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

7.31.08_Kewaunee_fish_box.jpg (44260 bytes)
7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

7.28.08_Manistee_Hot_Rigs.jpg (90145 bytes)
7/28/08 Manistee, MI
8.31.08_Manistee_016.jpg (115338 bytes)
8/31/08 Manistee
9.1.08_Manistee.jpg (75424 bytes)
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)

3/21/18  Boat radar is electronic security.  If you've ever had radar? ...this is one piece of marine electronics you won't go without. Click Craig's list ad
              I'm selling my Furuno 1715 all in one radar unit display, dome, manual and cables.  Seen this unit mark sea gulls on the water 200' away from my boat.
              I just don't have room for it on my small dashboard and don't use it as much as I should.  Because it limits my visibility.  This radar was fine until I upgraded to a C127 Raymarine multi-functional display about 5 season ago.  The C127 takes up the room on the inside of the hardtop where the 1715 was once mounted.

3/20/18  Spring 2018 begins today at 12:30 pm.  Possibility of fishing Lk. MI this Thursday afternoon if the weather plays nice.  Been watching the S end of Lk. MI and that's a crap shoot too with brisk N winds and temps not much better than here in Manistee, MI.
              Really can't decide with predicted temps in the 30s and N wind predicted.  Next week looks much better with highs in mid 40s to splash the boat.

3/19/18  1st week in March when this week's daytime high temp is above freezing, but not by much.  This causes major issues at launch ramps for morning fishermen when the temp is in the teens.  First boat, or 2 is OK, ...then, the water in the ramp freeze and your vehicle must climb the icy incline after launching to park.
               Ever-so-slow warm up this week, as we wait for spring to break. Tomorrow Mr. Winter is facing retirement by Mr. Spring 2018.  Let's hope Mr. Winter takes the hint ASAP!

3/18/18  Have a great Sunday!

3/17/18  St. Patrick's Day hopefully will transition to a lucky season for all of us.  Luck is defined as where opportunity meets preparation.  So, I'm prepared and waiting to get lucky!
               We all have different things that turn our crank.  Mine lately has been focused on raising the quality of my videos.  This season will have 2 hat cams, a net cam and a stationary hardtop cam to cover what the other ones miss.
              I enjoy the fact of being a movie producer in control of my own destiny.  Know what I want to see and how to set up better videos that's a work in progress for 2018.

3/16/18  Added a new link on the Great Lakes info page.  This new link is 24/7 webcams that cover the 5th Avenue beach N of Manistee, MI's harbor and the harbor's S pier's dog leg along the 1st Street Beach.  Click Great Lake page with webcam link
              Now, you can see how Lk. MI is behaving before planning your fishing trip.  Better yet? can expand the image by clicking the section you're interested in.
              I built this page for myself, because it has all the pertinent fishing data needed to research conditions including Lk. MI's surface temp, and 3 different ways to collect wind & wave reports.  This is the page I rely on and use most often during season.

3/15/18  With the season getting closer, decided to dial in my new hardtop cam for 2018, a GoPro Hero5.  To me? ...this all in one camera and video recorder is remarkable.
              In fact, today's photo was snapped by me via Blue Tooth remote control.  You can see me in the pic adjusting the angle and field of view (narrow, linear, wide and super wide) for the Hero5 video camcorder.  Before it was hit and miss.
              Now, with an Android tablet that sees exactly what the cam sees, the wide angle rear deck shot is close to perfection!  Click GoPro remote photo via Blue Tooth
              Newly installed extra bright LED rear deck work lights helped with illumination.

3/14/18  Above freezing for today in Manistee, MI.  March high temps are running a good 10-12 degree below average.  Brief warm up for this weekend is presenting a possibility to splash my boat in Lk. MI.  First trip of the 2018 season sure sounds good!
             Target specie at this time of the year is Brown Trout.  Did see a lot of 36° water on the beach if the satellite chart is to be believed.  Never did well in 36°, seems 38-40° is when catching spring Browns becomes a little easier.  Prime on the beach for me is 44°.

3/13/18  Good news!  Manistee, MI's 1st Street public launch has 1 dock in for those early season hard core anglers willing to brave the elements this week. 
              This brings us one step closer to the 2018 season.  Our current winter-like weather is supposed to improve slowly this week. Click 3/12/18 Manistee dock
              More good news from the S end of Lk. MI.  The wall off Patrick Marina to the Gary Light has been red hot for spring Coho according to inside source from E Chicago, IN.

3/12/18  Latest long range weather forecast has downgraded a warming trend towards the end of this week from the 50s to the low 30s on this Friday.  This totally crushes any thoughts of an early 2018 season kickoff for yours truly.
               Bleed over issues from last week's server switch are on the front burner today.  Server location effects company email and the ability to publish and maintain my online tackle store.  eCommerce has never been easy.  New web standards just made it harder.
               Did check website stats and was surprised to see 60% of visitors to this website came from iPhones and iPad tablets.  This is a major switch from computers to mobile devices.  Top operating system is Windows 7 on computers with Win 10 in 2nd place.

3/11/18  Hope you set your clocks an hour ahead last night as we spring forward.  Just the word spring sounds good & it's only 9 days out.  Probably, like you, I've had enough winter and eager to get on the water again.  Keep telling myself this will happen as the weather seems to say differently.  Guess, my patience is in short supply until the boat gets wet!

