Capt. John's Log
16 Seasons of Archived Daily Great Lakes News
Below images are thumbnails

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7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

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7/28/08 Manistee, MI
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8/31/08 Manistee
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9/1/08 Manistee, MI

Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log

Click here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

8/14/17  Port of Arcadia, MI looked like place to be yesterday morning.  Here's a hand-on report from resident charter skipper, Capt. Steve B:

"17 boats out here this morning john. All but 1 boat caught between 2 and 5 Kings.  One fish went 32 lb and another went 30.2 lb and most fish were in the 18 to 25lb range.
            So, the update is the big kings have arrived and are much bigger this year than the last several year averages. Both meat and spoons seemed to be working on these fish that were 100ft down in 150'."

                 More new tomorrow on big Kings to past and 41 pounds!

8/13/17  Have a great Sunday.  Go fishing and enjoy yourself!

8/12/17 Lk. MI showing it's very best behavior beginning tomorrow:

Saturday NNW wind 15 to 20 kt. Mostly sunny. Waves 4 to 6 ft.
Saturday Night Variable winds 5 kt or less. Mostly clear. Waves 1 to 2 ft.
Sunday Variable winds 5 kt or less. Sunny. Waves around 1 ft.
Monday Variable winds 5 kt or less. Mostly sunny. Waves around 1 ft.
Tuesday Variable winds 5 kt or less. Sunny. Waves around 1 ft.
Wednesday S wind around 10 kt. Mostly sunny. Waves 1 to 2 ft.

Lk. MI is having another big temp swing where the thermocline is going to be down around 100' from SW winds to 30 knots last night.  Wind is supposed to calm down, making today tolerable for fleet to get another day in search of Mr. King Salmon.
              By tomorrow N wind to 20 knots will bring in colder water.  How much remains to be seen as we contend with a down temp yoyo that has nothing to do with moderation.
              All the reports I've heard from Big Point Sable to Frankfort, MI is saying pretty decent King fishing for the most part.  This is great news for all!

8/10/17  The reel story behind today's featured photo of middle of the day Kings began last December.  Kelly S contacted me by email about fishing Lk. MI Kings around my area. 
               Kelly lives in northern Kentucky has fished Lk. Erie Walleyes.  So, I know he had the concept of big water trolling.  Now, being able to transpose that experience towards summer fishing for Kings was my challenge without breaking the bank for Salmon tackle.
              Then, it's up to me to share/teach what I preach...into practice.  Spoons in the top 40'? ...Kelly got that working.  Meat deep and slow, with me telling Kelly, "meat will take fish in the middle of the day."  Kelly proved me right once again with today's middle of the day catch that took 3 Kings and a released lake trout. Click Kelly's high sun Kings
               It's a daunting task to be an ambassador for my area and Salmon fishing in general.  One I welcome, but feel like the weight has be lifted with Kelly getting into fish!

8/9/17  Spoke with a Frankfort, MI charter boat this morning.  Intimidator Charters  needed meat heads and I needed info.  They had a handful in and were building a nice box.
              When it comes to my home port of Manistee, MI I'm in a holding pattern.  Putting in extra hours to make sure I've banked enough time to free up a morning, or a pm trip. 
              Same day shipping is a tall order that keeps me shop-bound on days I'd like to go fishing.  Same day shipping is what built my tackle business.  Amazon don't delay, neither do I.  Fishin' folks know I don't sit on their orders and get their tackle out the door quick!

8/8/17  Good news, the wind switched last evening from the N to the W, then SW.  This has pushed in the warm water and started forming a deeper thermocline. 
             Finally, conditions are setting up for a attractor/meat program.  I'm in a holding pattern until later this week ...when there's a chance take some meat rigs swimming!
             Spoons are great for the top 50'.  Once the Kings go deeper, spoons tend to lose their effectiveness.  Adult Kings are suckers for meat down deep!

8/7/17  Fished out of the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday morning from 6am until about 8:30am.  Knew this trip was headed south when we did not take a hit in the 1st 30 minutes of daylight.  Set up in the 12s 3 miles south of port in 60' of water and seen no marks and no fish being caught by other boats within eyeshot.  Traffic was moderate.
             Trolled N in 50' to 110' of water to no great avail.  Took 1 small 3-4 pound King on the GhostBuster SB 4.0 on our Slide Diver rod and that was it. 
             Temp break was 30' down.  Guess the best area was in and around the harbor if you can tolerate combat trolling doing circles in the harbor.
             Salvaged this morning learning how to operate new sonar that's a major work in progress.  Do know, I'm way behind the times and needed fishfinder upgrade.
             Back to the Manistee fishing.  Have no fear the fishing will pick up this week when W & S wind pushes warm water back in and this port's deep water reloads with fish.

8/6/17  Perplexing to me? ...even with all the warm days, the the temp break has remained fairly high up in the water column.  Deepest fish caught on my boat recently was only 40' down.  Just didn't see any deeper marks to go after.
            These high fish can be touchy, but will hit if you can get over them at the right time and place.  Alewives the Kings have been chowing down on are about 3" long.
            Fished for a couple, three hours this morning and that will be tomorrow's focus. 
            Began the learning curve on how to operate my new 9" Simrad with CHIRP (high & medium) sonar.  Impressive machine that leaves nothing to the imagination.  Was able to compare the Simrad against my C127 12" Raymarine 50kz machine. 
            The 50kz sonar gives your a good idea of what's there.  Medium setting CHIRP is precision picture with ultra, unbelievably clear marks and bait piles.

8/5/17  Most recent fish report I have is from this past Thursday evening after the morning action in the harbor.  Website members Todd B and Dimitri fished straight out of Manistee in a 100-200' of water.  They hit 6 Kings in the last hour of daylight.  Boating 3 Kings to 19 pounds from 20' to 60' down.  Their hot spoon was the Ghostbuster Salmon Buster™ in the 4.0 size on long leads of the riggers.  Slide divers with long leads took fish too.

8/4/17  Yesterday morning a N wind followed by E wind stacked up bait and adult Kings off Manistee, MI's harbor.  This was combat patrol with tackle busting, line ripping, big nasty Kings on the prowl to test your rod handling skills and wear you out!
             Downside to a big run entering the harbor, going up river cuts into the herd in the deep water until it reloads.  Time will tell how this unfolds.
             Today's sonar tech? ...well, ...honestly some of this stuff is over my head.  But I'm trying to get a handle on it.  Medium CHIRP is the wide beam and high CHIRP is a smaller narrower cone.  What I'm learning is CHIRP (compressed high-intensity radar pulse) sonar sends out more pulses/signals than the traditional 50kz and 200kz units I'm familiar with.
             The CHIRP technology is a lot expensive and happened when the price of DSP (digital signal processors) chips fell to below $30 to offer this tech to the general public.
             CHIRP was reel-expensive when it came out in 2011.  I've waited for the price to become reasonable and purchased a Simrad with the total scan transducer.  This transducer is a 21st century 10.250" long salami looking thing that should help my woes in the top 30'.

8/3/17  Marine electronics when it comes to sonar is breaking new horizons.  Sonar is our most useful tool when it comes to locating fish.
             One of my biggest bugaboos is catching Kings that are in the top 30'.  These fish do not mark.  Instead, they scoot off to the side of your troll path escaping even wide coned 50 kz transducers.  So, it looks like there's no fish there. 
             This issue cost me 90 minutes of precious water time last Saturday when I left the shallower depths (50' to 60') where the fish were to join/sight-see/boat ride with the fleet over deep water (200' plus) for no action.
              Side scan sonar would have been a help which I do not have.  Garmin's Panoptix is the probably leader in this field with a pricey $1500 LiveVü Forward and FrontVü transducer, not counting the head unit, or display.
              Interphase was the company that pioneered small boat forward scanning sonar.  After careful research, Interphase is now being serviced by Simrad.  So, it looks like Simrad bought out Interphase.  More on this tomorrow....

8/2/17  Need to make mention, on our UP trip out of Munising, MI on the way back, fished out of Manistique, MI on 7/19/17.  Hopes were to have the same success at this UP port we had in 2016.  Water temp was all warm and the massive schools of bait we marked last year were not there.  This port does not have deepwater close in, I'd say the boat run is good 5 miles to where we hit the fish back in 2016.  Fished for 3 hours, no hits and came home.
            In 49 year career fishing Lk. MI this is the 1st time I fished both the extreme S end, by Chicago back in March & the northern end up by Manistique in the same season.
            Manistee trailer boats I know of had 1 to 5 fish yesterday morning with some in 100' and less ...out to the 300' depths.  Scattered is the best way to sum this up.

8/1/17  Still learning the nuances of my Salmon Buster™ spoons.  The short game is to blab a bunch of unverified facts to sell/push tackle. 
            The long game is to put the time on the water and report reel-facts I see with my own eyes.  Then, share this info with you, as industry leading product support.
            Do know my spoons on lead leads (60'-100') off the riggers will catch high spooky fish pressured my the fleet in all depths of water.  Proved this on 7/19/16 & 7/30/17.
            Salmon Busters kick and wobble is not diminished (loss of action) on longer leads.  This is contrary to my experiences with metal spoons used ...back when I ran charters.
             Another good spoon reef-fact is? areas of spare fish populations you can cruise at a 3 mph troll speed to cover more water.  Still a lot to learn & that's the fun part!

7/31/17  We're closing out July 2017 with a vastly improved Salmon fishery for central Lk. MI ports that began last April.  Kinda think this caught everyone off guard.  Especially, the tackle stores that did not stock up before demand shot up like a rocket.  Now, retail tackle outlets are scrambling for product in a pressed market.  Know our tackle production and web sales has been way-way busier then we want, or need.
              One of the hardest things with Great Lakes trolling is staying the course and not getting pulled off your program with the "grass is always greener syndrome." 
              Learned this lesson again on this past Saturday's trip when the fleet was concentrated in deeper water over 100' deep.  This pulled us off the 50-60' depths where we had our 1st action.  Went out to join this party with the majority of the fleet to discover the Salmon forgot to show up and all the boats were just riding with no nets going down.
              Please check out today's featured pic of a glassy Lk. MI with the fleet in the background over plus 100' while we were inside of 50' catching fish. Click for this pic
                  Tomorrow's chat will be fine tuning the long and short game.

7/30/17  Fished yesterday morning from about 6am till about 9:15am.  Fished S of Guerney Creek to the 6s N of Big Point Sable.  Got suckered into wandering around in a 100' to 250' depths with a lot of boats, nobody was catching that we could see.
              If I was fishing the same area today/conditions today? boat would never see water deeper than 70'.  50-60 foot depth is where we had 5 Kings hits, none deeper than 35'.  Inside water temp was 56 on the surface with it breaking to 52 degrees by 20'.
              So, these were high skittish adult Kings (14-19 pounds) in flat calm/slick glass water that I've always struggled to catch in.  Click for our hot spoons on this trip
              Long leads on the riggers (17'-30' down) 80 to 100 feet back at 2.7 mph is what worked for us.  Our 5 bites all came on the Ghostbuster pattern, enough though tried other colors, even a J-Plug that was a flop. Click King that choked the GhostBuster SB 4.0
               The water that held fish for Todd B and myself was a milky green that turned clear once you hit the 70 foot depth.  Elite boats, dialed-in did a heck of a lot better.

7/29/17  Have a grand and glorious Saturday.  It's summer in MI, go enjoy it!

7/28/17  Keeping tackle in stock is like throwing darts blindfolded, because you never know how things are going to end up.  Stock storages I take personal.   Even though, you really can never predict what sales are going to be.
              Magnum Meat Heads got hit hard when Lk. Ontario rediscovered meat fishing.  Reason? players in the bait supply business stepped in with quality product.
              This I can fix, my 3D printed cupped rings were almost out of stock.  I've been making more everyday till midnight to replenish the supply.
              Fishing out of Manistee, MI has been hit and miss.  Those hitting the right stretch of Lk. MI are coming back in with some pretty heavy boxes of Kings to 25 lbs.

7/27/17  Sold out on several 4 packs of Magnum Meat Heads.  Since their introduction in 2005, this is a new one for me.  Demand has been off the chain this season.  Any mags heads in the base color of green, chartreuse, and X-Glow are out off stock in 2-4 packs, but still available in the super mags and meat rigs.  Some things you just can't plan for and this is one of them.

7/26/17  It's O-Fish-all the adult big King Salmon season is upon us.  Kings over 20 pounds test tackle to the limit.   Patience becomes your best friend when dealing with these massive fish.  Here's another Arcadia, MI report from longtime website member, Wayne N:

John caught 7 this morning (7/25/17) on your Mountain Dew spoon. He measured exactly 36 inches. Caught him down 70 in 100 ft of water straight out from harbor. Water temp at surface was 59 and ran 30 degree angle on cable. Was a beautiful morning "

7/25/17  Here's a brand new report from yesterday: 
              "Hi John, Steve here from Arcadia,
Had a good night (Monday) fishing from my home port Arcadia using meat rigs.
               Temp from few days ago changed a lot as surface was 55 deg ( 3 days ago it was 68) so temp was hard to gauge. Persevered with rigger set at 30 ft in 100 for and landed 2 nice fish. Big one was 25 lb 6 plz on certified scales other went 18 lb.
               Caught on 3 fly meat rig ( orange/ red) and the green/ white 3 fly 12 in flasher
               Meat seemed to thing that worked best once we figured out where the fish were cruising about. Both the fish were males and in very good condition ( well fed) and we were marking lots of nice baitfish also.  Click 25 pound King Arcadia, MI
               This year is definitely turning out better than last year. I've caught salmon every trip so far this year (7 times) and they are running bigger
                Last Thursday caught the first Coho this year (10lb) on 6 colors of lead ore using the prototype red plastic spoon you gave me to try with the gold tape on the side.
               I actually put it out expecting a steelhead but nailed the big fat Coho instead.
               Almost lost one fish last week when the treble bent open but was lucky enough that it fell out when the fish was landed.
                Of the last 12 fish caught we never lost a single fish but sure came close.
                I make a habit of replacing the hooks you showed me how to tie regularly as I learnt that lesson the hard way over the years.
                Thanks for making great tackle and passing some of your knowledge to me over the past several years. When I started meat fishing I was a complete novice but now I feel I have all the nuances dialed in and I enjoy seeing other people catch the biggest fish of their lives which has occurred several times this year...all thanks to the meat program."
                                     Capt. Steve B Arcadia, MI

Must defer today's fishing report until I have some news on central Lk. MI ports.  Got hit with a slew of orders and my face has been glued to a computer monitor.
              Trends from my webstore say meat fishermen are coming out in full force.  WI and NY is where the bulk of these orders are coming from.  Need to find time this week to checkout Manistee, MI.  This will provide a hands on reel story to share with you.

