I'd like to thank the members of our private message board for sharing their memories with us.
The below content is featured stories for our members.

Our Best Day on the Water in 2004

8.2.04_Strike_Zones_flashers.jpg (31709 bytes)8.11.04_Flasher_Production_001.jpg (47514 bytes)8.17.04_Manistee.jpg (36033 bytes)8.31.04_Megan_Ann_Trip_004.jpg (40928 bytes)

My best day would be Sunday Aug 29. The wife, Her sister and I came up to Manistee for a weekend and arrived late Friday nite went out a caught 2 kings. Saturday was one of those days that make people green. But Sunday was the day. We left the harbor and headed out to 70 feet of water where we found a pod of fish and never left there all morning. We ended up 8 for 10 with fish between 15 to 22 lbs. King kobra with white glo twink was 4 for 5. Blue racer with a clear blue twink was 3 for 4. And the last fish came on a clear double glo with a lemon lime twink. It was awesome watching the girls battle fish that morning. Also my wife landed her biggest king so far it weighed 22lbs. She wanted me to thank John for her. So thanks John............Capt. Roy B. aka Fishdodger


Capt. John, 

My story regarding the On-Line Reel Flashers actually began back in April, with the Grand Haven Steelheader’s chapter spring meeting. Captain John had been asked to be the guest speaker. His topic of discussion was on how to fish with his new flashers, and a cut bait program. The main theme of his topic was to produce a better catch of fish with fewer rods in the water. His point of view was well worth listening to and sure made sense. It was a very informative discussion, and a great meeting to have attended. As the meeting progressed, he asked for those who might be in to arts and crafts, a dozen individuals approached the podium. In return we each received one “On-Line Reel Flasher” to tape up, and fish with for the season. After the meeting adjourned, I felt very excited about a new, and innovative set up to try for the upcoming season. I wanted to be sure of a unique color combination for the Flasher that was going to produce. 

The Grand Haven Steelheader’s chapter sponsored the tournament that I was involved in using the Reel Flashers. It was called “The Big King Outing”, out of the port of Grand Haven. It was held on Saturday, August 25, 2004. It started at the usual time to set lines at 6:00 am. It was a beautiful day, and one certainly meant to be spent out on Lake Michigan fishing for King Salmon. We were up against some reel good competition, and we did not have our cut bait rigs arrive in time for the contest. I knew that our presentation was going to be a key factor, as it is in any tournament in order to win. 

We were fishing out of my friend’s 22’ Searay boat, named, Ol’ Yeller. We started our troll with an array of spoons in various sizes, and colors off the divers and riggers. It seemed to be a good decision at the time. With in minutes it was a multiple situation of fish on. By about 10:00 am we had gone 0-8, as every fish that hit our presentations, came off soon after doing battle. We simply had lost more than several decent Salmon, and Steelhead right at the boat. 
I had then decided to put down my own custom taped John King “On-Line Reel flasher“ combined with a green mirage fly off the starboard rigger. It was the right choice. As soon as being sent down to 78' over 240, it went off with a huge "tuna" destined to go straight across the lake with out stopping. I took the rod, and the fight lasted for over 25 minutes before loosing it. The salmon was spotted twice, and certainly was of massive proportions. It was another scenario of a fish off with in 20' of the stern. 

As quickly as possible the set up was back down to the exact same depth, hoping to try and tie in to another one. Being where we were out on the water, there was still enough time to definitely stay with that same Flasher/Fly program. I was determined to continue to fish with it. The flasher went off one more time that morning only to loose another smaller fish. After another half an hour of more fish being lost, I knew it was going to be one those days. The fish were winning all fights. We did not have one fish in the box to show for our efforts. 

With other lines still down, it took us until almost 12:30 pm before we got to back to the municipal docks. Our total for the tournament was actually 0 for eleven. We then rushed to get to Steve’s Bait in Nunica, for the weigh in. It was easily going past 1:00 pm, if not later. Our fishing team felt though that we really had not missed out on any of the excitement. 

