12/31/10 Another heads-up on the trophy
Steelhead photo that graces today's edition. If
you have old 35mm negatives and they hold a meaning for
you? Then its important to preserve your old
negatives. Decent quality negative scanners have
came way down in price. My old photo
prints/negatives are fading badly. Salvaged the
giant Steelhead picture and had to use photo editing
software to enhance the sharpness & color. Making
the image not perfect like it once was, but still
Shelf life on film and negatives, especially color is
finite. How long old images hold their quality
depends a lot on storage and that doesn't mean a shoe
On of the things appreciated about digital images is the
developing is always the same. In the film days,
...image quality depended a lot on who developed your
ya next year and thanks for visiting this website!
12/30/10 Let's travel back in time
26 years to one of my more memorable events. The
setup is Valentine's Day 1984 just below Homestead Dam
on Frankfort, MI's Betsie River. A mid-winter thaw
was happening and the word was out, "the Betsie was
I was just entering my second year in the charter
business and learned always to pack a camera along to
capture special moments in time.
That day we had the boots on. Waders were
necessary to move down the river to land any good
Steelhead much over 8 pounds. Anyone who's seen
the fast water spilling over the face of Homestead Dam
knows the reason for the boots.
Just a few yards downstream of fishing our spot
...an angler who's name is lost to time landed an
enormous Steelhead at 26 pounds and change. This
fish was a massive beast and made the 17 he'd already
caught ...look insignificant.
I caught a 12 and my buddy took a nice buck Steelhead a
few ounces the other side of 16 pounds. Nothing to
the magnitude of the hogasaur 26 pounder and the 2 fish
stringer of Steel at 43 pounds!
Click hog stinger of a 17 & 26 lb. Steelhead
Incidentally, my/this photo was published in color in
the then Great Lakes Fisherman Magazine.
Forerunner of the Great Lakes Angler magazine of
12/29/10 Yesterday's 7/26/10 story about
full moon fishing story needs to be expanded:
With only one foray into the realm of night fishing
I did spot a need for a flashlight to be taped to the
net. You ain't lived ...until you spear at a fish
with a net in almost total darkness. You kinda
scoop and hope the fish is securely the net bag.
I do have aft deck lights my boat and a transom white
navigational light. These are almost totally
useless and give the water a eerie spooky glow.
Much like a scene out of a Star Trek movie in another
galaxy, far, ...far away!
Did wear a headband LED light that went around my hat
that helped some. Was kinda amazed ...if the boat
had the aft lights turned off, moonlight provided enough
ambient light to spot the hits on the rigger rods.
Doing something new is big fun for yours truly.
When trying something for the 1st time it's easy to
laugh mistakes, ...as we tried to conquer the darkened
domain of night fishing. Many grins and a feeling
of accomplishment was riding high when we put the boat
back on the trailer a little after 1am. No boats
at the ramp was a huge bonus too!
12/28/10 The setup on today's update began
last July when I posted on our message board the need
for a fishing partner for my 1st ever night fishing
excursion. This was done with very short notice.
That volunteer ended up being member Matt B. I'd
spoken with Matt a few times on the phone, but never met
him face to face.
Matt had a 415 mile hike from Cleveland, OH area which
is a feat in itself and a good deal in his favor.
I don't mesh well with people that semi-like to fish, or
consider it just something to do. People that love
to fish and are willing to sit on a boat for hours just
waiting for a bite without whining is a horse of
You learn a lot about a person in short order onboard
any Great Lakes trolling vessel. You learn even
more when the heat is on and the action is hot and
heavy. As late dusk was transitioning into full
darkness the team of just Matt and I had 4 rods go.
Not all at quite once, but it required me to fight fish
and steer them clear of Matt's fish. What a
nightmare, but Matt stayed cool and got with the
program. With a pile of luck on our side ...we
ended boating all 4 Kings.
our 7/26/10 4-banger
This was a grand experience. Stuff like this
hadn't happened to me since my early days as a sport
fisherman. This did happen several times when I
was a charter operator fishing from a larger boat with a
lot more than 2 people onboard.
Anyways, to make a long story short, called Matt
yesterday and invited him to fish with me again in 2011.
With Matt & the luck he brings I'm sure we'll do very
well! Reminiscing about the high points 2010
season brought this story to the surface again.
12/27/10 Limbo best describes this week if
you're in business. Hard to get anything
accomplished with many businesses shut down this week.
This hits me especially hard, cuz it's the time to lay
the groundwork/foundation for the 2011 season.
I will be adding some new tackle if all goes according
to plan. This is not frivolous stuff either.
It's products that will make your time on the water more
efficient. More importantly so, if you do not get
a lot of water time like me.
Tomorrow chat will focus on team work required to put a
good box together. Usually, Great Lakes trolling
rigs are multi person operations with 2, or more
anglers. All providing efforts towards a common
When hunting it's a solo triggerman bringing down game
unassisted in most cases. The exact opposite of
shared experiences onboard Great Lakes fishing boats.
12/26/10 Hope your Christmas Holiday lived
up to & beyond your expectations. New Years is
next on the list. Bringing a new fishing season
with the hope, joys & the unknown that keeps fishing
interesting. With the strong late season Oct-Nov
Lk. MI fishery for Kings things look a helluva lot
better on the horizon than the past couple of years.
Best positive story on the Asian Carp situation is
a potential migration route thru Eagle Marsh by Fort
Wayne, IN to the Wabash River system into the Maumee
River tested negative for A-Carp DNA. The DNRs got
serious built a 1200' chain link fence in an effort hold
back further intrusion into the Great Lakes water shed.
This fence is a preventive measure in case major
flooding occurs. I can see the fence doing it's
job on adult A-Carps, but what about the immature
A-juveniles that might swim thru?
12/25/10 Was woken from a sound sleep with
the sounds of Reindeer hooves clattering on a metal roof
last night. Sprung to the window to see a chubby
guy in a red suit with a contingent of construction
elves building a pole barn at lightening speed.
At first, couldn't believe my eyes? Figured it was
the second bottle of Tosti I swigged down while
serenading my mentally challenged lab, Buzzy with
Christmas carols. Buzz was totally not impressed and put
his paws over his ears. This told me it was time
to hit the sack and see if Santa would show before
Sure enough Santa Claus showed! Proof of this?
...he lost hat by the side door of my new pole building.
No problem, I plan returning his hat next Christmas when
he brings me my new 2011 57'
HATTERAS Enclosed Bridge Sport Fisherman!
Further evidence is the Merry Christmas sign old St.
Nick hung on the front of his handiwork while passing
thru Manistee County, MI
for Santa's handiwork
12/24/10 I know snowflakes falling, Christmas
tree lights, Santa waving, yuletide garland, scrolling
banners & John Lennon's tune, "So, this is Christmas"
not suggested standard decorum for a website.
Let's break the rules & share the spirit of the season!
Here's my wish list to Santa Claus:
12/23/10 There's some behind the scenes
reel-facts about Lake Michigan water being diverted down
the Chicago River. In turn, making the fight
against Asian Carp even harder. The fight to seal
off this waterway for further Asian Carp migration into
the Great Lakes watershed is about the water too.
Water being sent down the Mississippi River. This
water can then be diverted to dry SW states ...already
facing a water crisis.
There is a predicted global water shortage crisis by
2030. The Middle East, Asia, and India are already
hurting for fresh drinking water now.
Sitka, Alaska is moving towards selling large ocean
going tankers of water to India for a penny per gallon.
I can see sharing water for humanitarian reasons, but
this should be done under close scrutiny to prevent the
fast buck artists from becoming rich. Robber
barons with water rights is a menace we do not want to
face in the future!
On a much brighter front, Manistee, MI's early Lk. MI
Brown Trout season is only about 3 months out.
What a wonderful way to close today's update!
12/22/10 The official start of winter was
yesterday, but it began about a month ago in Manistee.
Snowfall total so far (winter 2010-2011) the way
according my gauge it is 37 inches. My gauge is
the shovel used to remove it, or plow the white stuff.
The absolute best news is today is going to be 1 second
longer than yesterday! We've passed the winter solstice
and can look forward to more daylight from here on in!
To all those that invited me to be friends on Facebook,
it's not that I don't want to be friends. Its that
there's no time available for me to get into kind genre.
Tackle production, monitoring our message board,
shipping/processing orders and taking care of 2 websites
daily eats up vast blocks of time.
12/21/10 When I checked the poll last night
about sitting down to dinner with a fine platter of
yummy deep fried golden brown A-Carposaurs seems not too
appetizing with 94% of our visitors. Never had a
poll go over 90% in 10 years on this website.
Getting 9 out of 10 people to agree on anything is close
to a miracle.
Previous record was slightly over 70% giving the MDNR
failing grades. Let's hope the new incoming
management does damage control their public image.
We all want to be proud of our respective DNRs and the
jobs they do. They made our fishery for which I
thank them from the bottom of my heart!
There's a special need to thank everyone who emailed in
their comments about the history of the Great
Lakes Fishery. Progress has been made with over 70
reel-facts and growing everyday.
rough draft on
Tomorrow the focus will be on the selling of bulk
water shipments from the US to India, Middle East and
Asian countries. Large scale tanker export is
supposed to start in 6-8 months. This is just the tip of
this 20 year old spear robbing the pubic domain.
