John, just a quick note from Whitehall. Had the annual Johnson's Great Outdoors Tournament this weekend. 25 boats over 2 grand in prizes and money.  We won it this year with 135.60 pts.  It's a weigh 9 fish tourney with bonus for two trout.  Had the two trout, as did many others. Fishing was excellent with most boats weighing their 7 kings. The difference again was meat and the Krystal killer 12 incher/Krystal Killer head. Had 7 kings with a 15 pound average.  Largest fish in the tourney was 18.6.  So, being able to catch 7 kings with that pound average was pretty tuff.  104 feet down over 140 foot of water on the Krystal Killer was the ticket. That rig took 7 fish Saturday morning and 5 of them were over or at the 15lb average. Thanks for a great product.  Without it, I'm sure we wouldn't have won. This was 3 out of 4 years for my team. Can't believe Whitehall still won't totally convert to Meat when you need big fish!"  Capt. Bruce, KCK Sportfishing Charters, "Chantilly Lace III"

8/8/07  Here's a report and "how-to" from Manistee yesterday.  Message board member, Roscoe... aka Steve B had a respectable catch.  He took the majority of his 8 fish box after the early first bite was over.  The bite lasted thru straight noon, when they pulled lines to come in.  This was accomplished by pulling the speed back to 1.5 to 1.8 for negative, neutral or just plain non-biters.  Most of his action was 77' down over 80 to 150 feet of water, and probably 125' was best.  Click for a nice box
      Waters fished?  Towards the south, in trap net free zone in the 10.5 to the 7.5s south of Manistee.  Also, the area mentioned is just off Guerney Creek for better reference.  Steve's best was Black Mamba Glow RF and X-Glow Green Frog BTIs off his divers.  It's no secret, many big water fishermen are avoiding Manistee like the black death (cuz of the nets)!  This means lowered crowd pressure and plenty of fish to go around for those with expertise to avoid the nets. Click for 8/7/07 meat pole catch

8/7/07  Straight from Frankfort, MI  8/4/07: "John, had great luck on your Blue and Pink Bubbles this weekend.  Here's ....morning catch north of Frankfort.  Evan caught the one he's holding himself on the pink bubble you gave him as well as several others. Thanks again."...Kurt K, skipper of the "Kirtstin K" Click for a Reel-Catch!
      Second featured photo is from message board member, Mike R aka....mrymar.  Mike says, "the Lake Ontario Kings are averaging about 3 pounds smaller then 2006."  
     I attribute the smaller Kings this season to the very cold winter-like April, shortening the growing season. Click for 25.5# Lk. Ontario King 

8/6/07  Lots going on this week, as big lake Salmon fishing is heating up.  Today's featured photo is message board member Joe V.G.  While competing in the Detroit Steelheaders Ladies Day Ludington Tournament, "Team Sloppy Joe" took a 26.9 pound King Salmon. This almost master angler King hit a Green Bubble flasher and matching meat rig.  Up until now, the my Blue Bubble has been the main attention getter, but the Green Bubble pattern catches up in August. Click for 26.9# Ludville King
Green-glow has always been a predominant, preferred color for August adult Kings!
      Tomorrow's update will feature some hog Lake Ontario Kings from message board Mike R...aka mrymar.  Mike is the best cross platform fisherman on our board.  He's good on Sturgeon, Salmon and Muskies!  This is a seldom accomplished feat.

8/5/07  Fished Manistee, MI last evening from 6pm until about 8:30pm and had lines up, returning to port by 9pm.  This means we did not stay for the easier last light bite.
Reason? ...still not that comfortable putting Project SR 1979 on the trailer.  Especially, in the dark. Worked the water in the 3 mile gap of trap net-free water in the 11s to the 8s. Had 6 hits, hooked up 4, and 3 made it to the boat. Click Project SR 1979
       No big deal, but for no wind flat-calm and not much on the graph, our action was adequate for a scaled back 2 rigger, 2 diver program. Click for 8/4/07 biggest King   
       Fished all 10" BTI Flashers & 2 fly meat rigs, which are more favorable then my larger 12" flashers/3 fly rigs for mid-depth 50 to 80 foot fish. Click for best BTI/rig  BTI's in
X-Glow Green Froggie, Secret One and Black Mamba Glow all had bites!
       Used a prehistoric Fish Hawk 520 (1st introduced in the mid-1970s) to locate down-temp.  Method used: clip the probe and run the rigger down to get temp info with the vessel stopped.  While not as precise as the more modern expensive down-temp/speed sensing probes, it's a cheap reliable way to get an idea of where to start.  With the many trap nets in Manistee, for me ....this is a wiser choice.  When compared to donating a plus $200 probe to the said trap nets.  Click for demo
       This trip was much needed a shakedown cruise for refining Project SR 1979.  The weight shift by moving the batteries to the portside to compensate the 110 lb. 4 stroke trolling motor (on starboard side) worked out just as planned.  This boat has a far better water stance now (no built-in list).  New 18 pitch prop is a gas saver: at a fuel stingy 2600 rpms this boat cruises easily at 21 mph and gets on plane quicker.