7/23/17  Recent trip to MI's U.P. reminded me what a beautiful state this is to reside in.  MI has to have the most shoreline miles of freshwater coastline in the USA.  Great Lakes shoreline is majestic with everything from rock walls to sand dunes several hundred feet tall.
              Munising, MI on Lk. Superior is where the
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located E towards Grand Marais.  This area is a stunningly gorgeous backdrop to a part of MI I never seen before.  Pictures do not do this scenery justice. Click for photos
             Munising is MI's capital for tour boats.  There's 5, or 6 good sized vessels running tours every 2 hours that are filled to capacity.  A head count of 250,000 visitors travel on these boats during the course of the season.  Click tour boat docks

7/22/17  Have a great Saturday.  Hope to dig up some fresh fishing info on my home port of Manistee, MI by Monday.  Busy making and shipping tackle makes it difficult to find the time to do so.  Do know according to the last MDNR fishing report, some Kings are showing up and being caught.  Then, find some time this coming week to squeeze a trip in.
                Tomorrow's chat topic?  ...what a wonderful state MI is to live in!

7/21/17  Traveled 302 miles to fish Lk. Superior out of Munising, MI to complete my quest to catch Salmon & Trout out of all 5 Great Lakes beginning on 10/1/1968 (1st Coho). 
               Doubt if this can be accomplished nowadays.  Because Salmon in Lk. Eire are in short supply.  In 1986 caught an adult King pushing 19 pounds off Stoney Point that's the N entrance to Brest Bay close to Monroe, MI.  This is anomaly happened while running a Walleye charters back then in early July.  Caught several Lk. Erie Steelhead too.
               My 1st Lk. MI King in 1971.  1st Lk. Huron Salmon happened in 1976 out of Oscoda, MI.  1st Lk. O Salmon & Trout took place in May of 2015 out of Wilson, NY.
               Conquering all 5 Great Lakes has to be a pretty exclusive club that I'm proud to be in ...spanning 49 years and counting.  The challenges Great Lakes fishing presents guarantees a rich lifetime of fishing fun!  Heck, for that goes, ...several lifetimes!
               Need to thank Todd B and his son Dylan for their help and wonderful company during our recent journey to beautiful Munising, MI! Click Todd B Lk. S Pink Salmon

7/20/17  Heavy work load this morning from the webstore has my time spoken for.  Will update you tomorrow on my mini vacation to MI's U.P.   While restocking continued in my tackle shop.  Meat heads were the holdup, providing a few days to get away.
              To me my fishing career is about personal accomplishments.  1st to other fisher men and women.  Then to myself.  Was able to catch a Lk. Trout and a Salmon from Lk. Superior to complete my quest to catch in ALL 5 Great Lakes.  Only took me 49 years since Oct. 1, 1968 when I caught my 1st Great Lakes Salmon to add this achievement.

7/19/17  As of 5pm today, my webstore located at:
                   Has reopened and is accepting orders presently.
                Have NOW caught Salmon and Trout from all 5 Great Lakes!
                              Click 7/17/17 Lk. Superior Salmon

7/18/17  Restocking continues with progress.  Tackle sales  will begin again before this week is over.

7/15/17  Have a great Saturday.  My webstore is closed for sales until 7/20/17, or this coming Thursday.  We were running out of certain items and need time to regroup.  This is a great time for a mini vacation that starts tomorrow.  Details on my looming adventure will be discussed tomorrow......

7/14/17  Almost the halfway point in July as intensity of the 2017 builds. In fact, set a new sales record for the number of Canadian orders accepted and shipped.
              King Kryptonite meat heads have been removed from my website temporarily.  Ran out of the WTP clear crushed ice tape this head uses.  Should have these meat heads back in-stock towards the end of next week, if not sooner.

7/13/17  Picking up on yesterday's chat, one thing, leads to another.  It is absolutely necessary for me to take a few days off and search for that "one thing" that turns into
beneficial info down the road.  This is called moving my product line forward from what I see with my own eyes and not gross exaggerations.
              If you've ordered meat heads? ...we're running about a day behind as we battle to keep up with demand.  Hope to have backlog cleared up soon.  Patience please.

7/12/17  An idea in the making has a starting point that everything grows from.  Then, it's like a tree growing branches.  If the initial concept had merit? 
              Point I'm trying to make? 2016 season was based on learning that came from my out of town trip to Manistique, MI in the UP last July.
              Here, it was more more by accident, than intention, learned how deadly the Ghostbuster pattern was.  Then, this spoon color was transposed to flashers & meat rigs that produced my best box of Kings (to 28 lbs.) on 8/10/16  in a very-very long time.  This 2016 evening trip grew into a written article with video. Click 8/10/16 Salmon Fishing
              For this reason alone, need to get out of my comfort zone and fish a new port/area before summer is over.  This can only be accomplished by taking a few days off.

7/11/17  In a couple 3 weeks adult Kings will start making their appearance known at all Lk. MI ports.  End of July, 1st part of August is a safe bet to get into the fish we wait all season for.  You know, the bruisers that test your tackle to the limit.
              Now is the time to get your rig shipshape for the coming onslaught.  Most important other than sharp hooks is the condition of your leaders and mainlines.  Even the smallest nick can cost you both a lost fish and a hit in your billfold to buy/replace.

7/10/17  One thing that I noticed and have not made mention of?  ...Lk. MI water level is up about a foot since last April-May.  This is good news to all.
               Going back to my last trip, signs of a water flea bloom were left on my braid rods.  This is both good and bad news.  It's great to see Lk. MI producing zooplankton, but the knots of biomass fleas leave on our lines is nasty to deal with.

7/9/17  Every boat needs one.  Most boats have one.  I'm speaking of a lure that always comes thru no matter how tough the bite it.  In my case, it's the Salmon Buster™ 4.0 in the Gold Crushed Orange pattern.  Click 7/3/17 Steelhead jaw ornament
            This spoon is what we call our anti-skunk device, or never failer.  Because it always comes up with a fish when all the other rod combinations don't.
            I'm not on the water enough to mount a serious threat to the fish.  Having a go-to lure sure helps.  There's a big difference between 1 fish & swallowing your pride with no fish!
            In the midst of trying to schedule a Lk. Superior trip in the next week, or 2.  This is the only Great Lake I've yet to fish.  Would like to accomplish this before summer is over.  Thinking of fishing off Munising (Pictured Rocks shoreline), then dropping down to Manistique's part of Lk. MI in the UP in a 3 day escape.

7/8/17  Have a great Saturday!

7/7/17  Waiting and waiting is where I'm at now, to make another trip to MI's UP like I did last summer to Manistique, MI.  No consistency is what I'm hearing from the UP message board that was great help last year.  Both Fairport and Manistique have been hit & miss.
            We're about 3 weeks away from when prime time for adult Kings. This is the big deal at my home port of Manistee, MI.  So, I do have a window for an out of town event.
            Think we all need a break from daily chores and fresh change of scenery.  Getting away puts everything in perspective and clears the mind for new ideas.

7/6/17  Colder weather is on the way for Manistee, MI.  Mid/upper 80s is hot for N country where I live.  70s predicted tomorrow look a lot better.
            Once this cooler weather comes in central Lk. MI ports will see stable weather and calm seas.  My next trip looks to be next week after my boat has a thorough cleaning.

7/5/17  Unless I miss my guess, Lk. MI summer prime time fishing is going to be deeper then we've seen in the last few seasons.  Warm winters have kept the main body of Lk. MI warm.  Add in the heating days in front of us? ...this bodes well for attractor fishermen.
            This past holiday was Manistee, MI's Forest Festival where a carnival with a bunch of rides takes up most of the boat trailer parking lot at the 1st Street public launch.
            This was part of the reason of my short fishing trip this past Tuesday, or risk being blocked in by cars.  Seen more deep fish off Manistee in a longtime.  Downside? ....these fish were not biters on anything we threw in the water.  Area we fished was slightly N in the 16s to 17s in 55' to 250' of water.  Marks were heaviest in 120' to 150'.  Know these fish would sooner, or later turned on (hopefully), but did not have all day to wait them out.

7/4/17  Happy birthday to the USA!  In 1776 the forefathers of our country approved the Declaration of Independence from our mother country of England & King George III.  This effectively put a hangman's noose on every person that signed this document for treason.  It took courage from all the signees to break away from the, then world's strongest power.
             Today, it's fitting to to wish happy birthday to my Salmon Buster™ spoons that were born with a double header off Onekama, MI on this day 3 years ago (7/4/14).
             Fished Manistee, MI yesterday morning from about 7am till 10am.  It felt good to be on the big pond again after a 4 week absence.  Took a 8-9 lb. Steelhead on my boat's never-failer, aka Gold Orange Crush SB 4.0.  Click this happy birthday Steelie
            Seen plenty of suspended marks, but could not unlock the combination to get the 80' to 140' down fish to bite.  Lots of bait in 50'-60' of water.
         I thank our founders for all of our rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness!

7/3/17  Mini series on spoons part 3 continues today.  Reel fact: once a spoon reaches market saturation, the revenue stream for the builders of said product ...ends.  Then, a new model/shape comes into vogue that has less to do with fish catching ability.  But more to do with catching customers.  This has been played out, time and time again!
             Reasoning behind my efforts in the spoon market are entirely different with a spoon that's going to last and never become obsolete.  The action of a spoon and the speed tolerance do not change over 10 years down the road. 
            My mindset on spoon manufacturing is based on longevity and reel-worth well into the future.  And staying out of the tackle store spoons wars that never end.

7/2/17  Great weather continues for Manistee, MI during our 4th of July Weekend.  Seas look good for the next few days that means I could get off the dock ...finally.
             To continue my mini series on the history of my spoons begins with making a plastic spoon for it's obvious advantages.  Lexan spoons can flex and return to it's original shape.  Having the color imbedded makes a spoon that will last decades, not years.
             The Great Lakes spoon market has long been predicated on selling millions of metal spoons with planned obsolescence built in.  Saying the paint will sooner, or later fade, chip, peel, fall off, and the silver will tarnish.  So, a constant influx of new models that flood the market is the way it's been ...since I began fishing the Great Lakes in 1968.
             There has been no spoon that's held heavy sway over the spoon market.  Only new models/manufacturers that promote different brands that fall out of the fleet's favor over time.  Duration of most spoon companies do not make it in the long haul.  Proof is there is no relevant spoon manufacturer from the 1970s around today.

7/1/17  This is the weekend 3 years ago when the prototype version 4 printed 3D spoon took a double on Kings, off the Port of Onekama, MI.  This said I was on the right track.  But still several minor tweaks had to be accomplished.  Click for this double
             Started making 3D test spoons way back in April 2014, so this was no over night success.  I made 100s of 3D test spoons in this hard fought journey. 
             First batch I made were made out of ABS, a fairly low strength plastic.  Meaning, when the fish hit the ABS 3D printed spoon, it ripped out the nose hole, escaping with spoon and all.  This was not good, a major setback that made me rethink my whole strategy.
             Found a material/filament I could print with called PET, this is the same plastic throw away bottles are made with.  PET is a lot more durable than ABS.
             Knew all along, Lexan, the world's strongest plastic would be the material production versions would be made from, but this material is not suited for 3D printing.

6/30/17  Have a safe and great 4th of July Weekend, because you deserve it!
               So, looking forward to July after this week's blitz of business and personal appointments that ate up every day.  Time during the summer is always in short supply!  Good news is we were able to ship all orders without delay that met our 7am deadline.
               This is history weekend about my Salmon Buster™ spoons that will be shared with you as this weekend progresses.  3 years ago is when this project started to came together.  This was the time frame in 2004 when the final SB design leaped forward.

6/29/17  Don't know what the fishing will be like. But the seas looks very favorable for the central Lk. MI fleet over the 4th of July Weekend. Click Windfinder
              Light winds and temperatures in the 70s will be enjoyable for 4th.  This Saturday morning there is a slight chance of thunderstorms for Manistee, MI.
                Personal commitments might delay shipping today and tomorrow.

6/28/17  After the devastating 2015 season, Lk. MI's outlook for a decent King fishery was downright pretty bleak!  2016 was a slight uptick and this year shows a rebound beyond what many of us could have never thought possible.  Click bait autopsy
              During 2016, in my home port of Manistee, MI, hardly ever marked any bait pods until October.  Yes, MI ports this year are producing Kings better after 2 mild winters.
              Question is? will the big months of July and August end up.  Being an eternal optimist, I'd hope/say we will have a respectable King fishery.  Now, we have to wait for history to verify the rest of this yet to be told ...reel-story!

6/27/17  "Many fish were caught this weekend in the MCSFA tournament week. On Wednesday we had a great turnout at Kids Fish at man made, on Friday the Ladies classic had many boats coming in with nice boxes of fish. On Saturday and Sunday many fish were caught despite some sloppy conditions on Sunday.
              I fished all three days and caught 15 plus fish each day. The majority were lake trout but did catch 6 kings and 1 steelhead. My biggest King was 14.95 and did catch a lake trout 17.75 pounds. I fished from Onekama to Arcadia in 110 to 115 feet of water. I have charters the remainder of the week." Click Capt. Kevin Hughes & Sandpiper Charters

The above is first hand fishing news from well respected, Capt. Kevin Hughes who charters out of Onekama, MI.  I can add, Kings to 25 lbs. were boated in this same event.

