2008 January, February & March

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3/29/08 Ludington
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3/26/08 IN Brown
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WI  3/29/08
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WI  3/29/08

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

3/31/08  As March 2008 closes out, the new 2008 big lake season is starting to roll.  What was a distant dream last January is turning into a reality now.  Southern Lake Michigan is coming alive with limits of early season Coho.  Granted spring Cohos are small, but what they lack in size is made up by their sheer willingness to attack with non stop action.  Lots of reports on Coho from 1 and 2 pounds, with an occasional 3 pounder is the deal for now.  We still might be 3 to 4 weeks out from dealing with Mr. King Salmon.
      Look for some early season reports from Lake Huron soon.  Spring 2008 was decent for the eastsiders with respectable catches inshore shallow water Steelhead & Kings.
      While I have a lot on my plate this week, the 1979 Sea Ray I purchased last May will probably come out of storage this week.   While Manistee's once great April Brown season has fell in hard times, there's still a chance to catch a fish or two.

3/30/08  Encouraging reports from esteemed message board members Capn Kirk and FBD, aka Kevin E makes a good subject for today's update.  According to Ludington, MI's very own and my UPS driver, Capn Kirk was able to get into few fish yesterday (Browns and released Lake Trout), while fishing close to the beach. Click for Kirk's Brown
      St. Joe was lousy with Coho, along with a few Browns according to FBD.  It took Kevin and his partner about 10 minutes to boat two Michigan Coho limits (6 Cohos). Then, they searched for Browns and by the sound of things, took 3 Browns too!
       I have the highest respect for both of these fishermen.  Weather does not detour their fishing.  No matter if it warm, cold, or in between.  

3/29/08  Improving weather next week show weather more in what they try to feed us as normal.  Normal based on averages is a myth.  
      Much like fish cannot see red after 50' down.  If the fish can't see red after 50', why is the Clear Red meat rig ranked in the top three in sales?  Why is the King Krimson (red/black/glow flasher pattern) a top five best seller in the flasher line?  
      Here's the reason why: myths once perpetrated on the public gain a foothold and are impossible to dispel.  The truth is: no human knows what a fish can, or cannot see.  
I would never be so foolish to tell you what fish vision is capable of.  I've seen way too many things associated with fishing that defy any sort of logic!

3/28/08  Indiana message board member, "mixednuts" drew first blood while fishing two days ago on the 26th.  They had a respectable catch and boated Brown Trout, Coho and Lake Trout.  Indiana's section of Lake Michigan warms up first and has a season that starts a good 2 weeks to a month before the ports laying further up the coast of Lk. MI.  Many thanks for his timely photo showing winter is almost gone!  Click for IN Brown

3/27/08  How to make bullet proof line-stays for meat rigs:
1. Buy a cheap ($10) wire clipper-stripper, multi uses for stripping boat wire too.
2. Insulation from 18 gauge wire should fit inside a rigger crimp from tackle stores.
3. Insert a piece of wire insulation inside the rigger crimp
4. 11" spacing between all flies (2 or 3 fly rigs), drop the head back to 14 to 16 inches.
5. Use a stiff leader material, not cheapie mono line.
6. Moisten knots before cinching them.  You'll avoid the curled line in front of knots.
7. Take your time, preparation and planning is part of the fun of fishing.
8. Do not wrap meat rigs around flashers for storage.
9. Blouse out the flies to look like spiders before sending them down.
Click these links for a photo how-to: line-stays for meat rigs   How not to store rigs 
Wire strippers/18 gauge wire    Making line-stays    Finished line-stays
       Even if you do not use my products, ...no problem!  If I can save you one lost fish with with my knowledge?  Then, let's mark this mission accomplished. 

3/26/08  Today, I'll start a two part series on care of your meat rigs and an inside company trade secret most other tackle manufacturers probably wouldn't share.  Please keep in mind, I'm not an "other" manufacturer and this tip is better off being part of the public domain for the benefit of all. Click for incorrect meat rig storage
      First off, please do not wrap meat rigs around flashers when you done.  Funny things happen to wet monofilament, like kinks you're never fully rid of.  Getting technical, thoroughly saturated wet mono line can swell 3 to 5%.  Then, when the line dries, loops and kinks can form.  This is bad news for those in a hurry at the end of a fishing session and wrap their meat rigs around flashers.  The line dries, shrinks 3 to 5% tightening the loops around the flasher (if it's winded tightly).  Then this stresses the line-stays.  Which in most cases are just bare metal crimps against mono.  The sharp inside lip of the crimp, or sleeve is where problems start.  Part II tomorrow.......
My Manistee snowometer has moved to 139" (plus 4" yesterday) since last November!

3/25/08  It's a mess in Ludington.  Rack up another black eye for the commercial netters licensed by the Little River Band of Native Americans!  One of their net boats sunk in Ludington's harbor recently.  Spilling untold gallons of fuel & oil in PM Lake. The Coast Guard has booms up to contain the spill.  The tribe/commercial netters are 100% responsible for this spill and will cost them many thousands of dollars before it's over.
      This clearly demonstrates LRB lack of experience.  In my opinion, lack of good sense.  Why did the boat sunk?  Easy answer: the boat had water leaking in it!
     This could have happened many ways.  Like, the boat was froze in and the hull cracked, or damage was done breaking ice.  I do not know the exact reason.  I do know it makes the LRB netters look as dim-witted as ever and shines a poor light on their parent company, the Little River Tribal Casino.  When will this comedy of errors end?

3/24/08  Our spring sale continues to be a huge success.  Patience please, I will not have additional help until 4/8/08 when John J returns from wintering south.  My fulltime employee is off for the next couple of weeks too.  So, for now, I'm a one man army doing all orders and production.  Look to have most of the backlog cleared up tomorrow.
      To those purchasing the Climax Fluorocarbon Leader Material, use a palomer knot.  The Climax Fluoro is a stiffer material made to take abuse.  Stiffer needs a easy to tie knot that's strong, which a palomer is. Pull testing palomer knot 
      Palomer knots are recommended for the super braid lines too.  So, if you don't know this knot yet?  Now's the time to learn.  Click for instructions on how to tie
      Here's some tips not in the instructions: moisten line, use needle nose pliers to cinch up the tag-end good and tight, have nail, or a screw to do a hard pull test.  Tying 50 pound test line is a lot harder than the lighter pound tests versions.  Knot failure is not an option, cuz it costs money & more importantly fish that should have been boxed!

3/23/08   Special spring sale continues at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com 
We have the best 4 BTIs for flies, combo deals for flashers/flies and the new X-Glow BTI Fly.  Stock allotted for this sale is about 1/2 gone and when current supplies run out, our special spring kickoff sale will be over.  Thanks to all who've purchased so far!
         Enjoy the Easter Holiday and let's hope spring-like weather comes soon!

3/22/08   Did a test with 100% un-retouched photos showing the differences in our X-Glow Bullets heads vs. China specials.  This test was demonstrated with the highly popular "Riverside," against our X-Glow BTI Fly.  The series of 3 photos speak volumes on glow properties of our superior line, the X-Glow bullet heads, flies, meat heads & flashers.
       Granted our products might cost a buck, or two more, but the best always does.  I'm proud to point out differences between our stuff and products made overseas.     
       The photos were taken in 3 steps: Click photo I charging then moving on to:
  Click II photo 30 sec. after lights out   Click photo III 20 min. of darkness 
       Is this amount a glow a small thing?  Yes, but ask yourself this question: how many small things go into a large box of fish, or how many small things turn a tough day into a good one?  Installed some spring specials at the webstore, more on that tomorrow.

3/21/08   Today is as good a day, as any to introduce the new X-Glow BTI Fly.  Also, known as the "Riverside Fly" in Manistee, MI.  Ken Warren (KRW) the man who originated the flies in the tube deal has tied me up a limited amount on my X-Glow bullet heads for superior performance.  Click for new 2008 X-Glow BTI Fly
       This in demand pattern was nearly impossible to find in Ludington/Manistee last August.  The BTI Fly with the new X-Glow head is a step up and deadly change for the better.  Constant improvement has been going on with our trolling flies.  We've increased the diameter of the storage tube from 1.25" to 1.50" to make the storage tube even more versatile for a multitude of other uses, if you chose not to keep the flies in them.
       Tomorrow, I post a photo of the glow properties with our new X-Glow BTI Fly vs. the regular BTI Fly bullet head after 15 minutes.  This difference is amazing!
               Easter Holidays are upon us.  Have a great weekend! 

3/20/08  First supposed day of spring in 2008 in Manistee County, MI, but spring is dressed up in a disguise, looking a lot more like mean old man winter.
       Let's discuss yesterday's photo of the day, where five limits of Salmon are hanging on a brag board.  I did not post this photo to proclaim I'm a Joe Hero and turn fish.  Hey, lot of charter skippers can do the same job.  What's the job?  Using dodgers as a deadly tool.  The 8/25/1993 catch came on Fire Dot Dodgers and Richey's Green Glow Squids.
       Fishing dodgers is an art form onto itself where there's a .2 of mph window for maximum effectiveness.  Then, there's a science in lead length from the cannonball to adjust for the .2 speed window.  42" to 60" comes to mind, depending on the seas.
       Are my flashers, flies, or meat program better then dodger/flies/squids?  I'll let history answer that question.  This I can say, " the stuff we make has no learning curve, works out of the box and most importantly my products are NOT speed sensitive like other forms of attractor fishing."  ...Such as dodger-squid, or dodger-fly combinations.