3/10/18  Best thing we have going for us is a warm spell next Friday with temps in the 50s for Manistee.  Even warmer depending how far south you go.
              Trying to justify a trip to S Lk. MI for 17" Coho when I caught 12 to 17 pounders last September.  Probably go, but the weather has to perfect.  Until the right window happens, needed in the shop to build inventory that we're dreadfully low on.
              Fun stuff planned for this weekend? ...dial my hardtop cam's view in via Blue Tooth control remotely.  Before it was a guessing game, now it's precision!

3/9/18  According to the MDNR fishing report and other sources, Browns and a few Coho are being caught out of the ports on Manistee & Ludington, MI.  This has to be for smaller boats that can launch without a dock.  Last I knew, docks were not in at Manistee's 1st Street Launch.  Have a great weekend.  Weather improves slowly next week.

3/8/18  New https security protocols by Google and PayPal will eat up most of today and some of tomorrow.  This is server based in the hands of my webhosting company. 
            My web based tackle store must be transferred to the most up to date
Apache server.  For me? ...this means all new logins & web address (URLs) for my web-store's control panel where customer transactions take place.
           Google is a big player with Android devices like cell phones.  It's imperative to have secure connections up to the latest standards. Click secure Chrome browser pic
           Honestly, this kind big-deal high tech stuff is way over my head, but have a great web hosting company walking me thru this whole ordeal.  No orders will ship for a while.

3/7/18  John Robertson former head of MDNR Fisheries Division has passed away.  Seen and personally heard John speak of a balanced fishery that made sense.  His leadership brought us out of the BKD crisis that led to a spectacular King Salmon fishing in the later 1990s thru the early i2ks.  Unlike some of the other ne'er-do-well MDNR fishery leaders, I had great respect for John Robertson who was a true advocate for our Great Lakes fleet.

3/6/18  Mr. Winter has decided to wake up and dump snow on Manistee, MI.  Colder temps to the freezing mark and possibly 6" of snow is forecast for today and tomorrow.  Temps will moderate towards the weekend further delaying my 1st trip of 2018 on Lk. MI.
             Been exploring the Blue tooth connectivity that come standard on most electronics today.  Trick is getting the pairing correct to view/control on a tablet, or cell phone.  Know my C127 Raymarine and GoPro cameras have Blue Tooth.  Now, I see the new Fish Hawk XD4 downrigger system has BT too.  Modern marine electronics are truly amazing!

3/5/18  Cold weather this week is delaying any thoughts of fishing Lk. MI out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  Time will be utilized in rebuilding flasher inventory.
             My rush to hurry up and get fishing, because of side scan sonar installed last summer.  I have a pressing desire see how far the rock and boulder field extendeds out into Lk. MI off Manistee's Orchard beach State Park.

3/4/18  Posted a photo that shows Bluetooth connectivity between a GoPro Hero5 and an Android cell phone.  Great feature ...right?  Yes, but it will flat out drain your cell phone's battery in a big hurry when using it for a control/view screen.  That's one of the reasons I installed the 4 extra USB charging ports in my boat. Click camera/phone connection

3/3/18  Have a great weekend.  My tasks will be rigging rods with new line and final boat prep for the upcoming season.  Now, it's up to mother nature and Lk. MI to rid itself of all the floating ice from around shores of Manistee, MI.  Then, it's game on!
            Looked reel-hard at traveling s to E. Chicago, IN next week to fish the early season Coho bite.  But the predicted chilly weather looks none to inviting. Click 2018 Coho

3/2/18  New 2018 fishing licenses went on sale yesterday.  Although existing 2017 licenses are good thru 3/31/17 to the best my knowledge.
             A popular 1999 computer show, "the Screen Savers" hosted by computer guru, Leo Laport told us if you want something secure, "you never put it on the web." 
             For every measure, there is a counter measure in the never ending cat and mouse game of breaching security protocols by nefarious hackers.
            Yet, the MDNR now wants to amass a huge data base of Michigan sportsmen that buy fishing, hunting and trapping licenses by making you create an account.
             No longer can you just fill out and purchase a E-License without the time consuming process of entering your personal information.  Along with security questions to create an account.  History has proved state and federal governments have been hacked time & time again.  Now, these DNR dimwits are creating another ripe juicy target.
             Even more disturbing is for those that purchase hunting licenses.  Providing a direct link to firearm owners in a statewide data base with our addresses.  I'm not a far right 2nd amendment zealot and know gun ownership comes with certain limitations.
              I do believe in the right to keep and have guns.  Both short & long.  I do believe there's not one good reason for high capacity military style magazines that have turned our schools and gathering places into slaughter houses. Click for E-License registration

3/1/18  Yesterday, fired up my boat for the 1st time in 2018. Click here for actual event

2/28/18  Good Bye February 2018 as the big lake season inches closer every day.  The channel to Lk. MI is open in Manistee, MI.  Manistee Lake has an open cut in the ice all the way to the Big Manistee River.  Main body of Lk. MI is 37°.  Suspect inshore waters along the beach are a lot warmer.  Mid 50s yesterday wasn't hard to take!

2/27/18  Thanks to Mike M for today's chat with his results from 2017.  Better than a 5 fish per trip average is reel-good for nowadays!