6/26/17  Today's update is delayed until tomorrow.  Extra busy in the shop and have not had the time to boil down the fishing info from this past weekend's results.  I'd rather postpone then just throw out info that's not had careful thought to verify.
               Shipping orders is job one, and as fast and possible.  Amazon's success is based entirely on getting product out the door and into the shipper's hands ASAP.  Guess what?  ...this is a easy no brainer lesson I've stuck to since I went into the tackle business in 2004.

6/25/17  Have a great Sunday!  Latest fishing reports from our message board members say, it's Lakerville from Onekama to Arcadia, MI.  More info on the Lake Trout is these fish are hitting clean/non attractors rods.  So, it's not like these fishermen are targeting LTs. Salmon for now, are hard to come by in that area.

6/24/17  This is the weekend Manistee, MI hosts the Bud Pro/Am Tournament.  This event dates back to the 1980s and helps generate monies for the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association.  Added boat traffic means I'm staying onshore until next week.

6/23/17  Cannot recall from recent memory, when we've had a stretch of rain and thunderstorms like the last few weeks in Manistee, MI.  This has kept me dockside, when  you throw in the wind that comes with unsettled weather.
              It is essential for me to fish where "on the spot decisions" provide a true testing platform for my tackle.  Feeling the pressure last July out of Manistique, MI is when we put the GhostBuster pattern to work.  Reason? ...we were down to our last couple hours of daylight and our fish take wouldn't feed a hungry yard cat.
             In these 2 hours we turned a slow fishing trip into a highly successful event. Because we needed a glow spoon and took a chance on Mr. Ghostbuster.  The rest is history that led to this pattern being transposed to flashers/meat rigs™ that are deadly!

6/22/17  Hooked up the boat and headed to the boat ramp around 4pm yesterday to no avail.   A plus 20 mph wind was pushing 3 footers with plenty of white water.
              Learned there was a wide disparity in wind velocity (8-10 mph) from the Ludington data buoy that's about 14 miles S of Manistee that I relied on for info.  Once the S breeze cleared the Big Point Sable, wind gained strength from Lk. MI's coast that slopes to the E slightly like a funnel.  So, after seeing in person what the seas were, it was a no brainer to leave the boat on the trailer and head home.
Click Ludington Data Buoy
              Manistee does have a weather station on the beach off the S 1st. Street pier.  Problem is is sits in a semi sheltered location that does not give an good reading unless the breeze has some SW, W, or NW in it.  Click Manistee Harbor Weather

6/21/17  Safety with our boats and trailers should never be overlooked.  Boat trailers must be top-notch to eliminate grief before it happens.  That's one of the reason I upgraded to LED tail/marker lights.  I'm on the road in the dark a lot and want to been seen.
               If my work load allows? ...might be able to get a Lk. MI test session this afternoon/evening.  Been a couple of weeks and feel the urge!
                         First official day of summer 2017 is here today!

6/20/17  Good news is this website has posted more photos of King Salmon then all of last year from Michigan ports.  It's amazing what a difference a year makes.
              Trailer boat owners are keenly aware trailer lights are a weak link.  Submerging 12 volt lights on launching is bound to cause issues sooner, or later.  Even if your trailer lights were made to do this.  Mine were fine the first 5 years on my new trailer, then age caught up.  Replacing them with LED lights seemed to be the way to go, but the first 2 sets of China made lights purchased were junk.  So, I've been dealing this issue for 2 weeks.
Please keep in mind, tail-lights on boat trailers over 80" wide require side marker lights too.

6/19/17  Father's Day weekend was good to those who had weather on their side and could get out on Lk. MI.  Heard good reports, some in double figures for both Coho & Kings.
              Big deal was the amount of baitfish reported in multiple year classes.  This is good news for all of us who chase fish on Lk. MI!  Click 6/15/17 box of IL Salmon
              Please note in this box of fish the Salmon Buster™ spoons that caught at slow dodger speed.  This shows the wide speed latitude my spoons can perform at.
              Also, the 4.0 SUV Alewife SB spoon that continues to produce.  The roots of this spoons came from the Striper anglers in southern impoundments.  I just upgraded the photo and had the stickers made, taking the chance this pattern would be a goodie.  Now you know the reel-story behind my creation like no other spoon I've ever seen!

6/18/17  Happy Father's Day!

6/17/17  Have a great Father's day Weekend!  Looking forward to sharing this weekend's fishing reports the 1st part of the new week.  Best part of this season has yet to come!

6/16/17  This stuff about "thank god it's Friday" don't work for me lately.  I need 9 days in a week to accomplish what I want to do.  Designing tackle can eat thru 100s of hours.  Like it did in the design, then test phase of my Salmon Buster™ spoons. 
               I have several more good ideas for improving the tackle we use.  Case in point: is my Super Snubbers™ and moveable tab diver rings that are a huge leap forward in functionality.  Both these products began with original thought and time to perfect.

6/15/17  Taking a pass on today's chat.  Summer means time off for those who work for me.  So, for the rest of this week, I'm a one man show taking care of all orders myself.  Good thing is how much you learn to appreciate your help when you don't have it.
            Questionable about fishing this afternoon that's totally weather dependent.

6/14/17  This morning, according to down-temp info gathered from the Ludington data there's a 2° break at 55' down (54°-52°).  Click temp Ludington data buoy
               This is the territory where spoons are still effective and an attractor-meat program starts to come into play.  Most of my meat program fish come out of 44° to 38°  Taken some in 36° water too.  But the afore mentioned temps are in my wheelhouse when it comes to catching meat fish aboard my boat.
               If I were fishing today (wish I was), I'd run as mixed program with my spoons down in the 50'-55' zone.  Then, get a firm temp reading and fish meat in the colder water on my deepest rigger.  Plus, at least 1 meat setup on a wire diver. 
               This worked for me the last time I was out on 6/2/17.  Which seems like ages ago with most of my time being spent in the shop. 
               Truth is I'm holding back with the threat of thunderstorms, because I never do well before a storm rolls thru.  Know this is defeatist attitude I can't shake.  Then, there's the safety issues of being a lighting rod 3 miles from the shore.

6/13/17  Scattered thunderstorms today means no fishing this afternoon after diligently working all weekend to free up time.  Warm water returned to Manistee, MI again and I'm stuck dockside filling far too many orders than we can handle comfortably.
              There's no happy medium in the tackle business, either there's not enough, or too much.  Sales are governed by how the fish are biting, or so it seems.  I'm trying hard to squeeze a Lk. MI trip in this week.  Just don't know when the weather will cooperate?

6/12/17  This weekend's S and SW blow stacked warm water along the coast of central LK. MI ports like I mentioned in this past Saturday's chat.  Click at depth temp chart
               Spring Kings can be tough when these fish are up high.  Warm water pushes them to deeper parts of the water column where the fishermen have improved odds.
               Deeper fish from a formed thermocline and structure comes into play, like a fence.  Warm water promotes plankton growth to attract baitfish (Alewives) too.
               Issue is for big lake anglers like me ...who want another crack at these feisty spring Kings?  This is the traditional time of the season when Kings are known to scatter. Then, return towards the end of July.  It remains be seen, if this happens again this season?
               Because there wasn't enough spring Kings around Manistee, MI in 2014 thru 2016 to form any prognostications.  In 3 years a lot can change!

6/11/17  Last day to fish for free.  Which is kind of a non issue for central Lk. MI with yesterday's gale warnings and huge seas.
              Wind took down my power grid too.  Was without electrical power for most of the day and part of the night.  This happening on the warmest day in 2017 was not good.  Spent a good portion of my time making sure my freezers kept running on generator power.

6/10/17  Day one of Michigan's DNR Free Fishing Weekend.  This is a great way to expose more people to fishing.  Real fishing is a hands on sport that dates back to the prehistory of mankind when we depended on fish for a rich source protein that provided sustenance.
              This afternoon's big blow from the SW should bring the Kings back to Manistee, MI.  Warm water is on the way.  This will be a big help to improve catch rates.

6/9/17  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Hear today and it's no use for tomorrow.  Both of these statements equally apply to the once EZ King fishing out of Manistee, MI.
             The inshore Kings have left the building and are not in the inshore depths of 100' to 250' like they once were.  Recent N blow really set this fishery back.
             Knowing why they left is as important.  The Kings were here in the 1st place, cuz there was a wide band of 50° water from like 10' to 70'-80' down.  50s are in the comfort zone of the Kings.  50s also promote plankton.  Which in-turn draws the baitfish (Alewives).
             I watched this pocket of water slide to the S that now looks like it's located off Pentwater, MI.  For info source for this water movement: Click animated chart
             Here's what my Wednesday hero had to say about yesterday's results when he tried to go back to back on 2 trips: "I fished again this morning.  All the fish were gone.  I washed baits for 3 hours and then gave up.  It was like a barren desert out there looking for fish.  Fished 90 feet to 220 feet.  One boat fishing close.  Never saw a net come out from them.  They quit when I did..."
             Just because Wayne T struggled does not make him a zero.  Oh contraire! 
          It shows he's still a hero with an honest fishing report we ALL can learn from!

6/8/17  Today's reel-fishing story is courtesy of Manistee, MI local, Wayne J:

"HI John,

Had a pretty good morning. Lines in the water at 5:30 and out at 9:30. Fishing alone with a rigger,  a 10 core and a braid diver.  I fished south of the harbor, mostly in 125' of water.  Saw evidence of a thermocline forming once I got into the 12's.  Click Wayne's fish box
             Fifty foot down was 46 degrees.  Thermocline looked like it was forming above that. Saw some bait but not much.  I ran a X-glo BTI with a fly behind it and that took my biggest King.  I had another shaker on at the same time. Glad it wasn't a big one.
            Doubles with big fish tend to overwork me.  Next two that I caught were on the 10 color on a Grey Ghost Salmon Buster™ spoon.  Love that spoon this time of year.
            End result, three kings in the box, one shaker released and a hit on the rigger that did not hook up. tired fisherman.   Wayne J skipper of Take Five"

6/7/17  If the Lk. MI cooperates?  ...might be able to get out this evening.  Have some new common sense ideas for tackle that needs testing. 
             A steady diet of N wind has pushed the warmer water S in central Lk. MI.  Seen 44° on the surface from the Ludington data buoy.  This is a major game changer for sure.  With cold water inshore running out deep might be the plan.  Harbor might work too.

6/6/17  During the course of any workday, can speak on the phone with several fishermen seeking info.  This is one of the best parts of my job.  Here's feedback from direct contact:

"Hello John,

I spoke with you and ordered a few flashers and meat rigs two weeks ago. Thank you for your insight and help picking out the right colors for Olcott NY. We had a pretty decent trip this past weekend, and the meat rigs were a huge help to the success. I wanted to just reach out and say thank you for your help and quick work to get my order out and to me within days.   -Mark C-"  Click for Mark's recent Lk. Ontario spring King

6/5/17  Only issue I see fishing out of my home port of Manistee, MI for Kings it water temp lacks a definable thermocline to concentrate fish.  This leads to the Salmon being scattered up and down the water column.  Our highest fish came around 40', deepest was a 100' to add credence to the point I just made.
             Today's featured photo is from last week's trip with longtime fishing friends, Todd B & John J holding fine examples of spring Kings.  Click for this photo

6/4/17  Part 2 of yesterday morning trip out of Manistee, MI begins with the statement, "you don't know what you have, until it's gone."  That's what most of us were thinking about the almost total collapse of King Salmon fishery in 2015.  2016 was a little better
             That is not the case in 2017 when the Kings showed up in Manistee in April, hung around in May, and are still here in June.  Click for my 1st 2017 King on meat
             In less than 4 hours of lines in the water, we boated 4 Kings to the mid-teens and missed 2 drive bys.  Todd B, John J, & I fished S of Guerney Creek towards the big point. 
             Surface temp was 54°-55° that dropped to 51° at 15' and stayed that way to 70'.  Surface current was running N at a fair clip from sustained S winds.
             Water we fished in was stained, not like the gin clear Lk. MI main body of water.  Did mark occasional bait on the bottom and a good amount of suspended fish that developed lockjaw as the sun rose and the lake calmed down.

6/3/17  The Salmon Buster™ SUV Alewife pattern is no joke.  This spoon is as absolutely as reel as it gets.  We had 4 exciting rips on the Alewife SUV in the 4.0 and 4.65 sizes from 6:30am thru about 7:45am off riggers 45' to 60' down, over 100' of water.
              Then, the bite died which could be attributed we turn from the S troll to the N.  Once we headed N it was pitiful slow until we boated a double digit King on the John J combo around 9:30am.  Plus, we had a meat thief we missed off a diver on the Super Silver Bullet BTI combo. It was my pleasure to have long time fishin' buds aboard, John J & Todd B.
             You don't have to be a smarty pants to see the merit of reel Alewife image transplanted on a spoon.  Common sense told me this would work during the design phase.  It was wonderful to confirm my idea and see 1st hand this spoon cqatch!
             Here's what I know from intel gathered on the water during yesterday morning's trip:  There are enough Kings sprinkled from Big Point Sable to the 16s, just N of Manistee, MI to keep it interesting!  Click 6/2/17 SUV SB 4.0 spoon caught King
      To be explained tomorrow: water temp, area fished, death toll & current direction.

6/2/17  Going to a head start on this weekend by taking this morning off to go know where.  In mental prep for today's trip, mulled over the zillion choices fishermen face after not being on the water for several days.  It's stone flat-out amazing how complicated we've remade the once simple process of fishing.  Have a great weekend!
             Fished this morning.  Tune in tomorrow for the rest of this reel-story!

6/1/17  Been trying to bank some hours.  So, when I do get a chance to go fishing, won't feel guilty about neglecting my tackle business.  Know tomorrow, Friday and Saturday look OK.  Hope the weather forecast is right and get a chance to drown some lures.
            Meat bite is starting.  Heard this mentioned more than once.

