August and September  2003
Below photos are thumbnails, click on for full size

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8/16/03
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8/22/03
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8/30/03
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9/1/03
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9/5/03

Excerpts from Capt. John's Log

August 2003

8/31/03pm  Larry, Bob and Joel help me successfully complete today's cut-bait seminar by filling every license and limiting out. We started out hot, and boating 7 Kings during the first hour of our mission.  Then a lull set in when I couldn't find the fish, east wind was not helping our case at all.  Between 9:30am and 10:30am we got on a respectable run and boxed 5 Kings in a row....'Nough said, we pulled lines and headed back to the barn.  The boats around us, for the most part were not taking many fish, if you compare it to what we did in the same area.  
    The time frame of today's episode is; we left the dock at 6:15am, dropped line on the fish at 7:10am and boxed 12 Kings by 10:30am.  From 8:30am to 9:30am we missed more fish then I'd like to admit to, but the slow down showed my guests to rest.  Then how to re-adjust the cut-bait program and get the fish biting again.  Click here for today's cut-bait graduates

8/31/03am  Today is a cut-bait seminar.  I have 4 interested fishermen on deck for the "ins and outs" of rigging cut-bait.  Dealing with these reel-fishermen is a welcome respite from the typical charter guest in some cases, because of a pre-existing knowledge base.
     I'm still overjoyed from yesterday's results from 4 women who had never caught a Salmon before.  They boxed a 100% are far as I'm concerned.   Now, if I could figure out a way to have my male fishermen do the same, life would easier for me.

8/30/03pm   Today's charter was a gift from God, because I had four very gifted angleretts that knew how to take direction and boat Kings!  John S. had brought his four daughters along to share his passion for Salmon fishing. His offspring did an unbelievable job on the adult Chinooks.  We only had one fish become unstuck and that was when we had a quad on. That spiteful fish cut itself off on another line.  
     OK, I'm getting little ahead of myself and giving you the correct time frame is an ultra imperative.  We dropped lines on the fish at 7:15am and hooked up our last (limit catch King) at 9:30am.  We slid the net under that King at 9:45am and we were boxed out on 15 Kings.  Click for Laura, 1st mate of Sept. '03 w/25 lb. King!
    We had a terrific catch of Kings in the boat the boat, Cathy, Coleen, Chrissy, Laura and the patriarch of this troop, John S. returned with pleasure to our dock at Solberg's Marina before 11am.  Click here for today's spectacular fishin' gals  I'd put these women against any seasoned tournament team in a heartbeat, because of the cooperation and teamwork displayed throughout their observable fact! 
     My highlight of the morning is when Laura volunteered to pose for September's 1st mate of the month.  My deepest regret is that I didn't have more time to get to know the ladies on a first hand, individual basis, as the fish were hitting too fast!

8/30/03am  John S (same guest as yesterday) and his 4 daughters have a full day deal booked with me today.  Taking women fishing is a absolute joy, because women are much better communicators and tend to master the skills necessary to land fish in a big hurry.  My pre-charter prediction is that these ladies are not going to lose many fish.  Check back later this evening to see if my ESP is right. 

8/29/03  10:45am Update:  Seas running at 3 to 4 foot is what greeted me at the pier heads at 6:30am this morning.  After taking my lumps with rough water earlier this week, I'm in no mood to endure heavy seas.  The boats that did go out to the deeper water did OK on the Salmon.  Me?....I stayed in the harbor for a couple of hours and took one tuna in the low 20s.  Tomorrow looks much better.

8/29/03  Finally completed posting the new Port Reports I've been sitting on since the first of the week.  Time is at a premium and getting beat up by rough water, is not my idea of fun.  Supposed to be lumpy today and I'm just not up to taking a butt whipping again.  3 to 5 footers from the north and winds 15 to 25 knots is not fun.  I'm fishing today with John S. and company, but he has tomorrow booked too, so I'll be able to get him off the dock sometime during next 2 days.

8/28/03pm  Jan, Jack, Colby and Nate were my guests for today's Salmon slaughter.  After a touchy start we did just fine.  Jack and Colby had never been a charter before where they were allowed to grab their own rod.  They had always relied on a first mate to do the honors, because the charters they'd been on before, evolvement only came after someone else had hooked their fish.  I demand the guests to get involved in everything and nothing is out-of-bounds when it come to my equipment.  Everyone's patience on the fishing rod meant we filled the cooler in a little over 3 hours in a brisk offshore east wind.  Overall? A good morning bite considering we had a east wind in excess of 20 knots and a hard side chop.
    Click here for limit catch photo        Click here for today's "hot set-ups"
         As Paul Harvey would say,
"click here for the rest of the stories." 

8/28/03  I had a devil of a time getting Jeff J. off the dock yesterday.  High winds from the north at 5:30am meant we were not gonna fight white water and heavy seas.  Now, this was the second time I had to cancel Jeff's trips.  I told them, "to stick around and we'd get into the fish in the afternoon."  We left the dock at 4pm and hit 2 Kings in the harbor almost immediately.  Then the seas came down a bit and we ran to the 60 to 80 depths of Manistee's infamous shelf.  We boxed 7 more Kings in short order and pulled lines at 8:15pm.  3 persons and 9 Kings is a limit anyways. Jerry & Rocco made up the rest of the trio and did just fine on the rods.

8/27/03  Had an extremely tough go yesterday on the bite versus hook-up ratio and had more then a few become un-pegged during the struggle to the boat.  Justin, Dave and Rick all did battle with a goodly number of Kings and we boated 7.  The whole morning started off on the wrong foot when a thunderstorm prevented a dock leave until 7am.  Then around 11am the wind came up the seas built to 3 to 4 footers.  We pulled lines at 11:15, because of too much white water for comfortable fishing.   While we had well over 20 strikes during our stay on Lake Michigan.  The fish were just plain cantankerous and must have been related to Houdini, because they knew how to escape.  Click here for catch photo
    My net connection was down yesterday and I wasn't able to retrieve the Port Reports from my Yahoo E-mail box.  Besides, it was like I had a welcomed day off from this box.  Oh yeah, I'll be back out again today with Jeff J. in another Salmon quest.

