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

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7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

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

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

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

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

10/18/17  Today's 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 lens.  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 custom jig.

10/14/17  Have a great weekend!

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 in closer.
                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 printing.
                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 product's infancy.

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 L. MI.
                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 normal.

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 capturing it.

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 tomorrow...

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 go on.
               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.
              I 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 ourselves. 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 fleet too.
              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 be replaced.

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 their stomachs.  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 reports.
              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 miles.
                    Tomorrow stomach contents photo and amazing growth rate...

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 yesterday morning. 
              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.  We caught
ginormous Coho to almost 17 lbs.  With the smallest on the 10-11 lb. bracket!  Click 16.95 lb. Coho
             These 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.
             How 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 the answers.

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 last Saturday.
              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 fishing.

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 weekend!

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 can!

°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 spring.
              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.  Click 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 ...thus far.
               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. 
             Then, 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 dodgers.
              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 patent.
              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 1970s. 
               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 Trout.  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 fish marks.
               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 years.

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 morning.  Click for this IN King Salmon
           The other  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 weekend!

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 to fishing.
             About a 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 tee!
             Only 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 short notice.
                       Tomorrow? ...the best thing about the 2017 season!

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 restocking inventory.
            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.
             There's 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.
             Lots to look forward to and that will be discussed in tomorrow's topic...

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.
             Do not 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.
             For me 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 300' deep.

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 25' down.

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 bright!  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

8/28/17  Yesterday's 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 kayak trolling.
              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 working."

Thank you for quality gear, "CBull"  Click 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:
"Capt. King,
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"  Click for Derek's big King

8/24/17  Today's update is courtesy of Mike K.  Here's what he had to say:

"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, Mike K" 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 tubes.
               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 happen. 
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 reel-story!

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 teeth.
               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 progress!

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. Click 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.
            So, the update is the big kings have arrived and are much bigger this year than the last several year averages. Both meat and spoons seemed to be working on these fish that were 100ft down in 150'."  Click Arcadia, MI Kings
                 More new tomorrow on big Kings to past and 41 pounds!

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

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

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

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 with moderation.
              All the reports I've heard from Big Point Sable to Frankfort, MI is saying pretty decent King fishing for the most part.  This is great news for all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8/1/17  Still learning the nuances of my Salmon Buster™ spoons.  The short game is to blab a bunch of unverified facts to sell/push tackle. 
            The long game is to put the time on the water and report reel-facts I see with my own eyes.  Then, share this info with you, as industry leading product support.
            Do know my spoons on lead leads (60'-100') off the riggers will catch high spooky fish pressured my the fleet in all depths of water.  Proved this on 7/19/16 & 7/30/17.
            Salmon Busters kick and wobble is not diminished (loss of action) on longer leads.  This is contrary to my experiences with metal spoons used ...back when I ran charters.
             Another good spoon reef-fact is?  ...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, or need.
              One of the hardest things with Great Lakes trolling is staying the course and not getting pulled off your program with the "grass is always greener syndrome." 
              Learned this lesson again on this past Saturday's trip when the fleet was concentrated in deeper water over 100' deep.  This pulled us off the 50-60' depths where we had our 1st action.  Went out to join this party with the majority of the fleet to discover the Salmon forgot to show up and all the boats were just riding with no nets going down.
              Please check out today's featured pic of a glassy Lk. MI with the fleet in the background over plus 100' while we were inside of 50' catching fish. Click for this pic
                  Tomorrow's chat will be fine tuning the long and short game.

7/30/17  Fished yesterday morning from about 6am till about 9:15am.  Fished S of Guerney Creek to the 6s N of Big Point Sable.  Got suckered into wandering around in a 100' to 250' depths with a lot of boats, nobody was catching that we could see.
              If I was fishing the same area today/conditions today? ...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 by 20'.
              So, these were high skittish adult Kings (14-19 pounds) in flat calm/slick glass water that I've always struggled to catch in.  Click for our hot spoons on this trip
              Long leads on the riggers (17'-30' down) 80 to 100 feet back at 2.7 mph is what worked for us.  Our 5 bites all came on the Ghostbuster pattern, enough though tried other colors, even a J-Plug that was a flop. Click King that choked the GhostBuster SB 4.0
               The water that held fish for Todd B and myself was a milky green that turned clear once you hit the 70 foot depth.  Elite boats, dialed-in did a heck of a lot better.

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

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

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

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

"
John caught ...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 also.  Click 25 pound King Arcadia, MI
               This year is definitely turning out better than last year. I've caught salmon every trip so far this year (7 times) and they are running bigger
                Last Thursday caught the first Coho this year (10lb) on 6 colors of lead ore using the prototype red plastic spoon you gave me to try with the gold tape on the side.
               I actually put it out expecting a steelhead but nailed the big fat Coho instead.
               Almost lost one fish last week when the treble bent open but was lucky enough that it fell out when the fish was landed.
                Of the last 12 fish caught we never lost a single fish but sure came close.
                I make a habit of replacing the hooks you showed me how to tie regularly as I learnt that lesson the hard way over the years.
                Thanks for making great tackle and passing some of your knowledge to me over the past several years. When I started meat fishing I was a complete novice but now I feel I have all the nuances dialed in and I enjoy seeing other people catch the biggest fish of their lives which has occurred several times this year...all thanks to the meat program."
                                     Capt. Steve B Arcadia, MI

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 monitor.
              Trends from my webstore say meat fishermen are coming out in full force.  WI and NY is where the bulk of these orders are coming from.  Need to find time this week to checkout Manistee, MI.  This will provide a hands on reel story to share with you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/15/17  Have a great Saturday.  My webstore 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 please.

7/12/17  An idea in the making has a starting point that everything grows from.  Then, it's like a tree growing branches.  If the initial concept had merit? 
              Point I'm trying to make?  ...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 with video. Click 8/10/16 Salmon Fishing
              For this reason alone, need to get out of my comfort zone and fish a new port/area before summer is over.  This can only be accomplished by taking a few days off.

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

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

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

7/8/17  Have a great Saturday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6/28/17  After the devastating 2015 season, Lk. MI's outlook for a decent King fishery was downright pretty bleak!  2016 was a slight uptick and this year shows a rebound beyond what many of us could have never thought possible.  Click bait autopsy
              During 2016, in my home port of Manistee, MI, hardly ever marked any bait pods until October.  Yes, MI ports this year are producing Kings better after 2 mild winters.
              Question is? ...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.
              I fished all three days and caught 15 plus fish each day. The majority were lake trout but did catch 6 kings and 1 steelhead. My biggest King was 14.95 and did catch a lake trout 17.75 pounds. I fished from Onekama to Arcadia in 110 to 115 feet of water. I have charters the remainder of the week." Click Capt. Kevin Hughes & Sandpiper Charters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6/18/17  Happy Father's Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"HI John,

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

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

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

"Hello John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued below back to the year 2000:
 

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June

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
October

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.
Aug. 
July   June
May  March & April
January  February

 

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


Past Results

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