5/31/17  Good fishing news from the central Lk. MI Port of Manistee from well known and respected, Capt. Kevin Hughes.  Here's what Capt. Kevin was kind enough to share with us:

"We caught 27 fish in the two days of the Onekama Shakedown. We fished from the 10s to the 5s south of Manistee. We caught fish from 125 to 250 feet of water.
              The big fish came on meat and  the majority of fish came on spoons.  Divers, both high and low. down riggers, copper and lead all caught fish.
              Of the 27 fish the majority were Kings, Coho and  1 lake trout. We caught one King around 18 pounds. The fish were filled with bait and we saw bait surfacing during the day. Things are looking up this season....."  Click Capt. Kevin's website

5/30/17  In a holding pattern until I get more Manistee fish info.  There's a wide disparity in the fish reports I've heard.

5/29/17  Memorial Day is when we honor our fallen service men & women going back to Bunker Hill in 1775.  In my 70 year lifetime major wars have been fought in Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and lesser military actions in Panama, Granada, Somalia, and Syria.  Please remember the ultimate sacrifice many have made.

5/28/17  Today's chat pertains to recent photos posted about the success of Gold Crushed Orange Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon that proves I'm not blowing smoke.
               "You weren't kidding about that gold and orange one being awesome.  Got a really nice Laker and a bunch of Coho today.  Coho are thick off St Joe right now.  Laker was 13#.  Went 8 for 10 in the end." ...from Capt. Ray C.   Click for Ray's photo

5/27/17  Today's topic is about the gunk cottonwood trees float onto Lk. MI.  This fibrous stuff accumulates on your lines and ends up at the swivel. 
               It is hard to pick off and rid yourself of.  Never figured it out, if it was better to pick this wad of fiber off the lines when it was wet, or dry.  I do not have a visual, but will try to post picture soon the next time off the dock.
               Southern Lk. MI has a lot of cottonwoods.  According to the Saugatuck fleet when I chartered there in the 1990s, the local skippers said, it slowed the fishing down.

5/26/17  Home projects are going keep me off the water until next week.  Have a safe and enjoyable weekend as we get ready for full fledged summer.

5/25/17  The MDNR's free fishing weekend happens on June 10 & 11, 2017.  That's 2 weeks out.  Anything that adds to the base of fishermen, I'm totally for.
              Going to start my Memorial Day weekend a little early and wish all of you a safe and happy holiday.  We all need a break.  So, enjoy the unofficial kickoff of summer!

5/24/17  We all need a place to start trolling.  At this time of the year NOAA surface temp charts can point you in the right direction.  Click Manistee surface temp chart  
               Central Lk. MI ports light up when there's a 8° to 10° surface temp differential that sets up close to the dropoff.  Over the years, this break/temp change used to occur within about a distance of 2 miles, or less.  Then, the fish are fenced/concentrated by cold water and structure.  Increasing your odds of success by a huge margin. 
                Issue is the NOAA surface temp charts have not been worth a darn for the last month.  Erroneous readings during cloud cover can be understood.  However, during clear conditions we should get a representative chart.  That's not the way it is now. Current satellite temp chart readings are totally worthless.  Maybe this satellite is worn out?      

5/23/17  Decided not to go fishing today.  Plan is to build tackle and try to have a better cushion.  Then, fish the Memorial Day Weekend a couple of times.
              Know Manistee, MI results from last weekend were lackluster at best.  Boats that did reach double figures did so by targeting Lake Trout.  3, or 4 Salmon was a good box.

5/22/17  After an E wind Kings showed up at Wilson, NY on Lk. Ontario.  If I wasn't so busy in the shop with tackle ...I'd be on my way there for a few days.
              It's going to be a wait and see on fishing reports from this past weekend.  Wind has shifted to the SW and predicted to blow at 30 mph today.  This push of warmer water should help stack some Kings at central Lk. MI ports (Ludington, Manistee, & Frankfort). 
             Tomorrow morning looks fishable, if there's a rare chance to get away from the shop for a few hours.  The coming Memorial Day Weekend is shaping up nicely with temps in the mid-70s.  Might have to wait until then...

5/21/17  In 2015 spring King fishing and summer Kings were almost non existent in MI's slice of Lk. MI.  2016 MI seen a small uptick with the better fishing in WI.  2017 is on track to be one heck of an improvement with a lot more Kings off MI's coast.
              King Salmon/Chinook are vital to sustain our Great Lakes sport fishery.  Millions of dollars are spent every year on boats and tackle to pursue this hard fighting fish.  Adding to the overall economy of all Great Lake states.

5/20/17  Have a great weekend.  My time is being devoted to build more inventory.  So, when I do get a decent day, going fishing will happen.

5/19/17  T.G.I.F. is the way I feel about this week's workload.  There have been some Kings caught out of Manistee in water from 100' to 250' deep.  But it's not the big deal, like it was, when the fish were closer to the harbor.  Once the bait that's in southern Lk. MI move N things will drastically improve for my home port.  Find bait and you'll find Kings.
              Bright note on the horizon is the large amount of small shaker Kings that have been caught in more southerly Lk. MI ports.  These are our future adults.

5/18/17  Wilson, NY as of last weekend, Kings were on the Canadian side of the Niagara Bar, by St. Catherine's Ontario.  Coho was good out of Wilson averaging around 5 lbs. per.
               Kewaunee, WI's spring King fishery is off to a slow start.
               Rogers City, MI on Lk. Huron was Lakerville with good sized LTs being caught in 40' to 50' of water N of the harbor.
               Southern Lk. MI was the place to be last weekend.  We had website members fishing out of South Haven, MI with respectable numbers of fish on spoons.  Most of the fish caught had several year classes of Alewives in their tummies.

5/17/17  Early am thunderstorms knocked out my satellite internet.  Then, when I finally got a net connection, shipping orders have delayed my planned chat for today.  Without the internet there's no way I make make mailing labels to ship product.
         Time constraints has delayed today's update about port reports until tomorrow.

5/16/17  Yesterday evening around 5pm, went on an exploratory mission to Manistee, MI's shelf, or drop off about 3 miles out.  Harbor water temp was 60 degrees that transitioned slowly to 50° on the surface over 125' of water. 
              This contradicts NOAA surface temp charts by a good 10 degrees.  Down water temp was 46°-44° and decent down to 70' when it broke to from 43-42 over 150' of water. Spring Kings can be caught at 38° with no problem.
              Bait that was in and around the pier heads, marked on 5/4/17 has long since flew the coop.  Marked 2 fish around 60' down over 150' in 2 hours of trolling, before calling it quits.  Just didn't see enough to warrant hanging around till dark.
              Central Lk. MI is on the cusp of our spring King season once the fish move N from the more southerly Lk. MI ports that are reel-hot right now.
   Tomorrow scattershot fish reports from Rogers City, MI, Kewaunee, WI, & Wilson, NY.


5/15/17  Today's chat is from Team Extra Credit who fished South Haven, MI on 5/13/17.

"Good morning Captain,

I am happy to report that the Salmon Buster Gold with Orange Crush tape and Ghostbusters spoons were hot for use yesterday too. We were able to catch seven of our fish with these spoons off either 5-color led core or our high wire Dipsy. Equally exciting to us was seeing many of our fish spitting out alewives as we netted them. We caught a mixed bag of kings and Coho along with one trout and are hopeful for a continued successful season.

Thank you for sharing you fish catching knowledge with everyone. We are looking forward to August and our annual two weeks of fishing in the heavens of Manistee."

Thanks, Pete D.  from the Extra Credit Click for Capt. Pete's big catch

5/14/17  Have a great Sunday!  Looks like a pretty decent week with temps in the 70s for Manistee, MI.  Predicted S winds later this week should setup next weekend with surface temp break along Manistee's shelf, or drop off for good fishing.
             Common thread I'm hearing is most fish caught had Alewives in them.  This is good news for central Lk. MI fishermen.  Do know, I've posted a lot more photos of Kings caught off Manistee and Ludington this season when compared to 2015 & 2016.
             By no means is fishing off Manistee the glory years of easy pickings, but it's a lot better than I expected.  Let's ALL hope this keeps up!!!

5/13/17  Having lures that are proven to work all season long is beyond priceless.  Today's featured photo shows last summer's big hit, the GhostBuster Salmon Buster™ spoon was back on point early this May. Click 5/10/17 GhostBuster SB 4.0 King
              This spoon took our 1st 2 hits on a Slide Diver (no ring) 50/50 count on my recent Ludington trip.  Meaning 50' behind the diver and 50' of line out, dialed on 2 1/2.
              Reason for the 50' lead length is explained when you look at the photo carefully & see it's next to flat calm going to glass.  While this is not the biggest King my boat has taken this year, it certainly did photograph well.  Factoring in the semi low-light conditions,
I used fill flash to capture Todd hoisting a stunning 8-10 lb. bright silver spring King!
             The real expense in tackle is worthless stuff that don't catch, or just occasionally.
 Reel spoons like my original GhostBuster pattern are now proven produce all season long!

5/12/17  The idea behind my fishing trip to Ludington 2 days ago was motivated with the firm knowledge (from Capn. Kirk), this port had fish from his results a day prior.
               This afforded me the great opportunity to test spoons against the red hot SB 4.0 Gold Crushed Orange.  So, I did not load the spread with the color.  Knowing full well, there has to be other patterns that will produce.  Click test spoon free slider
                With that in mind, tested a new, not in production, copper crushed orange SB 4.0.  This newbie spoon accounted for 2 of my 5 bites.  This new test spoon was riding as a slider, not in a prime position for wary spring Kings in flat calm glassy water.
                My first 2 hits were on the Ghostbuster 4.0 that we hit with a black light, because it was just cracking daylight and still semi dark.  I'll post this fish pic tomorrow.
                We did take 1 fish on the Super Gold Bullet 4.0 on a rigger 38' down over close to 60' feet of water with the surface temp reading 44 degrees around 8am.

5/11/17  "They're baaaaack!" was confirmed again today by Ludington local legend, Capn. Kirk!  Kirk and his crew fished from 6:30am till about 11am and took an outstanding catch of 10 spring Kings.  Plus, he smoked me in the process, because I was there too!
               Meaning I had to deliver some tackle to Ludington, or at least that's the excuse I used to sneak out of the shop for the morning.  My results were a 1/3 of Capn. Kirk's good ship, "Enterprise" who was on warp drive and my boat was on impulse power!
              BTW, the majority of Capn. Kirk's Kings came on half cores on the temp break in 46 to 43 degree water on the Gold Crushed Orange 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon.  And that's what I had to deliver.  He bought 10 more of these spoons. Click for this reel meat pole!

5/10/17  "They're baaaaack!" This reel story comes to us courtesy of Ludington, MI, local legend, Capn Kirk.  He had very respectable box of Kings and a few Brown Trout.  Flavor of the day, was the Gold Crushed Orange Salmon Buster™ 4.0.  Kirk had 5 of these in his 6 rod spread and ordered 10 more of this pattern today. Click for Kirk's spring Kings!
               Oh, ye of little faith, that gave up on Lk. MI after a tough season in 2015.  Been around this fishery since 1968 and this I can guarantee; you never know what's gonna happen.  This is like Christmas for me, seeing happy fishermen, with big King Salmon!

5/9/17  Lk. MI off my home port of Manistee, MI is predicted to be fairly calm for the next few days.  This affords me the opportunity to going fishing.
             Last weekend's strong N blow is not working in my favor.  So, my expectations is not going to outpace reality.  N and NW at this time of the season just brings in more cold water and can scatter fish.  The way I look at it? ...even slow fishing, beats no fishing!  
           Biggest plus will be finding out if the bait marked on 5/4/17 is still around.

5/8/17  With good sized Kings being caught off Manistee, MI, it's going to be interesting as water temp builds in the main body of Lk. MI towards the end of this month.
             Testing my memory, I have go back to about April of 1995 to say, I caught Kings within a mile, or 2 of the pier heads off this port.  Back when I was charter boat skipper. 
             Reasons could be many why fair to good numbers of King Salmon have been caught off Manistee.  I can only offer an educated thoughts.  Such as, a warm winter kept the bigger Kings from migrating S.  Bait could be another possibility.  Where's there's bait? ...there's going to be predator fish sitting at the dinner table ready to chow down!

5/7/17  Took a photo of biomass 100 yards from Manistee, MI's pier heads around 10am on 5/4/17.  Marked this cloud at 8am about a mile S and by 10am it moved to the piers. 
            This is the same way my graph marked the small Alewives when I was at Manistique, MI last July.  Do know this is the time of the year when Alewives spawn.  Time will tell of our harbor loads up with bait. Click for 5/4/127 sonar image
            I was one of the last to know Kings were hitting off Manistee.  Know now, after the fact, this began in mid-later April and mum was the word.  As desperately as we need good news about the state of Lk. MI's King fishery keeping info on the QT is not helping anyone!
            Some of this is my fault, because I never seek fishing info from known contacts.  Usually, when good catches are coming in the word spreads fast.  Not so, ...this year!

5/6/17  Today's chat will be expanded tomorrow about bait off Manistee, MI.  We did mark bait and a Brown we caught was loaded with large Alewives. Click stomach contents

5/5/17  Fished for 3 hours yesterday morning out of Manistee, MI in almost flat calm seas from about 7am till 10am  Tried the inshore 10' to 15' depths for the 1st half hour S of pier heads to the clay-bank without any bites.  Moved to the deeper 30' to 40' depths in a mile wide sweeping loop out from the harbor.  Staying in the dark river water.
             Todd B and I just missed a hit off 1/2 oz bead chain keel weight board rod around 8am when the port Slide Diver rod took a hard slam.  This feisty King took close to 200' line off the reel headed towards Orchard Beach State Park.  Fought this fish up to 80' from the back of the boat 3 times, only to have it peel drag in a hard fight.  The 3rd time this King's power waned and we finally got a underneath it.  Click for yesterday's King
              Had to scurry back to the shop to build and ship orders before 2pm keeping with my same day shipping policy.  Water temps were about the same as the day previous.  While this trip did not echo the same success rate as the day before, I'd get out of bed at 4:45am any day of the week to catch a King pushing 3' long.
               To be continued tomorrow with more interesting reel-facts about bait!

