Capt. John's Log 
January, February & March 2005

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Flasher Update
click here for info

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New Office

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Birch Run
Seminar Team

Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log


3/31/05   A couple of weeks from now on Sat. 4/16/05, there is a early spring outing planned to pester the Port of Augres, MI once again.  We had a deal in 2004 when about 10 boats from our private message board members all fished this port on the same day.  The catching was a huge success by all and this year looks to offer more of the same.  This is not a tournament, but more of a get-together for the members and viewers of this website, so don't think it's a haughty, exclusive gathering.  To get an idea of the methods and tactics we used last year to boat 18 fish from Lake Huron (at Augres) in about 4 hours click here.  More info on this outing will be forthcoming as final plans are now being firmed up. 
We had to push this deal back a week to 4/16/05 , because the bay is still frozen over with couple of feet of ice in some places.  4/9/05 is a NOT! 
  Also, today marks the end of the hugely successful 2005 preseason flasher sale. 

3/30/05  Looking for a mint, easy to trailer fishing rig for pennies on the dollar?  Then you might want to check out the 21 foot Crestliner that was just listed by clicking here.  I've been kinda neglectful of mentioning most of the boats that were listed a while back have been sold, or have offers pending.  You reach the right audience when you advertise your boat on this website. 
     Another X-Glow Series world debut with newly redesigned Quad-Glo for the 2005 season.  This blade has pearl transparent fish-scale tape on one side and pearl transparent laser on the other.  There are four different contrasting shades of glow radiating from this awesome blade.  The 2005 Quad-Glo is sure to work as in daylight as good as it does in the dark.  Click here view the 2005 Quad-Glo
     Incidentally, I awoke at 5am yesterday morning after hitting the hay at midnight. Much to my total amazement my X-Glow Series were still carrying a glow any Salmon could find.  These Reel Flashers were only charged with exposure to normal room light and not very close to a lamp either, during that evening  Granted X-Glows are reel-pricey for me to manufacture, but they're more than worth it!

3/29/05  What a wonderful day yesterday was!  63 degrees at 3pm is not hard to take.  Snow drifts are finally melting and March is going out like a tender young lamb.  Spring break and warm weather has peaked the demand for Steelhead on the Manistee, so be forewarned the crowd is immense.
I was hit with a huge demand, far exceeding any expectations with the new X-Glow Flasher line.  My total inventory of Silver Ghosts and Bluetails was depleted by 2pm yesterday.  I hope to re-stock soon and introduce more devastating patterns in X-Glow Series as the season continues on. 

3/28/05  Photographing day-glo colors continues to be a reel-problem.  The new X-Glow Mean Green is several shades darker the Yellowtail.  Mean Green is sure to be a weapon of mass Salmon destruction in the 2005 season.  
     Too busy with orders, as the predicted 50 and 60 degree weather has turned thoughts toward spring in a huge way.  Coho at St. Joe (Cook Power Plant), and Mr. Steel Head are in the has to be spring finally! Click for X-Glow Flashers

3/27/05  Have an enjoyable and safe Easter Holiday.  Tomorrow will be the world debut of my new team of X-Glow Reel Flashers. Soon you'll be able to add these super-deadly Salmon attractors to your boat's arsenal at:
    I posted a couple of color patterns from Silver Streak spoons that are included in the X-Glow Reel Flasher family.  I must give recognition to Chip Cartwright for the original and very lethal "Bluetail" paint scheme.  Most in the tackle business never give credit, where credit is due!  Click here for the Yellowtail and Bluetail designs

3/26/05  Product development was my deal yesterday and I must thank Chip Cartwright from Wolverine Tackle (Silver Streak) for turning me on to the exact fluorescent paint they use to paint their glow Yellowtail spoon.  Which is, was and were my very best spoon in Manistee for several seasons during July and August. Needless to say, I now have a exact Yellowtail extended glow Reel Flasher.  The job for today is to paint several more.  Click for the new glow Yellowtail Reel Flasher.
I am truly in debt to Chip Cartwright, because this paint is a lot easier to use and provides superior coverage with less passes of the air brush.

3/25/05  Let's take yesterday's update one step further and bring shed some light on the subject of spring run of Steelhead in the Big Manistee River.  Ted and Stefan's morning choice was downstream from Bear Creek where fresher run fish had just entered the system and what many call, "chromers, or silver bullets." 
Click here for 2 chromers and a double striped male caught on 3/23/05
     Ted and Stefan fished 14 miles further upstream and much closer to Tippy Dam in the afternoon.  They caught another fish close to High Bridge.  That darker fish featured in today's photo is what the BMR locals call, "a double striper."  Meaning a richly colored male with a crimson stripe along his lateral line and another separate stripe developing closer to it's belly.  Spawning males will tend to color up far more then hens (females), as many species do in nature to sexually attract mates. If you have trouble identifying between a male and a female Steelhead, just remember males have a larger mouth and it hinged further back behind the eyeball.  Plus, the larger males will grow a pronounced hooked jaw, called a kipe.
     Now, with the laws of nature pertaining to homo sapiens (us), things are kinda different with the females often painting their lips red, cheeks rosy, dying their hair and other added various sundry colors to their eyelids.  Our species quest for a strong and varied gene pool shows that DNA works in very strange ways indeed!

3/24/05    Stefan and Ted fished the Big Manistee River yesterday with pretty decent results.  Both of these dedicated anglers remind me of myself 30 years ago, with the passion and desire to become more then just your average "Joe-Fisherman!"
They're willing to put in the time to learn where to fish on a snag infested river.
     They fished below Bear Creek in the morning and took a couple of good sized spring run Steelhead on Black and Gold Willies Worms (click for photo). Then in the afternoon I managed to meet them at High Bridge for a brief tour of some of my past "honey holes" on this section of the big river.  I showed Ted some likely areas to produce and departed for duties that needed attention in my work shop.  They managed to score on another Steelhead later that afternoon on one of my tips.

3/23/05  Capt. Brian Hietala from Addiction Charters reported the Steelhead action on Muskegon River was a tad on the slow side.  Colder water temperatures seems holding the Muskegon fish back for the time being.
    Sixth Street Dam in Grand Rapids was hot over this past weekend.  As one report was relayed to me, a savvy angler had to quit from aching arms.  He had landed and released 17 Steelhead, having hooked and battled with several more escapees.
    Capt. Jay from Strike Zone Charters was also on the stick with a timely report from Manistee River.  He took 3 Iron Heads up high on the gravel, just below and by the Sawdust Hole.  According to Jay, the water was 35 degrees, clear and below average flow for this time of year.  With 35 degree water right now, I predict the best is yet to come on the big river.  38 degrees is the magic spawning number.   Click here for catch on 3/22/05

3/22/05   So, you might think you're a big deal in the Salmon tournaments?  Now's your chance to get off the porch and run with tournament big dogs in a new mega-bucks tourney this summer. The payout for winning (first place) is supposed to be in the neighborhood of $35,000.00 and the entry fee is just a measly 5K.  The field is limited to 20 entrants and I guess, 7 spots are already filled.  
     This super tournament is in late July, or early August 2005.  It's in the process of being put together by Alfred "Fred" MacDonald who could be one of Manistee's true visionaries.  However, his intensely close association with the organization that runs the commercial netting operations clearly shows, he is not on the same side of the moral issues, as I am.  The date on this super-tourney is after the casino sponsored events, which I strongly recommend all of you boycott for obvious reasons!  
     Especially, after you see the new nets to go in off the Port of Manistee in 2005.  Further diminishing the areas you have to fish and the sportfish mortality concern of all netting in general.

3/21/05   Jason Bialik was kind enough to inform us all, Steelheading is kicking into high gear on the Big Manistee River.  Jason is a guide and can be reached by calling (231) 510-7443.  His report also mentioned the action was good on the lower end from the M55 Bridge up.  Plugs with orange have been the good guys as of lately.
The next 2 weeks will be prime time for spring Iron Noggins.  Click for Steelie pic

3/20/05  At 7:33am this morning spring was ushered into Manistee with recent snowfall, gusty winds, and chilly, if not darn-right cold temperatures.  March 2005 has not been a pleasant month in my neck of the woods....'nough said!
         click here for a very un-spring-like view of my front yard on 3/20/05

3/19/05  Capt. Jay is at the Grand Rapids Sport, Boat and Fishing Show in case you live around GR.  He has a good selection of flashers and is willing to answer any and all questions about correct product usage.
    Weatherman told a fib about how nice the first day of spring was gonna be tomorrow.  His updated forecast is for up to 8 inches of snow beginning at 4am today!  There will be no joy in my household about delayed spring-like weather

3/18/05  Today is the world premier of my new fluorescent blue flasher blades.  I have a double glow-taped version, called the "Blue Double Glow."  The blue flashers seem to work best thru July and all season long out of the all ports in Indiana, Illinois and Harbor Beach, MI.   Our message board members are compiling a list of their best Reel Flashers colors and at what port too.  Long before you wet a line on the big ponds, these guidelines available to all viewers of this website. There's a wealth of untapped knowledge at our private board.
     The best news is spring starts this coming Sunday at 7:33am in Manistee County!  The weather is supposed to break for the better too, with highs here in the 40s.  It's been a long busy winter for me and I am overjoyed to see winter 2005 march into the history books.  I am light years ahead of last season in product development and production and look forward to serving you in the 2005 season.