12/20/10 My stupidest idea of the year
award goes those that are advocating the human
consumption of Asian Carp. The species of Bighead
and Silver A-Carps are seeing a huge push to become
table fare in the US markets. These fish are quite
boney and have a lot of dark blood colored flesh, often
referred to as a mud-vein. Like the Common Carp
we're all familiar with.
Asian Carp being filleted
The worst part of the turning American palates into
accepting these A-Carps? What are we going to do
when these fish are accepted as food by the American?
Farm raise them? That would only propagate this
This is a slippery slope where only export, fertilizer &
pet food should only be considered. Installed a
poll where you can vote if you'd eat this kind of fish.
Need to delay this week's promised roll-out of
a new flasher for 2011. While the blades and
materials are ordered, Kruger Plastic making the
flashers might is a 2 to 3 week wait. Good
to see base of our manufacturing is on the rebound.
12/19/10 I receive direct info from
MI Attorney General, Mike Cox's Email list. He is
championing the cause of preventing Asian Carp from
becoming a breeding, self sustaining population in the
Great Lakes. All the states in that have borders
on the Great Lakes along with the Province of Ontario, except IL and IN, have signed onto this fight too.
Only to be stymied at every turn by the federal
government and the Corp of Engineers that prefer to
ignore the imminent threat to our watershed. The
government's ploy has been throw millions of dollars at
this problem and appoint an Asian Carp Czar.
Little good when the solution is simple. Separate
the Great Lakes from the Mississippi basin. Guess
simple is beyond the grasp of the powers that be!
My Manistee snowometer total for winter
now at est. 35 inches!
12/18/10 Over 70 entry's in the history of
the Great Lakes Fishing project. Came up with an
idea where you can contribute your 2 cents and bring
this article alive thru more eyes that just mine.
Each name, or topic can be linked to what you have to
Your first name will be used and the initial of your
last name to guard your privacy. No email
addresses will be posted to lock spam out of your inbox.
It's a slippery slope mentioning spoon manufacturers.
The volume of spoons that's came & went in the past 40
some years is immense.
I did mention Streak's Chuck Cartwright, cuz he as the
first to recognize and introduce an all silver, or gold
plated line of spoons. Plus, his mag, along with
Northport's mag are the grandfathers of all modern day
larger spoons. GW had a large series too, but this
huge task cannot get bogged down in just the history
12/17/10 Started on the rough notes to
capture the history of Great Lakes Fishing before this
is lost to time. The pioneers of our sport brought
us to where we are. Our knowledge base was built
on the shoulders of those that came before us.
In 43 years are fishing methods have evolved from zero
to the probably the best deep water trollers in the
notes on history project.
A device as simple as a rod holder was not in wide
spread usage when I began down this wonderful road in
1968, but after seeing them ...my boat had 'em for 1969!
12/16/10 There's a need for a history of
our Great Lakes Fishery. I will start on a
timeline themed account to the beginning in 1966.
Dating back the first Coho Salmon plant in Manistee
County, MI's Bear Creek (tributary of the Big Manistee
River) and Honor, MI's Platte River. The MDNR's
Wayne Tody and Howard Tanner were seeking a solution to
stench of windrows of dead Alewives that plagued our
Great Lakes coastline.
Then, move this forward to the introduction of the
Kings. Along with who did what, with new
tackle/methods that's became an fabric of our lake &
river fisheries. I will be requesting info from
the readers of this website in 2011 to help confirm the
facts. This is an immense undertaking and we need
to get it right.
started rough notes
Plan is to include all and what they introduced that was
original new methodology. People like
Luhr Jensen, Bud Raskey, Dick Swan, Larry Crosby, George
Richey, Dennis Ende, Chuck Cartwright, Mel Wantz, Jerry
Bechhold, and so on. There's a story behind all of
these pioneers that needs to be shared. If you
like history that pertains directly to you? ...you'll
like the future; "History of Great Lakes Fishing Part
Just about forgot to mention the new Squid Rigs page is
ready to go at the webstore. That page was a 5
hour project to build in case you're wondering about the
effort that goes into this web stuff.
Click 2011 Squid Rig selections.
12/15/10 Busy installing the new Stimulus
Meat Rigs in the 2 & 3 fly versions at our webstore.
This meat rig is an exact match to last August's
firecracker red-hot Stimulus flasher. The 2011
Stimulus (OCS) Meat Rig is available in the 2 and 3 fly
meat rigs. A combo Stimulus (OCS) package is in
the works too.
Stimulus Meat Rig
a good start on the new Squid Rig page with 9
complete production Squid Rigs models to chose from.
Introductory pricing is 10.95 (2 squid rigs) & 11.95
(3 Squid Rigs). Need to publish the squid rig
photos. Then, that page is finished. Hope to
roll-out the brand new fish demolishing 2011 Squid Rig page
in the very near future.
Squid rigs vs. meat rigs? I'll let history decide
that issue, because we've only scratched the surface
with soft plastics used for big water fishing.
Reel-fact truthometer says squid rigs were never at a
disadvantage. The UV Squid Rig kept up with our
most popular combo deal, the John J Rig. Even
though it was not on the deepest rigger. By and
large, your deepest rigger is always King-stud when
fishing a meat program.
Tomorrow's update will focus on giving credit
where credit is due. Those that broke ground first ...deserve
recognition moving us forward.
My Manistee snowometer total for winter
now at est. 30"!
12/14/10 Nobody will disagree 2008, 2009, and 2010
the King Salmon fishing was not the gravy train of years 2002 thru 2007 on Lk.
MI. For that reason the bar was raised even higher
with the line of tackle we offer at:
The reel-truth is the word fishing can be applied to
mean uncertainty. This uncertainty then shifts a
challenge every time you launch from a trailer, or leave
The agony of defeat, or the thrill of victory? That's
what keep fishing interesting to the point of infinity.
The fun is not just killing a fish. It's what went
into the plan and the activities along the way to that
led to catching this fish.
Granted the past few Trout & Salmon seasons haven't been
fall off a log easy to build a good box. Seasons
do not mirror one another. They're not supposed
to. Great Lakes fishing always in a state of flux
where change is the name of the game!
Was on generator power due to a wet
heavy snow that began last Saturday night. Last night the lake
effect kicked in with the coldest temps of this winter
season. Before everything is said and done
...we'll be measuring the snow in feet, not inches!
Did manage to get a photo yesterday of the storm that
wacked us. Consumer's electricity has been on & off too many times
to count. Click 12/12/10
Our past Saturday's blizzard warning has been downgraded
to just a storm warning with 8 more inches of snow
predicted thru this coming Wednesday.
My snowometer total for the 2010-2011 winter is
now at 27" & building!
12/12/10 Christmas came early for me when I
found out there was Sea Green Squids available.
Placed special order of 3 gross to get this special
fish-killing sea green color.
This hue of green has been my best producer when running
a non-meat attractor program ...bar none! Let's
not pretend anyone has even the smallest hint why Salmon
& Trout will tear into a color with stupid abandon while
ignoring everything else.
I know for a reel-fact it's hard for you to get behind a
color until it's proven itself by putting fish your the
matched-up Sea Green colors
So, you'll have to take my word on this box-filling
shade of green dating back to 1999 when Capt. Pete
"Pedro" Ruboyianes first clued me in.
My biggest joy my? ...best very-very most effective
artificial color (sea green) transposed into a killer
meat rig color for 2011. This is like a team of
horses pulling the same cart (scent & sight) of instead
of one. I'm excited to have this new color for
12/11/10 There's a reel-story about today's
chat concerning the new 2011 Metallic Sea Green Squid
Rig. So, I hope you have time to hear me out.
In 1999 legendary tournament angler & charter skipper,
Capt. Pete "Pedro" Ruboyianes won the big deal cream of
the crop Manistee, MI's Big Boys Tournament. One
of his main winning weapons was a seaweed trolling fly.
Pete got on his boat, ...then gave me a couple of these
seaweed flies right off his rods while celebrating his
Pedro was meticulous at everything he did. Plus,
the ultimate best I ever witnessed giving a seminar.
I'm sorry to say, Pete has since left the living.
In the year 2000 I used this very same seaweed color to
lead this prestigious event on the 1st day with a plus
100 point cushion. Only to have SW wind blow in.
Ruining our honey hole. We ended up 10th ...only
mustering a lean 5 fish catch on day 2.
This seaweed color is a clone to our matching Sea Green
Squid Rig & Sea Green Fly!
More on this lethal color & why I'm so big on it
...in tomorrow's update!
12/10/10 Another "they say" update, but
this one has far greater impact in realizing how
voracious Cormorants are. The decoupage of 4
combined images came from WI's Lk. Oneida. Each
photo is the stomach contents from 1 fishduck.
Click 4 in 1 photo
If the axiom of "one picture is worth a 1000 words" is
right? Then, today's featured photo is a 4000 word
dissertation on destructive Cormorants. They
eat fish of all sizes. Like us, they seem prefer
Perch and Walleyes ...as shown in the photos.
It's an eye-opener to see fish loss from a evil bird
that's not proven indigenous to our area. These
fishducks should have bounty placed on them instead of
federal protection. Their droppings destroy the
environment. Denuding the landscape where breeding
colonies are established. No animal native to the
Great Lakes does this!
website member, SteveO for forwarding us these images.
12/9/10 They say, "liars and lovers have to
have good memories." At 64 I have a hard enough
time remembering the truth. Let alone ...trying to
BS you about buying tackle.
