October, November & December 2006

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Capt. Chris B
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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Lars S  12/25/06
21 lb Landlocked Atlantic Salmon
Lake Všnern, Sweden
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Capt. Chris B with
charter guests

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

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Our box on 8/23/06
Hot Rigs & Flashers

12/31/06  Special update forthcoming tomorrow!  Have a safe New Years Eve!

12/30/06  Everything is on hold until New Years Day.  Look for a special update as I look back at the last couple of seasons and what's in store for the future.

12/29/06  Mik Lurch Tackle Outlet from Hammond, IN will be at the upcoming Novi, MI Fishing Show with a good selection of my tackle.  Indiana is probably where my line of products has gained widest acceptance.  This is partly due from Ralph at Mik Lurch.  Ralph regularly fishes Lk. Michigan and knows what meat/my stuff can do. Especially, on the deep fish. Like the last couple springs (April & May).  I'll post booth location and exact dates of the Novi Fishing Show when this info becomes available.
      Mik Lurch carries a full line of tackle catering to the Musky, Bass, Walleye, and big water Salmon fishermen. If you're in the market for anything to do with our fishery, check out Mik Lurch Tackle, during the upcoming spring show season.
              Click for 12" Blue Maui        Click for 10" BTI Blue Maui
Also, Ralph said several good things about the Blue Maui flashers, both in the 10 and 12 inch sizes.  The ongoing assault of the zebra mussels has a lot to do clarity of Lake Michigan.  From my experience, blue has always worked best in gin-clear waters.

12/28/06   Several have asked for more info on scheduled seminar for the upcoming Birch Run, MI, fishing show put on by the Flint Steelheaders.  The truth is, the show staff is still getting everything together and I do not know the exact details.
     I do have a handle on our presentation which will feature speakers that have lots of water time with my products and herring.  More to come as the show draws closer.
     The date for the show is March 2nd thru 4th and it's being held at the Birch Run Expo Center.  This place is easy to find and can been seen just just off I75, north of the Birch Run exit and just west of expressway.  Click for last year's show booth

12/27/07  Things to look forward to in 2007?  The promise of how the season unfolds is a mystery to us,...for now.  Will it be a good year?  Will the fishing slow down?  
      All fishermen are eternal optimists.  Defeatism has no place in our sport that searches the unknown dark depths we can not see into.  Fishermen put forth patience, to be rewarded with the next bite, hit, nibble, or strike...sooner, or later!
      Getting back to the opening line of "things to look forward to in 2007,"  Memorial Day Weekend, will be a get-together for our message board members in Manistee, MI.  If you're looking to polish your skills and improve your meat program, I will be there to furnish hands-on support for those in need of it.  Please let me add, so will a lot of our members who have the program down pat to share their vast knowledge base with you. Being a board member is not a prerequisite.  More details coming in 2007......

12/28/06   Several have asked for more info on scheduled seminar for the upcoming Birch Run, MI, put on by the Flint Steelheaders.  The truth is, the show staff is still getting everything together and I do not know the exact details.
     I do have a handle on our presentation which will feature speakers that have lots of water time with my products and herring.  More to come as the show draws closer.
     The date for the show is March 2nd thru 4th and it's being held at the Birch Run Expo Center.  The place is easy to find and can been seen just just off I75, north of the Birch Run exit and just west of expressway.

12/27/07  Things to look forward to in 2007?  The promise of how the season unfolds is a mystery to us,...for now.  Will it be a good year?  Will the fishing slow down?  
      All fishermen are eternal optimists.  Defeatism has no place in our sport that searches the unknown dark depths we can not see into.  Fishermen put forth patience, to be rewarded with the next bite, hit, nibble, or strike...sooner, or later!
      Getting back to the opening line of "things to look forward to in 2007,"  Memorial Day Weekend, will be a get-together for our message board members in Manistee, MI.  If you're looking to polish your skills and improve your meat program, I will be there to furnish hands-on support for those in need of it.  Please let me add, so will a lot of our members who have the program down pat to share their vast knowledge base with you. Being a board member is not a prerequisite.  More details coming in 2007......

12/26/06  I guess we all successfully completed the last holiday in 2006.  6 days from now, 2007 will ring in another season for Great Lakes fishermen.  Today will be spent take year a final ending inventory in preparation for '07.  Look for some new colors in adjusting both the 10 and 12 inch flashers.  By popular request, there will be a 12 inch King Purple.  In the 10 inch BTIs plans are in the works for the Klear X-Glow like exist with the 12 inchers.  That means there will be a 10 inch X-Glow Black Mamba and X-Glow Krystal Killer before our season gets off in mid to late April of 2007.

12/25/06  Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

12/24/06  Merry Christmas to all!  Regular updates will begin again, a day or two after Christmas.  Click here for the new 2007 Super Mag Heads  These multi use meat  heads are designed for whole herring, but still do a fine job with fillets/strips.

12/23/06  On the same date of the 23rd, but in August 2006 we were locked in a nasty struggle with too many Kings smacking our flashers and meat rigs.  I think you'll find the newly completed article about summer catching worth the click! 
                                Click here for the whole reel story

12/22/06  Getting back to the E10 gas, this subject is far too complex to cover it here in a few paragraphs.  I set up a special temporary "Open to the Public" Forum at our message board where all can become enlightened that concerns all boat owners.
     Besides, this a good way for those who think they're locked out our message board.  The truth is: we're locked in to protect us from spam, petty arguments and the unscrupulous few with a hidden agendas.  Click here for the E10 discussion
     I'd like to thank all our message board members and especially, our resident boat guru, Mike W for his valuable contributions on the subject of E10 fuels.

12/21/06  Today's featured photos is from our message board members showing their Christmas trees decorated with some of the products I manufacture.  Words do not describe my regard to the support I get from a great group of Great Lakes fishermen, bar none!  I promise to keeping earning their loyalty in 2007.
      With Christmas only a few days off, it's time to cherish our family, loved ones and friends.  It's all to easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas in today's fast paced society.  We are the sum of those around us who enrich our lives.
      Yesterday, was a reality check for me, with a dire family emergency and spent several hours in a hospital waiting room thinking about the words I wished, .....I said, 
but never did.  Please don't make this same mistake.

12/20/06   The United States Coast Guard has put on hold plans on the Great Lakes for live fire zones. I want our armed services as ready as any, but having navigated the Great Lakes from Petoskey to South Haven on Lk. Michigan.  On Lake Huron from Harrisville to Lexington, I've seen no safe place devoid of boats, or freighters.   Even being offshore in Lake Michigan 30 miles out, generally there's always a vessel within eyeshot on the horizon.  Click for Coast Guard fire power
      I've made long boat runs in excess of 150 miles (one-way) and speak from experience.  My long haul voyages were the result of moving my charter operation from port to port in the late 80s thru 2003.
     The very important news about possibly un-label E10 fuel and your boat has been postponed for a day, or two, while more hard facts are gathered.

12/19/06  Please pay close attention to today's update concerning E10, ethanol based fuels.  Our resident boat technician on our message board, Mike W. is in tune with what's going on.  Many of the older boats are not set up to handle this cornpone gas.  The 10% alcohol based gas can break down gaskets and soften fuel lines.
     It was a used-to-be fact, ethanol fuels were labeled such at the gas stations.  I guess, this is no longer required.  According to Mike W. alcohol content in the gas you purchase can exceed the 10%.  There's issues with fuel separation during winter storage too.  I've asked Mike to advise us all and he'll be charge of the next few updates that can save you grief and your life possibly.

