August & September 2004

Manistee 8/31/04

18 Manistee Kings

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"Reel-Flasher" Harbor Hogs 9/11/04

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Reel-Flashers in IL


9/30/04  The word from Tippy Dam is OK, there's Salmon and I had a reports about a few Steelhead being caught too.  I'm adjusting from a hyperactive August and September to the slower times of the off-season.  It's a heck of a change from full speed ahead, to dead stop!  I am using this time to build inventory for 2005.
     Here's a tip for the do-it-yourselfer's who have out-drives and are winterizing your boat.  Dump enough Marvel Mystery Oil thru the carburetor to almost stall the engine just before you shut the key off for the last time.  This will insures the upper end of your engine will be well lubricated during the long winter lay-up time.

9/29/04  After constructing 3 new pages and composing two of them in the last 4 days, my creation tank is running on empty.  Today, try checking out Dave Richey's website.  His featured article page has stories about woodcock, grouse, tree stands and tips for scouting whitetail bucks. Click here if you're up for some good reading! 

9/28/04  Courtesy of Capt. Cliff J, I have a brand new and very interesting article about his 2004 season's results on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan.  I found his article packed with information about waters I'm not familiar with.  My hat is off to Cliff for sharing his knowledge and log with us! Click here for Capt. Cliff's 2004 Log

9/27/04   As my schedule has slowed and the big lake season is waning, time for keeping this website current with brand new material is for reel.  I finished an article about preparation of your own cut-bait.  If you're a do-it-yourselfer and want a first-rate cut-bait product at a huge 70% cost savings click here for page 1.
     This technique underwent testing in both the Manistee and Frankfort 2004 tournaments held by the Flint Steelheaders and produced wins and top 3 finishes.  
I often refer to the Flint Chapter, because their tourney rules best reflect the way most of you fish and the size boats the majority of you use. Click here for page 2.

9/26/04   I spent most of last Saturday night and yesterday morning trying to wrap up the article on cutting your own bait.  It's two pages long and has 24 self explanatory photos. I hope to debut this piece tomorrow (9/27/04), but further re-writes and proof reading are still in order.

9/25/05  Good numbers of adult Kings are still being caught!  This abnormal from what I've seen during the past 10 seasons.  This is good news for those still fishing now and a delay in the DNR egg take could represent later runs in the future.  Back in the late 60s and all thru the 70s, some of the best Salmon fishing was in late Sept. and Oct.  This meant the fish had extra time to grow larger and the crowds weren't near what they are now-a-days during Aug. Click for 9/25/04 catch

9/24/04  There has to be something to do with Salmon's pheromones, because when they smolt in the spring, all ports generally have a good Salmon fishery.  The same thing happens in the late summer and early fall, as juveniles follow the adults to the inshore waters too.  It's kinda mystifying, but it does happen every season.
      Also, I installed a comparison poll concerning the most popular brand of flasher you use.  I am going use this data to evaluate the inroads I make in the 2005 season.  I remember in 1999 when Jerry Bechhold's flashers was just gaining market share and for the time being it seems he rules the roost!  In 2005 there will be more retail outlets handling my flashers and a new, yet unannounced exciting product.

9/23/04  Amazingly enough, the Salmon catching is still a happening in Manistee.  Fish are very deep (130 and deeper) and the catch is comprised of some adults and goodly mix of juvenile Kings.  South wind has extended this season a lot.
I began work today on a complete photographic instructional page on preparing your own cut-bait at .29 cents per strip.  You no longer need to feel you've been taken prisoner by the those in the bait strip business at a buck a piece.  It's going to be a undetermined amount of time before I have this article available for prime time public viewing.  The important is I started the ball rolling with 22 image files.
     Normally, I would not make content like this available to the general viewers of my website.  My reason for not going public with all my articles?  Copy and paste pirates steal my images and text.   They transpose my material onto other websites, or message boards without any respect for copyright laws what-so-ever!

9/22/04  Today's update is courtesy of Dave Richey, retired outdoor writer for the Detroit News, has 51 years of deer hunting experience in Michigan and many other states and Canadian provinces. He feels an overlooked deer-hunting technique involves hunting from a pit blind.   For more info on pit blinds click here
     Pit blinds require plenty of work but hunting results can justify the sweat equity invested in digging them in key locations. A pit blind means just that: the hunter, except from the shoulders up, is below ground level. Today’s whitetail bucks are so accustomed to looking up into trees for hunters that sometimes they forget about checking for ground-level danger.   Click here to visit Dave's website
     This piece details the best locations to place a pit blind. It is, as is true with all of Richey’s outdoor coverage, based on his actual in-the-field experiences. His website offers 12-14 new full-length outdoor articles with color photos every week.

9/21/04  I gotta question for you.  Just where in the heck did this summer go? Tomorrow marks the official beginning of autumn, as the sands of time have poured thru this hourglass called, summer.  It seems like only yesterday it was early May!
I got waylaid by business matters yesterday and did not have a chance to do much of anything.  I'll be on a mission today to get the reel-story from Manistee.  

9/20/04  Received a heck of a testimonial from Cindy and Roger.  They were up last week and were on a Salmon hunt.  They stopped by my house for tackle and bait. Click here for their first journey into the land of my flashers and cut-meat.  I guess nowadays I live for success stories like theirs and ain't to proud to admit it!
      The report from Lake Michigan is still OK with the warm water still holding vast schools of Salmon down deep.  I heard the temp break was at 120 to 130 feet, with the best catching come as deep as 160 feet down, over 200 to 300 feet of water.
      Today, I'm gonna try to check out Tippy Dam and photograph what's in the holding ponds at the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir.