8/4/07  Dug up some more info on the 24.9 pound King that took the 25th Annual K-D Salmon Tournament in Wisconsin.  Rewards included free taxidermy and a trip for 2 to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Plus, a big check for $5,000.00.  Congratulations to Bill W. for his win with my Undertaker Reel Flasher/matching 3 fly meat rig while fishing aboard the boat, "Wind River".  Click for 24.9 aboard the "Wind River"
      As not sway the actual winning fish testaments, I do not believe in offering up front cash rewards.  This could lead to what I consider a form of buying what took the fish.  I know the K-D tournament had a $500 offer from another lure manufacturer, "if" it was caught on his product.  500 bucks with some folks, ....can buy "if!"
      Need to water test Project SR 1979 this afternoon.  Numerous changes for the better since this vessel's last outing in Manistee, MI on 7/19/07.  Counteracting the starboard stern weight of the 110lb. trolling motor was accomplished by moving batteries forward portside and a new prop.

8/3/07  Good luck to all hitting the big water this weekend.  Last I heard, from Onekama to Leland, MI was slow to medium.  Ludington is still doing good and the word from Manistee is varied results across the spectrum of good to slow.
      www.michiganangler.com is restocked with Smelly Jelly in jars and the special 3 scent kit.  Meat rig/flasher boxes have been re-stocked and all products ready to go.
      Today's featured photo is a truly great Steelhead/'bow photo when lighting, focus and composition all come together.  Click here for a WI 'bow from message board member SteveO aka Photodynamix in Green Bay Wisconsin

8/2/07  Today's featured photo comes from the winner of the K/D Salmon
Tournament held in Kewaunee and Door Counties in Wisconsin.  The winner of the July 29th competition pulled the scales down to 24.9 pound and was caught out of the Port of Bailey's Harbor, WI.  This large fish (for 2007) was caught at 7:30 AM on 7/25/07, 72 ft down in 80ft of water, on my Undertaker Reel Flasher/meat rig.  
Click here for Jeff's K/D 7/29/07 tournament winner
and congratulations!
      Rumor of a new net in the 8's south of Manistee is not true.  Some idiot cut off the inshore net marker buoy and it drifted there.  Cutting off net markers is dangerous and plain stupid.  Anyone caught doing this with a fatality involved should face manslaughter charges, cuz it's like removing stop signs from our highways!

8/1/07  August?  The big time Salmon fishing month we wait for all season!  Here's some topics of interest to all that fish the Great Lakes: 
     1. The 25th Annual K/D Salmon Tournament, July 21-29, 2007 was won with my Undertaker flasher and matching meat rig.  K/D stand for Kewaunee Door County, WI.  The $5,000.00 grand prize was won with a 24.9 pound King.....more details to come! 
     2.  The trap net to the north of Manistee, up towards Onekama is located at: 
N 44-20.455 x W 086-21.880 150 FOW with three staff buoys. According to Tribal Enforcement Officer, Capt. Dave Deforest, it's strange looking set with 3 staff buoys.
     3. Here a fish report From East Chicago, IN. "The kings in the pictures were all taken on your meat rigs. The action has been good on this end of the lake and meat is taking over. 
 