12/18/06  Was up late last night continuing work on an article that will debut this coming Christmas Day.  This commentary is directed towards teaming up X-Glow colors for August Kings.  If you're looking for the least complicated way to fill your box, you should find this piece very helpful.  Especially, if you're new to using meat.
     With less then 2 weeks left in 2006, laying a solid foundation for the 2007 is in the works.  The plan is to ring in the New Year with an exciting brand new product, that will provide options and make your time on the water more productive.  This will be the 5th new item intro since I went into the tackle manufacturing business in 2004.

12/17/06  The local fishing news here in Manistee is fairly good.  The Big Manistee River was decent in the lower stretch.  The our snow melt increased the run-off and cause the river to get a little on the muddy-side.  I heard a few Steelhead were being caught the Manistee piers on spawn when the wind allows access.
     Now to follow-up on the story about Capt. Joel N and his successful push to win the 2006 Captain of the Year award.  Capt. Joel prefers the 10 inch BTI flashers over the 12 inch models and runs a small, but clean spread.  2 riggers and 2 divers are his mainstay, along with some lead core.  His choice for the early bite is the X-Glow and standard glow flashers I offer.  Later in the day, the brighter (mid-day) he switches to the brighter regular colors like Mountain Dew.   Click for Mountain Dew BTI

12/16/06  The history of "Team Becky Sue" and how they won the Captain of the Year title continues today.  This I think you're find pretty amazing in the tally of the 9 Metro West Steelheader Tournaments they fished.  "Team Becky Sue" won an astonishing 5 times, had 2 seconds and 2 third place finishes!  Click for team photo
      While this might sound a little corny to you, the thing that I admire most about their dominating campaign to win their club's title, it was a father/son dual effort.  My hat is off to Capt. Joel and his fine son Ben for a job well done! 
      Oh yeah, only one more thing needs to be said, they used my product line pretty much exclusively in every contest they fished.  Tomorrow?.....What they like best.

12/15/06  The higher power sure works in mysterious ways!  Today's planned update is about keying on my X-Glow line for adult August Kings.  Low and behold, in my email box, there was a message sent to me by Capt. Joel N. about his success last season with the stuff I make.   Plus, several photos from his Metro West Steelheaders Tournament from last August in Frankfort, MI.  So, today's update fell right in my lap!   Here's Capt. Joel N's exact words:                   
      "Hi John, Me again. Here are some pictures from our club tourney in Frankfort 2006. 1st place finish for the "Becky Sue." We had 15 fish in the box before 9:30am! All on meat rigs. 2 riggers & 2 dipsys. Mostly glows"....Joel N,  Capt. of the Year 2006
      There's more to this story than meets the eye & worthy of further explanations in this weekend's updates.  Here's a teaser:  Joel and his son Ben fished 9 club tourneys.
They finished in the top three (podium finishes), EIGHT times!   More tomorrow......
Click for Ben "Crewman of the Year"        Click for reel-proof of X-Glows in Aug
           Snow scale at my place is still stuck on 46 inches since Oct. 2006

12/14/06  As long as the herring photos are still posted, it's a good idea to expand further on something you can't see, namely smell, or scent.  Those that bow hunt know how a deer can smell you, long before you see them.  Bow hunters use scent lock clothing and hunt high up trees to disperse human odor above deer's keen noses.
     Trappers are especially adept at using scents to their favor, but first they boil their traps, then dip the traps in wax to remove any trace of human scent.  Serious trappers I know, use parts of the animal they're after, as a lure and scent cover.  
     So, now that I established the important of scent in the outdoors, the same premise applies to fish.  It's been said, Salmon can smell trace elements to parts per billion.  Why don't you put the scent of herring to work in your favor (if you haven't already) for our Great Lakes fish?  The learning curve is short and the results are stretched out in full boxes, or limit catches all season long. Click herring photo

12/13/06   As promised, the photo of the freeze dried herring, after soaking in water for 24 hours is our "Photo of the Day."  As far as I'm concerned, we're still in the stone age of fishing meat, or herring on the Great Lakes.  Granted meat will produce results most can't even imagine, but the choke point is: having readily available bait.
      After soaking for about a day, the freeze dried stuff looked about as good as the strips from the Canadian company.  The smell is right-on, as no preservatives, or chemicals are used in the freeze drying process.  The texture is excellent and if my guess if correct, one strip will last thru many, many fish attacks.
     Will this freeze dried stuff work?  Only time will tell as the 2007 season unfolds.  From what I seen and smelled, I'm willing to go on record....it will  However, until it does, the jury is still out!  Click for re-constituted freeze dried herring

12/12/06  My sincere thanks for the many who've ordered my line of tackle for Christmas gifts.  This a supreme compliment in my book and does not go unnoticed.  I truly appreciate your patronage more than any feeble words I can put together!
     Posted a picture today of some freeze dried herring.  I have a piece soaking and it's starting to look pretty darn decent (that photo will be posted tomorrow).  This herring has the correct smell, in fact....I can't tell it from fresh frozen.  Is this the answer?.....who knows until we try it in 2007.  The convenience of freeze dried bait would eliminate all storage problems.  Click for freeze dried Pacific Ocean Herring 
                        Snow scale is still stuck on 46 inches.

12/11/06  Today's featured photo of Tim's trophy 21 pound Steelhead is enough to make anyone's jaw drop.  Giant Steelhead over 20 pounds are hard to come by, especially when you take into account, this monster was caught in a river.  There's a whole bunch of stuff that can go wrong when you do battle in a river, or stream. Obstructions, like snags and sunken trees add to the challenge.  Steering fish away from potential problems takes a clear head and excellent rodsmanship!
      My many thanks goes to message board member, Capt. Andy S. for sharing his great photo with us.  Click here for one helluva Steelhead

12/10/09  It's  black powder season in my area and the deer are becoming more settled down, if compared to the later part of the recent rifle season.  I had a 40 yard shot on a decent 10 pointer that I passed on.  Knowing I could kill it was good enough for me!  This deer was by my blind for a good hour with a one doe.  When he came in the 6 does hitting the bait pile scooted.  This pack of 6 does were more skittish than the buck.  It seems to me, if a doe is not in estrous for breeding, they do not want nothing to do with buck around them.  Click for a photo of lucky 10 pointer
      There's plenty of venison already in my freezer already from a couple of buddies that scored bucks with rifles back in November.  I've seen a huge non-typical with more points than a football game.  If that big rascal comes snooping around I will drop the hammer,.....and you can bet on that.  Snow scale is still stuck on 46 inches.

12/9/06  First time there's no additional snow to record.  The next few days into late next week look a lot better then the last 10 days weather-wise.
     Cemented the deal for the new 2007 product (to be announced around the first of the coming New Year) with my tooling company.  Tools or dies for injection molding are expensive to say the least.  So, funding, water-testing and behind the scenes engineering is an all-important part of a time consuming process. 
     Full scale production on the new product will hit full stride by late March and ready for the consumer market by early April 2007.  There's a long story on what's gonna be new for 2007, but I'll save that for another update down the road.
      No new snow to report, total snowfall since Oct. 2006 stands at 46 inches.  

