June and July 2003

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Wendy's Steelie 7/8/03

Keith's 22lb. Salmon

Rob O. & Family

Salmon Seminar

Excerpts from Capt. John's Log

July 2003

7/31/03pm   Fished with Bill Friend and company yesterday morning.  We cleared the pier heads around 7:20am and didn't catch the morning bite.  The bright spot on Bill's event was that Ed landed a 26 pound King.  Other then that, it was a very slow morning with the worst infestation of fish-hook water fleas I've even seen.  Pressed for time, so today's update is a short one.

7/31/03  I'll be off the dock this morning with a Friend, Bill Friend that is.  Gone are to tournament hot shot jockeys, because the Indian casino sponsored tourneys are over for 2003.  Why, anyone would want to participate in these events with the extreme commercial netting pressure around Ludington is beyond me.
Also, later today I'll be introducing a brand new spectacular product that's a no-brainer to use. This cut-bait trolling rig has produced all of the Kings that I've taken the last two times off the dock.  The best thing about the yet unannounced secret product is that is solves all of the problems associated in trolling herring in a correct manner without any modifications.  It works for me and will work for you, like I said........... "it's a no-brainer to use!"

7/30/03  The epic of my journey into the land of catching Salmon with cut-bait continued last evening.  We cleared the pier heads at 6pm on 7/29/03 and pulled lines by 9:30pm.  During our short twilight cruise we had 7 hits and boxed 6 Kings to past 20 pounds.  The way things ended up, we only fished 3 downriggers with 3 meat rigs.  We did not put a diver into the water and only had flashers with cut-bait on a couple of 2 pound drop weight rigs for a very short period of time.
    I'm getting more impressed with using bait every time off the dock.  The boats last evening that didn't fish cut-bait only had half our catch, plus they ran more rods.     
                  Click here for the hot set-up         Click here for catch photo 
    I pride myself on answering every E-mail personally, but with the huge amount of fishermen requesting cut-bait info.....I can't!  Please withhold on contacting me thru E-mails, because replying to the large quantities of inquiries is impossible.

7/28/03  Port Reports from the weekend will keep me busy today!  My E-mail box is loaded with fresh reports that I haven't had time to post.  Keep checking throughout the day, or if your favorite port isn't updated......consider e-mailing me your slant on "what's up" in your area.  We all appreciate any inside info!
    My head is still spinning from the new method of Salmon trolling I employed yesterday.  Best part?  I've only scratched the surface on cut bait here in Michigan.  Might get off the dock this evening for further refinement of something that I'm very impressed with.  Please stand by for a while on this dynamic subject. 

7/27/03pm   Nasty, sloppy seas is what Bob, Chris, Larry, Ray and Mike dealt with for the second day of our salmon seminar a row.  We fought 8 Kings in about the worst conditions imagined (highly traffic area) straight out of Manistee this morning.  Tons of boats, not many fish is what we seen. Click for bait photo    Click for 5 understanding, proficient fishermen  
In an effort to stay the leading Great Lakes informational site, I brought the highly successful west coast technique of fishing cut herring into center focus on Lake Michigan.  Once I have all the finer points worked out, I will share all info with you.
Reel Fact:  We seen one net go down in our highly crowded trolling path, other then our action.  Cut bait does work!!  We had 9 hits on cut bait (running only 5 rods), and only one hit on a non cut-bait rig.  Stay tuned, more on the way as my bait program is perfected.  

7/27/03am  High winds, thunderstorms and a hard driving rain caused cessation of any fishing activities by 9am yesterday morning.  Hoping to get off the dock this morning, but as of 9pm on 7/26/03....there's still a hard blow coming from the south.  If it does blow to hard today to fish, this will be the first 3 day blow I've seen on the "gold coast" in about 15 years (at this time of season).  Need some luck and the wind to lay down ASAP!  

7/26/03  Gonna have to punt may way through this morning's seminar and stress techniques and rigging methods.  From the looks of the weather forecast, fishing Lake Michigan is not going to happen in 6 footers.  Might get off the dock in the late evening, but that's a iffy deal too.  So, we'll just wait and see what's in store for us. 

7/25/04  I was supposed to be off the dock this morning for a journey into the unknown realm Great Lakes Salmon fishing.  But a schedule mix-up, or a no-show kept me dockside.  I did listen to channel 7 for about an hour (this morning) and the chatter ran the full gamete, from good to bad.  One day it's hot and the next day it's not.  Weather is gonna be iffy for this weekend's seminar deal, but can still practice techniques in Manistee Lake if we have too on the first day.   Saturday morning looks to be on the lumpy side, but the Sunday forecast looks mint.
Saturday: Southwest winds 15 to 25 knots diminishing to 10 to 20 knots late afternoon. Chance of showers and thunderstorms. 
Waves 4 to 6 feet subsiding to 2 to 4 feet.
Sunday: Northwest winds 10 to 15 knots becoming north in the afternoon. Waves 1 to 3 feet   

7/24/03  Stayed home to rid myself of my summer cold, so I'd be in good shape for this Friday's event Bill K. I have to make trip to Ludington to pick up sink cabinets, paint, etc.  So, while I'm in Ludville a quick trip to Capt. Chucks for some special and yet undisclosed special techniques to catch adult Kings that I haven't keyed much on before.  You'll just have to wait see if my new technology is going to be a earth shattering revelation for us Lake Michigan Salmon fishermen.  It's time to start something new, because the tried and true methods are only producing so-so results for me and the rest of the fleet. Click here to access calendar
     I posted my open dates for August and early September in case you're looking for someone to take you fishing in the near future.  During normal times, I'd have been booked full already, but this year business has been holding off until the last minute.  

