Meat Me in Manistee
The Reel Story Behind
August 23, 2006
Bi-Chromatic Program
Report on Prototype Testing Session in Manistee, MI

Exciting NEW
2007 Product Debut!

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Whole Herring Heads     Whole Herring      

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John J Gains Line
Aug. 23, 2006

The Reel-Story

Words do not have the power to relay the true meaning of what goes on during the course of a morning on the pond.  It's like trying to describe how something tastes, which is better served thru experience.  8/23/06 started a good week before planning on the best day we could get away from the shop, cuz the month of August is our busiest time of the season.    

In complete honesty, our trip ceased being fun, when our 3 rod spread had a almost instant triple with only 2 of us onboard.  Why?...cuz it was lumpy with more surface wind than waves, and John J's boat has no autopilot.  So, trying to maintain boat control, fight fish, net, take photos, set rods, un-hook fish & handle the action was more than the two of us could keep up with!

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New for 2007 
Whole Bait Heads

Early Bird vs. the Worm?

Early bird gets the worm...right?  Well, in this case the launch was backed up with a fairly long string of eager crews.  All seeking Salmon well before dawn.  John J wisely suggested, "let's wait in the parking lot and let the crowd subside, before launching."  Time to grab for the donut bag and began munching on a piece of fried dough (donut) and was totally amazed with this being mid-week (Wednesday) the sheer number of boats stacked up in line.  Manistee's public launch ramps can accommodate at least 14 boats at a time.

I prefer to fish aboard John J's 23' Four Winns, because it far better reflects what most of the readers of this website fish from.  Gone are my charter boat days and 11 foot beam with a flat rear deck.  Seeing the challenges the smaller boat angler faces better acquaints me to before 1983 when I went into charter trade.  Dealing with motor boxes in close quarters areas, working fish towards the net, avoiding an outdrive let's me see what's needed to make life easier for the trailer boat angler in sub-28 foot vessels.  

The 10 inch flashers and the shorter 2 fly meat rigs came into being after seeing the difficulties presented by fish on 10 foot diver rods in a 8 foot beam boats.  Cutting the distance from the tip of the diver rod by even 2 feet is a big advantage when it comes time to pull the fish towards the netting zone.

My vision entering into the tackle manufacturing business in 2004 was to make a professional grade product.   To best standards in the world and make it here in the good old USA.  Seeing first hand, under battle conditions in the same size of a boat most of you fish from leads to constant, ongoing improvement with our line of tackle.

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Our box on 8/23/06
Hot Rigs & Flashers

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30 lbs. of  Kings
(both fish 8/23/06)

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John J's boat
"Megan Ann"

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22 pounder 

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Capt. Tom's box

Which Way the Right Way?                      

All fishermen are created equal before we leave the launch ramp, or dock!  It's when we hit the cleaning table that separates the men from the boys.  One of the reasons I prefer to fish with John J, he knows I'm no big deal, or blessed with any special magic wand that means instantaneous miraculous limit catches.  John has seen the work that goes into putting a successful trip together when was my deckhand (1st mate) back in 2002 & 2003, before I left the charter business.

Yes, it's work and the work is called, "the process of elimination" to put the odds in your favor.  If I have a leg up on any fisherman, it's not repeating the same mistakes, over and over again.  My view is, "if I'm gonna make another mistake, let's make a brand new one!"  That way the same blunders on speed, depth, or areas fished do not get raised to an art form.  No need to keep whipping on the same old dead horse.

Tip: Making the right decisions depend on having a graph you can trust is essential.  Sonar is the single most important piece of electronics on your boat, so  do not skimp!  The a huge difference between knowing fish there's fish under your boat, or not!

Let the Pole Dancing Begin!

By now, we already paid our cover charge by getting to the ramp early, preparing our own bait and sizing up the situation.  We angled north to avoid the flotilla, setting up shallow in 60 feet of water, heading slightly northwest.  Nary a fish mark was on the graph?  No boats around us were into fish either!  The time frame was pushing 8am when our first lines began to get wet.  

"Drats," we made wrong call by going north from the Port of Manistee.  While there's a good piece of structure, known locally as the "shelf."  The best part of this drop-off (45' to plus 250') lays straight out, or south of port.  Once you're a mile, or two N of the harbor, there's a extended long sloping plateau before the deeper water is reached.

The wind was on the build.  John J was diligently setting rods.  Being only two of us onboard, I had to stay on the wheel, since we had no autopilot (we were in lumpy 3 foot seas with plenty of surface breeze).  He set the starboard out-down (long arm rigger) at 60' and got the port rigger in the 50' range.  Now, we had two riggers down and within a short spell ...the port diver rod was set.  Still, nary a tap.  The graph was no-fish-city.  Vacant of any fish marks, whatsoever!

"Double Drats" my mind, (or what's left of it) began to think.  ...Bad call on going north? ...Bad call? ...Shouldn't have went this way!!!  Second guessing and worrisome haunting hindsight became a clear-cut mental nuisance.  Just about the time, I figured we had our butt kicked and it was gonna be a slow morning. Then I heard the fast scurry of John's feet pounding from one side of the boat to the other & heard him yell, "FISH-ON!"

"Fish-On" is a relief word for anglers, no matter what part of the world you're from. 
Next, another powerful statement was loudly hollered, "FISH, FISH, get that other fish ...on the port rigger," exclaimed John J.  Pronto, I scooted double time towards the port rigger.  