3/17/05  Yesterday was a good day, because the new extended glow flashers blades were delivered.  This material is far superior then the old regular glow in injection molded plastics.  Full sun will not damage this new flasher, so it won't turn gray and loose it's glow effect if you forget and leave it out in the sun too long.
      The new style titanium particle glow loves to be charged by direct sun and the glow will last far longer too.  We're all gonna have to learn a few things though, like how to charge the new Quad Super Glow flashers correctly.  If you're gonna throw this stuff down at first light, brief exposure to any light will make them glow.  However, for maximum duration of glow, expose these flashers to a black, UV light for the early morning line setting duties (before the sun comes up).
      I am exceptionally proud of my production team that perfected the new extended, super glow flasher (available on, or before 4/1/05).  Coming up with the right formula and the exact properties I required was no easy task for them.  
      At this time, I believe we have another "world first" going for the totally 100% American made Reel Flashers.  To the best of my knowledge, there is no other tackle manufacturer in the world that has a super-glow pearl-white appearing injection molded attractor in daylight and a green-glow when it's charged up.
                        Click here for the new Quad Super Glow Flasher
As you can probably tell, I am pretty stoked, enthused & clearly excited to raise the standards of the today's Salmon tackle with these new super-glow flashers.

3/16/05  Word from the Big Manistee is very mixed.  The anglers that fished below Bear Creek struggled, while the gang up higher towards Tippy Dam, did fair.  The reason is: water temps during cold spells.  So, I'll let you in on some info you might be able to use to your advantage in the future.  The water coming out of Tippy is generally warmer in early March, and with the polar express as of late, the further you go down river the colder the water gets.  Of course colder, also equates to lower metabolism rates of the downstream fish.  Meaning, less aggressiveness from Mr. Steel Head.  The same thing occurs in reverse later in March and April when the water has a chance to warm-up from run-off and solar power, as the river winds 27 miles down towards Manistee Lake.  File this kinda of stuff away if you're gonna fish the Big Manistee River at this time of year.  It could make a huge difference!

3/15/05  Normally, I'm never of the side of our DNR, but it's pretty simple to see the unbalanced King Salmon Fishery we now have.  Just like an overcrowded pond full of stunted Bluegills, our Salmon are definitely shrinking.  Manistee used to boast the amount of Master Angler Kings this port registered every year.  Master Angler sized Kings are fish over 27 pounds and used to be fairly easy to come by.  Not so nowadays, with adults ranging from 12 to 16 pounds comprising the majority of the fish take.  12 to 16 pounds is a good size for a Coho who spend far less time in the Great Lakes then Kings, or Chinooks do.
                                   Click here for a King way over 31 pounds
     At one time, not too far back, seldom if ever, you caught any Kings under 20 pounds off the waters of Manistee.  Sure you had to work a little harder and limit catches were not the norm, but the Kings were simply huge.  If fact, in 1996 we took to Kings over 30 pounds on the same charter excursion.  We had 63 pounds of big, bad-dad Salmon in two fish!!!  I doubt if that feat could be duplicated with 4 Kings from 2004 on a steady basis.  I've always opted for quality over quantity!
     I expect the DNR to cut our King plant and that's fine with me, however more effort towards increasing the Steelhead plant should be given a long hard look.  Steelhead's preferred forage base is insects and they spend most the summer slurping bugs off the surface.  Any DNR hatchery monies saved by not raising Kings should be invested into other alternative species.  We need a stronger strain of Brown Trout, more Steelhead, and viable population of Coho.  We can not, under any circumstances, chance the disaster that happened to Lake Huron in 2004.

3/14/05   I came across some interesting info supplied by one of our private message board member (who will remain anonymous).  It a report from the SWG, which stands for the Salmon Work Group involving DNR hierarchy from various states.
    SWG's recommendations include: revising harvest objectives-too many fish are being caught at an unsustainable rate. Set objectives for catch rate. Develop a management plan. Evaluate stocking strategies - balance predator/prey levels. Use decision model to assess risk. 
    Conclusions 1. Similar to 1998, current conditions suggest harvest and catch rates are high and unsustainable. Size at age is low. Extremely good year class of alewife in 1999 account for pattern of larger salmon in 2000-2003. 2004 indicates are marked reduction in size of chinook. 2005 balance of predators to prey will remain out of balance. 
    Interestingly 25-30% of smolts stocked in Lk Huron were caught and reported out of Lake michigan.  More on this topic tomorrow.

3/13/05  Spent a bunch of time remodeling the webstore pages where Reel Flashers are listed for sale.  There's several unseen flashers like the Silver Bullet, Silver Ghost, Wild Canary, Wild "Secret" One....etc.  Replacing all the photographs of all Reel Flashers is a long, arduous task on dial-up!  I hope to have the work done today at the 
                   Regular Series Flashers and Glow Series Flashers.
I am totally beyond geeked!  I got better then 90 minutes of glow out of the new and soon to be for sale, extended glow flashers.  I charged the super-glo blade with direct sunlight for about a 1/2 hour.  Click here for extended glow blade

3/12/05  I'm in the process of testing the proper mix of extended glow from casting my flashers in the new modern titanium glow.  I will have a limited amount in the first production run.  I'm in the analysis phase right now, checking on the right way to charge these blades and the duration of glow.  The new glow material requires a longer exposure to UV, but I hit the test blade 3 times with my camera's flash and got a good solid 30 minutes.  Full charging by longer periods of exposure to UV light will extend the glowing quite a bit longer, or so I'm told.  Click for titanium grn-glow

3/11/05  Things are rapidly moving towards the completion stage of my new meat heads.  Yesterday, I spoke with the company that is making the die and they informed me it was almost done.  I should have test-shot sample meat heads soon. 
     The new heads will be made from a far superior material then what's out there now.  You will have a bullet-proof product from me that will not loose it's shape.  Each head will perform the same exact spin rate, unlike the current overpriced foreign imported products.  I feel by, or around the first part of April, Capt. John's Reel-Meat Heads will be good to go!

3/10/05  Next week looks good if you're a Steelhead aficionado.  Mid-day temps will be improving, when compared to the frigid conditions we have to endure this week.  The water temp in the Big Manistee River up by Tippy Dam is a chilly 35 degrees.
     I've had decent catches in 35 degrees and colder, but it always seemed to me, once the water moved above the 36 degree mark the Iron-noggins got a little more active.  Look to the slower water with deep cuts next to the bank, fish tight and very, very slowly.  Smaller lures like; Willies, Warts and Tots might provoke a lazy half-frozen Steelhead into opening it's yap!  Click for T4, four hook Flatfish
     T-4 Flatfish with the 4 hooks on 2 spreader bars will rule when the water temp rises above 38 degrees.  T-4s are an extremely high action lure, but the fish seem to shy away from them in the reel-cold water.  40 to 50 feet of line off the reel, from the tip of the rod is enough to provide good lure depth and control.  Anchor at the top of a hole, or "run" and slide down thru the likely water slowly, with plenty of pauses.  Then watch for a bone-jarring, hard smack with the rod almost being torn from the rod holder and you'll see why many become addicted to this sport (like me).
    The great thing about the T-4 Flatfish is that 20# Ande Clear does not inhibit the lure's action one iota.  The 20# is a good insurance policy on snagging the bottom, break-offs and tangling with the extreme nasty attitude all Steelhead are born with!

