here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968
(Dating back to the year 2000)
featured photo is spawning Kings in Manistee County,
MI's Pine Creek. Pine Creek is a fast flowing
MDNR designated Trout Stream with regulated season.
This tributary of the Big Manistee River is a
pristine and beautiful sight to behold!
Been doing a 10 year photo study where I photograph
the same section, standing in the same place to view
October spawner King Salmon (Chinook).
What I noticed this year was the Kings appeared to
be a little larger overall and in about the same
numbers as past years.
Know today's photo is not all that clear. But
is does captured the amazing "s" turn/curve on how
flexible these fish become during their last cycle
of life. With the water moving and the fish in
a constant swimming action this pic is the best I
could do from distance with no flash to speed up the
Click for this live action photo
Possibly could have got closer, but it's not for me
to disturb these fish with their offspring ready for
rod and reel in 3, 4, or 5 years.
10/17/17 My annual
pilgrimage to Pine Creek, a tributary of the Big
Manistee River is scheduled for this morning.
This year is my 10th anniversary of archiving photos
of spawning Kings in this designated MDNR Trout
Stream since 2007.
It's fascinating to watch these fish as they usher
in new generation of King Salmon to be reel-ready in
about 3, or 4 years!
Click Pine Creek article
10/16/17 Most of the
time during the season there's time to work on new
color combinations for potential new tackle
selections. Not so this season. Tackle
orders took off like a rocket in mid July and stayed
that way thru Labor Day weekend.
Challenge for the offseason is just to rebuild
inventory that sold out this year. Hardest hit
was our meat heads that flew out the door like
hotcakes. 2017 marks the first time we sold
out of meat heads in most colors.
This week we'll start process of ordering more heads
to have in the machining stage by early November.
The nose and tail holes must be drilled by hand in a
10/14/17 Have a great
10/13/17 Lk. MI fishing
from Big Point Sable to Manistee, MI is some where's
between pitiful and non existent in the depths of
50' to 200'. Normally, at this time of the
year, there should be decent numbers of Steelhead.
This season, thus far, these fish are a no-show.
Surface temp on yesterday's trip was 61°.
Thermocline was sharply defined at 40' around 52°
that gradually declined to 42° at 80' down.
I've watched over the course of the last 3 weeks the
bait thin out and sonar fish evaporate. I have
no doubt there's a pile of fish offshore. The
question is: how many miles? There's a lot of
water to sort out and I prefer to have the fish come
Until we get surface temps in the 50s, my big lake
season is on hold. No sense in chasing fish
that have yet to materialize.
10/12/17 Taking the day
off from the normal routine for new product testing
in the design and refine stage. It took about
5 years in the thought stage to start on my spoons.
Then, close to a year to refine and double/triple
check the design before production made possible
with the new technology of 3D fused filament
New tackle concept is where I test myself the most
to bring your original tackle. Trying as it
is, this is the fun stuff enjoyed most!
Mark today: 10/12/17 as first stage in this
10/11/17 The idea behind
new tackle is to raise the bar with better products
that make sense. Today's featured photo is the
new for 2018, Steelhead (Florescent) Orange Cupped
Diver Rings. I am proud of this original
product with increased diver depth with less rod
strain over the mega-rings that pull like a
Budweiser draft horse.
My 2 divers account for close to 50% of my yearly
fish take in a limited 6 rod spread. When you
have 2 rods keeping up with the other 4? ...this
speaks volumes! This is why I've devoted a lot
of my efforts fine tuning my diver program.
Cupped diver rings and my trick Super Snubbers™ out
perform the competition.
Click new 2018 ring color
10/10/17 New one for me
today. Add Perch to the list of fish that will
eat meat rigs™. This was confirmed by a photo
by Tom M who fishes out of E Chicago, IN in southern
Said this before, if it looks like food to one
specie there's no doubt it will across the spectrum
of all predatory fish willing to strike.
Believe it, or not?
Click for proof
10/9/17 Prototype secret
project is in the works. Looks like this
coming Thursday will be a good time to test out my
original creation. If the basic concept works,
design will be tweaked on my 3D printer until it
meets my high standards.