Click for a helluva meat rack photo of Indiana Kings
     We went 12 for 20 today (7-30) from 8:30am to 12:30 with 2 doubles and a triple. 
It seemed like all we had to do was find them and the meat did the rest because when we marked fish we caught fish. I still can't get over how well these rigs work!  Thanks again, see you in September."  Capt. Tom M.... aka Black Ice

7/31/07  From Capt. Chucks in Ludington, MI: 50 to 150 feet of water from the bath-house to Big Point Sable is the big deal place to fish.   As a departure from the norm, there's a lot of Steelhead mixed in with the salmon in Ludington.
     Julie S. from Rogers City reported in with decent catches of Kings from 8 to 15 pounds and was kind enough to email today's photo of the day. Click for RC Kings
     It's good to see Lake Huron recover some of it's lost Salmon glory days.  While Lake Huron is not back up to what it once was, Lake H is on the mend.
     Project SR 1979 has reached another plateau, with newly upholstered dinette cushions and a new dressy looking table.  Click for new dinette  Several other needed upgrades have been added in the past couple of weeks.  This boat is ready for Aug!

7/30/07  Just don't have enough info for a meaningful report on this past weekend's results yet.  Sometime around noon today, I should have a better handle on what went on, and which ports produced the best action.
       Posted a great photo, sent in by message board member, Ed C.  It's photo of an inland waters (Seneca Lake) in the State of New York.  What makes this a great photo? ...the young man who's holding a large 29" Lake Trout.  Trophies are relative to the water you're on, & for Seneca Lk. this LT is a whopper! Click for pig Lake Trout

7/29/07  Today's feature photo is a custom Mirage 3 Fly Meat Rig made by Capt. Len Mitchell.  Skipper Len prefers to make his own stuff from scratch and does a heck of a job.  Click for Capt. Len's custom meat rig  He sold some of best the flies on the market back 2001 thru 2003. Before that business became to crowded for the quality vs. cheapie price issues.  Top notch tackle always more and that's a fact none of us can get around.  You've all heard this before, "you get, ...what you pay for!"
     Message board member Roscoe reported good to excellent fishing in Ludington, MI in regards to yesterday's Flint Steelheader's Tournament.  He said, "I'm amazed at the good mixed bag.  Coho, Steelhead and Kings are all there!"   

7/28/07  Fishing is good in Manistee, south of the harbor seems to be the place.  Capt. Dave Deforest was on a mission today to marks the nets, but ran into foggy conditions.  Dave's update on the net is on hold until this coming week.
       Today's feature photo is a custom Mirage 3 Fly Meat Rig made by Capt. Len Mitchell.  Skipper Len prefers to make his own stuff from scratch and does a heck of a job.  Click for Capt. Len's custom meat rig  He sold some of best the flies on the market back 2001 thru 2003, before that business became to crowded for the quality vs. cheapie price issues.  Top notch tackle always more and that's a fact none of us can get around.  You've all heard this before: "you get, ...what you pay for!"

7/27/07  Today's featured photo is from Capt. Dave Deforest of Enforcer Charters in Manistee, MI.  On 7/25/07 his guests boated a nice mix of fish (Kings/Coho 14 total).  He fished BTIs exclusively with meat & KRW Flies.  Capt. Dave said, "Green Frog BTI with matching Froggie 2 fly rig and Kenny's (KRW) in Blue Dynamite fly paired with a Blue Bubble BTI were on fire!"  Click for Enforcer's meat rack
      If you haven't figured it out by now?  ....Capt. Dave pulls double duty as the Tribal Law Enforcement by locating and marking the nets for us.  I truly appreciate his work in the interest of public safety.  The photo he sent in is clear evidence he handles both of his jobs pretty darn good!
      Also, Capt. Deforest is going to try, weather permitting to get exact locations on the new net, north of Manistee (in the 20 number) & the net/nets south of Ludington.

7/26/07  There's a brand new trap net south of Ludington, MI in the 50 numbers.  Scuttlebutt says another net is in the works for the 52 numbers.  The new net &  purposed net are 5 to 7 miles south of the harbor at Ludington.  I'm pretty sure the result of new Ludington nets is, .....because Tommy Batista got shoved off the area north of the big point by the Stone commercial netters from Manistee.  Mr. Batista had his sets surrounded in a cut-throat, unethical move by the Stones gain to control of all waters north of Big Point Sable to Manistee/Onekama and points beyond.
      On the Net Location Page, Ludington now has it's own section.  The nets page is priority one with me keeping it updated ASAP.  Click for Net Locations Page  The printable version will receive the same care. Click here for printable version

This needs to be said:
  In 2003 many of our message board members started a boycott against all companies/businesses supporting the Little River Casino in any way, shape, or form.  Too bad this situation is totally out of hand now.  Back in 2003 we had the chance to apply pressure before the roof caved in, like it has now!
      If you'd like to view the member's No Nets page from 2003, click here  Some of the companies, never even took the time to respond to a letter composed by our membership in a joint effort.  Maybe, if they'd took a good long hard look back then, Manistee wouldn't be the world's leading Great Lakes commercial netting port. 