12/8/06   You have to marvel at the guile of the attorneys representing the tribes involved in the much awaited Consent Decree.  These crafty attorneys parlayed into the agreement, 15% of the Chinook returning to the Little Manistee River and a spring spearing season for Michigan's most venerated cold water Trout specie, Steelhead. This info is still not confirmed, as the federal courts haven't released the gag order.
     These fish were not even thought of when the Treaty of 1836 was signed!  The only good thing I heard, there will be no more gill nets, which in itself, is a big victory!  I know, first-hand how deadly gill nets are and seen the Lake Trout totally devastated in 1975 & 1976 in the Little Traverse Bay, by kill-everything gill netters.
Overall snow: 39" plus 7" yesterday, equals 46 inches since Oct 06  Click for photo

12/7/06  Here's what rumorville has churned out yesterday about the upcoming Consent Decree: 14 tips ups per tribal member, 4 lines per tribal member, spearing as a means of fishing in most cases, daily bag limits twice the quantity of white fisherman, & a season to spear Steelhead in the Little Manistee.  The tribal ethics do not exist in the eyes of the Michigan Sportsman, especially in methods used to take fish. 
      More needs to come to light about the rights of the Indians to hunt on residential, or private property.  As a bargaining chip, tribes pushed for timber rights on "unsettled" lands a bunch of what I consider, as ridicules militant demands.  There's a lot more going on here, than meets the eye and when I hear more, you will too!
     The tribes want to exist as an independent nation, within our nation.  Common sense says; what's going on, is plain wrong when super citizens can rule the roost.
      Overall snow: 36" plus 3" yesterday, equals 39 inches since October 2006
12/6/06  As promised, today's and the next few will be about the rumored Consent Decree settlement with the tribes of Bay Mills, Ste. Marie Chippewa, Grand Traverse Ottawa-Chippewa, Little River Ottawa, and the Little Traverse Bay Odawa Indians.  This Consent Decree stems from the Treaty of 1836 and pertains to Indian rights to inland hunting (public & private lands) and fishing in lakes, rivers and streams.
     Before I get rolling, let me lay the groundwork for my decidedly opinionated comments.  I went to public school in the 1950s thru the mid 1960s and we recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.  To this day, I remember the part of; "one nation, under God with liberty and justice for all."  So, pardon my bias, after all I was indoctrinated by our school systems for 12 years with the ideals from the Pledge!
     Here's what I heard, Indian deer season starts the day after Labor Day and runs until January 1st.  5 deer, 3 of which must be antlerless.  15% of the yearly river Chinook harvest belongs to the tribes.....and yes, spears, bows and arrows are OK.
      Do not get worked up over this, as the State of Michigan negotiators did their best with a bleeding-heart federal court heavily tilted towards the Indian rights.
      The official Consent Decree has not been released yet (to my knowledge) and what I've stated so far, is only hear-say for the time being.  More info tomorrow!
      Overall snow: 34" plus 2" yesterday, equals 36 inches since October 2006

12/5/06  There's a whole world full of people selling, or making tackle willing to tell you how good their products are.  Myself? ....I'd rather prove it!  It's proven reel-fact my stuff will fill the box with "ease of effort" from April, well into October.  Just page thru the archived reports from 2004 thru 2006 in: "Capt. John's Log."
      Next on the agenda is to prove how durable and the punishment my products can stand up to.  During seminars, people are invited to stand on the Magnum Meat Head, using just their heel on a hard surface.  Thusly, demonstrating superior durability!
      Being known for taking things to a higher level, I have several flashers in the 10 and 12 inch sizes nailed to the post that holds my mail box up. 
      My place in Manistee County is on a major highway.  The snow plows blast by the mailbox at 45 to 50 mph, throwing salt, slush, rocks & road gunk at the same speed! The plan is to leave the flashers on the post, exposed all winter, then take the flashers off the post and go fishing with them in 2007. Click for a reel torture test
      You'll note in the photo the protector I have built around the mail box.  Without the protecting layers of 2' by 4's and 3/4" OSB, the snow plows explode the mail box.  Having lost two boxes last winter, I was forced to build the shielding in the photo!
      Overall snow: 28" plus 6", equals 34 inches since October 2006

12/4/06  The Flint Steelheaders Show in (Birch Run, MI Mar. 2 thru 4, 2007) contacted me about seminars and booth space.  I will have 30 feet, expanded from 20 foot last year.  I requested the last time slot for a Saturday seminar, this way, if we run over on time, no  big deal, as there's no one to follow our presentation.
     I am going to keep a running total of daily snowfall in Manistee County this winter, cuz I do not believe the weather service yearly averages.  Every time we get a measurable snow, it will be added at the end of the daily updates.  So far, until yesterday, 24 inches if a light side estimate.  Add 4 inches on 12/3/06 for a total of 28" at my place as of today.

12/3/06  Available tools to the modern day big lake fisherman are a heck of a lot easier to come by with the advent of the internet blossoming in the later 1990s.  No longer are you on a solo quest in search of Great Lakes fishing knowledge.
     Our message board members are probably one of the best informed groups on the internet.  In season, daily port reports from all over the Great Lakes on what's working, what's not, and where the best place to fish is.  Taking advantage of this valuable resource is entirely up to you.  Click here for sign up form
     Are you a 2, or 3 fish a morning fisherman and wonder how others at the cleaning table got a full box?  If you're looking for a drastic improvement catching department on a more consistent basis, then......our message board is tailor made for you!

12/2/06  Digging out from 20 inches of snow is the deal for today.  Snow started at 8am yesterday morning and by 5pm we had 16.9" (according to the weather service).  At times, we were getting over 3 inches an hour.  Then, overnight we got more of the white stuff.  My new metal roof handled the snow storm as intended, cuz most all the snow slid off!  Click to see how a metal roof performs
     Living in the northern Michigan requires the ability to cope with heavy winter snowfalls.  We get a lot of the white stuff in Manistee County.  Weather Service says, Manistee's total yearly snow averages 100 to 140 inches.  To this I say, hogwash!  We've already got at least 24 inches (conservative estimate) this fall and it's still 3 weeks away from the official beginning of winter.  

12/1/06  Last page to turn on the 2006 calendar and about time to hang up a new one, as 2007 is just around the corner.  2006 was, and is an extraordinary year for Kingfish Products.  The BTIs gained widespread acceptance and when teamed with the new accompanying 2 Fly Meat Rigs, tons of Salmon & Trout went in the box. 
                             What's been accomplished so far
2004: 12 inch Reel Flashers were introduced.
2005:  Magnum Meat Heads, 3 Fly Meat Rigs, and bullet heads (for flies).
2006: 10 inch BTI Flashers, 2 Fly Meat Rigs.
2007:  What's Capt. John got up his sleeve for this year?  
On, or around the first of the new year.....there will be a special announcement made!

11/30/06   Stuck in a rut?  Is your program the same-O, same-O every time off the dock?  It sure doesn't hurt a thing staying open minded.  Try not develop a love affair with any one certain color.  I've never seen any one color/pattern that will stay hot all season long.  So, opt for a fresh approach each time off the dock.  
      2006 testing sessions on my part have proven that trying different stuff will whack and stack.  The bi-chromatic program used back on 8/23/06 impressed even me and I'm hard to impress.  Unless, it's head and shoulders above what was expected!
      Many have asked me, "how do you find fish" and "what's your plan when I'd leave harbor?"  Truth is: I never had a plan and let circumstances dictate the appropriate course of action.  Flexible, and not stubborn is the key to a full box. I saved many a charter by moving the boat 5 miles to a new location, cuz if you ain't catching, there's nothing under your boat.  Keep this in mind, the next time your action is skimpy!