7/23/03  Some of the boats that fished off Manistee yesterday morning did OK.  The temperature came up to the 30-35 foot range from a stout north wind.  3 to 4 foot swells meant a downhill troll towards the Big Point, with the best action for the 19s to the 11s.  This report came from the "Salmon Chaser" docked in Solberg's Marina and their results were 7 fish with a good mix of Lakers and Kings to 18 pounds.  Some boats did and some boats struggled, because the fish were spotty.
   My next trip off the dock is this coming Friday.  Slow best describes the charter business for me this month, even though they're some good fish available.

7/22/03   Posting Port Reports took up most of my time yesterday.  Several ports have just been updated from this past weekend's results.  I just updated my weekly report page in an effort to keep you informed of the reel-story in Manistee.
     Plans for today include a trip into Manistee and some light boat maintenance needs to be accomplished.  Early word is that the fishing is improving daily.

7/21/03  Rough seas put a damper on yesterday's event.  Then a storm chased us off at about 9:45am.  I had great and understanding fishermen, or I wouldn't have made it!  Please bear with me, until I shake this summer cold, because I have a temperature of plus 102 degrees.  I'm sitting on a pile of new Port Reports and I being posting them throughout the day.  A very special thanks goes to Capt. John Milbourne for his most valuable assistance during this past Saturday and Sunday's seminar.  More on the way, once I feel a little better.
    I posted a picture from about this time span in 2002.  Roskey's Raiders catch was taken on 7/22/02.  I've yet to see anything like this in Manistee during 2003.  I'm hoping I will very soon! 

7/20/03  "No Big Deal" best describes what Pete, Mike, Darren, John, Brad and Jeff witnessed.  The consensus of the fleet was north off Onekama and it was very crowded for the small amount of fish we saw caught.  The bright spot on today's picture was that Jeff landed his largest King ever.  This fish was a 21 pounder and fought like the dickens right at the starboard corner of the transom before I slid the net under that vile, contemptuous creature.  Click here for Jeff's milestone.  More on the reel story from Manistee in tomorrow's update.  Oh, yeah...we went 3 for 3.

7/19/03  Today is the first leg of my "on the water" seminar for this weekend.  Tomorrow will mark the completion as I get to enjoy and spend time with my fellow fishermen.  I'm reel-unsure of today's results, because I didn't see that many fish yesterday.   This weekend's pressure is NOT gonna make it easy for anyone!

7/18/03 1pm Update:  Had a fairly decent brief morning trip with Bill, who recently returned from a Alaska fishing adventure.  We dropped lines on the fish at 6:30am in front of Onekama.  Within 5 minutes we were into our first King of the morning, with Bill landing his first Great Lakes King (a dandy 10 pounder).  Bill being from Arizona was amazed at the brute strength that fish exhibited.  It wouldn't be long before another larger Salmon whacked a diver rod and that fish was around the 15 pound area.  We lost a fish, right at the boat, then Bill tied into a good 20 pound adult King with a nasty lamprey attached.  
     Well, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that our largest fish, a mean bruiser pushing 25 pounds, tested Bill's rodsmanship endurance to the max and enough was enough.  We contently pulled lines at 10am and headed back to the dock for our photo session.  Bill then confided in me that Lake Michigan offered him a better Salmon fishing experience then Alaska did!  Our 4 fish today totaled around 70lbs!   Click for lamprey photo 
       Click for our "Hot Lures" on 7/18/03        Click for Bill and Fred's morning catch

7/18/03am  I will be off the dock this morning at 5:30am with Bill K.  I'll be looking for the early morning silver fish bite on Manistee's famed "Shelf." I hope to have a complete report posted by 3:00pm, so tune in early for my update.
    There must have been a small run of adult Kings, or summer-run Steelhead on the Little Manistee River.  There was a small army of anglers targeting the waters from the road in beautiful downtown Stronach.

7/17/03  Came down with a brutal case of procrastination yesterday and never made it off the dock.  Instead I got the first coat of wallboard primer on the newly remodeled breezeway.  I'm in the process of making it into a fish processing multi purpose room, so I don't have to clean Steelhead outside during the winter months.
      Now, for the fishing update from Manistee.  There's a halfway decent Salmon-Steelhead bite until about 7am and the easy pickin's slack off.  Successful boats then changed to a cowbell and spin-n-glo program,  dragging the substructure for Lakers.  Capt. Bud Raskey, one of Manistee premier "Laker Takers" took 14 Lake Trout off the bottom in about 85 feet of water yesterday.  Capt. Bud also reported several of the Lake Trout were in the 10 pound class, or better.
      I'll be fishing a half day charter this Friday morning with Bill K, so prep work on boat needs to be accomplished today.  I need to re-string a few reels with 30 pound test Flea Flicker, because fish-hook zooplankton season will soon be here.