For that reason, providing proof in photos adds a lot
more weight to my words.
Today's featured photo is a close-up on the squid rigs
we used on 8/9/10 during our middle of the day fishing
trip. We had lines in the water for 2 1/2 hours
(1pm- 3:30pm). Boxing 8 Kings missing a few.
8/9/10 squid rig verification
May I add, we had no inside info to put us on the fish.
Prior to our trip I could have called my Leland, MI
contacts like skippers Jim Munoz and Bill Wright.
In my eyes that's cheating. Most sport fishermen
do not have that privilege. Why should I?
Plus, I had not fished Leland since about 1980 in my own
had a hunch these squid rigs would work, but never
expected them to keep up with our number one selling
John J combo rig at:
See yesterday's update about our special 2011 Squid Rig
Kits for sale.
12/8/10 Today it's a great pleasure to
announce the World Debut of our new 2011 Squid Meat Rig
Kits for the do-it-yourself pennywise fisherman.
You can build your own 3 Squid Rigs for about 50 cents
on the dollar ...compared to retail on pre-made rigs.
I'm proud to say some of these squid rigs hit the water
last summer with excellent results. This is a
brilliant offseason project for the smart frugal
fishermen who demand the most from their tackle dollars.
for all colors & pricing
These kits feature our industry leading custom cushioned
crimps we make in-house. No other manufacturer
even uses them. Our crimps? ...are zero line
failure. The stock pinch-on kind can cause a weak
points in your leader. Costing you fish & money!
Our 40 Trolling Flies & 3 Squid Meat Rig kits are a
special limited time offer. Expiring on 1/1/11. No
other manufacturer offers cost effective kits like we
My Manistee, MI snowometer registers at 15
inches so far for winter 2010-2011
12/7/10 The page views yesterday shows past
catches of Master Angler Kings peak your interest.
With that thought in mind, I posted a Port of Manistee,
MI catch from 1995 with 3 massive Master Angler Kings.
Meaning King Salmon above 27 pounds.
Today's featured photo shows bruiser 28, 29.9, and 30
pound Kings caught back in August of 1995. All on
the same charter too!
Click for 3 massive 1995 Kings
If you're going to "talk the talk," ...like I do here?
You'd better have some proof you can "walk the walk!"
My lifelong 43 year obsession with the Great Lakes in
pursuit of Trout & Salmon verifies this reel-fact
...beyond any shadow of a doubt!
More scanned negatives turned into featured photos
showing hog catches of 30 pounder Kings will grace the
pages of this website in the future.
P.S. seeing catches like what's been shown lately almost
makes me want to go back in the charter business.
My charter career spanned 1983 thru 2003. I'd
spend April thru Sept. on the Lakes Huron, Erie or MI.
Then shift to the rivers Oct. thru April.
12/6/10 Need a break from the 2 new
articles on fly construction and usage. Spent a
untold hours working with new image files, formatting,
and content this past weekend.
Final re-writes and proofing reading is in the works
now. You can earn your Flyologist Degree by
reading it & grasping this knowledge.
Click Part II
For a change of pace let's look at 1996 and what I
consider the best year for skippers chartering on Lk. MI
out of the Port of Manistee, MI.
Catches from 16 years ago were not solely predicated on
just Kings. It was a mixed bag with record catch
of Steelhead, some Lakers, Kings over 30 pounds, and
enough Coho sprinkled in to keep things interesting.
62 lbs. Kings in 2 fish
Today's featured photo shows the catch with the 62 lbs.
in 2 Kings photo came from. This catch was in
strong double figures and shows a better size
perspective on what reel-30 pounders look like on a brag
Click Aug. 1996 Brag Board photo
12/5/10 Today's update centers on my new
"how-to" article about building your own flies.
Part I is semi completed and focuses on basic
construction. My efforts now will concentrate on
finishing Part II by Monday.
for Part I under construction
Part II will cover the finer points on storage, leader
lengths, & details in final rigging. I'll share
with you what I learned about flies over the past 30
some years on Lakes MI & Huron. Stay tuned in more
good stuff on the way!!
Click start on Part II
For the beginners, prior to the internet it took
several seasons of trial & error to fish a deadly
attractor/fly program. Now, with a few clicks
there's a cornucopia of inside knowledge at your finger
tips. I'm proud to be part of the information
12/4/10 Top of this weekend's priority list
is to finish the photo "how-to" page on making trolling
flies with tape.
reel-time progress on this article
From experience adhesive is as
good as winding thread, or stretching surgical tubing
(rubber band) as a binder to hold the Mylar on the
I'm very proud to point out the reel-fact our bullet
heads were made with little taper on the shank part and
the Mylar almost lays perfectly flat.
The cheapie Chinese bullets cause bunching, the Mylar to
lay goofy, with loss of contact area for the adhesive to
Click USA vs. Chinese technology
There's issues with thread, metal crimps, or surgical
tubing. The method I'll show you will last for
years and years. Best thing about tape and
adhesives is the older the fly gets? ...the tape sets up
beginning to make a fly
Some will knock taping flies together. To the
naysayers I reply, "did you ever try to remove a
sticker, decal, or a piece of tape after it had been in
place for a few months?" I rest my case
based on reel-facts we've all dealt with, cuz the glue
turns into an extremely sticky epoxy-like substance!
Click for a winter do-it-yourself fly kit
My Manistee, MI snow gauge is at 5" for winter 2010/2011
12/3/10 Today's featured photo is from
later August 1987 taken on Lk. MI's West Platte Bay back
when I chartered out of Frankfort, MI. Man in the
plaid shirt on the left is Bill S.
On the right is my former deckhand and friend, Capt.
Rusty Hamilton who died in a house fire about 5 years
ago. Rusty worked with me for several years and
became a licensed skipper in about 1990.
Click for 1987 Bill,
Rusty, & chunky Brown Trout
This photo was scanned directly from a negative that had
deteriorated badly. I used an photo editor to
clone in the bad spots and erase the scratches in the
Had to use tint/color and contrast editing to bring this
almost lost image back to life.
Needless to say this saving this photograph meant a lot
to me. Resurrecting it back to a useable form over
shadows the Bill's dandy Brown pushing the 17 pound
It's a labor of love rescuing my old 35mm images.
I'm glad to have found the ambition to start this
tedious project containing 100s of irreplaceable
sentimental 35mm photos before age ruined them all.
12/2/10 Today's 1st featured photo is the
curtain rising on Act I of our winter snow season.
Yesterday's snow in Manistee, MI was 3".
Click 12/1/10 Manistee snow
Second featured image is two Master Angler certified
Kings at 32 & 30 pounds. The angler is holding 62
pounds of hog kings. His name is Dick K and was a
great charter customer of mine back in the 1990s.
We nailed these 2 trophies back to back on the same
trip. Think the year was 1996.
62 pounds of Kings
I have scores of 35mm negatives from the 1970s until I
went with digital camera in the early i2ks.
Today's 62 pounds of King photo is scanned directly from
the original negative from a new scanner purchased to
archive all my old photos. Over time photo colors
fade & film negatives degrade. Digitized images
last next to forever!
12/1/10 Into making your own tackle?
Looking for a cost effective winter project?
If so, we're offering ground breaking Fly Kits.
Click for more info
All materials to build 40 flies, including 40 assorted
color bullet heads, custom pre-taped banded Mylar,
beads, industry leading 50# Perlon mono leader material,
and special 1/4" overwrap tape. Plus, 25 top of
the line VMC treble hooks!
Cost is less than 2 bucks a fly when everything is all
said and done. Our 2011 Mega Fly Kits are priced
at a lowball 69.95. Kits do not qualify for any
discount, cuz of the instant built in cost reductions
compared to over the counter tackle store pricing.
By this weekend, if not sooner ...we'll have a complete
step by step instructional page ready for the public at
large. 3 colors of our Glow Mylar featured in our
kits is X-Glow and that's a step above what many fly
11/30/10 My first direct contact with world
computers pointed at Great Lakes fishing was in May of
1995, or 96. Back then, we relied on the temp
breaks, or vertical surface thermobars that fenced
up the fish in May, June and into July.
I was running spring/May charters out of Saugatuck, MI
and was in the Best Chance Tackle Store.
There was a couple shysters with surface temp charts we
get for free from Sea Grant and NOAA. Their scam
was selling a service where they'd fax you a current
temp chart for about $100 a month.
Click for surface temp chart
Sea Grant/MSU has since put a disclaimer stating the
temp charts are public property and not for sale.
Please note the area circled in red on the chart saying
This was my first brush with the internet and computers
and as this website proves, far from my last. More
on this worthy topic tomorrow.
11/29/10 We're pulling out all the stops with our
Christmas 2011 special offers. By purchasing a $100,
or more ...you get 11% off your total purchase.
Along with a bonus/no charge BTI 10" Flasher in the hot-hot
Manistee Firedot with the Lucky 7 of Diamonds pattern. Click
check out bonus no charge flasher
Factor in the free
shipping and you're looking at way over 20% off.
The 11% is to coincide with 2011 that will soon be here in
about a month.
All the products we make are eligible for the 11%
discount such as flashers, meat rigs, meat heads,
storage boxes and hook harnesses. Items like line,
trolling bags, etc. do not qualify. Purchases must
exceed a $100. Sales tax does not count.