9/19/03  The word from the big lake was so-so.  The fish off Manistee's shelf were hard to come by.  Manistee's best deal was the pier-head if you fished early or late.
Here's a Ludington port report from the skipper of the Sarah Ann, Capt. Bob Hicks:
Fishing is slow in Ludington. Of 6 boats I talked to, the high catch was 3 fish, with most having 2. 
   We were 2 for 3 in 2 hours from 10 am to noon. No excuse on the third, I was “someplace else” as my wife was yelling at me about the line. Also, I pulled a real rookie mistake and set a dipsy for the wrong side and tangled a rigger with it. Lost both sets of flashers/twinks on that one, thank goodness neither was a clear/red!
   First fish came setting lines Big BLACK King, as nasty as any I have seen out of the river, on the black Mamba/clear red. The third fish, the miss came on that rigger set about 25 feet down
   Second fish, a brown but fat King came on the dipsy out about 100 set on 3 on the double glow/glow white twink.  Fish came on a North Troll in about 60-90 feet of water off of Big Sable point. Took one pass and decided to go in. Been a tough week and I had had my fun with 2 screamers.   
Click here for Bob's catch

9/18/04  In the area where I live, the acorn crop is good. Both my white and red oak trees are dropping acorns now. Hopefully, this will help put a few pounds on the whitetails for the harsh winters we've had in Manistee County the past 3, or 4 years. The deer population is way down from what I've seen. A few years back when driving the the boat to met charter guests (well before daylight), I'd see 15 to 20 deer critters every morning on my 12 mile west stroll on M-55 before it hit US31.
      The few times I did go into town before daylight this summer, you'd be lucky to see any varmints at all. Winter up here needs to slacken it's grip a bunch. I'm almost sure the first 50 days of 2004 we never seen the temperature above 20 degrees. Lots of nights when the ol' thermometer dipped well below the zero mark too!

9/17/04   Let's turn our focus to the poll I've had running about a week in the left column of this page.  There's 50 fishermen (out of 200)that have discovered the reel-fact of fishin' with a simple cut-bait program is their best method.  Cut-bait even out ranks the highly vaulted flasher/fly combos that everyone waves at the Salmon.  Just ask yourself this question, "do those 50 some odd salmon anglers know something I don't?"  I've set the poll, so multiple votes by banging on the vote button do not get registered.  I wanted a fair sample and not a deal controlled by multiple votes from the same people.
     May I suggest, you take the plunge and join our private message board?  Learn a few new tricks that will payout huge dividends next season.  Those who have embraced this old-fashioned way of filling your fish box have reported to me anywhere's from a 100 to 300% increase of what that caught before they switched to my flashers & meat program!  Unlike most tackle manufacturers that make bodacious claims like that, I have many anglers that will happily backup what I say!

9/16/04  Sustained winds at and above 30 mph built the seas yesterday in 6 to 12 foot waves.  It was far to rough for anyone in their right mind to fish Lake Michigan.
Now, the last I heard the fish were in the 100 to 120 feet down range.  With the SW blow we went thru, look to depths from a 100 to 170 feet down.  The weekend forecast is a good one as far as no storms and temps from 70 to 80 degrees.
    Cliff J sent in today's featured photo from his mass destruction of the Salmon population in Lake Michigan waters off the State of Illinois on 9/11/04.  I know my flashers have been discovered in IL, because of the many orders I shipped there as of lately. To see 15 Kings and Coho caught on "Reel-Flashers" in Illinois Click here.

9/15/04   Kinda got caught up in the hoopla yesterday with the one million page views thing.  Congratulations to Brad A. from Ontario, Canada for being the visitor that hit one mil on the head exactly. Thanks to all who sent in their entries. 
    I spent most of yesterday taking care of business concerning future projects and handling business pertaining to the upcoming sale of my 28 foot Cherokee.  I'm really not sure what I accomplished yesterday, but it took all day to do it!  I promised today's update from Dave Richey, however not contacting him for his update was my fault and I will make contact with Dave today.
   There was way too much south wind (up to 30 knots) yesterday, so anything resembling a fishing update is wishful thinking.

9/14/04  A reel-major milestone is gonna be reached today with this website, if all goes as expected.  I'm pretty sure the hit counter will register over 1,000,000 index page views.  All be it, it's taken about 3 years and 8 months, but never the less one million page views is a helluva lot!  Hit counters can be started on any number, but I have an outside stats program and can furnish exact verification if necessary.  I never thought, under any circumstances this website would attract the amount of visitors it does.  Thanks for stopping by and please continue to do so.  
    Two years ago, Salmon caught in Michigan on cut-bait was a minuscule number, now it ranks above all over methods according to our poll.  I guess that would be a fairer gauge of the impact this website has, rather then counting so-called "hits."  From what I've personally witnessed, there's no easier way to a full box of Salmon then my flashers and meat for boats under 25 feet long.  I know it sounds kinda biased, but those who've made the switch report exactly the same sentiments.  Please keep this in mind, when you go tackle shopping. Click here for reel-proof

9 /13/04   Much to my surprise, Salmon fishing is still holding up fairly well in Manistee.  Adult Kings, some still silver are being caught in respectable numbers.  I would have expected the run for adults a done deal, however this is not the case!  There's a strong early morning and late evening bite around the pier heads, all be it may.....the water is about 65 degrees.  The fish on the shelf are still coming at depths to 60 to 100 feet down & more south wind is predicted.  More wind from the south should extend the fishing even longer.  This is the longest I've seen decent results on Kings, this late in September in more years then I care to remember.

9/12/04   Getting the guns out tonight for a good cleaning. Pheasant, rabbit, grouse, morning dove, goose, duck and deer seasons are upon us. I have always thought it is improper to head out to the field without some practice. I have a buddy who is in the Oakland County Sportsman’s club who have the finest facilities in this area for shooting, and I am going to try to get him to invite me there soon to kill some clay pigeons. I would like to get my son out there. No matter how you feel about hunting, shooting is a fine sport that improves coordination and is an excellent father/son (or father/daughter) activity. If your kid likes video games, let them try the real thing.......this update is courtesy of Bob Hicks, skipper of the Sarah Ann

9/11/04  Fished yesterday morning with Warren aboard his 18' Starcraft, the "Dottie K."  We did not set the world on fire, having only 4 bites and boxing 2 Kings for our efforts.  The boats that hit the early bite, then moved to deeper water fared much better from what I heard.  Still, it was a great morning to fish with my friend Warren and enjoy Mother Nature's scenery of Lake Michigan's beautiful shoreline.  The giant grin on Warren's face made it all more than worthwhile!  Lake Michigan was almost flat calm and uddles of sunshine made it a splendiferous day.    Click for Warren's catch      Click for the we flashers used
Oh, by the way.....I made a prediction in October of 2003 cut-bait would rank number one, or two by 2004.  Well, according to my 2004 poll, cut-bait was ranked number one by the exact, very same poll I ran in 2003.   I used  the same sample group of about 130 votes, identical to 2003.  Click for the proof in the pudding 

9/10/04  The larger boats that got out to Manistee's shelf yesterday boxed out by 9am is what I heard.  I'm gonna try to fish with Warren again today if the lake is calm enough.  Tune in later for the reel-story if we just fish, or if we catch!
The unofficial end of summer concluded on this past Labor Day.  We still have about 2 weeks of good Salmon catching ahead of us, but thoughts are turning towards fall's activities. Keeping in step with fall, I've scored a major plus for this website! Dave Richey, world renowned outdoor writer, fisherman, hunter and author of about 20 books will be doing the Wednesday updates starting next week on September 15, 2004. Click here for Dave Richey's website
      Dave will surely add a new dimension. Right now, Dave is getting ready for bear season and is baiting his stand some where's around the Houghton Lake area. He's had several encounters with these critters and I'm all eager to read more yarns spun by him. I'm sure you'll find his addition to this website an important "good thing!"

