7/31/04 I fished with Ken, Steve and Larry on yesterday's instructional seminar. While we didn't set the world on fire, the action was decent considering we fished about 3 hours (lines in the water) and didn't catch the early morning bite.
We ran a fair head to head test of filleted whole fresh frozen herring against the strips frozen in the tub. Half the spread was strips and the other half was the homemade hand-sliced fillets, I conjured up on the boat. 4 strikes on the hand made, compared to one bite on the prepared strips. Click for my hunk of herring
Cost is the deal and a dozen frozen herring are about 6 bucks. By hand cutting you're own, the cost is about 35 cents, compared to around a buck for the mass produced chunks of herring strips. I beyond happy to see that a product that is cheaper out performs the more costly stuff. More testing will be done!
We had lines in the water from about 8am to slightly past 11am. 5 bites, 5 got stuck, and 5 met their doom at the hands of my secret double-snell treble rig. Fished whole cut herring and strips. Whole fresh frozen herring out-produced the 6 strips in a tub by a 4 to 1 margin. Click
for our catch 7.30.04
More on this tomorrow, as I do a complete photo documentary for our private message members. I kinda spilled the beans on my secret double treble rig. Message board members have been privy to the 2 hook deal for over a month.
Click Capt. John's for secret deadly double-snell hook rig
If you feel like you're being left out of the loop on the latest know-how and techniques, please consider joining our message board. I know for a reel-fact, you'll be more than happy you did! Click for the "flavor of the day" Reel-Flashers!
Today is one of the two remaining seminars for probably ever. Every boat has it's own nuances and transposing the way my Cherokee fished to another vessel is next to impossible in a day, or two. Also, not being on the water much, leaves other active charter operators like Capt. Jay Frolenko more in tune with the fish movements and "at" what
depth was producing yesterday. I have complete command of techniques, but ring rust has to be washed off with more then the occasional day on the big pond every so often!
I have some great port reports I hope to publish later this afternoon. I should be able to make some free time after our seminar this morning is concluded.
At this time, I'd like to thank everyone who attended one of my "on the water" seminars. I truly did enjoy sharing whatever knowledge I do possess.....with others!
Warm south winds have pushed the fish from the flats in 30 to 40 feet of water to depths of 45 to 70 feet is what I'm hearing. Look for the sustained warm weather and south breezes to push the Salmon even deeper. Keep in mind, around 50 feet down is attractor territory and my "Reel-Flashers" should rule this weekend.
In the last 2 days, John J and myself have built around 400 Blk. Mambas and Blue Racers. The only selection I'm skinny now is the Yellowtail and those are waiting for flasher tape to arrive. I'm hoping to see my tape order before this weekend.
I'll be doing another on the water seminar tomorrow with Capt. Tom aboard the "Sue Lee." The is the last one of these I'll ever offer, not counting the rescheduled seminar this upcoming 8/13/04. Due to a cancellation on the 8/13 deal, I had one opening left. This was your last chance to attend a clinic to
improve your skills, (plus gain needed confidence) hosted by me, probably ever, because I do not have the time to spend a day away from my shop. I will not be offering any more of these seminars 2004, and it's unlikely any in 2005 will be considered. If you're interested in attending any future seminars hosted by Capt. Jay aboard his "Strike
Zone" charter vessel. call me at (800) 552-2009. Please send E-mail inquiries to: email@example.com Click here for more general info
click for the form to join our private message board today!
7/28/04 Wanna see what you've been missing by not being a member of our private message board? Click here to find out Our members have been privy to this under wraps information since last November. I was not going to open this article to the public, but a recent surge of private
E-mails to me.....concerning fishing with cut-bait has besieged me. I'm saving page 2 of this lengthy 9000 word dissertation for the highly respected members of our private message board.
Would you like see page 2 concerning the illustrations on the proper rigging of cut-bait? Well, you'll have to join our group! Please consider joining our message board and you won't have to wait 8 months for the ultra straight-skinny on what's up with current methods to produce good boxes of fish on a very consistent basis!
No where can you find this kind of item specific knowledge, but here!
click for the form to join our private message board today!
I now have my flashers available to the public at Zajac's Bait and Tackle here in Manistee, please keep this in mind.....if you're fishing my neck of the woods.
I was supposed to cut a trail for Wisconsin this evening aboard the Badger to fish Algoma. Production demands has cancelled my perfect plans. I just got restocked with swivels and haven't been able to build a complete flasher in a week. I'm very low on Black Mambas, Blue Racers and have absolutely no Yellowtails in
stock. So, I'm hurtin' for certain if I'd leave for Wisconsin. My most sincere apologies to those I promised to fish with, but there's just no way possible!
Let's finish today's update with a Ludville fishing report from Craig C:
"Had to try the Point again and see if the fish were still on the bite. Indeed they were. Ended up with a limit of 9 kings with 3 pushing 20# and three more at + 15# and a couple in the 11-13 range. Worked 60 FOW....... Ended the morning with a flurry right by the net. Then worked out to 150. Riggers between 27 and 47 and dipsys
between 90-115 also fish.
Went again with the meat setup from start to finish. Hot setup were the Black Mamba/clear and glow red twink, Yellowtail/frog, green blade/green, and secret one/glow white. We missed a few fish this morning and should have been done earlier. I made sure that wouldn't happen with one of my net jobs.
I can say with the utmost confidence that the Capt. John's "Reel-Flasher" and the cut bait program has increased my success a bunch"........Capt. Craig C.
I enjoyed the esteemed company of Bruce, Ken, Cliff and Ben on yesterday's on the water seminar. We took fish on previously undiscovered methods that no one has ever fished with me seen before.....reel fact! Our divers, full core and drop weight rods produced action, while we fished a very simple program. Four fish is not
setting the world on fire, but methodology and retention of knowledge is what's stressed on these deals Click here for our message board members Our best colored flasher was a clear blade-double/glow with a special new green twink rig.
Hindsight is a great thing when it comes to fishing, could haves & would haves do not count when it comes to the fish count. I did find out the boats fishing shallow (30 to 50 feet of water) in front of the State Park to the water tower, most boxed out on Kings by 9am. I know the deep water bite was not there for us, so the
fish had slid into shallower water along with the bait. We spent our time messing around in the deeper water for the last two mornings with limited results. Click for Justin
Today's update would not be complete without a great big thank you to Capt. Tom and his first-rate deckhand, Justin for their assistance yesterday. If I was to ever charter again, Justin is exactly the young man I'd want aboard my vessel!