New stuff is the fun part of what I do. New,
never seen before tackle is a head game to the max
until all issues are conquered.
10/8/17 Continued warm
spell with warmer than normal LK. MI temp is
extending the growing season for the bio mass of Lk.
MI. This should be helpful in continuing the
rebound of the Alewife population and all species
that depend on them for food.
Lots of things in fishing are perplexing. 10
days apart between my last 2 fishing trips had
better bait and marks way-south of Manistee both
times. By the time we got within a mile or 2
of port, on the shelf, the sonar was showing zelch.
10/7/17 Yesterday's trip
went about as expected. Seas were tolerable
with air temperatures on the mid to low 60s.
Surface temp of Lk. MI was 64° and the thermocline
was around 60' down. We had a heartbreaker
when our only bite, a big silver King came unpegged
40' behind the boat. We lose so fish, it's
going to happen once in a while.
Best water was S of Guerney Creek. The closer
we got to Manistee the bait and fish marks thinned
out drastically. Water is too warm for surface
Steelhead action that's running later this year then
10/6/17 Lk. MI is supposed to
be fairly calm today that good news for me.
Hope to get another late season trip in. This
time of the year tackle sales slow down and afford
me the time to go and not feel like I have to rush
home. Hope the fish cooperate just a little in
less than ideal conditions for Steelhead that would
be my first choice.
10/5/17 In the later
1960s when our Great Lakes Salmon fishery began, the
1st popular diver was the Pink Lady. This was
a crude miserable device. Next to impossible
to trip. This meant a long hard pull back to
the boat with the diver digging water non stop.
Deep Sixes soon replaced the Pink Lady and held
favor to about 1985 when the first purpose built
long 9-10' diver rods began hit the market.
Dipsy Divers started to rule in 1986, because the
were directional. Eliminating the need for
outriggers almost all charter boats had back then.
Dipsys always have and still have stock flawed
add-on ring. Flimsy, breakaway tabs causes
problems. The ring can come off when fishing.
Rings are not needed all the time, when the fish are
high, top 40' no rings are needed. So, over
time, the rings tabs do break. I can remember
gluing rings on diver to have a more reliable
product back when I chartered (1983-2003).
This is why I designed a cupped easy-on, easy-off
diver ring with 4 moveable screwed-in tabs that
never break and will last a lifetime when used
properly. Bonus is the additional depth the
cupped part gives without the hard pull of the mega
rings that waste water flow energy instead of
10/4/17 There's no such
thing as the offseason for tackle production.
Now is when and how I lay the groundwork for the
2018 season. Besides, not having to heat the
shop in the coldest part of winter to paint, cut
lure tape, etc. is a good move.
Finished the upgrade to my 3D printer to dual
extruders. Had the kit to do this for 2 years,
but looked overly complicated to me. So, I
kept putting it off.
Making more 3D printed diver rings to replenish sold
out colors. This is a slow process, because it
takes about an hour to print each ring. More on this
10/3/17 This is a very
sad time for America ...AGAIN! Mass murder by
a deranged evil individual bent on rising to the top
of this list of the worst killers in the USA cannot
The genie of easy access to assault weapons with
high capacity magazines has been let out of the
bottle. I see no way this can be stopped with
big money special interests ruling our country and
jeopardizing our everyday lives.
President Trump promised to throw out Washington
elites and end “American carnage.” It's time
he put his actions where his mouth is!
Under President Reagan (the gold standard for
Republicans) he condemned assault weapons on
2/6/1989. In 1994 Reagan helped Pres. Clinton
pass the time stamped Assault Weapons Ban by 2 votes
that expired in 2004.
am a gun owner and hold the values of the 2nd
amendment dear, but not at the cost of having
innocent lives slaughtered that will surely lead to
living in an armed military camp to protect us from
Click info on Federal Assault Weapons Ban law
10/2/17 We need more
fish plain and simple. How many is open to
debate? But a modest increase would generate a
lot of positive publicly for the DNRs.
