July 2002 Results
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Capt. John's Log for July 2002

7/31/02  I had the splendid opportunity to spend the day with 4 first time, phenomenal Great Lakes Salmon Fishermen.  This crew could be called ultra-good, but they'd be better known by Walt, Jim, Shaun and Zeke.  Now, this group was "out and out" on the stick when it came to boating Salmon to over 20 pounds.  The secret to their success is that they had the patience, when it came to dealing with Kings on a tear.  The simple reel fact is, these anglers never lost a hooked up fish and boated well over 160 pounds of Kings for a final 10 fish tabulation.   Click for their outstanding dockside catch photo
    Incidentally, I had Walt on the Big Manistee River this spring when we boated 72 pounds of Steelhead in 5 fish, and he said, "I'm gonna give you another chance to prove you can produce another outstanding catch."  I don't think Walt went home disappointed, from the grin on his face after I cleaned their catch. 

      As Paul  Harvey would say,
"click here for the rest of the stories"

7/30/02  Went to exactly the same place where we scored yesterday morning.  Guess what?  Couldn't touch a fish in that area and had to move the boat 5 miles closer to Manistee to get into fish.  While being on a busman's holiday with Capt. Bob, Ludington's local Lake Trout expert, we still wanted to bend the rod.  Well, we had 9 hits and boated 4 Kings to 26 pounds.  I was plagued again with lositis, as 2 more tunas fell off on the way to the boat.  All in all, it was still a good day and I had the chance to met Bob's brother, Russell.  Click here for Capt. Bob's Whopper

7/29/02  Finished up a two day journey with Matt and Dave Griffin with a respectable 7 fish body count.  We boated 5 Kings to 22 pounds, one Laker and a chunky 10 pound Steelhead.  The heartbreaker was the 3 tunas that fell off the hook, semi-close to the boat and a missed savage rip on the number 5 rigger.  Well, you can't land them all!  Matt did an outstanding job on the rod by only missing one fish and landed over well 50 pounds of Salmon.  Which in itself, is an extreme feat for a young lad, barely 14 years old.  

    I burned the candle on both ends, counting last evening's 11pm ordeal and today's 5am start time, making me more grumpy than usual.  It was kinda hard to enjoy the company of the Griffin's on less than 4 hours sleep.  But, Dave and Matt were very cordial and handled what needed to be done, in a very orderly manner.  Click here for Dave & Matt's fish pic

7/29/02  Finished up a two day journey with Matt and Dave Griffin with a respectable 7 fish body count.  We boated 5 Kings to 22 pounds, one Laker and a chunky 10 pound Steelhead.  The heartbreaker was the 3 tunas that fell off the hook, semi-close to the boat and a missed savage rip on the number 5 rigger.  Well, you can't land them all!  Matt did an outstanding job on the rod by only missing one fish and landed over well 50 pounds of Salmon.  Which in itself, is an extreme feat for a young lad, barely 14 years old.  Click here for Dave & Matt's catch photo
    I burned the candle on both ends, counting last evening's 11pm ordeal and today's 5am start time, making me more grumpy than usual.  It was kinda hard to enjoy the company of the Griffin's on less than 4 hours sleep.  But, Dave and Matt were very sociable and handled what needed to be done in very orderly manner.

7/28/02  11:00pm  Sometimes in the charter business it's not about the numbers of fish boxed, it's about the quality of the experience.  Well, this evening it was Matt's (14 years old) first King Salmon adventure and after losing a couple of Kings on the diver rods, he developed the angling skills necessary and expertly landed a  While we only ended up with one fish for our 3 hr. effort, I'm sure this trip will loom large in the mind of Matt forever.  Oh yeah, we missed a couple solid strikes too, as the fish weren't hooking up good for us.
decent King on his third attempt!
Tried to fish towards the north on this morning's trip.  Fog socked us in around 8am and very few fish were taken.  We threw in the towel around 9am and I'm going back out this evening to get Matt and Dave into fish.  It was a grand mess with the tourney pressure towards the south in thick, pea soup fog with several angry fishermen playing bumper boats.  Mess might be a understatement  