8/26/03  Another morning on the big pond is in store for me again today.  I'm about 2 days behind in everything, but I'll will try to update the Port Reports Page sometime later today.  Hopefully, the fish will stick a little better then yesterday and I can get done a little early.  Between the tackle store orders, updating this website and running charters daily is starting to take it's toll.  The way I look at it, if it was easy?....everyone would be doing it.  Oh well, in a couple of weeks the fishing business will slow down and I can get back to having a life and some sleep.

8/25/03pm  I have a interesting update for you this afternoon, because Major Kevin from the ANG and formerly of the USAF was aboard.  He returned to the US after busting up a bunch of Iraqi tanks with his A10 Wart Hog.  OK, now for the fishing news.  A soft bite meant we missed a bunch of strikes.  Flat calm water, possibly was the reason.  Getting fish to hook-up and hold to the boat was nearly impossible.  We still ended up with a good box that had 9 adult Kings to past 20 pounds and a scrappy 8 pound Steelie.  Major Kevin was accompanied by Jerry and Mike, so I can say, "everyone caught a hat trick of Kings for a limit!"   Click for Major Kevin   Click for 8/25/03 hot lures  Click here for catch photo

8/25/03   Yep, I'm on a another mission today to do battle with Michigan's greatest gamefish in my opinion, aka....Mr. King Salmon.  Manistee is living up to it's reputation as one of the state's top producers of huge Salmon.  Gonna be off the dock before 6am and the forecast is decent, so check back later to see how we fared.  I'll try for a mid-day update with fresh "hot lures" photo and report.  

8/24/03  Salmon Wars!............best describes today's clash with an abundant population of Kings off the Port of Manistee.   George, Big George, Rick and the big star of today's event, Garrett had one hellva of a fishing trip.  In a little more then two hours of lines in the water, we had 15 hooked up and boated 13 fish.  As Martha Stewart would say, "this is a good thing," because of a driving rain that turned into a thunderstorm, would have prevented continuation.  Our 125 quart fish box was stuffed way beyond capacity and that means we're done!   Click for an awesome dockside catch photo on 8/24/03
     My super-ultra special thanks goes to Garret for letting me give him a crash course on how to be a deckhand, or a first mate.  Garrett is a heads up young man and I sure did appreciate him turning into a seasoned pro in less then 2 hours.  He would make an excellent candidate for "deckhand of the year" aboard my boat.

8/23/03  Gerhard's gang will be back aboard for their two day continuing Salmon saga.  They promised to be on time and we're good to go for a early start.  August Saturday's are not a thing I look forward to, because of the sometimes uncivil hoards anglers that descend on my home port with a vengeance.  Being a thoughtful, courteous person is more important to me then a full box of fish! 

8/22/03pm   I was more then just a little testy when my charter guests showed up an hour and 15 minutes late.  Gerhard got his wires crossed and lost my marina.  
Click for hot lures

OK, now that I got that off my chest, the late start didn't matter.  The Kings were on a savage bite and we found that out when we dropped lines on them at 8am.  We boxed 7 Kings between 8am and 9am.  Believe it, or not, I couldn't get my divers in the water, because of the fierce combat.  The Kings were on an attack  mission and my boat was their main target.  We finished up at 1pm landing all 3 of a triple and contently cruised back in.  Today's death toll was 14 Kings to 26 pounds!  Click here for a meat catch from hell

8/22/03  Gerhard and crew are going to be my guests aboard today and tomorrow.  South wind has pushed the temp break to plus a 150 feet down off Manistee's famed shelf.  Looks like a deep water program (over 400 feet depths) until predicted north wind moves the inshore thermocline higher.  I have my work cut out for me today even before leaving the dock.  I should receive my last order of the season of Twinkies today and anticipate very heavy sales this weekend.

8/21/03  1pm  I tried to get off the dock this morning, but a thunderstorm had other ideas.  I sent out a Email letter to the members of the list.  Might get off the dock for this afternoon, but it doesn't look good by the way the wind is blowing the tops of the trees at my house.  In fact, to update this further, at 4 pm I scrubbed our mission, because of heavy wind from the SW and a tornado watch.

8/20/03pm  Had a reel decent event with John, John Jr., Wayne Al and Todd in spite of missing more then we boated.  Deep fish was the problem, because the scales and fins were swimming 100 to a 130 feet down.  The 11 Kings we did boat filled the fish box to the top and nobody went home unhappy.  Lumpy seas and wind from the south has driven the Kings way deep since the last time I was off the dock this past Monday.  Click for catch photo
   I'd like to personally thank John Jr. for his cool manner and excellent job, because I think he netted all of our fish!   Continued wind for the south is not what we need.
                                  Click here for today's hot lures and rigs

8/20/03am  Gonna be on the big pond today harassing Salmon with John W and friends.  I finally got caught up on the Port Reports and updated my Cut Bait Log.
I got plenty of rest yesterday (12 hours of sleep) and I'm ready fish again!
Check back later for a full report on fruits of our labor.  South wind should help.

8/19/03  Whew!  Finally a day to sleep in and catch up on everything.  Posting the new Port Reports and updating Cut Bait Log is on my agenda.  I've ordered another gross of Twinkies and expect these to arrive by this Thursday.  August is a busy month for anyone in Manistee, especially me! 