3/19/08  It's no big secret the MDNR has all but shut down our Coho program, with only a token plant for the Platte River, north of Frankfort, MI.  The State of MI said cost vs. return was the reason, like MI Coho were being caught in early spring off IN & IL.
       Attaching cost to a Great Lakes Fishery said to be a 4 to 5.5 billion dollar industry, depending on which website your read?  Click for Aug. 25, 1993 Coho catch
      Today's featured photo is from August 25, 1993 when the DNR had planted 200,000 Coho in Manistee County, long since discontinued.  It shows my 5 charter guests with a 25 fish limit of Coho & Kings during 1/2 day pm charter.   It would seem to me, our DNR got it's money's worth from a small and much appreciated Manistee plant.  
       Is the DNR being penny-wise and pound foolish?  Truthfully, I can not answer that, but a multi-species is beneficial the overall health/safety of our fishery.  Having all of our eggs in one basket, relying on just Kings is beyond ignorant.  Here's what I know, our once great MI April Brown Trout is a thing of the past.  Steelhead harvest is maybe 30% of what it was in 1996 & the pursuit for a viable multi-species fishery has fell by the wayside.  More on this tomorrow, the Vernal Equinox ....or the first day of Spring 2008.

3/18/08  Got a special treat for you today.  Julie S, aka fishsqueezer on our message board has written an informative article on fishing northern Lake Huron.  While the more populous ports like Ludington, Manistee, Frankfort, etcetera always get more attention, there is other ports with dedicated, dyed in the wool big water fisherpeople, like Julie.
      Julie works for the MDNR as a fish clerk, or fish census taker that meets you at the dock, then gather valuable data for the DNR.  Julie, along with her husband have a boat and fish Lake Huron as much as practicality allows. Click for Julie's article
       If you're a Lake Michigan fisherman, never think for an instant Lake Huron had to take a backseat to any Great Lake.  That is, before the bait fish crash in about 03.  I ran spring charters out of Port Austin, Grindstone City & Harbor Beach (1983-1995) that produced boxes, all anglers would drool over nowadays. Click for 1990 charter catch

3/17/08  Let's take a trip back in time and see when Kings were truly King, not the paltry pretenders to the throne we have nowadays.  Today's featured photo is a scan of an old Polaroid taken in 1976.  It shows a what a King Salmon should look like!
       This fish looks like it came from the Kenai River in Alaska.  It did not!  It was caught in Betsie Bay (Frankfort, MI), as this fish was homing in on the Betsie River. 
       I set this photo up with the fish partially laying on the cleaning table at M22 and the Platte River, then talked my lovely wife into heading up it's giant head.
       Will we see fish like this again in our Great Lakes?  I highly doubt, cuz most of the i2k Kings never reach 4 years, with most spawning at 3. Really large Kings live 5, or even 6 years before entering the rivers to procreate, then perish. Click for 1976 King 

3/16/08  Here's reel-story on the super hog Stanndard Rock U.P. Lake Trout: 
"The fish was 35 lbs. It was a good fight, as these natives are a lot different than the stocked Lakers.  We usually fish them with jigs and light tackle, using a white twister tail 6 inch and a small piece of sucker when they move up on the reef in early May.  
Catch quite a few in the 20s and when they suspend, we go to your stuff, its great.  
Gives us a good way to target them!"
Thanks,  Mike S.
Here's a question for you: how many Michigan based tackle manufacturers caught a Michigan fish weighing over 35 pounds last season?  I'm willing to bet, darn few, if any!
       Lakers have been wrongfully maligned by many and left out of tournaments, until recently.  If the Indian's gill nets hadn't wiped out the Lk. MI Lake Trout fishery back in later 1970s, we'd have tackle busters in the 50 pound plus range swimming around in Lake Michigan today.  Lake Trout are our only native big game fish, discounting Sturgeon.

3/15/08  Today's featured photo of the day is a giant pig Lake Trout caught off Stanndard Rock.  Standard Rock is located 40 some miles north of the UP's Marquette, MI area.  It's a dangerous Lk. Superior rock reef rising up from 560' of water in a big hurry.  This rock outcropping has claimed many ships and lives dating way back to the 1800s.  Before they finished constructing a lighthouse in the mid-1880s, many crews referred to this shoal as the "Sailors Graveyard."  Click for Stanndard Rock Giant Lake Trout
      Accepted methods to fish this place are lead-head jigs (up to 3 oz) tipped with a big chunks of cut bait.  Although, many opt for trolling tactics, as did Mike S when he caught the whopper Trout with a Pearl Squirrel BTI 10" flasher.  
       I've had a trip to Stanndard Rock on my list of "must do's" for a long time.  This is the best Lake Trout fishing in probably the world, with fish over 30 lbs. if you get lucky.  Lk. Superior's Stanndard Rock Lake Trout population are said to naturally reproduce.

3/14/08  Let's wrap the week up with a weather report from Manistee County, MI.  I have several friends that winter in a warmer climate and they should know we've had around 5 days in a row where the high temps was over freezing.  Snow is starting to melt, but there's still a good foot of the white stuff in the woods.
     This March, unlike last year has been cold, up to last weekend below zero or single digits for night time lows.  The way it's looking we're slowing warming and with the official start of spring only 6 days away, spring looks to be on schedule.
     Hopefully, April 2008 will be an improvement of 2007, where April was a worst month then March.  In a week or two, my lake boat will be waking up from it's long winter's nap.  So, the 2008 season is slowly creeping up on all of us.

3/13/08  Direct quote from the 2008/2009 MI Fishing Guide, page 6 - paragraph 2:
"When fishing, you must carry your license and the identification used to purchase that license and exhibit both upon demand of a Michigan Conservation Officer, a Tribal Conservation Officer or any law enforcement officer."
       SENATE BILL 406, AS INTRODUCED Quote: "Over the past 20 years, the number of licensed anglers in our state has dropped 21.7 percent. The number of hunters has dropped 14.3 percent in the same period. There are many reasons people stop participating in hunting and fishing, and the DNR is launching new efforts to retain current hunters and anglers and recruit new ones."
After the first two disheartening paragraphs in today's update, thought it would be wise to shift gears back to catching.  Today's featured photo is from the waters of Arcadia to Frankfort.  Click for a possible preview of 2008

3/12/08  I don't have the whole story yet, bear with me until I ferret this out for myself.  According to a message board member, the 2008 Michigan fishing license says you can be stopped by tribal DNR personal.  If this is so, we've been sold out again, as our former rights are being flushed down the toilet.
      If this is the case, tribal law from a tribes that do not abide by the fishing rules of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has no right to stop me for any reason.
      I dislike using hearsay for an update and will dig deeper when I purchase my 2008 MI all-species fishing license.  The business about being stopped by tribal DNR did come from a reliable source.  If this is true? ...look for more on this subject soon!

3/11/08  Today's photos of the day are courtesy of Gene M and Kevin E, aka FBD on our message board.  They got into the Steelhead fairly decent on the Kalamazoo River, near Saugatuck, MI on 3/8/08.  Both of these fishermen are a joy to be around.  They share a warm dedication for a cold sport called, Steelheading. Click for Gene M's fish
      I'm out of the loop on river guides, seeing I no longer guide on the Big Manistee.  River guides have always been extremely tight lipped group.  Reason being?  ...it's hard to dig fish out of the river, cuz of crowded conditions.   It seems like there's a boat setting in every good hole on the river.  Compounded by the fact of there's not that many prime, good producing runs in the first place. Click for Kevin's Steelhead  
      My Manistee snowometer has moved to 135 inches since last November

3/10/08  Today's featured photo is from the west coast Pacific Ocean.  One of our message board members was fishing the recent Ironman Derby when a 40 some pound Halibut took a BTI and spoon combination.  Click for DJFISHS2XS's Halibut
     Here's a list of fish our products have caught: Kings, Coho, Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Steelhead, Catfish, Musky, Walleyes, Sheephead, Swedish Char, and Atlantic Salmon.  Probably forgetting a species, or two, but the point is what appears as food to one specie is gonna be food to many species.  Fish are not all that different might be a better way to say this.  All fish are constantly on the prowl for chow.

3/9/08  Want to catch more fish?  Limit out more often?  Have a much better strike vs. fish in the box ratio?  By now, you're probably thinking this is a sales pitch by me pointing out the high merit by buying a wad of my flashers, flies, or meat rigs.  
      You're 1000% wrong, if you think any lure/method is more important as proper boat speed.  Hence, ultra-precision boat control.  I've heard a bunch say, "my boat trolls down to 2 mph on it's own (no devices to slow the boat)."  This is a bunch phoney baloney, cuz even a small following sea with a light breeze can easily add over 1 mph.
       If you can not get you boat down to 1.5 with seas and the wind behind you?  You are not controlling speed.  Speed is controlling you!
       By slowing your boat with the fish on?  You're gonna lose less fish too.  Plus, make it a helluva lot easier on the person with the rod fighting fish!
       If you opt for sea, or trolling bags instead of trolling plates, there's a hidden added benefit.  This benefit is smoother troll when it's lumpy.  Click for sea bag photo
       Sea bags plant any boat more firmly in the waves.  Especially, when you're doing a turn and rough beam seas are hitting your vessel sideways.  Do yourself a favor by concentrating on speed issues, instead of the conditions dictating what you can and cannot do. You'll end up with more fish, if you do! Click for article on boat speed

3/8/09  Most important thing going on today is we set our clocks forward one hour to adjust for Daylight Savings Time.  This is a prelude to longer days and more time in the evening to for outdoor activities, like fishing!
       We're caught up on all orders as of now.  All international orders went out this past Thursday.  Used a new program for international shipping that should make things easier in the future for overseas orders from my end.  Many thanks for your patience.