      If any of the outfits listed in red would like to have their status changed it's not too late.  Please Email me at kingscharter@yahoo.com with your intentions.
     A future update will explain the actions/outcome of the 2003 No Nets Page

7/25/07  There's a new trap net in the 20 numbers, north of Manistee, MI.  Also, there's a rumor about a new net going in at the 18 numbers.  Please keep in mind, this only a hearsay rumor for the time being and there's a bunch of them floating around.
     Today's featured photo is from our buddy across the pond in Kewaunee, WI.  According to Capt. Steve S, "The after the sun up fishing has slowed a bit BUT is still very good. Went 13 for 18 on Sat with this set as a double. Green Foggy and Krystal Killer, with a few on Chartreuse Doub L Glo." Click for his double header

7/24/07  I'm sure you've all heard the poem about "Casey at Bat." ....being the bottom of the ninth inning, 2 out and the winning run at bat, only to strike out.  Here's a twist on the same kind of story with a far better ending!
      Message board member "Beer & Nuts" entered the Youth Tournament held in Ludington, MI last week.  They struggled most of morning with only a few smaller fish to show for their efforts.  Then, Capt. Scott M. decided to spend the last few minutes of the tourney trolling around Ludville's harbor in search of a big fish.  
       With only minutes left in the deadline of Youth Tournament being over, a big King ripped into a 12" Blue Bubble Reel Flasher.  Scott's son, Hunter skillfully, gained line and landed what ended up being the largest King (weighing in at 20.65 pounds) during the 4 days in ALL tournament events!  Click for Hunter M's 20.65 lb. King
      Short on time, Team Beer & Nuts had to back down on this fish, as line was being torn from the reel... just like big game, salt water Marlin fishermen have to do!  After Hunter whipped his huge King into submission, the race to get inside the pier heads was on, with only a couple of minutes to spare. Click winning flasher/meat rig
      I'm extremely proud of all participants in the youth tourney.   Congratulations to Ludington Tournament Committee on getting the women and younger set involved during the 4 days of competition.  My hat's off to Team Beer & Nuts and Hunter for winning a $1000 saving bond.  Plus, the life lesson learned about "never giving up." 
We all need to get reminder in that department from time to time!

7/23/07  Pretty much, all states surrounding Lake Michigan reported in with decent to excellent catches.  East Chicago, IN and Algoma, WI sounded best, with easy limits in under 3 hours on Kings.  Action in Manistee has been fair to respectable, considering the lake rolled over and the temp was all screwed up.  Arcadia, MI had all good-sized Kings from 12 to 16 pounds.  
      Here's the reel-story from Algoma, WI from Terry's Toy:
"Took a retired DNR fisher man who just started fishing salmon out a couple of times to show him how to run meat. He will be joining our group, his name is Jerry Wagner.
     Left the dock at 4AM and put the last fish in the box at 6:30 AM only had one triple and landed all three!"
Capt. Terry W. Algoma, WI   Click for Terry's catch

7/22/07  There might be some minor relief on the horizon for Manistee, MI anglers.  Some of the trap nets closest to the harbor could be removed.  This story is a result of the Stones encroaching on the Tommy Batista nets just north of Big Point Sable.  
       The Manistee (Stones) netters shut down the trap nets by setting nets on both sides of the Ludington/Batista sets.  This just goes to show, ethics among commercial fishermen are lacking.  The crux of this difficult story to explain is the good news for the Manistee guys and bad news for Ludington, as Batista will probably be moving his nets somewhere south of Big Point Sable.  Please keep in mind the words "probably," "might" and "could" are heavily involved and nothing has happened yet.  