3/9/05  Capt. Jay will be taking my Reel-Flashers to the Lansing Sport, Boat and Fishing Show coming up this weekend.  This show begins on Thursday 10th of March and concludes on Sunday the 13th of March 2005.  Capt. Jay is willing to answer any and all of your questions about my product and cut-bait.  His booth number is 265 and it's located across from the bass tank.
      Catch up is the name of my game.  Being gone for 4 days at the Birch Run show put me a hole so deep, I need a step ladder to crawl over a dime.  I did manage to semi-restock the special "'2005 Flasher Update Pack."  I have a limited amount of these packs available.  The last time I had this offering, it sold out within a week.  If you missed the last flasher update deal, you can order by clicking here.
    Hopefully, I can dig up some info on the status of the Steelhead fishing in the Big Manistee today.  From past experiences, I'd say, "last weekend was decent, but the recent polar cold snap has slowed the fishery."  It's winter again in the north!

3/8/05  Being home after last weekend's busy days feels good!  Unloading my show booth, catching up on internet orders & sorting inventory was my task yesterday.
     I found out some very interesting reel-facts while at the Flint Steelheaders Show.  Things like; all 3 summer Flint Steelheaders Lake Michigan tournaments were won by boats using my Reel-Flashers.  Their last tourney in Frankfort, all 3 top places were taken by boats with my flashers in the water.  
    The Detroit Steelheaders 2004 "Captain of the Year" also stopped by our booth and let me know he used my stuff too.  Which was greatly appreciated!
     The thing I liked best about the seminar on Sunday was the round of applause my Reel-Flashers got when I mentioned they were 100% American Made and always will be.  You will never see an off-brand bozo ball-bearing swivel on my nose swivel just because I can save a few cents and enhance the profit margin.  If you're trying to become the standard of the American tackle industry, you'd better use Sampo swivels, because their swivel is the premium standard of the industry.

3/7/05    Saying thank you to all who came to the Birch Run show with my deepest gratitude somehow doesn't seem enough to cover my most honest, sincere feelings.  Sometimes words just are not adequate, at least the one's that come to my mind!
     It was one helluva reel-deal for me to meet the many, many members of our private message board (about 200).  I guess a word that fits is "overwhelmed" by the response to this website and my Reel-Flashers.  
    Me be able to travel to Birch Run was made possible by Steve "Roscoe" Burns who helped me kick out 700 flashers prior to the Flint Steelheaders do, then haul them to the show on time!  Another person I owe my gratitude to is Capt. Jay Frolenko who help produce flashers and most important; haul my dog and pony show to Birch Run.
     Our seminar team was truly awesome!  I know this to be a reel-fact, because they captured a 100% of my attention, and I suffer from Adult ADD!  Our two seminars broke entirely new ground on being able to target Salmon and Trout at depths exceeding 150 feet.  Larry Hartwick spoke about Lakers 175 feet down off Harrisville on Lake Huron last summer.  Capt Jay shared his experiences on catching Salmon 175 to 225 feet down off Manistee last August.   Capt. "Roscoe" explained his no hassle, simplified and easy approach to winning Lake Michigan tournaments.  In fact, "Roscoe,"  Capt. Jay and Larry Hartwick are some of the finest public speakers I ever seen, or heard! 
                              Click here for the reel 2005 seminar team.
     Also, I must thank Bill Aldridge from the Fish On Bait for flying into Michigan from the State of Washington for his help on Saturday afternoon's seminar.  Bill is in the process of sending me step by step photos on how to plug-cut whole herring.  This inside, professional info will be reserved for message board members

3/6/05  Busy is reel-deal at the Flint Steelheaders yesterday and today.  I should have a more thorough update for you tomorrow as I am pressed time for time right now.

3/5/05  Setup for the Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, Mi went very well today and it was my complete pleasure to met many of you!  We're still in good shape for the new flashers that were introduced about a week ago.  Click for setup & booth
     As promised, we have a special guest for my scheduled seminar today at 5pm.  Mr. Bill Aldridge from Fish-On Bait from the State of Washington has flown into the Flint Airport and is now in Birch Run.  Bill will be assisting with my presentation  and doing demonstrations on how to plug-cut whole herring.  I still have a secret guest speaker waiting in the wings along with Capt. Jay Frolenko to enlighten us all on their productive methods of filling the fish box with Reel-Flashers and cut-bait.

 3/4/05  Today will be spent setting up booths 7 & 8 in the north building of the Birch Run Expo Center for the Flint Steelheaders Boat and Fishing Show.  The show will begin at 4pm.  Our booth will be staffed by Dave Schmittou from Fish-On Bait.  Dave is our state's distributor and will have frozen herring for sale at the show.
    Capt. Jay will be assisting also, with his emphasis on booking river Steelheading adventures and Lake Michigan charters.  Capt. Jay is very knowledgeable and for the quality of service he offers.....his rates are a reel-bargain!  He will be part of my seminars and what he has to share with you, probably has never been heard before!
    I have 3 on the water seminars planned for the 2005 big lake season.  I will be co-captaining an event with Capt. Jay on the last Saturday in July.  I have a couple more to schedule in Ludington with Capt. Paul Vantol  and those will be a little earlier in the season (more on the exact dates later).  Click here for more show info

3/3/05  Special 3:00pm Update:  Please check out the instructions for the Expo Center.  Now that I'm in Birch Run, MI.....I finally figured out and know exactly where the place is at! Click for updated instructions for the Expo Center

3/3/05  In all honesty I have to admit, "I am a little excited by the advent of the Birch Run Steelheaders Show starting tomorrow!"  Anticipation of spring after a long winter and the soon to be heard, "fish-on" is enough to get anyone's blood boiling.
   Let's blow the lid off the 3 fly meat rigs in a huge way.  I have new offer called the Super-Fly Special; $79.95 buys everything you need to build 27 three fly rigs!  And if that wasn't good enough, there will special pricing on my new meat heads when my first production run is completed in about 3 weeks.  Click for Super-Fly Kits
   I will have both the $79.95 and 50 dollar kits with me at the Birch Run Show, along with the full line Reel-Flashers.  We're in the North Building in booths numbers 7 & 8.

3/2/05  The Lion of March has roared into Manistee County!  We'll had well over a foot of snow in the past few days and more is predicted.  Overall snowfall for the season here is still down by about 30%, so this winter hasn't been all that terrible.
     Packing-up my dog and pony show for the Flint Steelheaders Show, starting this Friday at 4pm at the Birch Run Expo Center is the task at hand for today.  
     This could the last sport show I'll ever do.  The logistics and demands of being gone, means way too much to do when returning home from the show.  So, playing catch-up will be the name of the game all next week!  There's a bunch of exciting new products on the way and major announcements will be made at my seminars.

3/1/05  Work has began on my page about the Flint Steelheaders upcoming show starting this Friday March 4th, 2005.  This chapter is noted for putting every dime they make from their fishing show into the fishing minded projects.  Funds from them help built the public fish cleaning stations at Port Sanilac and Port Austin.  Also, they support the Orsini Hatchery on the Betsie River.  All members donate their time to the show for free.  I'd like to personally thank all of the Flint Steelheaders for the  good they've done.  My hat is off to the entire membership.  Click for show info

2/28/05  Capt Jay's 2/26/05 report for the Big Manistee River: "What a beautiful day on the river, no wind, temps in the 30's and light snow. The river was as scenic as any post card I've ever seen.  To make it even better Roy and John joined me, and were equally impressed with the striking beauty of this famed river. The fish also cooperated! Today we boated three dandy steelhead on Willie Worms, and lost a bright fresh-run fish."........Capt. Jay Frolenko  Click for their Steelhead photo
     Tomorrow's update will key in on the great public service accomplishments of the Flint River Valley Steelheaders and why I'm 1000% behind this first-rate group!

2/27/05  Far to busy readying my supply of flashers to do a meaningful update.
I have a pretty decent river report of Capt. Jay Frolenko that will be posted tomorrow.  While Sundays should be a day of rest, mine is gonna be spent making sure I have enough stock on-hand for the upcoming show at Birch Run, MI.

2/26/05  Finally got to the bottom of why the Flint Steelheaders jockeyed my seminar time back an hour.  It was to accommodate Jerry Bechhold who designed the flat rotator with a slanted, perpendicular fin.  I've spoken with Jerry several times on the phone and don't mind giving him a free plug here.  
     Bechhold has his hands full trying to regain competitive market share from Church Tackle and Dreamweaver's popular, Spin Doctor.  Both of these companies put forth a very similar replicate of his Fish Catcher, aka the "hoochie mama."
     I feel no need to knock someone else's product to sell mine.  I've ran differing brands of finned flashers and used the results as a test bed for my early 2003 prototype Reel Flashers.  I do know my product better appeals to the negative to neutral fish that we all have to deal with after 9am in the morning.  If my test results would have shown different, I'd have cobbled up something with a fin like Church and Dreamweaver did to avoid infringing on Jerry Bechhold's patent rights.