3/7/08  If you closely examine the photo of the Splake we talked about yesterday, you'll plainly see the coffee colored 7 strand stainless steel wire line diver rod.  The date imprinted by the camera (7/23/90) shows proof of using this method a long time ago.  Back in the later 1980s there were no super braid ultra-thin diameter lines.  
        1989 was my first season with wire dipseys, although this was a spin off from then Frankfort Charter Captain Mel Wantz who used wire and the largest Deep Six to reach the depths during the record hot summer of 1988.  1988 was the height of the BKD (bacterial kidney disease) that took it's toll on our King Salmon fishery.
        Back in the mid-1980s, when the fish went deep, many put away their divers, or opted for 1 to 2 pound drop weights.  Here's a Ludington trick back then: they'd use a 1 pound drop weight on a sinker release in front of a mono dipsy diver to attain depth.
        Do not think wire divers are new to the Great Lakes, they've only been in vogue since the later 1990s, as the word spread about wire's effectiveness.
        Big news is the new super braids and magnum dipseys work probably as good and do not kink up and cause the grief 7 strand wire does.  Click for 1990 wire proof
         If you'll go back a long ways with me, in the late 1960s when our Lake Trout fishery was just being reestablished, I used monel & 7 strand wire for Lakers.  I guess with our fishery, there's not much new, only recycled proven methods that catch fish!

3/6/08   Let's change the pace from this week's trap net focus, to the rarest fish I ever caught during my 20 years as a full-time charter operator.  I'd guesstimate since 1968 there's been over 25,000 Salmon and Trout caught aboard my charter, and personal vessels.  This figure would be much higher if Walleyes were included from Lake Erie.
       In all these many years fishing, the rarest fish we took was Master Angler Splake on 7/23/90.  Closing in on 40 years fishing the Great Lakes, we only boated one Splake and that fish came on Lake Huron off Michigan's thumb, Port Austin. Today's photo of the day is a scan of an old 35mm film camera of that very same fish. Click for 1990s Splake
       Splake are a hybrid cross between a Lake Trout (member of the Char family) and a Brook Trout.  These fish are said not to have the ability to reproduce naturally. You can identify a Splake, cuz their tail is not as deeper forked like a Laker, they're generally more rotund and their white spots over a silver-gray body are round.  Lake Trout's white molted spots over their silver-gray are elongated & more irregular.  
      Don't count on ever seeing one in your net, cuz I don't think the DNR is planting them any more in the Great Lakes of Huron and Michigan. 

3/5/08   During Capt. Deforest's lecture on fishing safe around trap nets the biggest thing I learned was the lead, or king anchor can be set several hundred feet away from the pot where the fish are trapped.  There's a line running directly from this main anchor to the surface, marked only with a floating white jug.  There can be a lot of scope in this marker/line to the lead anchor.  Scope in anchor terms refers to angle/distance.
       Another learned fact was give a trap net area a wide berth, if you see commercial fishers pulling a net.  This is the most dangerous time when all the gear is coming up from the bottom, with lead anchor lines become taught a long ways away from said trap nets.
       Tribal commercial fishers are required by tribal law to pull their nets ever 4 days, or be subject to a costly ticket ...if they don't empty the pot. Click for trap net diagram
        Trap nets from what I read, were developed for the Great Lakes to target Whitefish.   There's a byproduct catch of mostly Lake Trout, where the tribal fishers can keep a 100 pounds.  These Lake Trout are next to worthless money-wise, bringing only about .20 cents pound in the round (meaning un-cleaned, or filleted).  
       The majority of all Lake Trout get released.  Not many Salmon get caught in trap nets.  I've heard this from at least 3 very reliable, trusted sources.

3/4/08   I know you want to hear more about the talk given by Tribal Law Enforcement Officer, Capt Dave Deforest.  That will be posted in the last part of today's update.
      First off, I have to take care of business at my webstore, cuz that pays the bills to keep this website going.  We have a large backlog of orders and the majority of those will be shipped today.  The 2008 trolling flies have been re-installed at the webstore, as there were a few left from stock reserved for the show.  Click for the webstore
      I'd be amiss if I did not thank the Flint Steelheaders for the great show they put on with ALL volunteer help.  This show requires a ton of effort.  All proceeds from the gate and booth space goes to charitable places that pertain to our fishery.  Things like a kid's first fishing rod, building fish cleaning stations and supporting hatcheries.
       Now back to the respect the LRB tribe gained thru Dave Deforest's presentation: Deforest has written tickets for nonconformity in laws set forth by the LRB tribe. Their Tribal Judge Bailey, has upheld all trials were fines were involved.  These fines can be steep, ranging from 250 to 2500 bucks.  Their court is serious about containing what can and cannot be done.  Please keep in mind, we'd be a helluva lot worse off if gill nets were in usage.  So, look at the trap nets as a blessing for the time being.
       Here's some things I did not know: Tribal Officer, Dave Deforest is employed by our federal government.  The LRB does not make out his paycheck.  Trap nets can rise 40' up from the bottom.  When they pull the trap, the pot, or the last part ....the entire net comes up.  The king anchor holds the trap, or pot is the worse part of the deal, as they well out from the staff flag over the pot.  Trap nets are very long, like up to, or over 2600'.  Wings, or the vee leads can be 600' or more.  Deep water small mesh gill nets for bloater chubs rise only 36" up from the bottom and are set in waters 240' and deeper and can be several miles long.  More on this stuff tomorrow.

3/3/08  Just finished putting in three long 12 hours days in a row and I'll have be better able to explain the recent happenings at the fishing by tomorrow.

3/2/08  Yesterday's  show and seminars went very well.   Even though I know Tribal Law Enforcement Officer, Capt. Dave Deforest, I learned a lot about the commercial fishing operations in the entire State of Michigan. Full report will happen tomorrow.

3/1/08   Yeah, it's March!  The same month spring starts and in only 20 days from now.
Report from the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI is good.  Crowd was a little down yesterday due to a snow storm, but seen many of our message board members.
       There's was 1001 things to bring to the show, but I forgot the USB download cable for my camera.  So, unless I can borrow one today, you'll have to wait for Monday's update to see photos from this important event.
        Many thanks to John B, Gatorman, Skilletman, Phil, John O, and Tony "Soprano" ...aka Eyeful for helping  and efficiently setting up the booth in about 2 hours!!
   Adjusting my Manistee front yard snowometer to 128 inches, since last November.

2/29/08  Arrived in Birch Run, MI about 4pm yesterday and dropped the booth off at the show.  Helpers to assist with setup? ...we'll meet at Tony's Restaurant at 8:00am this morning, then proceed to the North Building of the Expo Center by 9am.  Steelheaders Fishing Show begins today at 3pm. ...just hope we're completely setup by then.
LRB Tribal Enforcement, Dave Deforest will only be available the Sat. 5:30pm seminar.  
     Word of note about the Flint Steelheaders Show:  All proceeds from this show are reinvested back into our fishery in some way, shape or form by the Flint Chapter.  Money made from this event are not lining some promoters pockets.

2/28/08  Today's featured photo show the 2 heads for the same price deal will have at the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI tomorrow.  This same deal is available at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com  In both cases, there's a 10% discount until 3/2/08.
       Traveling to Birch Run today to get a head start on being there early for tomorrow's booth setup.  I'm pre-thanking message board members who are helping with setup.
       Need to do another thank you to Captain's Joe Von Grabe, Paul Vantol and Dave Deforest for help with our seminars.  It's a lot of work and I truly appreciate their help.
       Make sure you're sitting down when you read this, cuz it's something you probably thought, ...you'd never hear from me.  I need to thank the Little River Band of Indians for sending Tribal Law Enforcement Officer, Dave Deforest in an official capacity to explain on how to avoid and fish safe around commercial tribal nets.
         Adjusting this season's snowometer to 125 inches, since last November.

2/27/08   Today's topic is a good one if you're considering on purchasing tackle at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com for the 2008 season.  
       From now until midnight March 2nd, 2008 everyone will get a 10% discount on all items ordered from the webstore to keep pace with special show pricing.
       Also, we have a value-added special on 2 and 3 fly meat rigs.  At no extra cost, you'll be able to get a Super Mag and a bonus Magnum Head, just like we're offering at this upcoming fishing show.  2 heads and 10% off is a good deal by anyone's standards!
       This policy of offering the same show prices/specials at the webstore came about as not to penalize anyone, just ...because you cannot attend this weekend's do.
       I will not insult your intelligence by laying it on thick about how much money you'll save, cuz the only way to save is not to spend any money in the first place. 
       This I will say: this is the only price break you'll see on my products this year.  Since 2006 some of my suppliers have raised cost to me, by as much as 30% in some cases.  Sooner, or later there will be passed down price increases on all products we make, or stock.  Please keep in mind, since 2006 we've had no major price increases to keep up with the parts and pieces we buy to make product.  