8/18/03  I had one heck of a fine time fishing with two fledging anglers (Mike & Jay), who are now experienced Salmon fishermen.  Why?.....because these young guys landed their limit of King Salmon by 10am this morning.  Plus, they never lost a fish and performed on the rod better then many adults I know.  I guess Tony and Dave were more, or less along for the ride and spend quality time with their sons.  Both the Dads did land fish, and help put our total to 2 Cohos, 7 Kings (to 20 plus lbs.) and a Lake Trout.  Days like today makes my job as a charter operator a joy, watching and assisting folks catch fish. 
Click for a great catch photo

8/17/03  I fished with Zack, Spenser, Paul and Steve today.  We hadda a fairly good bite going until about 9:30am when the wind shifted to the east, the flat calm conditions paralyzed my program big time!  Lock jaw had set in and I had the feeling we were beating on a dead horse.  Before the east wind shift, my crew expertly boated 6 Kings to and past 20 pounds and never missed strike.  After the "east, no feast" we missed 2 half hearted hits.  My patience factor and stuff to do at home shortened this full day to a half day deal.  In all honesty, it felt good to get off the boat early and attend to all the stuff I'm way behind on. Click for catch pic  Click here for my most recent evaluation on trolling cut-bait for Salmon 

8/16/03pm  I hadda a fairly decent event with the same anglers from yesterday.  We fished at a relaxed pace with 5 rods and ended up boating 10 fish.  Our catch consisted of 3 good sized Cohos (to 10.5 pounds) and 7 Kings.  Of course we missed a few bites and had a couple escape, but today's group, got their own rod in most cases and did a excellent job on staying on top of the situation.  Reg was kinda the spark plug of the event and with an exuberance (seldom seen) for catching fish, became our net man forever!  I never found any glory hole, but we maintained a constant tempo and had strikes until we pulled lines at 1:00pm. Click for the hot baits we used   Click for a great group dockside catch photo   
 

8/16/03am  The same group from yesterday is coming back for a second helping of Kings Charter Service today.  These anglers are alert and on the stick, or I could have looked a lot worse yesterday then I did.  I'm looking forward to a better plan of attack and targeting a different area for the morning bite.  Check back later for a full update and what's happening in Manistee's King Salmon population.

8/15/03pm  Chris, Dan, Reg & Rob stuck with me thru thick and thin, because our action was punctuated by long periods of fish inactivity.  We ended up OK, boating 8 Kings and a Steelhead during our full-day journey on a peaceful, foggy Lake Michigan.  What saved this trip?  We hit 5 fish from 12:30pm to 2:00pm and boxed 4 more Kings, up to that point we only could mange 5 fish.  My yesterday morning program was non-existent and I had to start from scratch.  Bizarre best describes this event, because we boated a triple, missed some fish and the strikes came in clumps when I could get over fish. 
                          Click for Today's hot lures  Click for our catch photo

8/15/03am  Chris D. and his crew are going to be fishing with me for the next two days.  Chris, being from Texas should know about big fish, because everything is big in Texas, or so.....I've been told!

8/14/03 1:00pm  It was charter nirvana for me today, because Christine, Pam, Jerry and Keith were wonderful folks to spend the morning with.  Plus, we smacked the fish fairly hard.  We dropped lines around 6:30am and pulled lines at 10:30am.  During this short 4 hour time span, we had about 15 strikes, 12 fish hooked-up and 10 of the finny critters met their doom (called cut bait)!  The death toll included 8 Kings (to 20 pounds), feisty Coho and a soaring Steelhead that was all of 10 pounds.  
Click for hot attractors & Twinkie heads
      Click for today's catch photo    

8/13/03pm  The curse of the 13th put a jinx on me today, because we missed more then we boated.  Being 2 for 7 at 8am is not a way to build a huge box, although we still had 6 Kings to past 20 pounds, 1 Steelhead and a coho.  We had 11, or 12 hooked up and missed about 4 bites.  There's no excuse for missing that many fish, it's just something that happens from time to time.  Cold surface temps meant the fish were more then just a little brutal, and they just plain busted us up today, including a Diawa 47LC that is now in the scrap heap.  Click for hot lures
Now, how can you complain about a box of fish 2 men can't lift off the boat?
Just wish things would have went a little smoother out of the gate this morning.

8/13/03am   Going to be in search of Mr. King Salmon with long-time fishing friend, Mr. Scott Jason.  Scott whacked a 30 pounder with me on this very same day last year.  Click here to see Scott's 2002 whopper.  I now feel highly confident with rigging cut-bait and BAM , I'm gonna "Kick It Up a Notch," today.......just like Emiril Lagasse says.  I feel the learning curve is over and it's time to put my new-found knowledge into execution.  Check back later to see if my prediction is right on.

8/12/03pm   I had to say goodbye to my new fishin' buddy, George Metzler today, because he's headed back home to New York's Lake Ontario.  We completed today's second Cut-Bait Seminar by boating 6 Kings in the worst conditions imaginable.  A full moon and the lake turned over meant extremely cold surface temperatures inshore.  We had lines in the water from about 7am until we pulled rods at 11am and went in.  Click for today's hot baits
 Click for group catch pic 48 degrees on the surface is very cold.  We stuck with a 5 rod spread and had 9 maybe 10 hits, as Dave, Vic, Gary and Dale all went home believers in cut-bait fishing for August Kings.  Spent some time extra time on the boat after I changed the oil in both motors, so, click here for Twinkie selections for my tomorrow morning

8/12/03am  Cut-Bait Seminar II is my task for today!  Wow!  Did I have a epiphany when George Metzler got our 30 foot rigger going with a red Twinkie rig.  George is the expert from New York that was kind enough to show me the in's and out's of a proper cut-bait approach.  Impressed, is the word I have to use for George's vast area of knowledge in trolling cut-bait set-ups for Kings.  