I sucked at the catching part of fishing yesterday. We fished a good solid program, however I was on the wrong channel. We only seen 2 fish boated in our time on the drink, other then the 2 Kings we took with a death-wish. I had a awesome group. Tony, Troy, Charlie and Mike were some of the nicest people imaginable and deserved far
better. Click here for Troy & Tony's Kamikaze Kings
This was my first day on the water in Manistee during the month of July and my ring rust was definitely self evident. I have no excuses, we just couldn't find the mother lode of Salmon. Corrections in boat location will be made for today's outing. I have a pretty good idea now of where our Manistee fish are hanging out
now. I'd like to thank Capt. Len Mitchell for his help with yesterday's event.
7/24/04 According to the forecast, the seas are supposed to be decent today.
I'll complete this daily update when we return to the dock early this afternoon.
From the looks of our last poll, our DNR has a serious problem with their public image. I hope they address this problem and take steps to remedy this situation ASAP. Having a negative 70 some percent rating is not in their best interest.
7/23/04 9am Update:
Seas were running at good solid 4 to 5 footers, so we postponed today's event until 8/12/03. I'm not into fishing in lumpy stuff a-at-all! Me trying explain and show my systems would have suffered. My seminar guests Jerry, Chuck, Kevin and Jeff would not have received fair dollar value for the know-how to be
transposed to their future fishing expeditions.
Goin' fishin' today, update will follow at, or around 3pm. The forecast looks lousy and 3 to 5 footers are gonna be what we have to contend with. I guess the emphasis tomorrow will be a lot more on technique and actual methodology, then being able to put any meaningful program into fruition.
Jury duty for me was called off, much to my relief. Starting Friday, I'll be on the water for 3 days in a row with seminar duty. I'm looking forward to fishing, in fact, a lot more the "flashering" everyday,...........like I've been doing. It's gonna be like a mini-vacation for me. My chore for today is finish enough
stock, so I don't have to pull combined duty in my shop and on the water. Next Tuesday night I'll be taking the ferry across to fish the Port of Algoma, WI come hell, or high water.
I have jury duty today. This is the worst possible time for this to happen.
I believe it's part of my duty of being an American Citizen, but not when I have seminars scheduled and I'm up to my ears in production and shipping flashers. So, I hope to delay this until mid-September when my season slows down. Being self employed, means you have to make hay when the sun shines, or go broke!
Word from close to Manistee is "no big deal" for now, as cold water has moved in temporarily. Look for better conditions by this weekend, once everything stabilizes.
I'm hearing a lot of 5 to 7 fish from the guys that are dialed in.
Capt. Len from Lucky Charm Charters was kind enough to furnish this report:
"Hi John, Today's report (7/20/04) is improved from the weekend, good but not excellent. Caught 8 kings and one laker on flies and cut bait with the "Reel Flasher."
Capt. Len, skipper of the "Lucky Charm"
7/20/04 I have to kinda cheat today and use someone's else's update. Here's a good one from Capt. Tom M, "Morning Captain, We were on harbor patrol this past Sat and did well. The winds blew in the cold water and the bait. All fish caught on cut bait. Trolled just 3 riggers and were able to move through the parade with ease. Caught 9 fish Sat. eve. and 4 on Sun. Morning. Quit early, had enough
fish! We modified the twinks by adding a split ring below the last teaser and retied the head with Ande line and did not have a fish chew off a hook. Hooking those fish in shallow water is a blast. Hope things are well." Capt. Tom M. Click for Tom's photo
I have several errands in Manistee to take care of today. Ludington and S. of Manistee is good fishing. I'm flattered at the rave reviews for those using my flashers and I congratulate those that have found success with my product.
As a special benefit to the members of the Update List, I'm sending them a link today to my 9000 word dissertation on what I learned fishing with cut-bait in 2003. This link previously had only been available to our private massage board members.
Me being busy in the shop day yesterday, means I have to use our message board's fishing report from Ludington. Here's Capt. Bob K's 7/17/04 report:
"Started out today at the stick setting lines at 5:30 am. My initial program was to run spoons early to pick off the "easy" bite, then get tricky when the fish shut down....Well, another plan foiled. I set up and trolled for about 1-1/2 hours only to figure out that my 400+ spoons are just taking up space on my boat.
I quickly switched over to a full meat program. I ran 3 riggers and two dipseys (well, most of the time, only one dipsey was in the water...lol).
This was even looking a bit grim for a while, as I listened to person after person complain on the radio about not getting any fish to hit. Then, I found some just south of the stick in 60-70 fow. We proceeded to hook and land every fish for the next two hours. Between 9 and 11am, we landed 3 fish over 20# (biggest was 22#) and 3 more in the
16#-17# range for a two man limit of dandy kings.
Hot baits were CJRF blue racer/blue-glow twink down 70ft and also one out on a low dipsey back 150. The next hot bait was CJRF pearl/glow w/white-glow twink down 50. My old standby green glow Coyote w/3 squid rig even took one of the "smaller" kings.
I am now a firm believer in the new flasher program. To be honest, I was a little skeptical even though I have run meat rather successfully for several years. We popped fish after fish while other people in boats watched us, during a period of the day that is generally slow.".......Capt. Bob K.
In my journey to the thumb on 7/15/04 I had a chance to preview a new product that deserves attention if you pull lead core and fish with planer boards. I've never cared for the way in-lines tow cores, especially when a fish hits.
Full-size planer boards seemed to me to always do a better job in keeping the lines far out to the side in a better manner. Regular-sized dual planer boards have been the standard of the industry until now. Click here for the new Tri-board
From what I personally witnessed, Off Shore Tackle new "Triple Threat" Planer Board will now assume that lead. This tri-board tracks with very little carry back. I'd say it almost runs straight out from it's attachment point! We ran this board in solid 3s building to 4 footers in a head sea. It sliced thru the
water and rode well.
I guess the best part of this inspired new product is that it's collapsible and folds up neatly to a small easy to store package. Larry Hartwick has been developing this new product since last January for the proper balance and did an first-rate job!