7/21/07  Here's a Lake Superior tackle testimonial from Capt. Rich H:
Hi John,   I need to order some more 12Ē Silver Bullet Reel Flashers, They have been my number 1 producer on Lake Superior for Lakers for the last 3 seasons. Many days when other nearby boats are catching from none to a handful we already have boxed 10-15 fish. Today, we went 24/30 with probably 75% coming off your Silver Bullets, we ran 2 on the boom riggers and even put on 1 BTI Silver Bullet on a inside rigger and it immediately started to produce!" .......Capt. Rich H. aka Dot Net
       If I hear any mid-tournament news for the Ludington Gander Mountain event today, I'll post it for tomorrow's update and hopefully have more news on Monday.

7/20/07  The first leg in the Ludington Gander Mountain Tournament weekend was won with 75 lbs in 5 fish, all Kings.  Yesterday's tourney was called, "the Pedro" in honor of legendary tournament fisherman/charter skipper, Pete Ruboyianes.  My former deckhand and longtime friend Mark Pefley was on the winning boat, "Fishlander" and was nice enough to share this timely info.
      Ludington tourney contestants might want to take a long hard look at Fred Mac Donald's 333 event, if he's going to be there.  The last I knew, this was another joint venture between Fred and the LRB Casino.  A big uproar about the many nets in Manistee MI, caused a boycott against all Little River Casino sponsorship.

7/19/07  Had a chance to escape from the tackle shop for a few hours yesterday morning.  We hit 3 fish and boated 2 OK, but not huge Kings.  Fished slightly north of trap nets mostly in the 16s to the low 17s in 80' to 150' of water (net free zone). 
Click for John J's 7/19/07 Salmon 
  Click for imbedded Clear Red Super Mag Head
My lack of time on the water over the last 4 years was blatantly obvious, so no excuses.  We did what we could with what was under our boat.  Some might have blamed it on foggy conditions, trap nets, east wind and flat calm seas, but that would be the easy way out.   As a charter skipper from 1983 thru 2003, it's always the captain's responsibility to be over fish & stay over fish,.... this was not accomplished. 
      Something came to mind that should be a help to all. A printable version of the net locations, to keep onboard.  I came up with idea while John J and I were trying to remember net locations.  So, even though we had a slow morning fishing-wise, a good idea came from our outing!  Click here for printer friendly net locations

7/18/07  Capt. Dave Deforest, Tribal Law Enforcement confirmed all net locations again yesterday.  The locations listed on the Net Locations Page are all current for Manistee, MI.  No new Manistee nets were located as of yesterday afternoon.
      Today's featured photo is 16 pound 'bow/Steelhead caught on the Blue Mamba Glow.  Capt. Steve S fished a tournament in Kewaunee, WI. and the 10 fish he could weigh-in came in at 12.35 per, or a total of 123.5 lbs.  For now, these are larger average size fish than what State of Michigan anglers are seeing. Click for 16 lb. 'bow
       The race card played recently by the LRB deserves another reply:  "I donít have a problem with people being proud of who they are, but if you believe you are entitled to something other cultures are not, because of your racial decent, then you are racist and promoting racism. With such behavior there can be no equality among everyone."  Well said,......eh?  From one of our message board members. 

7/17/07  Here's my rebuttal to the recently published LRB statement in the Manistee News Advocate and the Ludington Daily News about tournament sponsorship: 
      The LRB is trying to play the race card with "anti tribal" being mentioned concerning them getting rejected by the Manistee sports fishing fleet as the Salmon Splash Tournament sponsor.  With all the money the Little River Casino has? ...you'd certainly think their Public Relations Department could do a better job with originality.
News for the Little River Casino: this ain't the OJ trial and Johnny Cockran is dead.  This not a race issue, it's a wall of 17 commercial fishing nets that's choking Manistee!
       Let's change the subject to a fishing report we all can enjoy:
"Hey Capt John, Just a report from Milwaukee on 7-15-07. Had lines set at 4:30am and pulled the last one at 8:00am. We fished the 40 to 90 feet of water. Riggers at 60' and dipseys at 120' loc were hot, especially the Krystal Killer!  Green frog and Krystal Killer did the damage. I love that Krystal Killer no matter if it's in the BTI or 12" Reel Flasher, that rig plain ROCKS!  Click for Tim's limit of Kings & Perch
      We put the last King in the box at 8:00am and headed south to Oak Creek power plant and setup for perch. After sorting, threw some of the smaller ones we kept our limit of 11" to 12" perch. What a perfect day a limit of salmon then a limit of perch all by 11:00am and on top of that the seas were flat and weather was great!! Man you gotta love Lake Michigan!!!"  Capt. Tim S. (message board member, TROUT SNIFFER).