5/4/17  Fished my home Port of Manistee, MI yesterday morning from 7am till noon with decent results for nowadays.  Boated 3 Kings at 7, 10, & 12 lbs.  Plus, a 4 lb. Brown.
             Fished a 1 to 2 mile wide arc around the harbor a good ways out from the pier heads.  Surface temp ranged for 50° to 44° out to the color line.  Click hot spoons
             Troll speed was 2.5 mph in a churned up sea with waves coming from all directions in 2 rollers.  Best was our riggers from 7' to 20' down over 25' to 40' of water with 80' to 100' leads.  Took 3 of 4 on the riggers.  Our board program sucked, only the small Brown.
             Hits came on the Gold Orange Crush & Gold Bullet 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons.     The Kings are mean as ever.  Ready to cut crossways thru the board lines.  Making a mess, as today's featured pic of our biggest King shows. Click 5/3/17 tangled King Salmon

    This morning's fishing report is on tap for tomorrow! Click for today's biggest King

5/3/17  Calm seas are predicted for today and tomorrow.  Depending on work load, hope to get afloat soon.  Have a new mic for my action cams that needs testing,  Capturing a decent sound track is the hardest this I deal with on shoots.
             Hearing what's said and when adds to video.  When Todd and I first saw our 1st King of the year pushing 20 pounds the yak was priceless.  Think you know what I talking about after not seeing a King of this size since last August!
   Update tomorrow about today's reel-action out of Manistee. Click 5/3/17 King Salmon

5/2/15  34" King weighing 17.8 pounds is packing a lot of fish in short frame.  Negating MDNR's the claim there's not enough baitfish, at least partially.  I'm referring to the King that we caught on 4/25/17.  This was a thick fish too.  Click 4/25/17 17.8 lb. King
             In my 2 trips, 1 out of Ludington and 1 out of Manistee, MI figure I'm averaging 1 fish every 2 hours.  While I've not caught many, when I do's a good one!
             Yes, there is the ongoing question about the Lk. MI Alewife population where there is no clearly defined answer about what the future holds.

5/1/17  May is the month for spring Kings.  Last year, at this time, hardly any were caught in S Lk. MI.  This year a few Kings are making their presence known.  While it's way-early to predict even a few kings is a reason for hope.
            Middle is this week, looks like there's a window on Wednesday and Thursday where the conditions our on the side of the fleet.  Do know, there's been many more early season Kings caught out of Manistee, MI.  Another good reason for hope!

4/30/17  Spring Kings are beginning at Lk. MI's more southerly ports.  Today's feature pic is from last Friday out of the Port of South Haven, MI.  There's 3 well fed juvenile Kings that had Alewives in their stomachs.  Capt. Dan reported seeing lumps of bait too.
               This is good news for all, with our spring fishery being off to a great start compared to the past few seasons.  Click 4/28/17 spring catch

4/29/17  Have a great weekend and enjoy your time off.  Rules for this season's "Beat the King" contest need to be adjusted to keep it a level playing field.  To prevent new members just signing up because they caught a worthy fish after the fact.  There's must be a time delay before new members can enter their fish.  Thinking of 2 to 4 weeks before eligibility kicks in.  Haven't made my mind up yet, but without rules this would be a mess.

4/28/17  Fishing contest for message board members and it's FREE to enter for members.  Just beat my 34" and change (4/25/17) King and you'll win 25 bucks in tackle.  If you caught it on my tackle? ...prize doubles to 50 bucks.  Click to join board
              Brown Trout will also be eligible.  Beat my 33" Ludington Brown and same winnings as posted above.  Each time length is exceeded, that's the new benchmark that must be beat.  Winning fish must have a clear photo with a ruler/tape measure to PROVE, or qualify to be a winner.  I'm relying on your honor about what you caught it on. 
              So, please let's be on the up and up and not fib to double your prize.  Tackle will be my choice, guaranteed to satisfy.  Season winning big King will get a bonus $100 prize that will be decided on 10/1/17.  In case of a tie, first to enter is the winning fish.
              This is a fun contest for FREE tackle that don't cost you a dime!  Rules will be adjusted as needed.  Winning fish must be an inch better.  So, hard to read fractions of an inch don't come into play.  Beat the King to be the King of this derby.

4/27/17  Part II:  Inshore water on 4/25/17 was 48° in 5' to 10' of water.  Once you moved out a little deeper, surface temp was 46°.  Long 80'-90' lead lengths off the riggers produced both fish at 2.5 mph.  Water color was stained with NO weeds in it!
              This has to be experienced, cuz no amount of words can ever describe what a surging double digit King peeling line transmitting their power up a rod and reel feels like!
              For me, it's a magical event of Lk. MI baddest fish living up to it's reputation. 
The sheer strength and majesty King Salmon have what fish tales are made of.
              Icing on the cake is what something totally unexpected happens, like it did a few days ago when we boated a King Salmon pushing 18 pounds.  This is my best/biggest April King since I left the charter business in 2003.  So, we're off to a great start!!

4/26/17  Part I: Escaped from the shop yesterday morning to wet some lines and it felt good!  Just being on the boat, wandering around in hopes of a fish, or 2 was energizing.
              With zero confidence, trolled N up the shoreline searching for Browns with 6 rods off the big boards.  OK, after the best part of a hour with not hits, ...on the beach Browns were a no show. Seen this movie before and changed tactics.  Set a rigger down 7' over 12'-15' of water & looped towards the the S.  Still had 4 lines off the boards.
              Soon after the 1st rigger was set, a 5 lb. Laker fell victim to the lethal SB 4.0 in the Gold Crushed Orange pattern.  Click for this LT & Salmon Buster™ spoon
              This was a positive clue a another rigger needed to be added into our 6 rod spread.  Then, swapped out 2 of the surface board lines for 2 Slide Divers.
              Headed S to the 1st clay bank with no action.  Changed direction to the N and that's when our 2017 King season officially began with a bruiser pushing 18 lbs. ripping into the deadly SB 4.0 Gold Crushed Orange.
Click for our season opening King Salmon
                     Part II tomorrow with more reel-info & particulars!

4/25/17  Breaking News:  Big deal for Todd B and myself about 9:30am this morning.  Boated our 1st King of 2017.  This bruiser pulled the scale down to 17.8 pounds.  Flavor of the day was the killer Gold Orange Crush 4.0 Salmon Buster spoon. Click for this bad boy!
                        For the rest of this reel-story, tune in tomorrow!

4/25/17  11 days have went by since my last fishing trip and that's way-way too long.  Between the weather and being busy in the shop ...has kept me dockside.
               It's my own fault for not making time to steal a few hours on Lk. MI for a needed mental adjustment.  Fishing puts everything in perspective for me that been a steadying influence on my life since I got my 1st fishing rod & reel in the mid 1950s.
               Back then, the USA made fishing reels here.  My 1st reel was a
Pflueger Akron that came out in about 1925.  The Akron was manufactured in Akron, Ohio ...not China!

4/23/17  Reports on spring Coho have been good from grand have to New Buffalo and points south.  This could be good news for Kings on the Michigan side down the road.
               These Coho would not be on east shore of Lk. MI (Michigan side) unless there was bait.  Last year in 2016 the Coho were not here in the numbers we have now.
               If bait is anchored on our side this well bode well for spring Kings when mother nature gives them a wakeup call.  May is the month associated with spring Kings.

4/22/17  Have a great weekend!

4/21/17  T.G.I.F.  Heavy workload for me this week as the 2017 season moves forward.  Biggest accomplishment was maintenance was completed on my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Only thing remaining is to pull and grease the top U-joint in the Mercruiser outdrive.
               Cold, wet and rainy has held my enthusiasm for fishing in check for the past few days.  More rain beginning next Tuesday with showers predicted thru next weekend.

4/20/17  There seems to be more Coho being caught this year by our website members that fish southern Lk. MI.  That's the good news, but fish over 10 pounds have been hard to come by thus far for members.  So, I guess we're all waiting for the Kings to show up.
               I'm in limbo about where and when to fish next.  There's is a weather window this weekend.  Seeing there's no huge amount of inshore central Lk. MI Brown Trout ...means I'm not to keen on fishing Saturdays, or Sundays.

4/19/17  Lubricants are the cheapest thing you can buy for your boat.  Having a rigorous maintenance schedule will coax years of extra life out of your vessel.
              Even inexperienced mechanics can change oil, lower end lube and pick up a grease gun.  Owner manuals tell you how to do this and how often.
              In the charter business having a broke boat means no revenue and lost days you can never recover.  That's why staying on top of lubricants is so important to me.  With this mindset I was able to get 8000 hours out of my 2nd charter boat's motors from 1987-2003.

4/18/17  Day off sounds good.  So, that's exactly what I'm gonna do!  Plan was to go fishing out of Manistee, MI.  17 knot wind out of the SE at 5am morning blew that off.  Angle of SE can funnel right up the coast, making it too lumpy for me.
              Honestly, I'm spooked at Manistee's early season fishing.  After 2 years of less than mediocre results due to weeds, I'm just not excited at fishing here.
              When trolled lure is fouled with debris on a constant basis, you have to know when to throw in the towel and hope for better times ahead.
              Do not let me deter you from fishing Manistee with my less than spectacular  outlook.  Reports this year say the weeds don't seem to be that much of a problem. 
                          Issue is? ...haven't seen it for myself yet!

4/17/17  Installed a polarizing lens filter on my GoPro action cam.  Video I shot on 4/13/17 came out excellent with clear views of Browns battling underwater.  New filter allowed better underwater view.  Hope to piece this Ludington movie together when time allows.
             Maintenance day for my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Already changed the oil in the 4 stroke kicker and drained/replaced the outdrive lube.  By the end of today oil and filter for my 350 GM V8.  Lower end lube in the kicker will be changed by the end of today too.

4/16/17  Here's some reel-facts that didn't get mentioned from my 4/13/17 Ludington trip:
1. troll speed was plus, or minus 2.5 mph.
2. once you left the beach to make a turn, main body of Lk. MI in 20' of water was 40°.
3. wasted a good hour towing weeds on all 3 of our starboard rods.
4. fished experimental 3 rods on port side that didn't take a bite.
5. actually marked a few fish on the bottom in 10' of water (seen this happen before).
6. area inside the Ludington pier heads is 3 times as large, when compared to Manistee.
7. it was free to launch, no kiosk was not installed yet.
8. all of the launch docks were new pressure treated lumber.
9. zero boat traffic, 1 boat trailer in the launch's parking lot (sign of tough fishing).
10. 1st time I fished out of Ludington, MI was late July 1969.

4/15/17  The winner of my most productive spoon in the top 20' of water is the Gold Orange Crush Salmon Buster™ 4.0.  This was proven in April thru October in 2016 and this spoon is off to a great start again in 2017. Click Gold Orange Crush 4.0
               If you like working the top of the water column for Steelhead & Browns this awesome spoon is a no brainer buy.  Coupled with a bead chain keel weight, 5' of 15# test leader with a Roscoe Duolok snap for an ultra-slick trick presentation.
               I, as a tackle manufacturer ...want to sell you the best of the best, so you catch.  This mindset is what's kept me in business since 2004.
Click to Purchase

4/14/17  Fished Ludington, MI yesterday afternoon from 3:30pm to a little after 7pm.  Trolled N of the harbor to the bath house in water I never fished Browns before.  Water was greenish clear in 5' to 15' of water.  Surface temp ranged from 45° to 47°.
             Best dark water we found was off the Lincoln River.  This is where we took 2 Browns, being a 5 & a 10 pounder.  The 10 was a feisty long lean Brown that put up an exciting bare knuckles brawl that did not want to come to the net.  Click 4/13/17 Brown
             Both our bites came on the Gold Orange Crush Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon.  I now see why Ludington local, Capn. Kirk runs 6 of these off this boat.
             My springtime nemesis, Mr. Nasty Weeds dwells past the bath house.  So, for now, avoid this area if you're targeting inshore? the beach fish.  Click for Mr. Weeds
             While Todd B and I did not load the boat with fish, I rate this trip as a 10.  Just because it provided a perfect transition from making tackle to using it!  Plus, anytime you gain experience on new water, it's winner in my book.  That will not be soon forgotten!

4/13/17  Yesterday, Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk fished a short evening.  His tally was 2 double digit Lakers and a 14.2 pound Brown Trout.  These fish came on my Salmon Buster™ spoon in the Gold Crushed pattern.  Kirk was using inline planers with 3/8 oz bead chain keel sinkers at 2.5 mph  It's excellent to see there some fish for central Lk. MI angler to work on.  Hope to get out soon when work and conditions allow.  Click Capn Kirk's catch

4/12/17  And so begins!  This is a fitting title of today's chat with Kings from E Chicago, IN making their presence known. Click 4/11/17 E Chicago, IN Kings
              Today's feature pic is via Capt. John W from King Seeker Charters, forwarded to me by dedicated Lk. MI fisherman, Tom M.  7 Coho and 4 Kings with a couple Salmon pushing 20 pounds is a wonderful start to the 2017 season. Click King Seeker Charters

4/11/17  Starting tomorrow the wind is favorable for shoreline fishing off my home port of Manistee, MI.  Grapevine says there has been a few fish caught.
              Early season Brown Trout fishing takes place in water from 15' to 5' deep.  That means, at times're only a 100 yards from the beach.  Requiring fairly calm seas.  Surf  crashing on the beach makes this a no-go for yours truly.
             What and when I'll be able to go fishing this week, depends on workload.

4/10/17  Spoon stickers, or die cuts can be purchased in quantities in 10 counts for 9.95. My ground breaking Alewife, Bite me and Kissy Face Salmon Buster™ spoons are in huge demand.  So, it was a no brainer to offer these die cuts as a stand alone purchase.  This is a cost effective way to breathe new life into old lures. Click for Spoon Stickers
              Did some investigation on the S end of Lk. MI Coho where I fished the Sunday before last.  Seems when these big schools of Coho leave, they never come back in force. 
              The Friday before I left is when this fishing started to go downhill and get progressively slower.  Do know I've fished the extreme N (Manistique) and S (Portage, IN) ends of Lk. MI, gaining knowledge along the way.  Click our 4/2/17 Indiana Coho

4/9/17  Have a great Sunday with temps pushing 70°  ...finally!  Lk. MI is predicted to be pretty lumpy until mid-week.  Looking at checking Manistee, MI's shoreline fishery when conditions become tolerable.  Heard of some fish being caught.