Let's finish today's update with Capt. Jay Frolenko's fresh fishing report:
"Fished the last two days, Thursday was with Jeff and John who gave me a trip, I will not forget. We ended up with five nice kings all on meat and lost one net. This is why I always try and have two nets on board.. Friday fished with family, Fishing was much slower and we had to hunt for fish, still managed three nice kings including one close to 25 lbs taken at noon. Included
in this photo is the flasher and rig still attached to the fish. Meat works even at Lunch time!".....Capt. Jay Frolenko
First off, I need to thank Bob for taking care of business while I was away. His 7/14/04 is the best update he's ever done. I think he reached into his soul to relay his true feelings about his new found success. Bob has only been fishing the Great Lakes for about three years and is not considered a veteran by any means. Now, he's a heck
of a lot more confident and has a easier program to use.
Click for flashers & twinks used
I just returned from a wonderful outing on Lake Huron at Harbor Beach. We fished from 8:15 to 11:00am boated 2 Kings, 2 Lakers and a bonus Whitefish. We did not start early to destroy the myth, you had to be on the pond at first light if you wanted to catch any Kings on the "Sunrise Side." We did not travel north of
Port Hope where the fishing is better either, we fished from the main gap to the cemetery right out in front of HB for a true test for my flashers and meat rigs.
Click for a hook and line caught White Fish
Our water depths ranged from 85 to 115 feet and the strikes were coming at 38 to 75 feet down. We missed a few bites, but all in all, for the time we spent on the drink....I'd say we did OK for my virgin run in those waters for 2004. We'd have fished longer, but rain and high winds chased us in early. We fished aboard highly likeable Craig M's
24 foot Wellcraft and Larry Hartwick was along to. Larry was there to test the new Off Shore triple planer board. I will have more on this brand new product in it's world premier tomorrow.
Click for Craig & Larry & the 2004 world premier of the brand new triple board
7/14/04 7/14/04 I took my son and his buddy out yesterday morning and went 4 for 6. After getting teenagers up, stopping at Wesco and gassing the boat we set lines at 8:00 am. At 8:15 we had 2 nice Kings in the boat! Both came on the only rigger I had out, Black Mamba/Red twink down 20 in 50 ft of water. The boys sure were excited. I had set up shallow South of the Bath house intending to troll North “into the action”, but the action found us.
Click for Mr. Hicks Junior's Grin!
Thrashed that water for an hour with no further hits and trolled north. Just north of the lighthouse in about 90 ft of water got a nice 15+ King on a mag dipsy on Spectra out 100. The boys had to take turns getting that brute in. While I was getting that out of the net a rigger went off with a blue racer/blue twink and another King close to that size. While pulling lines at 10 am (Don’t drag kids around the lake and bore them, it ruins the experience) we had our two misses, one on the diver I lost and one on the rigger with the blue racer. Notice this – 4 of the 6 hits came with 2 or 1 lines in the water.
With this program I no longer fear being skunked when taking guests out. When fishing is good, I can fill the box fast. When conditions are not great, flat calm water, bright sun, heavy pressure, conditions that once were a sure “skunk” for me, I can be sure to always put a couple of fish in the box. That may not impress some “experts” out there, but I want to get across to the guys (and gals) in the small boat that this is your best bet to put fish in the box.
I spent today fixing my autopilot, straightening out my tackle and shipping, shipping, shipping! Suffice it to say you should take Captain John's advice about using only soldered joints on your boat and no cheap connectors. The wind blew pretty hard today and I did not see any boats out there.
You guys (and gals) have officially overwhelmed me. I just got an order in this week of Twinkies and I am already out of 3 colors. I have more being rushed to me. I am shipping what I have and will follow up with the rest. At one point today you were ordering faster than I was able to fill orders. - Captain Bob
7/13/03 Captain's Log Supplemental: I'll be traveling to Port Austin and Harbor Beach today. Capt. Bob will be running the show and the daily updates until I return.
Fishing was pretty darn good off Manistee yesterday. Most boats were in double figures with the Salmon coming from 80' to 95' down. Tight to structure once again seemed to be the key. Capt. Craig C limited out early pulling my flashers and meat rigs with Kings to past 22 pounds. Capt. Steve B. reported almost the same success with 10 Kings
to over 20 pounds with my flashers too.
In an effort to straighten out a false rumor from Ludington's recent tourney. I received a E-mail from Capt. Willis Kerridge owner-operator of Thunderduck Charters in Grand Haven. I was informed (by him) they were using rotating flashers and flies in taking the number one spot in this highly prestigious event.
Let's finish today's update with a fishing report from 7/10/04 from Capt. Dave D:
Mornin' Capt John,
Not being on the water this am really ticks me off. Duty calls. Here is a report for the 10th. My wife Mary and I went out Sat am. We didn't set lines until 0930 because of the line up at the gas dock and then the freighter came in. Anyway we caught the four kings in a hour and a half. We had one triple.
What a Chinese fire drill?......my wife had two rods in her hands at onetime for awhile. We landed two of those three. Black Mamba-clear/red and lemon-white glo were hot. I found some 43 degree water and trolled it 1.8 mph at the ball. You have devised an excellent program. Click for Capt. Dave's mid-day 90 min. catch
After three fish, which was enough, I was trying to pull lines to run in, when the chute rigger went off and we got the fourth fish. All were between 10-15 pounds. Thanks again for your friendship. Capt Dave D ......ENFORCER ll
Capt. John's "On-Line Reel-Flasher" has taken the big fish honors in the two day Ludington Gander Mountain Tournament! The winning King weighed 29 lbs. when landed and a little over 28.7 pounds at the weigh-in. Mark Pefley landed the winner aboard the "Ruthless," which was in 11th place after the first day. 216 boats fished
this tournament and only a few had my "Reel Flashers" to work with. The combo that won Team Pefley $3000.00 was my Black Mamba & Clear/Red Twinkie.
No amount of money can buy you this type of an endorsement, because it has to be earned, fished against all other forms of Salmon tackle on a level playing field. The proofs in the pudding and now, you all see why I built this flasher. I thought long and hard about the major investment, but the prototypes in 2003 proved way to
successful to ever turn my back on this project and being a tackle manufacturer.
While my product might resemble some that were on the market before mine, my tailfin design is vastly superior. It has the correct fish catchin' gyration and maximum amount of twirling, sparkle or flash....that is second to none. REEL-FACT!