7/16/07  The best Manistee fishing report from this past weekend (I've seen) comes from private message board member, "Jerryriggin."  Their rough water adventurous Saturday afternoon fish produced 11 Kings and one Steelie.  Sunday morning saw 10 Kings and a Brown Trout meet their fate at the hands my products.  
      12" King Purple and Undertakers were mentioned on the riggers & the divers were towing BTIs in Blue Bubble, plus the newly revamped 2007 Pearl Squirrels.  The new genuine pearl looking base material is fast becoming an ultra-proven super fish killer.  
      All fish were caught using whole bait with the 2007 Super Mag Heads.  Depth of water fished was 150 to 500 feet and the fish came deep, like at 100 to 160 feet down.  All of his Salmon were caught north of the inshore trap nets in the 15s to 17s.
     Posted new locations for 2 trap nets off Whitehall, MI.  Click here for lat/lons

7/15/07  Posted a photo of Manistee's harbor with depth grid lines from a bathometry card in my GPS.  What used to take a bunch laps to learn, is now at your finger tips.  Seeing where the bottom rises and falls is truly amazing, at least to me. Today's electronics are incredible and cuts off years on the dreaded learning curve!  Knowing the fish holding depth structure means no one is a rookie anymore. Click GPS photo
      Updated the Project SR 1979 page and broke this article into 4 pages to aid load time for dial up users.  Click for SR 1979 progress accomplished yesterday.

     As Paul Harvey might say, ........."click here for the rest of the stories."

7/14/07  Yesterday, this website achieved another most important milestone, by celebrating crossing the 2,000,000 mark, or hits.  It took 4 1/2 years to reach the first million and 2 1/2 years to attain the second million home page views. 
      Here's the exact stats for the last 12 months: 447,300 hits/index page views, 240,834 unique visitors, 75,433 first time visitors and 165,391 returning visitors.  I have a stats program and the above numbers can be verified.  Hit counters can be set at any number, but I keep mine extremely honest to gauge reel-traffic flow.  Yearly total website hits would number in the millions, but only keep stats for this home page.
      The internet is our number one source for information on non-headline, front page news and that's what this website does, report on things that would more than likely never make page one on a major big city newspaper!
    Tomorrow's update will focus on how modern electronics has changed the game.

7/13/07  Is Friday the 13th putting a curse on this upcoming weekend?  Kinda looks like it, as 15 to 25 knot wind with seas ranging from 3 to 6 feet on Saturday, and good solid 2 to 4 footers for Sunday.  Looks like my boat will be staying shore-side.
      The first causality in the conflict of interest between sport and commercial fishermen looks to be Fred Mac Donald's long standing collaboration with LRB enterprises.  It was told to me by 3 separate reliable sources that Fred has severed his relationship with the Little River Casino for the upcoming Manistee Salmon Splash Tournament on July 27, 28, & 29, 2007.  Fred is said to be looking for another location to hold the weigh-in/captains meeting.  Not on casino property like previously. 
      This story needs further verification, before I take it as gospel.  Hopefully, this will send a message what's going on is wrong to the LRB tribal leaders.  I can live with commercial fishing, but not a solid 12 mile wall of nets choking my home port!

7/12/07  Ever hear that old saying, "cheer up, things... could be worse!"  So, sure enough, I cheered up and things got worse!"  What I'm getting at is the 7/10/07 headline (and today's photo) from the Manistee News Advocate stating more nets are coming.  Yeah, right.....like we didn't have enough (17) already!  Click for headline
       Personally, I do not like to get bogged in issues I have no control over and would rather expound the virtues of the tackle I offer to the big water angler.  However, this website was built on honest fishing reports and what's news concerning our fishery, not unwelcome negative announcements on how we're getting jacked around!
      The Canadian Environmental Defense said trends in Ontario's annual "Guide To Eating Sport Fish" found consumption advisories are generally getting worse.  Yet, they're not clear to the public on the contaminates, except pregnant women and children should limit, or avoid eating Great Lakes Whitefish altogether.      
      For now, "we have to endure, the unendurable" until more and more people get pissed off.  Which is happening daily, time is on our side and the bottom sucking, pesticide ridden Great Lakes Whitefish are not becoming any less contaminated!!!