2/27/08   Today's topic is a good one if you're considering on purchasing tackle at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com for the 2008 season.  From now until midnight March 3rd, 2008 everyone will get a 10% discount on all items ordered from the webstore.
       Also, we have a value-added special on 2 and 3 fly meat rigs.  At no extra cost, you'll be able to get a Super Mag and a bonus Magnum Head, just like we're offering at this upcoming fishing show.  2 heads and 10% off is a good deal by anyone's standards!
       This policy of offering the same show prices/specials at the webstore came about as not to penalize anyone, just ...because you cannot attend this weekend's do.
       I will not insult your intelligence by laying it on thick about how much money you'll save, cuz the only way to save is not to spend any money in the first place. 
This I will say: this is the only price break you'll see on my products this year.  Since 2006 some of my suppliers have raised cost to me, by as much as 30% in some cases.  Sooner, or later there will be passed down price increases on all products we make, or stock.  Please keep in mind, since 2006 we've had no major price increases to keep up with the parts and pieces we buy to make product.  

2/26/08  Packed up most of the tackle for Flint Steelheaders Fishing the starting this coming Friday afternoon at the Birch Run, MI's Expo Center.
      To better give you an idea of this major undertaking, it takes one pickup and a van to carry the booth and tackle hauled to this show.
      We have the very best seminar speakers lined up, ever.  This is my forth season in the tackle business and I've got a good handle on what needs to be said.
      Nowadays, my fishing is limited and I fully understand what the sport fisherman goes thru.  That's one of the reasons behind last summer's project boat SR1979.  Your time is limited and how important it is to have stuff work out of the package with absolutely no trail and error.  Click for last year's SR1979 project boat
      One of the beauties of a trailerable vessel is not being locked down at one port all season long.  During 2007, even with a mid-season July start, we were able to fish the Michigan ports of Manistee, Arcadia and Leland.  More to be added to this list in 2008.

2/25/08  A few days ago our topic was water being diverted from Lake Michigan thru the Chicago River.  In 1900 they reversed the flow of this river that used to drain into Lk. MI.  Typhoid fever and cholera was a problem for Chicago, IL in the later 1800s.    
       Sewage stench in the later 1800s was another reason, as sewage treatment plants were still 60, or 70 years in the future.  Originally, they called this the Chicago Drain, with another thought of using their newly dug trench for shipping.
        Here's the point, I'm trying to make: 3200 cubic feet of water per second is being drained by IL thru the Chicago River.  This is approximately to what the Big Manistee, Little Manistee and Pere Marquette River pour into Lake Michigan every year. Today's featured photo shows the Chicago River is a major waterway. Click for Chicago River
        Here's something else that needs reiteration: the states laying downstream thru the entire Mississippi River system are not pitching much of a bitch about invasive species, or VHS.  Is our water be more valuable than the nasties contained in it?

2/24/08  Spent a goodly part of yesterday birthing the new 2008 12" Gold Bullets for the upcoming Steelheaders Show.  It's like their a part of me know, and potential new parents will need to sign adoption papers if they want one ...just kidding!
       We all heard according to folklore silver bullets can kill Werewolves and Vampires.  Here's something else that need to be added to that list: Gold Bullets KILL FISH!
       Undoubtedly, the 2008 Gold Bullets are some of the finest looking extreme-quality products we've ever produced.  We're very proud to bring you this class of tackle.
                        Click for the stunning upscale new 12" Gold Bullets

2/23/08  The BASS Master Classic has started and has excellent coverage on ESPN2.  Busy getting all our ducks in a row for the upcoming show in Birch Run, MI means not much time for anything close meaningful update. 

2/22/08  Could you be suffering from SDD (Seasonal Dysfunctional Disorder)?  This malady has many other names including: Cabin Fever (CF), Winter Bla's (WA), or Premature Spring Fever (PSF).  If you might be coming down with SDD, CF, WA, or PSF today's featured photo might be a breath of fresh air. Click for SDD medicine
       This photo shows how deadly a meat program is off the Port of Manistee, MI during August.  3 fishermen getting the ball rolling during sunset with an exciting triple header is tough to top!  Thanks to Mike D for this welcomed wonderful change of pace photo.
       One week from today, the Flint Steelheaders Fishing Show at Birch Run, MI can provide a welcome respite from this long, tiresome winter of 2008.  I'm looking forward to this event in a big way, doing seminars and seeing many of my fishing buds.  
            For me fishing is a full contact sport, contact with friends that is!

2/21/08  Let's look at the alarming spread of Zebra Mussels since 1988 thru-out our United States.  It's far reaching!!  Zebras are in the entire Mississippi drainage basin down to New Orleans, LA.   This pandemic is not a problem to just the states surrounding the Great Lakes, it's a problem, or a potential problem effecting all states in the lower 48.
       If you're into conspiracy theories, it's easy to see the Zebras have cleaned up the Great Lakes.  Heavy contaminates are absorbed by these mussels, that die off and become firmly implanted to the bottom.  Building underwater colonies on top of one another, as the straining of the H2o continues.  Thusly, making Lk. MI far cleaner than it would have been before the mussels! Click for year, by year infestation

       3200 cubic feet of water per second is being drained by IL thru the Chicago River to support navigation on the Illinois River, hence into the Mississippi system.  Kinda funny the southern states laying downstream are not bitching about the Zebras and VHS-B virus proven to be in Lake Michigan.  Could it be, ...this is just part of the grander scheme to steal water from the Great Lakes Basin? Click to see more about drainage
       3200 cubic feet per second is at least twice the average flow of the Big Manistee River. That's one helluva bunch of water being diverted 24/7 and 365 days a year!!

2/20/08  My estimated Manistee, MI snow gauge has moved to 122 inches, since our first snow in November 2007.  2008 is definitively more snowy then 2007.  Last winter (I think) we closed the estimated snowfall at 125 inches for the whole season.  
       We've had almost that much now and snow will continue into April.  February has been our harshest month with plenty of frigid single digit temps to below zero.
       Right now, the turkey and deer are under extreme stress.  The deer are having a hard time digging thru the frozen crusty snow searching for last fall's acorns.  
        According to the Cooperative Observer, Wellston, MI has 22" on the level.  This is the most snow laying on the ground in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.  Wellston is only a few miles from the world headquarters of this website. Click for observer facts        
        Next week looks a little better.  I will be leaving for the Birch Run Fishing Show in 8 days.  Hopefully, it will not be the blizzard-like conditions we drove thru last year!

2/19/08  What's in store for Manistee/Ludington MI fishermen with trap nets this season?  Nobody knows, but in Manistee's case ....it can't be any worse then 2007!
      Fish wise, the fleet adjusted pretty well.  Some skippers fished in between the void in the 13 to 14 nets, where there was a mile piece of prime structure.  Some fished over the top of them on the deep water side.  I recommend neither of these tactics!
      Myself?  I just avoided them like the plague and fished south in the blank spot in the 8s to the 10s.  How did the trap nets effect the fishing? ... this is tough call!  
      Lack of bait close to Manistee's shelf keep most of the Salmon suspended over deep water, like 160' to 250', well outside of the inshore trap nets.  This worked in our favor.
        Adjusting this season's snow gauge to 118 inches, since last November.

2/18/08  Ever wonder what goes on aboard the commercial boats targeting Whitefish?  Well, wonder no more as I have a couple of photos showing the LRB tribal fishers pulling the business end, or pot of their trap nets.  Click for trap netted Whitefish
       High popular and savvy Capt. Kevin Hughes was nice enough to furnish today's featured photos.  He was out last summer aboard one of the tribal net boats and photographed the event.  According to Capt. Hughes, all incidental Lake Trout swam off unharmed, but undersized Whitefish did not survive.  Pulling the Pot
       More on this tomorrow.  Snow and freezing rain has my satellite dish all messed up and need luck just to publish this short update with text and images.

2/17/08  I'm sure by this time, we're all getting a little weary of winter. There's is good news, in about 4 weeks the official start of spring (3/20/08) will happen!   Southern big fishermen working the Indiana's part of Lake Michigan will be stacking up limits of Coho as soon as the ice clears.  One of our message board members, "PCoaltrain" he strives to have his boat in the marina by 3/15/08 in East Chicago, IN.
      New MI fishing licenses will be coming out with the advent of March.  It will be interesting to see of the MDNR has increased the daily bag the limit to 5 Kings.  This would bring Michigan in step with IN, IL and WI.  Removing more Kings from Lake MI might help take the stress of the bait fish population.  Past history shows the DNR acts generally after the fact.  Let's hope in this case they do not let Lake Michigan's Kings go down the tubes, like what's happened to the once great Lake Huron Salmon population.
     While we can not completely fault the MDNR for the Lake Huron debacle, but it did happen on their watch.  President Harry S. Truman had a placard on his desk.  It said, 
"the buck stops here."  Meaning the leader and chief assumes responsibility.
     Let me remind everyone here, Lake Huron saw lots of Kings, then lots of King to 12 pounds, then hardly any Kings, ...as the bait fish (alewife) population disappeared!
      Need to adjust this season's snow gauge to 112 inches, since last November.

2/16/08  About 11 days left before we leave for the Flint Steelheaders Birch Run, MI Show.  We're on schedule with production, all be it may it's a massive job.  Most of our standing inventory is never in fully completed form, like what we're taking to the show.
      Need to adjust this season's snow gauge to 110 inches, since last November.