Thunder Duck from Grand Haven won the pro-side and I haven't received word on what team took the amateur division. An interesting fact is that the first 3 places were all Grand Haven boats in the pros. It's an unconfirmed rumor that the first three places of Grand Haven pro vessels were all pulling meat too.
Some did and some did not was the report from Manistee yesterday. South of Manistee was a supposed "hot-spot." I heard of no reel-big catches from the sport fishing fleet, but most had fish and a fine warm day on the water. Contrary to the way the weather usually goes, this weekend is the best we seen!
Our King fishery is ahead of last years at this point, but not near as good when compared to Wisconsin's Algoma Country. Still, the fact remains Kings are better, but at the cost of not many Lake Trout, Steelhead and hardly any Browns.
Early word from the Gander Mountain Tourney in Ludington is the "powers that generally are," were not leading the tournament like usual in the first day. I hope to have more on the tourney results sometime later today for you.
Today's update is gonna be as exciting as watching paint dry. Most of my "sources" are fishing in Ludington's Gander Mountain Tournament and are tight lipped about what's going on. I should have a better idea tomorrow, once the Manistee reports begin filtering in.
If time and weather allows, I'll be fishing this evening with the "Adams Family,"
or the team that won big fish honors in the Manistee tourney recently.
T.G.I.F! I need to see some better weather up here in the north country soon! Just about everyday since the 4th of July weekend is been cold, gloomy, rainy and much to dreary to suit me. This weekend is supposed to be better.
I have to go to Ludington later today to drop off flashers to Bob Hicks on "E" dock of Ludville's Municipal Marina around 4pm. This weekend is the big deal Gander Mountain Tournament where well over 100 teams competed last year.
7/8/04 A serious problem prevented me from traveling to Port Austin, Grindstone City and Harbor Beach yesterday. The culprit was my main circuit breaker. It was shorting out and throwing sparks. I plan be in Michigan's thumb early next week.
Here's fresh report (7/7/04) from Strike Zone Charters and Capt Jay Frolenko:
"Fishing has really improved, lots of active fish on the shelf. The first hour and half this morning, I could not keep the Yellow tail flasher in the water! Many people reported doing good, and I saw one boat with a triple on. The fish are finally starting to cooperate. Click here for
Reel-Flashers used on 7/7/04
I fished today with Jim, Kenny, Keith and James, they skillfully brought 9 non-cooperative kings to the boat. Three where at the 20lb. mark. All caught on either the Yellow tail on the downrigger or Lemon Lime on the diver 140' back. It was really just a fun day to be fishing".....Capt. Jay
Click for Capt. Jay's meat catch photo
I'm gonna let Tom M finish out today's update with his testimonial:
Hi John: "I sent a couple of pics from this past weekends fish wars. The first is a cool one taken on Sat. Morning off the Port of Manistee as the Sun rises. The next is a couple of my Daughters friends holding two Kings weighing 22 and 15lbs caught off your flashers and meat rigs....... By the way, my step- brother trolled with 3 meat rigs only on Sat and Sun. Nothing
else! He started on Sat at 7.00am and on Sun at 11.00am and he and his two buddies caught their 3 man limit of Kings on the shelf both days. I saw the box on both days. In two days they had at least 300lbs of fish. The average was 15lbs each.".... Tom M Click
for Tom's photo
Well, John could not have picked a better time to ask me to do this. We went out yesterday evening and set up at 6 pm off of the bath-house and trolled straight North. I have a problem with the autopilot, so my wife was steering. I never got a third line in the water. Went 3 for 4 in less than an hour, three nice big Kings from 14 to
20 lbs. Black Mamba Flasher/Red Twink and the "Secret One" Flasher/Frog Twink had balanced action with 2 hits each. Click for my 1 hr. catch
"Last evening was not fishing, it was catching!" ............Captain Bob
7/6/04 On the road to install my "Reel-Flashers" at a very few select tackle stores on Lake Huron side is my deal for this week. In order to take care on my dealers, there's gonna be 3 or 4 brand new fish catchin' colors that have not been seen by the public yet. I'll be listing the tackle shops carrying my product upon my
return. Please ask to see my product by name, if you're gonna gaze a sneak peek at the new color combos. I'd like to let my retailers know there is an existing demand. The brand new and yet unseen hot colors are the Silver Bullet, Gold Nugget, Lone Ranger and Crushed Lemon Ice. With names like these, you just know they gotta be
If you're ordering flashers, please do it today. So, I can ship them in time for you to have them by this weekend. Me being gone for a few days is gonna cause delays.
Capt. "Big" Bob Hicks is in charge of the operation here until I return this coming Friday. Bob will be doing the daily updates and such. I appreciate his help more then words can say, because this takes the burden off me looking for a internet connection while out of town on business. Earthlink, my
internet service provider does not have service to some of the areas I will be traveling to.
Rainy, damp and on the cool side is what the Manistee area presented to the multitudes that were visiting the north country yesterday. I have yet to need to turn on the air conditioning this summer and more cool weather is predicted.
I'd like to say thanks to my friends at Silver Streak, especially Mr. Chip Cartwright for sharing his source for the exact paint used in their top selling "monkey puke" spoon. He even told were where I could order this custom paint that costs about 40 bucks a quart. Now, that's going way beyond what
most companies would consider doing! Click here to visit Silver Streak's website
Independence Day! In 1776 the brave forefather's of our nation on this day declared their independence from England. England at that time was the most powerful nation on earth. The original signers essentially put a noose around their neck for treason when they put their "John Hancock" (signature) on the document called, our
Declaration of Independence. I'm in awe of the tremendous courage they had, putting it all on the line for something they believed in!