11/29/06  Normark's purchase of Luhr Jensen & Sons, formerly of Hood River, Oregon
(now in China) has entered a new phase.  Normark ended the relationship of the sales teams that represented Luhr Jensen products at the sport shows since about 1970.  It will be interesting to see if Normark hires Chinese to man their show booths in 2007.  No state has been hit harder with outsourcing and loss of jobs than Michigan.  So, keep that in mind, the next time you consider purchasing Luhr Jensen products.
      Next subject: The standard of the diver industry is Dipsy Divers from Luhr Jensen.  While this diver does do it's job, it's hard to adjust the release tension, over-priced (for what you get), and the cheapie wire loops open up when the solder breaks.  The Dipsy dates back to the early 1970s (possibly earlier) and this type of product needs to be brought up to the standards of the i2ks.  In 2007, I intend to dive deeper into this all important piece of equipment, used every time we fish!

11/28/06  With firearms deer season getting ready to close, here some of my observations from living in the Manistee National Forest.  In 2005 there was a heavy acorn crop and little snow, so the deer ate better last winter.  January 2006 was the warmest on record and this kept the deer in prime condition.  Bucks carried their horns well into March, which normally drop off in late December.  A mild winter and easy to reach food helped the does carry a good fawn drop.  Racks I seen this fall were huge by Manistee County standards.  I have not shot a deer, passing on average bucks, holding out for a trophy animal and black powder season.

11/27/06  Came across a scary thought yesterday.  The tackle season begins in earnest with the start of the sport show season.  In my case, that's about 90 days away from the Flint Steelheaders Spring Fishing Show held in Birch Run Michigan.  March 2 thru the 4th, 2007.  Now, 90 days just doesn't seem like enough time to stock up more inventory and bring an entire brand new product line into production.
     SteveO and DickieP (message board members) were on the fish this past weekend out of the port of Algoma, WI on Lk. MI.  Their catch pushed double figures with 'Bows (Wisconsin talk for Steelhead) and next year's Kings.  You have to tip your hat to the dedication of all late season anglers that extend their seasons.  Click for photo

11/26/06  38 years ago, when I began my life long journey into the realm of big water Salmon fishing there was no path to success.  It was like trying to find your way out of a thick cedar swamp, blindfolded!  This was all to change with time, as Great Lakes fishermen became more adapt as the many seasons unfolded.
      In this day and age, it's fairly easy to achieve at least moderate skill levels your first season out.  The leaps forward in techniques, electronics, and tackle has moved us light years forward in the last 4 decades.  The strides made since the first adult run of Great Lakes Salmon back in 1967 is truly,....way beyond amazing!
      Here's some simple tips I've adopted over the years: stay open minded, do not have a favorite lure, learn boat speed from watching the rigger cables and do not believe anything unless you see it work, or it comes from a trusted source.

11/25/06  Look for the 2007 updated version of the new Pearl Squirrel flashers in both the 10 and 12 inch sizes either later today, or tomorrow.  Weather in Manistee County, MI has been nice when you consider it's the last part of November.
    Christmas gift certificates?  Call 800 552-2009 for more details.

11/24/06  Was up last last night balancing out the 10" BTI flashers to match up with the existing product line of the 12" Reel Flashers at: www.michiganangler.com  Having the exact, same colors in both models takes the guess work/trial & error out of the equation.  If the fish are whacking, let's say, a Green Bubble 12" Reel Flasher on your port out-down rigger, then running a Green Bubble in the 10" BTI on your port diver is logical.  This makes sense.  I know it works from water tests in 2006.  Having a mono or bi-chromatic presentation is far better than chasing all over the color spectrum.
      The way I look at things?... is with the K.I.S.S. rule = keep it simple stupid.  Making matters worse with too much thought seldom leads to a full box.

11/23/06  Have a great Thanksgiving Day. 

11/22/06  Let's answer a couple of questions emailed to me.  First, the 2007 Flint Steelheaders Show at Birch Run, MI will be held on March 2, 3 & 4, 2007.  
       Second, it was recommended for me to raise gripe about the proposed increases in our hunting and fishing licenses with the MDNR.  This will do no good, and do nothing, but fall on deaf ears.  I view our fishing license prices as fair, cuz in one morning the return on your investment is paid with a box full of Salmon.  Fair market value on Salmon fillets runs from 6 to 8 bucks a pound.  Not a bad deal....eh?
      At one time, before attending a DNR meeting in 2005, I would have pitched a major bitch concerning license prices.  After seeing the budgetary shortfalls and being told about how our fishery monies were being raided by Lansing bureaucrats and transferred into the "general fund" my mind changed in a big hurry.  Incidentally, this can not happen again.  There was a proposal passed in our last election to prevent this crap from happening again.  Fishing license fees/monies will stay with the DNR from now on!  By the way, this proposal passed by a whopping a 4 to 1 margin.

11/21/06  Recently, there was King caught in the Big Manistee River of almost 27 pounds.  A good fish for this season, especially for a river Salmon.  When Kings enter rivers they loose weight big time.  Back in October of 1987, my river clients took a King that measured a good 44 inches.  This King on Lake Michigan in August should have pushed 35 pounds.  The actual weight of this Salmon pushing 4 feet long....on fairly reliable scales?.... a disappointing 25 pounds.
     Work is moving along nicely on the meat rig kits, as photo work is on the schedule for today.  We'll be shipping out our first load of the kits today and thanks to the many that purchased sight unseen.  This is the 3rd year kits have been offered.  So, I think the repeat buyer already have a good idea of what's included. Click for kits

11/20/06  This Thanksgiving week full fledged production on 2007 products/inventory continues.  Re-stocking all products that were sold out last August, have been replenished and are available.....right now at: www.michiganangler.com 
      Photos for the meat rig kits is my task at hand for this week and I hope to have all the photos installed by turkey day.  This is the 3rd season the highly popular meat rig kits have been offered and they always sell-out by the end of January.

11/19/06  The 2007 is only 40 some days away.  Preparation for our upcoming new season (2007) began back on 8/23/06 when we tested a new color pattern on Lake Michigan aboard John J's boat, the "Megan Ann."  The test color was a companion to the ultra popular Blue Bubble, the Green Bubble.  Trying to keep this secret was gonna be impossible, so there was a sneak peak right before Labor Day 2006.  
     The reel-facts on the Green Bubble?......it out-produced the Blue Bubble at a 4 to 3 advantage.  So, in simpler terms, a 25% lead was the Green Bubble's margin over the hard to beat Blue Bubble pattern.  Click for 2007 Green Bubble BTI 10" flasher.

11/18/06  Congratulations to Mr. John J on his opening day trophy 10 point buck.  John's shot several deer over the past seasons, but this is his largest to date.  John puts his time in, scouts deer runways, then figures out a timetable of the deer moving past his blind.  Also, he took a 6 point back in October with his bow. Click for 10 pt.
     Busy putting the finishing touches on the 2007 Meat Rig Kits. The page to display the kits and what's offered can be located by clicking here.  Photos haven't been posted yet, but will be this coming week.  Unlike 2005 and 2006 the 2007 Meat Rig Kits are offered to all and not just to our private message board members.   These kits are limited are a time special offer and will not be stocked all year.