7/27/02  The Indian sponsored Salmon Splash Tournament starts today, as Fred MacDonald, the promoter, pockets a goodly chunk of your entry fees.  I'm against the entire "Indian Deal," because I don't believe in sleeping with the enemy!  Also, money generated from the entry fees lining a promoters pocket is plain stupidity, reel fact!  It would be nice to see a complete monies divesture spread sheet from the revenue.  Maybe, then you wouldn't be so keen on participating and cutting your own throat.....reel-fact extreme!  Most people don't want to hear the truth! 
    Solidarity must be shown, as I watch the Little River gill net boat (dual-OBs) leave our harbor almost everyday. Now, to add insult to injury, the Indian gill net boat says, "Conservation Department" on it, but they are setting deep water nets.  Unlike last winter's nets set in 10 fow off Big Point Sable and Ludington. 
    I'll be fishing tomorrow on a full day and it was good to have a day off to fill existing orders.  It's great to spend a full day on land, not worrying about catching.  Especially joyful is; avoiding the horde of "win at any cost" tourney "hotshots."  It was a good day to have off and I won't book this weekend in 2003.

7/26/02  11am Update:  Hit a couple of Kings in the mid-teens in the harbor this morning before inbound and outbound freighter (two different ships) traffic screwed everything up by breaking the weeds lose.  Now, throw in a thick, pea soup fog and you'll see why it wasn't worth being there.  The group for today included Dan, Jim Jay and "downrigger" Brent.  I'd rate my guests a good solid 10, because even on a shortened morning outing (8am), I had several chuckles with them.  These guys were too good for the lousy hand that was dealt us.  This event is called "Part 1," as Dan is going to reschedule his fishing trip when conditions will be on our side.

7/26/02  Fishing can be a very humbling experience, when the fish don't bite on your stuff.  Struggled this morning getting Ed, Brian and Kirsten into 3 fish, a few boats had more and many were skunked, as the cold inshore waters are taking a toll on our close-in fishery.  The really good fishing I suspect is way out, beyond half day charter range.  Be on the pond today, searching for a new hot spot. 

7/25/02  We fished the harbor yesterday on the Ed Evans charter, because the lake is messed up from the recent north blow.  In 4 fish we had 72 pounds for a quality catch.  Rather than big numbers, we had big fish!  Took an outstanding photo of the 
                    sunrise while Kirsten dealt with a mean, angry 24 lb. King.
   A continuation of this saga today, as the "Evans Gang" will once again grace my presence for another wonderful half-day reel event on Lake Michigan.

7/24/02  Gonna be fishing with long time friend of Kings Charter, Ed Evans and his guests.  While the outcome of the trip is uncertain, we always seem to catch enough fish to fill the box (most of the time).  Today's strong north blow has rolled the lake over once again, and if we're gonna be successful, we need lady luck on our side.  I'm sure the fish are scattered once again and the water is reel cold.  
     I copied the surface temp 7/23/02 chart: Click here to see one messed up lake

7/23/02  The morning outlook for the Glass Party is far from good.  Heavy seas and high winds are predicted.  I have my doubts about getting off the dock and will have a pre-charter conference with Mr. Glass at 4:30am, before I leave for town.
5am Update:  To per-determine seas and conditions I use the weather buoys link on the Great Lakes Info Page for Lake Michigan Weather Buoys.  At 4am 6 footers and a sustained winds above 20 knots caused the cancellation of this morning's half day excursion.  The worst thing is we don't need more north wind to keep those herds of Kings trapped in southern Lake Michigan, while we suffer from more cold water.  The only good thing about these north blows is, it eliminates water fleas.

7/22/02  4pm Update:  Rode the Salmon hard today, and put them away wet, best describes the action Roskey's Raiders experienced.  Dick, Jim, Mel and Bob all took turns in filling the fish box with Kings at, or exceeding the 20 mark.  Now, for the best part, the Raiders have their own boat berthed in Port Huron and were no stranger to the wily ways of Mr. King Salmon.  They boated EVERY hooked up fish.
   The death toll on today's event was: a Steelhead, a Coho and 9 kings from 10 to plus 20 pounds.  I'd guesstimate our fish box weighed in at 160 pounds, or better!  I left the below 7/22/02, because I had a premonition, after yesterday's south blow it would load up Manistee's shelf with good numbers of adult Kings.  Man, it's great to be right, once in a while!  Hey, the lake was even decent with a 1 to 2 foot fishing chop.  Good times, with good anglers, who could ask for more?