2/25/05  Finally got caught up on all orders and I'm no longer swamped.  The first four days of this week were pretty darn busy.  Far too hectic to gather much worthy fishing info.  My most sincere gratitude goes out to all who made my first offering of new model Reel Flashers in 2005 a mega reel-success!
    My duties for today mean doing a web-page for the upcoming show with a schedule of the dates, times and exact location of the Birch Run Expo Center.  As February draws to a close,......we all have the 2005 season to look forward to!

2/24/05  A most important correction is in order for my seminar time on Sunday, March the 6th.  I had my time moved back an hour to 11:30am, instead of the 10:30am time slot that was posted earlier.  This move was necessary to help my friends at the Flint Steelheaders to make room for another speaker. 11:30am is a better time opening anyways, allowing for more travel time on Sunday morning.
     The south end of Manistee Lake by the Little Manistee River has several areas of open water.  The Big Manistee River has cut a channel to the US31 Bridge, then on to Lake Michigan.  The US31 Bridge has been closed and is due to open again March 1st.  Having Manistee's main artery disabled means a major disruption of traffic for local businesses.

2/23/05  Today I'm gonna play hardball with my fellow tackle manufacturers.  I am challenging them to use all-American content like I have.  In case they didn't know, Michigan has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs to foreign out-sourcing.  
     To make matters worse, seldom if ever are the savings passed down to the consumer when a company replaces an American made part with some piece made overseas.  Could I make more profit per unit if I used a bozo Pacific rim ball bearing swivel and lure tape from China, or India?  Probably, but I wouldn't even consider it!
     I sleep a lot better at night knowing the bottom line and the rules of acquisition do not govern my life.  I will have complete verification with me at the Birch Run Steelheader's Show and challenge the other tackle manufacturers to produce documentation of a totally 100% American made product like I have.

2/22/05  Capt. Jay Frolenko reported in with the word on the Muskegon and Manistee Rivers.  While the Muskegon was getting cloudy, the Manistee is still kinda clear.  Water temperature at High Bridge on the big river was in the 34 to 35 degree range at mid-day.  Both of these famed rivers were about the same when it comes to Steelhead output.  2 to 3 a day seems to be the norm for now.
     Office work ate up my yesterday, with flasher production my main task.  I might have a representative from Fish On Bait from the State of Washington help us at our booth in the Flint Steelheader's Birch Run Show coming a week from this Friday.
My seminar schedule for this show is 5pm on Saturday, March the 5th and Sunday at 10:30am.  Look to hear a simplified down to earth approach to fill your box from me.

2/21/05  Spring 2005 officially is less then 4 weeks away!  The Flint Steelheaders will soon be holding mid-Michigan's oldest spring fishing show in Birch Run, MI, starting a week from this coming Friday.  So, I'd say the 2005 season is on the way! 
    I introduced some of my new model line for 2005 in today's photo.  The King Kobra, Black Mamba Glow, the Undertaker and King Krimson are in production.  My flasher is totally 100% American made.  My suppliers of Sampo Swivels, Witchcraft Tape (WTP), Roscoe Swivels, Bohning Paint and paint from Component Systems are all companies from states that surround our Great Lakes, which I found to be an interesting reel-fact!  Reel-Flashers are a premium product in-tune with patterns and colors for our Great Lakes Salmon Fishery.
                           Click here for the 2005 flasher photo

2/20/05  This website is officially closed today for the Daytona 500 (on the Fox Network), which I religiously watch on TV every year.  All American industries and sports should take a long hard look at the overwhelming spectacular success of NASCAR.  A bunch of former moon-shiners and the southern boys built NASCAR into the most popular form of wheeled motor racing in the USA!

2/19/05  Clearing up production issues of my new 2005 Reel Flashers is my task for today.  Also, I need to say thanks to Capt. Len Mitchell from helping me yesterday afternoon with the new 2005 Black Mamba Glows.  
      I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict the glow Black Mamba will be my best selling flasher in 2005.  I tested this particular flasher last October the 10th, 2004 and it was by far the best rig we had in the water (we only ran one).  The glow Mamba rig produced more fish per rod, based on a 5 rod spread and equaled the production of the other 4 rods.  Plus, it generated our 3 biggest fish (of a 6 King, 2 person limit).  Stats like this are plain impossible to ignore.

2/18/05  I guess the biggest news I ran across was the Blue Water Classic no longer is relegating Lake Trout to second class citizenry.  
     Back in the about the middle 1980s, a boat named the "Hobbit" ran from Harbor Beach to Grindstone City and came back with a full box of Lakers.  The "Hobbit" won the Blue Water Classic in 1986 with Lakers.  Larry Hartwick, Bruce Deshano and Bill Sturm did the same thing in 1987 and also won the Classic with a big box of hog LTs.  These winners and the location of where the tourney was won, put the ports of Sanilac and Lexington at a huge disadvantage.  So, by the late 1980s you could weigh in only 1 Laker per day in the highest status tournament on Lake Huron.  This was a move I never fully agreed with.
     Now, all that's changed, cuz up to 9 Lakers can be weighed-in per day.  From my experience to consistently score on Lake Trout, far more finesse is required.  Generally, a slower, more deliberate presentation is needed to catch LTs, if you compare them to Salmon.  Skills at fishing on the "deck" means constant contact with the bottom to wake-up lethargic Trout after the early bite is over.  For more info on the BWC being held on Lake Huron this May 21-22, 2005 click here.  

2/17/05   Production of my new models for 2005 is happening now!  I'm fast at work building King Kobras, King Krimsons, Undertakers and ultra-deadly Black Mamba Glows.  These flashers should be ready to ship by the middle of next week.  I will be offering a special deal to both the members of my Email Updates List and private message board members.  You can sign up for the Email Updates List in the lower right hand corner of this page.  Your Email address is 100% safe, because I do not share, or trade names with my list.  I do not Spam you either, cuz I'm lucky if I have time to do 2 mailers a month.  The Updates List will keep you informed about our fishery, methods, hot ports, website news, special articles and the latest hot tips.  The Updates list is free to join and the mailers are packed with the reel-inside info.

2/16/05  I'm simply amazed at how great American industry performs.  Being part of manufacturing scene in the USA brings me far better concept for what we can do as a people then I ever imagined.  The companies I deal with always come in on time and on budget.  Never let anyone tell you other countries can beat us.  Always remember the USA taught the entire world how to mass produce.  It's a myth that foreign workers, products & services exceed what we do.  Many countries dump their stuff here at below cost, because their governments subsidize their industries.
    Today's update was a result of WTP (Witchcraft Lure Tape) beating a promised  deadline by at least 3 days.  I'm tied at the hip to WTP, because the lure tape they produce is the standard of our Great Lakes Salmon Fishery.  Every flasher I make does it's job with Witchcraft Lure Tape on it!  Click here to visit Witchcraft website
                   Click here to see a reel-catch with Witchcraft Lure Tape

2/15/05  Here's a report from Capt. Jay on his guide trip this past Saturday
"The fishing was tough today on the Manistee, the wind blew, the sun didn't shine and the fish didn't cooperate. I fished with Jay and Tom (Flint Steelheaders) they managed to land two steelhead back to back. We also had three hit besides the fish that where landed. Tough day on the river"...Capt. Jay Frolenko  Click for photo
    Here's my follow-up to Jay's report.  After guiding on the Big Manistee from 1986 thru 2003, I'd say anytime you get off the river with's a good day!  River chasing of Steelhead is not the highly vaulted numbers game, some in the charter business would like to push.  Measuring the success of any trip by the numbers of fish caught has little to do with the enjoyment factor.  The bottom line to all of our recreational endeavors, did we have a good time?  Two winter Steelhead and a day big river sure beats what I've been up to about you? 

2/14/05  Valentine's, remember your spouse!  Women put a lot of store in stuff like this.  Dinner out, flowers, a card or candy might be a free future check you can cash-in later this upcoming fishing season.
     Today's photo of the day is my new 2005 "Undertaker."  This is an all black flasher blade with contrasting glow tape (laser & crushed-ice).  I hope to have this new model available for sale soon, but I'm waiting on my order to be processed at WTP.  This is probably Witchcraft Tape's busiest time of the year and I know they'll ship me the tape I ordered promptly and within a reasonable amount time.  My shipping from them in 2004 was excellent service.  Click for the 2005 "Undertaker." 