7/16/03  Several projects are on my "hot list," before I hit the big pond ready to rumble with some good sized tunas this evening.  Going to the dump to rid myself of a pickup load full of old drywall is going to barrels of fun.  The pungent aroma of a land fill during warm weather is something to savor.  Needless to say, I won't be dragging my feet when unloading the scrap wallboard.
     Gonna replace more gauges and perform some routine light maintenance on the lake boat.  Then around 6pm I plan on clearing the pier heads.  We finally have a few adults roaming around and I'll be feeding them Streaks from this season's packaged deals.  I designed the all Streak offerings as tuna food selections and now that we have some adults available, the Streaks should take off in a hurry!

7/15/03  From what I've seen from publishing the Port Reports today, Algoma Wisconsin has the best fishing for Kings by far.  The Salmon action off PA and Grindstone has temporally waned and Lake Michigan on our side is just starting to produce adult Kings.  Probably gonna hit the pond tomorrow evening for a sunset cruise looking to pick a fight with some tunas.  Would have went this evening, but T-storms are predicted.  Plus, duties on the home-front need immediate attention.

7/16/03  Several projects are on my "hot list," before I hit the big pond ready to rumble with some good sized tunas this evening.  Going to the dump to rid myself of a pickup load full of old drywall is going to barrels of fun.  The pungent fragrance of a sanitary landfill during warm weather is something to savor.  Needless to say, I won't be dragging my feet when unloading the scrap wallboard.
     Gonna replace more gauges and perform some routine light maintenance on the lake boat.  Then, around 6pm I plan on sneaking thru the pier heads.  We finally have a few adults roaming around and I'll be feeding them Streaks from this season's packaged deals.  I designed the all Streak offerings as a tuna food selections and now that we have a few adults available, the Streaks should take off in a hurry! 

7/15/03  From what I've seen from publishing the Port Reports today, Algoma Wisconsin has the best fishing for Kings by far.  The Salmon action off PA and Grindstone has temporally waned and Lake Michigan on our side is just starting to produce adult Kings.  Probably gonna hit the pond tomorrow evening for a sunset cruise looking to pick a fight with some tunas.  Would have went this evening, but T-storms are predicted.  Plus, duties on the home-front need immediate attention.

7/14/03  We successfully completed my first 2 day "on the water" seminar for 2003 yesterday.  The group was comprised of Keith, Ken, Bill, Darrell and Clyde.  We caught fish both days, including a couple of Kings from 13 to 22 pounds.  I view these Kings as scouts of a recon mission from the main swarm of Kings that will soon,......hopefully, show up!  We boxed 6 fish (2 Kings & 4 Lakers) for about 10 hours of actual trolling time with lines in the water.  Please keep in mind, this was for an evening and morning, so by any means, we didn't tear the fish up.  What hurt us yesterday morning is that we missed far more strikes then fish caught.
      My observations on these seminars is, "I don't care how many fish we boat, as long as the anglers pick up helpful techniques that will prove a bonus down the road."  We really didn't have a hot lure, other then a green hornet, and our lure selections were pretty much across the board.   This I can say, "the fish were extremely scattered (120 to 600 feet of water) and no one place was better then another."  Tough best describes what went on for the entire fleet this past weekend.  As an interesting side-note to this event, Keith boated his largest King ever (22 pounds)!  Both Keith and Ken are a dedicated father-son fishing team that harass the Lake Huron waters off Harbor Beach on fairly regular basis.

7/13/03  I'm really pressed for time for this update, but as I suspected it was too rough to hit the pond this morning.  So, we left the dock around 5:00pm and pulled lines at exactly 9:30pm.  During this time frame we took 2 Lakers and boated a hellva nice King in the 22 pound bracket.  I did see some bait finally starting to materialize on the shelf.  I'm hoping the 20 pounder was a scout for the main herd soon to show.  More on our 2 day seminar in a special update this evening.

7/12/03  The special two day "on the water" seminar extravaganza is my deal for today & tomorrow.  After yesterday's blow, I doubt whether we'll get off the dock until this afternoon.  Check back later for a complete update of our results.

7/11/03 Special Update:  Jerry Bechhold is really taking care of my orders.  Normally only one large Sampo Ball Bearing swivel is supplied.  The one's I'm presently offering have TWO large Sampo Ball Bearing swivels as standard equipment.  Plus, the special tape job...My Thanks goes to Mr. Jerry Bechhold!

7/11/03  I don't have much of a fishing update for you today.  Any boats that left the Port of Manistee this morning were chased back in by rain, sloppy water and thunderstorms.  Rough seas predicted for today, probably mean no fishing again.
    My radar was pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) at the electronics hospital.  Plans for the funeral are incomplete, but the old unit looks destined for cremation.
    Had a informative and semi-lengthy conversation with Capt. Bud Raskey about the commercial fishing operations that ran out of Manistee in the depression era mid-1930s until about 1950.  The commercial fishers back then took mostly Lake Trout according to Bud, and he didn't remember many whitefish being netted.   
    There used to be a train track to the now-a-days Cedar Street Marina where the boxes of trout were iced and shipped directly to Chicago daily.  The price the commercial fishers received back then was about 2 cents a pound.  While the modern myth is that the lampreys destroyed our resident stocks of Lake Trout, but many in the know reasoned over-harvesting was the likely reel-cause.  Oh, yeah....the DNR was in charge back then, and regulated the Lake Trout fishery too! 