7/22/02  Bob Roskey and company are today's highly respected guests.  Yesterday's south blow should have brought a bunch of Kings to the waters surrounding Manistee.  Tune in later for a complete report, or to see if I was right.
   Also, I'm looking for investors who might want in on the ground floor on a brand new idea for an anti-theft alarm and anti-car jacking device. Click here for $$$ info

7/21/02  I've have the day off from chartering, but not from being busy.  I'll be packaging the first shipment of the new Flea Flicker line and running down local winners from our 7/6/02 tournament to hand out award plaques.  A oil change and reading the boat for the Bob Roskey trip tomorrow is in the hot list too!

7/20/02  The Wilkinson Team was comprised of Irene, Jacob, Andy, George and Fred.  George had booked this trip in 3/20/01 and I finally got them off the dock on the third try. 42 degree water on the beach and the lake turning over again, meant we'd have to work for what we caught.  We managed to salvage this charter with 5 quality fish.  Our catch total was a heavy Steelhead, a stocky Lake Trout and 3 Kings from 10 to 18 pounds.  Click here for the Wilkinson Group dockside photo
   These folks were a grand group of reel people who enjoyed being there as much as the catching.  Jacob (about 12) landed the largest fish, with bother Andy coming in a close second.  A very enjoyable day, even if we didn't empty the lake. 

7/19/02  2:00pm  I had a grand time today fishing with two very dedicated pier fishermen named, Joe Bob and Randy.  What made my day was watching and sharing the adrenalin rush Randy got when a large King made a line screaming run, to parts unknown.  Joe and Randy adjusted well to handling boat-rod tactics, compared to the much lighter tackle they're accustomed to on the piers. 
   Our catch consisted of a Coho, a Laker, one Steelhead and 4 Kings to maybe, 16, or 17 pounds.  I rate this mornings half day trip with pretty high marks, because we only spent about 3 hours over the prime Salmon producing area.
   I used the 30# test Flea Flicker line today and took those spooky high Kings. It's oval shape is no thicker than 30# test Ande either.  The 30# performed well as a high diver mono rig with less water drag than 20# test Ande. Click for Joe & Randy

7/19/02  I'll be in quest of tunas with the Joe Bob party this morning and I'm looking forward to a day away from this box.  I was overrun with orders for the Flea Flicker line yesterday and most is spoken for until I receive a new shipment, hopefully tomorrow.  Those of you with line orders, if you can't pick it up from me in Manistee, I'll be shipping by the first of the coming week, if UPS comes this Sat.
   Also, I'll be adding Slider Divers to the tackle store sometime next week and they'll be a magnificent combination with the new style line.  Please, no Slide Diver orders until I receive my first shipment of divers next week.  I got a full plate trying to get the new Cortland line orders taken care of, plus I'm fairly busy with charters.

7/18/02 12:00am Update:  I just increased my initial order of Cortland's Flea Flicker Line in the 30# test.  If you plan on ordering, do it now! This product is subject to availability from the factory and it's extremely hard to get.  There is no standing inventory at Cortland, as demand has exceeded supply!

I delayed the start of this afternoon's trip with Mike, Don and Dennis, because of heavy seas and a stout wind.  Catching was almost non-existent, as the rough water caused more than our share of problems.  Plain and simple, it wasn't fun for me, especially the struggling with the fish part.  We pulled lines a little early, because the 5 foot waves (at least) and not being able to maintain any resemblance of a good trolling speed.  My guests were terrific and handled the conditions well.  We ended up with 2 Steelhead and a small King. Click here for the photo of Mike, Don and Dennis
   The seas dictated our direction and little could be done to overcome the extra lousy conditions we had to put up with.  I gave prior notice about the rough water and offered to take them out on 7/18/02pm, but a scheduling conflict on their part prevented that.  Incidentally, the fish-hook water fleas were unbearable too!

7/16/02  Fished with Mark and Marty this evening and did kinda OK.  We boxed a Coho, a Laker, 3 Steelhead and 4 Kings to 17 pounds for a total of 9 fish.  The action was consistent from 6:00pm, as Manistee's shelf had large schools of alewives being pushed toward the surface by hungry predatory game fish.  Marty and Mark only missed one hooked fish, even with Steelhead hitting the high lines and cavorting all over the surface.  Click here for Mark and Marty's photo
Finished the seminar down by Big Point Sable, while we did catch a couple of OK Kings and a Lake Trout, it was tough for me to locate the main body of fish.  However, the seminar is not numbers orientated and the sharing of item specific methodology is at the forefront, not how many fish we boated. 