Went fishing last evening on a short 3 hour cruise with Trapper and Jamie Lynn from our message board. We fished on Trapper's new boat and had 3 bites, boxed 3 Kings to maybe a little over 20 lbs. Nick a young man of about 16, landed all 3 fish in his first attempt at Salmon fishing. I'd say, "he was hooked by the
grin on his face and the excitement displayed when we returned to the dock!" Blk. Mamba took 2 of the fish and Blue Racer took the big guy. Click here for Nick's limit on 7/3/04
Yesterday was the first time my friend, Warren Knapp...aka "Dottie K" ever used my flashers, meat and Twinkie rigs. He surprised himself by limiting out early, because he fished alone and with the 3 rods. He was kinda amazed by the fact of not marking any of the Kings he caught and is convinced the fish were
following the scent trail of his herring. Click for 50 pounds of Kings in 3 fish
An interesting side note to this story is that Warren fished with the first proto type Blue Racer we painted and all his flashers were seconds I would not sell to the public. I'd say by the smile on Warren's face, he's a firm believer in my product and produced more fish per rod in less time then the rest of the fleet
7/2/04 At long last we have an American supplier of high quality herring strips, as you can see in the photo of the day! This stuff looks to good to be true! It has a silver sheen, unlike the imported dull gray stuff we been forced to use for cut-bait.
I'm overjoyed, jubilant and just plain happy the Fish On Bait Company from Arlington, Washington the will soon be the big player the Great Lakes marketplace with first-rate herring strips. Click here to see this exciting new product
The Fish On Bait Company advertise their product as the world's best frozen bait and I have absolutely no doubt that it is! Also, I'm extremely proud that I'm able to have this exceptional product's world premier on this website. Product availability is scheduled for the middle of July, just in time for our upcoming tuna
By the middle July, Bob Hicks will be accepting pre-orders for these strips at his online tackle store: www.michiganangler.com Pricing is still semi-sketchy for this scent enhanced product that blows the foreign competition completely away!
Kinda quiet from Manistee for now, but I did hear a report, or two of a couple of boats being in strong double figures this week on Kings and Steelhead up towards Onekama. Start shallow and work towards the deeper water.
Excellent fishing is the deal in Wisconsin for now and boats are pulling 15 to 20 fish per outing. I've heard good things from Algoma country and today's featured photo is from Terry W. Terry fishes a sound program and we Michigianians sure appreciate his timely reports. Hopefully, I'll be fishing with Terry towards the
end of this month for a day or 2. I've never fished the WI side, so this will be new for me.
I know, I get caught up in the catching aspect, probably too much at times. The fact, the fish we take is a food source is often overlooked by many. I had the wonderful opportunity to have a Walleye dinner at my friend, Mr. Warren Knapp's house last evening. Well, saying it was good?........would not fit the bill with the
number of fillets I gobbled down and savored every minute of it!
Warren has a unique recipe that uses corn flour he buys at a health food store. I've never cared much for beer battered fish, because the coating was always to thick and greasy. Not with Warren's recipe! It's delicious and the best I've had.
Here's Warren's recipe:
3/4 a cup of corn flour, 1/4 of regular flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper and enough beer to make a batter, deep fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown...enjoy, I know you'll thank me for this wonderful recipe! Click
for Warren's plate of golden fried 'eyes
I also have to thank my fishin' bud, Mr. Bob "The Rock" Kietzman for taking me and Dave S. on great fishing trip at Augres on 4/9/04 and supplying the walleye fillets I froze in salt water and used last evening. Click for our 4/9/04 meat catch!
Finally made some time for myself and went fishing! Yes, I'm like you and miss being on the water. So, I took up Capt. Tom Rasmussen's invite to fish for a few hours last evening. We did not set the world on fire! We had maybe 3, or 4 bites and boxed a 22 inch Lake and a King pushing the 22 pound mark.
I suspect the heavy tourney pressure from last weekend took a bunch of fish from the Manistee area, because we did not mark that many fish. Tom vessel is a 30' Black Fin and is one heck of a nice boat. In fact, his boat made the constant stream of 3 footers seem much smaller
then they were. Click for our hot rig
Our whopper came on a Black Mamba Reel-Flasher with a clear red twink meat rig. Even though it was lumpy, I was amazed at Jon and Justin's ability to handle, rig and maintain a good program in nasty seas. Jon & Justin are Capt. Tom's grandsons and he sure can be proud of these two young men. My friend, Warren Knapp
accompanied us and we all had a terrific time. Click for Jon & Justin's catch
The Manistee Pro-Am was won by Dave Keene who captained the "Fishin' Machine" in the amateur division. Capt. Mark Chmura' s "Pier Pressure" took the pro division in a highly successful 2 day tourney for all tourney participants.
Capt. John's "On-Line Reel-Flasher" caught the largest King and biggest Laker of the 2 day affair, as the story was told to me. Congratulations to the John Adams team (biggest King) and the team Ruthless (Mark and Jeff Pefley) who took top honors with a hog 19 pound plus Laker. Team Ruthless finished 4th overall in the amateur
division. I'm beyond reel-proud of the success my product!
My "Seaweed" whacked the top Laker and the "Blue Racer" took the 23.4 King tuna award with Twinkie-Twinkie Cut-Bait Rigs. I'd say for only a couple of boats pulling my product, the "Reel-Flasher" made an outstanding showing in it's Manistee debut. The Reel-Flasher now has a proven track record a
reputation for truly large fish! Click to purchase "On-Line Reel-Flashers" Click to purchase Twinkie Meat-Rigs
6/27/04 1st day Pro-Am:
The amateur boat "Fishin' Machine," skippered by Dave Keene is leading all the boats including the pro class with 97.95 pounds in his 10 fish. Pier Pressure (pro-boat) has the next best catch with 86.05 pounds.
My friends and long-time deckhands, Mark and Jeff Pefley who co-skipper the "Ruthless" are in a solid 3rd place in the amateur class with 75.75 pounds. I'm pulling for Mark and Jeff to do well tomorrow. Jeff came over last night and picked up some of my personal tackle, knowing they need more weight and 24 pounds is a lot
to make up, especially if the "Fishin' Machine" does not falter.
Largest King taken on 6/26/04 was 23.4 pounds on my
Blue Racer Flasher
and a Glow Blue Twinkie cut-bait rig by message board John Adams and sons. The big Laker was 16.45 pounds and the largest Steelhead pulled 11.0 on the official scales. The tourney will conclude today. My congrats to team Adams!
6/26/04 I got the reel-scoop on the results of yesterday's ladies tourney in Manistee. 49 boats caught 80 some Kings, 50 Steelhead, 3 Cohos, 1 Brown Trout and about 70 Lake Trout. Total this out and it comes to 4.2 fish were landed per vessel for 8 hours on Lake Michigan out of the Port of Manistee. So, simple math tells me,
for every 2 hours of fishing, 1 fish was landed. Some inshore Kings were taken in 100 to 150 fow and the surface break on the 27 west line was giving up some Lakers and Steelhead. I'm not gonna say a 4.2 per boat is good, or bad? I can't speculate on the conditions these tourney team dealt with.