I dislike misleading words like free, or money saving
offer. Cuz, nothing is free and the only way to
save money is not to spend it.
But, this I can guarantee: when you're on your last leg
& pearly gates are calling ...you won't say, "man, I'm
glad ...I was a cheapskate in the fishing tackle dept!"
More special offer info is available at:
Got a super topic waiting in the wings about
timing. Plus, how the internet has been boon to
all Salmon and Trout fishermen on deck for
11/28/10 This is the time of the year the
reel-fishermen come out. Late season, winter, and
early spring anglers are cut from a different piece of
cloth ...if compared to the crowds of August.
Dyed in the wool might be another way of saying this,
cuz you're gonna need lots of wool clothes to stave off
A big thank you goes out to Jason D for sending in
recently caught Manistee Lake Coho pictures. These
late season Silvers, or Coho could be from the first
plants in the 1960s. Coho enter the rivers later
than Kings and thereby extend the season.
Some mature male Coho turn a deep shade of scarlet red
with jet black jaw colorations. ...just strikingly
beautiful to behold.
Click recent stringer of Coho
11/27/10 Today is Small Business Saturday
sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Small business provides one on one service big box
stores cannot compete with. Statistics say 68% of
every dollar spent at a small business stays in the
Please remember that and try to shop/visit a hometown
small business like Capt. Chucks in Ludington, MI. or
Tangled Tackle here in Manistee, MI. You'll be
helping keep the mom and pop stores in business.
Plus, reinvesting in your local area.
The hope is Small Business Saturday will catch on with
11/26/10 The crux of the past few days of
updates stems from a 2005 DNR presentation at the Sail
Inn Restaurant in Benzonia, MI. The MDNR official
clearly stated Coho cost about a dollar each to raise. Chinooks/Kings
cost less to raise due to the reel-fact Kings spend
around 6 months in the hatchery system. While Coho
stays can last 18 months.
Also, he stated a lot of MI's Coho were being caught in
IN's part of southern Lk. MI. Again trying to make the
point ...Coho were a bad investment. I say
Our recent polls showed 15 bucks per fishing trip in fuel taxes
alone. Times a low ball 12 trips a year, ...this
comes to $180.00 back into our state's coffer.
...factor in the other taxes paid for vehicles,
boats, electronics and tackle, as this $180 figure grows
exponentially to a helluva vast sum. Dwarfing the
buck a Coho bean-counter's dumb mindset that results in
less fish for us!!
With a new trailer I purchased back last spring and
other boat upgrades, ramp fees, fishing licenses, etc.
State of MI collected the best part of a grand from me.
The big picture proves that putting a
price tag on raising fish is not the true reel-story!
|Thanksgiving is our only holiday
that's celebrated with a feast. The name thanks pretty much
sums up what today is all about.
Deal with Thanksgiving is being happy
with what you already have. Not what you want. Happiness
is in the wanting, or desire. Not the anticlimactic part where
wants have been fulfilled.
Have a great holiday today & my
most sincere thanks for visiting this website. Prediction:
Detroit Lions lost 14 to 28 against the Patriots.
11/24/10 Based on
yesterday's poll, I chose the lowball 40 gallons a trip
by averaging the votes. This amounts to
approximately $15.00 in tax going back to the state per
This 15 bucks does not take into account the 6% sales
tax on boats, vehicles, or tackle. Not to mention
the behind the scenes 10% federal tax on tackle
manufacturers are required to pay. So, there's
lots of money in taxes being paid.
More importantly, cost to fish is the fresh recreational
dollar. Not so with the other large businesses in
Manistee that are burdensome. Like our Oaks Prison
and Little River Casino that just drain from our base of
wealth and create nothing.
Installed a new poll to get an idea of how many times
you fish a year to come up with a overall number on
transportation taxes going back to the state.
Please vote how many times you fish the Great Lakes, or
connecting waters a season?
11/23/10 To those of you
who voted? Many thanks and please keep it up.
Our current poll will run thru today. Tomorrow
I'll switch it to "how many times you fish a year?"
This way, we'll have average gallons ....times the number
of trips to get a handle on the gas tax monies spent.
for my 31 year old trailer boat
Let's the make the point that all Salmon and Trout are
far more valuable than the DNR's mindset and the way
they put a price tag on hatchery fish, ...especially
Just besieged with prep work for the 2011 season.
It's getting that time of the year to show off the new
stuff. New tackle for the 2011 season is on the
11/22/10 A chink in
the armor of Quagga and Zebra Mussels has been found in
a promising biopesticide.
"700 bacteria before
identifying a strain of the common bacterium:
Pseudomonas fluorescens as being lethal to these
mussels when ingested" is a copy and paste from a
million dollar federal research project.
Pseudomonas stuff works alive, or dead is the
jest of what I read. Anything that will curtail
the mussel problem is a step in the right direction.
Cost analysis of what we pay to fish the Great Lakes per
outing is my task for this week. I know most of us
do not want to think of the money spent, but, it's
important make a point on how much our fishery generates
in tax revenue for Great Lakes States.
Please vote in our poll concerning fuel consumption.
Include the gallons in your transportation/tow vehicle
averaged for an entire season. Each gallon used in
the State of MI is .19 cents a gallon, plus the 6% sales
tax. Resulting in $7.40 in MI fuel taxes if you
burn approximately 20 gallons per outing ...combined
highway and marine usage.
11/21/10 Great Lakes fishing
is a lucrative business for the State of Michigan.
The make 37 cents a gallon. Figuring with 19 cents
per gallon and 6% sales tax.
Even better is the gas you put into your boat.
Cuz, that tax money is free and clear from any highway
usage/wear. Ramp fees can add up to a health chunk
of change based on multiple ports over an entire season.
Not to mention the 28 dollars for a Great Lakes fishing
license which could be considered a bargain.
Especially, if you fish a lot.
11/19/10 John J ...aka Megan
Ann took a respectable 6 pointer at 9am yesterday
morning. John is one of the most dedicated Deer
hunters I know. He puts his time in during bow & rifle
season. Always putting meat on the table.
Click John J's 6
Also, John J is the name of one of my best selling combo
deals consisting of a 12" King Kryptonite flasher and an
Undertaker 3 fly meat rig named in his honor.
What's thought to be Chronic Wasting Disease that kills
Deer has been discovered on a game farm in N WI close to
Michigan's UP. Look for Deer Baiting to end there
too. I know not ...the exact science behind the
reasoning to ban Deer baiting. Even without bait
Deer herd up in the winter & exchange food sources.
$3,000.00 of ruined pine trees on my property prove this
fact! Banning deer baiting is like a fart in the
wind if anyone thinks it will stop CWD.
11/18/10 Manistee, MI's
claim to fame as the home of the world record Brown
Trout was short lived. Tom Healy's 41 pound 7.25
ounces World Record Brown caught in the Big Manistee
River on 9/9/09 has been replaced by a tiny margin.
Roger Hellen caught a 41 pound 8 ounce monster Brown
Trout in Lk. MI off Wind Point in Racine County, WI on
7/16/10. 3/4 of an ounce under IGFA rules means
this is a shared world record. Fresh Water Fishing
Hall of Fame says the largest is the record.
WI DNR is to be congratulated for the work they've put
into their Brown Trout program. Milwaukee, MI is
now recognized as the top port for Browns.
If one views Oct. and Nov. as lay-up months for a big
lake boats? Then in less than 4 months
April Manistee Browns on Lk. MI will be on the menu!
Shoreline Browns if they're about in decent numbers?
...is an EZ fishery!
Click 4/1/10 Manistee Brown
11/17/10 Weather is not
overly advantageous for our army of MI Deer hunters.
Kinda warm (40s-50s) and sunny is preventing much needed
I know, ...I've been long in the lip about an out of
production Luhr Jensen spoon (Manistee Wobbler), but
several brands of spoons have fell by the wayside in my
4 decade incurable addiction pursuing Great Lakes Salmon
Westport Wobblers, Southport Slammers, Bidigere's Crease
Spoon, Huron Herring, Chargers, Fub Wobblers, Flutter
Chuck, Manistee Wobblers, LG Johnsons, Sutton Spoons,
GWs, Kens Spoons, Flutter Spoons, Coyotes, Red Eye,
Pirate Spoons, Mauler, Salmon Slammer, Zipper, Andy
Reekers, and Fishlanders are just a few off the top of
my head that went out of business. Proving the
fickle spoon business has a lot of turnover!
With spoons? ...it's the marketing/promotional plan
more-so than anything that governs the popularity, cuz
they all wiggle and flash color.
In the long litany of spoons it would be a shame to have
the very first spoon that reached fleet-wide acceptance
in 1969 be erased from our fishery's history.
For that reason alone, welcoming the new 2011 Manistee
Wobbler meat head to my tackle lineup is a no brainer!
Click Manistee Wobbler pattered meat head
Normally, I'd stay away from naming my tackle after a
previous product, but keeping the Manistee Wobbler
legacy alive and well is very important to me!!!!
Tomorrow's update is about record Brown Trout and the
11/16/10 With our fishery
some things should be preserved. Let's go back to
1969 when the big gun hot-hand spoon was the Manistee
Wobbler named for the Port of Manistee, MI by Luhr
Jensen. This was back in the day before the rush
to China-ize everything and Luhr Jensen was a USA
company based in Hood River, Oregon.