9/9/04  The grand plan to fish yesterday morning went awry when the "Dotti K's" ignition system needed a trip to the boat-doctor at Bear Lake Marine.  The main power pack went out and like all things with a boat, 200 and some dollars fixed it!  
     Warren and I made a couple of laps around the harbor on his 9.9 kicker motor.   We seen no fish hooked, or boated.  This is good news for those of you still wanting to get in another lick in on the Salmon before the hunting season starts in earnest.
     Let's focus for a minute on my friend Warren who retired about 25 years ago.  He's spent more time on the water then several of the resident charter captains we have in Manistee.  The amazing thing is that Warren's 80 years young and often fishes by himself.  He sets lines, battles and nets his own fish without the aid of any help. This is a helluva job for any fishermen half is age. Click for Warren & his rig
Warren retired as the Fire Chief from the Grand Rapids Fire Department and can still go up and down a ladder far better then I ever could!  Click for Warren w/18# Brn.

9/8/04  If the lake is decent, I'll be fishing this morning with Warren Knapp aboard his 18 foot Starcraft named, the locally famous "Dotti K."  Warren's been featured many times and recently turned 80 years young!  I truly enjoy fishing with him and yes, he's been known to mover much quicker then me when there's a fish on.  Warren reported to me, there's was not many fish at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir and only a few Kings up by Tippy Dam.  Looks like a couple of more weeks of good catching as long as the lake stays warm and the fish remain deep.
I'm supplying a link to Dennis "Curly" Buchner's website.  Dennis has the absolute best website going for info on our inland waters at:  "Curly" supplies bait to all the northern Michigan tackle stores.  He is dialed in like a Swiss watch and I'm sure you'll find his website as informational as me.  Also, "Curly" posted a downloadable file to view the TV Show I did a week or two ago.  He has this video available in 2 sizes for those with dial-up and high speed connections.  
                    To access this video on his website click here.

9/7/04  Lake Michigan off the Port of Manistee prevented fishing yesterday morning, because of 4 to 5 foot seas early in the am.  This cancelled the plans of many hoping to cash in on the King Salmon Fishery that's been going great guns.  Reports from Muskegon to Leland showed excellent catching going on.  I think we still have almost 2 weeks left before the main run will be considered a done deal. 
     Here's Manistee a port report from the Labor Day Weekend 2004:
"Labor Day trip was very good. Caught 8 Friday evening pre-fishing for a small tournament Saturday morning. 7 kings and 1 laker in 125-250 FOW. Saturday, caught 10 fish in the morning, limit of 9 kings and 1 laker which was good enough to win with the 6 best going 93#. Biggest fish went 20# and missed biggest fish by 2#. Did some catch and release with 5 kings to 20# Sat. evening. Sunday, 2 man limit of kings in the morning. Got up Monday morning and looked at the flag and went back to bed.   Fished the 13's to the 16's in 95-300 FOW. Riggers 65-100 took fish. Mag Dipsy's 150-225 back also took fish. Best combo's were the Krimson King Cobra, and the King Cobra as they accounted for the majority of the fish. Also, did well with lemon lime, wild blue dolphin with a wonder glow twinkie, and grn. glow twink.....Capt. Craig, "Reel Obsession"

9/6/04  Lake Michigan is gonna get lumpy today with 3 to 5 foot seas predicted.  I believe the Labor Day hoard will be able to fish early and wind up this holiday weekend in a grand fashion.  The weather has been on the sports fleet side and this
is one of the nicest Labor Day Weekends we've had in a long while.

9/5/04  Spent a pretty uneventful yesterday.  I'm gonna try to change that today. I might be fishing aboard the "Burns Unit" this afternoon if all goes according to plan.  So, a day off might just be in order for me.

9/4/04  The word from the Port of Manistee is excellent.  Kings are hitting, with limits being reported on daily basis. The weather seems to be perfect with sunshine and temps pushing 80 degrees.  Wish I could take the day off, but my stock of Yellowtail Flashers needs immediate production.....and pronto!
    The demand for "Reel-Flashers" at Zajac's Tackle store continues to be very strong.  Thanks to all Americans who are purchasing my American made product!

9/3/04  Manistee is under going it's annual transformation into "Tunaville" on the Labor Day Weekend.  Crowds are gonna be immense, so be sure to pack plenty of patience for your journey north.  Fishing for Kings remains, "as good, as it's gonna get!"  Be sure to limit your catch and not catch your limit.  Recent south winds have driven the much fish deeper, as a 120 feet down was the norm yesterday at noon.
     Zajac's Tackle Store located on the east side of US31, one block south of the US31 drawbridge has a supply of the new Krimson King Kobra and King Kobra.  Dave Zajac is a straight shooter.  He does not hike the price on the hot baits like some other tackle stores have been known to do......this is a reel-fact in Manistee!

9/2/04  I spent the entire day building stock for Zajac's Tackle Store here in Manistee.  They were almost out of the new King Kobra, Yellowtails and Black Mambas.  I am replenishing their stock of "Reel-Flashers" today.  I was lucky enough to find enough tape to build about 2 dozen of the new Krimson King Kobras.  This black, red & glow flasher works great with the clear red twink and most other meat rig colors.  Capt. Craig from Killin' Time Charters spoke very highly of this new pattern. Click here for Capt. Craig's remarks  Zajac's will have this new Krimson flasher on their shelves, but with only 2 dozen, I don't expect 'em to last very long.
      Labor Day Weekend will soon be here and plenty of Kings are available for those willing to make the trek north to, "Tuna Country."  Most of the Salmon are still in their silver stage and haven't turned reel-dark yet, so we got at least 2 of weeks of season left by the way things look now.  Labor Day weather looks good too!
      Catching is plain outstanding in Manistee right now and I heard north towards Onekama was the big deal yesterday morning.  Anglers that fished south took respectable catches, but the northern boats reported faster whack & stack!