Me on the way to the portside rigger meant leaving the helm.  With port rigger rod dancing, I saw our only diver rod was getting smacked pretty hard too.  Line was wailing against the stout drag at a fast clip!  This was double dilemma, cuz the rigger rod was already in-hand with a fish headed for Wisconsin at full-tilt boogie.  I stowed fish-loaded rigger rod back into a empty rod holder.   My next duty was to get my paws around the diver rod and deal with that nasty varmint's bad attitude.  The bezerk diver Salmon was still pulling line against a firm, but well adjusted drag.  Soon I gained control over a duo of angry line-ripping King Salmon by my lonesome while John J opened up a can of whoop ~ss on his fish.

Two fishermen on 1 boat do not need 3 fish on at one time.  Especially in a non-auto piloted vessel.  After a little verbal coaxing, I did get Johnny J to admit ...I could still move pretty fast for being in early 60s! Laughing Laughing Laughing

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Blue Bubble 
Spells Trouble!

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Blue Bubble Combo 
A perfect match!

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Black VMC Hooks

Sticky Sharp with
use of a file!


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Double on Kings
Bi-Chromatic system
double header
Green Bubble

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A Throw Back
This one was released!

Bi-Chromatic Attack

In Great Lakes fishing everything is about presentation.  Get it right and you'll box out early.  Get it wrong, ...well,  it's gonna be a very, very long day.  Sight, sound and scent all combined in one neat package is the tackle system I offer to the world.

Matching your colors can not be overstated.  Give me one, or two working colors? ...Game Over! 
We're not trying to confuse the fish, just catch them.  It's better to use an uncomplicated coordinated attack.  Matching the same colors on your divers, as what's on your riggers (per same side) works.  Simple judgment dictates, "this will fine tune your program!"

BTIs on the divers/lead core, 12" inch Reel Flashers (on the riggers), paired with identical meat rigs will put the odds in your favor from what was proven beyond a doubt in 2006.  If a fish is on the scent trail of a meal and spooks from a rigger rod, this fish gets another good, long hard look at dinner in a duplicated color on your diver.  Or, if a fish hits a diver with a certain color, the same color will work on a rigger.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure the basic logic applied here! 

All the hits we had came just 2 patterns/colors we had on our small paired-up 4 rod spread.  Simply put, the port rigger had the 12" Green Bubble with matching 3 fly meat rig.  The port diver was pulling the Green Bubble 10" BTI twosome in the same color in a 2 fly meat rig.  Our starboard set was the Blue Bubble  matching color in a 3 fly meat rig on the right-side rigger.  The starboard diver was towing a 10" BTI Blue Bubble in a counterpart 2 fly meat rig.  These two colors teamed up, working in conjunction with each other makes for one helluva deadly presentation.  Try a straightforward bi-chromatic program (just 2 colors) in 2007.   You'll be happy you did!
This needs to be said, both the blue and green bubbles produced equal fish output.  Believe it, ...or not!

Salmon Weapons And Tactics

What was used?  What were the colors?  How about depth and speed?  Where was the temp break? What was the best trolling direction? These are the normal probing questions all fishermen have a right to ask.

The fish have a silent voice that tells you the whole story on how to catch them, but it's laid out in a series of brain teasing clues.  Put the pieces of the puzzle together and you're all set.  Miss a piece, or two of the jig-saw puzzle?'s a trip back to square one, with random and unsatisfying scattershot results.

1. Spread:  2 riggers & 2 divers (4 rods)

2. Speed:   1.5 to 2.2 mph

3. Depths targeted: 50 to 60 feet down to start, then moved down to 70 to 80 feet depths

4. Water Depth:  started in 50 to 60 foot, found best action in 80 to 140 depths

5. Light Conditions:  Partly cloudy, hazy

6. Best Trolling Direction: South troll into a head sea was best by a 40% margin

7. Fish Count: Took 8 fish, released one, came in with 6 Kings and a Jack Coho

8. Time Frame with Lines in the Water: 8am to 10am

9. Colors Used on Riggers:  Green Bubble & Blue Bubble, 12" models w/matching 3 fly meat rigs

10. Colors Used on Divers: Green Bubble & Blue Bubble 10" BTIs w/matching 2 fly meat rigs on 5 foot leaders from the diver (snubber not included).  Matched each side to what was on the riggers.

11.  Diver Settings:  Dialed on 2, regular dipsys on wire line outfits, 5' leader from diver.

12. Meat Heads/Bait Used:  Whole herring with 3 special 2007 prototype heads (Super Magnum Heads) and 1 Magnum Meat Head for a fair baseline comparison test.

13. Missed fish: more than I'd admit to!  Prior to this trip we were like, 18 for 21 in the previous 3 outings.  Missing fish has reasons that generally can be cured by sharp hooks and good rigger releases.  Later August Salmon are always harder to get a hook into.  As the Kings mature, and turn into river spawners, they get a tougher hide and get a much harder mouth.  Factoring in, the more mature Salmon (especially males) will be developing a kipe, or hooked jaw.  Making for a fish that can not even clamp it's mouth fully shut.

14. Size of Whole Herring Used:  Both Green and Red Labels sizes

I purposely closed this article out with the bi-chromatic (2 colors) tackle we used.  Why?  Part of the answer is when we're fishing, seldom, ...a thought is given to who designed and makes the tackle in the water.  My intensity level is solely directed at one thing, trying to establish a pattern that will help catch the next fish!  I forget about being a tackle manufacturer on the water!

Click here for the "Whole Herring" Story on the 2007 Super Magnum Heads

Completed 9/15/06, re-formatted on 2/18/09
By Capt. John King
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