Hello John;  Chub Tub here we had a great season we boated 109 fish and lost only 10. Your blue bubble Single hooks flies were killers and did very well about 20% of the hits.
                Your meat rigs also did well as did your white spoons w/green stripes, and also blue and red dots did well. Your equipment and your advice made our year a success, thank you.  Now here are the 2017 results:

Coho-57 Kings-12 Steelhead-13 Lakers-23 Browns-4 Fishing trips-19

2/26/18  All 2018 boat upgrades should be done today.  Including a new LED combined red & green bow light.  Today's pic is cell phone being charged aboard thru USB outlets.
              This fixed charging station is for extending runtime on my hardtop GoPro camera.  These USB ports eliminates changing batteries on my GoPro.  Been doing videos for the last 6 years and know a "set and forget" system is the best way not to miss action.
             Today's tech stuff is beyond anything I could have imagined 50 years age when I caught my 1st Great Lakes Salmon on 10/1/1968.  Having Bluetooth cell phones hookup & control cameras remotely is truly amazing!  Click cell phone USB charged aboard

2/25/18  Batteries have been installed in my boat for the 2018 season.  Wiring the new boat upgrades (hardtop lights & USB ports) is complete.  Plowed what little snow there is left to clear a path to get my boat in & out of the pole barn. Click USB conversion port
              There is such a wide choice of neat upgrades like in today's photo of USB ports with a voltmeter.  This adapter transforms any lighter socket in a charging device.
              This is the easy version of the dedicated USB ports installed in my gunnels by the light switch for the new LED hardtop lights.  These new LED lights are a lot brighter.
              Could be ready to launch in a day or 2 after everything is done with my check list.  Lists make sure EZ stuff is not forgotten like nets and all misc. items.

2/24/18   2018 action for spring Coho in S Lk. MI is beginning to heat up.  Eyeing this early fishery with great anticipation.  Could make a quick trip if wind looks favorable.
              Batteries are going back into my boat today.  Need to complete wiring for the hardtop lights and new USB outlets.  This has taken on a new sense of urgency with the ice gone from S. Lk. MI and Coho waiting to be caught.

2/23/18  Boat upgrades are moving along nicely.  Yesterday, was able to install the new aft deck lights on my 1979 Sea Ray's rocket launcher/rod rack.  Fishing late during adult King season is one of the few options I have.  Too busy in the mornings shipping orders on the same day, or as fast as they come in.  Click new LED's on rod rack
               Never use rear deck/aft light while navigating to and from your harbor.  Especially, in the channel where very bright lights can cause temporary night blindness.
               My new LED lights won't be fully appreciated until late into this season.  But it's another project that's done now.  Not when we're extra busy making tackle this summer!

2/22/18  Another warm spell is on the way lasting way into next week to temps in the high 40° range.  This brings the early season ice-out anglers another step closer to Lk. MI 2018.
              Sometimes I know better and just get by with EZ cheapo fixes.  The bow light on my 1987 Sea Ray uses an expensive double bayonet socket Perko light bulb. 
               I've put dialectic grease on both ends and sometimes this problematic bow light still won't come on unless you flip the nav light switch 2-3 times.
              Talked myself into upgrading to a LED green & red bow light that gives 50k hours of service.  The safety aspect is beyond question.  You must show yourself to other boats when it's dark, or you're a navigation hazard.
              Cost to replace running lights is cheap compared to a ticket the U.S.C.G. can and will write.  You see C.G. in the Manistee, MI's harbor at dark assisting others, or looking poorly lit boats.   Once the C.G. spots an infraction, you'll get a free boat inspection that brings in ALL safety gear into question, including flares.  So, if you ain't up to snuff 100% in all departments ...this can get real expensive in a hurry.
              Common sense says treat the C.G. the respect they deserve.  Once I had a mouthy charter customer becoming confrontational towards the C.G.  This put me between a rock and a hard place.  Just make sure your boat is legal in all aspects all times!

2/21/18  The high temp yesterday topped 50° at my place.  Perfect weather to begin boat projects.  Upgrades are in order for dated China cheapie halogen aft deck lights that draw a lot of juice and only provide marginal light.  Last year replaced the trailer's waterproof stop/turn signals with LEDs.  This was a major a step up from old style filament bulbs.
                Best news about LED light sources? ...they've came down a lot in price. 
LEDs have an extremely long life span and use a lot less juice.
                Adding a USB outlets to provide extra runtime for the GoPro hardtop cam.  Face plate & auxiliary DC sockets were installed with a 1 1/8" hole saw thru the fiberglass.  New dedicated USB outlet has 1amp and 2amp ports.  Click marine USB outlet
               GoPro Hero 5 & 6 electrical draw is 5V at 1.5 amps.  Use only a 1amp USB port, or risk hurting the camera.  Final wiring hookup will be completed by this weekend. 

2/20/18  Maybe close to 50° at my place in Manistee County, MI.  In only 4 weeks spring 2018 will officially arrive and that's none to soon for me.
              Every season is different.  It wasn't that many years ago Manistee was producing excellent action for Kings in deep water in March and April.  120' to 180' down in over 200' of water was the reel deal for early season fishermen off the Port of Manistee. 
             Last year Manistee & Ludington had decent King catches in early April thru mid May.  So, you never know, or can predict the wild ride called, Great Lakes fishing. 

2/19/18  Today is Washington's birthday and that means the Post Office is closed and I get the day off from shipping orders. USPS is the least costly and best option in most cases to send orders.  Amazon is even is using USPS that delivers on Saturday & Sunday.
              40s today and close to 50° tomorrow with rain forecast.  That will wipe out most of our snow cover that's around 3" to 5" now at my place in Manistee, MI.
              Even better news is the remainder of February, except for this Wednesday (28°)  is above freezing.  The City of Manistee will put docks in at the 1st Street launch as soon as the ice is gone.  Will keep you informed the day this happens.