11/17/06  No deer hunting for me yesterday, or today!  Fast at work getting the 2007 Meat Rig Kits in some semblance order, so the kits can debut next week.
     Why does my stuff work?......you might ask yourself.  Today's featured photo should answer that question beyond a doubt, cuz everything matches up well!  Anything to do will fishing involves presentation, and I promise you the best dressed meat combinations presentation surpassed by no one, or any other manufacturer.  
No brag, just fact!  Click for photographic proof

11/16/06  Had an extremely good day in the woods yesterday.  Seen 5 deer, a fox and 3 grey squirrels.  The fox ambled a scan 20 feet from my blind.  John J shot a big 10 pointer and a photo of the his trophy Manistee Co. whitetail will be posted soon.
      The main part of my WTP tape order arrived yesterday.  This coming Monday? 
....news on what's going to be offered in meat rig kits.  Plus, there'll be a 2007 flasher update special deal including the deadly Green & Blue Bubbles in the 10" & 12"  sizes. 
I set the administration permission to the shopping cart at: www.michiganangler.com ALL members of our message board will get a 10% discount upon entering the correct code.  This special "members only" 10% savings will expire 12/24/06 and is good for all products, across the board (except trolling bags) at the webstore.

11/15/06  Good luck and may all have a safe hunt in the woods today.  This is Michigan's un-official holiday: firearms deer season!  In this day and age of politically correct, harvesting is an over-used word when it comes to hunting.  Myself? ...I've never harvested a deer, but I have killed some, then butchered and ate them!
     I did receive an order from WTP (Witchcraft Lure Tape), but it was sample pieces and not my main order.  So, the 2007 meat rigs kits are still on hold for the time being

11/14/06  One of Ludington, Michigan's most dedicated, hard core anglers was back harassing the fish on 11/12/06.  I'm speaking of our message board member, "Capn. Kirk."  He had a heck of a morning, boxing out a 2 person limit of Steelhead ('bows), a Brown Trout and a couple of next year's Kings.  Kirk shared, "most of the fish were taken off inline planer boards and the Kings liked the riggers set at 40 feet down."
            Click here for Capt. Kirk's a mixed bag Lk. MI catch on 11/12/06
His action came pretty much straight out of port, with the 90 t0 100 foot depths producing.  Kirk is my UPS delivery driver and lives in Ludington, so he's able to take advantage (when the lake is calm enough) of this late season awesome fishery!

11/13/06  Forecast for the firearms opener for deer in my area is a disappointing lack of snow.  Having the floor of the woods covered in white makes movement easier to see in low light periods when the deer seem to move more.
     Whitetails in Manistee County, MI are more plentiful than this time last season.  Record warmth last January has helped the herd in my area a bunch.  
     Today, my order from WTP is scheduled for delivery via UPS.  Our Ludington port reporter, Capt. Kirk is my driver.  So, some current news on the big lake fishing situation from Ludville should be forthcoming. 
     Tomorrow's update will feature a sneak preview on what's up for 2007 from Kingfish Products, Inc.  Offering the best system to fish meat will be enhanced further! 

11/12/06  Let's breath some fresh life into this website with news about the color selections in the 2007 meat rig kits to be announced later this week.  There's a new article on the horizon about last August's fish war on 8/23/06.  Steelhead fishing on the Big Manistee River with a "hands on" report could be in order, if the weather holds for this Tuesday.  Michigan's unofficial holiday of November 15th, means the firearms opener for deer starts this Wednesday and that needs to be covered too.
     A new A to Z article is in the works about fishing meat with several of our message board members contributing.   Different points of view with a common goal to fill your box in 2007 will be attention-grabbing!

11/11/06  A wet snow first knocked out my electrical power, then my internet line connection has been sporadic at best.  Best off, to skip today's update for technical reasons beyond my control.

11/10/06  I had the opportunity to fish Manistee Lake with Capt. Tom Rasmussen yesterday morning for a couple of hours.  We had 2 bites and managed a small jack Coho for our efforts.  A strong NW wind was not in our favor, so we quit a little early.
     Capt. Tom truly likes to fish and having time to spend with added to my morning.  The excitement level is his voice when a fish hits is genuine, just like him.  
     Trolling in Manistee Lake requires a small boat to troll slow, like 1 to 1.5 mph.  Flatfish in the X5 to U20s are the preferred lures for this late season inland fishery.
     The size of our catch does not reflect the enjoyment factor of just being able to get away from 2007 tackle production duties and design projects.  This marks the first time since late August I finally made some time for myself, something I intend on trying to do more often.  Click here for a Manistee Lake jack Coho.

11/9/06  Today's update is good news from the Big Manistee River.  The lower half seems to decent for the time being.  Message board member 2-shot landed 2 Steelies, just a day or two ago.  Most of the leaves have came down, including the oaks, meaning the river should be in good shape for both plug and spawn fishing.
    Hit and miss from Manistee Lake is another story that needs mentioning.  Hope to have fresh news on this subject in tomorrow's update.

11/8/06  Here's a fishing report from Kewaunee, WI from Capt. Steve S on 11/5/06:
"Capt. John...Meat still works in November! Sunday started fishing at the crack of noon...(just have to love this meat stuff!) was a bit bumpy from the south. So, motored south and trolled with them back to the harbor. 3 for 3 in a short trip. Blue was the color of choice, BTIs on leadcore and a dipsey. Thanks Again!"  Steve S.
We still have dedicated message board members fishing the big pond.  Capt. Kirk  says it's been hit and miss from Ludington, MI.  Kirk has worked the water from the bath-house (south of Point Big Point) to the harbor.  When he has scored, the Steelhead ('bows) have been better sized then last year at this time. Click for photo

11/7/06  Go vote today!  Best part of the election being held today?  I will no longer have to endure tacky negative TV commercials, at least for the next 18 months.
      American politics are a complex subject.  So, vote your conscience.  If you want a fresh perspective on war, turn the clock to a time when you're 18 years old.  Then get a letter from the Selective Service telling you where and when to report for your pre-induction physical (like I did in 1965).  The Selective Service (draft) will even provide you with free transportation to the closest military base to where you live.
     Manistee Lake's south arm, where the Little Manistee River empties in was showing decent fishing last week.  A 50/50 mix of Steelhead and Coho.
     October's rain and almost flood stage high water curtailed reports from the Big Manistee River.  November looks a lot better and hope to find out for myself soon.

11/6/06  Mid-term election 2006 has 2 important issues at stake for Michigan Sportsman!  Proposal 1 deals with the Michigan State Legislature not being able to raid funds collected from outdoor activities such as fishing/hunting licenses.  Voting yes on Proposal 1 ensures these monies stay under the umbrella of the sportsman and do not become part of the general fund to be squandered by our greedy elected officials.
      Proposal 3 is for establishing a hunting season for doves to be regulated by our MDNR.  Many other states do allow seasonal hunting for doves.
      Tomorrow's update......who to vote for?

11/5/06  The part of Manistee County, MI I reside in has about 100 to 150 inches of snow per year.  It snows in Manistee some where's around 100 days per year.  We get this snowfall from the mixed blessing of living close to Lake Michigan with lake effect snow from the prevailing westerly winds that pick up moisture over the big water.
     Metal roofs are a way to combat snow buildup and reduce heavy roof loads, as snow will tend to slide off.  Adamczak Construction recently install a metal roof on my house and I do recommend them.  If you live in Mason, Benzie or Manistee Counties, Bob Adamczak can be reached at (231) 723-6769. Click for metal roof going on

11/4/06  There's been a bunch of scuttle butt about the United States Coast Guard wanting to create over 30 live fire zones on the Great Lakes.  This is a dumb idea!
       I navigated the waters on Lake Michigan from Frankfort to South Haven in long non-stop boat moves.  On Lake Huron from Harrisville to Port Austin, including long single run boat moves to the Raisin River, thru the St. Clair/Detroit Rivers into Monroe Michigan.  I know first hand how small our Great Lakes are.
       In the Manistee there's 2 freighter channels.  The first one is 5 to 7 miles off shore and the next one is 10 to 12 miles out.  I been 38 miles west of Frankfort and seen the Wisconsin coast, while being harbored in Michigan.
       Where is there an area that will be safe from 50 caliber bullets that can skip across the water for several miles?  Next question?......how much target practice does one need with a machine gun?