9/1/04  Fished Manistee yesterday morning with Ed, Dave and John J. out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  We boxed 7 Kings, a Coho and a Laker for a death toll of 9 fish.  We dropped lines to the fish around 8am and pulled rods at 1:30pm, because boredom from lack of fish activity had set in.  Our two downriggers riggers took all our fish at 80 and a 100 feet down respectively.  Had 2 rips on a diver, but those critters were related Houdini and pulled an escape act.  Fish catching was light around us, as we only seen 2 other fish caught by other boats.  Consensus of the sports fleet was 3 or 4 fish when we cleaned our catch at the city fish-cleaning facility.
           Click for the flashers we used   Click here for 3 message board members
Ed, Dave and John J are to be congratulated for going 9 for 10 on bites off the riggers and NEVER missing a hooked up fish.  This kinda surprised me as an after thought!  The crowd was medium and the lake was very comfortable 1 to 2 foot chop. The temperature pushed the 80 degree mark with loads of sunshine.

8/31/04  Go ahead and really be jealous, because I'm going fishing this morning in less crowded conditions, far away from the weekend traffic.  Ideal seas at 1 foot, or less are predicted with a very light northwest wind of 5 to 10 knots.   
     Here's a very recent catching report from "Strike Zone" Charters and Capt. Jay:
"The fishing for the week end was just short of being fantastic with the exception of the weather. The fish were very active from the pier heads at first and last light. All the way out to 400 feet of water. In the deeper water you had to fish "DEEP" my shallowest rigger was 110' Friday and Saturday. Sunday things changed a little, as I was taking a few fish around the 70' foot level. But the 120 - 150 down on riggers was still the best. I was running your Reel Flashers and meat 15 - 20 feet behind the ball and 2.3 mph at the ball. By the middle of the week, things should be set up nicely and we should have a normal August fishery with fish being taken much shallower"...Capt. Jay Frolenko Click for a slaughter job by "Strike Zone!"

8/30/04  You've often heard me speak about the Flint Chapter of the Steelheaders. Why? ......because as a group, they're a highly dedicated bunch of Salmon fishermen that boasts one of the largest membership lists in the statewide MI Steelheaders organization.  This fine team knows how to put on a Spring Sport Fishing Show! I just reserved 20 feet of booth space for their March 2005 event in Birch Run.  I have to make plans now for the 2005 season, even though this one is far from over.
    Here's a heads-up on the Salmon off the Port of Manistee:  Most of the Kings that have been caught are still silver and haven't turned reel-dark yet.  I think the opportunities for adult Kings might remain strong until the 3rd week of Sept. by the looks of things now.  We'll just have to wait and see if my prediction holds up?
I received a whale of a testimonial from Capt. Craig Kent from Killin Time Charters here in Manistee, as he boxed 18 Kings.  Most on my flashers and meat rigs. If you'd like to see a new red 2005 prototype flasher and a full box of 18 Kings? here.

8/30/04  Supplemental Entry: Capt. John's On-Line Reel-Flashers had another feather put in it's cap by the winning boat, "Sand Dollar."  This vessel is skippered by Allen Zubek and over half his catch came on the King Kobra.  This info was relayed to me by his brother, Mike Zubek who came into the last spot on the podium (3rd place) with the very same flasher.  Sand Dollar's winning fish came on the King Kobra, Lemon-Lime and Black Mamba.  Capt. Mike Zubek aboard the "Zoobie Do" reported equal success with the Yellowtail and Lemon Lime "Reel-Flashers."  
     My personal congratulations to Capt. Steve "Roscoe" Burns aboard the "Burn's Unit" for taking the honors of "Lake Michigan Captain" of the Year title.  Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort tourneys put on by the Flint Chapter of the Steelheaders were all won by the boats that were towing my "Reel-Flashers." No brag, just fact!

8/29/04  I ran into Carol S. yesterday while eating lunch yesterday.  Carol is our  DNR creel census operator for the Ports of Ludington and Manistee.  She worked the public boat launch in Manistee yesterday morning and reported the average catch from the sports-fleet was 4 to 7 Kings per vessel.  Her words that interested me most was a 29 and 30 pound King she weighed-in on that very same morning.  I heard "Trout Scout's" Capt. Gary landed a 32 1/2 pound whopper last Thursday.  
    These are the best reports on big fish I've been made aware of all season.  So, it's looks like there's some super-hog Salmon waiting for those who prowl the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan.

8/28/04  After the sorry and very windy forecast the pressure on the lake off the Port of Manistee was pretty light yesterday.  It was a tough go for several of the charter boats, as some did and some didn't.  At depths of a 140 to 160 down, even having action, let alone boating fish is a big deal.  Detroit Steelheaders have a tournament in Manistee and the Flint Chapter is holding one in Frankfort.  Once the outcome of these events are made known to me, I'll share that info with you.
    I plan on fishing most everyday this coming week with catching not the focus, but researching what works best and what's not so hot.  I have some irons in the fire for 2005 and now is the time to test.  Forecast north blow (if we get it?) will help bring the fish up to a more reasonable depth.  We need shallower fish!

8/27/04   More reports of salmon being caught at 140 feet and deeper, as several charter operators have added more cable to their down riggers.  I know this is hard to believe, but it is the honest reel-truth.  
    I got another story that equally as hard to have faith in.  Rough water has meant several boats have not been able to get out on the big water as of lately.  Len T (a local) and Steve turned their efforts towards Manistee Lake yesterday morning and caught Salmon in the south end of Manistee Lake on my Reel-Flashers and meat rigs.  The water temp in the little lake has to be in the mid-70s and catching Salmon in bathwater is hard to fathom.  Steve and Len T stopped by my place for more meat and flashers and that's how I came by this information on Manistee Lake.
     I added what my cut herring looks like to today's update, so you could see for yourself how great hand-trimmed herring fillets look!  Plus, for only 14 dollars you get 48 pieces of herring to fish with. I like the side I leave the tail attached to the best. Is 29 cents per chunk cost effective?........Yep! Click for Capt. John's favorite bait!