Please keep in mind, I'm not aware of this being the total catch, or what was allowed to be weighed in. A better indicator might be the results from team "Ruthless." They landed 7 fish for 12 strikes and finished in 9th place.
Today's Ladies tourney is the warm-up for tomorrow's Pro-Am in Manistee. The Pro-Am is a well run tournament with several ways to win a buck, or two. The festivities are held at the armory on First Street close to Lake Michigan. Good luck to all that are fishing in the tournament and I hope the catching is good!
The new chartreuse flashers are now available online at the webstore located at: www.michiganangler.com. As I've said before, "my camera can't do these flashers justice!" This chartreuse is fiber optic stuff that glows on the
edges as it gathers light. I'm very proud of the way they look and I'm almost impossible to satisfy.
Received my first shipment of chartreuse flasher blades yesterday. The first meat rig fish my boat took in 2001 was on the color of chartreuse and gold. I know exactly how effective this new pattern is gonna be. Click for chart. & gold Also, a new double-glow
chartreuse was added to my product line too. Chartreuse worked for me under all conditions during the 2003 season, especially on those tough days and the fish were deep, cantankerous and not in the mood to bite.
I spent most of yesterday doing web work and I built a brand new page for our private message board members concerning a new special hook setup for cut-meat rigs. This brand new system will cut down on missed strikes by at least 50%. The link to the new article is installed in the "Reel-Meat Fish Killers Society"
6/23/04 I did not make it out last evening with Ken W. from KRW Flies. It was kinda lumpy and Ken had been on the pond for 9 hours already (he caught 3 fish). So, we nixed the idea of fishing. However, come by some pretty reliable info why the inshore fishery sucks. Lack of any decent temperature on the shelf has made our
quarry seek different areas. It's 52 degrees down to plus a 100 feet. Lack of stratification tends to scatter the fish throughout the entire water column and no set depth is better then another.
Our Salmon have become accustomed to colder water and 52 is a tad warm for Lake Trout, although both species can tolerate this temperature with no problem. The majority of the fish I caught in 2003 came from 38 to 44 degrees after the early morning warm-water, ferocious bite was over. A good north blow should put some
fish back on Manistee's shelf soon................at least everyone is sure hoping so!
Lake Erie is producing outstanding Walleye fishing and Saginaw Bay has been doing the same. Me?..... if, I had my choices?.... I put Salmon fishing on hold for a while and target the "World Class" Walleye Fishery that Michigan has at it's doorsteps!
6/22/04 Fishing off the Port of Manistee remained pitiful yesterday, however some semi-decent catching was to be had out of the Port of Onekama. I can tell Manistee's Pro-Am tourney is about to happen. I had more company at my house yesterday, then in the past 3 weeks, as everyone is searching for an edge for this weekend's deal at
Manistee's Armory. Manistee Sport Fishing Association does a good job and puts on a cleanly run event. Pro-Am starts this coming Saturday.
If all goes well, I'll be aboard Ken Warren's vessel this afternoon around 5pm. We're going to do an evening recon mission. Ken makes the KRW Trolling Flies and squids, plus he's a heck of a nice guy too! We're going to find out first hand if the fishing is really as bad as my sources have said.
Solberg's charter fleet in Manistee brought back a whopping 2 to 4 fish per boat yesterday. You can't catch what's not there, and there's not many fish in the inshore waters around Manistee. Slow!...........is the word for our part of the pond.
We pretty much have a one-horse fishery in Manistee, since the Browns, Lakers and Steelhead catch rates has fallen off drastically in the past 3, or 4 years. So, when the Kings are not within 3 to 10 miles from the Port of Manistee, things tend to get reel-difficult for the now-a-days charter operators. I seen this coming and that's
another reason why I no longer actively seek charter customers. It's a darn far cry from what it used to be, and no explanation is even offered by our sleeping MDNR!
To make my point hit home, here's a trip I ran from this time of the season in 2001. Granted 11, or 12 fish "ain't no big deal,"......but it's still a helluva lot better then what's going on in 2003, or 2004. Click here for a late June 2001 charter catch
Rough weather yesterday in the am kept most I know from fishing. I hope to hear more today, because I'm pretty much in the dark as far as reports go. I haven't heard anything good inshore fishing, with the exception of the big point (on occasion) it's been pretty darn slow around Manistee in waters less then 200' deep.
I've always done well as this time of year in an area straight out of Onekama. The 450 to 600 foot drop always had some fish there willing to cooperate. Don't overlook those marks at 70 to 100 feet down over this deep water area, they've done me all right in the past. Being ultra-flexible is the key that unlocks a healthy box
If the weather is decent Tuesday, I'll be fishing with Ken Warren. Ken makes the KRW Trolling Flies and Squids. Perhaps you've seen his product, because he's the one who pioneered the "fly in a tube" packaging. Ken wants to see first hand, the method of fishing with cut-bait I use.
Getting caught up and building up my stock of the "Reel-Flashers" is gonna be my job for about the next 3 weeks. I'm finally getting some breathing room and have about 2000 in stock now. Hopefully, once the attractor season is here in July and August, I'll have enough product to satisfy demand. Tuna time is on
Captain's Log Supplemental
: There's a few Kings being taken of Big Point Sable, and it's a early bite. Look to the deeper water offshore. I heard 12 to 15 miles off Ludington was showing a decent surface fishery. Work the top 40 hard and remember surface lines, or birds on some days will produce 90% of your action.