2/18/18  Posted a photo of how much ice is left on S Lk. MI.  This is the 1st place Lk. MI kicks off the season with fantastic limit catch action for early season Coho.  There's good 2 week window for EZ limit catches that are the norm, not the exception.
              Color coding the date from now on. Red means temps 32°, Blue is below 32°.  This is a good lead into spring that's about a month away.
              History tells us Feb. 18th is the date when daytime high temps in Manistee, MI exceed the freezing mark according to the long term average.  While spring is not here yet, it's definitely on the way.  That's why my task this week is to complete all boat upgrades.

2/17/18  After today, there's only one day out of the next 9 predicted to be below freezing for the daily high.  Temps at, or over 40° means priority one is getting my boat ready to hit the pond.  With rain on the way for this coming Monday and Tuesday most the snow cover will be gone.  So, it's imperative to have everything ready for the 2018 season.

2/16/18  Completed a 7 hour continuous record test with my new GoPro 6 Black camera with a 128 GB micro SD card all on battery.  Learned by plugging in USB power bank, like used to charge cell phones, runtime is only limited by what the SD card can handle. 
               This is a "set & forget" autonomous way to shoot hours of video.  Perfect for my needs.  This took a a lot of trial & error research Click 7 hour test view screen
               Have 2 new boat goodies without breaking the bank.  LED rear deck lights that will be swapping out the current power sucker Halogens.  Adding two 12 volt power outlets.  One of these outlets is dual USB power that will provide extra juice the the hardtop cam.  Both of these upgrades came in at slightly over 30 bucks from Amazon.  Now, the work begins wiring and installing.  Hopefully, this Sunday when it's supposed to hit 40° again.

2/15/18  My thanks goes out to Wayne J aka Take 5 for taking today's featured photo.  First glance shows a good number of seagulls on the ice and in the water. These birds are poaching our the 2018 crop of bait.  The gulls would not be there unless chow was a available.  It's plain wonderful to see Lk. MI with open water that helps the food chain. 
              This weekend is the MDNR's free weekend to fish.  Please, be extra careful if you're going on the ice.  Safety first cuts down on ambulance rides.

2/14/18  Valentine's Day update begins with very favorable weather report for the next 9 days.  All but one will have temps in the 30° to 40° range.  Is spring getting closer?
               It's important to mention, learned the hard way ...over the past few years, you get about a mile of good fish holding water.  Then, for the most part, it's a dead zone.
               This was not the case in the recent movie from 2016.  We had a 2.5 mile stretch with good numbers of actively feeding Kings.  So, that's why we caught a pile.
               Never get down in the mouth about not catching fish.  It's not your fault! 
You're over a dead stretch of water, unless you retrace the same trolling path.  Factor in, you're searching for a minuscule zone of water in the wide expanse of the Great lakes.
               The question of do you like the fishing experience with a chance of catching, or is this the way you feed your ego?  Wrongfully thinking you're God's gift to fish to impress.
               If you're in the latter group?  Your best bet is to go to a trout pond.  Because the days of easy limits are in the history books.  That may, or may not return?

2/13/18  Going with this video another day: Click for this video
               Can stay this with confidence, there's plenty of reel-proof to backup what I say and catch with the tackle I make here in Michigan, USA!

2/12/18  Finally finished Part 2 of 8/10/16 awesome action video.  Had so much good footage it was hard to fit all the fish in a 12 minute movie.  Both pages of "Do I Stay" article have been reformatted to better tell this King catchin' story.  Click for this video
              Wrote a lot of articles and consider this a favorite among my very best work.   Sharing the reel inside story with you is big fun:  Click Do I Stay 1  Click Do I Stay 2

2/11/18  Major upgrades for my videos this year.  Had been working with action cams that were 5-6 years old.  Pretty dated gear when it comes to how fast tech moves nowadays.
               To improve audio have a set (2) wireless mics to capture what's being said.  These are similar to the broadcast mics I'd wear when I did TV shows in the 1990s.  Having 2 wireless sound tracks plugged into the hardtop cam should make editing easier.
               New tech bring new challenges.  Biggest of which is a new codec H.265 that most computers, phones and tablets are not ready for ...yet.  It's been estimated 70-80% of web traffic is streaming content.  H.265 shrinks the current H.264 codec by 2/3rds with a crisper picture with the lofty goal of streaming 4k ultra high def TV.
             Have to develop a working around, because my video editing program cannot handle this new codec.  Click new hardtop cam system
              That's why I work on this kind of stuff in the offseason.  The reel price for new technology is not what comes out of your billfold.  It's the time invested learning how to become proficient enough to use it.

2/10/18  Photo posted of the big catch of Kings is from August 1999 back when I ran charters.  Remember the group by name, what the fish bit on and where we caught them.
              The charter guests name were the Lockerys.  Most of the 300-400 pound catch weight came on 00 Firedot dodgers and green glow squids.  A few on #5 J-Plugs.  This box was caught in the harbor and some of the fish did not make it in the photo. 
              There were 6 of us on board.  Legal King limit was 18, but there was Coho mixed in for an over 20 fish successful charter.   This was back in the day when Manistee waters got close to a million Kings planted.  Click 1999 Lockery charter catch
              OK, my memory on fishing is still pretty sharp for being over 70.  The thing that bothers me? when sometimes I lose track of simple items.  Like my truck keys!