It's easy to see why the Kings and Coho this year
are jumbos. This is from the abundance of
bait. How else are you going to get 30
pounders and Coho over 16?
The 16 pounds and change Coho taken aboard my boat
last week shows a phenomenal growth rate of for the
18 months this fish grew in Lk. MI.
The MDNR has made token Manistee Coho plants over 30
years. Best was in 1993, or 1994 when the DNR
dumped in 400k Coho (think number is close to
correct). Discounting the late 1960s and
early 1970s Coho stocking levels.
Back then, Manistee had awesome charter catches 20
to 30 Coho per trip. There was enough Kings mixed in
to keep it excitement level high for the sports
From the charter fleet's perspective Coho are
actually a better fish. While everyone wants
whopper Kings over 30, truth is 75% of charter
customers are over matched when it comes to big guy
tunas. Not to mention, summer Coho are more
aggressive and easier to catch at all times of the
day when compared to Kings.
Frankfort, MI is probably considered MI's number 1
Coho port, because of the Platte River hatchery
system. With the majority of the Coho
returning to the Platte river there are close no
ports that can take advantage to the N of the Platte
to zero in. Unless you count the Manitou
Island's Glen Arbor and Leland. A good
20-30 miles away!
9/30/17 On hold for now.
3D printer that makes my diver rings has been
problematic. Need to fix this 3D printer
machine. Sold out of certain colors that must
9/29/17 Stomach contents
of the Coho we caught earlier this week didn't show
much. Only 2 fish had 5 to 6" Alewives in
Click stomach contents
This was not from lack of bait. This was a
result of the maturity process when Salmon reach
adulthood and turn into full blown river spawners.
2 of the Coho stomachs had atrophied. Down to
about the size of a soup straw unable to digest
food. But yet, these fish will still strike
out from conditioned response.
Wrote an article about eaters, or biters in 2008 to
add some background about this fascinating part of
Salmon's life cycle.
Click Eaters, or Biters article
Tomorrow why Manistee, MI needs a bigger Coho plant
9/28/17 Answers from
this past Tuesday's Manistee, MI trip begin with the
number of fish caught: 4 Coho. This was good,
because I expected a skunk according to recent
The fish were 75'-105' down. Perfect territory
for a dedicated meat program. So, Todd B. and
I hung meat on our 6 rod spread.
Click meat caught fatty 13 lb. Coho
Area fished was S of Manistee by about 5-6 miles in
front of Gurney Creek. Chose this place,
because the dropoff is closer to shore.
Affording us some protection from a SE beam sea.
This meant a more comfortable N-S troll along
structure. Knew there was not all that many
fish available and used structure to our advantage.
Depth of water we tried to stay in was inside of
140' and never shallower that 120'
Troll speed was never above 2 mph. I'd say 1.8
was the sweet spot considering all the bait that was
there. Big mounds of bait were commonplace for
Tomorrow stomach contents photo and amazing
9/27/17 Sometimes the
stars lineup and we get help from the fish gods sums
up my terrific fishing trip out of Manistee, MI
Lk. MI played nice with tee shirt temps in the low
80s. There was a slight breeze that pushed
back the heat until we got onshore.
Then, it was hot 89-90° on the way home. This
was the perfect kind of day that reminds us why we
devote much of our efforts pursuing Salmon and Trout
on the big water.
OK, now for the fishing that shocked even me.
ginormous Coho to almost 17 lbs.
With the smallest on the 10-11 lb. bracket!
Click 16.95 lb. Coho
were the largest Coho Salmon I've seen since 1999
when all the Coho off Manistee were over 12 lbs. (MI
Master Angler sized fish). Coho are the
smaller cousin of Kings usually are 6 to 8 lb. adult
fish. Any Coho over 10 nowadays is a goodie.
many did we catch? How deep were the fish?
Where did Todd B. and I fish? What was the
best trolling speed? Check back tomorrow for
9/26/17 Word from the
Little Manistee Harvest Weir is not many Kings are
there yet according to website member, Kim A as of
Going to try to recon fish this morning out of my
home port of Manistee, MI. I have zero
confidence going in and know it's not the best time.