2/15/08  More snow for Manistee County, MI.  My front yard snow gauge is now at 106 inches, so far.  This is only a minor inconvenience, other than having to plow today.  Winter equates snow in Manistee.  Just wish there was more time to enjoy the white stuff, as the snowmobile trails are in super prime condition.  Click for 2/14/08 snow
       Had a couple of well meaning website visitors said who invented what, or when ...pertaining to trolling flies.  Please let me set the record straight on this.  
        All modern day flies made out of Mylar are take-offs of what George Richey started in the later 1970s.  George introduced the Green Sparkle Fly in 1977.  The Sparkle Fly was the "go to" hot setup Kings 31 years ago and still works to this day.  
       Back then, before George broke ground, the big deal was the Allie Fly, made from some kind of natural hair, by Larry Crosby from Traverse City, MI.  Larry started the Traverse Bay Tackle Store in the 1980s, which has since merged into MC Sports in TC.

2/14/08  Valentines Day Update: We all name things for different reasons.  I chose "BTI Fly" when I asked the viewers of this website to come up with name.
     This pattern was the first fly-caught BTI Silver Bullet back on Aug. 30th, 2007 out of Leland, MI.  BTI Fly was a natural, cuz it was a world first.  Click for BTI Fly
      Something, I probably haven't stressed enough the quality of the skipper I fished with back last August, Capt. Jim Munoz.  I've known a lot of good fishermen over the past 40 seasons and Capt. Jim is one of the very, very best, of my top 10.  
       Please let me explain why.  Many nowadays skippers try to blind you with rass ma tass, running overly complicated setups like 5 cores, 4 divers, etc. Click for Capt. Jim
       Not Capt. Jim, he's knows his spread and works hard on correct depth and speed.  Constantly adjusting, until his 3 riggers, 2 divers until it's running full tilt (5 rod spread).
       The mark of a true professional is how easy they can make something look.  In Jim's case we had a full box of fish, before I had a chance to look.  Yes, he is that skilled!
      Several doubles, one triple and not one tangle, or a raised voice, cuz Capt. Jim Munoz's 30 some years as a skipper made things go as smooth as silk!  If you're up for a trip aboard Jim's boat the, "Carol Dee," here's his phone number: (231) 256-9639.  Tell him I recommended his charters and what's the best time to see BTIs/flies in action.

2/13/08  Lots of thanks for all the entries in our "Name that Fly" contest.  All were worthy and some very notable.  Amazing describes the imagination that went into your thought processes.  Overall, there were well over 100 entries.
      Here's few of the memorable names the audience of this website came up with:
Khloros King Killer (KKK) Khloros is green in Greek. GREEN MANALISHI to me...from an old Fleetwood Mac song.  King's Salmonfly, Coffinfly, GREEN DRAG-N FLY, Brunhilda AKA Witchee Woman, Kato from Bruce Lee’s character in The Green Hornet, Mossy River, KW's Green Bullet, Kingside, Green Hornet, King Kong, & Emerald King's Ransom.
     I have chosen a winner, Tim J that had the most simple, to the point name for the new fly.  The new fly name will be announced tomorrow, with the reel-reason why!
    My Manistee front-yard snow gauge has moved to a 100 inches for this season.

2/12/08   Let's play "Name that Fly" for today's update.  The fly featured in the photo of the day is from by Ken Warren's KRW flies in Manistee.  He calls this fly the "Riverside" named after popular Manistee, MI charter skipper, Paul Schlafley.  
       Ken from KRW makes this fly, as we're swapping some of my meat fishin' products for some of his highly productive trolling flies.  Now, it wouldn't be quite kosher for me to call this fly the "Riverside" too.  Click for KRW's Riverside Fly
      So, put your thinking cap on and help me name this fly.  Truthfully, this pattern has been around since before 2002, as you can see in the old hot lures of the day photo.  This was back before I was a manufacturer, but the image is accurate Click for 02 fly
      The most important thing is the fly we're trying to name is, it's a deadly fish killer in Manistee and Ken Warren was kind enough to supply me with some of his product.  If you have something in mind,
click here to send me a Email  If the name you conjure up with is used, ...some free tackle will be coming your way.

2/11/08  Today's featured photo is titled, "R we having fun yet?"  It's a picture of the thermometer on my front porch showing slightly less than zero for yesterday's high temperature in Manistee County, MI.  While winter is about two-thirds over, extreme bitter cold seems like Mr. Winter is letting us know, ...he not done yet.
      For further bliss, here's the forecast from last night for Manistee:
Snow showers. Blowing snow. Windy. Total nighttime snow accumulation up to 2 inches. Lows around 3 below. Northwest winds 15 to 30 mph with gusts to around 45 mph becoming around 20 mph with gusts to around 35 mph after midnight. Wind chill readings 20 below to 30 below zero. Click for 1/10/08 zero degree reading
My Manistee front-yard snow gauge has moved to a 97 inches for this season

2/10/08  Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen (NEWGLSF) has 827 members and 129 Business sponsors.  This group is pro-active with political issues for the WI fisherman.  I support their efforts wholeheartedly and advertise in their brochure.  Today's feature photo is a exact copy of the ad to be displayed.  Click for 2008 ad
      NASCAR's Bud Shoot-Out last night and the Super Bowl was over last Sunday.  These events are a sure sign the official start spring (3/20/08) is about 5 weeks away. 
     My Manistee front-yard snow gauge has moved to a 94 inches for the season.  I rate this winter as a 6, if we used a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being worst.  While we've had a lot of snow, it's melted off 4 or 5 times, or we'd be in deep doo!

2/9/08  Buy Lubricants, not expensive parts is a good title for today's update.  I got close to 8000 hours out the original GM 350 small block V8s that were in my 28' Cherokee.  How was so much life coaxed out of these twin engines?  I divided the service schedule, where every 50 hours the oil was changed.  Then at a 100 hours the oil filters were replaced with more fresh oil.  A regular maintenance schedule will save you lots of dough in the long run. Click for engines hoisted from Cherokee
       Incidentally, the original blocks/crankshaft from the 1987 Cherokee I used to own are still in service today with about 10,000 hours.  Motors were rebuilt at 8000 hours.
       Here's a good tip, lower end lube in outboards and I/Os need to be changed every season.  Myself?  I own a Mercruiser outdrive now and if it was my main source of propulsion? ...the lower end grease would be changed twice a season.

2/8/08  A little over a month from now, my boat will be coming out of storage.  Being ready can not be stressed enough.  It's a major job having a boat and keeping it in top condition with timely maintenance.  Every day you're down is down in season?  Well, those are the days you'll never recover!  When we get perfect weather, a trip to southern Lake Michigan out of Waukegan, IL, or East Chicago, IN is in my future.  Getting off on the right foot carries into the season.  How do you get off on the right foot?  Catch a pile of fish!  Pretty simple ...eh?  Click for early April Coho & Kings

2/7/08  Now, is a good time to go over your rods and reels for the upcoming 2008 season.  I've had a page setting around for a year, not totally finished.  Put the finishing touches on it yesterday.  Click for new page on Rod n Reel Tips
       Today, we're introducing 3 brand new products at the webstore.  The 2008 Gold Bullet Trolling Fly, 50# Climax Fluoro leader material (26 yards) and double snelled single hooks on 50# Fluoro.  If you'd like to check out the new stuff?  click for webstore 
        My new line of trolling flies is all exclusive.  No flies in the world are made/tied with enhanced metalized gold, or silver bullet heads like what we offer.  Many of my fly building competitors use rubber insulation stripped from wires.  Some hack off a piece of plastic tubing to keep manufacturing costs dirt cheap.  Then sell it to you for about the same price.  Personally, I've never seen a cheap way to a full box of fish since 1968!

   Snow gauge has moved to a conservative 90 inches for the season!

2/6/08  Let's look at a topic mentioned last week.  Finding spring Kings?  Easy answer is, "fish are where you find them!"  Contrary to many previous seasons depths like 50' to 150' and close in shore was not the deal in May of 2007.  All Michigan ports suffered from major lack of inshore Salmon, if there is such a thing, ...as usual?
        Salmon follow, or try to stay with their food source, that being mostly alewives. In the port I'm most familiar with (Manistee) we saw no massive amounts of spawning alewives close to our pier heads.  May Kings were caught, but for the most part deeper waters from 150' out to 400'.  Could this be from the zebra mussels sterilizing the shallower depths?  I surely do not know, or even feel close to qualified to answer.
       Let's all hope 2008 May fishing for the semi-EZ to catch line ripping spring King Salmon, is not a repeat of the slow start in 2007.

2/5/08  The big news for today?  The new trolling flies are installed and ready to go at: www.michiganangler.com  For now, there's 7 selections that might be expanded to 10.
        These fine, top of the heap flies can be purchased for a special introductory price of $5.49.  After 3/3/08 the price will then be increased to $6.49 per unit.
        The new trolling flies will not be stocked thru-out the entire 08 season.  We have about 60 of each in the colors listed at the webstore left.  We started with 100 per color, but the first private offering for our message board members took a goodly pile.  When these trolling flies sell out, they're gone!  Not be offered again until 11/1/08.
        If you purchase any flies before we're out of stock, you can get replacements all season long by calling me.  So, no need to worry about not having your favorite weapons aboard.  My trolling flies will not be in any stores in 2008, as supply is limited.
        We have 450 and some members at our message board and the plan is to spend a lot more time fishing with them in 2008.  Besides, meat heads, meat rigs and flashers are a full time job.  It's plain foolish to bite off more than we can chew!