2/9/18  There's an increase to the MDNR King plant coming.  Up from 330k to 500k for 2 years according to recent article.  Click for verification of this story
             This biggest story for the fisheries division at the MDNR comes when we elect a new governor the November.  New governors generally usher in new bodies in the DNR.
             Do know 500k sounds like a big number, but it's a drop in the bucket comparing to the 1999 plant of 7 million when we had a booming King fishery with lots of bait.
    The above heads-up is from an email I received from Wayne J who sent me the link.
             Posted a pic and a link to i2k photo gallery so you could see the amount & size of Kings back then.  Only wish I had my tackle back in this era.  Know we'd have had a bunch more and quicker limits with my current reel-tackle lineup.
Click my Aug, i2k charters

2/8/18  Wishin' it was spring, looked at the long term average highs for Manistee, MI.  Now, till the 14th it's mid to high 20s.  On the 14th of February daytime high temps increase to 32°.  Then, by the of this month, mid to high 30s are the average highs.  It's interesting to see how spring sneaks up on us over time, as we await the warmer weather.

2/7/18   Single digits returned to my place last night in Manistee County, MI.  Just hope there's enough heating days to keep Lk. MI from total freeze over.  Looks like next week we'll hit another warm spell and that's good news.
              Trying to keep the drive plowed to my storage building so I won't be snowbound when the S Lk. MI Coho takes off.  This fishery could heat-up by the 1st of March.  Want all options open.  Weather will have to be on my side to travel.  There's a lot of stars to lineup to make this a go.  Do know I have a lot of inside support by those who fish there.

2/6/18  All modern day technology comes with a cost.  The easy part is paying for it.  The expenditure in time to be able to master it is where the reel-cost comes in.  It's taken me more time then I'd like admit, to be able to cut & edit video footage into a watchable event.
             Do know I like sharing with you what's goes on aboard my boat.  In case there's some reel-knowledge you might find useful to transfer to your boat.
             Have another video waiting in the wings that will come to light soon.  Learned from this new movie how good my crew is in putting forth a total team effort.
             It's a blessing to have fishin' buds that are every bit as capable than me.  By watching/editing footage, ...I've seen them put up the slack when it counted.
             Having complete control in post productions means there's no stone left unturned in showing you the best possible informational movie I can make.  Are my videos good, or bad?  That's in the eye of the beholder to judge, not me.

2/5/18  Video will run again for today.  Watching spring Kings being caught out of Manistee and Ludington last spring could be a prelude for what's on deck for us in a month, or 2.  Know we're all looking forward to it, as the anticipation for 2018 builds!

2/4/18  Spring Salmon out of  Manistee & Ludington, MI video is on tap today.  This  is a mash-up of hometown April & May 2017 spring Kings.  Looking forward to more of this in 2018.  Click here for this video

2/3/18  With a high temp yesterday of 14° no self respecting Groundhog would think of leaving it's burrow.  If it did, cloudy and kind of snowy meant no shadow.  So, let's have fun with folklore and look forward to a early spring.  Even 6 more weeks of winter is no big deal.

2/2/18  Groundhog Day's video update is from Ludington, MI on April 13, 2017.  Fished a short late afternoon trip on a nicely behaved Lk. MI with 1' seas.
                         Click for Ludington, MI Brown Trout 2017 Video

2/1/18  February, shortest month of the year.  This month goes by quickly as the public's thoughts turn to fishing and demand for tackle builds.  Been extra busy playing catch-up filling orders for meat heads that were out of stock since last August. 
             Rather be busy at this time of the year then when fishing gets hot and heavy.  Been banking days for a summer vacation and that means closing down the tackle store for about a week.  Video update tomorrow from Brown trip out of Ludington last April

1/31/18  Today, we're closing out our longest, darkest month of winter.  This means the 2018 big lake season gets closer everyday.  Another signal is the approaching Super Bowl is the traditional unofficial kickoff of the 2018 tackle sales fishing season.  Sure, we still have some hard winter in front of us.  But spring is not all that far away.
              Southern Lk. MI fishermen will be eager to beat up on the spring Coho by early March, if not sooner.  Do know that I'm more then ready to tackle the challenges of 2018!
              Have revamped the video sound system on my boat with remote broadcast mics and 2 hat cams with powered mics.  All in an effort to have an excellent sound track where the reel conversations are captured in real-time.  To be shared with you ...minus wind noise.
             This will make final editing go quicker without me having to do voice-over/narration to explain what's going on.  2 new videos are ready to debut by week's end....

1/30/18  Over the years accumulated a lot of knives, steels and ceramic rods.  These are tools pros use to clean fish.  If you're anything above mediocre in the charter business you'll be faced with having to clean 200-300 lb. fish boxes (my era 1983-2003).
             And do it in a manner that don't look like a dog gnawed on the fillets.  Swiss made 12"
Forschner Cimeter blades can walk thru a pile of fish in a big hurry.  Keeping the edge extra sharp is the key.  Use a steel, then followed by a ceramic rod does the best job once you become proficient at using them. Click fish cleaning tools

1/29/18  This winter has been a series of ups and downs.  Twice in Manistee, MI we had way over 2' on the ground.  Only to see warm fronts with rain melt it away.  Since mid December we've had 3 warm fronts pushing the thermometer to the mid to high 40s. 
               Recently, I saw the temp just touch 50°.  The silver lining to all of this is to hold back Lk. MI from freezing over and slowing the food chain.  Bait in 2017 off Manistee was fairly abundant and that brought the Kings in late April and early May.