7/13/02  Capt. John's "on the water" Salmon Seminar started today.  I'd like to personally thank Jack, Steve, Larry, Tom, Bret, Craig and Don for their patient participation during yesterday's session.  We had, maybe 8 strikes and caught enough for our fish boil, but not enough to set the world on fire. Locating fish has been a problem I hope to shake today.  Gonna try south again and prospects for a successful trip look at even odds.  Why?.... Because even a stopped clock is right twice a day and sooner, or later the fish will find me, if I can't find them.

7/13/02  Finally got Joanna and TJ off the dock and into a decent fish.  Lake Placid is what Lake Michigan could have been called yesterday evening, because it was table top flat.  The nice conditions made up for the slow fishing, as we only boxed a small Steelhead and a good King pushing the 20 pound mark.  Both Joanna and TJ were excellent company and Joanna displayed rod handling skills beyond the norm, on the way she handled her sunset King.  
    Tomorrow is day one of Capt. John's on the water seminar, and were faced with extremely tough fishing out of Manistee at this moment.  Hopefully, the future holds better action than what I saw the last 2 times off the dock.  Click here for Joanna's sunset Salmon.

7/12/02  Couldn't get TJ and Joanna off the dock yesterday afternoon, because of a strong  onshore NW wind.  Gonna try to get these folks into fish this afternoon.  Plus, it'll will good to locate some fish for tomorrow's "on the water seminar."  As far, as I concerned, our July King fishery lags way behind last season's (2001).
   Shopping for groceries to feed everyone tomorrow and making new dock lines is on the "hot list" for today. A trip to the Post Office to ship tackle is in order too. 

7/11/02  Yeah buddy, I'll be back in the saddle again this morning with the TJ and Joanna for a half day morning on the "big pond" aka Lake Michigan.  Our target specie is: "if it swims, it dies!"  The recent north winds and the lake rolling over again isn't going to make it easy, I'm sure what Kings we did have, are scattered.  Check back later this evening to see how good, or how bad we did?
   5pm-Update:  My skills at locating fish were non-existent this morning.  Had to 2 bites, caught a small Salmon and broke off a Lake Trout.  Pulled lines at 9am after giving it my best shot for 3 hours of trying hard.  Check out the surface temp chart at: Surface Temperatures and you'll see one messed up lake.  Going back at 6pm to get my guests into fish.  This morning wasn't worth a hill of beans for us. or most of the fleet.  Most boats came back to my marina with a fish, or less.

7/10/02 The Port Reports Page kept me hopping yesterday.  Straightened out that mess of run-on text about charter results my Captains Log by building another page to shorten the load time.  If you're like me and on a dialup internet, you come to appreciated faster loading times.  Also, morning was partly consumed with a much needed E-mail Updates Letter to the members.  Plus, the website set a new record with almost 4000 page views in a 24 hour period.  Busy best describes yesterday, with several inquiries about booking charter dates.  

7/9/02  Finally got caught up from the recent picnic-tourney super extravaganza staged this past weekend here in Manistee.  Port Reports are posted from this past weekend and today will be a well earned day off for me.  My trip for this afternoon cancelled on short notice, so I plan on lots of rest, including sleeping in.  
  Thanks to ALL who made the July 6th deal, a great success in my opinion!

7/8/02  Fished a half day event with Dan and Danny from Illinois and while we didn't exactly tear 'em up, we ended up OK.  This was Danny's first time adventure on Lake Michigan and the 9 year old did a fine job in landing every fish he had hooked-up.  Dan Sr. caught the largest fish of the day, a rambunctious King pushing 14 pounds.  Our catch consisted of 2 Kings, 3 Steelhead and a Laker.  