8/11/03   3:30pm    The first official dedicated cut-bait seminar was successfully completely this morning.   Constant action dominates this story, with us having 11 fish hooked up in about 4 hours of trolling time.  Plus, we missed a few bites and ended up boxing 8 Kings to around the 20 pound mark.  George showed me some new colors (like red) that I seldom use for Kings.  Now, 8 Kings is no big deal for Manistee at this time of the season, but we only ran 3 riggers and 2 divers for a 5 rod spread total.  Click for today's hot Twinkies   
      Could I have caught just as many without cut-bait?  The answer plain and simple is yes, although I'd have had to run a larger spread and tow the dreaded lead core outfits.  The major benefit to this style of Salmon fishing is a smaller spread will produce about the same amount of fish.  So, you guys that fish out of smaller rigs, don't be too broke to attention and you'll be glad for the heads-up!  Click for dockside catch photo

8/11/03am  George Metzler from New York is here in Manistee and will be fishing with me today and tomorrow.  I have install a new battery before leaving the dock and we'll be doing a "on the water" seminar today and tomorrow.  I'll get a crash course in the art of proper color selections and speed choices.  I met George about 2pm yesterday and was impressed with his easy going style and his low keyed approach to Salmon fishing.  I'll try for mid-day update today, but Monday's heavy website traffic might prohibit my web server from accepting image and files.  

8/10/03pm  I fished with 3 anglers that all had the same name, John!  They had struck-out yesterday on the fish and called me on short notice.  Also, the youngest John had purchased some Twinkies from me and wanted a trip tailored towards cut bait fishing.  I went to Roscoe's honey hole, or the place he won the tourney yesterday and he must have caught them all!  I didn't find much in his spot, although we did take 4 good size adult Kings closer to home.  We had 7 hits, with 5 of the strikes coming on cut-bait and 2 bites came on my custom Lemon-Ice Streak.   I did find out upon returning to the dock, the boats that fished way south had a pretty fair day and were in double figures. Click here for the 3 John's catch

8/10/03am  After having unexpected day off yesterday, if felt good not have to fish on a busy Saturday out of Manistee.  Today, John Ball and his fishin' buddies have requested a personal "on the water" seminar to increase their fish catching skills.  I'll be out for only a half day and should be able to have a fresh report and photos by the early afternoon.  Tune in later for the low-down on the go-down!
News Flash:  Capt. Steve "Roscoe" Burns won the Flint Steelheaders Tournament in Manistee today using cut-bait.  Steve's victory margin was a whopping 30 pounds over second place.  Now, Steve only fishes from a 18 foot Lund and was up against much larger rigs is a factor that needs mentioning.  There's some excellent fishermen in the Flint Chapter and Steve has my highest admiration!  Great Job, Well Done and Congrats to....Capt. Steve "Roscoe" Burns!

8/9/03   I fished with an unknown group of charter fishermen yesterday.  This whole deal started south when a guest did not like me telling him to be seated while the boat was underway in 2 to 3 foot swells.  Plus, they cancelled-out day 2 of their charter with me today and you'll see why I chose to label this group, "the unknown fishermen!"  Late night partying (2am) caused to of two the guests to be sick throughout their event.  Now this thing that ticks me off the worst is that I gave away 2 trips for 8/9/03 and turned down several interested fishermen that wanted to catch fish and not stay up all night and drink.  Dealing with the general public is going to be problematic at times and this was just one of those times.
      So, me not being one to dwell on the negative, let's move on to the reel fishing story and how a decent box of fish were caught.  Herring strips (Twinkies and cut bait) accounted for 70% of our action as we boxed 11 fish and lost just as many.  Deep water action was good and lasted until I pulled lines at 1pm.  50 to 70 feet down meant hungry, and willing to attack good sized Salmon.  Lumpy seas is the best way to describe Lk. Michigan on 8/8/03.  I never trolled inside of 280 feet of water and had bites all day long!  If I'd have had an alert crew we probably could have boxed 20 fish instead of 11. Cut Bait Log

8/8/03  I had a Martian on the boat this morning, because Christine turned green before I even set lines.  The seas were only 3 to 3 footers and that did not agree with her.  So, I set lines trolled about a mile and a half and during our short hour's troll we hit 3 fish on cut bait and boxed a couple of decent Kings for the Picopo Family.  Both of their children, (Jenna and Gabriel) did the honors on the tunas.
Rev. Jerry assisted his girls during the Salmon tussle.  I did pretty well on language and only swore once at my beloved deckhand, "Roscoe."  Click for their catch
   I had a full day in changing a broken shift cable and running errands.  I'll be back out there today, weather permitting with the Mang Group in quest of Mr. K. Salmon.  Lots of NW wind and the harbor might be hot in the morning.
       As Paul Harvey would say,
"click here for the rest of the stories."

8/7/03  Gonna be off the dock today with a minister from downstate.  So, watching my language is a must!  I always feel like I have to be on special behavior when I'm dealing with a "man of the cloth."  Once, after a ruckus Salmonfest with a bunch of tunas boated...I asked my guest; "hey,....what to you do for a living?"  He said he was priest, and me after using more than few ripe curse words at those rampaging tunas.  Needless to say, "I felt so low, I could have crawled under a dime!"  I tried to update my this website at 3pm yesterday, but massively heavy website traffic wouldn't let me publish the new image files and text for a mid-day update.  I'll try for a mid-day fishing update once again, but no promises.

8/6/03   5:00pm  Had a reel-decent trip with Dotti, Donna, Marty, Zack and the patriarch of this wonderful clan named, Mr. Warren Knapp.  We had steady action throughout the half-day voyage and even took a triple header at straight-up noon.  Cut-bait and new style flashers were the keys to our success.  Cut-bait does produce on Lake Michigan, even though I'm a rookie at running it. I count myself as lucky to be able to spend time with this fine group of folks and the friendship of Warren.  Click here for a magnificent group of anglers   Our catch consisted of 7 Kings, a worthy Steelhead and a chunky, fatso Coho. Click for today's "hot set-up"

8/6/03am  I'll be fishing with Manistee's very own Warren Knapp today.  Warren  skippers the "Dottie K" and fishes everyday since retiring as the Fire Chief in Grand Rapids.  Warren has his son Marty, who is visiting him from Colorado and his grandson Zack (from Texas) dialed in for the do.  If anyone I know deserves a successful charter, it's Warren and his family.  Tune in later to see if the fish gods smiled on us today.  A complete update by this afternoon is what I'm shooting for.  