7/11/07  Wind has kept many fishermen shore bound as a lately.  So, no word from Manistee, but the last I heard, straight out was easy catching.
      Many of the captains in Manistee's Charter Fleet are going ahead with plans to boycott Fred Mac Donald's Manistee Salmon Splash events on July 27 thru 29.  Mac Donald has put himself in an untenable position with his long standing allegiance with the LRB & it looks like the buzzards have finally came home to roost!
      This new "Alternative Tournament" will feature the same rules and entry fee as the one held by Fred Mac Donald and his cronies at the Little River Casino.  Let's hope this boycott sends a message to Fred and the hierarchy the LRB Casino what's going on in the waters off Manistee is just plain wrong in no uncertain terms!
       More news on this new "Alternative Tournament" will be forthcoming soon.  I've heard several of out-of-town tournament teams are all for this, showing support for the beleaguered Port of Manistee with 17 nets in 12 miles of formerly net free waters.

7/10/07  Here's a report from last evening out of Michigan City, IN:
"Fished again today after work. The fishing is still unbelievable. We were hammering them again in 70-85' of water, straight out of the harbor. Easy limits!
    Green Frog and Green Bubble are UNSTOPPABLE! Hard to even keep 4 rods down the action is so hot!"   Take Care, Capt. Andy S.
Click for Green Frog photo
     Here's a fact in our favor as we enter into prime time for summer adult Kings.  Spring Salmon (May) fishing was a bust in many ports, so the main herd has not been thinned out by angling pressure.  Hence, a lot more summer fish!
     We had a hard blow from the SW last Sunday and this should further enhance our fishing chances.  The fish should start relating more to a deeper thermocline. The fish won't be scattered all over hell's half acre up and down in the water column.

7/9/07  Reports from Lake Michigan, on the Michigan side are encouraging.  Big water anglers are catching Kings from Michigan City, IN to Manistee, MI, probably Frankfort too!  If there is a down side to the fish reports I seen, not many Kings over 15 lbs. are being mentioned.  Let's hope size improves a bunch by later this month.
      Let's all get behind the Riverside Ladies Day Tournament towards the end of this month in Manistee  Rules are simple and start time is 5am and be back to port deadline is noon.  Entry free is 100 bucks and a FULL 100% payback!  Contact Amy, or Capt. Paul Schlafley at: (231) 723-4901 for the rest of the particulars. 
      The Riverside Ladies Day will mark the first hometown tournament in Manistee without the Little River Casino name on it in at least 5 years ...it's 'bout time!
      Do not believe the crock of BS/spin Fred Mac Donald is using by saying the casino is not for the nets.  The casino is the same arm, from the same governing body that sets the rules for their approved cut-throat hooligan commercial netting tactics!

7/8/07  Let's just go with snippets for today's update.  Here's what I know, or heard from reliable sources: lots of bait and no fish off north Manitou Island.  There's 3 sets of new trap nets off Whitehall, MI.  Fishing is decent in Manistee, but most of the action is said to be down by Big Point Sable.  King fishing is hot in Michigan City, IN.
     Capt. Paul Schlafley and his wife Amy are proceeding forward with plans to avoid the LRB Ladies Day Tournament towards the end of this month. They're holding their own Ladies Day event, with absolutely no ties to the Little River Casino/commercial fishing operations that are presently besieging the waters off Manistee County!
     Are you interested in showing your support for a non-casino sponsored event in Manistee, MI?  If so, call (231) 723-4901 and speak with Amy or Paul for more details.
     I have not fished any tournament with the Little River name on it since 2002, when they started having the weigh-in at the casino.  Under any circumstances, I will not set foot LRB Sovereign Nation property until things change for the better in Manistee!

7/7/07  Posted a photo of our trolling course off Leland, MI from our recent excursion to this overlooked port.  Not owning boat since 2003, I'm truly amazed at how far the marine electronics industry has came.  The color GPS unit I purchased works flawlessly and is almost semi-user friendly.  The pinkish-violet line shows the travel/trolling course, as we explored the waters off this port. Click for GPS plotter tracking
      I applaud Capt. Paul Schlafley's from Riverside Charters here in Manistee about boycotting the scheduled LRB casino tournaments here in Manistee towards the end of this month.  It seems that many fishermen are starting to take a harder line against the stingy-gut commercial fishermen that have monopolized all waters south of Manistee.  The Little River Casino's job isn't to piss off everyone in Manistee by creating a public relations nightmare, it's to put people in their gaming establishment