This trip will be more about how much bait is around
and how deep it is. Big N blow towards the end
of the week that should push the warm water S.
The N wind will help setup October Lk. MI Steelhead
...I hope. Tomorrow? why I like late season
9/25/17 Successive days
of high temps around 90° makes me glad this is not
the busy time in my shop. When it's this hot
in July and August, starting early around, or before
4am is a must. So, we do not have to work in
the heat of the day.
One thing that's worthy to note is the current
record breaking heat wave. Yesterday, Manistee
broke the previous record set in 2004 (85°) with a
high temp of 90°.
Know there was some Kings caught off Manistee's deep
water weekend before this one. Hope to have
more info on this past weekend very soon.
9/23/17 Have a super
9/22/17 Goodbye summer
2017 and welcome to the official beginning of fall.
Temps are predicted to push 90° for Manistee, MI
today. Enjoy the summerlike weather while you
°9/21/17 Posted a new pic
of a goodie King caught 2 days out of East Chicago,
IN by Frank M on a meat rig combo. This is an
interesting area to fish being the industrial
heartland of the midwest. Kings there do not
have a major river to run up. So, you have a
captive audience from what I learned there this
Do know the lay of the lake where the photo was
taken is only about 30' deep and it has to be warm
water this close in. Kinda surprised these
fish hit meat in these far from perfect conditions.
Frank's IN King Salmon
9/20/17 I'll calling in
sick this morning. I will fix this "sick of
not enough fishing" soon!
9/19/17 Plan on checking
Pine Creek for numbers of Salmon in this stream
before this week is over. This extended warm
spell will not load the rivers and streams with
spawning Kings. A cold rain followed by E wind
usually is cause for a big push of fish.
9/18/17 Since I left the
charter business in 2003, my average fish take since
has been about 1 fish an hour (lines in the water)
thru thick and thin. This season, I'd say this
average fell to 1 fish every 2 hours of effort
This season has yet to play itself out.
There's plenty of time left to raise my fish take
upwards ...if I have a good October for Lk. MI
Steelhead? It will be interesting to see if
the trend of bigger Kings this year carries over,
resulting in larger Steelhead.
Master Anger Steelhead (over 17 lbs.) are hard to
come. In my charter days boated many in the
15-16 range. Breaking the 17 lb. trophy
Steelhead ceiling? Only done this maybe 4
times. With the largest 21 and change out of
Saugatuck in May of 1996.
9/16/17 Enjoy these end
of summer warm days and have a great weekend.
9/15/17 As mentioned in
yesterday's chat, the Firedot color leads my list of
longevity. Having used it for 48 years. That's
how long this early days late 1960s color has been
around. Digging into the history of this
pattern it came and went.
enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the late 1970s
when Luhr Jensen transposed it dodgers. That
became a mainstay of the Lk. MI fleet. This
was a "go-to" summer selection all thru the 1980s
into the 1990s for attractor fishermen pulling
Firedot dodgers lost popularity when Jerry
Bechhold's slanted vertical fin rotator took over
the market in the early i2ks. Only to be
copied by Ludington's Dreamweaver tackle company
that found a work around to circumvent Bechhold's
This bit of Great Lakes fishing lore brought up
another question in my mind, as next year I
celebrate my 50th year on the Great Lakes next
season. That being, what is my top lure color
over the last 5 decades? This will require
careful thought to answer.
9/14/17 Today's featured
photo is from my last Lk. MI trip out of Manistee.
It's the Firedot pattern on a 4.0 Salmon Buster™
spoon. For me? ...this color dates back
to 1969 when it came out on a slow speed/high action
Luhr Jensen Manistee Wobbler spoon.
The Manistee Wobbler is from the era when the
up-and-coming Great Lakes Salmon fleet was buzzing
about the possibility of 50 to 100 pound Chinooks,
as the Kings were known by ...back then. Kings
as a name never took over in full the about late
Yes, 50-100 lb. Salmon was not out of the realm of
possibility, because Lk. MI was already growing Coho
2 to 3 times, as big for what's considered normal.
