In closing out 2005 and looking towards the future, several
possible new innovations come to mind. I predict sonar will
become much more direction orientated. Being able to see
forward, aft and starboard is the next logical step, seeing sonar
units have broken the horizon of color, readable in full sun.
Forward directional scanning sonar with distances and depths will be
one helluva tool.
Also, I predict a downrigger manufacturer
will design a rigger that reflects the needs of the i2ks. All
the units on the market have seen little in the way of design
advancements since the 1970s. In the future, look for a more
compact rigger with a laydown spool that could be optioned to
operate from below deck, from inside the gunnels. Thusly,
eliminating dangerous exposed moving parts.
I'd like to thank everyone who visits this
website on a regular basis. To those that use and believe in
my products, my eternal gratitude for your patronage.
Happy New Year to ALL.....see ya, next year!
Two more days and 2005 is gonna be just another footnote in the our Great Lakes Fishery
history book. Granted there were good
number of Kings available in Lk. Michigan, but at the cost of
smaller fish, a less varied fishery then 5 years ago and declining
overall catch rate of Salmon on Lake Huron.
The word I received from the late season
dyed-in-the-wool October big lake trollers, 2006's crop of Kings
could be bigger. Only time will time, as the length of the
winter and availability of alewives will determine what the size is
gonna be in Aug 06.
Oh yeah, there's something you might
find extremely interesting at the sister website to this one: www.michiganangler.com
concerning new product development. I'm pretty sure you'll
agree,.............it was worth the click!
The story is tying-up loose ends on product production levels so I
can hit the ground running on 1/1/06. I have several new fish
catching patterns planned for 2006. There's a brand new base color
for flashers, bullet heads and meat heads for further product
enhancement that will debut in the later part of January 2006.
I have the announcement page finished for
Secret Project 2006 X/X that will premiere on 1/1/06 to start the New
Year off in a grand and glorious fashion.
you ever hoisted a box of fish in excess of 150 pounds from your
If not, maybe you should consider joining the Kingfish Products
revolution in 2006!
It's rumored several large schools of
Kings off Kewaunee/Algoma, and from St. Joe to Charlevoix might be contemplating
surrender and waving the white flag once the new products announcements
are finally made public!
3 more days and we're gonna be looking at brand new big lake season.
Starting in about 12 weeks. Even in Manistee, I've
fished Lk. MI Browns by the end of March, if we had a particularly
warm spring......yep, a new season soon awaits!
In a continuation of yesterday's
theme about comparing the evolution of our Great Lakes Fishery,
several things come to mind. Back in the 60s?....well, it was
like the Stone Age, if you draw your conclusions to the present
era. Even simple things like rod holders were yet to be
invented when our first run of adult Coho Salmon began in
1967! Downrigger usage would not start becoming widespread
A whole raft of things like GPS, graphs,
affordable boat radar, reels w/line counters, and all the trolling
gear we take for granted were not available for those who caught
Salmon Fever in the later 60s.........like I did!
As our quest of the big water rolls on, 40
years from now the advancements in technology will make our present
Salmon rigs look like dinosaurs! Let's all pray our DNR does
what's possible to insure the coming generations will be able to
enjoy the thrill of a gone bezerk 35 pound King screaming line off a
fiber-optic reel in 2046!
2006 will continue my life-long affliction with the dreaded
"Salmon Fever." As you can pretty much tell, I'm
getting stoked for the coming 2006 season!!!!!!!!!
Today, let's look at the advancements our Great Lakes Salmon
Fishery has made since the later 60s. Back in 1968 you were
King-Kid if you had some Flatfish, with chrome being the preferred
In 1969 someone figured out a yellow
Flatfish with black and red dots would produce, which evolved into
the popular Fire-Dot pattern used on dodgers many seasons.
Kings were not even thought of when I caught my first Coho on
10/1/68 in West Platte Bay on a M2 Florescent Red Flatfish with 14
ounces of inline sinkers.
It just wows me concerning the
strides that have been made over the past almost 40 years. Ancient
reminiscing about the early days of our fishery is gonna take more
than one day to cover. Tomorrow's update will be pointed at how the
fleet of yesteryear has grown up with gadgets & gizmos that
wasn't even thought of in 68!
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas 2005. Much of my
yesterday was spent building a page for my soon to be announced Secret
Project 2006 X/X on New Years Day. These brand new products are
far to complex for just a couple of photos and a full-blown announcement
page was definitely in order.
Private Message Board Members can preview
Project 2006 X/X in the Reel Meat Forum now, as the debut page still
under construction and needs minor tweaking.
Christmas is all about family and today's update will feature
photos of Capt. Kirk's family fishin' fun directly from the docks in
Our first photo shows Kirk's daughter
Kindey, with a King bracketed in the 30 pound range, from just a few
seasons back. If this big tuna was caught during 2005, it
probably would have taken all the big fish contests between
Ludington & Frankfort. Kindey is does a great job landing
big fish. It's often said, natural skill was passed down to
her from her teacher and loving dad (Kirk). Click
for Kindey's super whopper
The second photo has a very special story
with it. Tammy is Kirk's sister, and for some unbeknownst
reason, Kirk mistakenly believes he can still boss her around.
Never think friendly sibling rivalry doesn't carry-on into adulthood,
cuz it does!
Now, when it comes to landing large Salmon,
Tammy shows who the reel-boss is! She's worked out a sweet
deal with her brother. She let's him land the ugly small
fish. However, when it comes to the truly big Salmon that
requires talent with a fishing rod, she makes him stand clear and
does the honors. Click
for Tammy's proof
To those who are new to this website, Kirk delivers
products and goods via his brown UPS truck and has been featured
previously. My many thanks and gratitude for him sharing his
photos with us today. He goes way beyond the call of duty, and has
lugged in about a ton of stuff into my shop....so far this year.
Let's just keep today's update focused on tomorrow. So, at
this time I'm wishing everyone a festive Merry Christmas and a
joyous New Year!
Today's featured photo is a anomalous Rainbow Trout with two
mouths, was caught in Nebraska. Nature's quirky oddities are a
fascinating subject in anyone's book. Click
here for the weirdo fish weighed a little over 1 lb.
Toothy Critter stainless steel leader
material 70# test is now installed at my webstore. Raising the
bar on performance issues is an ongoing process.
Are you searching to refine technology
under the rigors of extreme, brutal torture testing? I have a
page dedicated to accessorizing, or rebuilding 3 fly meat rigs at my
for more info on hooks, leaders and line
If you are using a competitors brand of
meat head? Do yourself a favor and forget using the deadly
double snelled treble rigs, cuz without major and constant
adjustment, they will not either spin, or have the correct spin
My Magnum Meat Heads were built to be
multi-purpose right from the git-go, so the correct spin,....or roll
with handmade fillets and double trebles is a piece of cake.
Steve from Cortland Line Co. was nice enough to pay a courtesy call
to the world's headquarters of Kingfish Products yesterday
afternoon. It was an enlightening experience for me getting first
hand news straight from a companies rep.
New for 2006: I will be offering an
incredible stainless steel leader material that can be tied with regular
knots normally used on mono. The stuff is called, Toothy Critter
and when I have it in stock the color will be a neutral gray, rather
then the green stuff in today's featured photo. Click
for a photo of leader material.
I will have it in stock at www.michiganangler.com
on, or before the first of the fast approaching new year in 50#
test Be advised this material is pricey and 30' will set you back
$21.95. I figure 30 feet will do about 12 to 15 double snelled
treble rigs like what I already offer in mono. Click
for green vs. gray comparison
Let's wrestle with the question of, "do fish feel
pain" for today's topic. Truthfully, I can not answer
this question, but I can leave you with some strong evidence and let
you form your own opinions.
This has happened to me several times, please let
me explain. On various occasions I've had April Brown Trout
eat 3 Rapalas, Lakers gobble 2 spin-n-glos (behind cowbells), harbor
Kings thump 3 J-Plugs and river Steelhead whack 3 wiggle
warts. To further clarify, I'm speaking of single fish that
ate the offerings and the hooks of the afore mentioned lures were
deeply embedded inside the fishes chops.
You can draw your own conclusions, cuz I'd
never be foolish enough to make a blanket statement of: yes, or
no. Conventional lines of wisdom would point to the fish after
feeling the barbs of the first set of hooks, it would have shut down
his high-gear gluttonous, "kill everything in sight"
This I do know: fish can feel, as to what
the feel is another matter?
Case in point: just miss a fish with the net and let the net touch
the fish. That sucker will take off with renewed energy in a
Now, for the biggest windy you've ever
heard in your life: "I had to observe others doing the
lousy net job, cuz in my 38 seasons of vanquishing Mr. Sal Maniod, I
never missed a fish with the net!" If you even remotely
believe my last statement, I can make you a good deal on a
slightly-used bridge in Brooklyn, New York.
Here's a good myth topic today. Do fish see red below 50'
or does it appear black like the fable builders want us to
believe? Here's the correct answer: nobody knows how a fish
sees anything......reel-fact! If anyone had a clue on how fish
colors, lure makers wouldn't have every color in the spectrum
We, as humans in a fishes environment would
starve, because our vision has evolved to see only the reds, blues
and greens. Thusly, making it pretty darn tough for us to
catch a sushi dinner in low light at a depth of 100' in 38 degree
I can not fathom what a fish sees until we
net it and haul it aboard. Then it sees me, next.....the
inside of my fish box, and with my captive knowing full well....it
made a huge mistake no matter what color it chomped on. That's
what a fish sees!
Tomorrow's update will answer the age old
question of "do fish feel pain?"
Finally put the finishing touches on the 2006 Charter Page for
our message board charter operators over this past weekend.
Captains who are recommended didn't pay a penny for their
listings. Click for the
2006 Charter Page
They earned it thru my faith and trust,
which is priceless. I highly recommend all of the
skippers on the new charter page, having fished with the majority of
them at one time, or another. To me, fishing with someone says
a lot about their abilities!
To those who
think chartering is a cake job?..... you've never seen the behind
the scenes unsavory jobs, or made a burdensome boat payment thru the
Tomorrow, I'm gonna tackle some myths that pervade
Great Lakes Salmon fishing. Unfounded remarks and theories
have little to do with a full box of fish!
Today, you're gonna get another chapter of "King's believe it,
or not?" Tammi
and Jim B. sent emailed me a photo of a bizarre looking dolphin-head
Ohio Walleye. This fish was very similar to the Steelhead
Capt. Kirk caught out of Ludington a few weeks back. It seems
this oddity also occurs in warm water species too! Click
for the deformed Walleye from the Buckeye State
Mark Tonello from the Cadillac, MI Office of the DNR raised the
benchmark in today's update. Mark sent me a link to a report
he recently finished on the Little Manistee River. While Mark
called it a report, I view his work as a ongoing dedicated study
that deserves an A+. Click
here to view Mark's most excellent report
We're lucky on a couple of fronts
here! The first is that a competent staff member with
devotion to a project was wisely chosen for employment by the
MDNR. The second thing is we have the internet to bring us
works like this. Prior to the net, informative pieces like
Mark's Little Manistee River report could only be distributed as
costly printed matter & not be privy to the public on a wide-scale
Are you're up for a rough sketch for our
Great Lakes Steelhead history? I wrote a article on this in
2001, using a book published in 1938 for reference material by
Harold Hinsdill Smedley. Click
for my take on our Great Lakes genus of Steelhead
A historical side note to today's update is: back in the late 1800s
our state's Board of Fish Commissioners (est. in 1873 &
incorporated into the Conservation Dept. in 1921) had planted
Steelhead, or California Trout in 1905 in the Little Manistee River.
For the past few days my efforts have been directed towards putting
together a free charter listing page to those who've sent in sent in
timely and honest port and river reports. If you feel like you've
been left out, please contact me at:
email@example.com This free listing only happens after at
certain length of
time, and there's no instant ins, cuz you just sent me a report.
Rewards are earned over time with me as one proves his track
record. If you're interested in viewing the page in the works click
Yesterday redefined what the word "busy" means.
While I've been helping Santa Claus fill orders for many
fisherpeople, I neglected my own Christmas shopping. So, a
trip to Manistee and Ludington was my mission for yesterday.
I thought it would be interesting to
show how similar the ports of Ludington and Manistee are with my
camera. Today's featured photo shows a combined picture of
both Salmon ports. There's always been a been a friendly rivalry
between Manistee and Ludington (as our current poll shows), but as
far as I'm concerned, ....both are exactly equal. Kinda
amazing how comparable how both ports are when they're stacked one
on top of another! Click
for a collage of Ludington & Manistee
As you can clearly see in yesterday's
photo, harbor-patrol pressure was very lite and finding a place to
park wasn't gonna be a problem. What surprised me?.....no pier
fishermen what-so-ever. Generally, these guys will tough it
out in any weather.
Today's update was gonna be about deer hunting in Wisconsin, as
the a photo shows before wolves were introduced to area the where
this pickup load of deer came from. Click
for a 2003 WI pickup load of deer.
I figured informing you about the
upcoming Michigan Sea Grant Regional Workshop, held at Ludington's
Ramada Inn on Jan. 7, 2006 might be a little more instep. The
cast of this workshop begins with Chuck Pristis (Sea Grant Agent)
along with Mr. Tom Rozich (our area's DNR fishery supervisor).
Topics and dignitaries are too many to list. This informative
meeting starts at 8:15am and ends at 3:30pm.
Of special interest might be presentations
by Archie Martell's report from the Little River Band of Ottawa
Indians and Art Debres from their Tribal Law Enforcement Unit.
Registration fee is 18 bucks at the door,
or 15 dollars if you pre-register. Coffee and rolls will be
served at registration and a buffet styled lunch is also
If you do plan on attending, may I suggest
you pre-register at $15.00 and avoid the 3 dollar "at the door
surcharge." Besides, this will help the planners have
enough grunts (rolls, coffee & buffet food) onhand. Click
here for the pre-registration form
Now, I'm not too sure if I should have
posted Sea Grant's pre-registration form on the internet, but if
they invited me?......then public should be welcomed too.
Contracts for the secret 2006 Projects X/X have been awarded to a
Michigan based company, not too far from St. Joe. The tooling
is being built there and production will take place at the same
facility. I take it as a matter of pride to have a Great Lakes
state make tackle for the Great Lakes fishermen.
I tried for 2 hours to transpose my thoughts
into words about the importation issues facing us. No amount
of word-smithing would do justice to what's happening to our lost
jobs and industrial output. My biggest competitors in the
meat-fishing business are from the Pacific rim, or Canada, thru New
Reel-Facts: Canadian customers
purchased less then 500 bucks worth of my products in 2005, but yet
Canada sold $100,000s of their products here. Pacific rim
countries accounted for zero sales. That's enough of a trade
imbalance to paint a clearer picture on what's happening the
import/export issues. Trade is another word for swap, however
the word "trade" nowadays leads to a one-way dead-end
As 2005 draws to a close, reflections on the many past seasons
come to mind. Fishing means fun and with good company, it gets
even better. Enjoying one's friends, special moments and yes,
....the harmless ribbing are all part of the game.
Today's featured photo is my friend, George
Richey taken in July of 1984. George's accomplishments is far
to long to list here. This I can say, he was just plain fun to
be around. He has since went on to his greater reward to the
big pond in the sky, but I'll never forget the special times we
fished together! Click
for George Richey
In case you didn't know George, he had
super sense of humor (as seen in the photo) that couldn't be
topped. Reminiscing about exceptional times and the terrific
people we share our sport with...........is truly, one helluva special
P.S. Even with all George's clowning around with the
rod, he did land that fish!
This Christmas Day our private message board members will
be the first to view to top secret 2006 Projects X/X. Formal
release date to the general public and viewers of this website will
follow the first part of January and availability by
Some might say, Kingfish Products at a
disadvantage when going head-to-head against established large
tackle manufacturers. While I can not out spend my competitors
with highly expensive advertising campaigns, I can out-think
Now, you might ask yourself where does my
though process come from? The long and short answer is;
spending 21 years in the trenches as a full-time, year around
charter operator. Taking people fishing was my only income
where you had to catch fish, or starve financially. I was not
You soon learn the differences between
lackluster, cheapie tackle and what works. All of my products
are pro-grade, requiring absolutely no modifications for out of the
package success all season long......reel-fact!
Spent most of yesterday adding these products: 1/0 RED
VMC Trebles, Bullet (or Squid Heads) and 50# leader material to my
webstore. Not gonna get to long in the lip and expand on the advanced
virtues of what I manufacture and offer. Cuz, we're all beat up
with advertising at this time of the year, but if you need some quality
stuff for the upcoming season why not give www.michiganangler.com
The new poll concerning which was the "best port"
during the 2005 season surprisingly enough, has Manistee leading. Ludington has
always walked away with top honors in similar polls during the past 5 past years on this
Another pleasant surprise is Wisconsin's combined
ports of Algoma and Kewaunee showing a strong fourth place
ranking. This is welcome news,....as we're all part of the
same fishery, no matter in what state you reside! Wisconsin
anglers are a savvy heads-up bunch, pioneering depths often
exceeding 200 feet down to catch Salmon. This was totally unheard
of, until the last year, or two.
Let's start today's update with a line many of us know well,
"to go boldly where no man has went before." Well,
on Ludington's list of fishermen kinda applies to what Capt. Kirk
did last Saturday, go fishing on Lake Michigan in December!
Capt. Kirk's "prime
directive" (when not delivering packages for UPS) is ultimate
dedication to sport of fishing Lake Michigan when any opportunity
presents itself. You have to be cut from a pretty darn strong
piece of cloth to even consider dealing with Lk. MI in the bleak
conditions of December.
Captain's Log Supplemental Fish Date 12.8.2005: Now,
we've all heard cutsie stories about how one's boat got named, but
Capt. Kirk's takes the cake and has put a three day major grin on my
face. Click for Capt.
Kirk's Dec LK. MI episode
When Capt. Kirk handed me the photo
of his 12/3/05 catch, I spotted the letters e-n-t-e-r on his
vessel. Well, Kirk likes to take things a little over the top
the named his fish catching machine, "Enterprise."
So, if you happen to see the "Enterprise" during the 2006
season on the waters off Ludington, MI (at less then warp speed), be
sure to give Capt. Kirk a big wave and holler. Congratulations
to UPS for making a super reel-fisherman my local delivery driver,
it's a match made in heaven!
Man, do I have an update for you today! How
about a fresh Lk. Michigan report from the scenic sandy shores of
Ludington, Michigan on 12/3/05?
Capt. Kirk broke a thin skim of shore-ice
launching his boat this past Saturday. He was accompanied by
his long time mentor and finest metal shop teacher to ever set foot
on the hallowed Salmon docks of Ludington, Mr. Greg M.
Greg and Capt. Kirk were there on a late
season Lk. MI Steelhead mission. The action started off with a
rip roaring double, almost soon as the hooks went in the
water. They managed to box another 3 good sized Steelies
before calling it a day.
The water along shoreline was 44 degrees, but
their action came on a 10 degree break in 34 to 33 degree water just
a tad further offshore. Once again proving what a wide
temperature latitude Steelhead have for out-n-out aggressiveness to
More on the best part of this story tomorrow....Click
for 12/3/05 Lk. MI catch
Here's a copy and paste job email I received yesterday from the
Cadillac DNR, straight from Mr. Tom Rozich's desk. Now, for the
inside scoop about the deformed Steelhead that was a past featured
Here's Tom's insights:
John, the steelhead Capt Kirk caught has a deformity called
"mopskopf" (derived) from the German language for dolphin
head. I have observed about half a dozen steelhead in my career
with this condition.
Scientists believe this condition results
from damage to the egg, when the embryo is developing.....and as Paul
Harvey says "Now you know the rest of the story".
Enjoy!! Tom Rozich, Cadillac DNR Click
for the "mopskopf" Steelhead
My hat is off to Tom for providing the proper jargon and enlightening
us all on a truly unique Steelhead caught in Ludington just a few weeks
back by Capt. Kirk C.
For today's update, let's go with how quickly the clock ticks! Today's featured photo shows where our
private message board
members parked their boats just three fleeting months ago, then switches to
what the very same place looks like right now (snow up the quazoo)!
for 2005 Aug to Dec comparison photos
Our membership gets free boat storage and
the use of my property. Leaving your boat "up north"
saves both travel time and the costly stuff you pour in the gas
Many members have been welcomed to camp at
my place, or to use one of my camping trailers for free (the
best word in the American language)! I figure, as long as
there's no charge, Stronach Twsp. and Manistee County can't pitch a
It's a privilege for me to have our cherished members camp and fish from my
place. Their honest daily reports during season keeps this
website full of current & reliable reports from the perspective
of the trailerable boat sport fisherman.
How's early December going in Manistee? A lot more snow
then usual for this time of the year. As a rule, we don't get
hit with large amounts of snow until around Christmas. High
temps for the next few days will not see 30 degrees either.
Spent the majority of the last
day and a half boring holes in Magnum Meat Heads. While many
could consider this a dull, monotonous and tedious job, as long as
it has to do with fishing......I don't mind one bit! Click
for the drilling process
This part of the production process
used to be sub-contracted to be out. Now, this will be done
in-house, thus in the long run, keeping manufacturing cost inline.
Now, that firearms deer season has concluded and here's what the
jury says about deer hunting in Manistee County. Deer numbers
are definitely down (especially in my area), but much better bucks
were taken by those I know. Capt. Tom Rasmussen shot a 8 point
with a huge rack (6" tines and a 19" inside spread).
Capt. Bud Raskey took a 9 point and John J's neighbor got a dandy 12
pointer. So, when hunters did score, generally it was with a
I finally have a few deer hitting my bait pile
and looking forward to the now open black powder season.
Discounting the winter of 2004/2005, the previous 3 winters in
Manistee County were pretty darn hard. If this coming winter
is on the mild side, we should be in good shape down the road, cuz
there was a drastic cut antlerless permits for the area in which I
live and hunt.
Mr. Tom Rozich, head honcho of my area's DNR Fishery Division
was kind enough to adds some facts to the deformed Steelhead
displayed in the 11/30/05 update. Tom said, "damage had
occurred to the embryo," thus causing the deformed nose/upper
jaw. I will have more info on the way about this odd,
jaw-jacked fish very soon. Problems with my Email account
prevented me from getting the whole story from the DNR. Steps
will be taken today to cure any and all email problems.
Ludington still has a few docks are still
in to launch and retrieve boats for the late season angler.
Pere Marquette Lake is very cold, with temps in the 33 to 34 degree
range, so Ludington's basin could be looking at ice in the near
future. Steelheading on the Big Manistee is going well, with
good numbers of fish in the lower section, as of last week. After
last Saturday's 1/2" of rain, look for the entire BMR to be
According to our poll concerning Luhr Jensen products being
moved to China by Normark, there's long range
implications. Only 7 states border our Great Lakes.
For all intents and purposes, we're a pretty small tight knit
community, when compared to let's say, to bass fishing. Losing
grassroots support for your product line is something no
manufacturer can lose sight of. No mater how big they
Michigan probably leads the nation in jobs
lost to foreign outsourcing and overall industrial downsizing.
Michigan is one of the few states losing population, cuz of the
shrinking job market and the general state of Michigan's ever
It sickens me that Chinese (and Normark...aka
Rapala) will benefit from what used to be, a fine American company
(Luhr Jensen & Sons).
Having had special purchasing privileges thru
Luhr Jensen's Pro Staff program from 1998 until 2003......it
befuddles me why a company that has the Great Lakes market corned on
dodgers, divers/snubbers & J-Plugs would want to sellout in the
Capt. Kirk (my UPS driver who lives in Ludington, MI) dropped off a
picture of one of the nastiest looking Steelhead known to mankind.
I've seen a bunch of malformed fish, but Kirk's critter looks like a
throwback to the Jurassic age!
This Steelhead's nose and top jaw has been pushed
downward for some reason unbeknownst to me, while the lower jaw protrudes
well beyond it's snout. I've seen countless numbers of Great Lakes
fish since 1968, but none to rival Capt. Kirk's fish!
The story behind catching this wicked looking
Steelhead began with Kirk plowing the snow off the boat ramp in
Ludington, so he could troll the pier heads. The time frame is
recent too, like about a week ago. Click
for the world's ugliest Steelhead
Now, this is the part where I suck up to Kirk
for being wonderful asset for my business. He carts stuff in
inside when I'm not here and always has a treat for my lab. It's a joy
to deal with a dedicated fishermen who wears brown a lot of the time.
Lots of rain in Manistee County yesterday will perk up the
Manistee River for diehard's quest of Steelhead. I say
diehards, cuz as this week progresses, daytime highs will only be in
the low 20s. Fishing the BMR at this time of the season
requires a enclosed and heated boat, if you're looking to halfway
enjoy the outing.
Like all rivers, the Big Manistee is in a
large valley with long expanses for the wind to whip and
build. This can make life miserable sitting in a open boat
with snow licking on your face in a 25 mph gust. I guided on
the Manistee River in open and enclosed boats for almost 20 seasons,
so I full-well know the difference. This late in the year a
covered boat is the only way to go!
I'm running a special Christmas deal at: www.michiganangler.com.
You'll receive a FREE $13.99 King Kryptonite 3-Fly Meat Rig on all
orders over a 100 bucks. FREE 3-Fly Meat Rig, coupled with free shipping,
equates to a hefty 20% in savings!
The King Kryptonite is like salt and
pepper, cuz it goes with everything and is not color sensitive to
what flasher you run it behind. This was proven in 3 separate
tests run on Lake Michigan last August and September. Click
for NEW King Kryptonite
You can order tackle online at: www.michiganangler.com
or call me at: (800) 552-2009. All purchases are shipped US Priority
Mail and arrive at your door within
1 to 2 days (MI orders) after the order is placed. All items at my
webstore are in stock.
Wisconsin Steve has raised the bar on pushing the Lk. MI season
to the extreme. SteveO (as he's known on our message board)
recently (like last week) fished out of the Port of Kewaunee, WI on
Lake Michigan. He motored out to 100' of water and put the
"meat" to the fish. Click
for a respectable Chromer 'Bow
They took a decent mixed bag of Kings and Steelhead,
or as Steelhead are called in Wisconsin, 'Bows. Steve is
definitely an enthusiastic fisherman, extending his big lake season
way beyond what most consider normal! Click
for SteveO's Nov catch
Too Busy with production and shipping to have anything close to
a meaningful update today, so I decided to skip this one all
This week's focus has been the question of comparing today's
charter operators to charters of 20 years ago, to answer the
question, "which one is best?"
Modern charter outfits that ply the
waters of Lake Michigan do not have the varied base of species to go
after. Numbers Lakers and Browns do not exist in numbers where
you can actually target them. The situation with "Bows, or
Steelhead is hanging on by a slender thread in Lk. MI. during the
past 5 years.
Present day skippers have one horse to beat on nowadays and that's
the almighty King Salmon (Chinook), that has shrunk in size to where
a 20 pounder is considered a "good" fish. 20 years
ago, a 20 pound King was small guy!
Current charters have gotten pretty darn
good at doing one thing: fishing suspended Kings, or as I prefer to
say, "wandering around over deep water." They do not
have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of running tight to structure,
cuz, while Kings are smaller now, there's a heck of a lot more of
them. Meaning the many of the skills of 20 seasons are
worthless now, cuz you do not have to fish the bottom.
Also, modern captains benefit from many
advances in sonar, navigational devices and mainly the major
improvement in tackle used in the i2ks. Stuff used now is not
speed sensitive where you have a .3 mph leeway in trolling speed to
crack the "right" dodger whip. Line counter reels
were not even available in 1985 and diver rods had just been
introduced. Divers and leadball drops back then were run on
So, to answer the question of which era has
produced the best charter captains I'd have to go with those running
charters now, all be it may they're faced with a yearly shrinking
customer base according the charter catch reports I used to receive
from our DNR (actual charter trips per season, have been falling
since in '96). Never the less, every generation builds on the
knowledge base of what went before, hence to state my answer once
again, today's charter operators are better.
The biggest leap forward has been accomplished by
the sport fishing fleet in my opinion. The average
non-commercial, or sports fishing boat is better equipped, than a
charter vessel in 1985, pointing back to the tackle and
electronics. It used to be rare to see limit catches from
average "Joe Fisherman," not so any more. Some of
the wisest fishermen on the lake are no longer just charter
Ted and Stefan fished the Big Manistee River yesterday. Their
catch was good looking 8 pounder. Reported action was fair to
decent. They had 5 hits and 2 Steelhead hooked up. Ted
also stated boat traffic was very light around Bear Creek and boat
pressure didn't increase until they reached the Rainbow Bend Public
for Ted's fish
Part 4 of my comparison of present
day charter operators to those of 2 decades ago to answer the
question of which generation is the best?
Back in the mid 80s, the much sought
after magic ticket was 54 degree water. This was the place in
the water column your lures had to be concentrated for both Coho and
Kings. I must stress, preferred temp was the "big
deal" then. Especially, if you wanted a full box of
fish. 20 years ago Salmon were very prone to 54 degrees, with
anything colder, or warmer producing limited action. Getting
the right temp sent you down the highway to Salmonville. Temp
was everything back in 1980s.
Ronald Reagan era Lake Trout had a
strong fondness for 42 to 44 degree water. Lakers would
cooperate in slightly colder water, but never warmer.
Tomorrow, how temp is handled today & the challenges to our
current charter fleet.
Should have a reel Steelhead fishing update from the Big
Manistee River by this evening. A couple of downstate
fishermen, that keep their boat at my place always inform me of how
they do, and they're fishing BMR today.
In keeping with this week's theme of
comparing the today's charter captains to their equal of 2 decades
ago, to answer this question, "which one is best?"
I've seen both ends of this yardstick and
can offer a fair assessment from personal experience. Lk. MI
skippers for hire in the 1980s were forced to troll slow. In
fact, a heck of a lot slower then the fleet goes now. This was to
fish Lake Trout.
After the June's offshore Steelhead fishery
died around the 4th of July, Lake Michigan's big deal was: Lakers in
the month of July. Back then, LTs (Lake Trout, greasers, or
mud-chickens) were known as the bread and butter fish of the charter
fleet. I remember spending a goodly portion of every summer on
Lk. MI charter fishing the "on the deck" (bottom) to build
a box of fish for my customers. Many days?....that's all we
had were Lakers and thank the fish gods we had 'em!
A couple, long-time excellent Frankfort, MI
charter operators was and still are, "Sea Joy" Mike
Bradley and his son, Steve (Five-0). To slow their
"wind-catching" 31 foot Silverton fly-bridge boats down to
slow speed on a strong downwind troll, they'd run one of their twin
inboards in reverse! This was a trick, I never quite mastered
in my 28' Cherokee that had inboard Crusader 350 twins. I
found it much easier to drag sea anchors, known nowadays, as the
widely accepted trolling bags.
Around the end of July in Frankfort, meant
good numbers Kings in the 25 to 30 pound range would show up.
In the 80s it was normal to never have downrigger leads no longer
than 8 to 12 feet. 20 years ago the consensus on spoon leads
were always kept shorter then when J-Plugs were sent overboard for a
swim. Tighter leads will increase the spoon's action. This is
still a reel-fact at slow speeds!
Dodgers were the "big deal" then,
and those were NEVER dropped back any farther then 4 feet from the
rigger release. So, all these long leads used nowadays were
unheard of in the 70s & 80s. Water clarity in 1985 was not
near as clear, as it is now. Zebra mussels coupled with the
outlawing of high phosphate dish soaps & laundry detergents has upgraded
our water clarity. Probably too much (as far as I'm
concerned), consequently resulting in far more after-first-light
More to come tomorrow........focusing on
temp then and temp now.
For every reason I can find to go fishing on the Big Manistee, 5
reasons pop-up and countermand me spending a day on the river.
Since last September, building, or designing products for 2006 has
been a fulltime job.
Comparing to nowaday's Great Lakes
charter operators from those of yesteryear is history that shouldn't
be lost. As our fishery lives in a constant state of flux,
adapting to ever changing conditions is something savvy fishermen do
Back in the 1980s our fishery was far
different to what's happened over the span of the last 20 some
seasons. Charter skippers that got licensed in my era (the
early 80s) were faced with a larger catchable species base and a
varied fishery that changed from month to month. With each
requiring a new set of tactics and rules.
Captains that fished the northern ports on
Lake MI started off in April chasing a robust population of Brown
Trout that we'll probably never see again. Spring captains in the
southern part of Lake MI made a living pounding out limits of Cohos
According to one charter's brag in
1985, they took 2000+ Coho out of the Port of Muskegon, just during
the month of May.....we'll never see this again either!
The mid 80s ushered in the June
offshore deep-water Steelhead fishery that was starting to
blossom. Daily limits of large Steelhead (12 to 16lbs.), along
with the odd King, or Laker was the reel-deal. This was an
untapped bonanza with some of the easiest catching I've ever
witnessed in my 38 years on Lake Michigan. I can recall
charter in 1989 where we had a 5 banger, only to exceeded with 9
fish-on zoo less then a hour later out of the Port of
Frankfort. Thusly, tying a bunch of lines into mess that
resembled a strainer full of spaghetti! More to
mounting a couple inboard rod holders on my 14 footer, a recon trip
to the Big Manistee River will soon be in order (weather
Introduced a couple of new 3 Fly Meat Rigs
today. The un-named X-Glow white will be in the 2006
lineup. Further testing is required on the new Super Puke
before it becomes part of the product line. The nameless white
x-glow meat rig completed the water testing in Manistee and
Frankfort last summer with highly impressive results.
The theme this week will focus on the skill
level of today's charter skippers against their counterpart of 20 to
years ago. I'll give my opinions on which one is best later
this week. I came up with this idea, as there is several
differences that echo our ever changing Great Lakes Fishery.
for 2006 white 3 Fly Meat Rig
While I've never used the color Monkey Puke much, that doesn't
mean it's not popular. In 2003 "puke" was Silver
Streak's (Wolverine Tackle) number 1 seller.
The main reason I never gravitated to the
"puke" color, cuz when I was in the charter business, the
mere mention of the word might push my charter guests over the gunnels,
upchucking to the infamous tune of, "Ralph!!....
Hughie!" Average landlubbers have little tolerance to
a heaving boat in 1 to 3 foot seas.
Well, to make a long story short, I
designed a new "Super Puke" color for water testing in
2006. This new 3 fly meat rig is made from my X-Glow Magnum
Meat Head & painted with the exact colors on the Streak spoons,
courtesy of Wolverine Tackle.
The bullets heads in the flies are X-Glow too,
having glow properties for 4 hours, or longer! The
"X" in X-Glow stands for extended and is far superior to
the standard glow we've become accustomed. Click
for new "Super Puke" 3 Fly Meat Rig
Winter dropped another 4 inches of snow in Manistee County
recently. Good tracking snow for deer hunters. If there's
deer to make them? Those who live close to my area are
reporting seeing very few deer, or no deer at all.
Word from the Big Manistee River is a mixed
review, with some reporting good to moderate success on fish to 8
pounds and others struggling to get a bite. If the weather
straightens up, my plan is to fish the BMR at least twice next week.
Mr. Winter 2006 paid an early visit to Manistee County
yesterday. We got hit with 8 to 10 inches of snow and M55 was
glazed over with a inch of ice. Hazardous traveling conditions
contributed to the death of 3 young people on M55 in Stronach Twsp.
(not too far from where I live).
Frankfort, further north was said to get
buried under a foot of the white stuff. Living close to Lake
Michigan means bands of lake effect snow when our wind direction is
from the west, or northwest and when it gets fairly cold. Lake
effect snow is formed from the cold wind coming across the warm lake
The surprising thing about this early
winter blast?..... it's the first snow we seen all fall.
Generally, for a first snow, we'll only get light dusting, usually
Deer hunting this year kinda reminds me of Frankfort back in
August of 1988. BKD (bacterial kidney disease) had just about
wiped out the population of Kings. There was just not that
many Kings. For full afternoon's fishing leading into evening,
might result in all of 2 hits, if luck was on your side!
You know what?.......we still went anyways, cuz there was a fortuitous
for inside of Capt. John's deer blind Click
for view out of the blind
Same situation with the deer on my property. While
there might not be many, there's still a darn skinny possibility to
get lucky and see a decent buck.
Deer hunting in my neck of the woods would be a heck of a lot better
if there was some deer around. Opening day was chilly, rainy and
wet experience if you didn't have a warm enclosed blind to whittle away
your time in.
The mile section where I live only has 7 homes in it if you
travel the complete the 4 mile square. The north boundary of my
property is adjacent to 80 acre sector of the highly wooded Manistee
National Forrest, which at this time has hardly any deer in it!
During the past 5 years we've went from too many deer, to not very darn
Today is the opener of firearm arm deer season. Michigan
Sportsman consider Nov. 15th as an unofficial statewide
holiday, holding it in high esteem! I will be in the woods
enjoying the new deer blind I built about 3 weeks back. Good
thing the blind is fully enclosed and heated, cuz there's 80% chance
of rain for Manistee County today. Then tomorrow, the thermometer
nose-dives with temps in the low 20s and snow! I'll post an
inside photo of the cozy-warm blind when time allows.
Tomorrow's firearm deer season is the big news, as I've readied
my blind and equipment. Everything is in place, but deer
numbers on my piece of Manistee County are at an all time low.
My bait piles have yet to be touched! This is a vast departure
from a couple, three years ago when we had a ton more deer.
Never the less, sitting in a heated blind, enjoying the north woods
doesn't sound half bad. In my book, the tradition deer hunting
means a bunch more than just the kill.
Krystal Killer and Black Ice Magnum Meat Heads are now
installed at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com
Even though we're a long ways for the 2006 season, meat heads have
been enjoying brisk sales for an off-month. Krystal Killers
& Black Ice were the most in demand meat rigs in August and
September 2005. It was a natural to bring them into the fold
for online tackle sales. Click
to see these meat heads
My thanks goes out to Norb N. and Kyle V. for supplying timely
photos for today's update. Norb fished the Big Manistee River last
weekend and caught nine Steelhead in 3 days, mostly in low clear water
conditions Click for one
of Norb's BMR Steelhead
Kyle V. scored on a large bodied 10 point whitetail
recently. Click for
10 point It's good to see deer hunting is doing well in some
areas, cuz around my place it sucks. I've had shelled corn and
sugar beets out for almost 2 weeks and they haven't been touched.
Terms like scarcity and non-existent describes what's going on with the
deer herd in my neck of the woods!
Made about two laps around the mouth of the Little Manistee River
where it enters Manistee Lake. Then discovered my 1993 9.9
Evinrude wasn't pumping an adequate amount of water at slow idle
This Manistee Lake mission was a controlled test with
two Magnum Meat Heads on the starboard side and the traditional,
accepted method of Flatfish on the port side. The tally was 0 for
0, as both methods took nary a nibble!
Needless to say, motor problems caused us to
quit after only about an hour, but we did see 3 boats fishing. One
of these lucky boats even took a fish within eyeshot while John J &
I were there. I did learn: to fish meat heads clean at speeds over
1.2 mph, a 1/2 ounce is not enough weight to keep the meat head
One ounce worked just fine in our abbreviated sojourn
on Manistee Lake. Ballchain swivel and a 5 foot leader we used
worked great and no twisties in the mono, which was more good
In the process of readying tackle for this afternoon's expedition
to Manistee Lake, I had to re-spool reels with fresh line.
Today's featured photo shows a reel correctly filled to the top of
the spool. Countless times I've seen many of my compatriot
Salmon fishermen, load reels to only what I consider a partially
filled reel. A full to the brim reel will gather more line per
revolution of the reel's handle.
I look at a filled spool as an insurance
policy, so when we have a trophy fish on, being "spooled"
is not in my vocabulary. Just make sure there's at least 1/8
inch of clearance between the line and the level wind guide.
While many of the seasoned anglers already knew this this, there's
enough less experienced to make today's tip more then
for a correctly spooled reel vs. incorrect
Reason for about 1/8" clearance is
when monofilament gets wet, it will absorb water and swell.
Too little clearance means the line will jam against the line
guide. Use a bloodknot to join the line together, as about
half of the old line can be left on the reel, serving as
to learn a knots that join line together
Recent winds to 70 mph pretty much took care of all the leaves,
including the last to shed oak trees. This coupled with last
weekend's rain, means river Steelhead should be on a major
improve. Hope to check out this coming Monday.
Tomorrow afternoon the plan is to fish Manistee Lake in search of fins
and gills. Experimentation is in order, as the plan is to troll
clean Mag Meat Heads with cut herring off inline planer boards with a
1/2 oz of weight.
Kirk, my UPS delivery driver reported Ludington was
firecracker red-hot when the big water angler could get out and safely
troll Lake Michigan. He was beyond happy with the size of our next
year's Salmon taken this October. Kirk said, "the 3 year olds
were about as big as the adults were last summer, running 10 to 12
lbs." If this hold true, 2006 should yield a larger year
class and more summer Kings over 20 lbs.
Yesterday, I watched a TV documentary on the Discovery-Times Channel about a
supplier of power sources to Nokia (cell phones). It concerned
ethics and I came by a more then just a few facts about the
industrial area of Shenzen, China.
The Chinese government has a law saying
that workers in China make at least 80 dollars a month. The
company featured was paying their employees (97% women) about half
of that amount. Wages were supposed to be $2.65 a day, but even that
dirtball cheap amount was being circumvented by the power source
Mandatory overtime of 24 hours a week and
the workers still made only 40 bucks a month was another fact
mentioned. Their employees lived double stacked in company
dorms 8 persons to a room, no larger then my living room
The big question is: will you purchase
Normark's Chinese J-Plugs and Dipsy Divers?
I'm pretty sure we will not see a price decrease from what we paid
in 2005. Even though the cost savings in labor will be vast compared
to when Luhr Jensen produced their product line in Hood River,
Oregon and paid American wages.
I've installed a new poll to see how our
Great Lakes community will react to this move. Personally, I
will never buy a Dipsy Diver made in China!
We've lost another American company, as Luhr Jensen and Sons has
been sold and moved to Shenzen, China, just north of Hong Kong.
Luhr Jensen formerly located in Hood River, Oregon was a staple to
our Great Lakes and west coast ocean Salmon Fisheries. The
loss of 100s of American jobs to multi-national interests like
Rapala (who bought Luhr Jensen) is a crock! Chinese J-Plugs
and Dipsy Divers?
It was suggested to me to have my
tooling built for my 2006 X Projects built and possibly made in
China. This idea went over like a fart in church, as far as
I'm concerned. My tooling, pieces and parts will always
continue to be made in the USA. Michigan has been hit the
hardest by unfair foreign competition dumping parts and products
from government subsidized out-of-country industries.
I have no crystal ball, but
what's gonna happen when the American consumer has no jobs to pay
for the products sold in the USA? Remember, the job you save,
might be your own! I broke this story, yet to unfold earlier
this season from un-named sources inside the Jensen organization.
In a light discussion with a member of Kingfish Products Design
Team (Getaway Bob K.) we both came to the conclusion of how much the
Salmon catching knowledge base has advanced in the past couple of
seasons. In fact, Bob said, "in the past two years I've
learned more then the previous 20 years chasing Salmon."
No longer do we have to stop fishing for Kings in
the middle of the day, nor think Salmon below 125 feet are
un-catchable! I'd like to think my products, ideas and website
played a part in this, but that's simply not part, or parcel of the
It's the dedicated big water fishermen that have
been open minded enough to the ply depths past 200 feet
down. Resourceful fishermen making and preserving their own
bait, which was a huge leap forward in the first place,.....deserve
Rain is the news form Manistee County. This is what all the
fall Steelhead fishermen have been waiting for. A semi-dry October
did not do much to load our rivers and streams with mint-chrome Steelies
from Lake Michigan yet. Look for drastically improved river
fishing for fall-steel if we get more rain (as predicted) this
week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed,.....we do!
Bear Creek, a major tributary of the Big Manistee
River and the one of the first streams stocked with Pacific Salmon in
1966. The "Bear" is loaded with spawning Kings up
towards Brethren and Kaleva. This tributary naturally reproduces
Salmon and Steelhead, being fast flowing, clean with a plenty of gravel
for nests, or redds.
It's hard to go on record with long sighted
predictions, but I highly doubt the upcoming 25% Salmon plantings cut by
the DNR will do little to detract from our Lake Michigan Fishery in the
Today's featured photo is from Julie D's recent success with a
couple of limits of Walleye from Burt Lake. The size caught is
perfect for table fare from a lake not too well known for walleye
fishing. These fish were caught in 12 feet of water using 4
inch minnows on a small jig. Click
for Walleyes & a monster Perch
There's far more to this then meets the
eye, because fisher-people can be a tight lipped group when it comes
to info regarding their "honey hole." You've
probably ran into people like this at the cleaning tables, preferring
to give a smart Alec answer rather then telling you where they had
their luck and with what on.
Julie is the DNR's fish census taker
in the Rogers City area and is beyond dedicated
when it come to sharing her knowledge base from others. She is
an asset to our message board with exacting reports on the big water
during Salmon season from her neck of the woods! Our sport of
fishing would be far better off if we had more people like Julie in
Setup the new deer blind in the woods yesterday. Then
concentrated on furnishing it with a heater, table and a swivel
recliner. On 11/15/05 the firearm deer season will begin in absolute
coziness. This is a far contrast from the inhospitable
conditions dealt with in the past many seasons. It's hard to
convince yourself, you're having fun when your teeth are
for my blind in the woods
My patience factor for deer hunting never has
rivaled the persistence I have for fishing. Fishing is an
unknown comodity, cuz you can not see your intended victim.
With deer, if you're not seeing any, there's none around. With
fishing not being able to view your prey is part of the game, hence
there's always a faint glimmer of hope!
This was emailed to me last night: Michigan
seasonal restrictions on Walleyes in Lake Erie are to be
lifted. Thus, a return to a year around Walleye season in
The Steelhead situation in Manistee River is nothing to write
home about. Local Steelhead fishermen have given up for
the time being. Please keep in mind, some of the fishing info
I receive is third hand, but from trusted sources.
Manistee Lake by the Little Manistee River
is producing 1 to 2 strikes per morning for the dyed-in-the-wool
small boat trollers. Capt. Tom Rasmussen took one 10 pound
Steelhead yesterday morning when he was fishing with the legendary
Capt. Bud Raskey. Now, if these two could only muster one
fish, times are surely tough!
Since the passing of Warren Knapp
("Dotti K"), surf/pier reports are almost impossible to
come by. A sizeable amount of rain is needed, as the Manistee
River flow is well below normal for this time of year and very
Look to complete the deer blind project
today, after moving and reassembling most of the blind yesterday in
the woods behind my house. To place the blind in the best
location, we had to chainsaw a road into the dense forest I'm
blessed with. Many thanks to John J for lending a second
set of paws with this undertaking!
Yesterday's deer photos gave added incentive to hang the door on
my new deer blind. Being made in sections, today I'll truck
the blind into the woods and reassemble behind my place. The
idea to use an old pickup topper came last black powder season
during a early spell of nippy weather. Click
for deer blind
I figure the deer critters will have about 2 weeks to get used to it
before rifle season.
Having the new heated shack in the north woods
will afford me many hours of peace and quiet. We all need an
escape valve and at least.........some leisure time!
November is deer hunting time! This fact is echoed by
several of our message board members that have been successful
whitetail hunters this fall. Andy M. took one heck of a big 10
pt. in Hillsdale County and "Getaway" Bob harvested a 4
pt. some where's not too far from Bay City. Click for Andy's
10 pt. or Bob's
Low/clear water in the Manistee River is not
doing anything much for this fall's river Steelhead devotees.
All be it may, they're still taking Kings in the lower section of
the BMR. Was hoping to go river fishing today, but slow
reports have me thinking of possibility trolling Manistee Lake this
afternoon, or tomorrow. The Manistee Lake word is slow
fishing, but you know what?....... even slow fishing, beats
Just haven't heard that much good from the Big Manistee this
fall. Generally, when fishermen are doing well, the news travels
quickly. Mid-October did get a lower river push of fresh run
silver bullets, but as of lately mum is the word. Fall Steelhead
are an ornery critter to deal with under the best of circumstances, let
alone in a river infested with log jams. Click
for a fall silver bullet
In the not to distant future the plan is to
entice my exalted foe into a toe to toe fracas, stick a hook in his face
and have a good stout string to wind him in on. My 14 footer is
ready, as soon as the leaves clear the Manistee River. Constantly
picking leaves and debris off plugs is not a form of recreation I plan
Too windy yesterday for me to considering anything, except
putting the finishing touches on my new deer blind. The blind
is enclosed to the elements so drenching downpours, snowy blizzards,
or artic cold is no longer gonna be a problem. A small heater,
a good book and a comfortable chair to snooze in is in store for the
coming rifle deer season. While whitetails seem like they're
almost extinct around my place, R & R time in the blind means no
work on other projects! Making time for one's self is
something we all ought to do more of. Now, the big question
is......did you set your clocks back last night to adjust for
Daylight Savings Time?
This is that goofy weekend when we have to "fall
back," or turn our clocks back an hour to adjust for Daylight
Saving Time. Warm weather should bring the fishermen out this
weekend, including myself.
According to Capt. Tom Rasmussen who runs Sue Lee Charters in
Manistee, the amount of large lampreys spotted on Kings this season was
at an all time high, per his records. By law charter boat
operators are required to keep a detailed daily catch records, noting
the amount of lampreys seen.
lampreys he was speaking of, were the adult ones, 18 inches or
longer. He seen no small Lampreys to speak of. This shows
there's a year class of these fish suckers that did not respond well to
the lampreycide used to treat parenting river systems like the Jordan,
Betsie, Platte, Manistee and Pere Marquette.
In my opinion lamprey barriers like Homestead
Dam on the Betsie River do little to stop infestation. Migrating
adult Salmon can jump a small waterfall, taking along a hitchhiking
lamprey. Click here for a raspy,
nasty lamprey mouth
I attended the Benzie County Coalition last evening with
featured guest speaker, Gary Whelan.
Gary is Michigan's Fish Productions Manager for the DNR. He
put on one helluva good presentation concerning the upcoming 25% cut
in 2006 Chinook, or King Salmon plants. I took two pages of
notes, finding many interesting facts. Like up to 65% of the
Kings caught off the Port of Manistee were naturally
reproduced. Another fact was Michigan anglers took 55% of the
Kings in Lk. MI.
I regard the 55% (about half), as
disproportionate considering the amount of shoreline of Lake
Michigan owned by the State of Michigan. I brought up the
the limit" issue, where the other states surrounding Lk. MI all
have a 5 King limit. His answer was a truthful, "I don't
know" and he referred a couple of people that would be more
knowledgeable on the subject.
If Michigan truly wants to reduce the
bio-mass of Kings, upping the our limit by 40% would bring us in
line with other states. I highly doubt a 25% cut will do much
to bring back our Kings that used to average at, and above 20
pounds. Prior to 1989 we had a 5 King (Chinook Salmon) limit per
person before it was taken away and never returned!
As the weather in Manistee County remains on the chilly and damp
side, hampering my want to troll Manistee Lake. North wind has
been our predominate pattern for the last week and that means the
south end of Manistee Lake by the Little Manistee River get weeds
blown in and a is pretty darn cold when the temps are only in the
mid-40s. The Big Manistee River got a push of Steelhead a
week, or so back, but the word from the lower section is not rave
Spent most of yesterday dealing with
production/inventory issues for the 2006 season. I was
informed by my production company the price of the base material
used in my flashers, meat heads and bullet heads is going to get a
hefty increase soon. The price of resins in the world market
was on the way up before Katrina, which only exacerbated cost issues
(or so I'm told). Yes, like you, I believe big oil has found
another way to get in our pockets!
The Benzie Fishery Coalition is having a meeting tomorrow evening at
the Sail Inn in Benzonia, MI The Sail Inn is located right on
east side US31 and is easy to find. 7pm is the start time with Gary
Whelan from the DNR. I plan on attending and asking Gary if
raising the limit on Kings to 5 fish was ever
Cutting the plant 25% will do little to
lower the surplus of Kings in my opinion. Kings are now approaching
40 generations in the Great Lakes. It's my belief our Salmon
have evolved/adapted and are naturally reproducing in far larger
numbers no one has taken into consideration. 5 fish limit on
Kings should be implemented in 2006!
Winterizing your boat is today's topic is made possible by our resident
boat technician/mechanic, Mike W. from our private message board.
He works at Freeway Sports and you should be able to contact him by
1. Add marine fuel stabilizer to the tank.
2. Lower the outdrive and drain gearlube. Check for the presence
of water (Milky) thick goo.
3. Refill the gear case w/ fresh lube 80-90 hypoid is the most
common and works in most drives.
NOTE: most drives fill from the
bottom with the exception of OMC Cobra 86-93 which fill from the middle
4. Use a flush adapter (ear-muffs) with the garden hose and run
the engine 10-15 min. to get the treated fuel all thru the fuel system.
Shut the motor off.
5. Remove the flame arrestor and spray some fog oil down the carb.
Use a good brand and spray enough to fill the venturi area.
6. Drain the engine. Pull all petcocks. drain plugs and hoses.
let the motor and manifolds drain. Remove the flush adapter from the
drive, put the Neutral throttle wide open and crank the engine till it
fires and immediately shut it down.
NOTE: Most GM vortec V-6 engines
after 93 have a drain plug in the front
of the intake manifold. Make sure you get this one. Its tough to get at
and hard to see.
7. Raise the drive and take out the battery.
8. Re-attach hoses pet cocks and plugs.
9. Anti-freeze can be added, if in doubt as to where and how
much to fill ask a technician as it is possible to over fill
some manifolds and get it into the combustion chambers.
Always change the water separating fuel filter and fill the new
one with a mixture of 2oz. fuel stabilizer, 2oz. fog oil, 2oz. 2-stroke
oil and enough gas to fill it. Run the engine 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.
10. If in doubt take it to a Boat mechanic
OPTIONAL RECOMMENDED SERVICE AT WINTERIZATION:
Have the drive pulled and grease the u-joints, driveshaft splines
and gimbal bearing. Check the bellows and shift cable cavities for
water, holes and dry-rot. Check the engine alignment.
Change the engine oil and filter.
RV anti freeze is ok but the non-toxic and environmentally safe
propylene glycol is recommended.
Have a happy winter............Mike W.
Skipped this update and took the day mostly off. Rainy and
chilly meant a
pre-season case of the winter blahs.
Completed work on a new introduction page to my Encyclopedia of Tips
and Trix. There's 20 articles now open to the public.
Some of them are tutorial based, or interesting facts surrounding
our Great Lakes Fishery. All are a good read with contributing
writers other then myself. 40 of the most sensitive
instructional articles are still reserved for our message board
members. Click for tips & trix
Reformatted and updated some of the
pieces to better reflect our constantly changing fishery. I
did notice the colder 38 to 44 degree Salmon showing up in 1997 in
an article I did about Capt. Bud Raskey. History is being formed
every season & it's nice to have a gauge to look back upon, as
some of the articles date back to 2000.
After enjoying myself a few days ago on Manistee Lake another
helping was definitely in order. John J. and I fished from
about 5pm to 7pm last evening and caught a feisty Coho early on in
our outing. Click
for John J's Coho We never took a whack for the last 90 minutes
of trip, which in all reality...was still pretty darn great!
Being on the water with brilliant fall colors, as the back
drop sure beats working, or being in the house. As fall
progresses, I hope to fish a couple of days a week.
Some Steelhead are providing die-hard big
lake anglers limited action over 450 to 600 feet of water off the
Port of Manistee. Fairly good pods of bait were in the 140 to
170 range and the surface temps ranged from 51 to 55 degrees.
Lower end of the Big Manistee has Steelhead too, although iron-noggins over 9 pounds are a rarity.
Extending the life of your tackle is today's
subject matter. Over time the clear coat on the
windings that attaches the line guides to the rod can wear off.
Especially, if the rods are stored in a rocket launcher all season like
mine used to be. Clear nail polish applied over the wrap can coax
a extra season, or two and save you some dough. Click here for
photo of re-coating process.
Be careful when purchasing the nail polish and
don't do what I did. While in the nail polish section of a drug
store, I asked a women which nail polish was best, forgetting to tell
her what I was using it for. She hastily chastised me for an abhorrent
lifestyle, then told me I ought to be ashamed. She left the area hurriedly,
before I could inform her what the nail polish was really for.
I was delightfully sidetracked yesterday by Capt. Tom Rasmussen
when he captured me for an afternoon outing on Manistee Lake.
We fished in his 14 footer from around 5pm to 7pm and had 2
hits. One of the hits stuck and we landed a 8 to 9 pound Coho
male all dressed up in vivid spawning colors. This was the
first fish I caught in better then a month and,....you know
what?.......it felt reel-good! Click
here for our Coho
The absolute best news about the outing is we combined
product/products testing which turned out far better then anyone
could ever imagine. The super performance of the 2006 Project X
seems like providence intervened. We had a ultra-perfect
trial on the product/products for 2006. The final design phase
has been completed!
When time becomes available today the plan is to show a way to
dress up old rods and get a few more seasons out of the old
Water testing the secret 2006 Project X is another
chore that needs attention. Looks like we have the final
design, less a few minor tweaks.
Condensed the tips and trick section yesterday, 60
articles now populate the Encyclopedia of Tips & Trix.
Hope to debut the new tips and trix section soon.
Nocturnal Ted and Stefan hit the Manistee
River last Saturday night. They took 4 Kings and missed
several more. They fished way downriver from Tippy Dam.
All their strikes came in fast water on the gravel. Click
for an almost spawned out King
This week's main topic of concern is maintenance of your fishing
tackle and winterizing your boat. Today's tip is lubricating
the worm gear. If the part does not receive adequate grease,
the pawl will fail, rendering your level wind mechanism
here for illustrative photo When the pawl gets worn, it
looses contact with the worm gear and your line tends to bunch up
and jam the reel.
If the pawl fails when you have a fish on,
quickly unscrew the retaining cap and pull the pawl quickly.
Now, the line guide will free float. You'll have to guide the
line manually, but in an emergency this will get the fish in the
boat. I've added shims of paper under the pawl to bring it
back into contact with the worm gear and get the level wind working
until a new replacement pawl could be installed. The thickness
of your reel's pawl is very thin and wear out sooner, or
later. Having spare reel pawls on-hand is a good idea and will
keep your reel in service.
During storage always back off the star drag
until it loose, especially during periods longer then a day or two.
Today's featured photo shows a two extremely battle scared
Magnum Meat Heads from Manistee's Salmon wars last August and
September in. These chewed-on heads that took about 50 fish do
a far better job in showing how good they are, compared to me
flapping my gums about it! Click
here for proven tackle that more then earned it's keep!!
The best thing about the colors displayed?.... is these deadly
patterns worked from May thru September without fail. For
further full-blown proof click
here for 5/21/05 photo and
here for August 2005 verification.
I know of a group of Manistee fishermen that took 15 fish
(mostly Kings) from Lake Michigan a few days ago. Yes, all is
well for next season, as fall catching for Kings continues along
with some Steelhead.
From what I heard it was 2, or 3 Kings for
every Steelhead, as Kings continue to be the dominate species in
Lake Michigan. In the northern ports that I'm familiar with
(Ludington, Manistee & Frankfort) Coho, Lake Trout and Browns
are at all time lows and the situation with Steelhead is only
Next week featured topic will focusing on winter storage of tackle,
boat and boat trailer. A little bit of TLC at this time of the
year will insure a smooth start when the 2006 season starts. It's
plain drudgery to face problems next spring could have been cured this
fall. Besides this subject will give forth pertinent subject
matter for most of next week, as fresh fishing updates are gonna hard to
Look towards the end of this month when the leaves
come down for me to pick some fights with the Steelhead in the Big
Manistee River. Fall river fishing is a big deal to me and leads
my list of all time favorites.
Are you interested in a polling sample from 2003, 2004 and 2005 in a
year by year comparison for the best lure/method? Then click
here for the Poll Page. Do not view the 2005 poll victory
for me, or my products. I'm of the staunch opinion the herring
is the reel-winner, as my stuff is only the vehicle it rides
in. The total package of sight, sound and scent is not
offered by any of the other lures/methods, therefore a continuing
slide from favor with the modern day i2k Salmon fisherman.
Tomorrow's update will
concern tips on storing your boat and tackle for the long winter
lay-up. Our big lake trolling season only lasts for about 6
months. So tackle and boat running gear failure will only
subtract from this time and cost you $$$$.
What was your best lure for Salmon in 2005? Was it Spoons,
J-Plugs, Flasher/Flies, Dodgers/Squid/Flies or was it a Cut-Bait
program? I'll installed a new poll where you can vote for your
most productive method.
is the third year in a row this poll has been posted, starting in
2003. I have the 2003 and 2004 polls archived for a comparison
reflecting changes and shifts to various methods of catching
fish. In 2003 Flasher/Fly won and last year Cut-Bait narrowly
took the top spot on the podium. After a fair sampling period
I will build a new page containing all 3 years of polling.
The few diehards still fishing Lake Michigan out of Manistee last
weekend again reported next year's Kings were 9 to 12 pounds, which
is kinda normal for this time of the year. Only time will
tell, but this could be a harbinger of slightly larger year class of
Salmon 2006. Having fished many Octobers on the big pond and
Kings being caught now is a encouraging sign of what will happen in
April and May of 2006.
I'll be installing a new poll later today about
which type of Salmon tackle was most productive for you in
2005. I've ran this same poll in 2003 and 2004 for a fair
comparison on meat fishing as it gains in popularity.
Our poll on raising the limit in Kings to 5 fish was 81% in
favor. Michigan's DNR is just following the mind-set of
American industry where cut-backs and downsizing are in vogue.
I say hogwash, and if there's too many Kings, then let us Lake
Michigan anglers reap the same 5 fish limit as Indiana, Illinois and
Wisconsin allows, meaning a 5 Kings per day, per person.
We all know the pay scale at the DNR is not gonna
attract the sharpest tools in the shed, but never the less the
biologists in the other 3 states are in favor of allowing their
anglers a luxury (5 Kings) our DNR seems we can't afford. Click here for an article from Dick Swan who has sat in on many DNR
meetings and has insights into their inner workings.
Ted and Mike fishing the Big Manistee River last night,
They launched around 7pm, just before dark. At 4am in the wee
hours of the am they pulled anchor and headed for the access
ramp. They were rewarded with 2 Kings and a bonus Steelhead
for the night shift. This team prefers to fish nights and have
the river empty of the daytime crowds. Click for photo of
their BMR river catch
My last 4 weeks have been devoted to new product development for
2006. The newly designed and yet unannounced secret product is
almost in it's finished form. The last in a series of
prototypes will be ordered this week and water tested. If all
goes as planned, work on the tooling will commence shortly.
The new product/products will have a major leg-up on all of my
competitors who produce tackle for the world Salmon fishing
Tomorrow's update will feature a article
from the celebrated Dick Swan concerning the DNR's policy to limit
the legal limit on Kings to 3 fish. Dick has sat in on many,
many meetings and is knowledgeable on the inner workings of the
Finally cooler weather has hit the north country. Those
who were bow hunting in the July-like weather had a problem once
they did take a deer. Heat and a dead carcass mean a quick
trip to the deer processors, or spoiled meat. Today's featured
photo is 8
point from Lapeer County's farm country. Steve Burns took this
animal last weekend, packed the cavity with ice and made haste to
the butcher shop.
Word from the Manistee piers is slow on
Steelhead. Cooler north winds and the lake tuning over should
help drive some fish towards the beach for the surf fisherman
The great combo catch of Walleyes and Steelhead came from Erie,
PA. Capt. Pete from www.dearmsteelie.com
reported spoons were the flavor of the day and full and core and a half
(15 colors of lead core) were some of the weapons. Best depths 53
to 68 feet down over 85 feet of water. I'm impressed with the
chunky girth of the obviously well fed Steelhead. Lake Erie has
long been known as the Walleye Capital of the World and now it looks
like it might be the Steelhead Capital as well. I chartered on
Lake Erie from 1984 thru 1989 and took a few incidental Iron Noggins
each season, but nothing like they're doing nowadays.
Yesterday's photo of the
day has to be from Lake Erie. The photo was sent in by one
of our message board members who fishes that area. I received
no info from which port it was from, but my guess it was from the
Diehards still fishing Lake Michigan are
reporting decent success on a mixed bag of Steelhead, Coho and next
years juvenile Kings. Capt. Dave reported most of his fish are
coming 80' to 100' down with a meat/flasher program off Manistee's
shelf. He also reported the immature 2006 Kings were running 9
to 11 pounds. This could mean slightly larger Kings for next
season. Last year's 2004 October Kings I saw ranged from 5 to
Manistee's Little River Band of Native Americans took a small
step forward and banned fishing 300' feet below the Little Manistee
Harvest Weir. They did this by passing a tribal law to repair
damage to their public image suffered and contain some of the more
militant tribal members. Click
for news release
The mindset of the American public is that
all Indians are the purveyors of conservation to our environment and
wildlife. Now, that's a pretty hard feat to accomplish when
there's a spear stuck in a King Salmon in an "out of
bounds" area to all law-abiding licensed Michigan
fishermen. Local TV stations picked up this story last week
and negative publicity is not going to help generate revenue for the
LRB Casino at M22 & US31.
The sun has set on the 2005 big lake trolling season with the
advent of October. Fishing efforts are being shifted to the
rivers that empty into the Great Lakes. Today's featured photo
is couple of soon to spawn adult Kings. At this stage of their
life Mother Nature has provided the Salmon with dark camouflaging
colors to better suit the water clarity of the Big Manistee River
from which they came. When caught, river Kings are kinda brown
to bronze, or olive. Then rapidly turn darker towards
black once they go into a cooler. Click
for dark adult King spawners
Our poll about increasing the Michigan limit
on Kings from 3 to 5 is running at plus 80 per cent in favor of this
measure and is gaining widespread popularity. From what I
seen, Michigan has the highest big water fishing license cost and
the lowest limit on Kings. Some have said, "Michigan
plants the most and their residents get the least!"
Today, let's give credit to the sport fishing fleet for being a heck
of a lot more deadly then 20 years ago. In 1985 most of the fleet
with trailerable boats were not into pulling many attractors. Some
were decent with dodgers, but most found hitting the right dodger speed
far too bewildering Not so, with the attractors in this day and
age. They are not speed sensitive and have a much shorter learning
The point I'm trying to make concerns the graph for
the DNR document with proposed Kings Salmon planting reductions. Click
here for the DNR graph If the graph is to be believed, 8.5
million pounds were harvested, with the lions share going to the anglers
in boats 24 feet, and under. This kind of tonnage is a testament
to the sports fleet. I've witnessed the change in our non-charter
Salmon fishermen and they're a lot sharper cookies then they
were 20 years ago.
They know how to whack out limits on a per person basis,
that rivals any charters. Our membership from our message board is far
more knowledgeable and versatile then most charter operators were in
Are you part of the so-called silent majority? Silence
will do nobody any good when it comes to our poll about raising the
3 King limit to 5. All the other states that border Lake
Michigan have a 5 King limit, so why not bring all the states into a
single strict unison course of action. Or, better yet,.....why
does our DNR treat us like we're the bastard children of the Lake
Michigan sport fishing family by taking away by 40% what Indiana, Illinois
and Wisconsin allow (5 King limits)?
With the advent of bow season, there's a bumper
crop of acorns in Manistee, too bad the deer are on the skimpy
side. The area of the Manistee National Forest where I live is
pretty bleak when it comes to Whitetails. This is a far cry
from 5 years ago when you had to dodge deer on M55, now you're lucky
to see one from Wellston to the US31-M55 junction (a distance of 17