7/10/03  Installed 2 brand new tachometers and went to the new home of Capt. Chuck's Tackle Store in Ludville.  I like the new location, all be it may the interior space is smaller for now.  While at "Chuckies" I ran into a long friend, Capt. Pete "Pedro" Ruboyannis.  Pete informed me that his home port was "might" be producing around 6 fish a trip and fishing was tough!  Gee, I wonder why?  Maybe, and just maybe, the loads of trap nets in the area might be affecting the Ludington fishery?
    Here's a prediction for the upcoming tourney in Ludington this weekend, if we get the 5' to 9' seas from the west like weatherman says, this Friday....things will improve drastically. Don't despair Lud-town fishermen, help is on the way from mother nature.

7/8/03pm  Had a fairly decent morning with wonderful group of good natured and extremely well-behaved young fisher-people.  Rob was my designated deckhand for the morning and he was accompanied by his lovely wife, Wendy.  The rest of the party consisted of Dustin, Max, Eric, Alex and last but not least, Alicia.  All of the team caught fish in a safe and sensible manner. Click here for group photo
     Incidentally, Wendy fought and landed a trophy 15 pound class Steelhead, after a lengthy 15 minute struggle.  My take on today's state of affairs?....is that seldom do I run across a well mannered lineup like I did today.  Their cooperation was beyond brilliant and it made my job a sheer pleasure.  Click here for Wendy's Trophy

7/8/03am  I'll be fishing with the Rob O. clan today.  I don't have a clue as what to expect, other then we're gonna catch some fish.  Check back later for results.
  I spent a goodly part of yesterday finishing Tournament Results Page and posting  the new Port Reports.  While Manistee, by no means is "red hot," from the sound of things it's as good as Lake Michigan has to offer for now.  I need a good day as a confidence builder and to re-establish my enthusiasm.  A relaxed mind-set is a tremendous part of the equation
when it comes to churning out fish.

7/7/03   Fishing kinda made a leap forward yesterday off the Port of Manistee.  Team "HammerTime" (Mike & Chris) landed 9 worthy fish, including a Master Angler 22 pound Lake Trout.  It was relayed to me they lost more then just a few and had good action throughout the day.  The interesting factoid about Mike and Chris's jaunt is they didn't even leave the dock until after 8am.  Factor in they ran only 6 rods too! 
Click for the "HammerTime" hot lures
   Click here for Chris's whoppers   

7/6/03  Plans for today include posting a page with yesterday's tournament results and a listing of all who attended sometime later today. I down graded the fish-o-meter rating at Manistee to only fair based on everyone's results yesterday.  Click here for results page

7/5/03pm  "Capt. Morgan" and "The Office" took top honors in today's tourney.  Congrats!.... this team did a outstanding job!  Second place was taken by "Second Wind" and "Hammertime."   Third place was captured by "Rip Tide" and "Wake Maker."  Big fish honors went to Capt. Paul from the "Crawdad" with a Laker pushing 20 pounds.  The Capt. Craig from "Reel Obsession" took the best sportsmanship award for non-compliant after being bumped from a podium finish in a last minute re-shuffling of his team mate.
    Dennis and Dale Brown were my guests for today's event and we did managed to boat 7 fish, but 3 of them were shakers.  My results in our tourney didn't match my last 3 times off the dock, because yesterday's morning blow changed my surface program entirely and we could only weigh-in 4 fish, instead of 5 for a 27 lb. total.
    Overall the weather and the Lake Trout cooperated. The only place King Salmon were plentiful was at the seafood counter at Oleson's Market here in Manistee for only $5.99 a pound.  Our King Salmon catch was off by about 70% when compared to last year and I will furnish data to confirm that fact.  We served over 100 people at the picnic and a good time was shared by all.   A very special thanks goes to Karen and Aaron for the use of their professional outdoor barbeque and serving stand.  Click here for the picnic photo 

7/5/03am  Today is the day!  The Second Annual World Championship of Salmon Angling will take place.  It looks like 26 boats have entered, as of the captain's meeting last night.  I'll be posting the standings by tomorrow, so hang onto your seats, until the new champions are crowned for 2003.  
    Line of action and committees will be formed to counter act the renewed activities of our Native American's efforts to devastate the Lake Michigan Fishery like they have thus far in 2003!  What going on is wrong.

7/4/03pm   Fished with Mackenzie, Samantha and Roger on today's wind abbreviated adventure.  For the time spent actually fishing we did superb.  Not one single fish, or bite was missed, as both Sam and Mac put a severe whipping on some good-sized Steelhead and Lake Trout.  Roger was the "net man" and did so in a highly skilled and professional manner.  Click for today's dockside catch photo
    Our catch totaled 3 LT's, 5 Steelhead (one to deeply hooked to release) and a small King that survived his encounter with us to grow up and fight another day.  We had to pull lines exactly at 10am, because the wind came way up and the skies darkened.  A good time with first-rate, reel-folks best describes our outing this morning!