At least that's what the word was, spoken around
several campfires in the late 1960s.
In my long career pushing 50 years on Lk. MI?
...1000s of Salmon & Trout have came to the net on
the Firedot color. It was a no brainer to
include this school bus yellow pattern with
fluorescent red dots in my tackle lineup!
Click 9/12/17 Firedot Steelie
9/13/17 Two terms come
to mind about yesterday's fishing trip out of
Manistee, MI. 1st was tee shirt weather.
Second was football Steelhead. "Football" is a
often used word to describe fat-stocky-plump Brown
Click yesterday's fatso Steelhead
Heard fishing was slow/tough going in. So,
this was a search mission to provide hands-on
material for this website. Started off in the
harbor. Made one big long pass thru the pier
heads. Marked a lot of bait in the channel by
the C.G. station. But no large fish marks were
present. Seen about 4-5 boats working the
harbor with no action.
Motored out to the dropoff/shelf and set up in 45'
of water and headed W. There was massive piles
of bait in 80-100' of water. Once again no
Trolled out to 435' of water. Took a fat
Steelhead in about 400' and that was it.
Hours fished was from about 7am thru 11am on a
peaceful Lk. MI that was quite enjoyable!
9/12/17 The back story
from yesterday's guest update began in later
September 2004 when I first met Tom M. He was
following my website, watching the success with a
meat program in 2003 & 2004 and wanted in.
He purchased several flashers and what I had left in
meat rigs. Then, took his new weapon to
southern Lk. MI. He was the first and most
influential fishermen armed with a highly proven
meat program that caused IN and IL anglers to make
the big shift to meat.
It's rewarding for me to have maintained yearly
contact with a valuable fishing friend like Tom M.
His photos have graced this page many times over the
9/11/17 Guest update
from East Chicago, IN's Tom M:
"Finally got my boat in the water
last weekend but only got out one day and didn't get
any bites went this morning and got this 16 lbs. 11
oz. King this morning at daybreak on your big green
frog spoon. I'm not a big spoon guy but it took two
of our three bites today going to run two tomorrow
Click for this IN King Salmon
bite came on the 12 inch 3 fly green frog meat rig
on the downrigger. Tomorrow, I'll send you pictures
with the spoon in its mouth. Hopefully" Tom M.
9/9/17 Have a great
9/8/17 Best thing about
our 2017 Lk. MI season for King Salmon? ...it paints
a pretty rosy picture for next season (2018).
Baitfish, or Alewives were in short supply in 2015
and not all that much more in 2016. This year
was much different with pods of bait rebounding from
all time lows. So, this is very good news for
all of us!
Click pods of bait off Frankfort, MI
9/7/17 This weekend is
looking better and better to fish Lk. MI out of my
home port of Manistee, MI. We all like things
to look forward to. Especially, when it comes
month from now is when it gets reel-serious for Lk.
MI October Steelhead. These are all quality
fish that presents excitement that's off the scale.
This is when my Salmon Buster™ spoons come into
their own. Steelhead have proved a reel-fondness for
high action baits and my spoons fit this bill to a
downside to late season trolling on LK. MI is the
wind and rough water. Hard to plan.
Unless, you're a local to the area and can go on
Tomorrow? ...the best thing about the 2017
9/6/17 Restocking meat
heads for next year is high on the agenda.
2017 marks the first time we sold out of certain
base colors in the Magnum heads. Demand was
off the charts as better herring strips became
available after a long absence on Lk. Ontario.
In the tackle
business there's no such thing as the off times.
That's when you build towards the new season by
Looking for a
window to fish Lk. MI. Still lots of fishing
left dependant on wind.
9/5/17 Wow, where the
heck did summer go? The last 6-8 weeks have
evaporated at blazing speed. We've been extra
busy in the shop making tackle and shipping orders.
This causes time to fly by without much time to
smell the roses along the way.
still plenty of Great Lakes fishing left weather
permitting. Which is always a crap shoot at
this time of the year when hurricanes hit our
coastal regions. These vast weather systems
have a lot of carryover when it comes to making more
wind then we need.
look forward to and that will be discussed in
9/4/17 On cue, the wind
season officially arrived today. September
going into October means far fewer calm days on Lk.