8/26/04  I was gonna fish Frankfort today with Dave Richey, but Mother Nature decided we need more wind and rough seas.  Three to five footers in any boat is not my idea of reasonable conditions to fish in.  Even with a flowing large sea, many fish are lost against the surge of the boat when a good sized wave shoves your boat.
      I did a major oops yesterday!  I forgot to thank Ben J. and John J. for helping me with the TV Show deal.  Without John J's support?.....there wouldn't even have been a show (his boat) and Ben's fast reflexes by not missing a strike.  So, we could have looked far worse then our final outcome.  Just imagine taking a TV Show host on essentially what amounted to a shake down cruise on a boat, cuz.......that's exactly what happened!  We sure were not as prepared as I would have liked to have been.  Until we boated "fins n tails" the pressure cooker was incredible, as we worked the bugs out of our program and boat.  I think luck saved this one for us!

8/25/04   We successfully completed a TV Show for Channel 9 & 10 based in Cadillac and Traverse City last evening.  Dan Boss is the host of their show called, "Hook and Hunting" and probably the easiest TV personality I ever worked with.  The show will air around 4:30 this Thursday and once again early Friday morning, or at least that's what I can remember. Click here for Dan video taping a Reel-Flasher
    This was only the second time we had John Johnson's 22 foot "Megan Ann" in the water this season.  We tried back in May, but ran into an over heating problem.  Well, the "Megan Ann" was tad cantankerous in the beginning, but took off and ran like a scared rabbit once all the cylinders cleaned out. We finally got lines set around 6pm and had 6 hits and boated 4 Kings to the higher teens..  We pulled rods around 8:30pm and headed in.  We started out very slow, and it looked like a bust until we figured out the fish were deep, and I mean a 130 to 140 feet down!
     In retrospect we could have done this promotional event on several of the charter boats I know.  But, that wouldn't reflect what a boat equipped with 2 down riggers, no expensive temperature sensing equipment, a basic graph and 2 diver rods could do with cut herring and my flashers.  Did we set the world on fire?.....heck no, far from it, but we didn't get skunked either.   All the hits came on the Fish On Green Label whole herring I filleted, hand trimmed and treated in my special, highly classified brine sauce.....this stuff really works!  All of our private message board members know the exact ingredients and mix I use.  Do you?

8/24/04  Captain's Log Supplemental:  Looks like we got a winner on our hands!
Here's an unsolicited testimonial from a highly popular charter operator in Manistee:

Hi John, "Fishing was made much more difficult last weekend by high winds and warm water temperature. The break when one actually existed was up to 160 feet down. We were able to take fish every day in fair numbers although every trip was cut short due to sick customers. Our best by far was the King Cobra prototype in the very deep water and early mornings. This Reel-Flasher pulling meat took about a dozen fish for us this weekend. The only problem I had with it is that I only have ONE and I would have run 3 or 4 early if I had them. Please send more! The glow tape made all the difference as the un-taped proto took fish but not like the Cobra." 
Capt. Craig Kent, Killin' Time Charters    Click here for "King Kobra"

8/24/04  August seems to be far windier then what I consider normal.  A bunch of blow days has made fishing difficult, due to very rough seas.  Let's all hope then wind lays down and gives the weekenders a fair shot at the fish!
    Dave Richey started an article about my journey into the land of the tackle business last Saturday.  Here's Dave's exact words, "Here’s a heads-up. Check out, and go to Outdoor Page. Click on it, and you’ll see a smiley face of John King holding a Reel Flasher, another photo of three Reel Flashers, and a story about you and your Reel Flasher and Cut-Bait Rig. Any word on the fishing date? ........The weather forecast doesn’t look too great for this week. 
Touch base." -- Dave
   Gonna shoot for this Thursday in Frankfort, if all goes well.

8/23/04  Not much to report on from yesterday's results.  It was far to rough and most boats took a few fish, before calling it quits and heading in.
    I've had several good reports on the new "King Cobra."  Before I turn this new colored flasher loose, I want to see it work for myself.  I should be fishing at least 2 days this week for a true test. If it's as good as what I've heard, I'll stock Zajac's with the new flasher before this weekend.  We've got about 3 weeks of good Salmon fishing in front of us yet.  In fact, the best is gonna be the next two weeks according to my records compiled over the last 30 some seasons.
    Also, this week I've have planned a couple promotional events with TV 9 & 10 from Cadillac, MI and another episode with long time friend and the standard other outdoor writers measure themselves by, Mr. Dave Richey.  The 9 & 10 deal will be in Manistee, then on Thursday I'm gonna try to fish Frankfort with Dave Richey.

8/22/04  Promotional duties took up most of my time yesterday.  Here's a fresh report from Strike Zone Charters on yesterday's action.
Hi, John, "The "King Cobra" took another big bite out of the Lake Michigan Salmon population today (A 12 fish limit of kings). We set rods at 6:20 am in 160 feet of water, and at 10:30 am netted our 12th nice King Salmon. Everything was working well this morning as long as it was a dark color and had meat on it. How good was it? It has been along time since I've had FOUR (4) Big Kings on at once. What is even more amazing is that it happened at 9:15 am in the morning and all four were put in the boat. Think meat doesn't work?.... try again! Thanks for the great reel flasher, and when the King Cobra goes into production people are going to be going nuts to get this thing (WOW!)."...Capt. Jay Frolenko Click for Jay's catch  
Please be careful if you're fishing Manistee today, because the seas look fairly substantial.  Here's the wave condition report for 8/22/04:
Today: S winds 15 to 25 knots with gusts to 30 knots. Chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Waves 5 to 8 feet. 
Sun Night: SW winds 15 to 25 knots veering N 10 to 20 knots after midnight. Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Waves 4 to 7 feet subsiding to 2 to 4 feet after midnight. 

8/21/04  While the fishing on northern Lake Michigan could be considered hot, you'd better wear your long-johns, because the temps last night were in the 30 degree range.  Frost-freeze advisories were posted for the interior of the northern portion of Michigan's lower peninsula last night......burrrr.
    Spent most of the day building 15 dozen Black Mambas, as stock for them was running very short.  I have had excellent initial reports from those pulling the yet un-announced "King Cobra" color pattern for my "Reel-Flashers.  Capt. Jay Frolenko stated half his catch on Friday's charter came from this newly designed product.  Plus, you can bet if I'm lending my new to it, it darn well better be good!