2/13/05  Kaleidoscope of colors is what our photo of the day is about (click for today's photo).  In reality, this photo displays exactly how hard it is to photograph my Reel-Flashers.  You'll notice every color in the spectrum, as Witchcraft Tape proudly shows why they call it holographic lure tape.  I further enhance this lure tape's reflect-ability by clear coating every painted tape flasher with a special paint that costs about 100 bucks a gallon.  This is an extra step and I know for a fact; my competition in the tackle industry does not do.  I take pride in what I sell to you.
     Here's a reel-fact that no one can deny.  My website offers far better product support then any of my competitors have dreamt about so far.  I think it's safe to say my flashers are kinda like this website; over-built, current and have a good following.  If your fishing results are not up to snuff, or you have to hang your head low at the fish cleaning tables?.....then it's about time you considered moving to a more dynamic concept that will produce great results even in the hands of a novice!
Tomorrow will mark the World Premiere on my new 2005 flasher, "the Undertaker."

2/12/05  Today let's concentrate on decorating your computer's desktop or start screen.  It's fairly easy and  personally, I'd rather look at fish, then the normal dull, boring backgrounds that comes standard with Windows.  I am aware several of you already know how to do this, but just as many probably don't.  To view Capt, John's monitor displaying his personal desktop image click here.  If you'd like to have your desktop, or start-screen displaying a fish photo like I have click here for more info.

2/11/05  This morning I have to be in Manistee.  My duty there is to give the final OK in my new packaging fold-over card for Reel-Flashers.  These new fold-overs will require me to punch out a hole, then staple the card to the top of the heavy-duty 6 mil bag my flashers comes in.  This was a necessary step to display my product in a professional manner at the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI.
    Tomorrow, I'll do a computer tip to personalize your desktop on your PC.  PC stands for personal computer.  So, I'll include step-by-step instructions to better reflect the reel-fact; you like to fish.  No more dull, boring backgrounds is the reel-deal.

2/10/05  Today's update is the kind, no matter how much soul searching I do, words just are not gonna come out right.  My cherished buddy, Warren Knapp has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He has been fighting this disease since last December and no amount words can ever come close to saying what my true feelings really are.  Warren is one of the ultimate, finest human beings I've ever met.  He is extremely well liked by everyone and has become a major part of the fishing scene in Manistee over the last 20 years.   Warren is not ready to pull lines for the last time yet.  He's in good spirits & hoping to make it to this coming fishing season, although the chemo is taking it's toll. 
      His indomitable spirit has inspired me and I'm hoping it will be a long, long time before I have to say my final farewell to this grand person.  He graciously allowed me to share a little of his life, which I'll always truly value.  Last summer Warren was 80 years young.  He still launched, fished by himself and retrieved his boat ("Dotti K") on a daily basis, not to shabby for man 80 years  Click for his deer   Click for his river Steelhead
      Today's update came about thru mutual friend, Dave ("Flakey Pierre") who's requesting short stories about your encounters with Warren.  Dave is putting together a journal on Warren's life.  If you have a story, or you like to send a show of support to Mr. Warren Knapp, please send all correspondence to me at: John  King, P.O. Box 101, Manistee, MI 49660.  I'll forward the mail to Warren.

2/9/05  Busy, busy and more busy with many projects pertaining to my flashers today.  I'm getting ready to shift into high gear for 2005 production.  Having enough stock to satisfy demand is my main concern, because I ran out of some colors late last season.  I hope to remedy all stock shortages well before the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI (March 4th thru the 6th, 2005).  
     I have a brand new model called, the "Undertaker," which surely will spell the demise for many fish this season.  If all goes OK, the ultra-deadly "Undertaker" will be available in about 2 weeks. Please use this new color sparingly, or you won't be able to unload your fish box from your boat, without a trip to the local chiropractor!

2/8/05  Frankfort's Benzie Sport Fishing Association has a new website and my friend, Don Harrison asked me to share this info with you.  Don's photography skills speak for themselves his writing abilities far exceed mine.  
    Getting back to Frankfort, it's great port to fish out of, with more structure close to port than any other I know.  This port does not get it's fair due, with ports like Ludington and Manistee often over shadowing it.  Frankfort was the first port I ran a charter service out of in 1983 from Jacobson's Marina.
     In my very humble opinion, Frankfort is a total winner and does not suffer from the net problems that Manistee and Ludington will have to contend with in 2005.  If you're interested in viewing BSFA's new website  click here.

2/7/05   For today's update let's direct our attention to what I stress most, details!
Seldom is the easiest the best, and doing things right often requires a heck of a lot more effort.  Take my new office for instance (click office photo).  I built my own desk which is still under construction.  There was no desk that I could buy, that would fit into what I had in mind.  Now, let's turn to the way I had my helm and electronics (click for boat office)  located on my "other" former office: the Cherokee I ran for 16 seasons in the charter business.  You'll see a direct correlation, between both of my "offices," because ease of function is necessary reel-fact with me.
      Rigging and wiring electronic gizmos, so everything is in plain view, handy and functional is not easy.  This generally means running wires in, thru and around bulkheads, plus building brackets.  A lot of forethought is needed for prime placements.  Installing the graph, radar, GPS, autopilot controls, temp-speed sensors, and proper placement of downriggers must be planned out carefully.  Do the extra work, take the added time to put everything in an easy location to view and operate.  If you do?  You just might notice a few minuscule details that could spell the difference of small catch, or limiting-out to a full box of fish!

2/6/05  What a gorgeous day is what we experienced yesterday with highs in the mid-50s.  It felt a lot more like early April, then the first part of February.  More of the same is predicted for today.   Winter warming trends?.....always turns my mind toward thoughts of the 2005 catching season.  It's probably good that open water Great Lakes fishing does not last all year, so we'll never get tired of it.
     My seminar time on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2005 at the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI has been moved back from 11am to 11:30am, which is no big deal.  My allotted time is only one hour and I have a lot of material to cram into 60 minutes.    
     "Reaching the Unreachable, & Obtaining the Unobtainable" will be the keynote of my address.  I will guarantee, what will be discussed is not widespread knowledge yet.  Meat and my flashers have broke new ground in areas seldom ventured in the past 38 years of our Great Lakes Salmon fishery......and that's a mega REEL-FACT! 
     I plan on having at least 2 guest speakers doing a short verification sermon to back me up on what I'm gonna say, cuz you ain't heard this stuff before! I've been sitting on this inside info since last August and it's almost time to share it with you.

2/5/05  Capt. Jay was kind enough to report in again on the Big Manistee River with his results from yesterday.  He spoke highly of the amount of active Steelhead encountered.  This are looking up on the big river and it will only get better.
     This weather up here is plain wonderful with highs in the 40s and most of the snow has melted.  I have flasher production scheduled today, cuz I'm running short on a few colors and I need to make room for the 5000 new blades I ordered. 

2/4/05  The deal originally planned for Wolfes Marine tomorrow in Benton Harbor has been cancelled by the promoters and will not happen!
     Working on my presentation for my planned seminar on March 5 (Sat.), at March 6th (Sun.) at 11am is my task for today.  I have at least 30 image files (pictures) to compliment my talk.  It's a well known fact it's a heck of a lot easier to show someone, rather then trying to de-splain it.
      I suspect the lower end of the Big Manistee has, or will open up soon (thaw).  When the lower end flushes out the ice, it always seems to bring in a good run of Steelhead.  With temps this for Saturday and Sunday in the mid to high 40s, look for the big river to start showing pretty good opportunities for the avid Steelheader.

2/3/05  Yesterday was Groundhog Day.  If the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil was in Manistee?....he'd never seen his shadow.  I was outdoors several times yesterday (making shelves) and it was cloudy all day long.  So, we got at least 6 more weeks to put up with old man winter here in the north country.
      It must have been warmer in Ohio and Indiana yesterday, cuz I had a lot of phone calls from those areas.  Generally, a warm day at this time of year motivates anglers thoughts towards fishing.  Most every caller asked for King Krimsons and King Kobras.  I do not have any in stock and will announce when they're ready for sale, both here and at the webstore.  All the materials are ordered and I'm just waiting for my suppliers to come thru.  Patience please, there will be plenty to go around and season is still as goodly long ways off.