2/4/08  I'm a longs ways from an expert with fluorocarbon lines, but here's a few things worth sharing with you.  I first purchased this kind of line back in the later 1990s and paid thru the nose for an invisible weapon to catch of Manistee's then, ...big deal April Brown Trout.  Soon finding out, knot strength left a lot to be desired (back then).  
      Cortland Line Company, based in NY spent a lot of time and money solving the fluoro knot strength issues. Cortland touts at least 95% of pound test vs. knot strength.  
      When we decided to build trolling flies, the absolute hand-down best leader material was a must.  Choosing Cortland's Climax 50# Bite Guard leader material, cuz it's stiff.  
      Stiff imparts more darting action to flies, cuz the roll/snap action of the attractor is not supposed be absorbed by a too-soft flimsy leader. Click for fluoro leader/knot
      Here's reel-factoid: the 50# Climax Fluoro is .028", the same thickness as most 40# test lines.  We left no stone unturned with our recently introduced flies, and use a palomer knot to attach the hook.  This knot ensures excellent strength characteristics.  Plus, the hook hangs straight, not cockeyed!  Click for palomer knot lesson
       Could have purchased about 20 times the amount of 50# Berkley Big Game for what we're paying for this top of line & best leader material going, the Climax Fluoro!  Even if some of my competition the fly manufacturing arena is using fluoro, more than likely it's plain fluorocarbon fishing line & not built to handle abrasive teeth, like Climax!
Snow gauge has moved to a conservative 84 inches for the season, thus far!

2/3/08  I see no need to compete against the Super Bowl and will defer today's topic of what I know about fluorocarbon line until tomorrow.

2/2/08  It's time for the world debut for my new line of trolling flies.  The Radiant Ripper and Kobalt Killer are featured in today's photo.  Both of these top notch flies have iridescent light gathering material and refracts in the water with a purplish/blue hue.  I know first hand what this glittering material can do.  Witnessing that on 8/30/07 aboard the charter vessel, Carol D with Capt. Jim Munoz in Leland, MI.  Click for new flies

2/1/08  This past Wednesday's arctic snow storm goofed up the scheduled topics.  No problem, we'll carry them forward into next week.  While we only got about 5 inches, the sustained 40mph winds made blowing snow and white-outs a big deal.  Major storms shut down my satellite, meaning no access to internet to publish daily updates.
       This coming Monday will herald new product launch for 2008.  There's a growing army of fishermen using BTI/flies and the wise move is to cater to this market.  If you're looking for the best quality trolling fly available, then check back next week.  
       With the Super Bowl going down this Sunday, spring moves closer everyday!
      Snow gauge has moved to a conservative 79 inches for the season, thus far!

1/31/08  Today is the last day to purchase meat rig kits at:  www.michiganangler.com  
This is a great winter project where you can save some bucks, compared to purchasing over the counter complete meat rigs.  There is no other manufacturer of heads, or meat rigs that offer kits to make your own stuff (as far as I know)!
      Today's featured photo is a ongoing torture test of my flashers nailed to my mailbox post.  These flashers have endured rain, full sun, temps past 90 for well over a year, being exposed to the elements.  Snowplows blast the flashers with sand, grit and gravel traveling 50 mph.  The 2 1/2" aluminum siding nails that were holding the bottom of the flashers were destroyed by the snow plow, but the flashers are still there!  I am surprised the WTP Lure Tape has held up so well.  Click for ongoing product torture test

1/30/08  Big storm is brewing for Manistee and all of the north country.  Blizzard warnings for the UP.  When we get storms like this my satellite internet dish goes on the blink.  I'll pick up the updates tomorrow about the new 2008 crop of newbie skippers, when I have internet access again.  Lost the net 3 times so far, just trying to get this out! If you ever get satellite internet?  Hope your luck's a lot better than my service.

1/29/08  Let's take a good, hard long look at hooks today.  What makes some hooks have a better ratio at hooking up?  Keeping in mind, your "first contact" with Mr. Fish aka your adversary is your hook.  It might behoove you to give this some major thought.
      Hooks come in all kinds of shapes, thicknesses and colors, but the sticking point (pun) is how the point goes thru the hide of a tough August adult.  Thinner hooks penetrate better, as the force to bury deep is less.  Then, there's a trade-off in strength, if the wire in the hook bends too easy. Click for full article on hooks
      In today's photo there's 2 hooks, the red one is a round bend.  Allowing the barb to bury deeper.   The other hook is what I refer to as a sprooted, or Carlyle styled monstrosity that might be OK for Batman to climb buildings with, but not for high percentage fish to the box ratio. Click for these hooks side by side 
       Sticky sharp is the answer.  Use a hook file, and when it doubt? ...use it again!  After one, or two fish, sharp hooks can become dull from rubbing on jaw/head bones. 

1/28/08  Lots of things in store for us, as we close out January 2008 this week.  But, first I have to pay some bills by introducing the 2008 King Emerald Green flasher.  Like all my products, this new color/pattern was thoroughly tested in late August of 2007.
       Today's featured photo shows what kind of devastation this subdued darker Green Black and Glow can do in the middle of the afternoon. Click for 100% total proof  
                      Here's what on deck for the rest of this week:
1.  Let's get serious about penetration (the hook kind)
2.  Advice for the 2008 crop of newbie charter skippers
3.  Finding early Spring Kings titled, "to be, or not to be?"
4.  Why are attractors so deadly in the early part of the season?
                Snow gauge has moved to 74 inches since November 2007

1/27/08  Take a few seconds to study today's featured photo of the day.  The photo was taken on the high bluff overlooking the area where Pine Creek empties into the Big Manistee River.  This bluff is on the south bank of the river (BMR runs east to west).
      You can peer thru the forest, clearly seeing the river meandering in a wide sweeping bend, just below the Pine Creek hole. If you look way towards the west, the distant horizon shows a glimpse of Manistee proper, and Lake MI. Click for awesome photo
      This section of the big river afforded me most of the double headers we had, back in my guiding days.  Doubles are extremely rare when river fishing, cuz the rods have to be cleared ASAP/immediately once we have a fish hooked up.  So, what we're talking about here is 2 fish, ....hitting almost simultaneously.
      Today's photo reminds me of how truly I'm blessed to live in Manistee County, MI.  Winter? ...you can either fight it, or abide by the picturesque magnificence it offers.

1/26/08  .032 is the diameter of the VMC, Gamakatsu is .030.  So, the VMC was tiny bit thicker.  Needed to mention this as a follow-up to yesterday's hook test.
      If you're having problems straightening out hooks?  Remember to set you drag properly.  25 to 30% the breaking strength of your fishing, or lighter.  Let that fish run, the longer you can hold a fish, chances are it will get more points and barbs buried.
      This needs to be said for a better understanding: as the fish runs away from you, the hook has a tendency to roll backward, ...out of a fishes chops.  This is more pronounced with attractors.  I can remember the dodger actual chattering the rod on violent runs from big Kings, when they ALL were over 20 pounds back in olden times.
       Once you've tuckered out the fish, you can snug up on the drag (ever so slightly) for tad bit more control at the moment of truth, ...net time!

1/25/08  Tested the VMC 9650BN against the Gamakatsu 47111.  Both of these hooks are trebles and very comparable.  Being in the manufacturing end of fishing now, testing of any sort is a absolute must.  Then, you know what the reel facts are!
       There's only one way to test stuff like this, clamp the hooks in a vise and bend them.  Much to my surprise, the Gamakatsu was a slightly softer hook and took just a little less pressure to bend.  My tests was purely unscientific, with no exact gauges to get a 100% accurate measure, but I know what my hand and wrist felt.
        Both of these hooks offer the same meticulous "out of the package sharpness."  Both of the hooks tested are world class and that goes without saying.
        For the buck, VMCs costs a tad less and get my nod (cuz of price) as a better value.  If you doubt my results, do the test yourself!  Click for tested hooks

1/24/08  Our seminar/presentation will be titled, "Lake Michigan Reel-Facts & Bitin' the Bullet" for the Flint Steelheader Show at Birch Run, MI (Feb 29 thru Mar 2).  This show is a little over a month out, as I need to be in Birch Run by Feb. 28th for booth set-up.
      The first part, Lake Michigan Reel-Facts will be covered by Ludington's Capt. Paul Vantol.  Capt. Dave Deforest will handle BTIs/Flies and inform us on how to steer clear of the many trap nets planned for Manistee/Ludington in 2008.  Capt. Joe Von Grabe is a personal favorite with me and I'm sure his topic will be as informative as his past efforts!
      My deal is, "Bitin' the Bullet," cuz I have the most water time with the new 2008 metalized product line.  Every trip off the dock, after mid-August ...all I used was the "bullets."  In know for a "reel-fact" you'll be able to walk away from this show with: 1. new knowledge, 2. insights, 3. several worthy tips to make your time on the water more productive.  Cost to attend?  The paramount word in our American language: FREE!

1/23/08  What do you do when your program falls apart?  Your high hopes have went down the tube and that's not a good feeling.  First thing to do is not blame yourself!
      In this case excuses are a good thing and will often explain the lack of rodular activity.  Seldom, by staying on the water and beating on a dead horse is gonna help.
      Location, troll speed and depth are the factors that turn fishing into catching.  Most of the time, location is the culprit.  No fish under your boat equates to no fish in the box.
      While you can control depth, lure selections and speed, location of fish is something none of us can control.  If it looks like a bust, get back to shore, take a break, re-group and take a new approach/area the next time out.
       Are you always having problems pulling fish?  Then, look at boat speed control and issues associated within.  If you can not get down to 1.5 mph in a fairly large following sea, then get some kind of trolling device, or learning to use trolling bags.