My custom taped On-Line Flasher certainly proved itself as a reel fish catcher all summer long. Because of being able to use John’s Flasher as another approach for Salmon fishing, a new technique has evolved for me. Here in Michigan, it will continue full stride for many fisherman this year with great results. 

David A. 
BlueFinn Fishing Team


My story starts with an the water seminar with Captain John on cut bait seminar. Using the methods from that trip during our family vacation to the Frankfort area was the beginning of improved success on the water. We had one last day to fish and launched at 5:30 in the morning at the municipal launch in Betsie Lake. On the way out to the lake our engine warning signal sounded and we had to shut down our main engine 

My logic was that it was dark so it was difficult to trouble the problem with the engine so use the kicker to at least get to do some fishing. Water was very warm at the harbor mouth so we continued to move to deeper water. On board was an experienced crew with my son and wife. We finally set up in 60 feet of water with three cut bait rigs on downriggers and two dipseys. We hit 80 feet of water and it was 6:30 by then. We hit our first fish on the black mamba with cut bait shortly after 6:30. From that point on we continued to take fish with several doubles. Most of the boats were outside of us on the bank and we were fishing the shallow side of the drop off. All of our rigs were using Captain John's flashers with cut bait and by 9:00am we had a box full of fish. The last hour we did send down a red flasher wit a squid as the was a few coho showing up in the mix. By 9:00 am we had 11 kings and 2 cohos . Since we had been so busy we mostly forgot about our engine problem and fired it up and no problem. We felt we had a good morning so we pulled lines and were back in port by 9:25. 

John's theory that less is a good method with the King flasher and cut bait has worked for us. That is the best day on the water for us and we had a couple problems to deal with. We left the while most were still working on catching fish. The kings were from 14 to 22 pounds. Besides the black mamba we used the white , red and green flashers. See you on the water. Capt. Larry R, aka.....Buckeye2


Although our fishing team won the Pepsi Super at Alpena this year and some would think it would be the most memorable day of 2004 – it did not make the top three. This photo taken at 11:00 a.m. on August 28th is the most memorable day of 2004. The boat ballast on the right happens to be my boss here at work and I have an arm around my fish-slaying daughter. The scene follows like this – five or six fish are in the cooler and the captain is steering straight up-wind in 2-3 foot waves when the starboard dipsy takes off. My daughter is napping (or should I say waiting for some excitement) when the rigger on the same side takes off and the boss grabs that rod too. I yell down to my daughter that we have a double on and she comes running up the steps out of the cabin. Just as she reaches the top step, the port dipsy starts jumping and she maneuvers it out of the holder (it’s a 12 ft dipsy and it has taken her a couple of years to learn the leverage needed to take get that baby out of the holder). I yell at the boss to hand me the rod with the smaller fish and as I am reeling and trying to steer into the wind, the center rigger takes off too! Talk about pandemonium while trying to steer into the wind. A fifth rod takes a hit but no one is home (like somebody could even get to it.) Captain Craig says screw it and by now I am at least sideways to the wind and let the steering wheel go to concentrate on all four fish. The net outcome – all four landed with big grins from ear to ear on all 3 of our faces. The photo tells the rest of the story and memories are really made when you can take others out fishing who rarely have a chance to go. The grin on my bosses face was almost priceless as he tries to figure out how to reel in fish with a rod in each hand. This all occurred while fishing a port I had never been out of and a heartfelt thank-you and Merry Christmas goes out to all those on this message board who steered me to a fantastic place to fish....Capt. Craig O.


Posted: 05 Jan 2005 10:31 am Post subject: Best Trip 2004 


Its hard to remember the exact words but the memory of the excitement is still there. 