4/8/17  Weak satellite internet connection is now a 3 day ongoing problem.  The Chicago fish die-off would be a major story if this happened in central Lk. MI.  Down in the S end of Lk. MI not so much, because info is very limited.

4/7/17  Issues with my satellite internet is once again problematic.  Story I wanted to concentrate on was a huge fish die off in the S end of Lk. MI down by Chicago.
             This is close to the same place we were fishing last Sunday. 

4/6/17  Opened up the entire Encyclopedia of Tips and Tricks section.  Parts of this was formerly reserved for website members only.  There's about 100 different item specific articles that cover a lot of ground dating back 17 years. Click Tips & Tricks
             Upon review, this a very impressive repository/knowledge base across a wide spectrum.  Going deeply into topics overlooked by the mainstream fishing media.
             As I've said before, there's a pile of people in the fishing business that will gladly take your money.  But how many of them put the work into actually earning it?  I know of no other website, or tackle manufacturer that puts forth the personal effort I do. 
                                 No brag, just one helluva reel-fact!!

4/5/17  Website maintenance is adding another page of archived daily updates in the Past Results.  This page is for timeline reference when needed. Click Jan, Feb & Mar 2017
             This section of this website has at least 6000 daily log entries going back to January, 1, 2000.  It's hard to fathom this site is 17 years old.  Lots has transpired since then, as our Great lakes fishery continues to evolve. Click Past Results page 
  Wind and weather for Manistee, MI is not looking good this week.  So, my time will be devoted to making tackle.  So, when the right conditions present themselves, I can go fishing.  Hopefully, the weeds I've dealt with 2015 & 2016 will not be there.
            Seems St. Joe and points to the  N had at least some fish this last weekend.  Good news is the fleet was out in force taking advantage of Sunday's calm seas.

4/3 /17  Word from MDNR Manistee, MI says this spring's shoreline fishery is better then 2016.  Really, that don't say a lot.  Because 2015 and 2016 were downright pitiful!
            Spent yesterday chasing week old fishing reports that said E Chicago and Portage, IN were producing EZ limit catches of Coho.  Plus, bonus species like Steelhead and Browns in certain areas.  Seems about the middle of last week these fish started to move.
            Gained knowledge and insights in the extreme S end of Lk. MI.  Fished off Portage, then the "rock wall" and the Gary light.  Pastrick Marina to the "hole in the wall" and points north out to 50'.  Net gain was a Coho in 6 hours and tons of local nomenclature.
            A super huge thank you goes out to the "Greek" for getting up early to drive 3 hours and meeting Todd, Dylan, and I at 6am.  Then, sharing his expertise with us!!

4/1 & 2 /2017  Taking this weekend off.

3/31/17  T.G.I.F!  Heavy work week for me with the Lk. MI fleet starting up.  Yes, there will be a 2017 season and it's here now!!

3/30/17  Plan was to go fishing yesterday afternoon.  This fine idea got overruled with orders and trying to keep tackle in stock.  What goes out the door, must be replaced.  It's a reel good thing ...I like my job almost, as much, as I do going fishing!
              New plan is to reclaim this lost fishing trip soon, if the weather cooperates.

3/29/17  Yesterday, Mike M was kind enough to call in a fish report from East Chicago, IN and answered the question my hanging question about bait.  He shared the some of the Coho he cleaned, had 5"  Alewives in the them.  Plus, while not a lot, did mark some bait on  his way to limiting out.  So, this is good news for all of us!

3/28/17  Mustering up the courage to try the early season shoreline fishing off my home Port of Manistee, MI after the last 2 disappointing seasons.  Weeds, root systems and gunk in the water has made this once EZ limits of Brown Trout a tough nut to crack.
              Know there are 2 docks in at the 1st Street Public Launch and plenty of off-colored water around the harbor.  So far, the grapevine has been amazingly quiet about catching.  Guess I just have to go and find out for myself what I'm up against.

3/27/17  March-April southern Lk. MI is the opening curtain for the 2017 season.  It's mostly jack Coho in the 2 to 3 pound range in March.  By later April these fish will gain more weight depending on the amount of bait available to around 4 lbs. Click Coho catch
               While I've heard the Coho bite is fantastic, yet to hear about how much bait S. Lk. MI fishermen are marking.  This is the important part. Click XGB Smurf Coho SB 4.0

3/26/17  According to my early season contacts in southern LK. MI, the Coho bite is the best it's been in several years.  Time will tell if this holds up.  Click 3/21/17 Coho catch

3/25/17  Have a great weekend!

3/24/17  Before leaving to fish southern waters, last fall, put antifreeze thru the main and trolling motors.  50/50 mix of antifreeze should kill any organisms.  Know it's a poison, because it can kill pets.  There's no way I could forgive myself for transporting mussels, or any invasive specie to previously uncontaminated water.
              Do know there's several places outside the Great Lakes watershed that host zebra mussels.  Zebras are in northern Alabama's Wheeler Reservoir on the Tennessee river.

3/23/17  Results from the 2016 Salmon Ambassador program came out today.  Several interesting facts backed up by data that is beyond reproach.
               Ratio of naturally reproduced vs. planted is only semi correct.  Skewed by the reduced King Salmon plants.  Click for this port by port info

3/22/17  Committed long distant plans are fraught with issues.  Knowing what I know now, would have delayed my Striper trip to Alabama.  We got hit with a severe cold front with nighttime temps down to 20 degrees and days in the low 40s to high 30s.
              Southern impoundment fish get tough when there's a loss of water temp.  This meant big live bait to pry a bite from fish more interested in spawning than eating.
              Stripers are fascinating to me.  These fish are beautiful & share the same radiant blue-purplish hues that our King Salmon have.  Cameras struggle to capture a true likeness.
              I look at my first venture into the realm of southern Striped Bass as a winner from the amount of knowledge gained.  Click 2-3 lb. sucker used as Striper bait

3/21/17  Beginning this Friday afternoon east wind will prevail for a good 5 days off the Port of Manistee, MI.  This is in my window for my first Lk. MI trip trip of 2017.
               E wind should push any weeds/debris away from the our shoreline.   Been fighting junk in the water for the past 2 seasons that makes shoreline trolling off Manistee an exercise in futility.  I will not fight this junk in the water (looks like root systems) fouling lures.  Never seen these weeds/roots until about to 2 years ago. 

3/20/17  First day of spring 2017 is making it's grand entrance in Manistee, MI. 
Daytime highs temps are looking decent at 32-50 degree range for the next 7 days.
               Still suffering F-250 travel lag from the 14 hour trip home from Alabama.  Never pushed it hard, averaging 56 mph for the almost 800 mile trip with my boat in tow.
               Learned staying my pickup camper is tolerable for 3-4 days.  After that, you become keenly aware of how small it is.  This is part of the reason I came home early.
               By cutting my vacation short I have a few days in the bank for a possible trip to southern Lk. MI for early season Coho and Browns.  Next week, this window opens.

3/19/17  Arrived home from Alabama at 4am this morning.  We were fishing close to Cullman, AL that's a distant 780 miles from my home in Manistee, MI.  Learning a bunch that will be shared with you in the future.

3/18/17  There's no place like home and that's the reason I'm cutting my vacation short to head my home in Manistee, MI today.  has reopened.

3/17/17  Happy St. Patrick's  Day!  Striper fishing in Alabama is awesome!!  Being able to do this on a working/fishing vacation is plain wonderful. 
                Looking at turning 71 this year.  Some might say events like this go on a bucket list. I say the stuff I want to do? ...ain't gonna fit in any bucket!!  There too many ways and places to fish that can be accomplished in any 1 lifetime. Click 3/16/17  'bama Striper

3/16/17  Progress!  Finally found  a net connection!!

3/12/17  Nasty and cold as Mr. Winter has revisited Manistee, MI.  There's only 8 days to the official start of spring 2017.  My long awaited vacation begins today.  This place I'm going is so secret the fish ...don't know about it yet!
              Daily updates depend on what I can find for a internet connection.  So, if I miss a day or two with an entirely new reel-story, you know why.

3/11/17  Spring forward 1 hour tonight.  It's time to play clock yoyo game again.  DST, Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2am on 3/12/17.  Finished shipping our last tackle order at 10am for about 2 weeks and it felt good.  Knowing everything is handled first, before going vacation is spelled: r e l i e f!  test

3/10/17  Just about ready to head out to parts unknown.  Stay tuned for further info about my long overdue secret vacation that begins Sunday.  Click my vacation home
              If I miss a few daily updates, that's because I'm without an internet connection.  You'll know more when I do. I'm absolutely sure, you'll find this new reel-story fascinating!
              Webstore will be closing at midnight tonight and reopen on, or before 3/24/27.  This way there will be no backlog of orders I do not want to deal with. 
              It's demanding enough dealing with day to day transactions to ship quickly on the  same day.  Let alone, being behind the 8-ball playing catch up.

3/9/17  Have a great day!  Rushing to clear up all duties before going on vacation for the best part of 2 weeks.  Last vacation was in 2014 when I went south for the winter and absolutely hated it.  4 months of warm weather did not compensate me with a feeling of being productive.  The good that that came from Florida in the 2013-2014 winter was to lay the ground work for my Salmon Buster™ spoons.

3/8/17  Came to the conclusion there a good amount of redneck way back in my DNA.  How else can you explain I'm actually looking forward to living on top of my pickup truck?
             Over the years I'm had several types of RVs.  First one was a regular high profile pickup camper.  Wind resistance was horrible and it was top heavy.  No such problems with the low profile crank-up one purchased last September.
             My vacation begins in 4 days.  Will be closing my web based tackle store in 2 days, or on Friday.  Reopening is scheduled for 3/24/17.  Work will continue at my shop. 
                    Plan on fishing new ports I have never visited before.

3/7/17  The early season Coho are biting in East Chicago, IN.  These are good sized Silvers for this early in the season.  Today's photo is courtesy of Capt. John Warren's catch on 3/5/17 with number to prove it!  Click King Seeker's limit catch
              A million bucks is being offered as a prize to anyone who can come up with an idea to stop Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes.  Good luck with this one.  The solution does not exist while the Chicago Canal is still connected to Lk. MI. Click for details

3/6/17  Another step closer to my vacation that begins on 3/12/17.  Camper is on the pickup.  Today's focus is to make sure the boat is ready to fish with all tackle shipshape.  Then, as this week progresses loading the camper with food & personal items.
            Webstore will be closing this Friday, or Saturday morning.  Reopening is scheduled for 3/24/17 (approx).  Still lots to do before leaving.  Click camper & boat

3/5/17  Big deal today!  Boat will see daylight for the first time in the 2017.  Need to re-shuffle things around in my storage building to install slide-in pickup camper.
            This crank-up camper is bare essentials to get by.  With little wind resistance mileage is OK at 12-14 miles a gallon without the boat.  With the boat in tow, not so good, but tolerable with today's cheap prices for gas.  Click truck and camper
             Had to go to an extended hitch for more camper clearance to boat trailer.  In my opinion, for me, this is a perfect rig for traveling that beats staying in pricy motels. 
             Found this camper on Craig's List.  It was in pristine condition for 25 cents on the dollar compared to new.  Store RVs inside and they'll will stay like-new for a long time!

3/4/17  Have a great weekend.  Mine will be devoted to boat prep.  Stuff like putting the batteries back in and the massive job of making sure all tackle needed is aboard.  This is a be prepared for anything trip for me with many different rods and line types.  Such as copper, lead core, mono and braid rods for my riggers.
  Down to 7 days and counting till I escape into the reel world for ...a very reel vacation!

3/3/17  Today is the world/galactic debut of new 2017 Salmon Buster™ you can have fun with.  These are serious high quality works of art with excellent UV properties.
             New Alewife pattern was spurred on by the success of the BBS selection.  It's a no brainer to have reel-alewife spoons in the lineup too! Click for 4 new 2017 spoons
            The "Bite Me" and "Kissy Face" are bound to become fleet favorites in today's landscape.  Individual photos of all the new reel-image spoons have been added to the webstore  and are available by
Clicking Here to Purchase

3/2/17   Yesterday, Manistee, MI was nasty with falling temps, high winds and about 5 inches of snow.  So, according to the old proverb: "March comes in  like a lion, goes out like a lamb," ...we should be in for some decent weather at the end of this month.
              Know we won't have to wait that long.  Beginning this coming Saturday we're in for a long stretch with daytime temps about freezing.  This Sunday and Monday they're calling for 50° to 55°.  Then, mild temps in the 40s for the rest of next week. 
             Ideal conditions to get loaded up and ready for travel on the following Sunday, March 12, 2017.  Tackle store will be closing on 3/10/17 and will reopen upon my return. 
            How long I'll be gone depends on how much fun we'll be having.  So, don't look for this to be a quick turn around.  Been looking forward to this vacation this since last fall

3/1/17  Hello March 2017.  Official spring is less then 3 weeks away.  While this winter in Manistee has been mild, it's nice to turn the page and look forward to warmer weather.
             This cannot be stressed enough: ...we all need breaks and time off from our chosen professions/line of work.  That's why my spring vacation is less then 2 weeks out.
             Posted a pic of my emergency roadside repair tool box.  Spare bearings, a complete hub/brake disc, jack, wood lagging and tire changing tools are in there. 
             Hope I never have to use it, cuz finding parts on the road in a timely manner is impossible.  This is just roadside travel insurance.  Click for trailer tools & box
             Here's helpful hint from my fishing bud, John J.  Lightly touch hubs when you stop for gas, or at a rest area.  If it's hot to the touch? have a problem in progress!

2/28/17  The You Tube spoon video that graced this page yesterday was shot in the fall of 2014 with printed 3D prototypes.  The location was close to the beach in 10' of water. 
               Learned light bouncing off the bottom in shallow water made the movie better from a previous shoot.  For me?'s totally amazing to use this state of the art technology and share it with you! Click for this spoon comparison movie
               Biggest lesson gained  is most metal spoons rode tail heavy in a weird looking unnatural 30-45 degree tilted angle downwards at the slower speeds of 1.8 to 2.2 mph.
               My vacation starts in about 10 days and the webstore will be closing on, or about 3/10/17.  How long we'll be shut down has yet to be determined.