1/27/18  Have a great Saturday and Sunday!

1/26/18  T.G.I.F.  Just completed our most hectic week of the 2018 season.  1000s of heads have been machined during the last 6 days.  Cut 1000s of die cuts/lure tape for bait heads too.  Pent up demand for mag meat heads has been astonishing.  Some colors have been out of stock since last August.  Great to see product acceptance when you're a manufacturer!  Busy is good and has made January fly by.

1/25/18  The groundwork laid yesterday is leaning towards a critical factor in your Great Lakes program.  How far behind the ball? ...or rigger lead lengths can make, or break you.
                 There is 3 Salmon trips mashed together in the video currently being edited.  Common thread is long leads 70' to 100' behind the cannon ball is what worked on my boat out of Ludington and Manistee, MI late last April and early May 2017.
                  Have to quantify the above by mentioning all of the bites came in fairly shallow water, like 25' to 40' deep.  So, these were high skittish fish that still bit!
                  In prep for the new YouTube movie had an big time epiphany that's has been in the works since 1968.  This revelation came from one of my YouTube videos.

1/24/18  In prep for my voice-over/narration for the soon to debut video: 2017 April & May King Salmon ran into some stark contrasts.  Back in my chartering days of 1984 thru 1989 never had to run long lead lengths behind the cannonball.  About 30' back was the norm off HB's "Wall".   Even remember 10' down, 10' back on the chute (center) rigger.
               Same for Frankfort, MI in 1985 in later May.  Surface lines behind the planer boards back then, was about the same as it is now for high shallow fish.  Numbers of spring Kings we caught in this era was obscene.  Lots of 10 to 20 Kings per charter.  These mint silver, loose scaled springers weighted up to & over 20 lbs.  You know it was a good charter trip, because the rear deck was covered in fish scales.
                                 To be continued tomorrow......

1/23/18  The planning stage for fishing trips is a big part of the fun.  Looking at several places to fish in 2018.  Having something to look forward makes life worth living.  Climbing out of your comfort zone presents challenges yet to be conquered.
              Going to try for the ice-out for Coho in S Lk. MI.  Was there too late in 2017 and the fish moved on.  Gained knowledge in this part of Lk MI last year.
              Why early season Coho?  It's only about 6 weeks away depending on how our weather breaks.  Going fishin' in only a month and a half sounds pretty darn good to me!

1/22/18  Starting this week on an up note.  Major progress on all fronts is the reason. Machining mag meat heads is going better than expected.  Rear hole is precision drilled on a taper.  Allowing for easy pegging with a toothpick.  This taper allows the head to become free and slide up the line and a away from the fish.  Thusly, fish cannot use the head as a pry bar to pull a Houdini act.  Lots of fine tuning went into this performance plus.
              Granted it takes more time and labor to drill the holes manually.  But this insures each head is hand trimmed and inspected.  So, you don't have to!

1/21/18  Last week was loaded with major accomplishments. After 2 years of chasing all over the world for reasonable priced glow colorants, it finally came together in this year's outstanding X-Glow Magnum Meat Heads.  Had been working off a colorant from a major corporation's failed attempt to make glow in the dark toilet seats. 
                I purchased 100s of pounds of this extended glow color at surplus pricing back in about 2005.  This was a proprietary formula that took 2 years to for us crack.  Then, to scour the planet to find a colorant manufacturer willing to do so!
              Trained another home operation to machine heads.  Now have 2 facilities in a rush drilling/machining heads trying to keep up.  More on this tomorrow....
               Fixing the GoPro was a bonus more luck than skill event.  While GoPro action cams have their limitations, these are the cams only I know that are capable of running an optional audio system.  Plus, think I'm on the right track to have improved onboard audio for 2018. More on this in the future too.

1/20/18  Production run of 2018 Magnum heads are in-house ...finally!  Now onto the machining process.  Have increased to 2 teams drilling heads this year, doubling output.
               Hold up was getting the X-Glow color more whitish than last year's XG heads.
Today's pic showed us nailing the color and increasing the glow properties too. 
              While the difference is not quite as dramatic in person, lens reads the brightest object during exposure.  Been working on on this new XG glo-green for almost 2 years.
              Many consider my heads as the best.  To stay on the top of the heap, there's a pile of unseen work and dedication that went into Project 2018 XG! Click 2018 XG

1/19/18  I do'd it!  Fixed my GoPro Black with a new LCD screen that works.  Today's pic shows a fully functioning cam with the old burnt-out screen to the left.
              Consider I got lucky with the help of some YouTube instructional videos to bring this action cam back to life.  Took a chance and bought a new screen for 20 bucks in hopes it would work.  Issue was a micro ribbon cable that's 1/4" wide with a bunch of wire feeds.  Installing this micro mini cable was more luck than skill. Click fixed GoPro
              Marked this cam by coloring the "o" in Hero 3 red with a Magic Marker.  This was to separate it from the other GoPros in use case this screen gets goofy again.