Luhr Jensen developed his Salmon tackle on the west
coast & Pacific Ocean. It was the gold
standard when our fledgling fleet was still in it's
Normark (Rapala) has since purchased Luhr Jensen and
most of the Jensen line of tackle developed for the US
Salmon fishing market is being made in China now.
Getting back to what should be saved is the name
Manistee Wobbler. In tribute to this spoon in it's
signature color (yellow with red dots) is now the name
of the new matching 2011 Manistee Wobbler Super Mag Meat
Click Manistee Meat Head
One thing all early Great Lakes Salmon lures had in
common was high action at a relatively slow speed.
The cups and bends in the Manistee Wobbler spoon confirm
Also, high action wiggly plastic baits like Tadpollys,
Luhr Jensen Fireplugs, and Flatfish were hot lure picks
in the late 1960s thru the early 1970s.
11/15/10 Good luck to all
taking to the outdoors Deer hunting. Manistee's
weather for this week is for off and on rain with a
chance of snow this coming Thursday. Then, it
warms up with daytime highs in the mid to high 40s thru
Snow makes it easier to spot sneaky Deer critters, cuz
it lights up the woods. Snow covered ground makes
tracking one helluva a lot easier too!
With the DNR's anti baiting, I'm passing on Deer hunting
again this year. I live in a challenging area to
hunt without the luxury of bait. Miles of woods
and swamp provide a safe sanctuary for the Whitetails
around where I live.
Tomorrow's chat will focus on
preserving some of our Salmon fishing history!
11/14/10 Big deal tomorrow
is the Michigan firearms opener for Whitetail Deer.
November 15th is our state's unofficial holiday.
Taking to the woods on the hunt goes back to our
hunter-gatherer days. It's natural to kill animals
and eat them.
I take issue with those who try to disguise the word
kill with harvest. This is just trying placate the
antis. Anti-hunter groups want to take our
rights away from us no matter what kind of softened-up
terminology we use.
Deer are highly prolific and can rebuild their
population in the course of a year. If the
Deer herd was left unchecked with no natural predators
these animals would cause even more major crop damage:
winter of 2008-2009 Deer Damage
11/13/10 Until further
notice this website will be updated every day at 6am to
10am. Just too much on my plate to write around
midnight like I've done for almost 11 years.
My internal clock is having a harder time than normal
adjusting to this new fall time.
11/12/10 Today's featured
photo is from about 1973 when the Arab oil embargo shut
down the US economy. In Detroit gas was rationed
at 10 gallons by some filling stations. Odd, or
even ending license plate numbers matched to the actual
date said when you could buy gas. Times were
tough back then, like now, ...if not worse.
I made the 2 Manistee Wobblers on the right of today's
image, cuz my budget for Salmon fishing was next to nil.
Spoon bodies were cut from an aluminum pan. The
bends in the spoon were formed with pliers and light
hammer taps on a rounded surface.
Factoring in ...back in the 1970s Lake Trout was the
target specie during May, June and July. August is
when the fleet switched over to Salmon. This meant
there was a lot of time for arts & craft projects between
yearly Salmon seasons.
You'll notice my home-built versions were made with
split rings. The reel-Luhr Jensen model (far left) had
Click 1970s homemade spoons
11/11/10 Most fishermen do
not have time to experiment with costly tackle.
Anglers want stuff that works right out of the package.
It's not hard to figure out ....that part of my tackle
line-up is old school like the Firedots introduced last
I've seen the Firedot pattern lay waste to 20 Salmon
before 8am back in the early days of our Great Lakes
fishery. And do it consistently!
This all ties together with the Firedot pattern
(florescent red spots over yellow, or chartreuse) on the
Manistee Wobbler spoons debuting in the 1968.
Early days Salmon fishermen went out of their way to
share the knowledge and help others catch fish.
I've maintained this same mindset since I caught my
first Coho on 10/1/1968 in Lake Michigan's West Platte
Bay. Need proof of my last statement?
Then, just check out my section of:
Encyclopedia of Tips & Tricks
Back 4 decades ago there was no knowledge base to
shorten the learning curve like there is now. Nor
was there a medium like the internet to make it easy to
spread the word!
11/10/10 If you travel back
40 some years into the history of our Great Lakes Salmon
fishery, the hot "gotta have it" spoon was the Manistee
Wobbler. The original Mr. Luhr Jensen came to
Manistee, MI in 1968-69 armed with this un-named wobbling
The spoon proved so successful he soon named it for the
Port of Manistee. Forever being known, as the Manistee
Manistee Wobbler circa 1969
This is an excellent Salmon spoon for Coho and Kings.
Although, it earned it's fish killing reputation on
stuffing fish boxes full of dead Coho back in the early
Manistee Wobblers would fall in the category of a slower
speed spoon that mixes perfectly at slower speeds
To the best of my knowledge this is the only port
specific spoon ever made. "Manistee by Luhr Jensen" was
stamped into every copy!
Click close-up of stamping
My thanks to longtime Manistee resident, Charter
Skipper, & Luhr Jensen Factory Rep, Capt. Dick B. for
the historical confirmation in today's 41 year old
postpone any discussion on fish plants until I do more
11/9/10 Like you, I'm kept
in the dark about what the MDNR has scheduled for the
2011 Salmon plants. Unless I miss my guess, Coho
plants will be on the upswing.
Coho only spend 18 months in the Great Lakes and with
the proper food, 8 to 10 pounders is not a stretch.
All that growth in only a year and a half says they
won't be applying as much pressure on the forage base, like King Salmon do.
With 2 of the last 3 years are all time low Salmon
returns at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir ...let's
hope the MDNR got the message and is gearing up for more
I brought up the more Coho thing, cuz when BKD wiped out
a lot of Kings in 1988 and 1989, our DNR took the hint.
They planted more Coho for a more varied fishery!
Just had a hallelujah moment!!! Checked the DNR
2010 stocking records for Manistee County. On
4/2/10 & 4/8/10 a total of 104,000 Coho were planted in the Big Manistee River by
Tippy Dam .
find fish plants by specie and county
More on this subject of Great Lakes fish plants
11/8/10 Had to do a
correction, as we've entered EST (Eastern Standard
Time), not daylight savings time ...which runs from Mar.
If I sound confused? 22% of the public gets this
time switch thing wrong too.
2/3 of those voting in our poll are not in favor of
Daylight Savings Time.
Lk. MI continues to have a strong late season fishery
out of Ludington. Far better on Kings than at this
time last year.
Bear Creek down to Manistee Lake on the Big Manistee
River is OK for fall Steelhead. I've heard no
reports from Manistee Lk. by the little river.
11/7/10 We've entered the
land of daylight saving time. So, hope you turned
your clocks back an hour last night. I'm no fan of
the time switch, cuz it gets dark a little after 5pm.
Not good is you have outside projects to attend to.
to remember when we switch times? It's always the
first Sunday in Nov. when daylight savings time starts
and the second Sunday in Mar. when it ends.
11/6/10 Today's featured
photo is a glimpse into the next 4 months of Mr.
Winter's snow. Snapped this photo yesterday
11am snow 11/5/10 Manistee
a way of life in Manistee County, MI with 150 to plus
200 inches a season depending on how severe the winter
is. Much of our snow is lake effect. Not
from system snow storms. Our very popular winter
2010-2011 snowometer is back for the retired
snow birds escaping MI's cold winter to warmer points S.
2010-2011 winter snowometer reads just a
11/5/10 Naming lures aids to
instant recognition when we speak. In referring to
our Black Mamba flashers saying it's got a red eye,
silver 1/2 tape, with 1/2 black spots on a clear blade
might cause one to ponder what it looks like?
Both the Black Mamba snake and my Black Mamba flashers
have one thing in common ...they're both double deadly!
Click both Kinds of Black Mambas
When I'm lucky enough to do a session devoted to testing
new products we always have Mambas in our spread.
Mambas are the control factor. Cuz, if the test
flasher produces at the same pace ...it earns the right
to become part of our lineup!
11/4/10 Naming pieces tackle
can be an agonizing process, but I hit it perfect with
the Black Mamba. Our number 1 all-time best
selling flasher is the Black Mamba 12 incher.
The Black Mamba Snake is native to Africa and lives in
tropical & subtropical regions. Mambas are the
largest venomous snakes in Africa and the second largest
venomous snake in the world coming in at 8' to 14'.
Only King Cobras are larger.
These are fast bad-boy snakes that deliver on average
100-125mg of neurotoxic venom. 25mgs is enough to
kill a human. Generally, their bites are always
fatal unless anti venom is administered soon after the
Click for 2 Black Mambas
While our 12" Black Mamba is our best all-time selling
flasher, part of the reason it's has been part of our
lineup since 2004. Yearly best sellers can
fluctuate, but the Mamba (either regular, or glow) is
always towards the top of the list.
11/3/10 What makes a great
fish photo? In my humble opinion number 1 is
subject matter clearly defined. Number 2 is
contrast where all the colors don't bleed into the
canvas you're trying to paint. My vote for number
3 is correct lighting that enhances sharp focus.
Today's featured is strikingly beautiful Steelhead.
Not large by any means, an excellent composed
photo we can all enjoy.
10/31/10 Kewaunee 'bow
This image, courtesy of Steve S, a pro photographer
makes the point using meat aka bait/herring works all
season long. This Steelhead found the X-Glow HRP
meat rig (introduced in 2010) to his liking and was
tricked into eating the whole thing!