8/5/03  I have the day off from chartering on Lake Michigan today.  Twinkie orders will be first on the agenda, because I'm about 10 orders behind.  Updating the Cut Bait Log is next and an oil change needs to be done in the afternoon.
     Manistee fishing is off to a great start this week with decent Salmon action just off the "shelf" in 350 to 400 feet of water.  While I was slow to catch on the deep water Salmon program yesterday, the boats that found it early ended up with ample catches.  The fish were hitting best at 70 to 90 feet down and unless we get a blow, I don't look for this to change.  Water depths less then a 150 feet has bugs (fish-hook water fleas), but not as near bad as last week. 

8/4/03 at 3pm:  I ran out (I have more now) of the Rys Davis cut herring strips and fished only flies, or squids today.  Now, as long as I'm on the subject of these herring strips, the quality of the strips I recently purchased looked like they were frozen before the first coming of Christ.  The prices ranged across the state from $3.95 to $6.95 in Ludington.   My highly opinionated feeling is, unless the strips can hold the scales (that's where the color is), you might as well drag pieces of carp meat.  Plus, us fishermen are getting gouged price-wise again,......just.... because I mentioned something on this website is beyond total B.S!   Please under any circumstances, do not buy this product until I've done further research into the stuff they're selling us!  Click for their catch photo  Click for Jason's 27 pounder
     OK, now for the fishing in Manistee deal.  My inshore program sucks, trying catch Salmon inside of 150 feet of water is a struggle (too many bugs).  I did have decent action once I trolled out to 350 feet, but our catch does not reflect the number of bites we had.  Today's guests, John, Angie and Jason box had only 3 Kings in it, but Jason's fish pushed 28 pounds.  Click for the "hot fly" of the day 

8/4/03  Lack-luster best describes the action off Manistee during last weekend's fishing.  The Manistee Fleet endured thunderstorm, after thunderstorm and the unsettled weather was not a plus for a heavy fish boxes.  My results were way below average and the only thing that took hits everyday were my cut-bait rigs.
    My problem was finding the fish and when I did find a few, prying a few hits was a hard deal for me.  I seen no heavy fish-boxes come into my Marina over the weekend and I hope a more stable weather pattern will improve the fishing for everyone.  My digital camera is malfunctioning for the time being and I suspect the damp, wet, and rainy circumstances contributed to this factor.

8/3/03  Just don't have the time, or the resolve to give a complete update about yesterday's results.  Check back later for a complete update on Saturday's deal and how we fared today.

8/2/03   Gotta 2 boat trip with Steve M and his buds.  Capt. Tom Rasmussen will be taking half of today's fine crew.  Manistee is loaded with boats for this weekend and finding clean water around Manistee is gonna be impossible.  So, a 10 mile boat ride is in store for us before we set lines this morning.
Bug Tip:  I'm gonna to try WD40, Pam and Silicon sprays in an effort to combat the fish-hook water flea that our near-sighed combined Great Lakes State's DNR people have allowed to plague our waters.  With the money these DNR leaders make, you'd have thought one of them would have had vision enough to prevent these bugs. 

8/1/03  I cancelled the Jeff J. fishing venture this morning, because sparks were flying from  above and I don't do lightening.  Rain yes, thunderstorms no!  It looks like it's gonna clear up for this evening and tomorrow morning should be OK.  I sent out an E-mail Updates Letter and I'll be taking care of long neglected paper work this morning.  I'd have rather fished, then dealing with office stuff.

September 2003

9/30/03  My 28' Cherokee is presently resting in my driveway, before I prepare it for it's all-to-long's winter nap.  I had Solberg's clean the bottom and they carefully set my boat on the trailer.  I was impressed with the quality of the workmen Solberg's had doing the job.  Much to do, because next season I plan on starting in South Haven around the first part of April.  This is a radical departure form the past, when I concentrated on Manistee's April Brown Trout Fishery.  With the lousy Brown season in 2003, I won't take a chance on it again! Click for hoist photo  I'll be hauling the Cherokee to Kaleva sometime next week and have the Cherokee factory do a rub, buff and polish on the fiberglass gel coat.  Much to do remains!  River fishing for Salmon is on my agenda for sometime next week

9/29/03  On 4/16/03 I launched the Cherokee and the big lake season is over today, because I'm pulling the Cherokee today.  Solberg's has set the time at 11am this morning for the hoist and bottom cleaning.  While I hate to look winter in the eye, I do look forward to November Steelheading on the big river.  I just hope we have more iron-noggins then we did last fall.

9/28/03   Preparation to pull the boat tomorrow will require my focus today.
I see to reason to prolong this season any longer, because at this time of year the weather gets progressively worse.  Here's our lousy forecast for Manistee.
Overnight:  West winds 10 to 20 knots. Showers likely. Waterspouts possible. Waves 3 to 6 feet. Sunday:  Northwest winds 15 to 25 knots. Occasional showers. Waves 4 to 7 feet building to 5 to 8 feet.

9/27/03   Rain and wind to and past 25 knots is the deal for today. A strong west wind means the "no fishing today" sign is gonna be hung from the back of my boat.  Had tomorrow booked, but my guest was hit with a case of cancelitis.  This was OK with me, because Sunday is supposed to be as bad as today!  It looks like the curtain is about to come down on the 2003 season very soon.

9/26/03  Today is the day I tie-up a lot of loose ends in Manistee.  Arrangements have to be made to have Solberg's boat hoist pull the Cherokee on Monday.  Auto-pilot must be looked at and several other small projects are in the works.
    Many thanks goes to Mr. Tom Sandborn for the  excellent award plaques from our 7/5/03 tournament.  Some of the awards will be mailed and some hand delivered. Weather still looks too windy for this weekend.  The party is almost over!