2/2/05  Went over to Dick Boyajian's yesterday to pick up a bunch of aprons for my webstore,  The new 2005 aprons are 60" long and can be trimmed to the length you prefer, but I like the full length best (keeps my shoes clean).  If you're into pulling my Reel-Flashers, you're gonna need to re-think your fish cleaning program if your past results have been inconsistent, or sparse.  
    By the way, Dick is one of Michigan's original charter captains, being licensed since the 1960s.  If you've ever attended a major spring fishing show during the past 25 years, you've probably seen him.  He's is a factory representative for Luhr Jensen, Walker Downriggers and a WWII veteran.
    While at Dick's place our conversation turned towards the dilemma of the charter operators in Manistee.  Manistee's charter season has gotten shorter during the past 5 or 6 years.  July and August are now supplying 80 plus per cent of a charter captain's season-long gross revenue.  I had one well known charter captain call me a few days ago, stating his August fuel bill was 10k, feeding twin 454s inboards.  Gas prices and the shortening duration were major factors in my decision to retire and quit operating a charter service.  With the overall cost of boats, dockage, fuel and etcetera,..... I see no way a charter operator can ever reach profitability now-a-days.  Costs have risen over a 100% in the past 10 years, while the going rate charged for a charter has gone up, maybe slightly more then 10%!

2/1/05  The winter of January 2005 has bit the dust, as the month of February brings us that much closer to the 2005 big lake season.  Early birds only have about 60 days to start fishing the southern ports like Lexington and St. Joe.  Those who ply the Lk. MI waters of the shore of Indiana will be starting even earlier.  January in Manistee County was much milder then the previous 3 winters. 
    Word from the Big Manistee is a good one.  Capt. Jay Frolenko reported good results this past Saturday pushing Willy Worms thru the slow water deep holes.  With the 2, or 3 thaws we've had this winter, look for March to be prime time and April a struggle.  Yup, in the not too distant future, the 2005 season will be upon us!

1/31/05  Today, I'd like to mention this ultra important reel-fact: there is no one who purchases my product that is left trying to figure out how to use it on their own. I furnish the necessary skills, color choices, depths, speeds what depths and water temps for optimum efficiency with my "Reel-Flashers." I accomplish this support (found no where else), either thru this website, anglers stopping by my place, or my toll free (800) 552-2009 phone number. No matter what, I'm never to busy to help you catch fish with my product and that's a eternal, written in stone reel-fact that will never change!  
                          Click here to purchase Reel-Flashers online
If you haven't joined the Reel Flasher revolution?..... maybe you should consider adding a new dynamic fishing weapon to your arsenal for 2005.  You'll catch more fish, in less time, without a vigorous learning curve!  In fact, it's an easy product to use, because my flasher is not speed sensitive and works between 1.2 to +4 mph.

1/30/05   I was sorting some boxes yesterday and ran across some pretty interesting documents.  This first one was the 2000 Fish Advisory on what's safe to eat and what is not.  This advisory was published by the Michigan Department of Community Health.  By clicking here you'll plainly see the "black diamond" telling you not to eat Whitefish over a certain size with even harsher warning to women and children.  It has been plainly proven, Whitefish are contaminated with PCBs, Dioxins and Chlordane. Yet, the DNR negotiated (behind closed doors) and put forth the 2000 Consent Decree, allowing and pushing for commercial netting of Whitefish?  
    Then I ran across a customer mailer referring to April 1997 when we boated 332 Browns in 22 trips off the dock here in Manistee.  Since that time, the Brown Trout Fishery, once renown in Manistee, no longer exists!  I highly doubt if the entire Manistee charter fleet caught 332 Browns in during all of the 04 season (Apr- Oct).
     I believe it's high time our public servants in the DNR get busy protecting all consumers of Great Lakes fish and restore the Brown Trout Fishery.  If the DNR was a private sector company?.....the management would have long since been fired, filed for bankruptcy, be under an investigation by a Senate Sub-Committee and put in prison for willful public endangerment!

1/29/05  For about the past 2 weeks I've been diligently acquiring new skills like booking keeping, a client/sales data base, building a inventory lists and going thru hell to doing it.  I've never had a knack for book keeping skills what-so-ever!  Always considering stuff like that for geeky bookworms and bean counters with glasses as thick as coke bottles.  That's all changed now, cuz once I got into it (w/supreme dedication) I found QuickBooks Pro 2005 will do in seconds with a 100% accuracy what used to consume a bunch of my time.  QuickBooks also interfaces with new program that addresses my Priority Mail labels for shipping tackle.  
     I know today's update is about exciting as watching paint dry, but my book keeping demands were way to time consuming and getting out of hand.  Besides, offering better service and service after the sale is the only leg-up I have on the tackle producing giants in the industry.  

1/28/05  If you haven't joined our private message board, now is the time!  I just installed a new chat room, so members to share their knowledge. Being a member of our board means you'll get back your 10 bucks and more, on the special tackle offers privy only to our members.  Plus, before I turn any product loose for public sale, our members get the first shot at it.  Please keep in mind, the 10 bucks to join (personal check) is not for monetary gain, it's to identify the person joining.  Also, if there is any problems with membership issues, my 800 number don't cost you a dime to call.  I never had one member say they didn't get their money's worth.  Click here for the form to print-out, sign and join
      By having all members on file means none of that nonsense I seen on poorly moderated message boards, where personal attacks and product spamming far outweigh the information posted.   Our private port reports during season are the most honest on the internet too!  Granted is a pain to print-out and sign a form and make out a personal check for 10 dollars, but all worthwhile things comes with a price.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention the 50 some private articles in my Encyclopedia of Tips and Tricks available no place, but through our message board.

1/27/05  TRAVERSE CITY - A panel with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians has ruled against a tribal fisherman accused of illegally harvesting 3,857 pounds of fish from Lk. MI last fall.
   The tribe's Natural Resources Commission late last week upheld a citation issued by state conservation officers to Tommy Battice, a resident of Custer in Mason Co.
     Battice was fined $250 and forfeited $1,141.90 paid by wholesalers for the whitefish and lake trout he caught. His commercial fishing permit also was suspended for 30 days.
    "This ruling shows that the tribe and in particular the Natural Resources Commission do take this type of thing very seriously," tribal spokesman Glenn Zaring said Tuesday....
y John Flesher Associated Press. Click here for entire article
    The above so-called tribal court is the biggest crock of dog-doo I've ever heard!
The fine for a non-native fishermen would have been assessed at 10 dollars per pound, meaning a fine of $38,570.  This is a crime against the People of Michigan and those who sat in on the negotiations (behind closed doors) should be tried for crimes against the American People with summary judgments held immediately after the trial.  I call this a blatant tug on Superman's cape and wholesale disregard for our constitutional law.  I dealt with netters in 1977 and know first-hand about the hard-core attitude they have.  When will this travesty of justice be corrected?
     Now if you ain't pissed off enough already, factor in the State of Michigan, bought the vessels and nets for Mr. Battice to use in his total disrespect for the Consent Decree of 2000.  Look for this situation to worsen now, as they're adding 2 more net boats to operate out of Solberg's Marina in Manistee during 2005.
There's a unconfirmed rumor here in Manistee that LRB enterprises are in negotiations to buy Solberg's. 

1/26/05  Re-photographing my line of Reel-Flashers is on my agenda.  I need to feature each flasher with a front and backside view.  All of my flashers feature a contrasting color scheme, exactly the same as all baitfish have.  Light dispersion and water disturbance is the focused task of any attractor. The light is like a calling card and the water disturbance is felt by the fish's lateral-line, generating strikes from negative to neutral fish.  Any product can take those easy "first light" and "last light" fish, and we all know that!  It's those fussy, under pressure (from boat traffic) and the after the morning flurry fish is where my product outshines the competition.  My flasher will produce fish all day long and no longer will you come to rely on the "1st light, 1st bite" fish to fill your box & that's a reel-fact. Click for reel-testimonials

1/25/05  With Michigan still stuck in winter's grip, planning the 4/9/05 get together at Augres, Michigan is gonna be sheer joy and something for us to look forward to.  Click here for catch photo from last year's outing with "Getaway" Bob K.  What makes this catch photo even more remarkable is we didn't have a fish at 9:30am.  We took our 1st one around 10am and pulled lines before 3pm. 
   If you'd like to read about the exploits of Dave S, Bob K, and I out of the Port of Augres last April then click here for the reel-story on 4/9/04  We caught a whole pile of fish!  While I was excited about the highly eatable Wally-Gators (Walleyes).  Capt. Bob K looked kinda down his nose at every 'gator we boated.  Yep, the more I think about it, 4/9/05 is a super idea and a great way to kick off the 2005 season!
In the future I'll do a complete page with motel info and a map to the public launch.