11/2/10 "Memo's of Betsie
Bay, A History of Frankfort" was written by Charles
Anderson and published in 1988. In the 1970s &
1980s Charlie used to manage Jacobson's Marina in
Frankfort, MI. ...long before it became the high digs
joint it is now.
In re-reading Charlie's book ...he felt the collapse of
the Lake Trout in the later 1940s was partly attributed
what he called, fish ducks. With Lampreys being
the main culprit. Funny how these same parallels
still exist nowadays?
Click Lamprey on
One of the things I found fascinating is ...the old time
resident Lake Trout were deep fish. In the 1930s &
1940s they dropped their nets in 180' to 300' of water.
He said, replanted LT's were a lot more apt to be in
much shallower water and came in around the pier heads.
Something our original stocks before the crash never
Watch the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs tonite with
Mike Rowe at 9am EST/8:00 Central for their hour long
presentation on Great Lakes Lampreys.
11/1/10 After slot sizes,
closed seasons, and low limits the reel deal on Lake
Trout has proven to be a 20 year exercise in futility
with the way these fish have been managed!
Untold numbers of Lakers were planted in a special Lake
Trout refuge in the N. part of Lk. MI. There's no
evidence this refuge ever produced natural spawned
This was a dumb idea, cuz it removed resident LT's that
used to spawn on the piers and rip-rap at several
central to northern Lk. MI ports in MI and WI. In
the mid 1980s thru the mid 1990s Lake Trout would run
the Big Manistee River in the late fall too.
Prime habitat for Lake Trout rehabilitation is N & S
Manitou Islands. I've read Charles M. Anderson's bio,
a commercial fishermen in the 1930s & 1940s who
targeted this area. Back then, the DNR
had a closed season from Oct 10-Nov 10 during the LT
photo of Capt. Dick holding a medium sized Laker on
4/1/10 was some of the first action of the new season
for us. After 6 months Dick's Trout was a welcome
sight to behold, as we shook off the throes of a long
10/31/10 Special regulations
we've all put up with to build a naturally reproducing
stock of Lake Trout has all been for naught.
Out of season 4/1/10 Lake Trout
In fact, since seasonal restrictions went into place,
fishing for Lake Trout has fell off the cliff ...in and
around the Lk. MI waters off Manistee, MI.
I've never suffered from "purist blood" where anything
less than a big King leaves one disappointed.
7 of these 10
fish from a 2003 charter are Lakers
Let's face it, if we haven't had a hit on an hour?
Then a rod springs to life with a fish tugging on it,
...I care not what the pedigree, or specie it is.
Attaching derogatory names to Lake Trout is beyond
ignorant. Especially, if you're in the charter
business. Seen several a day when Lakers provided
the best game in-town!
Posted a couple of Laker photos and an full
explanation will follow tomorrow!
10/30/10 Last September, a
record 31,500,000 Americans were on food stamps.
Formerly called welfare, or relief if you're from the
over 60 generation. To better understand this
31,500,000 number ...according to the 2009 census the
population of MI (9.9m), WI (5.6m), IN (6.4m) and OH
(11.5m). Population in these 4 states totals 33.4.
Possibly better put, 1 in 10 of us is forced to accept
Yet, not one person running for political office in next
Tuesday's election has crusaded on the issue of our jobs
being exported to China & India. Plus, all other
developing nations where the fat cats can steal from us
with cheap $1.00 an hour labor. Then, still charge
us the same price if this product was made here?
What really hurts me is when I see "Made in China" on
Great Lakes tackle. Chinese are communists.
Their industries not saddled with the same burdens USA
companies are ...such as healthcare & environmental
regulations. It's surprising no one has
raised protectionism to the very top of the heap. Where
10/29/10 Congrats to Tom M's
massive 13 point Indiana buck. That's a helluva a
trophy with a bow in anyone's book.
Tom M's trophy IN buck
Next Tuesday on Nov. 2, 2010 at 9am EST/8:00 Central
...Mike Rowe from the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs
Show will taken on Sea Lamprey control as it pertains to
our Great Lakes. Look to see all aspects in our
war against these life sucking nasty critters! T.G.I.F. Especially, this week!
10/28/10 Wind, wind and more
wind that has caused our electricity to fail twice from
a major storm buffeting the Midwest. Kinda reminds
me of around Labor day 2010 when the fleet lost several
days to high winds and rough nasty seas.
If you dig deep enough there's always a silver lining to
be found. In the case of the wind we've endured
for the past 2 days? This wind has blown down most
of the leaves. This is excellent for fall
river fishermen who are after Big Manistee River
Steelhead. I'd say the river will be flushed clean on, or before
Leaves coming down the river at times makes fishing
plugs an exercise in total futility, as leaves
constantly foul hooks. Rendering your lures
10/27/10 Steelhead is good
in the rivers and surf around Manistee County, MI.
Lk. MI Salmon action is light years ahead of last years
pace. This is good news for all. Fall is
generally a predictor of what next spring and summer
going to be like.
Continuing yesterday's story of our early August 2010
trip to Leland I spotted one of our a BTI 10" flasher
hanging on a rod with a fisherman we were speaking with.
I proudly told him his flasher was one of our products.
Click Steve E's Monkey Puke BTI
They wanted to know how we did? Our reply was a
fast 8 fish in the middle of the day in 2 hours with
lines in the water. Then they wanted to know what
our best rigs were. Told them a new one not on the
open market yet, the new Firedot and promptly gave one
away on the spot to the boat with out flasher hanging on
Last week I get a testimonial letter in the regular mail
about their success with my line of tackle from Steve E,
the fisherman I gave away the Firedot BTI to. It's
always great to hear from satisfied customers!
Click Firedot BTI I gave Steve E
10/26/10 Today's update
travels back in time about 3 months to 8/9/10 and our
brief 2 1/2 hour mid-day fishing trip (1pm to 3:30pm) to
Leland, MI with John J and Bob K. Over 2 hours
with lines in the water does not take into account the
hour from Leland to N. Manitou Island, or the 2 hour
road trip to Leland from my place in Manistee, MI.
Our score sheet was 10 bites & we boxed 8 Kings to 16
pounds with most being double digit fish. Largely fishermen do not fish the middle
of the day, cuz of it's notorious reputation for bites few and
far between. Then again, most fishermen do not use
If they did? ...and followed what I talk about here they'd
see the middle of the day as an ally, not the enemy.
Click Steve E Firedot BTI
Click Monkey Puke BTI
Upon returning to the dock we pulled away from the ramp
to get the boat shipshape ready to travel.
There were a couple of boats passing time.
Maybe waiting for an easier bite later in the day.
Like normal the anglers in waiting, or getting ready to
go, they, "wanted to know how we did & if the lake was getting
As all big lake fishermen do ...we soon
struck up a conversation and that's when I spotted ....
To be expanded on and concluded in part II tomorrow.
Our poll about sight fishing for Salmon and Steelhead ended with
63% voting against.
10/25/10 Today's photo of
the day shows a female Big Manistee River Steelhead
hooked on the outside of her lip. Strong evidence
this fish could have been possibly lined and not an
actual biter. Her tail showed signs wear from nesting on
gravel before too.
This hook had been in this fish for a year, or more.
Part of her jaw hinge is deformed. Showing this
fish escaped when it possibly chewed thru light leader line.
Fish have no vision straight ahead. Fish have to
turn their head slightly and move towards whatever they
intend to eat.
Click for this hen Steelie
In our poll 60 to 70% are saying sight fishing for
Salmon and Steelhead is not ethical. When we had
an overage of fish ...targeting nesting fish was no big
deal. Now, who knows if the MDNR is going to be
able to gather enough eggs for our future plants?
Then, the worst part questions the quality/size and year
classes this crop of Salmon eggs were gathered from.
Unless I mess my guess, the largest percentage of this
year's eggs came from 3 year Kings. Meaning more 3
year olds down the road. Average weight on 3 year
old fish can range from 8 to 13 pounds.
Genetically weak 3 year old Salmon are the single
largest contributing reason for our incredibly shrinking
once majestic Lk. MI King Salmon.
10/24/10 Catch and
release is how many justify fishing for nesting Salmon
and Trout, i.e. mainly Steelhead. The release part
only works if the line is heavy enough to subdue a fish
within a reasonable time. I've landed Steelhead on
4# test after a lengthy battle. In most cases
these light line caught Steelhead were impossible to
Fall Coho are very hardy. Short of a tomahawk, or
a AK47 next to impossible to kill. Kings to a
point ....share the same characteristic. Unless
it's a large hen King/Chinook working gravel. Then
releasing her when any chance of survival depends
entirely on how heavy your string was to defeat pregnant
Mrs. King Salmon.
Seen many a dead Steelhead floating down the Big
Manistee River in April. In every most case it was
a spawning hen Steelie that succumb to catch and
These are my experiences gained from guiding on the
Betsie, Pere Marquette and Big Manistee River for almost
2 decades. So, I am qualified to comment on this
10/23/10 It's been a
see-saw battle with our poll on sight fishing for Salmon
and Trout with a few winning percentage points going against
This poll came to mind as there's a crowd lobbying for
more flies only water from Gleason's Landing to the
Bowman Bridge on the Pere Marquette River. This is
being done under the smoke screen name of "special gear
restrictions." Instead of calling a spade a spade,
like telling the reel-truth about this just being more
flies only water.