9/25/03  I had to cancel today's event with Bob on Lake Michigan, because of gale force wind and seas running at 6 to 8 foot.  The later into September we get, the worst the wind is.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get Saturday and Sunday in, but the weekend forecast don't look all the cooperative at this time.
    I got the inside buzz on what's happening the Pere Marquette River down by Ludington last night.  The Salmon seemed fairly numerous, but no Steelhead to speak of yet.  Let's all hope for an improved fall Steelhead season in 2003, when compared to the lousy 2002 fall river and surf fishing.

9/24/03  Kinda got a late season burst of charters, with 3 out of the upcoming 4 days being booked.  However, the advance weather report does not support me being able to fish (at least in comfort).  Gales to 30 knots and unsettled sea conditions for the weekend looks like I won't be able to get of the dock at all!
    I have to fix my auto-pilot today.  I suspect a bad connection, because the hydraulic motor is being sent messages from the circuit board.  This has happened before and a new wire splicing job took care of the problem for 2 seasons.

9/23/03   Summer is over, as fall has come to Michigan around 7am this morning.
Fall does offer some of the best fishing opportunities of the year, because hunting activities generally takes the pressure off both the Great Lakes and rivers.
   I'll be updating the Cut-Bait Log sometime later this week, or at the latest next.  I ran cut-bait twink rigs with both the large and small Bechholds, Large Jensen Coyotes and a couple of different O'Ki Flashers.  I guess the biggest secret was if you already knew how to fish attractors correctly (speed-wise), you'd be highly successful with this method.  As I've said before, there's several proven techniques that will catch fish and trolling with cut-bait isn't the only way to catch fish!  
   I chose to go with the "bait-thing," because of the total lack of Salmon during June and early July off the Port of Manistee on Lake Michigan.

9/22/03  Fished with Dave T, Bill, Dave and Ed on a half day trip yesterday.  Fog and a heavy east wind is what we had to contend with when we left the dock at 6:45am.   Our strikes were way past the double digits, but only 5 of the slippery rascals (Kings) made it to the boat.  Hooking-up and keeping fish stuck was a major problem for us.  A week from today, I hope to have my lake boat sitting on the trailer and close out the 2003 big lake season. Click here for the catch on 9/21/03  

9/21/03   Spent most of yesterday repairing the website from my crashed main computer.  I lost a few of the late season port reports, so if you don't see your most recent report, you now know why.  I'll be pulling the Cherokee a week from tomorrow.  Winterized trailer in the backyard and fixed some terminal tackle for today's event on Lake Michigan.  Check back later for the results of our efforts today. 

9/20/03  Big Time computer crash, as my main box is down.   About once a year, major problems like this happen.  I was prepared this time, because I just backed up my my files and my laptop is doing double duty. I'll be fishing tomorrow, weather permitting.

9/19/03   I don't have a plan for my activities today, just gonna go with the flow and be productive.  I have some tackle that needs re-rigging and web pages that need attention.  I'll be fishing again Sunday if the hurricane don't screw up our weather too bad.  Trophy plaques for the winners of our July tourney are now being completed. 

9/18/03   I have lots of irons in the fire today, like usual.  Finishing a web page article about George Richey is on the front burner.  I'm still relishing my fishing trip yesterday with Warren.  Something I forgot to add is; we had 6 bites and 6 dead fish in the fish box.  Not bad for a spry young gentleman in his late 70's.....I'd say!

9/17/03  1:00pm   I fished with Warren who skippers the "Dotti K"  almost every day out of the Port of Manistee.  Warren is both a buddy and a dyed in the wool Salmon chaser from way back.  We started in the harbor around 7:30am and it was as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard.  So, we headed for deep water and whacked 6 Kings in such a hurry, neither Warren, or I had a chance for a breather.  Our largest King was a small adult in the 12 to 14 pound bracket and the rest were 6 to 10 pound youngsters.  It took us longer to travel to the fishing grounds, then it did for us to pull 6 fish. From what I seen the Salmon meat performs as well as the herring strips.  I had fun today and enjoyed every minute of Warren's company! Click here for a photo of Warren's battle   Click here for our 1 hour catch

9/17/03am  It was way too lumpy yesterday morning and in the afternoon, Capt. Tom was informed he be receiving delivery of his new boat trailer, he ordered.  So, this scrubbed the scheduled fishing expedition.  Alas, better seas are predicted this morning and Manistee's own Warren Knapp (aka Dotti "K") is going to grace my vessel with his sociable demeanor.  Warren has made trimmed strips of belly meat from a fresh Salmon he caught.  We're gonna try Salmon meat in place of the semi-costly herring strips.  I'll let you know how the Salmon belly strips work, if all goes well today and we get off the dock. 

9/16/03am   If the lake lays down?.....and it's calm, I have a research mission planned for this afternoon with Capt. Tom Rasmussen.  I have completed a new page for August-September Results 2003, because the Capt. John's Log was loading way too slow.  I'm gonna be on R & R today and just enjoy life.  I believe we all should take my last statement more seriously!  Check back later to see if we made it off the dock.  The buzz yesterday?....the harbor action was good for Kings. 

9/15/03  8:00am Report:   3 to 5 foot seas with plenty of white on top prevented me from leaving the dock this morning on Pat's charter.  From what I could see at 6:30am, the 5th Avenue pier was almost awash from the rough water.  September is a dreadful month, as far as the wind is concerned.  The hurricane season is here also, and these fast moving weather systems affect our conditions too!  

9/15/03  I'll be fishing a half day journey into the unknown.  Weather doesn't sound all the great with 2 to 4 footers from the west.  Check back late for results.