7/6/07  A family emergency cut short the visit to fish out of Leland, MI.  In total, we fish about 4 hours, hit 2 fish and threw one back.  Slow is the word and the experienced charter skippers were coming in with about a handful.  Never the less, the trip was a great getaway, all be it may ...an abbreviated one.  Leland has unbelievable structure, like about 2 miles off shore, you're in plus 300 feet.  Added another port photo of my collection of Lk. MI harbor entrances. Click for Leland's port entrance

7/5/07   Project SR 1979 will be cutting a trail to Leland, MI later today.  I promised a fishing buddy (Roscoe) some new water to fish.  This will be a business/pleasure trip as the Capt. Jim Munoz from the Leland charter fleet has ordered more BTIs.  Full report will be forthcoming when I return Friday afternoon (7/6/07).
     On 7/2/07 John J and I fished my new boat for a couple of hours.  Getting orientated Manistee's landmarks on shoreline after not seeing it for a year was a welcome sight.  We fished just north of the nets and way-stayed clear.  In fact, knowing where they are saved a whole lot of grief.  The Manistee fleet is quickly becoming adaptive and learning where it's safe to troll and areas to avoid.
     We had 3 hits, 2 hooked up and landed an OK King pushing 10 pounds.  I did find out the 2007 Super Mag Heads handled the red, orange (bait sizes) and strips beyond anything hoped for.  The spin is absolutely perfect, making this a multi-purpose all-around piece of excellent tackle that kicks butt!  Click for Super Mag welded King

7/4/07  4th of July, when over 200 years our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence.  This document put forth the idea all men were created equal.  231 years later we have a two cast system, where certain citizens, have rights exceeding others.  This is just not right and violates the principle this country was founded on!
      Commercial and sport fishermen have long been at odds with one another, as their goals are entirely different.  Not to fear, the world can not offer one example of commercial fishermen not depleting the fish stocks to almost the point of extinction.  So, given enough time commercial fishermen always put themselves out of business.
      Had a chance to put Project SR 1979 thru it's second sea trial a couple of days ago.  From 6 to 8pm we hit 3 fish and boated this vessel's first fish of the season.
We fished open water north of the nets in depths from 60 to 200 feet.  More on this tomorrow, but here's some photos: Click for welded King  Click for our first fish

7/3/06  Message board member, SteveO was beating up on the fish again over in the land of cheese.  Steve seems to have a lock on the fish out of Kewaunee, WI and hardly ever doesn't come back with a heavy box.  Click for reel-proof
      SteveO leans toward my Frog pattern in the 10 and 12 inch flashers with matching meat rigs.  From the photos he sends in every week, I don't think anyone will argue with his tried & true consistent success.  Click for SteveO's favorites
      Got off the dock last evening for the maiden fishing voyage out of Manistee, MI in Project SR 1979.  Boat trolled like a dream and was easy to fish from.  How'd we do?
I guess,.... you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out!  Click for sneak peek 

7/2/07  Was gonna ...and didn't, kinda describes my plans for yesterday.  Everything was not in our favor with a carnival at Manistee's First Street Public Access (boat launch) pushed our plans back about fishing.  We had an alternative of going to Ludington, but in no way did I want this misconstrued as an avoidance of the nets in Manistee.  Besides, weekday fishing is always better.  Click for boat ready to go!
     Ludington and Manistee's harbors were, or are loaded with Alewives.  This is our first major run of bait into these 2 harbors this season.  Even by conservative estimates, this is a good 3 weeks behind what's anything close to a "normal" schedule.  This just goes to show how the winter-like weather we had back in April has everything turned topsy turvy. 

7/1/07  Fishing took a nose dive yesterday in Manistee, MI, according to Capt. Tom Rasmussen.  While fishing in Manistee has been fairly decent since May, every port will have it's off-days.  Cold down temp was said to be part of the problem.
      Worked on Project SR 1979 all day yesterday.  There's a difference in just going fishing and being ultra prepared to go catching.  Re-lined all the rods, changed the leaders on the divers and core.  Packed a good selection of my line of tackle that covers all light, depth and temperature conditions.  Gonna hit the big pond later today, which will be a joy.  I haven't been fishing once, so far this season!