1/24/05   While everything is still in the planning stages, we'll probably have another outing for the members of our message board on Saturday April 9th, 2005.
Augres, Michigan will be the site of this event and if fishing is half as good as it was last year, you'll be happy with the fishery.  On the boat I was on, we caught 6 different species of fish. Coho, (Lakers were released), Kings, Steelhead, Brown Trout, plus bonus tasty walleyes to 8 pounds filled our fish box.  Initial plans was to shoot for Good Friday, but this year Good Friday falls early on March the 25th.  I believe we're all better off going in April with the improved weather offered.
       My criticism of the DNR 1/22/05 might have been a scosh harsh.  Comparing Tanner and Tody to today's hierarchy isn't quite fair.  Tanner and Tody were in an unique position and not governed by rules and political allotments to certain areas.  However, a policy is needed to have a Steelhead fishery like we did in the 80s, on the Great Lakes, streams and rivers.  Maybe the charter creel census with ever diminishing numbers of Steelhead will get noticed.....if those reports aren't ignored!

1/23/05  Taking inventory ate up most of my yesterday.  I had been keeping written records which were inaccurate and mega-time consuming.  That's all changed for the better, cuz I switched over to QuickBooks Pro 2005 recently (I hate learning new computer programs, seeing I've suffered from Adult ADD ever since I was a kid)!  It's been pretty exciting thus far and seeing professional invoices, item inventory reports and customer lists at a level I only dreamed of.  
     I enjoy the challenge computers represent.  In fact, I believe we fishermen are constantly in training to outwit something with a brain the size of a pea, namely Mr. Fish.  And that scaled, finny critter with a brain the size of a pea? ......can all to  often .....seem like a mental giant directly related to Albert Einstein!

1/22/05  We all tend to think of past events, "as the good old days!"  Where our memory can vastly overate events.  This is not the case when it comes to catching Steelhead on the Big Manistee River.  Back in the 1980s savvy guides could produce a 10 fish limit (it was 5 per person then) for his guests on at least a semi-regular basis.  This is only a dream nowadays.  Even with my considerable knowledge base of every hole from the "rock pile" to the "farm house" pulling a large catch frequently is more then likely.......impossible!  I have seen no effort on the part of the DNR to enhance, or bring back the fishing to what "it used to be."  The only thing the DNR has done has cut the river limit from 5 Steelhead to 3 (40% decrease) and raise our fishing licenses by more then a 100% since the mid-80s.
     Today's photo featuring Lee Bienz was a leading guide in the 1980s with 10 Steelhead proudly displayed on the side of his jet-boat.  Lee has since gave up guiding and moved west, partly due to the instability of the river fishery.  While my attitude is not as rigid as Dick Swan's, I still feel more effort is needed.  As things stand, river Steelheading is kinda in limbo and needs a heads-up DNR leader that listens to his constituents and does something other then accepting the status quo
of doing absolutely nothing.  My area's present day DNR leaders lack foresight and can't hold a candle to the forward-thinking visionaries like Howard Tanner and Wayne Tody.  Tanner and Tody started our Great Lakes Salmon fishery by planting Coho in 1966 in Bear Creek (Manistee County) and the Platte River (Benzie County).

1/21/04  About a week ago I announced a planned seminar at Wolfe's Marine in Benton Harbor.  Ryan G. invited me to be a guest speaker and explain my approach to consistently catching Salmon with meat (cut-herring).  Due to something out of his control, the original organizers stepped in, then backed out.  So, the Feb. 5th, 2005 seminar presentations at Wolfe's Marine have been cancelled.  I regret the fact I won't be traveling to SW Michigan this would have been a great way to meet those who live in the area and fish southern Lake Michigan.

1/20/05  According to the charter boat data (which charter operators must fill out), the most productive port was Ludington.  The catch was actually down in Manistee by about 50 fish, if you use 2003 as a benchmark.  Lake Trout, Brown Trout and Steelhead numbers continue to plummet, with even a more severe drop when compared to 2003.  Let me strongly make a point here, before the commercial nets went in, our multi-specie fishery was in far, far better shape.  
     I crunched some numbers on the fly kits that I'm offering.  Last year (spring 2004), stand alone 3 fly rigs (less the meat head) were selling from 8 to 9 bucks at the "sport shows."  Using the low-ball figure of $8.00 x 15 = $120.00.  By purchasing my fly kit. you can make the same number of rigs for 50 bucks.  Now, that's a reel serious saving of 70 dollars to put towards the fuel bill, or that brand new reel.
                     Click here to order a fly kit and save big time!

1/19/05  Finally sent out a Email Contact Mailer yesterday.  My last mailer was Emailed at the end of August 2004.   I've neglected the updates list for a number of reasons, with time being the main reason.  From here on out, my goal is to send a mailer out every two, or three weeks.  I have some brand new blade colors on order and soon to arrive.  Not to mention the new meat-heads I hope to have ready for sale by mid-February.
                   Click for a 3D computer assisted drawing of new head
Winter is picking on me again, with winds to 40 mph (snowing sideways), polar single digits and 10 inches of snow is what I had dumped on my place last night.  I keep telling myself, "self,.....this nasty "Nanook of the North" stuff can't last forever!"   Yes, as time marches forward.......the new big lake season can't seem to get here fast enough!

1/18/05   Let's do a computer tech-tip for today's update.  Recently, I had a friend burn out his power supply on his computer. This costly repair could have been avoided if he'd have taken the time to use air pressure to blow out the dust that accumulates over time.  Most computers have 2 cooling fans, one for the power supply and one for the CPU.....that's the hummm you here when you turn it on.
     If you don't have a air compressor like I do, electronics stores sell canned air just for the purpose of cleaning things like computers and your keyboard.  Now to simplify matters, many computers have panels on the case that are easily removed.
If you question your ability to take on this task, take your box to a computer fix-it place and let them do it.  A thorough periodic cleaning (like once a year) will save you money in the long run. The reason I used this info is, because I used air pressure to clean mine out yesterday morning.  With temps well below zero at my house,...... any fishing info from Manistee is next to impossible to come by.

1/17/05  It's just plain cold in Manistee County.  In fact, it's colder then your x mother-in-laws kiss.  It's "supposed" warm up to the high teens by the end of this week.  This cold snap has curtailed anything close to a current big river report.
    Terry W, who fishes out of Algoma, WI and has experienced many full boxes of fish with Reel Flashers.  He E-mailed photo of how he stores Reel Flashers.  Plano makes this bag, number 1414 and they retail for under $20 according to Terry. 
     Incidentally, Terry has already ordered a bunch of new flashers for 2005 and is busy spreading the word of his success to his fellow WI anglers.  I greatly appreciate his, and Dickie P's support from the other side of our "big pond."
     I must say thanks Steve B. for lending me a set of paws this past weekend.  He built shelves, helped move stuff, reorganize cabinets and clean storage areas.  His help afforded me the spare time to add 2 new boats today on the Boaters Guide.

1/16/05  The lower end of the Big Manistee River was at high water and flow ice is coming down, due to our recent frigid weather (below zero)  Look for the lower stretch of the big river (M-55 Bridge to the farm house) to start freezing over soon.
    Tomorrow, I'll be listing at least 2 previously owned vessels on the Boaters Guide. The boat buying and selling season is upon us.  I'm kinda swamped with bringing my new bait heads into production, so my time to complete any boat ads has been kinda sparse.  Work on the instructional fly page continues at a slow pace too.  25 "how-to" images are done and I'll be working on the text thru-out today & tonight.

1/15/05  Today's update is gonna be a hard pill to swallow, cuz Solberg's Marina in Manistee will host 2 vessels operated by commercial fishermen from LRB enterprises.
There's gonna be at least 4 trap nets off Manistee in 2005, plus the small mesh gillnet they set for bloater chubs.  Kinda pisses you right off, big  
When is this constitutionally inequitable situation gonna come to an end?
    Work continues on the private page for building your own attractor flies and save at least 50% constructing 3 fly meat rigs.  Now that's a helluva savings, 4-sure!