MI. Big seas are the norm.
have any fishing reports from this weekend yet for
central Lk. MI. Had 2 website members fish out
of the Port of South Haven, MI with limited success.
it's hard to sum up this season. Do know big
Kings over 30 pounds were more plentiful. This
is easy to figure out. Less Kings in Lk. MI
and more bait is going to grow bigger fish.
But at the possible cost of less action per trip?
9/3/17 In a span of less
then 12 hours, central Lk. MI off Ludington is
playing yoyo with temp. My armchair fishing
says from 25' to 70' is not stable conditions to put
a lot of fish in the box. The water is moving
a lot and hard to keep fish and bait in the same
place for the inshore fishery which is inside of
9/2/17 Have a safe and
great holiday weekend. Like you, I'm going to
take some time off too. Only I have that is
noteworthy? Lk. MI rolled has 50° temp at only
9/1/17 Have a great
Labor Day Weekend. Under no means think fish
are jumping in the boat at the Port of Manistee, MI.
Yes, there some fish are being caught, but not at
the same the pace as the first half of August.
I've heard 1 to 3 fish for the trailer boat fleet
with charters doing about twice that number.
Seems like a lot east wind has kept the fish from
stacking up like in years past, or the main herd has
yet to arrive?
8/31/17 Upped the ante
with another plus 30 pound King from Manistee today.
Fish this size were thought an impossibility when
the devastating Salmon crash of 2015 happened.
Just goes to show, with fishing (a word that implies
risk) there's absolutely no way to predict the
future. Good to see Lk. MI's future looks
Click Charlie's 32 lb. King
8/30/17 Long range wind
and sea reports look favorable for the upcoming
Labor Day Weekend central Lk. MI fleet. This
is the time of the season when wind becomes a major
factor for the smaller boat fishermen that do not
have access to current conditions.
It's almost criminal neglect not to have a NOAA
real-time reporting station at Frankfort's Point
Betsie and at Little Point Sable for the
Pentwater/Whitehall fishermen. Both of these
places have lighthouses that are either on, or used
to be federal properties.
Having wide gaps in wind coverage is not safe, or in
the best interest of the big water fishermen who are
planning to fish these areas.
Click for Lk. MI wind reports
8/29/17 Just don't have
a lot to go on as far as fishing reports go.
Lack of reports from our message board generally
means ...catch rates left a lot to desired.
Do have a couple of good links. One pertaining
to the Lk. MI charter industry that explains big
Kings are a major draw for charter anglers.
Click charter study
Plus, a very informative article about this year's
Kings from Michigan State University Extension,
Michigan Sea Grant's Dan O'Keefe.
Click 2017 King info
photo, Kayak Kings shows the work CBull puts in to
catch fish. You'll notice the peddles just
forward of the 3 Kings. That's his silent
flipper propulsion system, leg power that has to be
the most stealthy approach there is. You have
to admire his dedication to the sport of big water
Dust has not settled from the weekend reports yet.
Should have fresh info from this past weekend
tomorrow. Do know the Ghostbuster pattern
continues to be on a tear!
8/27/17 Here's an
interesting Frankfort, MI fishing update from kayak
troller and website member, Chuck B. aka, CBull:
"Capt John, Got these kings in 45 fow
just outside the Frankfort pier heads this morning.
Big and little Ghostbuster SalmonBuster spoons were
Thank you for quality gear, "CBull"
for his Kayak caught Kings
8/26/17 The photos in
the left border marks the 1st time in the history of
this website that goes back to the year, 2000 ...3
Master Angler sized Kings all sent in by viewers.
Master Angler King Salmon must be over 27 pounds to
qualify for the MDNR arm patches.
This is quite a welcomed turnaround from the dismal
Lk. MI King season of 2015.
Offshore E and N wind made it a tough go for the
Manistee, MI fleet yesterday. The was a lot of
bait outside of 200' depths, but not many fish marks
to go with it. Look at this as a temporary
setback till we get a good SW blow.