2/27/17  Rerun of a video update that ran 2 years ago.  When shot this movie, had no idea it would be such a revealing underwater action: Click spoon comparison movie

2/26/17  2 weeks from today, will be heading south for my the inaugural wetting of the lines ceremony for 2017.  Been looking forward to this event since last fall.
               Learning a new port and areas to fish is what keep my interest on point.  Let's face it, There's have nothing to prove out of my home port of Manistee, MI.  Demonstrated time and time again, when there's fish around my boat, we'll catch 'em!
               And done so, with new and innovative methods going back to 2003 when I showed the Lk. MI fleet what a dedicated meat program is capable of. 
              Now, I've shifted gears to my new Lexan™ Salmon Buster™ spoons with action and movement no metal spoon can match. No brag, just fact!  Click here for proof
              If anyone thinks these are special accomplishments? ...guess again.  I don't see it that way.  I see this as a survivalist's guide on how to make it in the fishing business!

2/25/17  Have a great weekend!  My plan is to button-up all loose ends before leaving in a couple of weeks for the 2017 season kickoff.
               Long range weather for Manistee, MI breaks to mostly 50s and 60s around March 20th.  This is a good 20° above the norm.  If long range projections can be believed?
               By the end of next week hope to have my boat completely ready to fish.

2/24/17  Boat trailer is ready and passed all system checks.  It's important to mention all my tires were about 10 lbs. low on air pressure.  This hurts gas mileage and low air pressure builds heat, causing tires to blowout.  When greasing your hubs, if you see milky grease seeping out?  This is sign you have bad wheel bearing seals that's allowing water entry.
              If you're towing you boat a long ways? ...tape the speed sensor wheels on transducers.  Spun these off before.  So, I know first hand this happens.
              In your rush to the lake, do not overlook boat trailer maintenance.  This will save you a lot of grief.  Rather than broken down, on the side of the road, with cars zooming by.
                 Click: my secret trick not to overlook what needs to be done!

2/23/17  Fishing as a business in our Great Lakes States you can charter/guide, or become a tackle manufacturer.  I've been both.  Making me qualified to share with you my
observations since I went into charter/guide business in 1983. 
              Then, in 2004 I shifted gears, gave up the charter end and became a tackle manufacturer.  If anyone thinks the fishing business in general is a bed of roses? ...guess again.  Huge swings in Lk. MI fish availability are the gas pedal in this industry.
              Future topics will focus on what learned in the fishing business.

2/23/17  Fishing as a business in our Great Lakes States you can charter/guide, or become a tackle manufacturer.  I've been both.  Making me qualified to share with you my
observations since I went into charter/guide business in 1983. 
              Then, in 2004 I shifted gears, gave up the charter end and became a tackle manufacturer.  If anyone thinks the fishing business in general is a bed of roses? ...guess again.  Huge swings in Lk. MI fish availability are the gas pedal in this industry.
              Future topics will focus on what learned in the fishing business.

2/22/17  Record warm temperatures is today's big story.  This February free spring preview will taper off some towards the weekend.  Good news is predicted daytime high temps will the 37° to 48° range for Manistee, MI everyday next week too!
               Should have my boat trailer in top-notch road readiness by the end of today.  Trailer boats offer many different places to fish and that's the reason I have one.  Mine has been to Leland, MI several times.  Along with the MI ports of New Buffalo, Ludington, Traverse City (E Bay), Pentwater, Frankfort, Onekama, Arcadia.  Made it to Wilson, NY in 2015.  Last July's trip to MI UP Port of Manistique was another goodie too.
               Guess you can see why I'm a stickler for boat trailer prep.  It's a lot easier to grease the wheel bearings at home, compared to having fix-it issues on the road.
               Please take this to heart, never-ever buy a cut-rate trailer tires.  You're just asking for trouble when you risk an expensive boat riding on cheapie China specials!!!!!

2/21/17  Tentative departure date of my 1st big water adventure is March 12, 2017.  Hope to piggy-back 2 big time out of town events together.
               Just about done with mounting the service/tool box on my boat trailer.  Box will have all the necessary parts, tools and jack for emergency roadside repairs. 
               There's no excuse for not being prepared for equipment failure. Especially, when you're more than 25 miles away from home. Click boat trailer mounted service box
               I live only 11-12 miles from the home port's Manistee boat launch.  This situation totally changes for out town long distance trips.
               Manistee, MI to Wilson, NY is a 1000 mile round trip.  Manistique in MI's UP was about 500 miles there and back. 

2/20/17  Happy Monday! 4 weeks from today is the official start of spring.  This warm weather has me thinking a lot about the almost here, 2017 season.  Plans are in the works for my first big lake trip barely 3 weeks away.  Stay tuned, it's a goodie!
               Best thing I like about fishing? soon as I step on the boat, life's wearisome issues seems to melt away.  Not to resurface until my boat is on the trailer, headed home.
              For me, it's an ultimate escape that provides a reset to life's ups and downs.  Especially, adrenalin rush when we hear the words, "fish-on" that sets everything right!

2/19/17  Have a great Sunday. 

2/18/17  Hit 50° in Manistee, MI yesterday.  More of the same is in store for us today. 
Mr. O. M. Winter is being nice to us and is on vacation thru most of next week!
               Was in Traverse City, MI yesterday afternoon.  Lk. MI's West Traverse Bay is completely open water with no ice.  I have no doubt boats will be on the prowl today.
              Cease the moment and take advantage of this warm spell that going to last for the best part of a week.  I will be working on my boat trailer later today after shipping orders.  Presidents Day is this  Monday and that means next USPS ship date is Tuesday. 

2/17/17  Temps in the mid 40s this weekend opens up a lot of opportunities.  My days will be dedicated getting my boat trailer in super-ready long haul mode. 
              Trouble free towing means tire air pressures must be up to snuff.  Both for safety and fuel mileage.  Wheel bearings will get a light tap of grease, careful not to over-pressure that can take out bearing seals.  Checking torque on the wheel lugs will not be overlooked.  Surge brake fluid will get checked and topped off too.  Then, mount a tool box on the boat trailer to carry tools/parts necessary for tire changes and wheel bearing swaps.
             No matter how much you plan, breakdowns are always a possibility.  Being prepared for any eventuality saves times and days that will be spent on the water.

2/16/17  MDNR's free fishing weekend is this Saturday and Sunday.  Reel good news for Steelhead river fishermen with the forecast highs in the 40s for my neck of the woods.  Ice fishermen? ...please use extra caution to make sure the ice is safe.
               Any orders received after 5am will not be shipped today.  Bookkeeper has a hold on the special accountant's file in QuickBooks to resolve things I do not fully understand.  That's why I have a hired accountant to keep the books on the up and up.

2/15/17  Started on the part 2 video editing process that I hope to debut soon.  Did see a more light would have helped when we finished up after 10 pm.  Thinking about upgrading the hard top halogens to LED lights.  LEDs seems not overly costly.
               Lack of sufficient lighting makes netting a big King in the dark, an almost impossible task.  Discovered this in the 8/10/16 Salmon video.  Video is a valuable multi use tool when tweaks become obvious to eliminate difficulties.  Click in the dark net job?
               Big warm up on the way.  Suspect we'll lose all of our snow cover by next week.

2/14/17  Valentine's Day update:  Best thing about posting videos for a daily topic?  It's reel action that cannot be faked unless you have a super huge budget for CGI (computer generated graphics).  Like in the Star Wars, or Avatar movies.
               Posted a pic of my 2 year old lab for my Valentine's Day sweetheart.  This is the only dog I had that never has a stinky "dog odor" ...even when wet. Click for Kit-Kat

2/13/17  Today is a wonderful time to see a fish caught from last weekend.  Rick M was kind enough to grab a short video about landing a Lewis Smith Striped Bass in Alabama.  His fish hit the hot, "all areas producing" ...4.65 GhostBuster Salmon Buster™ spoon. 
              Rick is semi new to trolling and I recommended Slide Divers should be added to his arsenal.  Reel-facts on this fish? hit the Slide Diver on a 50' lead length about 25' down.  Click here for short video from last Saturday

2/12/17  Have a great Sunday!

2/11/17  If you haven't read my new article, or watched my new Salmon fishing video, here's a link to do so: Click for article & 720P HD video
               While there's still a week of official winter left, was surprised to hear certain parts of Crystal Lk. (Benzie County, MI) and parts of Traverse Bay (TC MI) have not froze over.  So, we are having a mild winter.  Let's hope it stays that way!
               Predicted above freezing temps for today, means work in the pole barn to install my boat trailer's storage box for long distance trips.
              Trying to muster up the effort to complete the Part II video.  Editing video is intense and very time consuming to make a finished product I can be proud of.  Making a movie out of a passive "run all the time" cam requires many cuts to transitions scenes.

2/10/17  Lots to do this weekend to get ready for my 1st trip that's only 4 weeks away.  Pulling a trailer long distance means being prepared for any eventuality.  Blowing a tire, or losing a wheel bearing is catastrophic when you're 100s of miles away from home. 
              Having replacement spare tire/parts on hand to quick fix on the side of the road.  Being stranded with a boat loaded with thousands of dollars worth of gear says dropping your trailer/boat it to go chase parts is very risky and time consuming.
               Especially, if you're in an rough urban area where roadside pirates abound.  My solution is to install a storage box on the trailer with everything needed to for worst case scenarios.  I will carry a spare hub/tire, mini air compressor, bearings, a jack & tools to fix.

2/9/17   First off, many thanks to all that took the time to read my new article and video.  I'm honored every time you visit this website. Click for article & 720P HD video
             After careful review on my part, my new written article and video leaves no stone unturned when it comes to covering the reel-facts behind any fishing trip. 
             This is far beyond anything print media can do.  Showing, when used correctly what a valuable tool the internet can be for fisher men and women.
              The webstore based tackle store where my tackle is sold will be closed for at least a week in March and May.  My tackle store:
     This allows for fishing events I live for.  Looking forward to fun times in about month!  

2/8/17  Going to take today off from web work after a marathon session to finish the video and polish/rewrites on the new article. Click for article & 720P HD video

2/7/17  Today is the intergalactic roll out of my new article, Do I Stay, or Do I go?  Part 1 of the action packed video from 8/10/16  is done ...finally!!  Click for good stuff!
             Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of the article for 720P, which is the highest resolution YouTube lets me post.  Use the YouTube settings/gear for 720P HD option.
             Will be starting on video part 2 very soon and conclusion of this trip soon after my eyes and head recuperates.  The best has been saved for last in an awesome Part 2 finale!
             It's a reel-thrill for me being able to share crystal clear 720P video of what exactly happens on onboard my boat with you ...I kid you not!!

2/6/17  Almost done with part 1 of video from last August.  The action shows with several Kings boated and more to come.  Counted 30 scene edits to show the only best parts.
             Need to do more voice-over narration, video overlays, adjust sound volume and install a few text subtitles.  Then, if all goes OK? it on YouTube tonight.
             One thing that's kind of amazing is how the last computer I built can handle and edit multiple 4 gig video files pieced together without a stumble.
                     Starting on part 2 as soon and part 1 is on YouTube.

2/5/17  Message board members can get a sneak peek at my new, unreleased article about the evening King-fest last August 10, 2016.  Click to join board
             In retrospect this trip revealed how concerned I was on balancing my time knowing getting home at past midnight and full workload in the morning do not mix.
             Decided to scrap all the video editing and begin anew.  There's close to good 10 hours of raw footage, when the hat cam and hardtop cam are added together.
             Only solution I see it to break this video up in 2 parts to do justice to the action the fish gods bestowed upon us.  This is the best way to tell this awesome reel tale!
             Want to make this my best movie to date.  To have a top notch end product and tell this story, I will be going in deep cover and not updating this website till it's done

2/4/17  Capturing onboard action makes great TV.  Video allows adjustments that needs to be addressed.  It's not overly expensive, if you go the eBay route like I have.
             GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition was once a 400 buck camera.  Now, on eBay this 3 year old camera is in the neighborhood of 150 for the bare cam, or 200 for one with lot of accessories.  These cams are built to take a beating and are very robust.  There's a variety of different mounting system to accommodate any situation.
              Just do not buy any cam that has scratched, or beat-up ...indicating a hard fall.  There's no moving parts inside these cameras.  So, they will last for a long time.
              You'll need to upgrade to an extended battery (about 15 bucks) for a 3 to 4 hour shoot.  64GB Micro SD will hold about 5 hours of video.  You can add an external mic for under 20 bucks and a lens cover for less then 5.  The case was less than 20.
             The piggy back accessory LED light was $15 on sale at Amazon.  Making the point this amazing technology is at least semi-affordable.  Click my GoPro outfit

2/3/17  Video for 8/10/16 is giving me fits.  There's so much good footage, cutting any of it to fit in the allowed 30 minute HD YouTube policy is difficult. 
             Footage at the end is in total darkness and is slightly degraded.  Light provided by the hardtop work lights is just barely adequate.
             Video in all light conditions is a learn, as you go process for me.  Did manage to upgrade to a 600 lumens piggyback lighting system for my GoPros.  Click GoPro light
                    Will explain this a little better in tomorrow's topic.

2/2/17  Ground Hog Day.  Cloudy and cold today for Manistee, MI that probably won't cast a shadow for any resident rodents.  Sign of an early spring? ...think we all hope so!
             This year's 17 for 2017 Spoon Deal is close to selling out and never be duplicated again.  Thanks to all that purchased these ground breaking fish catchers.
             This is an absolute must.  I have to take a few days off and devote many hours to editing the 8/10/16 video shoot.  There's a good 4 hours or raw video footage that needs to condensed.  Superimposing titles, scene transitions and voice-over narration takes a lot of time to make a fishing movie to my standards.  I only get one chance to do this right.
             Do have a written companion 8/10/16 article in the final stages of proofreading.  This new work will not debut until the new video is posted on YouTube.