1/14/05  Here's a reel-story on cormorants:  ......"Meadows sorted through the stomachs of 436 lower Green Bay cormorants shot under a federal permit between mid-May and mid-September 2004. She counted 4,712 fish.....1,743 yellow perch topped the list of species. One cormorant had 80 perch in its stomach; another, a 23-inch walleye."  Click to read the entire article  
     Michelle came onboard and is now in charge of the fly kits.  She's a college student & impressed me with her heads-up work attitude.  Future plans for Michelle is to handle the shipping too, therefore lightening my burden. Click for Michelle
     Started on the article on "how-to" build your own pro-quality attractor flies at a little over a buck apiece.  I've posted the a link to it on our private message board.  If you've purchased a fly kit and are not a message board member, E-mail me and I'll send you the link ASAP.  Here's my E-mail address: 

1/13/04  I pulled an intense all-nighter to finish processing and shipping the fly kits yesterday.  As of 5pm on 1/12/05 all orders have been shipped.  Being all caught up feels reel-good!   At this time, I have maybe 2 kits left and expect those to be taken today.  If you're interested on getting in on a super deal and a great winter project.....order soon.  I'm running low on stock again, but more kits are being assembled.  I'll ship the new orders about week from this coming Monday.
     Don't ask me how I found the time to do it, but there 2 new brand articles to keep this website fresh and moving forward.  The first one is from Dick Swan about how fantastic thermobar Steelheading used to be.  It's titled, T-Bar Steelhead and is a helluva good read.  Click here for T-Bar Steelhead   The second article is original content from the membership of our private message board about their best day on the pond in 2004. Click here to read reel-stories from reel-fishermen   It's my firm opinion, "if we can't go fishing, we can at least read about it."
     I totally immersed myself in work yesterday (like 20 some hours), so, the new instructional pages on making your own pro-quality attractor flies can be built.  There's gonna be a ton of photo work and that will eat up a bunch of time today.  For time being, the "how-to" pages will be private and only accessible by asking me, or the link can soon be found on our private message board.  

1/12/05  Started shipping the long awaited fly kits yesterday with more shipping in store for me today.  I will be building a step-by-step instruction page on how to construct pro-quality attractor flies and I'll post a link on our private message board very soon.   There's pile of work ahead of and it will all get done in due time.
    If you're interested in a winter project? can order this fly kits and find out all the details by clicking here.  You get enough materials to build 15 there fly rigs (less the meat heads), which means 45 flies and necessary pieces,  parts and hardware.  If you're a getting little antsy and looking for a great way to while away some time, these fly kits and the money they'll save in the long run is a great idea.

1/11/05  Busy always describes my Mondays, but yesterday was super hectic.  I now have all the loose ends tied up and will be shipping fly kits soon.  The first set of crimps I ordered were the wrong size and I just received the right ones yesterday.  So, the fly kits will shortly be in the mail.  This means I have to find time to do a private instructional (step-by step) web-page the many that purchased.
    In next few days I have another great article from Dick Swan I'll be posting by mid-week.  The
Boaters Guide will soon have couple of newly listed boats.  A 25' Grady White and a nice Regal from owners motivated to deal will grace the guide in the very near future.  Also, I have another plan in the works from a contest running on our private message board.  The topic was about "their best day on the water" in 2004.  Thus, now you see why I started off today's update with the word, "busy!"

1/10/05  I was totally stoked, geeked and wowed this past Saturday.  Capt. Jay, Ben J, and I water tested the final SLA prototype meat-head.  The action was sable in a arcing seductive roll that was completely representative of a wounded, or dying baitfish.  Yep, it's that good!  Click here for the water testing  Both Jay and Ben concluded it was far better then the competitive product we ran it against.  I stayed neutral as not to influence their opinion and said very little until the end.
     Many have been working on this project since September of 2003.  I'd like to thank Bob K, Michael S, and Ted H, the CAD engineers that worked with me for little, or no pay.  The new meat head is slightly larger (0.062) then what's currently available.  This means a little more interior room for whole Red Label (4" to 5" Herring) from Fish On Products.  This is a precise fit for the Green Label (6" to 7" Herring) from Fish On when you cut and trim your own bait for 25 cents a chunk.  Also, the inside area will perfectly accommodate the existing strips. 

1/9/05  Had a fantastic yesterday with Ben J and Capt. Jay during a brief outing on the Manistee River.  I'll share more about this tomorrow.
   I started construction of my new desk to complete my long standing remodeling project.  By building my own work area I'll be able to maximize space and improve efficiency.  All the work has been worth it, with a much improved workspace.

1/9/05  Had a great yesterday with Ben J and Capt. Jay during a brief outing on the Manistee River.  I'll say more about this tomorrow.
   I started construction of my new desk to complete my long standing remodeling project.  By building my own work area I'll be able to maximize space and improve efficiency.  At the work has been worth it, with a much improved workspace.

1/8/05  Today is the day for the final and timed water test on my new and yet unannounced product for 2005.  Tweaking the spin-rate where even the slightest difference can denoted and improved on.  I've been working on this project since September of 2003.  You've probably heard: "once the die is cast" before, meaning all revisions to the Computer Assisted Drawing must be made before the injection molding tool (die) is cut.  A CAD drawing, or file is need to program the C & C machine that actually produces the die. 

1/7/05  Yesterday was one of those kinda days that refused to be spoiled by anything, even though I awoke to 12 to 14 inches of the white stuff.  I had a  great dialogue with Ryan Gilbert who is putting on the gathering at Wolfes Marine 2/5/05.  Confirmed speakers are Dave Mull from the Great Lakes Angler Magazine, Curt from "Purple Taco Flies" and a representative Big Poppa far.
     I'd like to thank Warren Wolfe (Wolfe Marine) in Benton Harbor on February 5, 2005 for the use of his facility. I potentially hope to add Dave German from Northport Nailer and Larry Hartwick from Off Shore/Rivera to the list of those willing to share their expertise......if that's OK with Ryan.  (please call me Ryan, please, I forgot to get your phone number).  This Salmon discussion group is a free deal to attend, or I would not have even considered doing it.  Once the almighty dollar enters the picture, content can become more then a big hurry!

1/6/05  I've been invited to the be a speaker February 5th, 2005 at Wolf's Marine
in Benton Harbor-St. Joe area.  Normally, that's the week I board my private jet with Halle Berry for our yearly clandestine getaway to the island of Tahiti.  I kinda hate to disappoint her, but having the chance to share what little insights/wisdom I do have with my fellow Salmon anglers is something I just can't pass-up.  So, she'll just have to wait a few days before our departure.  More on this deal tomorrow.

1/5/05  Just not much to report from Manistee County today except there is safe ice on Hamlin Lake, towards Ludington.  Fishing for bluegills is said to be good there.  The flow in the Manistee River is on the recede and is no longer flowing at whopping 3000 cubic feet per second.  I expect to be in contact with Capt. Jay Frolenko and get a few lures wet sometime in the near future.

1/4/05 My Super-Saver deal on making your own flies went over in a huge way.  In fact, I was swamped and at least 30 orders behind.  Please be patient if you ordered.  Once I catch-up on the back log, I'll offer the Super-Saver Fly deal again sometime next week.  Counting out about 200 pieces of material and packing the stuff is a lengthy task.  I'm hiring a new employee today to help with the packing and shipping. Also, I've ordered more Mylar for skirting, cuz I was running short.
     Hopefully, I'll soon be able to announce the completion of a project that has been in the works since September 2003.  This new and much improved product will further break the ties of foreign domination of the cut-bait marketeers that seem to have no mercy on our billfolds.......what-so-ever!

1/3/05  Thinking about getting ready for the 2005 season?   To get the ball rolling for 2005, I'm offering an incredible deal (see above Super-Saver Special) on making the flies for your own 3 fly rigs.  Bringing down the cost, as I did with the green label whole herring you fillet yourself for 25 cents, means I'm a fisherman first.  I know exactly first-hand how expensive Great Lakes fishing can be.  
     If saving dough is big on your list, the offered fly kits might fit the bill and be a great winter project.  All you need is a table and a sharp pair a scissors to turn out a pro-quality product.  Please be advised this is a limited time offer and once I start  my 2005 flasher production,.....putting these kits together will be an impossibility.

1/2/05  At first, I was gonna divulge my "special guest" speaker for the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, Michigan.  Then I thought, "good things comes to those who wait" and will keep this speaker hush-hush until we do the seminars.
     If you're looking for a high powered, over the top dynamic presentation loaded with, are you gonna be disappointed!  My plan is to do a low key, seat of the pants approach that's easy, not complicated and will produce heavy boxes of fish without much fuss.  In fact, simplicity is often one of the biggest keys of success there is!  Not over-thinking a situation and working with the clues presented by the fish will definitely be a part of the core curriculum.
    The cost to attend my seminars in Birch Run is probably the best word in the American language: "FREE!"  Plus, I'm willing to bet what I offer is a heck of a lot more simple and productive then the outfits that charge a 100 bucks for talk.

1/1/05  Let's just keep today's update on light side by me wishing each and everyone of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I have a bunch of new stuff on the horizon and would sooner break the news in a day or two, once all the plans are firmed up.