8/20/04   I'll have the whole herring (Green Label) in what I consider the perfect size for making hand filleted pieces.  My initial testing has shown these hand trimmed fillets to be superior.  I should have a bunch of it available by this Saturday 8/21/04.
I have a small stock of twink rigs, meat and flashers available at my house.  Please call (800) 552-2009, so a meeting time can be set-up before you arrive.  I'll give you directions when you call, but my place is easy to find, about 11 miles from Manistee.
Forecast for the weekend warrior has improved.  While it's gonna be cool, the seas look to be manageable for trailerable vessels out to harass Manistee.  Please be aware the crowds are far larger, because of an off-season on the other side.  Be courteous, patient and above all............even 1 wrong seldom make's one right!
    Here's a reel-nice note to get when satisfied fisherman re-ordering more flashers:
You're flashers are great!  All my friends are ordering them since they saw my average go from 5 to 12 fish per trip. Thanks for the info on cut bait......Daymon K.

8/19/04  Capt. Jay from Strike Zone charters reported in with a respectable catch in double figures.  Here's his report on yesterday's fishing out of Manistee:  "The fishing was "Scattered."  Keith, Kyle and Jim managed to put 5 coho and 6 kings in the boat today. The best action early was 80-100 feet of water in the 18's, the second action occurred between 11:30 and 12:30 around the 21 line in 190-200 feet of water. Lot's of searching and looking for feeding fish. Also heard of very good action in the 12's.
    I had three patterns working today all on meat. The first was a yellow tail flasher and teaser down 100', the second was lead core and meat rig. The third was a self-made meat rig on a slider five feet above a magnum yellow tail spoon 65' down. Three of the four coho came on the slider setup"........Capt. Jay 

8/18/04  The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse and cool down.  Well, it's never been really all that warm up here this summer anyways.  A cool down generally means strong winds from the north, lumpy seas and the fish scattered thru-out the entire water column from 10 feet to 110 feet.  
    I know this is not good news for the weekend warriors, but that's what's gonna happen.  Let's hope for an improved forecast ASAP.  The next 3 weekends will be the best of the 2004 season according to my past experiences.  Look to Muskegon and north for a safe bet and very heavy boxes of Salmon.  Tonnage time is here!

8/17/04  My friends at the Metro-West Chapter of the Steelheaders had a tournament last Saturday.  Metro-West was the chapter I belonged to in the late 1970s and I learned a ton by attending their meetings.  In fact, one of their guest speakers solved a problem for me that still sticks with me until this day.  
    Capt. Jim Mattis was the speaker and he put me on the straight and narrow about running a stiff release for better hook-ups.  Jim was a leading skipper at the time in Frankfort (1979) and knew his stuff, running about 200 charters a year.  If you have a chapter in your area, please consider joining.  You won't be a stranger for long, being among like minded individuals makes the winter go by more quickly.
    The Metro West tourney was won by Henry Nabors, 2nd place was taken Mark Platt.  3rd place was Randy Emery and my friend Ron Omar took 4th.  Jim Robertson finished a respectable 5th.  Sometime this winter I'll be speaker for Metro West and Huron Valley.  Plan are incomplete at this time, so I will let you know where and when.  I do plan on joining the fledging Manistee Steelheaders once my season slows down a bit.  I'm hoping several of you in this area consider this also.

8/16/04  I had several great reports from Muskegon to Frankfort from this past weekend.  Thanks to everyone who sent them in, I do appreciate your help in keeping us informed.  Especially, with me not being on the water much.
    Let's turn our attention to "Roscoe's" winning combinations on 8/14/04.  Just saying he won the Flint Steelheaders Manistee Tournament does not provide enough info.  His best "Reel-Flashers" were the double glo, clear blade and black mamba.  He fished 2 to 4 miles south of Manistee in 45 to 80 feet of water.  This was a repeat of his performance in 2003 when he used a competitor's flasher.  By using my product he was able to add an additional 40 pounds to his winning tally sheet in 2004.  Most of his catch came 25 to 40 feet down and this is pretty high up in the water column for any attractor to work this effectively.
   The Flint Steelheaders are the power house chapter of the Michigan Steelheaders with more members then any other chapter and has some of the best fishermen in the state as their members.  44 boats participated in last's Saturday's tourney. Also, they put on one of the best spring sport shows in Michigan every March too!

8/15/04  Yesterday was another great one in the annuls of Kingfish Products, LLC.
My friend "Roscoe" aka Steve Burns put another a$$ whipping on the fish and won the highly prestigious Manistee Tournament put on by the Flint Steelheaders.  He winning tonnage was 145 pounds in 10 fish.  He could only weigh a total of 10 fish. His catch included 9 Kings, and there was a 8 pound Coho in the mix.  14.5 pounds per fish will win just about any tourney around.  Also, he was in the harbor by 11:30am!  Let me add, "Roscoe's Raiders" won the Flint Steelheaders tourney in Ludington a couple of weeks ago with "Reel-Flashers" and custom rigged Twinks.  Click for Roscoe's Reel-Flasher winning catch
    His program was 2 downriggers, 2 divers and 2 lead core outfits, with all rods towing my "Reel-Flashers" and meat.  Don't think for a minute the competition wasn't fierce, because it was!  Dave Keene took second place and he won Manistee's big tourney in June.  So, these contestants know how to put fish in the boat.
   "Roscoe" won this event with special hand trimmed whole herring from the Fish On Bait Company I treated in a classified, hush-hush, and very top-secret brine.  Our private message board members will know the exact formula of this special concoction of a highly cost effective fish-killin' solution
this week.  
The reel-question is........................ will you too?

8/14/04  Had lines in the water from about 7am to a little before 11am.  We had 10 bites and boated 7 Kings and one Coho.  I figure we done medium, because I don't push fish production on the seminar deals.  Letting the participants walk away with knowledge is what I always stressed.  At one time we were 8 for 8 and had a perfect record, then a couple of the vile critters fell off.  We fished 3 riggers and 2 divers and used one lead core outfit very sparingly. Click for dockside catch photo   
     More then likely yesterday was the last "on the water" learning experience I'll probably ever offer.  I'd like to say thanks to Capt. Len Mitchell for his participation.  Dave, Jeff, Dave and Roy were more then decent company to spend the morning thanks to all!   Click for hot flashers and meat rigs

8/13/04  Friday the 13th?  No problem, seeing I was born on the 13th, so I'm not too spooky about the Friday 13th thing.  Probably gonna be on the last seminar of my career today, or that's the way it looks.  Demands on my time prevent me from fishing much and a morning on the water is great, but it delays all issues associated with my new tackle business.  Tune in later to see if we did OK, or if the fish won?