11/3/06  Here's a passed on email I received from Frank at Calumet Marine who's a dealer for my product line in Illinois: 
"Frank, I wanted to thank you for keeping me stocked up with Capt. John King Meat Rigs. What a difference they make. One day this past July we were heading out for the King's and I only had one of his left. We decided to stop at a tackle shop before we got to the ramp and bought 3 each of TWO DIFFERENT brands. We set up in 135 FOW and sent the Mountain Dew down first on the corner rigger. It went off before we could get another rod in the water. The final score....we put 3 fish in the net that morning with that Mountain Dew (2 off the riggers and 1 when we moved it to a dipsy), 2 fish on spoons, and never had a release on the other two brands of meat rigs. A five fish day for us on a day to where most people came in empty handed."
Thanks...................Spawn Bag

11/2/06  The higher power works in mysterious ways.  I chose not to overdo the update concerning a 2006 "Boat of the Year" club title.  Then, was rewarded with a many showings of a photo from Frankfort, MI's ladies day tournament, taken last August on our local TV channel.   Click for Ladies Day TV photo
     TV 7 in Traverse City, MI showed today's featured photo on the air about 6 times in a segment about last summer's Salmon success.  Free publicity can be hard to come by, especially at this time of the year!  One our message board members must have sent the picture to the TV station, cuz I sure didn't do it.  Great photo & thanks!

11/1/06  Congrats to John J on his 6 point taken with a Mathews Switchback XT.  He said, "don't shoot one, cuz if you do......you're going to want to buy it!"  He bought his bow at Capt. Chucks in Ludington and got a decent deal on a pricey item.
     John puts his time in and was after a big non-typical with more points, than a NBA basketball game.  This huge rack never came within bow range.  For Manistee, the 6 pointer he took was a fair sized animal.  Click for John's 6 pt. buck

10/31/06  Halloween Update:  To carry yesterday's update a step further, traditional methods of a "beat the drum" sales pitch about buying my stuff, cuz Team SCW won the Indiana's Salmon Unlimited club title of "Boat of the Year," taint gonna happen.  I believe today's Great Lakes angler are sophisticated beyond the point of heeding lame sales pitches, cuz of much over-heralded tournament success.
      I did find some far more interesting and factual concerning of fishery.  Contrary to popular mythical opinion, the tournaments Frank's team won with meat were the early in the season ones.  I'm speaking of April, May and June, the months attractor fishing were not supposed to be the big deal.  There's a transition happening to our fishery, as attractors are starting to rule the roost all season long!  Click for verification

10/30/06  Today's spotlight is on Team Small Craft Warning from Calumet, Indiana.  They won the prestigious title of "Boat of the Year" in their Salmon Unlimited Club.
     On the human interest side of this story, Frank is the leader of the SCW team, runs Calumet Marine and fishes his club's tournaments with his two sons.  
     If you live in, or around the area, Frank's boat shop caters the specific needs of the Great Lakes fisherman and has a full line of boats and motors.
      Oh yeah, they do use my products and here's a direct quote from Frank:
"John,  All and all the second most important part of our success this year has been, because of the products you sell for the herring presentation. 
      The first being the range and speed of our boat. With out one, or the other the results would have changed significantly. Thank You for helping us win the Boat of the Year Salmon Unlimited Title."
........Capt. Frank Martin  Click for Team SCM    
      Tomorrow's update will concern how Team Small Craft Warning became "Boat of the Year" with the statistics from the format their club uses for tourneys.

10/29/06  Lots of ground to cover this coming week.  I'm in the beginning stages of writing a new article about meat fishing.  I wrote a 7000 word piece back in the fall of 2003 and that article is just plain outdated.  The old article does not reflect the advancements we've made.  Also, this week look for updates about bow hunting, Calumet Marine's "Boat of the Year" title and security upgrades to our message board.

10/28/ 06  Tonight is when we set our clocks back an hour to adjust our time.  I generally forget and don't get all the clocks switched around until Monday.
     A big high-water flush brought in a good amount of Steelhead in the lower stretches of Big Manistee River and catching was said to be decent.  Then, more high water (flood stage) curtailed the action.  Some Steelhead to 12 pounds were being caught on Flatfish in Manistee Lake where the Little Manistee River empties in.

10/27/06  Having perfect balance in both the 10 inch BTI and 12 inch Reel Flashers is on the agenda before 2007.  Last April, when the BTI's were first introduced, some models like Pearl Squirrel, Silver Bullet, Gold/Chartreuse were omitted, cuz of time restraints.  Not so, in 2007 as both the 10 and 12 inch model lines will be identical.
     I fished the matching 12" on the riggers and 10" on the divers last August, with results you probably wouldn't believe.  So, I'll stop with what some might see as a sales pitch and let you find out for yourself in 2007.  Just keep mind, "no one in the world" offers a complete total package directed at meat fishing for Trout & Salmon like Kingfish Products.  "No one in the world"......is a bold, but true statement!

10/26/06  Today's focus will be a special thank you to Ludington, Michigan's Capt. Kirk C.  He went out of his way to supply a fresh fishing update and a photo.
      Not many in the Great Lakes community share the supreme dedication of Kirk.  He'll chase the fish on Lake Michigan well into December (weather permitting).  His boat is rigged with a full enclosure (and a heater) to make his late season fish treks in cold weather, at least tolerable.  At this time of the season Capt. Kirk enjoys the fact, he has the pond pretty much to himself and limits often, fishing solo.  Maintaining boat control, fighting and netting fish is no easy chore, even for the most skilled!
      My hat is off to Kirk for his participation with this website, giving us fresh insights into a late season, overlooked fishery! Click here for Capt. Kirk, fish & his boat

10/25/06  Ordering future inventory took up most of yesterday.  Meat rig kits are in the works, where you can build totally completed professional quality 2 and 3 meat rigs for under 6 bucks.  Last summer, I saw 3 flies in a package, no leader, no bead chain, featuring no hardware.  These 3 bare flies retailed 8.95 and goes to show the value in the soon to be offered, "do-it-yourself" meat rig kits.
     Fall's next big outdoor activity is firearms whitetail season, with the traditional opening day on 11/15/06.  Hopefully, all parts and pieces will be in stock by then.  
The meat rig kits should debut and be available before Thanksgiving.