1/18/18  Let's talk fishing today.  The big shocker in 2017 was Manistee & Ludington, MI had a decent fishery for Spring Kings in later April thru mid May.  This came out of left field.  Totally, unexpected, but very welcomed.  Click spring King Salmon
               To be able to catch MI's bad boy King Salmon this early in the season was a reel-joy after winter's long layup.  Let's hope this happens again this spring!


1/17/18   Making the best quality video to share with you has it's challenges. Especially, if you're on a budget like me.  Coming up with an end product that is at least tolerable means a lot of time in post production: editing and cutting scenes.  Plus, you're limited by what the equipment is capable of the best bang for the buck.
               LCD control screen on my GoPro burnt out.  In the process of DIY the repair.  Touchy best describes opening up the case and removing the micro ribbon cable to the screen.  Replacement screen was under 20 bucks to try to salvage this cam.  If it works when I'm done? will surprise me.  Click disassembled GoPro
              Working on upgrading to an external USB power source for the always on GoPro hardtop cam.  Not running out of battery means no fuss, no muss.
              There's a bunch of decent action cams.  Aftermarket accessories for GoPro are countless.  I use a GoPro 3 Black Edition, once a $400 bite when new about 4-5 years ago.  Now on eBay? ...this very cam can be purchased for less than a 100 bucks.

1/16/18  It's easy for me to keep focus on our Great Lakes fishery.  I work with fishing tackle and a light form of journalism every day and stay of point.
               While in post production/editing of soon to debut videos from 2017, it's a must to have a quality sound track.  Hearing exactly what's going on, at the time, as it happens, without playing things up for the camera separates my YouTube vids from the rest.
               Now is the time of the year to test out new audio equipment, because there's time to up this part of my movies.  The last 2 days I've watched countless YouTube videos and searched Amazon high and low for better sound equipment. Click action cam mics
               Today's featured photo show the wide variety of action cam mics I've tried over about the last 10 years. None of these mics are expensive, most are in the 5 to 20 buck range.  Only the large Azden shotgun
cardioid mic was above 50 bucks.
               To be continued tomorrow......

1/15/18  Lot's of things to look forward to in 2018 Great Lakes season.  This November MI will elect a new governor.  If history holds true to form, we will get a new MDNR fisheries chief this fall too.  While no one person can be held accountable to the ups and downs with fishing our current MDNR leadership skills are sorely lacking in the public relations department.  Not once did they throw us a bone with any good news and have kept pretty silent for the most part.  Let's all hope this changes.

1/14/18  Happy Sunday!  Looks like I have enough raw raw footage to make 2 new videos and that's what I'll be working on today.  April Brown Trout and May Kings out of Manistee and Ludington, MI will be the subject matter.

1/13/18  It's entirely feasible in about 6 weeks could be fishing spring Coho in the S end of Lk. MI.  Seeing I did not get to fish Lk. MI last October-November, being ready to go is a vast understatement.  Pending my boat is not snow locked in my pole barn.
              Probably the only spoon manufacturer that did not add any new colors for 2018.  Did not see the need, because all present color selections covers all the bases.  And just did not have the spare time last season to experiment & develop new tackle.

1/12/18  Today's featured photo shows an arts and crafts version of Silver Streak spoon from my chartering days (1983-2003).  Back then, we called this size the mini Streak.  This smaller version came out in approximately 1986-1987.  I remember being among the first to get this spoon that was introduced when I chartered for Walleyes on Lk. Erie in June.
             Spoke with Chuck Cartwright (owner of Silver Streak) and he gave me a good amount of these spoons to be shared with my Walleye dock buddy skippers at Riverfront Marina.  This marina is located on the Raison River in Monroe, MI.  
              You can see this early smaller Streak had a hammered finish doctored with crushed fluorescent orange lure tape.  I upgraded the hook on the mini Streak to a number 4 VMC 9650 permasteel to better hold fish. Click 1980s Silver Streak
              This early Gold/Crushed Orange Streak that caught 100s of Walleyes, Salmon and Trout planted the seed that yielded my 2017 Gold Orange Crush Salmon Buster™ spoon.

1/11/18  Mentioned yesterday about what makes gold such a productive color in April-May & anytime fish are being targeted in the top 30' of the water column.  Honestly? ...don't have the slightest clue and accept the reel-fact this color works without over thinking why.
               Do know all of my spoon colors/patterns are years in the making from actual time on the water.  My spoon lineup did not magically fall out of the sky. 
              They were proven over a long career in the charter business of 20 years with at least 2500 charter trips on the Great Lakes of Huron, Erie and Michigan.  Not counting the 30 seasons as a part of the sports fishing fleet that I'm now a proud member of!  Yep, that's right, ...this year is my 50th golden
anniversary on the big water!!
               I don't care if you're as a dumb as an old oak stump, you can get anything right if you do enough of it.  I rest my case!

1/10/18  Good day to talk about fishing and share what I learned last April and May of 2017 out of the Ports of Manistee & Ludington.  I have to be mindful of every nuance that effects the outcome of hours fished.  Just not was caught.
              Probably the biggest take away was long leads 80'-100' back on the riggers and slide divers with long leads 50'-80' back caught early season Kings and Brown Trout just off the beach in the 15' to 25' depths at 2.5 mph as a troll speed.
              Do know I never fished a spoon like my Salmon Busters™ that worked on extra long leads mentioned.  Generally, the further back you run a spoon, action diminishes and so does fish output.  Adjusting to an all spoon program from stickbaits (Rapalas mostly) gets more comfortable every time I leave the launch in April.  I do not feel outgunned and seen my fish take per hour hover around 1 fish boated for every hour of lines in the water.
             Tolerable considering our Manistee April Brown fishery is on the skids and has been since 2002, or thereabouts.  Tomorrow? ...what makes gold so good in April and May....