8/12/04  The seas almost laid down enough for some brave souls to leave the harbor, later yesterday morning.  I did not hear much from the boats that went out to depths of 60 to 100 feet.  I did hear the new blinkie-winkie J-Plug was tagging a few Kings in and around the pier heads.  Look for improving weather for the weekend warriors.  Starting tomorrow the weather is gonna be on a major improve. Yesterday was cold, wet, damp and very rainy as daytime temps in Manistee struggled to reach the mid-50s.  It was a reel-burrr for a mid-August day, and more Octoberish.

8/11/04  While this blow has not helped the fishermen, it's been manna from heaven for me.  Why?.....because "Roscoe,"  "Big Jon" and "BJ from the our private message board have been shore bound and helping me build flashers.  Like 750 blades were completed yesterday and I have enough stock on-hand to fish more.
    Up until now I was afraid to tell you my Yellowtail flasher was producing in Illinois, Rogers City,  Algoma, WI and all ports on Lake Michigan.  In fact, it's my number one seller!  I kinda kept this quiet, because I didn't have reserve stock and was almost out.  Well, now I can spill the beans!  I have about 400 of those puppies built and looking for a new home.  These special Yellowtails have a voodoo spell installed them guaranteed to produce fantastic results. However, "my staff " was a tad squeamish about killing the chicken, but they did like the half-naked voodoo priestess!
     Let's finish today's update from Cliff who fishes the Illinois waters on Lake Michigan with Reel-Flashers with flies and cut-bait rigs:
     Hey John,........"I have continued to hone my skills on cut bait and now that the Kings  are here, we have been doing great. I was on vacation last week and had a couple of late trips by myself. Leaving at 11 am and fishing for only a couple hours each trip, and same hours with an out of town guest last Friday. Everyone over here was complaining about tough the fishing is and we killed 'em. 
      Lemon Lime, Secret weapon and Yellow/Blue Dolphin have been hot, with Kelly green and Frog flies. I will be back to early hours again this week so Black Mamba with Red early has been very consistent. Of course, I have had to put more orders in for the hot colors. I am starting to corner the market on Reel Flashers.
     I really enjoyed the seminar and meeting you, it has made a great summer even better"......Thanks again, Capt. Cliff  Click here for a Illinois Lk. MI King

8/10/04  Today I came to the realization I have a lot in common with the viewers of this website.  Not having fished for about a week, it was our plan to fish last evening before wind, lightening and rough seas put a kibosh to those plans.  
    When I fished most every day....a mental running log could be kept to point me in kinda the right direction for the next day's outing.  Now?......I don't have a clue, other then what I can glean from the our message board and port reports section.  In that case, with the north blow we're experiencing, I'd first look hard at the harbor and troll towards the shelf.  I know there's a big pile of fish around.  Where is another question after a north blow and cold water is predominately everywhere!
   Well, I guess going fishing is a moot point, cuz here's our weather forecast:
West winds 15 to 25 knots. Isolated showers. Waves 3 to 5 feet. 
West winds 15 to 25 knots. Scattered showers. Waves 3 to 6 feet. 
Tuesday Night
Northwest winds 15 to 25 knots. Scattered showers. Waves 5 to 7 feet. 
Northwest winds 15 to 25 knots. Scattered showers. Waves 3 to 6 feet. 

Small Craft Advisory is in effect 

8/9/04  I tried to sort thru the best reports from last weekend to bring you a great opener for the week ahead.  I settled on Joel O's report from Muskegon, because it best reflects what 19 foot boat and 4 rods can do.  Granted there were others who towed a big spread and caught a few more fish, but they went thru a helluva lot more grief then Joel did.  Here's his report from Muskegon:
      "What a good morning to be on the lake. Went out this morning and set lines at 6:30 in 110'. By the time we got all four lines in the water the dipsy set at 120' back with a green blade and a green twink went. Set it back in the water and a rigger set at 40' went with a black mamba and red twink. Took 3 more kings on that dipsy and rigger by about 7:30. Got number 6 by the back of the boat on the dipsy and just as it got to the back the leader at the hook snapped 
     Thought that was a bad thing, but it turned out to be a good thing, because if we would have landed that one we would have went in. So we kept trolling to 135' and found a surface break. Landed a steelhead on a lead core with a magnum green dolphin spoon. Went back through the break and it went again and so did the black mamba set a 40' both with steelheads. Made two more passes and caught one more steelhead on the core and one king on the secret one with a chartreuse/gold Twinkie set at 50'.
     So, because we lost fish number six, we ended up getting into the steelhead and ended up with a full box of 6 kings and 4 steelhead.
     For a weekend fisherman like me this was one of the best days I have ever had thanks to Captain John and his flashers, the knowledge he has shared with me about running lead core, and fishing in general."..........Capt. Joel

8/8/04   Best catch I heard of yesterday was 15 Kings taken by Capt. Jay Frolenko, who's a firm believer in my flashers and meat rigs.  Other then his very respectable catch I heard a lot of boats came in with 4 to 5 fish, for a fleet consensus.  
     A new member of our message board, named Jerry P. whacked out 6 for a limit of Kings in about an hour yesterday morning on meat and my flashers.  Most fished longer, and didn't have his weight either.  Joe has a pretty interesting product called, "Sport Log Books."  Take a peak at Jerry's books by clicking here
    Another member of our message board put a helluva catch together and was ecstatic with his results with my flashers and meat.  Brian B who skippers the "Fish Weasel" had a meat catch from hell catch during the hours of 10am to 2pm.  For Brain's exact words and fish report click here.  My stuff is the reel-deal and this is a totally un-solicited testament from a satisfied fishermen & purchaser.  If your results do not rival Brian's, may you should consider joining our message