Another reason for this poll was the MDNR was having
volunteers in orange vests policing the area below Tippy
Dam to promote ethical fishing for Salmon.
This is a big crock of dog doo, cuz when you look at the
big picture removing fish from the spawning pool is just
robbing from your future. Reason? ...cuz these
fish have proven their ability to survive and try to
I would have left this sleeping dog lie, but when you
take into account all the years of 2006 thru 2010 of
planted fish in the Little Manistee River ...you're
looking at close to, around, or over ...a collective of 2 million planted
Now, if we say the 2010 Chinook/King
Salmon run began in earnest on 8/15/10 to thru 10/20/10 the
approximate number is disheartening 80 Kings per day returned
to the LMHW. It's time to re-examine policy when
2,000,000 gives up 80 a day!
Let's break this down by the hour. Only a measly
3.3 Kings per hour returning to Michigan's most heavily
planted river, the Little Manistee River during the fall
2010 are the bottom basement worst years out of the last
42 seasons for returning King Salmon since the
DNR record keeping began in 1968.
Yet, the same DNR rules and bag limits are in place when
...the Great Lakes fishing public had 7 times the Salmon to deal
Changed the poll to read is it "ethical" to fish for
spawning Salmon and Trout and tomorrow's update will
expose the truth on catch and release.
10/22/10 The DNR Hotline for
the Little Manistee River Weir said they'd take more
eggs if more fish showed up. This sounds to me
like the 2010 egg take quota has not been met.
We thought the sky was falling during the BKD crisis
1988 when the return was 12,519 Kings. Now we get
less than 1/2 the fish compared to the height of
Bacterial Kidney Disease that devastated our fishery.
Click archived weir data numbers
It's time to face the reel-facts and take action to
preserve what was once called, the world's great
freshwater fishery ...our Great Lakes!
10/21/10 According to the
MDNR Hotline: 5265 Kings, or Chinook Salmon have
been captured at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir in
2010. This is the second lowest return since the
DNR began keeping records in 1968. Only 2008 was
worse with 5169 Kings.
If we subtract the amounts of juvenile 18"-24" early
maturing skipper-sized Kings from the 2010 total of
5265, the number of actual adults is ...far bleaker!
Today's photo of the day shows spawning Salmon burying
their eggs in gravel. The top image shows a hen in
about a 18" depression in the bottom of Pine Creek on
10/1/10. 2 weeks later on 10/14/10 this hole had
been completely filled in.
Female/hen Salmon turn sideways and rigorously fan the
bottom. This is to anchor their eggs in gravel and
let oxygenated water flow in and around fertile eggs.
This picture proves how valuable spawning Salmon are.
It's a honor and a privilege to share this one of kind
time lapse photo with you.
for this unique photo
10/20/10 Installed a poll
yesterday afternoon concerning sight fishing for
spawning Salmon and Trout. Our State of Michigan
has seasonal restraints in place to protect other
species. Restrictions on spawning Bass come to
mind first. To the outside Bass has 10% of the financial
impact Great Lakes Salmon and Trout fishing does.
If we use the data collected from the Little Manistee
Harvest Weir could the crash in Steelhead populations be
attributed to increased fishing pressure during spawn?
Does the big picture say this just means less naturally
reproduced fish and more reliance on a hatchery reared
Click archived weir data numbers
Posted a photo of some Kings in the 30" to 35" class from
last weekend. This shows there are some good sized adult
Salmon in Manistee, MI's Pine Creek. This is
especially encouraging after seeing herds of sub 24"
skipper Kings on 10/14/10.
Even more upbeat news is the fast limits on next year's
Kings from Ludington right now. Lk. MI Kings were
scarcer then hen's teeth at this time last fall!
Tomorrow the numbers of 2010 run Kings that returned to the
Little Manistee Weir.
10/19/10 Draining and
refilling the lower end right-angle drive lube is a must
winterization. If water contaminates your lower
end, the gear lube will look whitish, or milky.
Heard nightmare stories about those who neglected this
part of maintenance and the water fouled gear grease
froze and cracked their lower end housing.
Lubricants are the cheapest insurance policy you can buy
for your boat. Lost days to expensive mechanic
breakdowns can never be recovered.
take every step possible when winterizing my boat.
This leads to a clean slate for when spring Brown Trout
roll around in late March, or early April. Then,
it's just a matter of installing new line and turning
the key ....to get fishing in the new season!
10/18/10 There's a cruel
hoax being portrayed by those wishing to set apart more
miles of rivers to special gear restrictions. Such
as more stretches of "flies only" waters.
a giant crock of dog doo, cuz most of special gear
retractions points at sight fishing for spawning fish.
In every case ...nesting Salmon, or Steelhead.
The biggest lie is: ...this is true sport fishing. It's not!
Repeatedly drifting split shot with and fly on a 3' to
4' leader will sooner, or later be picked up by the fish
opening and closing their mouths to pump water thru
their gills. Breathing to us.
This causes the fly to stick outside lip on the far side
of the fish. While it looks legal and is rated as
legal, it sure as hell isn't even close to sporting.
I'm careful about picking my fights and see this as a
hopeless losing issue. The MDNR is empowered to do
what it wants and they have a long history of
Federal, state, & MDNR takeaways:
|1. Free to fish the Great Lakes
2. Spouse/wife fished for free with husband
3. Free Salmon giveaway
4. 5 Salmon of one specie
5. Reduction in river angler limits
|6. Multi-specie Great Lakes fishery
7. Deer baiting reduced to 1 gallon
8. Then, ...banning all Deer baiting
9. Free Big Manistee River boat launches
10. Salmon snagging
|11. is proposed removing another 70 miles of
public's domain open river fishing and restricting it to special
gear use (mostly flies only). Making a total 178 miles of
our rivers removed from direct public all tackle usage to special
interest groups who are pushing for special
gear restrictions that favor only them.
10/17/10 Need to thank
George K for sending in today's photo of the day.
On 10/10/10 he took a nice Ohio 8 point with his
crossbow. 10/10/10 must have been carrying some
luck with it, cuz we had WI anglers and Tippy Dam Salmon
fishermen do OK.
fresh interesting photos to share with you this coming
10/16/10 Been kinda neglecting the
subject of fall Steelheading on our rivers and streams.
According to past history, by third week of October
there's decent numbers of Steelhead in the lower section
of the Big Manistee River.
Traditional Big Manistee River haunts say from Manistee
Lake up to the farm house above the "Mile Run."
Spawn is the big deal now with Salmon dropping tons of
eggs everyday. Spawn bags will become less
desirable as the Salmon run wanes.
Crankbaits/plugs like Hot-n-Tots, Wiggle Warts, Hot
Shots, and Tadpollys come into their own when the leaf
drop is over. Usually by the first week in November most
of the leaves have been flushed downriver.
2010 fall Big Manistee Steelhead
My personal favorite is T4 Flatfish with the ancient
spreader bars that carry four treble hooks. Gang
hooks cuts down on missed hits bigtime.
Always been of the opinion I cannot control the amount
of bites I get, but do have a say in making the most of
EVERY opportunity. This is the exact mindset
behind our exclusive custom snelled double treble hooks
on the meat rigs with manufacture.
10/15/10 Yesterday, I
visited Pine Creek a natural Trout stream not far from
my house. As mentioned before, Pine Creek is
tributary of the Big Manistee River. This stream
always hosts an fall run of good sized adult Kings, or
Chinook Salmon. Until this year!
2010 marks the year
of the reduced in size ...micro-mini Pine Creek Salmon.
Most Kings/Chinooks are under 24 inches and a goodly
number ...under 20 inches.
Don't have the
smallest clue where these little fish came from?
Aboard my boat we never caught any Salmon from Lk. MI
this past season so tiny. Did see one King
approaching 30 inches, but none bigger.
Click for 2010 spawning micro Kings
catching small fish in the 2010 season is another reason
for concern. Skipper-sized (small) Salmon are
...our future fishery!
10/14/10 Saying the DNR has
a image problem is an understatement! At last look
54% rated their respective state's DNR at poor.
Any agency that ticks off over 1/2 of it's constituents
is between a rock and a hard place.
Protecting our State of Michigan's
resources should not be run like a popularity contest
either. Like I said, DNR's are in a difficult
Let's look at
snagging for instance. After the State of
Michigan's DNR raises 2 generations of snaggers ...then
decides to ban snagging altogether. This put a
big time hurt on all the business in Wellston, MI close
to Tippy Dam on the Big Manistee River.
Regular sport fishermen were
supposed to replace the snagging crowd and that has not
happened. Most every business in Wellston is
displaying a for sale sign.
the peak of the Salmon run it's impossible to fish Tippy
Dam and not accidentally snag fish. Yes, the Kings
at Tippy can get that thick!
neither for, or against snagging. I am against the
miles of 50 to 80# test snagging line crisscrossing
the river. Huge amounts of broken off fishing
string are waiting to ensnare your
10/10/10 mature Tippy Dam King
10/13/10 There's a million
useless ways to waste your time on the internet.
Make that a million and one, cuz we now have a free
Asian Carp online video game,
It draws a
foreboding morbid glance into our future when the Asian
Carp finally establish large breeding populations in our
Do you have
the time to check this game out? Be prepared to
lose a 1/2 hour. Mostly on part II where risk vs.
reward into the politics of this fiasco!
confess it was a hoot being a Carp feeding on plankton.