1/9/18  There's something way wrong with the public's perception of Lk. MI Salmon fishing.  Show Span neglected to have any seminars devoted to Salmon fishing in SE MI.  I find this hard to believe and a disservice to those who prefer to pursue Salmon and Trout.  
             SE MI is our state's largest population center with plenty of Salmon fishermen.  So, somebody dropped the ball when they booked only Bass, Musky and Walleye speakers!
             The above species are all worthy opponents, but do not even come close to a powerful 20 pound plus King screaming drag.  2017 produced some of our largest Kings we've seen in a longtime with decent fishing for the most part!

1/8/18  Beginning this Thursday (1/11/18) Show Span's Ultimate Fishing Show will take place in Novi, MI at the Suburban Collection Showplace.  Formerly known as the Novi Expo Center.  This show is weighted towards Bass, Walleye and Musky fishing.  No where in the seminar list is there one speaker devoted to Great Lakes Salmon fishing.
            My friend, Chip Cartwright from Wolverine Tackle/Silver Streak spoon will be doing 3 seminars.  One on Thursday and two on Friday that covers the topic of "
Lake Erie Walleye: Start to Finish."  Click for more info on speakers & schedule

1/7/18  There's still time to register for the Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop that being held this coming Saturday at West Shore College.  Click here for this info
             This is a great public service to all Great Lakes fishermen, it's a long ways from free.  30 dollars to attend with a free lunch we all have to take issue with. 
             Speakers who are doing presentations are already making their living from thier respective government agencies.  They're probably donating their time which makes the 30 bucks look a little steep unless the lunch is prime rib and not some cheapie chicken meal.

1/6/18  Pellston, MI low temp yesterday was -31°.  This morning Pellston comes in at a balmy -25°.  This town is located about 15 miles S of Mackinaw City in MI's lower peninsula.
             Have a lot of Lk. MI laying on my property in the form of approx. 2' of lake effect snow.  Thaw is on the way and look forward to above freezing temps soon!

1/5/18  First week of January is done and that brings us closer to the 2018 season.  Sport shows are starting up.  Another sign the soon to arrive 2018 fishing season on the horizon.
             Have a great weekend.  Web work to complete the archived Past Results/Daily Log section that goes back to i2k for the last quarter of 2017.  This will be my 18th season for this website.  That's well over 6000 daily chats and counting!

1/4/18  Good day to relax and enjoy the reel-fact we will no longer be selling our Meat Rigs™ to retail outlets after 3/1/18.  Feel a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders.  In 2005 designed and perfected the second generation Meat Rigs™ that cured all the ills with the early to market cut bait rigs in the 1990s & early i2ks.  No brag, just fact!
             Early meat rigs™ and some to this day are one continuous string with no way to replace worn leader sections, or even have one. 
             Next, designed the cushioned crimps.  This is a huge step forward, because ALL crimps have a sharp internal edge that will cut into mono leaders over time.  This burr is from sawing off the crimp tubes.  Especially, noticeable to those who wrap their rigs around flashers.  You will have line failure sooner or later without cushioned crimps.
             Double snelled trebles is another one of my inventions to cut down on missed fish.  Triple important when it comes to hooking up on Houdini diver fish.
             Know our meat rigs are the gold standard.  But this comes with a cost of extra labor and up to 5 knots per rig.  My meat rig production is maybe around 8 an hour.  That's 24 flies, 16 cushioned crimps, 40 beads, barrel swivels and up to 40 hand tied knots.  Depending on ...if the optional double trebles are ordered? 
             There's just no fast way to include high quality that meets long term durability our customers demand and deserve!

1/3/18  Reaching a crossroad I've delayed for a good amount of time that concerns my workload.  With the advent of the 2018 tackle season, been getting calls from tackle stores for fairly large orders.  To continue down this fork in the road will need full-time piece workers that depend on me for a paycheck. 
             This is more responsibility than I need, or want at this stage in my life.  After March 1st, 2018 I will no longer accept orders from tackle stores for meat rigs™, or flashers.  Both of these items are extremely labor intensive.  Especially, our meat rigs that can you can only build from scratch at ...maybe 10 an hour ...if you're good.
             I've never had, or sought a big footprint in the retail tackle industry that depends on price points to remain competitive.  Only way to survive in that market place to to deal with the metrics of volume and scale that require a large workforce.
             Will continue selling heads and spoons to retail outlets for the time being.  Reason behind most of this is our webstore orders keep my shop busy enough.
             Once had a good paying job in the late 1970s.  Boss asked me, "what do you want to do?  Work, or go fishing?"  Having it laid out like that, I promptly quit the next day. 
             To me this was a matter of honesty to myself and place of employment.  By going with my gut, survived the last 35 years financially with piece of mind by going fishing!

1/2/18  First workday of 2018 when business begins to get back to normal.  There's 363 days in front of us with all the promise and opportunity a new year ushers in. 
             Question: how many of these can you turn into reel-days to fish and enjoy the Great Lakes?  Please make time for yourself and plenty of it too!

1/1/18  Happy New Year!

12/31/17  Good bye 2017 and hello to the soon to begin 2018 big lake season!

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June
July, August, & September
October, November & December

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

Hit Counter