8/25/17 My job is
getting easier and easier with updates sent in from
website viewers. Today's fishing report is
from Derek L. Here's what he had to share:
I forgot to send these pics from early August.
Fished mainly north of town (Manistee) out of
traffic. When thermocline started dropping 10 inch
Ghostbuster was best on the low diver and a 10 inch
frog on the high diver. XG Smurf and my custom
mountain dew also took fish. Master angler at 41
inches and 33 pounds came on a 5 color with the
thermocline at 35 feet in 70 fow. Thanks for
the quality product. Derek"
Derek's big King
8/24/17 Today's update
is courtesy of Mike K. Here's what he had to
"Good morning John, here is a picture
of another huge king my son Zach landed with your
product. It came on a high diver 250' back, using a
glow ghost BTI meat rig, fishing over 130fow. This
is our third king that has pushed close to thirty
pounds, out of Manistee this year. Thanks again,
Click for this photo
8/23/17 Hat's off to Dan
A for providing today's featured pic of Kings caught
off Frankfort this past Monday morning. It's
not a stretch to say, there's close to, or over 50
pounds of Kings in the 4 fish. Not bad for a
short morning trip!
Click Dan's catch
You might want to look at this year as a rebuilding
season ...as far as the King fishery goes. If
you've fished Lk. MI this year, I'm sure you've seen
plenty of wads of bait. This large amount of
bait is a drastic improvement over 2016.
Foretelling better things in the future and a King
fishery that will continue to perk up!
8/22/17 The over hyped
Solar Eclipse 2017 was a absolute dud in Manistee,
MI. There was nothing different. So, my
idea of being lord and master over the Great Lakes
fish population for a few minutes went down the
Fishing was not a dud for longtime website member,
Dan D. They fished out of the Port of
Frankfort, MI yesterday with respectable results to
Kings over 22 pounds. He fished N along the
steep drop-off/bank towards Point Betsie.
Know for a reel-fact, there's been more big Kings
over 20 pounds caught this year in probably then the
last 3 previous. This equation is pretty
simple to understand. When there's more Lk. MI
bait and less Kings to munch it down, bigger fish do
But this comes with a cost of far-far fewer fish the
MDNR has stopped planting!
8/21/17 Partial solar
eclipse day for Manistee, MI. This got me to
thinking of the low light bite that could be awesome
for the fleet. You get the best of both
worlds. Low light evening bite, then in a few
minutes the low light breaking dawn offers.
If any of you gets into double, or a triple during
the partial eclipse hours of 2:30pm-2:45pm today,
please contact me. This could be an enlightening
8/20/17 Have a great
Sunday! Lk. MI is showing some love for the
weekend fishing fleet with tolerable seas from
glassy flat to 3 footers.
Last week of August and the 1st week of September is
when the most Lk. MI fish are caught (per trip)
according to my years in the charter business
(1983-2003). So, the best is yet to come for
the big water fleet!
8/19/17 The key word in
yesterday's chat session was "fun". This goes
back to my conversation with Kevin D when he stopped
by my place a week, or 2 ago.
Kevin started talking double divers which are a pain
unless there's more than one highly experienced
fisherman aboard (like on most charter boats).
Think he sat out the 2016 season after the dismal
season of 2015 when Kings were as scarce as hen's
Good to see Chummer back and a member of the summer
Salmon fleet once again. And most importantly?
...he's having fun!
8/18/17 Today's featured
4 in 1 reel-story book photo is courtesy of longtime
website member, Kevin D aka Chummer. Here's
what he had to say:
"Deb and I were also out of Manistee last night
(this past Wednesday evening). 70-85 riggers
with meat, 180 wire mag diver with bti/fly and same
with bti and meat on port. Most fun we've had
salmon fishing since 2014! Chummer"
Click for reel-fun photos
8/17/17 Semi progress
was made during last night's fishing trip out of
Manistee, MI. Test thingies showed we're on
the right path. Most notable was a King we
caught in total darkness at 10:45pm over 150' of
water 60' down.