I'll be fishing today and looking to confirm there's some Kings being taken on the shelf, 50 to 80 feet down.  The deep water temp breaks we had are starting to diminish, so the deep water fishery is questionable. Full update this evening.  At 7:00pm this evening we'll be holding our captains meeting for tomorrow tourney-picnic at the Stronach Public Access. Click here for location

7/3/03  Did all the stuff you hate to do at home, because you got company coming.  Whacking weeds, mowing 2 acres of grass (OK weeds) and cleaning the yard in most cases...let's just say, " I can live without the outdoor maintenance."
    Took care of some overdue orders at the Post Office and started on the grocery list for the picnic.  Pre-weigh-in cooking will be handled with volunteers and my personal thanks goes to Aaron B. for the large charcoal cooker.  
Opps, gotta go, tournament jockey "Hammertime' just pulled in my yard with his fishing machine!  The dark metallic green Streak w/black edge in last year's "Dirty Dozen" Streak package was working for Kings in Ludington last evening just south of their harbor.

7/2/03  Passed my semi annual DNR boat inspection with no problems yesterday morning.  I spent a little time in town and took care of some personal business.
Fishing has been good, bad and indifferent depending on who you spoke with.  So, some did and some didn't.  Favorable reports are filtering in from Big Point Sable, because the early first light bite is producing a few Kings well into and past the 20 pound bracket.  Manistee looks like the place to be this weekend if you plan on fishing Lake Michigan is search of large tunas (Kings).  Please don't get the impression we're overloaded with fish, because that's simply not the way it is.  You will have to work for what's there,......easy?......it's not!  

7/1/03  My semi-annual boat inspection heads my duty roster for today.  I posted several new Port Reports from around the state, so check them out.  Fishing out of Manistee looks good for this coming weekend. All other Lake Michigan ports haven't reported the success Manistee's been experiencing as of late.
    The improved fishery should aid the attendance of our upcoming picnic-tourney this coming Saturday.  For info on the tournament, picnic and anti-net meeting please Click Here!  Should be fishing tomorrow on the newly revamped 22 foot 4-Winns that belongs to John J.  This will be his first time with the new trolling system we built.  Also, I'm gonna feature John's boat for an upcoming article on how to get the most from boats in the 18 to 25 feet range.  The title of the new article and age- old question will be called, "Does Size Really Matter!

June 2003

6/30/03  I published a new page for our upcoming July 5th, 2003 Tournament early this morning.  It has the basics of what you need to know to enter, participate or attend the anti-net meeting scheduled.  Click here for more info

6/29/03pm   I had a fairly decent day with 5 super top-notch big-lake anglers named Scott, Ry, Todd, Keith & Don in today's group.  This I can say, going 11 for 11 is something you won't see happen very often, as this reel group welded into one single fish-catching unit!   All be it may, I had to do a bunch of reel-serious, intense training during the first hour, or two.  The only thing I can think of, is that these exceptionally clever fishermen knew we weren't gonna get many bites and made each and every single one of them count!  "Perfect" best describes my gift from the fish gods on today's adventure.  
Click here for our hot lures on 6/29/03

6/29/03  You ain't gonna believe it!  I got into double figures on yesterday's Salmon Seminar.  Duane, Mike, John, Chris, Steve and Don were my knowledgeable crew for the event.  Rain and more rain didn't dampen the spirits of my guests as we boxed 2 Steelhead, 5 Lakers and a small king that was to deeply hooked to release.  We also tossed back 2 small Kings for a overall body count of 10 fish!  The team batted 100% on hooked-up fish and didn't miss many opportunities either.  Pressed for time and I have to cut this update very short. Click for dockside photo

6/28/03  Plans were to go fishing on Lake Michigan yesterday morning.  At  4:30am when I felt the wind and heard the breeze through the trees, John J and myself decided to scrub the mission.
   I will be afloat on the big pond with a "Salmon Catching Seminar" today with 6 new future fishin' friends, if the fish cooperate.  It will feel more than good to get away from the "nets" issue I've been plagued with all week.   Tune in later for a complete update on our results and a new fishing report from downtown Manistee.
Many thanks to all you who E-mailed me about the mysterious snake.  The consensus is it's a Eastern Hog Nose Snake, also known as a "Puff Adder."  Normally I answer each E-mail I receive personally, but in this case I couldn't.  I had well over 50 replies and appreciate each one of them, thanks again!    

6/27/03  Completed work on John J's "Megan Ann" yesterday.  If the weather cooperates?   We plan on hitting the big pond this morning for a shake-down cruise with his budget-minded new trolling set-up.  Check back later to see how we did.
     I know this has absolutely nothing to do with fishing, but I found a weird looking snake in my back yard.  Click here to see the close up of snake  When I poked at it with a stick it coiled up and flattened it's triangular shaped fear-some head.  I seen no rattles on it like the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake.  This snake was about 24 inches long and blended into it's surroundings with natural camouflage.  If you have any idea of what type of critter it was E-mail me at kingscharter@yahoo.com 

6/26/03   All current port reports will be updated by 9am this morning.  This is a fishing website temporally side tracked with netting issues.  But, this has not removed the focus of John J and myself putting the finishing touches on his new trolling system today.  His new fishing set-up is starting to looking pretty good.    
   I haven't heard much on the current status of Lake Michigan off Manistee in a day, or two.  We finally had southwest winds in a sustained pattern for almost three days, and hopefully that should help our under par inshore fishery.   John J and I will be doing a shake down cruise on the new set-up early tomorrow to fine tune his newly assembled first-class trolling rig.