9/14/03pm  Had an OK enough half-day trip with Tim, Kevin, Tim and today's super hero, Lenny.  Lenny put a masterful butt whipping on a King in the low twenties for the largest tuna of day.  We ended up staying in the harbor, because every time we were about to pull lines and head for deeper water, a rod would go off!   We boated 4 Kings, briefly fought one that flew the coop, and missed 3 strikes.  This was the same group had fished me yesterday and caught 11 fish that were all under 11 pounds.  So, they welcomed the chance at the larger Kings, even if we didn't have the numbers produced yesterday.  This was a first-rate team to fish with and their alertness level was extraordinary.  
                       Click here for today's dockside catch photo
Opps, I almost forgot to add the charter guests tolerated a very rainy, damp morning in Manistee's harbor.  Quality, no quantity best describes today's venture!
Another very special thanks goes to Capt. Bud Raskey for his valuable assistance today.

9/13/03pm  Whew!....today was one of those days you more than dread.  After completing a half day charter and a swift trip to Frankfort, I was able to pay my respects to the Richey Family before the wake was over.  I got there late and told Dave, (George's twin brother) that words don't do much good and nothing I could say, would suffice.  Death is just way too damn final!  After a brief stay, I made my way home to Manistee on scenic M-22 in sad reflection over this loss of a great fishing buddy I'll never have the chance to fish with again.  Click today's catch
    OK, now for the fishing report on the large crew Tim B. brought.  I had a rare 6 person half day charter.  We boated 10 Kings and a Steelhead pushing 11 pounds.  The Salmon were hooking up good, although the down side was these fish were coming 85 to 105 feet down.  Rough best describes the condition of Lake Michigan, until a heavy south wind and rain drove us from the lake around 11:20am.
   My thanks goes to Capt. Bud Raskey for helping out and freeing from the duties of fish cleaning, so I could make it to Frankfort in time to pay my respects!

9/13/03am  Capt. Bud Raskey and I are the tag-team charter operators for today's event.  I have to leave kinda early from my charter commitment and Capt. Bud has his own fish cleaning facility to process my guest's catch.  I should be able to clear Manistee by 12:30pm and be in Frankfort to see the Richey's Family by a little after 1pm to pay my respects to my sorely missed friend.  I don't do these kind of affairs well a-at-all!  Never the less, I will make every effort in the world to be there.  In writing about some of my hunting and fishing escapades with George on the message board, just goes to show you, you don't know what you have....until it's gone! 

9/12/03  2:00pm  I had the grand opportunity for fish with two very alert and "on the stick" anglers named Gary and Don.  A very strong SE wind was a handicap, but there was just enough angle in the wind to keep it an off shore breeze.  Gary and Don's catch total was 2 Cohos and 5 Kings to 10 pounds for the morning voyage.  The fish were hitting short and several strikes never did hook-up.  I'd like to thank both of my guests for the eagerness to help out.  They made my job a whole lot easier. 
                      
Click here for Gary & Don's dockside catch photo 

9/12/03am   I'm still off- center from the loss of my friend George Richey and this goes to show just how fragile life is.  George helped teach me the correct way to fish dodgers and flies in 1981.  He even taught me how to snell my own double single Salmon hook rigs.  He was a huge benefit to me in my start-up days in the charter business.   I will sorely miss him and keep his memory close to my heart. 
   Ok, I'm on the big pond today and hope the weather is kind enough to let us fish.  Check back later for a complete report and hopefully, fresh catch photos.   

9/12/03 Special Update

I've Lost a Friend:  All Salmon fishermen in Michigan have lost a pioneer in the Salmon tackle industry.  My friend George Richey, passed away a few nights ago after a short  illness.  George made the Richey's Flies and Squids and set the standard in these products others have tried to copy.  I believe he started producing flies in the mid-70s and was instrumental in founding the Flint Chapter of the Steelheaders.  George was deeply involved in collecting antique lures and wrote at least two books that I know of.  Also, George wrote for several outdoor publications and had a radio show at one time. A Memorial Service will be held at Bennett-Barz Funeral Home located at: 1417 Beulah Hwy, in Beulah Michigan around 9pm on Saturday, September 13, 2003.  George is survived by his wife, Ginny and his two offspring, Janie and Casey.  Plus, by his twin brother Dave Richey

9/11/03  A couple of years ago we were dealt a dirty blow by extremists trying
to destroy the way we live.  Guess what.....it didn't work!  Please, take a moment from your day to remember those lost in the 9/11/01 attacks.  Let's all hope for a speedy resolve in Iraq and welcoming home our brave Americans in the armed forces soon.

9/10/03  Gonna try to keep things nice and easy for me today.  Several web page projects and couple of new articles are in the works, but being a card carrying member of the World Class Procrastinators Club, there's always tomorrow!  I have Friday thru Monday booked for this upcoming weekend, so fresh updated reports will be forthcoming upon completion of these charters.

9/9/03   Stayed home yesterday and did all the dull, mundane duties like doing laundry, paying bills and cleaning house.  You know what?  It felt good too!  Working almost everyday for the past 6, or 7 weeks has a way of wearing you down.  I'm suffering from burn-out and a few days off will revitalize me.  
     The new Port Reports from last weekend should be published by noon today.  I made public my Charter Boat Catch Report required by the DNR for the month of August 2003. If you'd like to see my paper work and what a report looks like Click Right Here

9/8/03  I have today off from fishing the big water.  Much to do with updating this website and DNR catch reports must be sent in.  I'll be chasing the fishes towards the end of the week and relish these few days off from the daily charter routine!
   I have to truncate the hyperlinks to the Yearly Past Results and the Photo Galleries pages as this website continues to grow.  This means creating new pages, because I've ran out of room here on the home page.  This should speed load time and keep the navigation structure of this mega-site simple.  Also, I plan to chronicle all the "hot lures" for 2003 on a separate page for members of the E-mail Updates List.