My best trip out was with my wife and kids. It is important to know my wife Vicky doesn't fish much. We were in a pack of boats trolling out of Charlevoix in mid-August. Things were pretty slow until 5PM when the port dipsey rod started slamming. Vicky wrestled the rod out of the holder and commenced to fight a big king. At that point the port rigger rod started rockin' and rollin'. Vicky grabbed the rigger rod and handed it to me while I was driving the boat. I jumped up and had my Daughter Margeaux jump in behind the wheel to hold the boat steady as we headed out of the pack of boats to fight the fish. I moved to the bow of the 18' Lund to get out of the way. No sooner had Margeaux sat down than the starboard dipsey rod received a tremendous hit. Somehow Vicky managed to get the rod out of the holder and into Margeaux's hands while she drove. I managed to get my fish into the net during this ruckus. 

Vicky fought her fish to the boat and around the down rigger wire and I somehow managed to get both fish in the net and into the boat without losing them. Now the starboard rigger goes off and Vicky jumps up to get the rod and Margeaux is laughing so hard she can barely see where she is going let alone hang on to the rod. I slid behind the wheel and both girls bring in the fish. The problem now is the net is tangled full of flopping fish and hooks. I spend 10 minutes getting the net straightened out while driving the boat. Fortunately we are now in 50 feet of water and away from all the boats. By the time we get to netting Margeux's fish the bait-head separated form the twink rig and we lost the biggest of the four fish. Needless to say they are now 'hooked' on bait fishing. 


Many good trips this year, here's one. 

Met up with Gene Marr, aka Mhyarn through this site. He has two endearing qualities, he's a fun guy to be around and he's retired and available 90% of the time. 

Took a week off to hit the salmon run - the week of Labor Day, and to fish the 14' hard both to save on gas and do some research for a thought I'm working on. Thursday before notched two nice kings in the little boat off Saugatuck so I had a good vibe. Tuesday morning finds Gene and I working the deep water on Muskegon Lake to no avail, for 4 hours, with one sheepshead jumping on a magnum Silver Streak. My Wednesday PM trip fell through so Gene volunteered his services for a Wednesday AM trip. Weather looked favorable for a big lake trip, not the 5-6' that were holding us in Muskegon Lake. 

Motoring out down the Grand Haven channel bright and early the next morning. The pack of boats at the mouth was mind boggling even for me, I can't imagine what Gene thought of his first real harbor madness trip. However, in the building light we could make out nets being dipped, pier fisherman dropping stringers, and rods being ripped from holders in the boats in front of us. We spun a 180, then another, quickly threw a pair of J's on the riggers and a pair of fishcatchers on the slide divers off the sides. Picked out opening in the pack, puckered up, and joined the masses. Got about 50' off the south pier and the port rigger got hammered. Handed that to Gene and the starboard rigger got ripped. My fish is running clear and into the pack, Gene's is merrily jumping around the through the slide divers. 

Clear the pack to the south and land both fish, mine at 10# and Gene's at 18. Got a solid hit on a diver but lost that one. Pulled back into the pack and the rigger with the pink headed warrior nailer fired again, I took this one, we cleared the pack to the north and added a 16# to the cooler. Soon the pattern changed and the boats started trolling the river, we jointed them and Gene put another big king in the cooler. Missed a bump and then I got to land a 14# right in front of a group of kids on a field trip. That was cool. 

Unfortunately, we never got out 6th and limit fish in the box, not that it would have fit. Somehow that did not make the day any worse. But next September I expect to see Gene's boat plying the harbors on the weekdays when the kings are in.
Capt.. Kevin E...........aka FBD


Unfortunately my best fishing day in 2004 didn't include Capt. John's cut bait rig. I have used anchovies in back of a Bechhold for 3 years now and have caught fish. 
My crew of 4 and I have fished the Blue Water Classic for quite a few years and always had a great time. We never won anything until last year. 
Fishing out of Lexington on Friday, we pre fished most of the day and only caught 2 lakers. Didn't mark many fish either. Had no idea where to go in the morning. I had marked waypoints in my GPS of fish caught in previous years so we decided to start at the point closest to shore and then work our way out from there. 
On Saturday morning the seas were rough. 3 to 4 footers that built to 4 to 6 by early afternoon. We went to the first waypoint and found water temps 42 to 45 degrees from 15' to 45' down. Set lines here and in no time started to catch fish. It wasn't long and a pattern was set up over a couple of miles, so we worked this area the rest of the day. We had 15 fish on but only 5 were eligible for the tournament. 
On check in one fellow said our cooler was looking good and we should win first for port prize. Needless to say all of us were excited. 
After the official weigh in we indeed won $1000 port prize and were in 10th place with 21.96 pounds making this my best fishing day of 2004. 
If I win this contest, Capt. John's method will be used in this years tournament.
Capt. Gene S