So, my Carp could get strong enough to jump out of the water.
In turn, knocking the guy in the motor boat in the drink
...while he lets out an awful groan.
Click online Asian Carp Game
If you're not
up on all parts of the tragic Asian Carp quagmire
...this video game will fix that. IL shipping
issues should not control the health of the Great Lakes!
10/12/10 Here's a Kewaunee,
WI fishing report from a couple of website members:
"Went with Terry & Bill, started in
350' and worked out to 550'. went 11 for 11. Got to
love those double hooks! Bows were deep, wire
dipsy out 250'-300', downrigger down 101', then 125'
and 150'. Yellow tail, HRP glow no flasher on copper,
Leland Puke were good. 9 bows with 4 over 10#, & 2
small salmon. Nice day on the pond!" ...SteveO
does well with just a clean 2, or 3 fly meat rig on
his copper rods. To better clarify: no flasher,
only a clean meat rig
Click 10/10/10 WI Steelhead/'bows
Going a 100% on bites vs. fish boated is due to the
tandem custom turned up eye snelled trebles I
introduced with in late 2004.
10/11/10 Reports on Lk. MI
Steelhead offshore 10 to 13 miles are filtered in from
yesterday. Guess Lk. MI behaved itself for late
season dedicated big water anglers.
a boat comes with a responsibility to maintain it
properly. If you do it right and take every
precaution expensive mechanical bills won't happen.
today's photo you'll notice a homemade hose with a
funnel to the wash-down earmuffs. After draining
all the water from the block, manifolds and water pump I
use my homemade antifreeze flushing system to push a
50/50 mix up thru the small block GM when the main motor
Click my cobbled together flushing system
takes about 3 gallons before you'll see any antifreeze
added benefit the Glycol in antifreeze prolongs the
life of seals in your water pump and lubricates the raw
water pump impellers in the outdrive. Antifreeze
helps limit the amount of corrosion inside your motor
Squeezing every ounce of service from your motors makes
10/10/10 <<< Three 10s won't
happen again for a very, very long time.
poll where you can rate your Dept. of Natural Resources
on both hunting and fishing issues. Let's see how our
DNRs stacks up from those it serves!
across an interesting website about Manistee, MI's
lighthouse dating back to the 1800s. Pre-1900s was
all about logging in Manistee County.
Click for this website
featured photo shows what our lighthouse looked like in
1897. Steam powered the fog horn in those days.
The U.S.C.G. built a parabolic noise reflecting dish to
redirect the annoying fog signal resonance away from
Manistee's north pier was built entirely out of wood
back then. Probably, cuz wood was beyond plentiful
and dirt cheap.
Click Manistee's lighthouse in 1897
10/9/10 Seen some of the
Wisconsin harvest weir data collected thus far this
old Chinook/King Salmon weighed about 13 pounds and were
over 30 inches long. No data was available for 4
year old WI King Salmon.
is transparent with news and keep their anglers
informed. I searched our MDNR website for like
news about this fall's Salmon run and came up empty.
rumors our MDNR was collecting eggs from Lk. Huron.
Scuttlebutt says Little Manistee Weir has sub-10 pound
fish, but I have no confirmed details.
Yesterday was beautiful in Manistee with daytime temp in
the high 70s. Mark 10/8/10 on the calendar, cuz we
won't see these temps till late May 2011.
10/8/10 One thing I found
uncanny about last Wednesday's poll was how evenly the
votes were split between spoons, meat and flasher/fly.
Spoons and flasher/fly were tied at 24% with 54 anglers
voting for each of these methods.
people voted for reel-meat for a 25% piece of the pie.
J-Plugs was off the pace with only a 16% share.
Poll Page 2003 thru 2010
Attractors is a broad umbrella that covers all forms of
tackle that draw fish to hit an offering being towed
behind a piece of metal, plastic, or cowbells.
my first experiences with attractors was in the 1970s
and found it hard to understand why a fish would eat a
squid, or fly towed behind a dodger. That is,
until the first time I used them on the water & became
an instant believer in attractor fishing.
Whatever method you chose ...it's my most sincere hope
that you do well and stay part of our Great Lakes
fishing community. Our strength is in numbers.
10/7/10 For those of you
who voted in yesterday's poll ...thanks. Kept the
sample number small at 229. That number falls into
the realm of the other years.
was not tainted in any way with prior warning, or
solicitation from the esteemed membership of this
website. Fair's fair in my book!!
was no earth shaking shift from any one method to
another. Spoon usage has declined from a high in
2007 with a 29% rating. Falling to 24% this year.
category had 2 choices, cut-bait, or whole. When
both of these are added together 25% preferred to fish
reel-meat. Click for this poll's
eye opening reel-fact is attractors i.e. dodgers,
flasher/fly & meat fishing methods coveted 54% of the
votes. While spoons and J-Plugs came in with 40%.
7 years of archived polls proves this website's
dedication to the reel-facts. More on this timely and fascinating yearly poll subject
10/6/10 Please vote in
today's poll and take part in the history of this
website. This same exact poll has been run since
2004. Votes will be tabulated and posted either
tomorrow, or the next day. Yearly results in
side-by-side comparisons from 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,
2008, 2009 and 2010 will be shown too.
keep in mind, this poll is directed at adult summer
Salmon for the most part. This of the season is
the busiest with the most angler participation.
to 2003 fishing with bait on Lk. Michigan never took
off. Granted it had been around for a while, but
never found favor with the fleet. Early i2k
products were a mishmash of several manufacturers if you
wanted to cash in on the attributes of fishing
reel-bait. 2004 we began to simplify meat fishing
with my entry into the tackle business!
10/5/10 Today's photo of the
day is what looks like a small trout, or some kind of
fish waiting below a spawning hen/female Salmon for a
meal of eggs. It was hard to identify this small
fish of maybe all of 6-7 inches. The pectoral fins
on this little fish were large and looked more along the
lines of a small Sturgeon to me.
Click for this stream fish
Updated the Pine Creek page completed in 2007 with more
comparison photos from 2008, 2009 and 2010. Having
a running 4 year visual record from early October says a
lot. It's goes to show just how cyclical fall
returning Salmon runs can be.
If you do transport your attention to the below link
directed at Pine Creek's fall Salmon run be sure to
scroll all the way down the page for the new 2010
for full article on Pine Creek with photos & videos on
a couple of short QuickTime movies from 2007 if you have
a very fast internet connection. Might re-shoot a
new short movie for the Microsoft Media player soon.
For the 1st time this fall it was below freezing
yesterday morning at my place.
10/4/10 Best thing I have
going for an update is the pair of spawning King/Chinook
Salmon in Manistee, MI's Pine Creek. This was a
difficult photo to capture.
Salmon rarely hold still long enough to get focus and
the fish framed right. Then, there's the water
that's always moving and casting a blur to the picture.
Compound this with having to shoot telephoto and that
magnifies every movement even more. Telephoto is
required so you do not spook the Salmon any more than
they already are.
Click 10/1/10 Salmon spawning
taken probably close to a hundred shots with a camera
trained on Salmon spawning over the years. The
10/1/10 is the best image to this point in time.
10/3/10 You're probably not
going to like what you see in today's featured photo
focused on Manistee's Pine Creek with spawning Kings,
or lack thereof in 2010 vs. 2007.
situation is not quite as bleak as the versus photos
2010 part of this dual combined photo there was about 8 Salmon downstream of this
gravel bar, but in numbers pitiful low compared to past
Normally, if there is such a thing?
...there'd be at least 30 to 40 fish working this small
stretch of the Pine Creek.
Click 2010 vs. 2007 spawners
is reasons for major concern. Not
one adult spawner King Salmon over 10 pounds was
spotted. Most were in the diminutive 6 to 8 pound class.
a radical departure from 2007 and earlier. Just a
few years back most of the King/Chinook Salmon in this
stream were easily in the high teens to 20 plus
the years, I've seen a lot of early maturing precocious
male Salmon, but NEVER a ripe egg dropping hen/female
King/Chinook sub-10 pounds until this year.
Being an eternal optimist ...I sincerely hope the main
run of fish has is delayed and there's a bunch more
larger fish still yet to come.
Notes on photo.
10/2/10 Made a brief trip to
Manistee County's Pine Creek to see how strong this
year's fall Salmon run is. Pine Creek is a
tributary of the Big Manistee River. It's located a good
14 miles upstream from Manistee Lake, but only a few
miles from my place.
fewer Salmon this year & none on a gravel bar I've been
photographing since 2007 at this exact same time of
Click 10/1/10 Salmon spawning
7, or 8 Salmon. A few of these were into spawning.
It always amazes me how noisy Salmon are when they spawn
in shallow water. If you examine today's photo of
the day you'll see boiling white water coming from the
was taking photos a process of 10 minutes, ...6 other
Salmon watchers came and went. The annual fall
rite of Salmon reproduction where their doom means
future generations is almost hypnotizing to behold.
10/1/10 Going to save my
2010 season report for next week. In a nutshell my
results will show an approx. 20% downturn. Less
days fished too ...mostly due to wind.
On the upside the King Salmon run is building on the
tributaries of the Big Manistee River. Pine Creek
now has a few Salmon in it and current pictures to that
effect will be posted soon. According info on our
message board Salmon numbers at the Little Manistee
River Harvest Weir are increasing. Guess about
half the pens are full.