1/22/08  Today's featured photo is from Larry M.  He titled his photo a "meat catch," being a 4 man MI limit caught off Pentwater last summer.  I think we all can agree by the size of the box & what took the fish is truly an awesome meat catch. Click for photo
       Moving to number 2 on this week's list of topics: why do fish always seem prefer whatever we have in least supply on our boats?  
       Case in point: last July on my first shake-down fishing trip on SR 1979, the only rod we had working was a BTI Black Mamba Glow w/a 2 fly Clear Red meat rig.  While we had plenty of the Clear Reds in the 2 & 3 fly meat rigs, in my haste no inventory was taken before we rushed off towards the pond.  So, to make a long story short, we soon discovered that was the ONLY BTI Black Mamba Glow we had aboard!
      Some might theorize the fish are trained by the tackle industry to be super selective on a daily basis.  However, in my case ...I'm part of the tackle industry and the fish were still choosy enough to ignore ALL the other stuff we had in the drink!! 

1/21/08   It seems the Little River Band of Native Americans have their own worst public relation nightmares.  Israel and Levi Stone protested the Tribal Police for some kind of investigative work.  Only those with something to hide, fear investigations.  The Stone's are the netters that blitzed Manistee in 2007.  Click for Ludington newspaper article
Some topics for this week's updates include:
1.  What to do when your program falls apart.  
2.  Why do fish always chose the lure/presentation you have the least of?
3.  My subject for the Flint Steelheaders Birch Run, MI show will be, "Bitin' the Bullet!"
4.  Well done to Traverse City, MI, they made Field & Stream's top 10 list for fishing.
                  Snow meter has moved to 64 inches since last November. 

1/20/08  We've entered into the coldest weather of winter, so far.  Zero reading in Manistee are not that big a deal.  In the 1990s when I was guiding on the Big Manistee River in January, it was 25 below in Brethren, MI.
      Tomorrow's lead story will concern picketing at the LRB of Native Americans.  I think you'll be surprised by who was doing the picketing!

1/19/08   Finally caught back up on all orders.  Many of you took advantage of the no cost hardware deal for meat rigs and we were swamped.  Then, we ran out of the gold plated stuff.  This was the third time we had our inventory drained of the new 2008 metalized products.  Many thanks for your support during the early January special!

1/18/08  Today's featured photo is from the first time I used fully finished BTI Flashers and not the pre-production prototypes.  The BTI flasher picture says it all ....'nuff said.
Click for 5/17/06  limit catch  Besides, it's good to visualize what's in store for us in '08!!

1/17/08  Is there an exclusive charter captain's clique?  I'd say yes, cuz at the Flint Steelheaders Show when you see charter skippers talking, they're generally speaking with another captain.  I brought this up to explain all do not fit into this upper echelon, elitist group, or lost their roots as a sport fisherman ...as soon as they're licensed.
      The person I'm speaking of is Capt. Paul Vantol, who does not have his head stuck in the clouds, because he has a charter license.  Capt. Paul will be part of the seminar team at the upcoming Birch Run spring fishing show.  
       Vantol runs his a highly successful Salmon & Trout charters out of Ludington, MI and sometimes for Walleye on Saginaw Bay.  If you're wanting to listen to a savvy pro angler who knows his fishing, Capt. Paul Vantol is the man in my book!

1/16/08  Wanted to focus on another member of our seminar team for today's updated.  However, we have a good sized stack of back logged orders awaiting for the new 2008 metalized products.  If you've ordered any gold metalized tackle?  Please be patient.  
       Tackle was sent in about 2 weeks ago for plating.   Our metalizing company is running slightly behind.  We expect to have the gold metalized tackle back in stock before the end of this week.  Then, we'll take care of the outstanding orders ASAP!
       Many thanks to all you purchased the 2008 meat rig kits with the special no-charge hardware deal.  Meat rigs are very time consuming to build.  I appreciate those that build their own.  This takes the heat off of us and frees up some time to hit the big pond.
       My Manistee County snow gauge has moved to 56 inches since last November.

1/15/08  If the Michigan DNR follows policy with FO 245, they have to know there were scattered reports of VHS-B in Lake Michigan in the states of IL and WI.  So, it's very likely Pacific Herring (non-tested) won't be the big buga-boo like it was last year.
      VHS has been known to be in the Great Lakes watershed is 2003 and probably longer then that.  It has effected Musky populations Lake St. Clair & in Green Bay, WI.
      VHS was documented in Pacific Ocean Coho Salmon in 1964 out on the west coast and that didn't prevent the 1966 first plantings in Lake Michigan.
      The world wide bait supplying industry is vast, mostly going to commercial operations.  An example of that is the multi-billion dollar captured Blue Fin Tuna net pens shown 60 Minutes on CBS last Sunday.  They feed the nutrient rich Herring to raise the fat content for the Sushi.  ...more on this in another update.
   Tonight at midnight the offer for complimentary hardware for meat rig kits ends!

1/14/08  Today's featured photo is from last August 30th, 2007.  Capt. Dave Deforest is netting a decent King for Capt. Bill Wright (Leland charter skipper).  This photo reminded of the fun we had in Leland, MI that day, and what we have to look forward to in 2008!
       Reason behind using this photo? ...cuz, Capt. Dave Deforest will be one of my guest speakers for the upcoming Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI (Feb 29-Mar 2).
       I'm very proud to welcome Capt. Dave as a respected member of our seminar team.  So, get ready to meet one of my favorite fishin' buddies. Click for Dave's net job
       Dave's tireless efforts made sure you had the latest, up to the minute, on the spot info on where the trap nets were located in the waters off Manistee, MI during 2007.  
       Also, Dave is the Tribal Law Enforcement Office for the Little River tribe making sure all is up to snuff on the laws the tribe has put forth!  Dave's subject will be how the nets are marked and how to avoid getting tangled in a trap nets.  Please, have a high regard for Dave, without his dedicated help in 2007, things could have been a lot worse!!!!
       Dave has a lot of experience with BTIs & trolling flies.  Look for inside fly info too!
P.S. Today's photo was like a breath of fresh air for me, seeing the blue skies & water!

1/13/08  My tackle company will be sponsoring a club tournament for Salmon Unlimited some during 2008.  SU fishermen work the waters of IL, MI and IN, cuz the south end of Lake Michigan borders 3 states.  They haven't posted the exact date yet.  Hope to drag my boat to this event and fish some new waters.
      Only 2 days left, for the giveaway hardware deal.  In about 3 weeks, meat rigs kits will no longer be available until November of this year.  Need to closeout the kits out early this year to devote time to a new secret project & get ready for upcoming show!

1/12/08  Today just got away from me.  Only worthwhile thing is the snow gauge has
moved a couple of more inches to 54" since last November.

1/12/08  Today just got away from me.  Only worthwhile thing is the snow gauge has
move a couple of more inches to 54" since last November.

1/11/08  Getting hit with more snow, which is perfectly OK with me.  Winter looks a lot nicer all white, instead of drab, brownish and muddy.  We're out of Gold Metalized products for the time being.  We should be re-stocked with more gold stuff by Monday. 
Snow gauge moved to 52 inches, cuz we got at least 4" of wet, heavy snow last night.

1/10/08  This so-called off season is going by much too quickly for me.  In 7 weeks, I'll be at the Birch Run Show put on by the Flint Steelheaders.  Getting ready for this event is a major task.  I know for a fact, there's over 200 combinations of products I offer at the webstore.  That's a lot of production to take my dog and pony show on the road.  Item counts in the 1000s are needed to haul to the show.
      Got all our ducks in a row for the seminar speakers.  There's 3 speakers I know you'll want to hear.  Guest speakers will be formally introduced in a future update.

1/9/08   Here's a plain and simple fact: there too many Kings in Lake Michigan for the forage base to support.  According to the recent Sea Grant meeting held in Ludington last weekend, the biologists reported the forage base was at an all time low.
       I predict the MDNR will raise the limit on Kings to 5 fish per day in 2008, instead of the 3 we have now.  Removing more fish from the system is needed now!  
Zebra & quaga mussels are depleting the natural nutrients and are the most damaging specie to invade Lk. MI!  These tiny clams attack the base of the food chain.
       In 1985 I first seen zebra mussels in Lake Erie.  23 years later no solution to this problem has been found and grows worse ever year.  20 years after the fact the MDNR want to limit, or treat ballast discharge water from ocean going freighters traveling the  Great Lakes.  I say, this is like trying to stick your finger in the hole in the dam, after the dam has been washed away 20 some years ago!

1/8/07  Was out of satellite internet service yesterday due to heavy rain/fog.  Phone was out too!  Could not ship orders, so we're playing catch up today.  With my internet down, the UPS labels couldn't be printed.  Click Super Gold Red/Grn meat rig kits
     Today's featured photo is the metalized 2008 Super Gold Red/Green meat rig kits.  I'm running a super special on meat rig kits for another 7 days (special ends 1/15/08).  You'll receive at no charge the hardware: 4 bead chains, 4 barrel swivels, & 12 crimps.  I'll still have the hardware package after January 15, 2008, but it will be a $5.00  add-on option.
      The prelude to the 2008 season is growing shorter everyday!  After this week the Steelheader's show in Birch Run Show is only a little over 6 weeks away!
       Indiana's Salmon Unlimited members have been fishing Browns by the Gary Light and in the shipping channel and doing quite well.  So the 08 season is already here for them!