My best day of fishing this year was definitely not my most productive day of the year in terms of the number of fish landed. Until I learned about Capt. John’s fishing techniques utilizing meat, salmon fishing for me consisted of hours of trolling and hoping to get lucky enough to catch enough fish to make a couple of meals. Employing those techniques this year I actual had a couple of days when a friend and I could catch our limit of kings and start trolling for the harbor only to hook up with even more salmon before we made port. While incredibly enjoyable, those days did not top by best trip list. 
In early September 2004 my father came up to Traverse City to help attend to some bear bait piles I had started for him since we learned that he had drawn a bear hunting permit. Restocking the bait piles one day was only going to take us a couple hours so I suggest that we take my boat into East Bay and try to catch some salmon. I had unsuccessfully tried to get my dad to go salmon fishing with me since I bought my first and only boat a couple years before. My father was an active hunter but from ferry trips we had taken over the years I learned he didn’t have "sea legs". 
My dad had always found a way to take me on any hunting trip he went on when I was a kid. I wanted to repay his generosity by treating him to some time on the water. My father taught me how to fish for panfish when I was a child but we never fished for anything much bigger than bluegill. I knew he had done a little river fishing for either trout or salmon decades ago before I came along and took away his free time. 
I hadn’t fished East Bay in about a year so I motored out to where I had some success the year before and we dropped lines. We trolled for hours and couldn’t buy a bite. I tried every thing I could think of just to get something to hit so I could at least get him to engage a fish that had more fight that the bluegill we usually caught together. Unfortunately nothing worked, so I started trolling back to the launch because we were running out of time and had to go stock the bait piles. About 250 yards from the entrance to the launch the port dipsy started thumping away as hard as I had ever seen it all season. I quickly got the rod into his hands and let him do battle with the hungry king. As he recovered line stripped off on numerous runs by the feisty male I felt myself grinning from ear-to-ear as I tried to snap a couple pictures of my father in action. I should have known that the Black Mamba with red/clear twink would come through again as it had all season. 
He managed to bring the fish alongside and I netted it. I then decided that the bears could wait a few more minutes for their dinner and circled the boat around to head back to where the fish had hit. Just then one of the riggers tripped. I was closest to the rigger and grabbed the rod, felt the fish shake his head and start a run. I told my dad to grab the rod. Not being a greedy person he said that it was my turn fight this fish. I made up some excuse about having to straighten the boat out and reset the dipsy just so that he would take the rod. After landing that fish and getting the dipsy reset another rod went off and we had our third fish on in less than 30 minutes. I told my dad to grab the rod, he reeled in the slack and then tried handing the rod to me saying that his “arms are tired”. I'd seen my dad baled hay for hours on end on the farm so I knew he wasn’t tired but was only being courteous. I told him that I had been catching salmon every weekend and that we were here so that he could get some fighting time in. 
As we headed into the launch with our one-man limit I asked my dad how long it had been since he had “caught a salmon”. I knew his answer would have to be more than the thirty-six years since I was born. My dad simply smiled and said “about a year and a half. Your mother threw a can of it at me when we were in the grocery store one time!”. 
I’ve come to believe that one of the only things better than doing battle, eye-to-eye with a monster salmon, is helping someone else succeed in doing the same. Like some of our deer hunts of the past, this trip will stay locked in my memory.

Capt. Chris J


Do not copy, print-out or reproduce material of any kind from this site 
without expressed written permission from 
MichiganSportsman Copyright©2000-2004