6/25/03  Spent part of the day helping John J re-do his fishing set up on the Megan Ann.  This is the background work for the article on improving the way boats from 18 to 25 feet troll.  We complete redone his spread and it will be one fish killing machine once it's finished.  The good part is we added 6 rod holders and a completely new trolling board for way under 200 bucks, so this was done on a tight budget.  What made this an interesting project for me is that we made simple changes to enhance the fish-ability 23 foot 4-Winns and used outdated riggers too.
     A page on the Captains Meeting, on July 4th, the day before the "World Championship" goes down and driving instruction to it also.  I'm gonna print up some simple flyers to pass out at Solberg's to get the word out about our do.

6/24/03  Man, did I have a busy day on this box yesterday.  I completed about 80 per cent of the work at the new tackle store at: www.michiganangler.com. The home page is starting to take on the look it needs to be both informative and attention grabbing.  Re-formatted some of the shopping cart pages to a pro-look.
   Early yesterday morning I received a call from Mr. Tom Rozich, the man in charge of the Cadillac Office of the DNR.  We had a very disagreeable, but an almost semi civil discussion.  I won't go into great detail about our chat, because Rozich has no way to defend himself with me doing all the reporting.  Here's the major difference between us.  He says I have get used to the nets and nothing can be done.  I know something can be done once the energy of the internet is harnessed.  
   I needed to be remind him about the United States Constitution guaranteeing me free speech.   News for you Mr. Rozich, this country was formed with dissenters, we now call our forefathers like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and George Washington.  We have extreme differing views, but he has many more facts then I do.  He is a public servant and our scrutiny is part of his job the way I see it!

6/23/03   Posting the port reports will keep me busy today and a couple of other web projects looms large in my future.  From what I seen over the past weekend fishing pressure was very light even with the MCSFA Pro-Am and the fish were running unbelievably small for this time of year.  Capt. Kevin Hughes from Onekama won the pro-division and I don't have the results of the amateur division yet. Initially, I was not going to post any information on the MCSFA Tourney, because of the association's lack of focus on the tribal netting policies in Lake Michigan.  Denial is not a river in Egypt and there's something just not right with our fishery for the time being.  Please vote your conscience on the poll further down this page to send your message to the DNR.  Tom Rozich leads Cadillac office and is in charge of our area's fish planting policies.

6/22/03  Summer season 2003 is here this morning, or is it?  39 degrees at 6am in Manistee County isn't a very encouraging sign of this.   Working on the new home page for the brand new tackle store at www.michiganangler.com will probably eat up most of my time today.  The new page will give the site a classy presentation.

6/21/03pm   Fished with David, Tom, Paul, Mark and Mark Jr. on today's on the water, "hands on" seminar.  Table-top smooth water meant for delightful day on Lake Michigan and we caught some fish too!  While we didn't rape and pillage the resource, we did manage to box 7 Kings and a Laker.  This doubled my output of Friday's catch by a 100%, so some improvement is in sight.  All aspects of Great Lakes trolling techniques were covered during our 7 hours on the big pond.
   Click here for today's dockside group photo   Click here for our semi-hot lures
Mark Sr. (our Port Reporter in East Chicago IN) was the spark plug of the event and kept the info flowing as we shared various stories and several laughs.  I enjoyed everyone's company immensely and felt like I made 5 new fishin' friends. 

6/21/03am   Fished with Ray, Brian and Ray Jr. on yesterday morning's event.  This was an easy going group and their first time on Lake Michigan.  Slow best describes our program, as we struggled for 6 hits and landed 3 smaller sized Steelhead, plus one King that wasn't all that huge.  Never the less is was an enjoyable day to be afloat on the big pond, because the seas were very pleasant and it finally warmed up around noon.  What made the day even more pleasurable was the patience my guests displayed.  It was plain tough for me to get anything going on the fish.  I hope to remedy this on today's deal.  Click for 6/20/03 photo  
This I can say with complete utter confidence, "I know where not to go!

6/20/03  I had a very enlightening conversation with Randy Even last evening.  Randy who makes the Slide Diver, also charters on the Wisconsin side across from Manistee.  Their problem there, is exactly the opposite of ours.......too much bait!
While central and northern Lake Michigan on our side practically have any.  Let me add, Randy relayed the fact Salmon are skimpy and he's fishing Lake Trout on the bottom.  I had to call Randy to order Slide Divers for the www.michiganangler.com 
site, which is my sister site to this one. 
    Oh, by the way, I'll be fishing today with the Ray P charter and hope to find a few fish willing to cooperate.  Conditions have drastically changed with colder water (north blow) and it's looks like a tough call going in.  Update by tonight. 

6/19/03  I have a pretty decent update for you today and some first-rate photos of yesterday's evening research trip.  First off, I had an outstanding crew consisting of Capt. Bill "DW" Sweet, John J, Fred B and longtime friend-deckhand, Mark Pefley.  All hands had crewed for me before and were on the stick by not missing any hooked up fish and I'm extremely proud of these guys for that fact.  Click here for double in a net   Click for sunset photo 
     Our results were respectable considering we left the gas dock around 5pm and pulled lines at 9:00pm.  During the 4 hours we spent fishing we boated 6 Steelhead and a King.  We missed some soft strikes, but most of the catch were a bunch of eager biting deeply-hooked fish.  It was nice to see a few fish lurking off Manistee for a change!  Click here for hot lures

6/18/03  Mum is the word in Manistee for now, as the Pro-Am big deal tournament draws closer (this weekend).  Reliable reports are non-existent from the tourney participants I know.  This I did find out, the boats that worked to inshore depths of 50 to 180 feet struggled to box a fish, or two.  The boats that fished the 30 line and out further fared slightly better (about 7 miles straight out from Manistee).
    I'm going on a search mission tomorrow afternoon and will find out for myself what's up.  Been busy with another remodeling project and thanks to Capt. Bill Sweet and John J. the end is in sight.  Focusing back on fishing today will be a welcome break from installing new windows, exterior doors and the dreaded drywall.