It's Friday, FINALLY! It's been one of those weeks. Well, if it was all fun I'd have to pay them. I have to mention the Pistons. As a long time Celtics fan, I think I speak for 99% of my fellow Celtics fans and say - YEAH Pistons! Anyone who can shut up LA is OK by us! I will be out to Ludington and trying to hit the water this weekend. The forecast does not look great, but I have work to do on the boat anyway. For any of those who have families that would tag along to Ludington, there is a series of events going on downtown and at the waterfront park this weekend, including 10 cent ice creams for the kids. If any of you are out there you can give the Sarah Ann a shout or stop by the
Capt. Bob Hicks, home port: Ludington, boat name: "Sarah Ann"
The Captain is out of town today and asked me to fill in again. I am looking forward to the weekend and getting back out on the Lake. One thing I will be doing this weekend is installing a new Raymarine DS400X fish finder on the back of my boat. First of all, a second fish finder back where I am fishing is a good idea as a backup. Second, my fish finder will be needing to go back to Raymarine after a lightning strike last year, and third, I want to check out the new stuff! - Bob Hicks
6/16/04 The New York DNR destroyed several cormorants and thousands of their eggs recently. Let's hope our DNR gets off their duff and follows the progressive lead of New York DNR. Cormorants eat fish! Our Brown Trout, Steelhead, Coho and Kings are all at risk, as thousands of these birds make chow out of our spring fish
Spent most of the day devoted to perfecting the paint job used on the new Yellowtail "Reel-Flasher." It's an art form blending the proper colors with an air brush. I'm sure the Yellowtail will be one of my top sellers within the next 4 weeks. We're
about a month out from when attractor season hits full stride for Salmon. If you were happy with the "Reel-Flasher" in May?..you'll be ecstatic by the end of July.
The best fishing last weekend was off Big Point Sable in 200 to 550 feet of water. I know of one boat that was in double figures on this past Saturday. Size of the Kings was up to about 18 pounds. Most of the rest of the reports from Lk. Michigan were pretty suckie, with the news from the southern end of Lk. MI was plain terrible. I have
heard no reports thus far, about a offshore bonanza for a surface fishery yet. Sharpest surface temperature breaks were off Frankfort today according to the satellite map. Click here to access Lk. MI surface temperature map
Lake Huron is still producing outstanding Lake Trout opportunities, but little in the way of Salmon. The Port of Augres and the Saginaw Bay is showing continued great Walleye fishing so far this season.
6/14/04 Manistee's inshore fishery has been ailing over this past weekend from what I've been able to discern. I heard of no big catches to speak of. Look to the deeper water and offshore for improved chances. Mid-June generally means a hike of 7 to 15 miles on Lake Michigan.
With the price of marina gas, most charters are staying as close to port as possible and I understand their motives. It's not wise to go thru a $150.00 gas bill on a 350 to 400 dollar trip. Any good sized vessel gets maybe a mile a gallon. Marina gas is in the neighborhood $2.50.
I introduced a couple of new colors today. The new "Seaweed" has the same shades of blue, green and gold as the Seaweed Fly that I'm sure you're familiar with. Also, I now offer a "Yellowtail" painted exactly to match the spoon of fame by Silver Streak. Both of these colors have been the absolute best producers
on my boat for the last 5 years at least. Today I'll be working on a "Glow Frog". Hopefully, I be able to share the new froggy flasher with you very soon.
I'm going to use Gene Marr's report for today's update. I'm pretty sure this was the first time he used his new boat. Here's Gene's very own words:
"Took a shake down cruise with Matt K out of Holland last evening. Didn't expect to catching anything but set two lines at 7:30 pm at 70 feet down 50 and 60. Ventured west to 113 ft of water and made a slow turn in East wind chop at 8:15 and this silver guy took the bait and tripped the release. Just goes to prove that even a guy that doesn't have a clue on what he is doing can stumble onto a
fish with your program. He ain't very big, but he is the first of more to come. Having an absolute ball thanks to you and the folks on your message board!" ...........Capt. Gene Marr
Lars, our friend in Sweden ordered my flashers and ended up landing a 14.3lb, 36" Brown Trout on the other side of the reel-big pond called, "the Atlantic Ocean." It's good to see "On-Line Reel-Flashers' become part of the international scene. While I won't out sell the big tackle manufacturers, I'll bet
that my product launch will be one of the best received attractors of all time,.....in it's 1st year! Click for Swedish Brown.
Kinda good news, because there's still a few Kings to a little over 16 pounds being taken here in Manistee. I was hearing 5 to 7 fish per boat. Best depth for the bigger guys was 60 to 70 feet down, over 80 to 200 feet of water.
Bob Kietzman's custom rocket-launcher, radar arch business has him just a busier then a bee. He makes a fine product, custom trailered to your specifications. His degree in engineering has helped from the design standpoint immensely. Plus, he's a heck of a nice guy and a savvy big water fishermen. I know this first hand,
because I've fished with Bob, or "Getaway" (as he's known on our message board) a couple of times with great success!
Click for our 1st outing Click here for 2nd trip on 4/9/04
If you'd like to contact Bob Kietzman about a future project of yours click here.
Just gonna take the day easy and not pound on myself like I've been doing. Rest and relaxation is needed once in a while by everyone.
I can't really say which port is gonna be hot this weekend, as inshore spring Kings have flew the coop and scattered. Lakers on Lake Huron looks to be the best bet for guaranteed action. Deep water temp breaks off Ludington looked interesting too!
I have much work to accomplish over the next 3 days on this website. If all goes well today, by Monday I should be introducing 3 new color patterns ensure maximum devastation to the fish population of the Great Lakes. The new models could be called, King Cobra Glow, King Cobra Green and King Cobra Red. If I'm gonna share my
name with these new color patterns.....you just know they gotta be outstanding!
And yes, the long awaited,....highly vaulted, "Mr. Seaweed" that should be outlawed before it hits the market.
6/10/04 Finally starting to hit full stride in production of flashers. Everyday we solve another challenge and make major progress on putting out a fine product. It amazes me that the simplest idea can make a job so much easier. Being ahead of orders and building inventory has been a joy, compared to getting this whole deal off
the ground. I have several new, and yet unannounced colors that will be introduced when time allows. I wanted to publish the Port Reports from last weekend on the evening of 6/8/04, however thunderstorms kinda forced me to turn off my 'puter. Having enough time to do what
needs to be done, is only a distant dream for now.
We had only one boat fishing the shelf off Manistee yesterday, because it was rougher then a cob. Good solid 4 footers and larger waves made it a tough go for this brave team. The had 8 hits and managed to box one 15 pound King. The surge of the seas knocked most of them off is my educated guess. So, there's still
a few fish about. It was very warm in Manistee yesterday, like 80 some degrees.
Ya know what?................it felt good too!
www.michiganangler.com kept busy yesterday filling several orders from being able to purchase "Reel-Flashers" online. Yep, 6/7/04 was a
very long day for me. I'd like to thank all for purchasing. I'm exploring different options for those who purchase the flashers in the way of a private mailing list. I'm not worried about those who belong to our Private Message Board.