Yeah Buddy, there's a new quality choice of bait in Michigan now!  I'm helping our area's distributor store this new product from Arlington, WA.  Fish On Bait Company now has it's herring available to Great Lakes Salmon fishermen.  Zajac's in Manistee is carrying this fine fish catchin' product.  Zajac's can be reached at (231) 723-5750 and located on US31 about one block south of River Street (Manistee's downtown street) on the east side of US31.
    At 1:35pm in Zajac's I personally witnessed the very first sale of Fish On cut-bait strips & whole herring  This was a world first!  I was extremely proud to witness it.
    I do have bait at my house to help you get started with this bait.  Please let it be known I am not a bait retailer.  Nor do I wish to be in that business, but until more tackle stores starts carrying it and Bob Hicks at begins shipping bait, I will help anyone.  I know this great product will add more fish to your catch.  Fish On is an improved scent enhanced product processed in the good ole' USA by American workers. Click for a freezer full of whole herring bait & strips

8/6/04  In an effort to better serve you, I've hired a new secretary to expedite shipping and handle book keeping.  Click here to see our new team member
Bill from Fish On Bait Company located in in the State of Washington, called me last evening.  He explained they wanted to make sure they'd have the best herring strips on the market and spent several months in researching the brine.  I'd like to congratulate the entire staff at Fish On Bait Company for making quality first on their list, not profit! Click here for a photo journey thru the Fish On Bait factory
    I'll have the new strips, several sizes of whole herring and some samples of mackerel he spoke highly of today. I'm waiting with baited breath for the new stuff.
    Competition in a free market place controls several factors like quality and price.  Up until now, we didn't have much of a choice and we're almost forced to use a foreign product.  My experiences with the foreign made product this season have been very disappointing to say the least.  Several of the strips of cut-bait from the current, or old supplier from the UK literally feel apart while trolling this season.  
    Well, that's all changed now as we enter a "New Dawn" into the land of fishing with cut-bait, because Fish On has came into the picture.  I simply can't wait to fish with a higher quality, scent enhanced product from the Fish On Bait Co.......for sure!

8/6/04  Bill from Fish On Bait Company located in in the State of Washington, called me last evening.  He explained they wanted to make sure they'd have the best herring strips on the market and spent several months in researching the brine.  I'd like to congratulate the entire staff at Fish On Bait Company for making quality first on their list, not profit! 
                          Click here for a photo journey thru the Fish On Company
I'll have the new strips, several sizes of whole herring and some samples of mackerel he spoke highly of today. I'm waiting with baited breath for the new stuff.
    Competition in a free market place controls several factors like quality and price.  Up until now, we didn't have much of a choice and we're almost forced to use a foreign product.  My experiences with the foreign made product this season have been very disappointing to say the least.  Several of the strips of cut-bait from the current, or old supplier from the UK literally feel apart while trolling this season.  
    Well, that's all changed now as we enter a "New Dawn" into the land of fishing with cut-bait, because Fish On has came into the picture.  I simply can't wait to fish with a higher quality, scent enhanced product from the Fish On Bait Co for sure!

8/5/04  A new and much improved bait will soon be on the scene in our choices of what to use when fishing cut-bait.  This breaks the existing monopoly of the current suppliers of the product we've been forced to use.  It's a new "dawn" in what's gonna happen from here on out, because "Fish-On" bait has entered the picture.  I will have the new bait strips available tomorrow and so will Zajac's Bait and tackle in Manistee.  Yep, an improved bait, at a better price......has me happier then a clam!

8/4/04  Swamped with orders, production and general stuff.  I am anchored firmly in my production facility and didn't have time today to find out what's the reel-deal. 
So, I must take advantage of Capt. Jay Frolenko's report: 
"There is a net at the 19.5 Approx. (up towards Onekama). It is a chub net and is marked with a black buoy. I was up that way yesterday morning and put four nice kings in the boat between 6:00 am and 9:30 am. Just a short fishing trip with some 
friends. The fish all came between the 16's and the 19's in 150 to 200 fow and 
90-120 on downriggers. There is also a net in the 6's even in about 95 feet of water, I was down their on Saturday when they where working the net and almost 
got caught up in it. Be careful please!"
         Capt. Jay....Strike Zone Charters.

8/3/05  The latest word from Manistee was not a great one.  Some fish were being caught, but the temperature break was around 100 feet down. Not many Kings were hanging very tight to the shelf straight out of Manistee.  Look to deeper waters.
I learned a very important lesson yesterday.  So, I'll never report on what colors I'm running short on.  I have all colors in stock, but I can foresee a possible storage of my flasher blades in certain colors by the latter part of this month.  If you've even remotely considered ordering, please do so while I have stock left for 2004.
   Let's finish up today's update with a report from Enforcer Charters:
"I didn't have a charter Sunday am, so I rolled my bride out of bed at  0430 and we were setting lines by 0615. By 0715, we had hooked 7 fish and landed four......we didn't have enough arms available. We were cleaning fish by 9am. 4 fish was plenty.
      I found some 43 degree water way away from the flotilla to the north and was the only boat in the area. For five minutes I had three poles in the water. The rest of the hour I had only one that didn't have a fish on it. Also I heard that there is a net in the 19's. I cannot confirm or deny this, but it is worth noting.
     The attached photo is a tribute to what you preach. Re-rigging twinks, black dipsies, and fewer rods all work!......Thank You, Capt. Dave

OK, here it is, the month we've all been waiting for all year, AUGUST!  It's tuna time supreme and the fishing has been excellent out of Manistee, Ludington, Frankfort and ports further south on Lake Michigan.
    Lot's on my plate for today's production schedule.  Yellowtails have been going out my door, as fast as we can make them.  My supply of Wild-Blue Dolphins is running low too.  After today, I'll be in fine shape on standing inventory.  Witchcraft came thru with my lure tape order last Friday.  I have enough product on hand to ship existing orders......or at least I hope so!

8/1/04  All in all.....yesterday was a "good" day for me.  I had the opportunity to get reacquainted with Mr. Lew Tipper.  Lew deserves a helluva lot more credit then he's ever been given for starting up the Orsini Hatchery in Benzie County, MI.   At this hatchery, they hand raise 40,000 Steelhead for the Betsie River with donations from local and statewide fishermen that support this privately funded project.
    My "Reel-Flashers" had a great day in Ludington too!  Capt. Steve "Roscoe" Burns smoked the field of about 40 boats pulling my flashers and meat exclusively.  His victory margin was 30 pounds over his next closest competitor.  Roscoe has crewed for me before and knows exactly how to fish the meat program with expertise that is equal, or surpasses mine.  Plus, he's a heck of a dedicated fisherman and nice guy.