1/7/08  Last year at this time, VHS fish virus was the topic on the front burner for all Great Lakes anglers.  VHS was first recorded in the Great Lakes in 2003 (if my memory from last year's updates serves me well).  So, this disease has been around for a while.
        In November 2007 I contacted Mr. Tom Rozich who's the DNR's front man in the Cadillac, MI office.  I asked him, "how many fish returning to the Little Manistee Harvest Weir had VHS?" According to his reply email, there were around 200 randomly sampled fish that were tested.  The good news is: no King Salmon came back positive for VHS!
        Manistee is the meat fishing's home port.  Manistee is where fishing with herring, meat, or cut bait first took hold big time in 2003.  Myself, ...I used herring dating back to the mid to late 1990s and there's still no VHS in Manistee? 
        This kinda shoots holes in the weak mistaken idea of herring ever posing a threat to our Great Lakes King Salmon.  Mr. Rozich needs to be thanked for replying to my email.
         More this important subject as this week wears on. There's far too much that needs to be said, ...to be covered in only one update with about 12 lines of text!

1/6/07  Thaw continues, first time I've seen patches of ground that's not covered by the white stuff in better then a month.  Light drizzle helped the melt yesterday.
    Be sure to tune in tomorrow, as there's breaking news I'm sure you'll want to hear.

1/5/08  January thaw is the deal from the north country.  Warm temps 'til this coming Wednesday should help those in quest of Steelhead in the rivers that empty into the Great Lakes water shed.  Last time I seen the lower end of the big river a few days ago it still looked kinda clear, with the water up a tad.
Snow gauge for my area of Manistee County is stuck at 48 inches since last November!

1/4/08  End of the year is file transferring time for backup and getting ready for tax season.  Update past results page that's beginning it's 9th season as a running commentary of things all pointed at things effecting our Great Lakes Fishery.  There's 2990 plus daily log entries.  Please never call this a blog, cuz the word blog was invented in 2003, 3 years after my idea to keep a public daily log. Click for Past Results Page

1/3/08  Completed the photo work for the new Silver and Gold Bullet meat rig kits at the webstore: www.michiganangler.com  These kits are on special right now with a special no cost hardware package.  This complimentary hardware package has 4 bead chains, 4 barrel swivels and 12 crimps to make rigs.  Click for hardware package
       N/C hardware page will be discontinued after 1/15/08.  After that date, it will be a 5 dollar option.  Meat rig kits will close out on 1/31/08, to be offered again on 11/1/08.
       I've got 7 weeks left to get all my ducks in a row for the start of the Flint Steelheaders Fishing Show held in Birch Run, MI 2/29/08 thru 3/2/08.  Lots to do!

1/2/08  Let's put hard reason to the facts, rather than me just running my lip about how meat catches larger fish.  This has been proven in several major tournaments and derbies.  If you look closely at today's photo, you'll see a close-up of a Salmon's nostril.  
       Inside this nostril you'll notice the tiny receptors, or striations of the olfactory canal organ inside the nose of a Salmon.  The larger a Salmon grows, this sense of smell becomes even more highly developed as the fish matures.  Click to see for yourself
       Dogs are said to smell 1000 times better than us humans.  So, a Salmon's olfactory organ (nose/smell) can be about 1000 times more powerful than a dog.
       Some experts have put forth a firm assumption Salmon can whiff-out parts per trillion & almost everyone agrees, ....these fish can easily detect parts per billion. 
      Meat/my products have taken the largest fish in the Ludington Gander Mountain Tournament held in late July, two of the last four years.  
        This is a truly amazing feat, considering there's not that many tourney anglers pulling my stuff.  I mentioned the Ludington tourney, cuz it's the leading event around my area, if not on all of Lake Michigan.  WI 2008 KD Derby was took by my stuff too!
        Let's close today's update with this statement, "the nose, ....knows!"
Snow gauge for my area of Manistee County is now at 45 inches since last November!

1/1/08   Just gonna wish you Happy New Year today.  There's a whole year in front of us.  What will the promise of the 2008 season bring?  Who knows?  What I do know is the season will be upon us before we know it.  Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI is about 8 weeks out and counting.  Man, time moves too quick after you hit 60!
      My plan today was to explain the proven attributes of meat taking bigger fish, but that can wait until tomorrow.  Enjoy your holiday, you deserve it!

12/31/07  Happy New Year!  Here's a great deer hunting story for you:

"Me and Scott were on an evening muzzleloader hunt on railroad land that we found and scouted 3 years ago and never hunter it till yesterday. Walking in I left my gun in its soft Case till we got away from the tracks.  We started seeing some nice buck tracks in the
snow and I got my gun capped and ready.  Click for Tom's Monster IN Buck
       I hid my "gun case" along the trail and we continued to walk in the woods. After 3 hours of seeing nothing and the wind being all wrong.  We decided to walk out early and see if we could see anything sneaking out.  With Scott on point we headed back to the truck.  We were half way back when Scott saw this buck.  We got down and after glassing him I told Scott he was a nice 8 point and he should shoot him.  He wanted me to take the shot since we could get in no closer than 113 yards.  My muzzleloader shooting great at 100 yards, I got ready for the shot.  I set up the camouflage chair that I had hunted out of and took the shot.  This buck dropped in his tracks. 
      We thought the buck was feeding the whole time we were watching him, but when we got to him he was standing over my "gun case" smelling it ...the whole time we were watching him. He is going on my wall and this will be a hunt I will never forget!"  
Tom M ....aka pcoaltrain on our message board

12/30/07  Today's update is for the do-it-yourself anglers.  If you've been thinking about building your own meat rigs, with kits offered at: www.michiganangler.com  Now is the time.  End of January,  meat rig kits will no longer be offered until November 2008.  
     Need a mid-winter activity and you're good with your hands?  Then build your own rigs for about 5 bucks each.  Instead of 11 to 15 dollars! Click for 2008 meat rig kits
      The kits I offer, ...have the Mylar (fringe) to build the exact same rigs we make.  To sweeten up the deal for kits for 2008, there'll be 4 bead chains, 4 barrel swivels & 12 line crimps!  Please keep in mind, this is a limited time offer, that will close on 1/15/08!
      Looking forward to 1/1/08 and the new season.

12/29/07  Big time snow storm in Manistee.  Around where I live, 14 miles from Lake Michigan we got about a foot of the white stuff in 4 hours.  With winter in the north country, you can either fight it with dread, or take an outdoor winter sport. 
      Snowmobiling and cross country skiing are great ways to enjoy the beautiful deep woods as today's featured photo shows.  Click for snow-machine on 12/28/07
       New Years Day update will explain why the larger fish hit meat, according to the experts on the olfactory (sense of smell).  This will put rhyme to the reason of the success with my products in taking the winning fish in several tourneys & derbies.

12/28/07  My get up and go, ...got up and went!   We're stuck in the La-La Land between two major holidays.  Trying to do business at this time of the year?  
Well, ...like Pres. Bush says, "we're working on it hard."
      Rumors of better Steelheading on the Big Manistee River are starting to filter down.  Lower section, from M55 Bridge up to the farm house is said to be best.  This figures, cuz the recent mild weather has probably caused the fish to move in.
      Looking forward to 1/1/08 and the new season.  

12/27/07   Best selling 10" BTI flasher was King Krimson, which surprised even me.  So, much for the myth fish can't see red ...eh?  I'd have thought the Black Mambas, either glow, or regular would have been at the top of the heap.
      Best selling 3 Fly Meat Rig was the X-Glow Yellowtail.  This figures in with my best spoon when I was still in the charter business (1983 thru 2003).  
      The Yellowtail spoon I'm speaking of is a Silver Streak Yellowtail made by my friends, the Cartwright family of Wolverine Tackle fame.
      Tomorrow, photos of the King Krimson BTI and Yellowtail Meat Rig will be posted.  With Christmas being a Tuesday deal, getting excited about a lot of extra work this week just don't fit in with my frame of mind.

12/26/07  For our Swedish and Norwegian visitors, Gott Nytt År.  Which in English is Happy New Year.  In 6 days the doors will open to a brand new season big water fishing season.  My new year's resolution is to fish a bunch more.  This works for me!
       Hope your Christmas went well.  Personally, I feel we need more days like Christmas when everything mostly comes to a screeching halt.  Giving everyone a break from our ever increasing fast paced, pressure cooker society.  Nice to have a break ...eh?
      Tomorrow's update will give you an idea about the best selling products at the webstore located at: www.michiganangler.com.  There consumer votes with his billfold on what's the most popular colors in flashers and meat rigs.  

12/25/07  Merry Christmas!

12/24/07  First off, Merry Christmas to all at this joyous time of the year!  
      Good news, as we've passed the point of days getting shorter.  December 22nd was the Winter Solstice and tomorrow will be 9 seconds longer then today.  9 seconds might not sound like much, but it's a small step in the right direction.  By 5:20pm in Manistee County, MI it's pretty dark and look forward to more daylight as winter progresses.
      Taking tomorrow off from regular updates.  If you access this website on 12/25/07 get ready to hear the Christmassy tune "Jingle Bells," to put you in a festive spirit.
       Wednesday's update will feature a listing 2007's most popular products by sales at the webstore.  Some of the top sellers were surprising!  Stay tuned for more info.