10/24/06  Capt. Kirk, a port regular from Ludington, MI reported on 10/19/06 excellent Steelhead in and around the pier heads, with some good sized next year's Kings.  Capt. Kirk first broke the news, back in December 2005 about better sized juvenile Kings, which transposed into heftier Kings last summer. 
     Also, Kirk reported terrible weather with wind & waves up the quazoo and was only able to get on Lake Michigan one day out of seven last week.  Since last August, the weather in my neck of the woods have been whole bunch colder than normal.  October has been more like November.  In fact, today...I awoke to a ground covering of the dreaded white stuff.  Click for Capt. Kirk's 10/19/06 catch photo

10/23/06  Gaining experience?  That's hard to do for a sport fisherman, as our season lasts to the outside from May into October.  Weekend warriors are faced with maybe 15 good weekends a year to ply that trade of producing fish, and...please let me add, under a extremely diverse variety of circumstances!
     Now, if you're lucky enough to get out 15 weekends a season, factor in blow days, further cutting into your time on the big water.  While the internet has helped the learning curve and staying current with methods that work, there's no substitute for time on the water.  Learning from your poor outings, think about what went wrong.
     If you're not catching, do not blame yourself!   Often it's, because there's no fish under your boat and a wise boat move to another area will show results.  If you're not seeing nets go down by other boats, you're in the wrong part of the pond.

10/22/06  Getting my ducks in a row before work starts on another new product
for 2007 is the task at hand this week.  Water testing was completed by some of the
members of our message board last August, and of course.....myself.  Conception to production is the next step.

10/21/06  This coming week's focus will be getting on track for the 2007 season.  The highly popular meat rig kits, previously reserved for message board members only, will be offered to the public this year.  "Do-it-yourself" meat rig kits will save you at least 50% of the retail completed rigs and be a great winter project.
     The exact materials from the ground up will be included in the these meat rig kits.  So, you'll have everything in-hand to make your own meat rigs for 2007 and $ave!
                   Click here for what was included in the 2006 kits
Plus, you'll have access to a how-to, step by step instructional guide to build your own professional 2 and 3 fly meat rigs that out class all the other manufactures.

10/20/06   What makes a good monofilament fishing line for use on our Great Lakes?  Properties that make a good casting line, being limp to counter act line memory (coiling) doesn't do the job when it comes to trolling.   Downrigger line goes thru a tremendous amount of abuse from being dragged thru the water, almost vertically.
Then, factor in the downrigger release mechanism, which adds further wear and tear.
     In my estimation and knowledge, no manufacturer has ever formulated a good, hard, stiff line, and abrasion resistant line with the wet knot strength need to satisfy the all-around demands of the Great Lakes angler.

10/19/06  It seems like the later part of this year is running 2 to 4 weeks ahead of schedule.  October, generally one of the best months in the north country has been riddled with rain, gale force winds, cold temps, and snow (with more snow forecast).
     Ludington's Capt. Kirk reports that Steelhead, along with next season's Kings are being taken in shallower waters, close to shore.  Kirk is a late season, die-hard specialist that pushes the big water season well into December, weather permitting.
      Capt. Steve from Kewuanee sent in a photo of a fat bellied 'Bow, or Steelhead taken on 10/15/06.  Steve's been one of our best sources of info from Wisconsin and I appreciate his efforts. Click for a beer-gut Steelhead, or 'Bow in WI lingo

10/18/06  During the span of time since our Great Lakes inland waters Salmon Fishery began 40 years ago, there has been huge advancements in the complicated areas.  Things like boats, motors and electronics have moved forward at a pretty good clip.
      Less complicated pieces of our tackle, meaning the reels we use have either stayed the same and in some cases, gotten worse from cheap entry level reels that do not hold up, even for the weekend warrior.
     I attribute lack of progress in reels directly to the monopoly the Japanese and China currently have.  Monopolies cease improvement, and we're stick with a shoddy, piece of crap reel.  The Diawa LC47, of which the Diawa SG LC47 is based on hasn't changed since it's introduction in 1986.  Drags on any of the nowadays reels seldom last for more then a season, under heavy charter boat usage.  Click for line counter reels

10/17/06  Bow hunters have been in for a tough go due to high winds, a very rainy/wet October and sometimes snow.  Buck to doe ratio is way up, when compared to past seasons with some pretty darn good racks being sighted.
      Once my construction job is done and the weather improves to more normal, Steelhead fishing on the Big Manistee River is the next project to tackle.  Rain has kept the big river flowing and the leaf drop will be sooner than usual.  Dealing with fall river Steelhead is a true test of your rodsmanship against one mean vicious critter.

10/16/06  American values?  Those 2 words are a pretty complex statement!  To many it means the code we live by and to some it can say something about what we manufacture.  Now, it's hard to have moralistic "American Values" when you look to have foreign suppliers (outsourcing) provide parts/pieces for what you're gonna make.
      It's kinda funny how many of our industries have been siphoned off by cheap overseas labor, then no price saving is passed down to the American consumer!!!
      I challenge my competition in the tackle business to list their suppliers like I have on: www.michiganangler.com  The only foreign supplier I use is VMC and there's bad news on the horizon for this world famous hook supplier, as they're now under the umbrella of Normark  (Normark is highly involved with manufacturing in China).
      Steel in the France based company VMC uses comes from the border close to Switzerland and we all know good reputation Swiss steel has.  If I get wind that VMC's are going to be produced in China, my association with that company will end.

10/15/06  Lack of an acorn drop has kept the deer coming to bait piles.  Carrots, sugar beet and corn are getting chewed up in short order.  Manistee County, MI situation on this year's crop of whitetails is much improved over last season.  The record Mild January 2006 has to be part of the increase in numbers.
      If you're looking for a fall color tour look to other parts of the state.  High winds have blew the leaves off the maples, birch and poplar trees around my place. 

10/14/06  The reel cost of tackle?....it's only expensive, if it doesn't work!  Sport anglers are faced with a fairly short season, so they don't have 200 days a year to experiment, or fine tune their approach.
     Big water fishing is costly and there's no way around that fact.  From the price tag of the boat, thru the price gamut of riggers, rods to electronics, it costs a bunch to partake in Great Lakes fishing.  No disagreements here.....right?  
     Buying the right tackle that works all season, day-in, day-out will help defray of outflow of your hard earned dollars and make your time on the water more enjoyable.
     Up until the introduction of my product line, nothing worked all season long.  Granted several various pieces and parts of tackle would have their time to shine, but no one certain thing would fill your box all season long with consistent results.  

10/13/06  Friday the 13th?  Good enough reason for me to skip today's update and continue the epic saga on my past 24 years in the fishing business next Monday.
     From 1983 thru 2003, my livelihood depended on my charter customers catching fish.  I was fulltime, and had no outside income, other than charter revenue from the Big Manistee River, or what big lake charters produced.  So, you learn in a hurry, no fish equates to no charter guests, hence no money!  To be continued Monday..... 

10/12/06  My journey into the land of fishing with meat started in the mid-1980s.  This trek was filled with many, many dead-ends of products claiming to do the job, but only emptied my wallet.   During the next 20 years (almost), little to no progress with a workable meat program from the "then existing products."
      Buy this, try that, from a multitude of manufacturers, all offering a mismatch of poor quality products, meaning I had to sort the wheat from the chaff.  Bait heads that went thru the water like a dead stick.  Rotating flashers that twisted themselves off, because of inferior, cheapie nose swivels.  Frankly, most of the stuff I tried, never came close to catching a fish and was soon retired to the junk bin.
     During 2002, then in 2003....finally, consistent results were achieved, as the long learning curve was beginning to pay dividends.  I learned to tune heads (so they had the right spin), sort/modify flashers with Sampo swivels that I could get by with.
     Then, at the end of 2003, after seeing the hodge-podge of mismatched stuff from several manufacturers, an idea was born.  Maybe, if I made right stuff?.... all under one roof, with perfectly matched flashers and balanced meat heads/rigs (that didn't need tuning) my future in the tackle manufacturing industry......should work!
     Tomorrow's update will cover my long venture into becoming a tackle producer, reel cost of tackle, and old school American values.