7/6/02  What a day!  The 2002 Capt. John's Invitational World Championship of Salmon Angling is in the history books.  Team Bang-a Rang and Dottie Kay were crowned champions until the tourney is held in 2003. Click here for tourney info
    My trip today with the Szczefnak party was a successful one.  We weighed in 54 pounds with the 4 fish we could weigh-in.  Overall, we caught 6 Kings from 12 to 18 pounds (threw back 2 skippers) and a smaller sized Lake Trout, and Lake Michigan wasn't making things easy for us.  Quality was key on this charter, meaning good sized Kings comprised most of our catch.  Everyone did a fine job on the rods and no hooked-up fish were lost.  The guests on this mornings charter were easy going and a pleasure to have on the boat for the tourney 7 hour do.    
   Our catch could have been a podium finish if we'd had a team mate, but I was the odd floating boat and tried to make sure everyone had a team mate, but missed the fact "Never Enough" had a no show.  Hats off the crew of the "Never Enough" for nor raising a big stink about it.  In 2003 if they chose to fish the annual event again, if possible they'll be teamed with me.  Their 21 pounds teamed my 54 pounds might have taken first place honors with 75 pounds.......reel fact! 

7/5/02  Had a heck of a day with Grant, John and Dan.  We boated at least 12 fish and threw several diminutive Kings and a Lake Trout back to grow up.  The action was steady, but the fish we caught were small for the most part and under 9 pounds.  The anglers on today's trip are a blessing from God with their easy going nature and great attitudes.......thanks guys for making my day!
   Have about 30 boats registered and ready to kick butt in tomorrow's tourney.  I had a chance to met a bunch of the regulars from the website and enjoyed every minute of it.  Check back to see how many fish were caught and who won.

7/4/02  I regret to inform all we lost a pioneer in the Salmon Fishing Industry.  My friend, Chuck Cartwright the manufacturer and designer of the Sliver Streak spoon has pashed away.  Chuck was the man responsible for all the sliver plated spoons we have on the market today, before him most spoons were painted with white undersides.  He knew of the light reflective power of sliver plating long before most and brought his product to the forefront of Great Lakes Salmon fishing.
    I first met Chuck in the late 70's and he always had a friendly word for Salmon fishermen of any skill level.  His success with his spoon never to his head and he will live in my memories forever as, Capt. Chuck, skipper of the "Tuna Boat."  His funeral is being held at 12 noon on Saturday, July 6th at Riverside Chapel, 5630 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford, Michigan.  I know Chuck wouldn't hold it against me for missing his funeral and going ahead with our Picnic-Tourney scheduled for the same day.  

  Gail, Dianna, Donald and Don were my guests for today's outing and we did just fine.  Our catch comprised 10 fish boated during the half day trip. 
The body count was 5 decent Steelhead from 7 to 10 pounds, 2 Lakers and 3 Kings to 16 pounds (one was released).  I'd say for the way fishing had been, it was an vast improvement from the skimpy catches we had over last weekend.
    A special "thanks" goes to Ludington's local star angler, Capt. Bob Hicks from the "Sarah Ann."  Bob's good-natured humor and warm, reassuring personality was a pleasantry I won't soon forget!  Incidentally, he performed all duties in a professional manner, in spite of ironing tournament tee shirts all night.

7/3/02  I'll be fishing today with Donald Day and we're looking to better our record from my last 3 times off the dock.  The extraordinary guest 1st mate for today is Capt. Bob (aka "Sarah Ann) Hicks, our expert authority from Ludington.  Bob has promised to show me the ropes on the tricks and secrets they use in Ludtown.
    3 days left to get on our picnic tourney on July 6th.  At this time we have about 30 vessels registered to capture the prestigious title of the "Invitational World Championship of Salmon Angling."  Keep in mind, a captains meeting will be held at our weigh-in site in Stronach at 7:00pm on Friday, July 5th, 2002.  Where's the meeting at?  The Stronach Public Access Site and it's not hard to find.  Let's keep hoping the weather holds for the 6th, because the long range forecast is pretty decent for this Saturday right now.

        Click here for location of meeting

7/1/02  I'll be fishing Wednesday morning and that's good.  It gives me a couple of days to plan a revenge attack on my scaly adversaries.  Need to change a faulty thermostat and re-install a security light at my dock in today's heat wave. 
    It looks like we'll have at least 30 boats entered for this Saturday's do.  Also, I'll  be shopping for groceries for the upcoming picnic/tourney and it's on my urgent list.  Let's all hope for good weather this coming Saturday!