6/17/03  Pressure was light of Manistee yesterday (Monday) and didn't get a hint from anyone on the fish.  I'll be fishing this coming Wednesday afternoon, Friday and the seminar on Saturday.  I'm pretty sure this weekend is the Pro-Am put on by the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association and traffic will be a problem this weekend.  Home duties will keep me home tomorrow, working on the new home page for www.michganangler.com is coming along quite nicely.

6/16/03  The online tackle store at www.michiganangler.com is open for business with several new product lines added.  Please be patient with shopping cart system, because this is a brand new technology.  I've had reports about not being able to enter a "valid E-mail address."  Send E-mails to kingscharter@yahoo.com if you're experiencing problems with the shopping cart in any way shape, or form  So, please bear with any glitches for now.  Any difficulties will be remedied!
    My limited skills with a computer are not in the area of the server side functionality, which requires a programming language such as perl, or java script.

6/15/03  Manistee kinda fell on it's face once again when it came to producing decent catches yesterday.  Top boat got lucky and had 8, while the norm was 1 to 3 per vessel.  Stayed home and installed a brand new window in my breezeway after moving wall studs.   Plus, I tore off all the old drywall too. 
    Gonna have something brand new to announce this coming Monday, so stay tuned for best and most up-to-date info on the web.

6/14/03  Had a weird deal yesterday morning, while my guests for the event didn't cancel, they never confirmed either.  So, I took the necessary precautions and was at my boat at 5:30am.  Well, to make a long story short, nobody showed up.  
     The fleet reported slightly better results yesterday (Friday) then we experienced on Thursday (6/12/03), but not by much from what I could discern.
     Then I spent the rest of day completing a website for Capt. Len's Drift Inn Bed and Breakfast.  I don't normally do websites for anyone, because taking care of this site is a full time effort.  Too much time is involved for a quality job for someone else. 
               Click here to see Len's Bed and Breakfast website I finished today     

6/13/04   It was tough catching yesterday, as the boats off Manistee and Ludington struggled to box a fish, or two.  Fished from 50 to 450 feet of water for 3 hits and 2 fish caught.  Does this bother me?.....yes, but I can't catch what's not there.  No matter how hard I try, I can't invent fish!  Several boats from the Port of Manistee went back to docks with the "black kitty" in their fish boxes.  
     Redeeming factor of yesterday was the great company of Dan, Mike and Dan DeGrandchamp.  Good company helped make the time between strikes seem shorter.  Supposed to be back out there again today, but I'm not looking forward to it.  Predominant east wind has ruined our port.  Click for DeGrandchamp's catch

6/12/03  I'll be fishing with the DeGrandchamp crew today.  The ironic thing about today's event is that the DeGrandchamps own a major nursery and blueberry farm in South Haven, Michigan.  I had a awesome trip in 2002 with these anglers and I doubt if I can top our results on 6/6/02, but I'm sure gonna try.  We boxed 15 fish in short order with several Kings approaching the 20 pound mark.  Complete report will be published later this evening.
                                 Click for our heavy catch in 2002

6/11/03  A wet rainy day is what the fleet endured yesterday morning off the Port of Manistee.  Some fish were caught, with 2 to 4 fish being reported per boat. Thunderstorms curtailed all fishing activity by 11am. Warren Knapp aka, Dottie "K" scored a couple of Kings to 17 pounds.  Click here for Warren's King    
    Scattered fish is the story for now and I hope things will start looking up by this Thursday.  I'll be on the pond on Thursday and Friday looking to find the mother lode of fish everyone is struggling to locate.  Improved weather is on the way soon and that should set up our deep-water offshore temperature breaks.

6/10/03  Had to go to Ludington yesterday to buy drywall for my breezeway and found out Capt. Chuck's Tackle Store in Ludington is moving to a new location.  I believe another condoville is gobbling up another piece of waterfront view property.
   I have to change the oil in the boat today and it's looks like I'll be fishing this Thursday and Friday.  Not much to report today, because not many are fishing.