10/11/06  The 2006 poll about what was your most productive methods, said a lot of things.  Spoons have retained about the same following for the past 4 seasons.  Flasher-Fly craze has continued to slide downhill ever since 2003.
     I guess the most important fact is 60% of the people that frequent this website are not into meat.  Maybe, the 60% view using the oldest method in the world (bait) to catch fish is beyond them, or a hoax.  Click here for the mentioned poll
     Wire line divers, lead core and copper are all, very old techniques dating back 50 some years, yet viewed...as something kinda new nowadays.  Our fishery is constantly re-inventing itself and recycling methods that fell out of vogue for a few decades.
     If you're cynical about what I offer?  Honestly, I don't take offence and welcome all skepticism.  My product line has proved it's performance on the water to 40% of those voting in the poll.  Which, incidentally....was untainted as possible.  I could have jacked up the meat vote just by mentioning it to our 500 members on our message board.  I chose not to solicit votes for a more truthful, fair sampling!
     Tomorrow's update will focus on why meat did not work for me in the beginning.

10/10/06  Concluded my annual poll directed at what was your best method for catching fish in 2006.  While, I will elaborate further on the top 3 choices tomorrow, the biggest loser in overall market share was J-Plugs. Click for poll results
     I think Normark's purchase of Luhr Jensen and moving the manufacturing to China is a major part of this reason.  Michigan is probably number one marketplace in the world when it comes to a market for products used in for Salmon fishing.  Also, Michigan has been hit hardest by foreign outsourcing of any State in the USA.  When people's livelihood is at stake, they vote with their billfold.
     This I can say with total confidence, "it will be a snowy day in hell before I EVER spend one red cent on any Luhr Jensen products!" 

10/9/06  Boat storage and winter lay-up time is here for many of you.  Take extra care in putting your boat away for the winter.  Pull the batteries, keep them in an area where you can trickle charge them a couple of times during the winter.
      Take care of any and all maintenance according to your owner's manual.  This is especially important for outdrive owners, where the outdrive needs to be pulled and the top universal joints need to be greased.  Servicing stuff like this now will get you on the water quicker in 2007 with a whole bunch less hassles.
       Pay attention to your trailer wheel bearings is sound advice.  Losing a bearing due to lack of grease, because of worn out seals can cost you a new hub and possibly a new axel.  Avoid big money problems by fixing the little ones now!

10/8/06  Patience is the key to all things concerning fishing.  Guiding on the Big Manistee for nearly 20 years, patience was the key in prodding lock-jawed fish into striking.  Leave the right thing there, long enough with the proper presentation, then the rest will surely take care of itself.  
   This is holds true on the big lake when dealing with deep, out of temp fish (in 38 to 44 degree water).  While the fish will not be nearly as aggressive, you can still score on mid-day, off peak times for Salmon.  Crowds lessen towards mid-day and fish do not evaporate.  So, look to the depths exceeding 100' down for a win-win situation!

10/7/06  Today, I had to turn down an invite for some October action on Lake Michigan.  Capt. Tom Rasmussen was kinda anxious to get some licks in on Steelhead and next year's batch of Kings, but a major construction project is keeping me home.
     Our juvenile King are good sized for this time of the season and that means, maybe even bigger Salmon for 2007.  I know the DNR takes the heat when things slide downhill with the fishery and little credit for when it's good.  The size vs. numbers issue?....I think a return to the days of the 30 pounders will come back some day, with the MDNR cutting the King plant by 25%....could be a step in the right direction.

10/6/06  Today's new poll is the exact, same one I started running in 2003.  So, far this sampling has shown meat fishing's market share in 2003 was 17% and rose to 28% by 2005.  It will be interesting to see where this poll ends up in 2006.
                   Click here to see the archived 2003, 2004 & 2005 polls
I know everyone that frequents this website does not use meat, but if you're not regularly boxing 6 to 10 Kings each time you leave that dock?  Maybe, it would be a good idea if you started pulling meat.  Put sight, sound and scent to work for you!

10/5/06  Manistee County got hit by a thunderstorm/gulley washer 2 nights ago.  The Big Manistee River's flow at Tippy Dam is about 3000 cubic feet per second, which is twice the normal flow for this time of the year.  I'd say the lower river is at, or near flood stage.  So, if your upcoming, near future plans included river fishing, it might be wiser to put that idea on hold for while.  Once the water overflows the bank, the grass and debris that gets washed can make the BMR almost unfishable.

10/3/06  It's a whole bunch easier to be critical, than offer advice on how to improve something.  But, this is for sure, TV programs about our sport of big water fishing leave a lot to be desired.  Recently, I seen two shows, here in the State of Michigan.  One was about Walleyes on Lake Erie and another focused on  spring Salmon.  Both TV shows did little to relay what's really going on.
     Without some kind of computer graphics, watching anglers turn the handle on a reel doesn't do much in explaining the many depths, divers and surface lines far away from the boat.  The captain's message gets lost in the shuffle of what he skillfully goes thru to put a successful trip together.
     It's kinda like the TV producer/host and host are on a lark, enjoying a free fishing trip.   Then, show is after thought, to throw the charter operator a bone with some free publicity for his being featured in the show.

10/2/06  Complex choices face our sports fleets when it comes where to spend your money (best bang for the buck) and what's reel-necessity........and what's not?  
      In a response to several emails concerning last week's theme of charters vs. the sport fisherman, questions arose about underwater cameras, underwater speed/temp units, along with other expensive optional gismos.  Forego all major expenditures until you've purchased the best sonar you can possibly afford.  A good marking, trustworthy sonar tells all, cuz sonar is your underwater vision.  If you can't see what's there?....then you're fishing blind.  Much like being blindfolded, in the "pin tail on the donkey" game we all played,...when we were kids.
       Don't ask me what brand I recommend, as there's many manufacturers putting out good stuff.  Do plan on spending 500 bucks and up for a first class machine.  You know what?.......it's the wisest money you'll ever spend on your big water fish quest.

10/1/06  Sports fleet vs. the charters discussion wraps up today.  Many might think the grass is always greener and that's a constant reel-fact we all contend with.  
     However, count your blessings if you're a private boat fisherman. Your stress level is a lot lower, cuz you're not hired to force to feed fish!  Nor, will you have shoulder the extreme high costs associated with having a 30 some foot battleship.
     If you do own a boat in the 18 to under 25 foot range, time your outings to when the fish are there.  Like, southern Lake Michigan in late April and early May.  A few trips to Saginaw Bay, or Lake Erie for Walleye in June is hard to beat.  Then as July rolls around, concentrate efforts on the central to more northern Lk. MI ports.
      Always remember, it's the not amount of rods in the water, it's how the rods are working,....you have in the water.  In 2003, I've seen a skimpy 5 rod spread blow away my fellow Manistee charter skippers that were towing 10 or more rods.  
      Why?...cuz their spread dictates their direction and protecting 6 cores (maybe double cores too), makes working structure in crowded conditions, an impossibility!  Also, in today's clearer waters, a large spread can actually spook fish away.
      Here's another thing that needs mentioning; rough water is miserable no matter what size boat you're on.  So, a larger craft does not equate to more time on the water, at least at a tolerable comfort level.