They've been on the inside track all along. However, I want to make sure those who haven't joined the board are ultra informed too, and have all the necessary reel-info to be proficient fish producers also!
The photo of the Lake Ontario King kinda makes our Michigan Salmon look like minnows. It's good to see the New York anglers doing well this season and have this size of fish to deal with. Yep, I remember when our spring Salmon were that large!
6/7/05 1pm NEWS BULLETIN, SPECIAL UPDATE:
The commercial fishing operation has ended their agreement about not setting trap nets in area's that receive heavy sport fishing pressure. They now have 3 trap nets set between the Port of Ludington and Big Point Sable. All the stuff I've been barking about is taking place, as every year, we the sport fishermen of the Great
Lakes continue to loose our right to fish certain areas of Lake Michigan. Click to read the article from the Ludington News
The netters have been working this deal piece meal, one year at a time. I see no need in my telling you this would happen. I wish it never did, as we get bent over by the people that negotiated the 2000 Consent Decree in the first place!
6/7/04 The red-hot catches of Kings off the ports of Manistee and Ludington is cooling. While these ports are still offering OK fishing, it is not the Salmon bonanza like the past 2 or 3 weeks. Don't worry..... these fish will return in mid to late July.
Spent the weekend doing tests shots of paint and I have 3 brand new colors I hope to introduce tomorrow of the "Reel-Flashers." I purchased www.reel-flashers.com domain name as a form of self protection from someone else camping on my product's name. Production is finally
outrunning orders, so I'm now building inventory for July, August and September when the Reel-Flasher revolution will happen big-time. I truly appreciate the testimonials from those who have purchased. I know for a fact, we have a reel-winner built right here in Manistee, Michigan, USA.
Spent most of yesterday giving www.michiganangler.com a face lift. It was time to give the home page of the tackle store a new fresh look. Bob Hicks is in charge of the sales there now and was surprised to see he had the regular Dipsey Divers listed at 8 bucks a piece. If you're willing to hit the
hip and take advantage of this super-bargin, click here. This price is at least 3 dollars less expensive then ANY tackle store within 40 miles of Manistee, maybe the whole state? My new 2004 debut of Capt John's "On-Line Reel-Flasher" is available at the store in a convenient point and click way to
purchase them. Click here to purchase "Reel-Flashers" online
I'm starting a new separate E-mail list to provide all who purchase my product the straight skinny on the best ways to be successful with the "Reel-Flashers." I'll be posting a new E-mail address tomorrow for the cherished patrons of Kingfish Products, LLC. By purchasing you'll be entitled to view my
9000 word dissertation on successful methods to whack out heavy boxes of tunas without a pile of grief this summer. There is NO other tackle manufacturer in the world willing to go thru the steps I am, to make sure you catch fish, 'nough said...........REEL-FACT numerio uno!
"I have been using your new flashers and they work great! Thank you for your time and efforts making a great American made product and providing such detailed information on using it. My cooler has been filled with beautiful kings all last week thanks to you and your efforts"........Bruce B.
Capt John's "On-Line Reel-Flashers" are now available and can be purchased online the Michigan Angler Tackle Store at: www.michiganangler.com/reelflashers.htm
Many thanks to Bob Hicks for installing my flashers at his store. The point and click shopping cart will simplify this process. This remarkable American made rotating flasher has been cutting a swathe through the Salmon population on Lake Michigan!
Our ever popular member of our private message board, Kevin E. aka FBD landed one heck of a nice Steelhead while fishing off Holland last weekend. Unofficial scales had the Iron-Noggin at, or over 17 pounds. This lunker is getting a free ride to the taxidermist's shop soon. Click this link for
Kevin's whopper of a Steelhead
The pre-weekend rumors where pretty rampant yesterday. Here's what I heard, Wisconsin is heating up, Frankfort's Herring Hole was phenomenal and the catching had slowed at Ludington big time. Please keep in mind, this is what I heard, not what I know for sure. If inshore Salmon fishing slows? Look to off-shore
vertical thermobars for about the next 3 or 4 weeks if you're fishing Lake Michigan and looking for decent boxes of fish consistently.
before I updated the website this last evening. Manistee still has pretty decent fishing for Kings in the deeper waters off the shelf. Look to 250 to 400 feet to find the Salmon. I heard from a boat that fished 4 hours for 12 Kings on 6/3/04.
6/3/04 I had to pass on an invite to fish aboard Tom's Black Fin today. I have scheduled help to come over to manufacture more flashers. I'm looking for some help at a fair wage doing piece work on my flashers in the Manistee area. If you're looking to supplement your income on a part time basis, call (800) 552-2009. You
must live in Manistee County to take advantage of my offer and can do some of this at home.
I will not be held hostage for the high prices charged here in Manistee County for herring strips. Or, more simply put, "do you think any bait fish is worth 2 bucks plus?" If so, we'd all be millionaires throwing cast nets for alewives! Cutting our own strips and brining them shouldn't be all that involved. I know
exactly what the bait distributor charges and a 150% plus profit mark-up is not fair! Most fishing tackle, or items are marked up around 30%, and it costs 20% to do business. So, as a tackle store you're generally working with a very slim 10% margin.
Trippin' Dipsey's won the pro leg of the GLPAA in Harbor Beach a weekend back. My hat's off to our private message board member for winning under extremely difficult conditions. Lack of Salmon made this team work for what they caught.
Looks like on Friday I'll be going fishing in Manistee with Capt. Tom Rasmussen aboard his battle-cruiser the "Sue Lee." Tom has maybe the nicest boat in the harbor of Manistee. His 32 foot, 8 ton Black Fin makes 4 footers seem like a light chop. Yep, I'm looking forward to this in a large way!
Rain started Saturday afternoon and kept going thru last night. Throw in a few thunderstorms for good measure and that's how Memorial Day Weekend 2004 went in Manistee. Too much wind on the past 2 days for a reliable fish report.
Today marks the world premier of the Gold/Silver two-tone Black Mamba. This color combo has to be seen in person, because my camera cannot capture it's opulence. I installed a navigation button, or public link to Capt. John's "On-Line Reel-Flashers." If you're interested seeing my product line-up click for "Reel-Flashers"