9/7/03pm, Part II  This afternoon's select crew was Bob and Tim.  I had a couple of no-shows and in actuality I enjoyed the smaller groups during both sessions.  We had decent action, but a very soft bite meant we missed as many as we caught.  5 Kings and a Coho pushing 10 pounds was the total sum for our efforts this evening. I'm ultra-sure Bob and Tim know how to precisely fish with cut-bait now!
9/7/03  Part I  
Fished with Meredith, Mark and John on a very crowded Lake Michigan this morning.  The Salmon were kinda scarce, but we managed 5 strikes and boated 3 Kings and a Coho during our morning voyage.  Slow fishing signifies lots of topics were covered in-depth.  I enjoyed the company of the sunrise crew, I just wish we could have hit a few more fish.  While our catch was meager, we didn't see the rest of the fleet doing squat in the areas we trolled.

9/7/03am  I'll be back out again this morning on part 1 of today's double down cut-bait seminar schedules.  I have both a morning and afternoon deal, so I'm hoping for better weather then yesterday.  What I seen yesterday did not impress me a-at-all.  The Little Manistee River is crammed full of Kings below the harvest weir and the DNR hasn't started filling the holding ponds yet.

9/6/03  1:00pm  Update:  With fishing there's gonna be a day when it gets better and a day when it gets worse! Today is was the latter, because of the constantly shifting wind this week.  I spent more time on the throttle then fishing, then had 2 of my 3 guests get sick, due to 2 to 4 foot swells.  In the limited time we did fish, we never had a poke.  I was back to the dock early (around 10am).  The boats that fished the harbor fared slightly better, although this weekend's traffic was beyond ridiculous.  I'm gonna need to pull a rabbit out of my hat for tomorrow's cut-bait seminar to produce action.  I suspect the fish have slid north and have a new plan of attack and area to fish for this deal.

9/6/03am  Gonna be back on the big pond in search of Mr. K. Salmon.  The weather forecast does not sound all that great.  2 to 4 footers out of the SW, means a lumpy and difficult to fish Lake Michigan.  The SW wind should push the fish a little deeper and make them a little easier to catch (I hope!).  Tune in this evening for the straight skinny on what's up with Manistee's Salmon population.

9/5/03pm   Kinda struggled today to find adult Kings.  Had a good catch of juvenile Salmon and 3 Cohos to 10 pounds, but only had 4 adult Kings in our mix of 14 fish.  I had a couple anonymous guests, because I think they were playing hooky from work, so that's the reason for the smudged mugs.  Click for catch pic
    Seldom do I have as much fun on a charter as I did today.  This group was great at hooking their own fish and I think only a couple became un-pegged.  Humor was the key to this charter.  I had several deep gut laughs and my groin is either hurting from that, or hoisting a heavy fish box off the boat.  While, numbers don not reflect the success of a trip, the good time is something that always does!

9/5/03am  Looks like Jeff is finally gonna get a break on the weather today.  The last two times he was here, rough water prevented us getting off the dock.  Check back later today, to see if the fish won and we tasted the agony of defeat.

9/4/03  I technically have the day off, but boat maintenance and an oil change is in order. Some, I'll be busy with "stuff" for most of the day.  Fishing looks good on Friday and so does the weather.

9/3/03  Cleared the pier heads around 6:30am and we encountered 2 to 4 footers in a sloppy and building sea from the SW.  Then wind picked up and 6 footers meant we wouldn't be fishing long.  Mike K. and his pleasant wife, Tammy were to nice a folks to have to endure these rough conditions.  So, we made a slow troll back to the harbor and had 3 fish hooked and ended up boating a Coho and a King in about a one hour time span.  Miserable is the word for what Lake Michigan had in store for us today.   Click here for Tammy and Mike
     Also, I like to thank Capt. Brian Heitala for being a guest first-mate and welcome his return to help out again this coming Friday.  Capt. Brian has his own charter service in Muskegon and is here to learn my cut-bait rigging techniques. 

9/3/03am  Vacation is over for me!  I'm back on the big pond with an expedition into Tunaville.  I hope the fish bite fast and getting done early too.  Much to do in town today, because I was a lazy as a pet coon yesterday.  Check back later for results.  

9/2/03  Yep, sleeping in to 6am and the life of leisure is my deal for today.  Getting up every day at 4:15am for weeks on end, gets old in a big hurry!  While the charter industry might look like a soft bed of roses to some, believe me it's not.  Chartering is a labor and equipment intensive, perpetual treadmill.  It has it's rewards though, like my last few trips off the dock when I had impressive individuals to fish with.  The easy catching wasn't hard to take either.

9/1/03pm  I completed another highly triumphant cut-bait seminar with Mark, Todd, Mark, Bob and last, but not least (my favorite) Jane.  They boated 15 Kings (all big guys) by about 10:30am.  I'd estimate the our fish box weight at around 250 to 300 pounds, because the smallest fish we had was at least 11, or 12 pounds.  The former students are graduates now, and know how deadly our methods and tactics were on decimating the population of adult Kings off Manistee.     Click here for today's outstanding team  
    My summation on today's event that the fish came on a regular tempo and the exchange of information was at a excellent level.  I had a great team to work with and cooperation was at a lofty echelon.  These folks built our fish box and group effort was the key to their accomplishment.  

9/1/03am  Halleluiah, Sweet Jesus!  August is over!  I made it through an almost everyday hectic charter schedule.  Now, that September is here, the lake charter thing will be on the wane and I've have a day, or two to myself.  For the most part, I've been getting by on just 4 hours of sleep (per night) and I welcome the slow down with open arms.  Taking care of this website and shipping orders takes more time then I'd like to mention, but anything worthwhile is a lot of work.  
    No where on the internet can you harvest the honest reel-info found here and I plan on keeping it that way.   Today is a another cut-bait seminar event and I'm hoping for a slow bite.  When rods are going off 2 and 3 at a time, dueling with fish comes to the forefront and not gaining knowledge.