2/1/17  According to Wikipedia tomorrow's Groundhog Day celebration goes back to 1841.  Lore says if Mr. Hog does not see it's shadow, we'll have an early spring.  Bright and sunny means 6 more weeks of winter says Mr. Boss G. Hog.
            No matter the outcome, official spring begins in 48 days on Monday, March 20, 2017.  Winter has been decent up till now, but there's still a lot of days on the calendar.

1/31/17  Goodbye January 2017 and I'm happy to see it go.  January is my busiest month in the tackle business.  Machined, or in the process of completing 15k meat heads, both mag and super mag.  Ordering stock with all the bits, pieces and support parts to keep my tackle shop running consumes almost as much time as final assembly.
              Been making rigs, flashers and spoons since last October.  Utilizing the offseason months to push production is the carrot and stick with me being the donkey.  Knowing this, frees up time for fishing trips an incentive like no other!

1/30/17  In 6 weeks I will be on big water fishing ...depending on weather.  The Chicago Lk. MI fleet can, or will be starting in 4 weeks.  If there's no ice to contend with.
              Will it be a grand and glorious season? ...don't know.  Do know it will be big fun finding out what the fish have in store for us.  This year marks my 49th year on the Great Lakes, and the 17th year anniversary of this website.

1/29/17  Days are gradually getting longer with about 7 weeks of official winter left.  Thus far, this winter has been moderate.  The 2017 big water season is getting closer everyday.  Once we hit February, the onset of the season picks up steam.
              I'm optimistic about what's in store for Lk. MI is a big way.  Certain ports, with bait, had a lot of smaller Kings.  Let's hope these fish survive and grow up.
              Know there's been a lot of things said about the baitfish-alewife population that I'm not qualified to judge.  Do know the biggest King (28 lbs.) to come into my boat since 2004 last year.  Jumbos don't grow this large unless there is a good food source!

1/28/17  Flasher production is on the front burner now that I'm caught up with meat heads and spoons.  This is all part of the creation process in making fishing tackle.  There's nothing boring about making tackle that catches fish for me.
               At times my mind will wander when making tackle to the fun stuff.  I daydream about what, when and how many fish will chomp down on what I have in my paws. 

1/27/17  Giving credit where credit is due promotes long time fishing friends.  In my case, John J who's fished with me since about 2001.  Todd B. and his son Dylan have been aboard for the last 10 years.  Any good catches I had are direct results from those onboard.
              It's foolish for anyone to think a heavy box happened without help.  Having long term fishing fishing friends is cherished by me.  It's just easier to accomplish a goal when you have trusted buds making you look good.  This is a blessing never to forget!

1/26/17  Yesterday was spent chasing the bits, piece and parts to make tackle.  Ordering supplies is my least favorite thing about being a tackle manufacturer.
               Came up with the bright idea to add a storage box to the front of my boat trailer to store spare hub, bearings, grease gun, jack, tools and wood lagging to support a jack in case the bad stuff happens losing a tire.  This is called being prepared for a 1000 miles round trip from Manistee, Mi to Wilson, NY.  Like I did back in May of 2015.
               Since I bought a slider in camper for my truck, storage space is at a premium.  Camper makes it very doable for quick hitter getaway trips for load and go!

1/25/17  Big water fishing is not logical.  For instance, we've all heard, "match the hatch."  This turned out to be a fairy tale on my July trip to MI's UP back last July. 
               There were massive schools of Alewives in the 2 to 3 inch sizes.  Logic says my smaller 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons would be the hot ticket ...wrong! Click 7/20/16 box
               All the big adult Kings wanted the larger 4.65 Busters.  So much for the "match the hatch" theory.  Using logic delayed us getting on the right program.  Trial and error put us onto a pretty decent box of Kings and Steelhead.
Click for proven spoons  
               A lot of this year's spoon deal came from what was learned on this trip. Taking the experimentation out of the equation for you ...about what's proven to work!

1/24/17  Need to defer today's chat until later, maybe tomorrow.  Got hit with a pile of orders last night.  Busy making tackle don't leave time for much else.  This is a good thing!

1/23/17  As mentioned yesterday, getting out of your comfort zone leads to better things.  During my UP trip last July got a firm grip on how to fish my larger 4.65 spoons. 
              We were dealing with Kings up high (top 40') in the warm side of temp in the low 60s to high 50s.  Oh, contraire to my bread and butter program of Kings in 38 to 50 degree water in a highly tuned meat program did not work on these fish.
              Never seen juveniles mixed in with adult Kings up in warm 60 degree water.  But that's where the bait was, and so were the fish!
              This is major part the reason behind this year's spoon deal.  A variety of deadly spoons proven to work in all conditions. Click 17 spoons for 2017 reel-deal  
                              Tomorrow? rules, & does size matter?

1/22/17  1st month of official winter is done.  With January on the way out, this extended warm spell has allowed me to catch up on painted spoons.  These were in short supply.
               My job is all about time management and planning.  Having time freed up allows for out of town fishing events that I'm looking forward to. 
              Going to new areas presents reel-knowledge to be filed away for future reference.  Getting out of your comfort zone always leads to better things!

1/21/17  Best part of 50 degrees for Manistee, MI today!  This is exactly what we need to stave off a complete freeze over in Lk. MI.  Open water provides more sunlight penetration that keeps the whole food chain going.
               My season begins in about 7 weeks when I head to the S end of Lk. MI for the early season Coho fishery down by Chicago.  Lots to do so I can take a few days off!

1/20/17  Happy Friday!  Above freezing temps for the most part continue in Manistee, MI. 
               Today's featured pic is good news from the N end of Lk. MI at Escanaba.  Seems there's a lot of Alewives around according to ice fishermen.  The girth shows a fat healthy Alewife ready to provide a meal for Salmon & Trout. Click for this photo

1/19/17  It goes without saying anything to do with ice fishing is going to be very questionable with this extended warm up.  Be very-very careful!
               Should have the new die cuts of the reel-minnow image in-hand by Friday, according to the tracking number.  Will be shipping the in-demand BBS spoons next week.

1/18/17  The new 2017 Blue Back Shiner (BBS) reel-image Salmon Buster™ spoons are in the process of being restocked.  I will have a limited supply available for shipping by the first part of next week.  Click to purchase these new BBS spoons
               Time expenditure on my new article is a lot.  Putting thoughts down in print is only one part of this effort.  Working with the 13 photos in this new work requires captions to tie things together is another part of the time invested.  Formatting is the fun part any article, but it's time consuming.  Getting to chose the layout is what I like best!
              Here's where the internet pays dividends when compared to paper magazine print articles.  Having info at your finger tips with a click can't be beat!

1/17/17  Putting the finishing touches on a 3000 word written article about the dilemma we all face when it comes to where to fish.  There will be a companion video that provides verification.  I like to provide proof for my articles.  This way you know it's not BS.
         Past the hump in January.  Once January is over, the 2017 season speeds up a lot.

1/16/17  This week's major January thaw is very good news.  This extended warm spell will probably melt most of the snow cover.  There's maybe 6" of snow in Manistee, MI now.
               Low on several items that require airbrushing.  Warm weather helps with the heating bill.  Because the exhaust fan sucks all the paint fumes/heat out of the shop.
               Best part of this warming trend it will help hold back some of the ice cover on Lk. MI.  We want open water for oxygen content and sun penetration to help the food chain.

1/15/17  Have a great Sunday.  A warming trend is on the way!

1/14/17  Lots going on this weekend for the looming 2017 season.  Fishing show at Novi, MI and the Sea Grant Workshop in Ludington, MI are major events.
              Did the spring sport show circuit from 1983 thru 2008 that take a major commitment in time, energy, and money.  Something I no longer have the desire to do.
              Getting a booth at a 4 day sport show is not cheap.  I'd estimate it would be the best part of 2 grand for 20' of floor space.  More if it's a prime corner 2 aisle setup.
              Then, add another 300, or more for electric and a phone line to run a credit card machine.   Add in motel, help, travel expenses, and you're over 4k before you enter into the black.  Like I said, doing shows requires a big outlay of dough.

1/13/17  Friday the 13th could be reason to skip today's chat.  After 13 days, finally over the year 2016 that was stuck in my mind when I write checks, or fill out forms.
               This is a good thing, because it signals the time to move forward with great anticipation for the 2017 season.  Last year turned out better then expected.  Let's hope 2017 does the same, as we look towards the future!

1/12/17  Looks like a welcomed January thaw for Manistee, MI beginning this coming Monday.  Busy restocking Salmon Buster™ spoons.  75% of my spoon business are orders from repeat customers that have purchased my SBs before.

1/11/17  Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop will happen this Saturday.  Registration to attend for the event is closed according to their webpage.  Last year there were videos posted online of the MDNR/Sea Grant presentations.  If this happens again, links will be posted to this all important information.
               About 60 days to my first fishing event of 2017.  In the mean time, building inventory will be job 1.  So, I can take a week off in mid-March.  Time off is a good thing.  Time off to go fishing is even better.

1/10/17  Added October, November and December 2016 to the past results archive.  Now there's 17 seasons with daily copies of my Captain's Log.  I prefer log over blog which sounds like a creature from a B movie.  Besides, my January 2000 log predates the word blog by 3 years.  So, I've earned the right to call it what I want.  Click all Past Results
              Past results are valuable resource for me when I need research from years gone by.  Verifying information is another plus from my log. Click Oct, Nov & Dec 2016

1/9/17  Almost a third thru January.  Our darkest and longest month of winter.  Once we get thru January, the rest of the winter is a piece of cake.
            Still sorting out my mental notes from my July trip to Manistique in MI's UP to the most northernmost part of Lk. MI.  It took me a while to catch on to the program. 
            In fact, it was more like fishing Lk. Huron in the 1980s, when being hot on speed was the reel deal (2.5-3.0 mph).  Click 7/19/16 MI UP King Salmon
            Do know, it pays to be versatile and not get locked into any one certain program.  Wasted the best part of a morning before the key to the lock was found.
            In retrospect, this trip set the plate for the rest of my summer fishing trips with the discovery of the effectiveness of blue-green glow Ghostbuster pattern
            Plan on going back to this port in 2017, but as little earlier before tournament boats practice fish for an end of July event.  If you wrongfully think like I did? ...the UP didn't have a lot of big water boats, guess again.  Because it was more crowded than Manistee.

1/8/17  The new 2017 BBS, or Blue Back Shiner has sold out. Trying to get more reel-photo die cuts to make more.  In the dead of winter? ...this is reely-amazing!

1/7/17  Have a great weekend!

1/6/17  Many things in the tackle business are befuddling.  I've yet to figure out why most other spoon manufacturers use chrome plated steel split rings. 
             Then, in such a teeny-tiny size that inhibits slow speed action.  Not to mention, most do not use nose split rings.  So, you have to fumble around trying to run snap swivel thru a very small hole in spoon when it's dark. Click rusty steel split rings
              I lay no claim to the sharpest tool in the shed, but know common sense things like stainless steel never rusts and holds up better over the long haul.
              For just a few pennies more stainless steel split rings makes a better spoon and that's what I use all Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Along with good sized nose split rings for your snap swivels.  Also, size matters and that's only one of the reasons my split rings are larger.

1/5/17  Introduced a lot of new tackle over the many seasons since the year 2000.  Never has there been an offseason response/demand for the reel minnow spoon.  This Salmon Buster™ spoon features a live image of a Blue Back Herring, a cousin to our Great Lakes Alewives.  This spoon was recently tested on Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama and caught stripers.  Adhesive on the vinyl image held up well during the testing phase.
             As things stand, until I can get more herring die cuts, this is a limited time offer.
These new 2017 Salmon Buster™ spoons are available now by: Clicking Here

1/4/17  My season starts in about 70 days with a trip S to East Chicago, IN on, or about 3/15/17.  Tried to squeeze this in last year.  Too busy in the shop prevented this.
             Great thing about the "offseason" is that it allows reflection on the past.  One of the best parts is the planning the new reel stories to happen in the future. 
            Admittedly, I'm a lot more geeked up about chasing big water fish than many of you.  Please keep in mind, I work with fishing tackle everyday.  So, it's easy for me to stay on point about fishing 24/7!

1/3/17  First reel work day of the new 2017 season.  Right now this year is an unwritten book full of blank pages.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
             2016 was the year of the Ghostbuster pattern for me.  This was not planned.  This hot lure selection was born out of sheer desperation.  We were running out of daylight and needed fish in the worst way to top off a decent box on 7/1916 on my trip to MI's UP.
          Now, I have a proven "go to" weapon that will serve me well in the future!

1/2/17  First day of 2017 greeted Manistee, MI with temps in the low 40 degree range.  We've got about 7-8 weeks of hard winter on the horizon before weather turns toward spring.  Figure total fall-winter snowfall at my place in Manistee is around 40" thus far.
             Days are are finally getting longer.  Hoping for a moderate winter and Lk. MI does not freeze completely over.  Time will tell the reel story as we march to the future.

1/1/17  Happy New Year

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2016 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2015 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

2014 Results
October, November, & December
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

2013 Results
January, February, & March

April, May, & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2012 Results
January, February, & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2011 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
 October, November, & December

2010 Results
January, February, & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2009 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August, & September
October, November, & December

2008 Results
October, November & December

July, August, & September
April, May & June
January, February & March


2007 Results
October November & December
July, August & September

April, May & June
January, February & March

2006 Results
October, November & December
July, August & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2005 Results
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March

2004 Results
October, November & December
August & September 
June & July  April & May
January, February & March

2003 Results
Jan Feb  Mar  April & May
June & July  Aug & Sept

Nov & Dec

2002 Results
Nov & Dec  Oct  Sept  
Aug   July   June  May  
April  March  Feb  Jan


2001 Results
April Brown Trout  
May & June
July Salmon
Aug. Tuna Time

2000 Results
Dec. Nov.
   Oct.  Sept.
July   June
May  March & April
January  February


For complete results of all fishing trips, fishing reports & general info
and a peek into my archived log for the past seasons, 
click the below link:

Past Results

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