6/9/03pm  Kinda struggled our way into boxing 6 fish yesterday morning.  I got to the boat around 6:00am and was greeted cold drizzle, that turned into a all-out hard rain.  We trolled towards the deeper water (450') in search of better action, because shallow stuff (100' range) didn't show us much.  Flat calm seas didn't help our cause one bit.  We had 8 strikes (6 off the "birds") and my crew landed 2 Lakers, 2 Steelhead and 2 Kings.  Almost of the fish were in the 6 to 8 lb. range.   Click here for the group's dockside photo
    The members of this research mission were John, Duane, Bob, Jeff and Fred.  All worked well as a team and it was a pleasure to fish with this fine group.  While the catching didn't exactly set the world on fire, calm seas and good company goes a long ways in my book.  Expected south winds this week should stabilize our fishery.  Click for hot lures on 6/8/03 

6/8/03am   Spent 6 hours and lots of elbow grease giving the "King Fish" a thorough bubble bath.  My boat hadn't received a good cleaning, since I pulled it out of storage in late March.  So, it's back to it's normal squeaky clean condition.
   I installed two new oil pressure gauges and buttoned up the fiberglass panels from mounting the new steering helm.  I'm a little spooked about the price of new Cherokee's at 108k, so putting a little money back into mine seems like a logical idea.  Fixing all the little things means a ship-shape vessel that's up to snuff a 100 per cent.  Also, to me, it's the "pride in ownership" thing too.
    The 6/7/03 fishing report out of Manistee is very poor, with not many fish being caught.  Traffic was heavy and the catching was light according to the reports I heard from the fleet.  I'll be out in the morning if the predicted thunderstorms hold off and will report on my results in Monday's update, I'll post later tonight.

6/7/03   I now have a reel steering wheel!  The new hydraulic helm is completely installed, because of the excellent quality of help from Fred aka "Dirt Tracker" and "Team Spoontang."  Thanks to you folks this chore is done.  Once again, I do appreciate the helping hands. 
       Click here for Fred & "Team Spoontang" mug shots        Click for their hot lures
Ok, now for the Manistee fishing report courtesy of Fred and Steve.  Today, was the story of some did, and some didn't, as spotty success was reported.  Top 20 feet produced best and the early bite was the big deal, then the action slowed to a crawl.  High Slide Divers and "birds" were the hot set-up.  Both boats landed fish, with Fred's being a hefty 17 pounder.

6/6/03   I finally have the correct replacement parts for the new hydraulic helm steering station.  While I'll be diligently at work playing boat mechanic, we'll have two well known members of the message board plying the waters off Manistee.  This should provide us with a reliable fishing forecast just in time for the weekend.  "Dirt Tracker" and "Spoontang" will be hot on the trail of fresh "hot lures" photos and catch pictures.  Plus, I'm  gonna eavesdrop on the radio (channel 7) for the full scoop.  Either way, insightful tidings will be forthcoming!
   I wanted to start on the new article called "Does Size, Really Matter?"  But, the lengthy trip to and from South Haven wiped me right-out.  I haven't forgot about the storyline for maximum results from your trailerable fishin' machine.

6/5/03  I had to go to South Haven today to deliver trolling bags and drive my Ranger back to Manistee.  New steering stuff should be here tomorrow and fixing the Cherokee heads my A-list.  No steering means I'll be dockside until it's fixed.
   Fishing aboard the 1983 22 foot Four Winn gave me an idea about an article focused on getting the most from your big water trolling rig, no matter what size it is.  The piece will spotlight setting up your boat correctly for maximum results.

6/4/03  Fished Lake Michigan off Manistee from about 8am until 11:45 and the 2 of us did OK. We had 11 strikes and boated 4 to Kings to almost 20 pounds and 3 Lakers for a total of 7 fish.  The vessel I was on was John Johnson's "Meagan Ann" and it did me good to see what difficulties an outdrive and motor box pose.  Once I figured out how to fish in closer quarters then I'm used too, we went to work.  Click here for hot lures
   We used 2 downriggers, 2 low divers dialed on one and a single "lone wolf" tail gunner lead core rig.  So, I'd say we did good for only a 5 rod spread.  More on getting the most productive results from a 8 foot beam boat tomorrow.  Incidentally, from what I heard on channel 7, the "Meagan Ann" had the "hot hand" off Manistee this morning.  Let me add, it was fun to fish on a smaller rig and get back to my roots.  Click here for the big one's

6/3/03  Ordered the new hydraulic steering helm from my Cherokee.  A little less then 500 bucks later it should be here by the end of the week.  No where on the Teleflex-Sea Star website did a see a link to a service department, or I'd have had my old one rebuilt.  Looks like we're gonna do a shake down cruise on John J's "Meagan Ann" this tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.  If the weather cooperates, a new update and fishing forecast from Manistee will be forthcoming on our results.

6/2/03   Yesterday, out of Manistee there were some fish being caught.  Not heaps, but the catch totals ranged from 2 to 8 fish a boat.  Considering all the cold water, I'm surprised any were caught at all.  Port Reports will keep me busy today.
I have to order a new front hydraulic helm for my boat soon, because the old one started losing to much fluid.  This has been a nuisance for the past three years and I made up my mind to fix it with the fishing being slow the slow side for now.
  Rumor is there's 6 trap nets off Ludington and 6 more are on the way soon.  This is not good as the casino bandits concentrate most of their efforts in one area. Commercially harvested Great Lakes fish is not in the best interests of anyone. There's still 4 net tugs at Solberg's Marina that haven't been launched yet too!  I had an epiphany about how all this netting stuff can be bought to a complete, screeching halt, without any violence, or a bunch of money.  My idea will be discussed in a private meeting with select members from the tourney participants on this July 5th's Second Annual Championship of Salmon Angling.  

6/1/03  It's June in Manistee and icy cold water is the deal here.  Not many fish available yet.  We are in need of a two day blow from the south to bring our Manistee fishery up to a tolerable level.  I'll be at the marina this morning listening to all the latest and greatest on channel 7.  Report this evening is on the way.