Night fishing is a frontier I've yet to conquer due
to not making a concerted effort and lack of time.
Semi progress is a heck of a lot better than no
8/16/17 Saga of the 2017
big Kings marches on with Master Angler Kings being
caught as far S as the Port of St. Joe. This is the year of the big Kings.
Click St. Joe 28# King
Going to take this afternoon off and try out some
ideas that have been in the thought stage for a
very-very long time.
The plan is there. Now, to put it in action.
Sure, failure could be a part of this. But
nothing ventured? ...nothing gained!
8/15/17 Today's featured
photo is from our Pacific Ocean's NW coast.
This huge King was caught about 20 miles N of the
famed Columbia River that borders the states of
Oregon and Washington. It came on Super Mag
Black Ice Meat Head.
Pacific Ocean King
While I'm on the subject of big Kings, there was a
41 pounder caught off Muskegon, MI and more 30s
taken off the Port of Ludington, MI. I have no
doubt there's been a few 30 some pounders out of
Manistee, MI that I've yet to confirm.
As not to paint too rosy of Manistee's King fishery,
there were blank spots that held no, or not many
fish this past Sunday after the N wind. Seems
N was better than S.
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.
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'."
Arcadia, MI Kings
More new tomorrow on big Kings to past and 41
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.
8/11/17 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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
electronics when it comes to sonar is breaking new
horizons. Sonar is our most useful tool when
it comes to locating fish.
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.
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
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
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
8/1/17 Still learning
the nuances of my Salmon Buster™ spoons. The
short game is to blab a bunch of unverified facts to
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
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 &
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
good spoon reef-fact is? ...in 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,
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
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
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? ...my 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
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
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? ...new
players in the bait supply business stepped in with
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
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 ...at 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
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
7/24/17 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
7/19/17 As of 5pm today,
my webstore located at:
Has reopened and is accepting orders
Have NOW caught
Salmon and Trout from all 5 Great Lakes!
Click 7/17/17 Lk. Superior Salmon
continues with progress. Tackle sales
will begin again before this week is over.
7/15/17 Have a great
Saturday. My webstore
www.michiganangler.com 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
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? ...my 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Light winds and temperatures in the 70s will be
enjoyable for 4th. This Saturday morning there
is a slight chance of thunderstorms for Manistee,
Personal commitments might delay shipping today
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
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? ...how 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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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 &
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
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
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
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
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.
about fishing this afternoon that's totally weather
6/14/17 This morning,
according to down-temp info gathered from the
Ludington data there's a 2° break at 55' down
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
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
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
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
Deeper fish from a formed thermocline and structure
comes into play, like a fence. Warm water
promotes plankton growth to attract baitfish
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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..."
because Wayne T struggled does not make him a zero.
It shows he's still a
hero with an honest fishing report we ALL can learn
reel-fishing story is courtesy of Manistee, MI
local, Wayne J:
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
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.
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.
three kings in the box, one shaker released and a
hit on the rigger that did not hook up. And...one
tired fisherman. Wayne J skipper of Take
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 ...you know where. In mental prep for
today's trip, mulled over the zillion choices
fishermen face after not being on the water for
days. It's stone flat-out amazing how
complicated we've remade the once simple process of fishing. Have a great weekend!
this morning. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of
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.
Continued below back to the year 2000:
February & March
April, June &
February & March
April, May & June
July, August &
October, November &
April, May & June
July, August &
November, & December
April, May, & June
August, & September
February, & March
April, May, & June
July, August &
October, November &
February, & March
April, May & June
July, August &
October, November &
February, & March
April, May, & June
July, August &
November, & December
February, & March
April, May & June
August & September
October, November & December
February & March
April, May & June
July, August, &
October, November, &
November & December
July, August, &
April, May & June
February & March
November & December
July, August & September
May & June
February & March
November & December
July, August &
April, May &
February & March
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March
October, November &
August & September
June & July
April & May
January, February & March
Feb Mar April
June & July
Aug & Sept
Nov & Dec
April Brown Trout
May & June
Aug. Tuna Time
March & April
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: