July, August & September 2006

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Manistee, MI

7.23.06_Kewaunee.jpg (24345 bytes)
Kewaunee, WI

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Manistee, MI

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Algoma, WI

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

9/30/06  Bow season begins tomorrow as we close out a still rainy September 2006.  Rain, damp and cold is this past week's story.  Predicted weather for the bow opener is good with partly cloudy conditions.  

9/29/06  Something that rarely ever happens, a cancellation of today's update.

9/28/06  Cold, damp and rainy is the deal here in Manistee, MI.  Rain does help the river fishermen and keeps fresh fish migrating upstream.
      The timeless subject of charter boats vs. the sport fleet continues again today.  Boats under 25 feet are generally highly trailerable and this means the good ports at the right time.  No one port is good all season and ALL PORTS have their strengths.  Staying mobile with an eye on weather is one of the biggest allies trailer boats have.
      Also, the cost to own and maintain a 18 to 24 footer is peanuts, when compared to vessels in the 30 foot class.  My former Cherokee 28' with twin 350 GMs got 1.1 miles a gallon on plane.  Yearly static costs to own that rig pushed well over the 10 grand mark with payments, dockage insurance...etc!
      Trailerable boats of the i2ks are equipped far better than any charter boat circa late 1980s thru the 1990s.  Nowadays advancements in electronics means any boat (under 25') can fish at the same fish production levels of the larger charter boats.
       Best thing about the sports fleet?......you can chose who you fish with and not put up with obnoxious charter passengers that should have went to the tavern, instead of fishing.  Dealing with the public under any circumstances can be taxing.
      Tomorrow's update will wrap up this week's topic of the charter vs. sport fleet.

9/27/06  A few Steelhead, adult and immature Kings are still being caught off the Port of Manistee, MI, when Lake Michigan is calm enough to off the dock.  Late September, into October offers some the best fishing of the season, but windy conditions will keep you dockside 5 days out of 7.
      Continuing on the charter vs. sports fleet topic, many might think the charter game is a pretty easy one.  This is line of thought is tremendously wrong!  While 400 to 600 dollars in revenue per day might look like a windfall to the non-charter angler, the truth is: expenses eat up 90% plus of charter rates.  The crux of short 3 to 4 month charter season is 12 months of boat payments, storage, insurance...etc.
      Tomorrow's update will bring front and center, the advantages the sports fleet has over the charter boats, which are many!

9/26/06  Hummmm.....charter vs. sport fleet?  Let's expand on what a 11 foot beam charter vessel can do and that is; run a larger spread with less tangles.   Factor in more room to handle rods, fight fish and maneuver the fish into the best netting position, cuz,.... there's no motor box, or an outboard motor in the way.
           Click here for a fine example of an excellently rigged charter boat 
The boat in the featured photo is Capt. Paul Vantol's  "Kickin' Back" has 48 rod holders (most showing) and this means rods can be shuffled to and fro in a heart beat to clear areas for fighting/landing fish.  Plus, the flat rear deck aids in moving the angler to the fish and not the other way around.  Capt. Paul's boat could easily accommodate 6 lead cores/copper rigs, 4 divers and a perfect 3 downrigger set for a total of 13 rods.
     But...you, know what?  Capt. Vantol generally only runs 5 rods (3 riggers/2 divers) & concentrates on getting the 5 rods cooking in the most productive zones.  
     In saying that,......the "Kickin Back" pulled limits of Kings on every charter trip out of Ludington, MI during July and August 2006!

9/25/06  Charter boats vs. the sport fishing fleet?  Does it sound to you,....like the headline of the war of the worlds?  The short answer is not, but there are several differences, but the goal of both sides of this fence are directed at catching.
      Charter boats in most cases are painted into a corner, having to produce more fish, mainly because of the number of anglers aboard.  Hence, this is where a wide disparity of a mind-set begins.  Tune in tomorrow, as I expand on this issue.

9/24/06   Regular updates will resume tomorrow.

9/23/06  Today is the official start of the Fall 2006, as this summer of Great Lakes fishing has passed into the history books.  Salmon are starting to pile up in the holding pens at the Little Manistee River here in Manistee County, MI.  Soon the DNR will be harvesting eggs and milt to raise another generation of Salmon. 
     I'm of the hopes the Little River Band will refrain from spearing the river spawners this year.  Their past militant antics just causes more hard feelings and does not show the Native Americans as caretakers of our environment.

9/22/06   Do you have a favorite "go to" lure, or a meat rig combo?  Does this rig see more water time than anything else?  If the answer is yes to both of the above questions, you're setting yourself up for a one dimensional assault on your adversary, namely, "Mr. Fish."  Being flexible/open minded will serve you far better.
      In the course of a season, I speak frankly with hundreds of some pretty darn good fishermen and most, if not all, have a favorite pet lure/rig.  In telling me about their success with said rig, there's one thing that gets overlooked.  Almost 100% of the time their trick "go to" special rig is always fished on the deepest rigger!  
      This says a very important thing; like, moving the entire spread deeper will pay even greater rewards!  Often it's not the color, and it's more than likely the depth.  
      So, keep that in mind, before congratulating yourself on conjuring up the ultimate, most productive color to even get wet in the big pond.
      Since about 1996, Lake Michigan Salmon have not keyed in on the so-called magic water temp of 54 degrees and dwell quite comfortably in 38 to 44 degree layers.

9/21/06  Today's feature photo is from last July's Ludington, MI Youth Tournament.  My thanks to Team Hawkeye for sending this photo of our budding next generation of big lake Salmon fishermen.  It's great to see family involvement!  Click for photo
      It's been 40 years since the initial planting of west coast Salmon in our Great Lakes in Bear Creek and the Platte River.  Little did we know then, that 3 generations would make Great Lakes fishing a mainstay of their summertime activities.

9/20/06  The tools nowadays big water fishermen have at hand, are vast.  The internet in itself is a great conduit for reel-time information that used to take weeks for the public to hear about.  Word in our Great Lakes fishing community always filtered down, but not with the speed of same-day reports on what hot, and what's not!  Many harbor feature webcams, so you can even view the conditions beforehand.
     Tackle has made huge advancements, raising the standard of the sports fleet comparable to the charter fleet.  Once, only "in the know" charter operators could produce limit catches with regularity.  Now, most of our message board members are on the same fish output as the pros.  Sure, meat has helped, but the wide diffusion of cutting-edge mainstream techniques is major part of this equation too!

9/19/06  Tying up a loose ends from last week, when I mentioned color progression.  Here's the short version: the lower the angle of the sun, such as dawn's breaking light,....the darker the color.  When the sun was at high-noon, lighter colored lures were employed.  This worked like a charm "back in the day," like in 1989 and 1990 during the summer King Salmon Season on Lake Huron in ultra, gin-clear waters.  After running several weeks of consecutive charter trips, you'd see exactly what time a certain color would stop working, and when next color in line would take off.  
     All in all, this is useless knowledge for me now, as a sound meat program has made has made playing tricks like this obsolete.  Meat is a lot more forgiving when it come to colors.  This summer, I had more people visit my shop than you could shake a fishin' rod at,....and they all had their own pet colors of my products.  Colors/patterns they mentioned were diverse and across the board, limit after limit was still the outcome!

9/18/06  When calm seas permit, the fishing off the Port of Manistee, MI remains rock solid.  Fairly quick limit catches are still being reported with good-sized juvenile Salmon and some adults Kings still mixed in.  
      Dyed in the wool Lake Michigan trollers know, from now, thru October offers some of the very finest fishing of the season.  The crowds have went home, so you'll have the pond mostly to yourself.  By the end of this month, Steelhead will take center stage, with that season peaking the second week of October on the big lake.
      Big Manistee has been jam packed with river fishermen on the weekends seeking adult river-run King Salmon.

9/15/06  According to Lew T. in Benzie County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was treating the Betsie River for Lampreys and many nesting adult Kings were killed.  While I sympathize for the Frankfort fishermen, letting the lampreys live, or killing Salmon is like being between a rock and a hard place.  Neither choice is good.
     The above news took president over the planned update on color progression specifically tuned to the time of day.  This subject will appeal to those using artificial lures, more than meat users, but never the less, it's a reel-fact in need of sharing.
      Gonna take the weekend off, regular updates will resume this coming Monday.

9/14/06  Continuing yesterday's thought about colors and how light is refracted by water is one helluva daunting subject, as far as explaining something that has no firm explanation.  Case in point: the myth about fish not seeing red? .....red is the first color to disappear? .......red looks black to fish?  Click for Clear Red
      Well, who ever perpetrated this crock of BS, didn't have a clue!  Red is by far, my number one selling color in meat rigs, especially from May thru July.
      Now, trying to apply logic to colors/patterns we use.....ain't gonna work!  There is not one bait fish that is yellow/green that lives in our Great Lakes, but my X-Glow Yellowtail pattern is another leader in sales.  Tomorrow's update? color progression.

9/13/06  Today's feature photo is of light being refracted thru a window on my old, soon to be replace wood burning stove.  Upon seeing the distinct bands of red, green and blue, I captured phenomenon on camera with no artificial lights, or lighting.
     Water does the same thing, depending on the angle of the sun, as light penetrates the surface.  Red, green and blue are the colors we can see, along with shades of black and white.  Fish on the other hand see things far differently in a mystery that will never be fully understood, although the less enlightened claim otherwise.  In all cases, claims as to invisible, or what fish can, or can not see is...total conjecture!
      The why and wherefore of fish hitting certain colors, certain depths and what hues/colors appeals during the course of a full season?   I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out colors.....explanation tomorrow..... Click for prism effect

9/12/06  Season 2007 for adult Kings is just about over.  While there still be a few stragglers still on the way, as majority of the adults have made their way into the rivers.  Ports further north, like Charlevoix and Traverse City might have another week of two left before the sin sets on their season too.
      2006 was a better year for size, with average weights about 2 pounds better then 2005's Kings.  I'd say numbers wise, this year will have the same catch per angler hour, as last season's results.  Look for the Salmon in 2007 to get even bigger, if the bait fish situation stays the same and we have a normal winter.  The only thing that would prevent a size improvement is an especially frigid winter, thusly keeping the Lk. MI waters colder longer then normal.  Click for sun setting on 2006
     There's still plenty of open water trolling left for next year's Salmon.  Surf and river fishing is heating up and around the first of October, Steelhead will be front & center.

9/11/06  Fish are being caught in Manistee, but it's not the glory road of a couple of weeks ago.  North and east wind does not bode well for Salmon angler, especially at this time of the season.  Way too much east wind in the past 3 weeks!
      Almost a full moon,.....is slowing the early morning action.  Best time for the bite has been later, more like time frames pushing mid-day.  Last I heard, the fish were still coming deep (70' to 100' down) over 150' to 200' depths off Manistee's shelf.

9/10/06  Yesterday's 4 to 6 footers pretty much cancelled the open water fishery.  So, many boats opted for harbor patrol and from what I heard, not many Kings were caught in the harbor, or in the channel leading in to Manistee Lake.
     Day before yesterday (last Friday), fishing in Manistee was decent, with the fish coming deep, like 85 to 100 feet down on the rigger counters.  Adult Kings were on the skimpy side, and the majority of fish taken were non-adults.
     Best news and a good forecast for the 2007 season is the juveniles, or next year's crop of Kings are in the 10 to 12lb. bracket, which is better sized, then the 2005 herd.

9/9/06  Here's probably the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT TIP that will improve your catch rate vs. ratio of hits.  This reel-fact that CAN NEVER be stressed enough!!!! Sharpen your hooks religiously! Have a sharpening device within a arms reach at all times.  No one can put more fish under your boat.  No one can make more fish hit, but common sense dictates extra sticky-sharp hooks for high percentage hook-ups.
      On of the biggest scam I've seen come down the pike, is sharp "out of the package" hooks.  This melts into the mindset of hooks do not need sharpening, which is incorrect thinking!  Even if hooks are sharp "out of the package," hooks are not gonna stay that way long....after being buried in the jaw bone of a good-sized 20lb. King!  There hard bones in the facial skeletal structure of Salmon to dull hooks!
       Common tragic mistake: after missing a hit/strike, the offering is shipped back in the water, without sharpening, or seeing what's wrong with the hook?  Once the bite is missed and the failed rod is on the way back to the boat, grab your hook file.  Then closely inspect the hook for bent points, or crushed barbs.....re-sharpening is a necessity.  Making the most of your opportunities is what catching is about!

9/8/06  It's gonna be fairly lumpy  (2 to 4 footers) on Lake Michigan today, with a stout 20 knot wind from the north.  Tomorrow's wind direction is "supposed" to be from the northeast.  If this holds true, cold water just outside the pier heads should spell some pretty decent odds on scoring adult Kings in waters less than 40' deep.  
      North breezes followed by any east wind generally loads the Manistee harbor at this time of the season with Salmon. Good luck to all today making the trek to Salmon ports all across our Great Lakes.  Often asked to me: how long will the season on adult Kings last?  Hard to nail the answer down, but the first cold rain signals the end of the big guys, but plenty of juveniles will be left out in the deeper waters into Dec.

9/7/06  Michigan's DNR has drastically cut the Coho Salmon plants.  Poor return on dollars invested was the reason given to us.  Michigan anglers are no longer catching many Coho, as Indiana & Illinois was receiving most of the benefit from the Michigan plants.  It's too bad this happened and will effect the 2007 southern Lake Michigan Fishery in a huge way.  In my opinion, it's plain stupid why the states bordering Lk. MI haven't worked together with uniform limits and goals that insure a good fishery for all!
      State sovereignty over Lake Michigan should take a backseat to what's best for our fisheries.  Only time will tell, if there's enough Coho natural reproduction to fill the void of an otherwise hatchery supported fishery.

9/6/06  More decent weather is predicted for Manistee, as Lake Michigan is on it's best behavior.  It's been fairly flat for about a week now.  Which, is not the norm we've come to expect.  Generally, wind and waves is a big problem with Sept. fishing.
     Fishing is still respectable on Lk. MI off Manistee and should be thru the next few weeks.  There are King Salmon migrating thru Manistee Lake into the Little & Big Manistee Rivers.  The river season on Salmon should begin to peak about mid-Sept.

9/5/06  Labor Day Weekend 2006 was a good one, with light offshore winds that meant very fishable seas.  Reported depths on where the fish were coming, are pretty much across the board.  I heard Kings were coming 15' to 135' feet down, as the temp break was up unusually high, unlike most Labor Day Weekends.  Normal for this time of the season could mean fishing to depths exceeding 120' plus in the rigger counters.
     With the fish having a wide latitude on a comfort zone, catches were decent for the most part.  Boat traffic, while heavy was lighter than the previous week.  To the outside, we have maybe 2 weeks left, if adult Kings are on your menu.  Then from mid-September on, the majority of the catch taken will be sub-adult Kings to 12lbs.

9/4/06  Here's an eye opening account on last week's action in Manistee:
"John, We fished out of Manistee from 8/27 to 9/01. The people talking on the radio, (some in the same location we were) and the people we talked to said, the action had slowed down from last week.  When we asked them if they were running meat rigs?....almost everyone of them said, no.  That was all we ran day in, day out, and we could hardly ever get four poles in the water!  Click for limit of hogs 8/31/06
      We boated some where's around 90 kings, with the biggest being 24lb 12oz. after sitting in the cooler for 6 hours. We caught 4 over 20lbs. and I lost track of how many were in the strong teens.  Our best color was the Green Bubble in the BTI and the 12" three fly, with the Green Frog BTI coming in a close second. It didn't matter how we ran them, as long as we got the depth was close.  It was almost non-stop action when we were on the fish! 
Click for Capt. Tom's largest King   
     When the east wind brought the 4 year olds in close, we gave up on trying to run anymore than 2 rods, because we'd get ready to set the third pole ready, we'd have a fish on.....it was insane!  Can't wait for next year.  Thanks for making our trip to Manistee this year, a trip of a life time!"
........Capt. Tom M. boat name: Black Ice.
     Worthy to note is: Team Black Ice, released more fish then kept, and never exceeded daily, or possession creel limits according to the MDNR laws. 

9/2/06  The catching in Manistee remains excellent! I spoke with the skippers of the "Black Ice" & "Sea Wolf."  They both reached easy 6 to 9 fish limits on Kings by about 8am yesterday, then played catch and release to stretch out the morning.
     This website is gonna be on autopilot for the rest of the Labor Weekend and regular daily update will resume on 9/4/06, or sooner.  Good luck to all and have a great holiday weekend, as summer 2006 winds down.

9/1/06  Fish reports from yesterday said a few Coho in the 5 to 8 pound category were being caught, mixed in with the Kings.  Combinations of east winds has brought the temp up pretty high the last few days.  Although, I did hear some fish were being taken deeper, in water depths to almost 200' deep (fishing to top 50').
      Here's a 8/29/06 product review of the new Grn Bubbles introduced last week:
"John, This is the pictures of the 21b. 9oz. king that was caught by Dr. Harbert on your new green bubble BTI combo. We couldn't keep that meat rig in the water.  We wish we would have bought more than one of those, and will be placing an order for more of them tomorrow.   Click for this plus 20 pound King
Thanks again for all your help." ........from Capt. Tom M, skipper of the "Black Ice."

8/31/06  Fishing along Manistee's "shelf" slowed a little, as north winds pulled more fish into the harbor.  I heard the harbor patrol fleet was still catching at 10:30am.
    Here's recent Lake Huron report with some good sized Kings:
"John, Fished St. Ignace last week and wanted to let you know that your products did very well. The hot colors were 12" crystal killer and frog meat rig, black mamba with clear red rig, BTI'S double glow red and rig, Mt. Dew and rig and last but not least blue bubble rig....... kings are going about 18 lbs. The photo attached was the first day of fishing.  Thank You," ......message board member greybeard536

8/30/06  Thru this coming weekend, a lot of easterly winds are predicted.  This does not bode well for the Wisconsin anglers, as east wind just stacks up more warm water.  East winds cool the Michigan side and keep the fish up pretty high.  
       Cold water laying just outside the pier heads of central to northern Lake Michigan ports?....this draws the Kings in the harbor/rivers.  Easterly winds is kinda a mixed blessing, being good for the smaller boat angler's harbor patrol, but it tends shorten the season on adult Salmon for the open water fishery.
       Overall, the Labor Day forecast is fairly stable, which is good for those making the trek to your state's Salmon hotspots.  Stable weather, generally means no big blows, meaning manageable seas for those in 18'/26' boats. Click for 5 day forecast

8/29/06  Manistee: yesterday's action was excellent for most, with Kings to 25 pounds being reported and enough over 20s to keep things interesting.  Majority of the King Salmon caught were more like 10 to 15 pounders.
     Fishermen doing harbor patrol off the Manistee's pier heads, did OK, up until 9am.  Best catching was done about 3 miles out, in water depths from 55' to 200'.  Some said the best trolling direction was on a south troll along, "the shelf."  30' to 50' down seemed to be the best depth to key in on, although fish were caught to 85' down. Right now, 3 fish Michigan limits on Kings are common place in my neck of the woods.

8/28/06  Our Great Lakes freshwater Salmon fishery has grown up and is now pushing 40 years old.  At one time we had to look to the west coast and products associated with Pacific Ocean Salmon Fishery to take fish.  Not so, any longer!
       Since 1968 (in a very conservative estimate), I've spent some where between  2500 & 3500 days on our Great Lakes.  Mostly in quest of silver fish like Salmon.  Most all of my experience learned, came thru trial and error, as there were not many methods, or guidelines in the early days of the late 1960s and early 1970s.  
       First-hand, I've witnessed what works and what does not!  Keeping with that line of thought, today is the official debut of the Green Bubble pattern in the 12" flashers, along with the 2 and 3 fly meat rigs. Click for Green Bubble Combo Deal  The Green Bubble is currently out-fishing the popular Blue Bubble by a 3 to 2 margin.
       Knowing it's kinda late in the season, never the less, the Green Bubble will anchor my product line going into 2007.  With the amount of traffic going in and out of my production facility, keeping this under wraps until "07" was gonna be an impossibility.
Click for Green Bubble BTI
  Click for 3 fly Green Bubble  Click for 2 fly Green Bubble 

8/27/06  In Manistee, rain and thunderstorms keep many dockside from about noon thru 6pm (morning bite was decent for adults).  Good luck to everyone today.

8/26/06  Here's a fresh update from Frankfort's Benzie Frenzie Tournament:
      "Hey John- My crew wanted to me to send you a "high five" and say "thanks" for producing a great product!  The "fishergals" are super excited about their 5th place finish. I have to admit I'm quite proud too, when considering this is only their 2nd tourney, howling winds and over all minimal rods/boat experience.  By the end of the day I had them setting their own dipseys and even "re-meating" the bait heads... all I had to do was sit back and watch them giggle! ;) I think I even caught one of them kissing the Krystal Killer BTI.  Click here for Cathy & Nicole's catch
      Ladies tourney format requires the "fishergals' to remove rods from holder, set hooks, fight and land/net fish.  They may weigh a 1 man legal michigan limit. 
The women fished like the champs they are! 

THANKS! WE LOVE YOUR CUT BAIT STUFF! <<< (from Cathy and Nicole)
3 kings and a Steelie totaling 55lbs. - largest king 19.2 
Keep up the good work! .......

8/25/06  The brand new Green Bubble pattern introduced yesterday was a no-brainer to design.  Combining X-Glow properties with the very popular green bubble tape made sense.  Especially, after the success of the light blue bubble lure taped flashers and meat rigs.  The test Green Bubble (in 10" & 12" flashers) and existing Blue Bubble models fished on 8/23/06 teamed up to take about 20 hits in less than 2 hours of actual lines in the water. Click for proof of the Green Bubble's effectiveness  
Keeping 4 rods set,.....was almost an impossibility is another thing worthy of mention!
      What makes this even more interesting is; we were only running 2 of models of each in a small 4 rod spread.  Our first 2 fish, doubled down on the Green Bubble too!  
With results like this, the Green Bubble earned it's way into my 2007 product line-up.
Email me at: kingscharter@yahoo.com if you're interested in the new Green Bubbles.

8/24/06  Epic proportions of King Salmon have laid siege to central & northern Lake Michigan ports from Ludington to Leland!  Right now, it's a war having to deal with these nasty mean critters.  Having escaped from house arrest (shop duties), I witnessed first hand, how blazing hot the action is, yesterday morning.  Stuff like, not being able to keep 2 downriggers set, or,....if dare to throw a diver in the mix, be forewarned, you're gonna get bit!  Click for our morning's starter fish
      We set up slightly north of the harbor and with a favorable wind, trolled with the seas, towards Manistee's Orchard Beach State Park.  Example: we set 2 riggers and one diver and once the sonar read 70 feet, all hell broke loose with our scant 3 rod spread, getting whacked in short order.  From 7:30am until 9am we under a severe Salmon assault and being challenged to keep 1 or 2, rods in the water!
Fishing is as good as I've ever seen it in my almost 40 year span of fishing the Great Lakes.  My product line excelled, demonstrating....just how super lethal a simple meat program is!  My most heart felt thanks to Capt. Johnny J. for taking me aboard his boat, the "Megan Ann."  Click for hot rigs     Click for product debut  

8/23/06 Supplemental:  Manistee catching continues to be astounding!  John J. and I couldn't get 3 rods in the water from 7:30am until almost 9am.  Yes,....it's that good!  Full report tomorrow on how our morning unfolded with John J on our AM fish quest. I took the morning off to go fishing & you know what?.....it sure beats working!
8/23/06  Action in Manistee is a lot better than any words I can put in describing the fast catching.  Main herd of Kings are up higher in the water column, with the best depths down, on the riggers from 30' to 50'.  Tight to structure for the early bite is producing quick 3 fish limits for the fishermen using meat,.....with trailerable boats!
     Today's featured photo is from Seneca Lake, New York.  The fish is a inland lake Rainbow Trout, and from what limited experience I have in the area,....hard to catch.  Thanks to Capt. Ed C. for sharing his photo with us.  Click for his Rainbow

8/22/06  Here's what happened in Manistee last Saturday & Sunday.  Saturday was large full-grown adults from 15, to plus 20, and a few at 25 pounds.  The early bite was a fire drill, with some boats reporting 10 hits an hour, until limit catches were reached.   Sunday was another story, as it was lumpy with seas building to 5 footers.  The numbers of hits per hour were approximately the same, but the action came from sub-adult juvenile Kings from 7 to 12 pounds.  I guess the biggest problem some of our message board members had,......was trying to keep lines in the water! 
      My products/meat are capable of massacring some pretty impressive numbers of Salmon.  Which, brings to the subject of tossing the little guys back, ensuring a future fishery with larger fish.  Please keep in mind, the DNR cut the plant on Kings by 25%.  This Salmon bonanza will only last as long there is care given to this resource.

8/21/06  Gonna keep things on the short side until more port reports come in from our message board members on this past weekend's outcome.  This I do know, the size factor in Frankfort/Ludington/Manistee rivals the 2003 season with enough above 20s and some Kings are breaking 25 pounds.   Healthier bait population and a 25% cut in plants should mean some 30 pounders in 2007.

8/20/06  A strong northerly wind curtailed fishing in Manistee yesterday afternoon.  Blows from the north, cool the lake and offer excellent harbor fishing in most cases.  While trolling the harbor with a pile of boats isn't fun for the boat driver, never the less, it is highly productive on adult Kings looking to run the river.
      Here's a report from Capt. Ed R who fished meat during the mid-day hours last Friday:  "We got to Manistee about 10:30am, as everyone was pulling out. Lot's of advice as to not bothering in the middle of day come back for the evening bite. The guy pulling out beside us even offered us 2 fish, claiming it was better than getting skunked in the middle of the day. Wish he was there at 3:30pm when we pulled out with our limit.....Pretty good for first time out this year considering we fished from 11:30 am to 3:30pm had the lake basically to ourselves."......"Easy Trouble"

8/19/06  Full boxes, sharp hooks, tight lines and calm seas to all fishing today. 

8/18/06  Fishing around my region is flat-out, beyond good!  In my home port of Manistee, reports from Onekama to Big Point Sable are all excellent.  Everyone, everywhere that are pulling meat are catching limits. 
     The word from Ludington says, there's long lines of boats waiting to launch even during mid-week at 5:30am.  If you're determined to be on the water for the "crack of light" first bite, plan on splashing your boat around 4am on the weekends.

8/17/06  Catching remains good in neighborhood with stable weather for the time being.  There's a front predicted for this coming weekend, which will probably come from the north, or northwest.  Winds of this nature require the ability to adjust your tactics to keep your fish box full.  Often moving either closer to shore, or moving to deeper water will spell the difference between success and failure.
      Congrats to John S. and the entire team that fished aboard the "Kiva" who finished 6th in last weekend's GLPAA Frankfort contest.  I just found out yesterday, .......they were pulling my meat stuff too!

8/16/06  There's new stuff at the webstore located at: www.michiganangler.com 
X-Glow Blue Bubbles & Green Frogs are now offered in combo deals.  X-Glow Blue Bubble 3 Fly Meat rigs can also be purchased separately by clicking here.  There's a limit of 2 per order on the in-demand 3 Fly Blue Bubbles Meat Rigs.
     Here's what a first time meat user had to say:  "John we bought one of your meat rigs for the first time , We have never used any thing like this  before , and we had a fantastic day!.....more fun on the boat, than I can ever imagine.  Thanks from all of us." Capt. Jeff G.  Click here for Capt. Jeff's King

8/15/06  Here's Capt. Adam's exact words from Milwaukee, WI:
"Hey Capt John, this is my summary from this weekend's Brew City tourney.
      Fished straight east of the north gap in Milwaukee. Setup in 125' trolling SE and NW between 130 and 150 fow. 15 for 20. Best rods were riggers between 100 and 135' with 125' riggers being the best...... 
click here for a terrific catch & team
      225 fol out mag dipsey on 2 Mamba BTIs, red flies and 325' regular dipsey with green BTI on 2 also took a fair number of bites. Had ~46 degrees or so down 110....approx 50ish degrees at 95ish. 1 rainbow hit on a 5 color meat bird and one on a 200' pound ball.
      We pulled the pound ball and ran 2 dipseys, 2 riggers, left the meat bird out for GP the rest of the day. Most all fish were between 6:30 ish and 8:00am. Had a lull for about an hour then got our last 2 by 9:30 am. had a bunch of doubles and triples go, so thanks to the crew everything went real efficiently.

185.10 pounds with 15 fish. 3rd place Brew City Tournament
meat continues to work well for us."...........
Thanks, Capt. Adam

8/14/06  There's some serious catches happening now.  Lake Michigan's central to northern ports are on fire. Here's what one of our message board members had to say:
"John the fishing was the best I have ever seen.  We had four boats and twenty people, fishing mornings and evenings.....whenever we could get out. The 4 boat totals for the week was 185 Kings & 1 Coho.  Meat ruled the game, with the largest Kings coming 110' down over 140fow on the Black Mamba. Click for a serious catch
    Could not even find the Black Mamba in Manistee, so everyone must have been having the same luck. Can't wait till next year to come back! 
    Thanks for all the info on the site." 
Capt. Darren H. Darren, aka Snagglepuss 
Tomorrow's update will focus recent on last weekend's tournament action.

8/13/06  Best news for my product line came from yesterday's Flint Steelheaders contest.  Message board member Brian G's 27 pounder was the largest King weighed in.  This Master Angler King was caught with my 12" Monkey Puke flasher and Brian's homemade gold 3 Fly Meat Rig.  
     News from day one of the GLPAA in Frankfort, MI is kinda sketchy.  3rd thru 11th place is only separated by 6 pounds,....talk about a tight tournament....eh?

8/12/06  Man, there's a whole bunch of stuff going on in my neck of the woods! 
Detroit Steelheaders are having a tourney in Ludington.  Metro West and the Flint Steelheaders are having contests in Manistee.  Frankfort is hosting the first day of the GLPAA tournament.  Nice weather and predicted calm seas for this weekend will add to the success, along with good boxes of fish for everyone.  3 fish Michigan limits on Kings are common place, with the August fishing about as good, as.....it's gonna get!

8/11/06  Tomorrow marks the second annual GLPAA tournament in Frankfort, MI.  Last year in 2005, our message board members took 10 of the top twenty spots.  The GLPAA's format is a no-holds barred, weight your best 6 fish event and this means a equal playing field where trailerable boats can compete against the larger boats.
      Fishing in Manistee was decent yesterday for the ladies team aboard Roscoe's boat, "Burns Unit."  The newly introduced X-Glow 12" Green Frog & Blue Bubble were the good guys on the divers and riggers. Click for the hot rigs  Today's featured catch was a 9am to 1pm deal over deeper water, with the fish coming from 100' to 160' down on the riggers, over 250' to 450' feet of water. Click for 8/10/06 catch photo

8/10/06  On the drawing board there's a proposed ethanol plant in the works for Filer City, MI.  Filer City hugs the shoreline of Manistee Lake on the opposite side of where the renowned Little Manistee River enters Manistee Lake.  The Little Manistee is the major egg taking station for our Michigan King (Chinook) Salmon, along with Steelhead.
      Filer City is already treated like a red-headed, bastard step-child in Manistee County, with an electrical power generating plant that burns refuse, like old tires.  
      Plus, there's sour gas wells in the area that give you an instant headache when the wind is in the right direction.  Back in the 60s and 70s this part of Manistee Lake was known, as the "stink hole" from smelly air pollution from a major pulp factory, manufacturing cardboard for boxes.
      Let's hope, there's three sets of redundant safe guards in place to protect our Michigan Salmon fishery, which depends heavily on the Little Manistee River egg take, if this ethanol plant goes through.  Tomorrow's update: Frankfort MI GLPAA tourney

8/9/06  Today's featured photos show a good 29 pound King caught in a recent Lake Ontario tournament.  The big King photo is courtesy of message board Mike M.  Mike's a huge asset to our board and probably the best cross platform fisherman I know.  Muskies on Lake St. Clair, or Sturgeon in the St. Clair River pose no problem for this well accomplished angler.  Click for Mike's 29 pound King
     Our second photo is about angler ingenuity and shows how another message board members stows his selections of flashers/meat rigs in a Rubber Maid tub.  What makes this unique, is there's a black light affixed to the lid to charge up the glow for the early morning bite.  My line of X-Glow flashers charge up quicker with UV black light.
Click for black light & container  My thanks to No Fish Nick for the picture

8/8/06  Here's some info you might find useful and it all ties together.  The moon is in 
Waxing Gibbous, mean 98% of the moon is illuminated.  When, it's a clear evening, light penetration from a full moon (almost) can slow the morning bite, with many saying, the fish can feed during the night.  Then, factor in,.....the fish are coming deep, like 100 to 120 feet down, so the first light bite hasn't been all that hot.  It seems like the fish turn on after 8am and the action continues into later morning for those towing meat.
     Manistee's Sue Lee Charters had a box of 12 Kings consisting of one ten pounder, and the rest of the catch went from 16 to almost 24 pounds.  The skipper of the Sue Lee, Capt. Tom Rasmussen (who keeps meticulous records) said, "the overall weight of my catch was over 220 pounds in the 12 Kings."  Capt. Tom also relayed, "we only had taken one fish, until 8:45am when the bite really turned on."

8/7/06  Gonna let the dust settle from last weekend's action and then give you the rundown.  Until then, here's a heck of a report from Michigan City, IN:
"John, This is a picture of the fish we caught in the tournament on 8/5/06. They were good for 4th place and were all caught on meat!  We end up 15 for 17 and the two lost were in the strong teens.  Our biggest fish was 17lb 8oz, also it was the biggest fish caught that day.  Click for a reel-meat catch photo from Indiana
      We were running 7 BTIs/meat rigs for a very brief time with 4 on the down riggers 2 on dipseys and one on 10 colors of lead, but after the first fish was reeled in on the lead core it was put away, cause it was hard enough to keep 4 poles in the water.  We'll be up in Manistee on the 8-27, see you then." ........
Capt. Tom M.

8/6/06  So far, August 2006 is on a record pace with better sized Kings and in good numbers.  Manistee is going full bore with limits being common place on Salmon.  Look for catch rates to build thru Labor Day and remain strong thru 9/10/06.
     Be prepared to fish depths to and exceeding 100 feet if you plan on fishing Ludington, or Manistee......everything I've heard is the fish are still coming deep.  During weekend traffic, look to outside the main pack intent on working the structure of Manistee's drop-off, or "shelf" as it better known.  The shelf is about 3 miles straight out of Manistee.  In some places deep water (100' to 200') is about 2 miles from the beach.  4 miles straight out of Manistee will put you in about 350' feet as far a depth goes, so no costly long boat runs to get to the fish.

8/5/06  Yesterday, Leland's Capt. Jim Munoz boxed 17 fish, a few day ago Capt. Mark Dilts took 24 fish in Frankfort.  Manistee's Capt. Tom Rasmussen landed 9 super-sized Kings on a 3 person charter and they couldn't close the lid of 120 quart fish box.
     What did these 3 charter skippers all have in common? .....they were all pulling my products in one way, shape, or form,.....no brag, just fact!

8/4/06  Heard the 14s to the 16s (straight out of Manistee) was good a day or two ago, but that's about all I have for info from my home town.  Keeping product built
and shipping in a timely manner is my main focus now.  I do know Glen Arbor and Leland are red hot for big fish along with most other Lake Michigan ports.

8/3/06   In continuing the subject about deep fishing featured in yesterday's update, even factoring cable sway/blow back 330 foot on a downrigger counter would still equate to plus 280 actual feet down.  From what little information I've been able to dig up from scuba divers that dive the Great Lakes, summertime visibility is like about 3' feet with natural light at a 100 feet down.  Early springtime visibility is somewhat better, cuz there's not as much plankton growing to filter out the light.
     This is a clue that fish do not see, as we do, and their vision has it's own set of rules that remain a mystery to us.  This I can say, getting back to the deep fish, the smell of reel-food being pulled thru the water (herring), in all likelihood enhances the chances of getting a salmon to strike.  Sight, sound and scent is the reel-deal!
      Yesterday's thunderstorms have knocked out on phones again, but I can be contacted by email at: kingscharter@yahoo.com for the time being.

8/2/06  Today's update is beyond interesting and shows new frontiers on our Great Lakes have been conquered.  Wisconsin fishermen face different challenges with their fishery and have adapted new methods we ALL can become skilled at.
     Capt. Dick P has been kind enough to share his experiences in taking deep Salmon that were once thought of as uncatchable.  If you're up to learning about how Salmon can be caught with 330 feet of wire off the riggers, click here for more info!

8/1/06  If you're a Lake Michigan Salmon fisherman?..... you gotta be in hog heaven as far as the catching goes.  Central Lk. MI ports on the Michigan side are doing phenomenal from Muskegon to Leland with a good portion of the Kings in the high teens to the low 20 pound range.  This is a welcomed improvement over last season.
     I have a report from Algoma, WI that should rock your world on how deep you can catch Kings.  Message board member Dickie P wrote a heck of an account of taking fish at and below 300 feet on the riggers, while the majority of the fleet kinda struggled and never matched his numbers.  Dick's information deserves it's own page which will be featured in tomorrow's update.

7/31/06  The large schools 2 to 4 inch alewives we had just a couple of months ago have grown into fat healthy bait of 5 to 6 inches.  In turn, better sized bait, means better sized predator fish, like Trout and Salmon.  
     From Muskegon northward, all ports are experiencing good fishing, larger Kings and a better overall fishery, when compared to this time last year.  
     Today marks the introduction of the new 12" Reel Flashers in X-Glow Blue Bubble and Green Frog.  The Green Frog pattern has blossomed into my best selling 10" BTI and demand called from it to be made in the 12 inch size too.  Glow stuff is, especially effective on August's adult Kings.  These new 12 inch flashers will be a wise addition to your arsenal of Salmon weapons and help target those fish below 100'.
     Incidentally, this hot spell has driven fish deeper in most ports, with the norm reported from yesterday being 120' down off the big point in Ludington.

7/30/06  From what little I did hear from Manistee anglers today, anything close to port was pretty beat up by the tourney fishermen.  While everyone I spoke with caught, many reported in with their action coming deep, like 110' to 180' down.
     Last night in closing the my shop, I snapped a photo of the yet to be announced new flashers to be introduced tomorrow.  You can plainly see the power of the X-Glow in an un-retouched photo.  Click here to see the new stuff glowing
     With August knocking on the door, the glow stuff will soon come into it's own.  Adult Kings seem to go with the glow, whether early, late......or mid-day.

7/29/06  Heavy duty production schedule for today and tomorrow means I'll have to skip today's update, but not entirely.  Fishing in Manistee remained good close to port as of yesterday. 

7/28/06  Fishing is decent in Manistee straight out and slightly to the south has produced limit catches of Kings for the sports fleet.  The early bite is slow, but the action remains steady throughout the morning. Look for this to change as heavy tournament pressure takes is toll on the close to home,.....easy fish.
    Today's featured photo is from Lake Vänern in Sweden.  This lake is the third largest lake in Europe and hosts a variety of fish species.  The whopper Brown was taken with my deadly 12" Black Mamba flasher and meat on 7/26/06.  Lars from Sweden sent 10500 grams for weight, equaling 23.1 lbs.  Click for Swedish Brown 

7/27/06  This coming weekend Manistee hosts the Budweiser Tournament, hosted by Fred MacDonald.  Fred's brought a semblance of order to most all fishing events held in Michigan with continuity of rules and numbers of fish allowed to be weighed in.
       Haven't heard much on how the Manistee sports fleet is doing for a day or two, but the last word was fairly decent.  The last week of July and the first 10 days of August is always good for big Kings.  In fact, when I was in the charter business, most over 30 pounders were taken in this time frame.  Bigger numbers towards the end of Aug/Labor Day time frame, but not size is another reel-fact you might find interesting.

7/26/06  Think they don't have some serious Kings, or Chinook Salmon in the landlocked State of South Dakota?  Guess again my fellow angler, cuz today's featured photo shows a good double digit King caught from Lake Oahe, SD! This is another example of what works in our Great Lakes can be easily transposed to other areas and countries like Sweden.  Click for a recently caught South Dakota King
      Yes, there is an universal appeal to the meat fishin' products I offer.  Biggest difference between myself and my competition?  I've spent almost 40 years on the Great Lakes and 21 seasons as a full time, year-around guide and charter operator.
So, I didn't fall off the turnip truck last night to become a tackle manufacturer!
      Yes, I know thrill of victory, and sometimes....the agony of defeat in more years of Salmon wars than I care to remember.  In 2003, there was JUST ME pulling meat in Manistee. Fast forward 3 years and the meat program is becoming widely accepted in ports like Manistee, Ludington, Frankfort, Algoma, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Kewaunee, Waukegan, Michigan City, St. Joe, Grand Haven, Muskegon, South Haven, Pentwater, Leland, Charlevoix and all points across our Great Lakes.  Why?.....cuz it works!

7/25/06  Lake Michigan is prime time for Kings.  Isn't this what you've been waiting for all season?  Leland to St. Joe in Michigan and Algoma to Sheboygan in Wisconsin have all reported in with excellent catches of Kings to......and plus 25 pounds.
     Last weekend, the biggest King was 26 plus in the highly attended Ludington Offshore tourney and this was on certified scales.  While this 26 pounder taken in 2006, it's still a pound, or two shy of the big King in this event in 2004, which was 28 pounds, and shows we're headed in the right direction.  With the continuing rebound of our bait fish population, I think we all know 07 season's fish should be even larger.
     Let's close out today's update with a quote from Frankfort, Michigan.  Here's what was said, "Here is a pic of our Sat morning catch. Two of the kings were 20 pounders. Love the 10" BTI flashers, they have been taking most of my bites.
Great product."  Capt. Kurt K. 
Click for Kurt's Team and catch photo

7/24/06  Today's update is courtesy of Enforcer Charters here in Manistee, Michigan.
Here's what Capt. Dave Deforest had to say:
"Manistee was HOT this weekend. You would think it was August. We had the pleasure of chartering for Ray and Tammy on Sunday the 23rd. Ray is a member of the message board and veteran of Capt John's on the water seminars." 
     We had our limit 7:30am and while trying to pull lines, then caught three more, including this 22 lb. King.  Every meat rig was hot, 2 Fly Frog and BTI, Mean Green and King Kryptonite, to name just a few. Predominate north winds this week, set up the break at 40 feet and fish came from 40 down to 55 down over 90 to 120 FOW...."
  Capt. Dave  Click for Ray and his 22 lb. King

7/23/06  I haven't heard a peep about Manistee's fishing, so I'm in the dark on how the fleet is doing.  I suspect good, as there's been plenty of fish at the big point.
    Today the big deal tournament in Ludington concludes.  From what was relayed to me, there's around 275 boats competing the amateur & pro divisions.  Day one leaders in the pros is Pier Pressure and second place is Riverside, both Manistee boats.

7/22/06  It's easy in my case,....to forget those newer to the sport of big water trolling.  Longevity over the past many seasons, might cause me to overlook there's new people entering the sport of Great Lakes fishing every year.  The vernacular, or pet names of places and lures has to sound confusing, with the less experienced often thinking charters speak in some kind of secret undistinguishable code.  
       My answer to this is most of the time, not, .....but unless you're familiar with the port, specific geographical terms can sound like Greek.  Major landmarks all have nicknames like: the green, the saddle, the three sisters, the outlet, State Park, the PCA discharge, first clay bank, the second (clay bank), Cooper Creek, Magoon, Blood Creek, the hook, shelf, steeples-even, the onion, Barr Lake, Guerney, three bears, the lumps, and the stick (Big Point Sable) are all reference points to locations along Manistee's varied shoreline from the point to Onekama.
      What brought today's update to mind, is a new big water angler named Joshua L, who has started down the highway of Great Lakes fishing this year.  He fishes from a 17 footer and his efforts are starting to show rewards.  Click for Josh's Ludington King  While the fish in our featured photo isn't the largest King I published this year, I'm willing to bet Josh had big fun in landing it!

7/21/06  The Port of Ludington, MI is showing why it's ranked at the top of the State of Michigan's hit parade of places to fish.  I've heard stories about how good the catching is from reliable sources, or I wouldn't believe them.  
      Things like a dozen fish in less than 2 hours during in off-peak periods even in the middle of the day.  Here's another good one: fishermen not being able to run more then 2 riggers, cuz of constant non-stop action,...as the early bite prevents getting more rods set!  Click here for a short evening Ludville catch on 7/18/06
     More reel facts?  On the beginning of the Ludington tournament festivities, yesterday's winning 5 fish catch was 93 pounds.  If we re-wind back to the 2005 season, it would have taken 6 fish to come up with this very same tonnage.

7/20/06  In November of 2005 one of my daily updates mentioned bigger King look to be in store for the 2006.  Well, that prognostication has came true with Salmon in the high teens to over 20 pounds.  A day or two ago, Craig from Capt. Chucks took one that pegged the scale at 24 pounds 10 ounces.  This is one helluva improvement, with the puny year class of Kings in 2005 is taken into account.
        Now, I'm gonna go out on another limb and fast forward to the 2007 season where, with the amount of bait we available this season, bigger and better things are in store for us down the road.  Incidentally, a plus 24 pounder is a no big deal fish up to about the 2003 season, when in 2004 & 2005 the Kings should have been called, pretenders to the throne.
       Here's a tip that might save you some dough: re-spool your attractor rods with 30# test to avoid break-offs on your rigger attractor rods.  40# test makes good diver leaders too, and saves a trip to the store to replace costly tackle.  Gear-up and go with goat rope, or get ready to hit the hip and spend presidents might be a better way to get my point across if you're into lines testing lighter than 25# test.

7/19/06  Right now, most all Lake Michigan ports in IN, IL, WI and MI seem to be bursting at the seams with good fishing from the reports on our message board.
     Ludington is reel-hot for those pre-fishing the upcoming tournament....there this weekend.  In the amateur division pulling the Kings is fairly simple, but finding the "bonus" points fish like Lakers, Steelies, or Browns, taint so easy from what I heard.
     Capt. Chucks in Ludington has been re-stocked twice since last Friday and has hanging on the racks, what's hot in my product line.  Let's hope for good weather, decent seas and a safe contest for all tourney participants in Ludington, MI! 

7/18/06  Fishing is flat-out good in Ludington with Kings in the 16 to 21 pound bracket for those pulling meat. Manistee is good, but not quite as hot.  Frankfort is decent, with many Steelhead being caught, while running Salmon programs.  Leland is red-hot with charter boats producing limit catch action for their guests.
     We're entering into some of the best Salmon action of the year and things should only get better from here.  The downside is the gas thing, with marina gas in the 3.60 range for on the water fuel at the gas dock.

7/17/06  Here's a report from Manistee:
"Capt John, here is a picture (click for mentioned photo) from Manistee on 7/14/06 Me and Jeff C (uncle rich) took my daughter out fishing for a night fish Friday. This fish came on the full core with the Blue Bubble glow.  
      My Daughter reeled this fish in on the full core all by herself. It was a awesome day fishing when you watch your kids reel in fish like this. This fish also cost me and Jeff 15 bucks we bet my daughter she could not reel in the full core all by herself. Thanks for the great products again."
..........Capt. Mike Z. aka.....Zoobydoo
      Updated the webstore page on the 2006 X-Glow 12 inch Reel Flashers where there's 8 specialty colors to cover all light situations. Click here X-Glow 12" flashers

7/16/06  Here's a report from the Offshore Challenge tourney held in Kewuanee, WI:
"John, Fished in the Kewaunee Off Shore Challenge today. There were 49 boats 
with a 6 am shot gun start ( perfect for running meat!) With calm water and sunny
skies some came in with 0 fish ( weigh your best 10).
Click for their winning King
     We finished 4th overall (10 fish) and won the heaviest salmon. Black Mamba
deep, Krystal Killer on a wire dipsey and a pearl BTI were all good.
     Thanks again for a great product! And thank my lucky stars for having 30 pound  test mono on ...it come in handy!"
.........Capt. Steve S, Green Bay, WI

7/15/06  About the only thing I have for you today, which is kinda interesting,
is the evening bite is out pacing the morning's action.  There's been a lot of moon 
showing and many suspect the fish tend to put on a heavy feed during the night.
The moon is in waning globis now and there'll be less moon showing until we get the
August's full moon.  I've caught plenty of fish in pitch black conditions, so I know for a reel-fact they do eat at night.

7/14/06  I was furloughed from the shop and manufacturing duties to go wet a line last evening with John J (Kingfish Products right-hand man).  We had lines in the water from about 5:30pm, until we pulled rods at 8:45pm.   
     Here's the reel story; missed our first 3 pokes on the divers equipped with Green Frog BTI combos.  Then, the next 6 Kings stuck, with the best being the Black Mamba Glow 12" Reel Flasher/Clear Red fished 70 to 80 feet down over 180 to 220 feet of water.  New prototype test version Pearl Squirrel 2 Fly Meat Rig/Pearl Squirrel BTI showed promise on a full core, taking 2 of our 6 Kings. Click for John J's 35" King
     Highlight of the evening (our last fish) was a plus 20 pounder that John J and I tag teamed, cuz it was a tricky critter that swam catawampus into one of our core rods.  Meaning we had to do some quick untangling to bring this good-sized Tuna to the net.
     6 Kings is no big deal, but in flat calm tabletop slick water for me,... it is!  I always struggle to catch when there's not any hint of a breeze and the Lk. MI is flat.
      My most sincere thanks to the skipper of the "Megan Ann" who gave me a super evening away from the toil of shop duties.  It was big fun! Click for 7/13/06 hot rigs

7/13/06  What little I've heard about Manistee's fishery sounded decent.  One of our message board members is camping at my place, so I should have a trustworthy update soon.  Predicted hot weather means the fish will soon be going deep from southerly wind patterns.  Use 12 pound cannon balls when going deeper than 70'.
Wanted to get out yesterday afternoon for a peaceful evening afloat on the big pond.  Wanting, and doing are two different things,.... as filling fairly large store orders for Capt. Chucks in Ludington, MI and Mik Lurch Tackle Outlet in Hammond, IN took up a lot of my time and kept me shop bound.

7/12/06  The 2006 saga of the adult Kings is growing with fish past 20 pounds and to 24 coming from Ludington.  All be it may, it's still a hit and miss situation as far as consistent results go, our fishery are much larger fish then 2005.  2007 should be even better, with the overabundance of small, baby Lk. MI  alewives this year.  
      If anyone is in wonderment of how Great Lakes cold water species like Salmon and Trout grow so fast?..... click here for an post mortem photo of stomach contents.
      Hope to get out on Lk. Michigan soon to do some testing with the newer flashers/meat rigs, recently introduced.  Prototype work on new test bed products for 2007 is in the works too!

7/11/06   Here's last weekend's condensed fishing report from Manistee.  Those that got an early start were on there way to building some pretty decent boxes of fish.  Then the wind came up and 5 to 6 footers ceased even trying to fish.  My experience with big seas says you're gonna lose a lot of fish, due to wave surges erratically shoving on the boat.   Controlling trolling speed is next to impossible too!
I have a new retail outlet for my line of "meat fishin' products" in Jenison, MI.  The Outdoorsman Pro Shop has my BTIs and 12" flashers in stock.  Please patronize tackle local stores like this that offer personalized service and care about you catching fish!  Here's link to their website: www.outdoorsmenproshop.com
     It's no secret the big tackle outlets are hurting the smaller stores in some areas, like with reels and electronics.  However, mega chains do not carry specialty port tackle.  Our Great Lakes Tackle Industry was built by mom and pop operations that existed well before Bass Pro, Cabelas and Gander Mountain ever came into the picture!

7/10/06  At 7:30pm last evening I spoke with the DNR census taker at Manistee's First St. Public Launch.  She reported not many were fishing (thunderstorms) and the catches ranged from 2 to 5 fish per boat.  So, I'm gonna let the dust settle and boil down the weekend reports from our message board members for tomorrow's update.
       This I do know, at Grand Haven (click see photo) on this past Saturday evening (7/8/06) the new X-Glow Blue Bubble Mag Meat Heads did-in a dozen of Kings in only 3 hours of fishing. Examine the photo closely and you'll see the new lethal meat head!

7/9/06  From those I know in the charter business, this season will not go down as a banner year for most charter operators.  Charters are stuck between a rock and a hard place as boat size continues to grow from a fleet of boats under 30 feet, to even larger vessels.  A 30 foot boat might get a mile a gallon at cruise speed, if they're lucky.  Many nowadays get a 1/2 mile per gallon (marina priced @ 3.50 a gal.).
When I started in the charter business in 1983 the going rate was $180.00 for a 1/2 day minimum for a party of 1 to 4 persons.  Gas was about .77 cents a gallon (marina price) back then.  Gas has since went up 4 times, hence a charter, if keeping the rate vs. gas ratio issue in hand, should cost 4 x $180.00 equaling 720 bucks for a half day 6 hour trip.  Most charter operators in Manistee are under-priced at $400.00 for a 1/2 day deal and that should explain why I'm no longer in the charter business.
       Hire a boat in Alaska, or any ocean type charter and you'll see a wide pricing disparity between Great Lakes operations.  Things like free fishing cleaning, as most all Michigan Salmon charters do is unheard of when you move to salt water.  
       Moral of the story?  A Great Lakes charter is a bargain if you look at the big picture.  Be sure to tip the captain/crew a few extra bucks, so they can drive to the poor house instead of being forced to thumb a ride.

7/8/06  The word from Ludington is the fishing improved, when compared to last weekend.  Same goes for Manistee and that's about all I have for you today in the line of current info for the time being.
    If the schedule allows, next week, I'm going to try to get away from the shop for an afternoon on Lake Michigan to maintain any semblance of sanity.  Fishing to me is an all encompassing sport where my mind (or what's left of it) does not wander to work issues.  Fish is the focus, plain and simple and what a wonderful way to escape from the world for at least a few hours!

7/7/06  303 feet down is the new record for the deepest fish with my products.  Capt. Dick P from Algoma, WI set this record during the 4th of July weekend.  I do know they were using 16 pound cannonballs to reach this undiscovered territory.  Even if you factor in cable sway, this fish was a good solid, plus 250 feet down.
     Capt. Steve S who fishes the waters off Kewaunee, WI sent in a dandy photo of a 18 pounder. This fish is already starting to get the brown tinge our Great Lakes Kings get when they start turning into full fledged adults.  Click for Bill's WI 18 pounder
      Weekend fishing forecast in Manistee looks to be mediocre, but the anglers who fished yesterday (7/6/06) seemed to do a little better then those that fished this past weekend.  Roger City is showing sporadic signs of well fed Kings to plus 10 pounds as northern Lake Huron is making a gradual comeback.

7/6/06  Every now and then you run into a story that absolutely needs to be told.  
     Last week, Kurt K and his son Kyle stopped by my place to pick up some products to fish meat, along with a few general tips. Click for an awesome catch photo
     Well, on 7/2/06 this father-son trio got into, from what I seen, the best catch from last weekend.  Now, to make this story even better Kurt's two sons did double duty crewing & put a nasty spanking on the Kings during the evening of 7/2/06.
     I highly doubt if any charters in Frankfort did as well on their afternoon trips, as Kurt and his 2 sons did!  Better yet? considering the boys handled the rods and helped out is the reel-fact; this was only the second time they ever stuck meat in the water!
    To further clarify, there was only Kurt and his two sons aboard!  With Kyle being 11 and Evan at 6 years, I'd say this young budding team out-fished many of the big guys, out that afternoon.  Their biggest King was 22lbs.  A reel-good fish for this season!

7/5/06  Trying to catch up on the backlog of orders from the long weekend, means time is at a premium.  I updated the Boaters Guide Page (click) with a couple of new boats, including an older sweetheart of a Sea Ray, priced right.  I even considered this hardtop myself, but lack of time to use it.....changed my mind.
    The BTI Report Card Page (click) has recent comments from those using my stuff.  Michigan City, Indiana's Capt. Andy S. has been putting a wax job on the fish for the last 2 weeks & new meat user, Capt. Kurt K from Frankfort, MI had good things to say.

7/4/06  Fishing story from Manistee for the most part, isn't all that hot.  While "some" did OK, the majority of the sports fleet struggled.  One well-known fisherman I know, known for catching good numbers, said to me, "it's ugly out there!"  His statement came about after taken nary a bite after 8 hours of plowing the waters from straight out of Manistee to Big Point Sable.  Manistee's better results came from the north, up towards Onekama.  Word from Ludington was "slow" from a couple of fishermen I spoke with yesterday.

7/3/06  Message board member, Mike Z....aka Zooby Doo spanked the fish off Manistee 7/1/06.  His box was in double figures and had 4 Kings over 15 pounds.  
     Michigan City, IN is wrecking carnage upon Southern Lake Michigan's fish population.  A mixed bag fishery with Kings, Coho and Steelhead is the deal there.
Limit catches seem to be the norm from this port at the present time.  Both of today's feature photos: Andy's triple header and brag board catch are from this area.
     Presently?.....I can only
reminisce about the big fun in puttin' a hurtin' to the fish, as production's never-ending tread mill always awaits me.......7 days a week.  
     I have a 1000% commitment to make sure everything is in always stock and all orders are shipped the same day, if received before 10am.

7/2/06  Most that fished out of Manistee yesterday dealt with lumpy seas as the morning progressed.  Many quit early, rather than tolerate uncomfortable conditions.
What I did hear,....wasn't all that great either.  Today, the wind seems down.  So, we can probably look forward to a more favorable report for tomorrow's update.
      Delivered another order of BTIs and 2 Fly Rigs to Capt. Chucks in Ludington yesterday.  Including the in-demand X-Glows in Frog (flashers and 2 fly meat rigs) and Blue Bubble BTIs.  Re-stocked the X-Glow 12 inchers in King Kobra and Yellowtail too.
     Gas in Manistee crossed over the 3 bucks a gallon line briefly, then fell to the $2.90 range.  Tourist traffic in Manistee was kinda light, while Ludington's was high.
      Manistee's Little River Casino hosted Showtime's "Show Box" boxing events last night.  Maybe with the world exposure Showtime TV offers, the LRB casino will come to their senses and yank the BS nets that piss off everyone and contribute a extreme navigational hazard to Lake Michigan!

7/1/06  Today's update is postponed until tomorrow.
     This I can share with you for now: early word off Manistee at 9am from a boat that got a late start had only one 14 lb. King after an hour of fishing.