January, February, & March 2011

Rod Tip Repair

Trolling Weights

Ethanol Content

Late Mar. Snow

Archived Topics


3/31/11  Couple of things to beware of before fresh news on what's up with Lk. MI Brown Trout off Manistee, MI.  First is tomorrow: you'll need a new 2011 All Species fishing license from the MDNR.  This can be purchased online by clicking here
              Second is tomorrow is: April Fool's Day.  So, be on alert for jokesters to telling bodacious lies.  Then, ...roar, "April Fool's" once you've swallowed their story hook, line & sinker.  Never found this humor amusing, ...having been the brunt of it too many times.
              Situation on Manistee's shoreline Brown Trout fishing is slow.  Extra cold water in the mid-30s has the fish in a dormant pattern.  Any surface water heating gained from the day has been lost with frigid nights in the single digits.  Click 3/29/11 temp chart
              Today is the last day you'll receive a X-Glow Yellowtail 10" BTI flasher and matching fly on all purchases exceeding 100.00 at: www.michiganangler.com
Tomorrow the reel-story on water temp & how it effects April inshore Brown Trout.

3/30/31  A few weeks ago I photographed bait fish with the aid of a black light.  In their natural state the herring used produced no reaction for the most part.
              With low ambient light a faint green color, akin the green glow in my X-Glow series of tackle.  The greenish color detected did not glow on it's own, or was noticeable once the light source was removed.  Click bait fish photo test
               What does this lead us to believe about what fish can, or cannot see?  Short answer is absolutely nothing.  The only thing I know fish can see is when I close the lid on the fish box and it fades to black.  Claims to otherwise are a bunch of hogwash!

3/29/11  State of Michigan made an unwise move when they no longer required ethanol content in gasoline to be listed at the pump.  Click state by state labeling laws
              Ethanol is damaging to systems not set up to use it.  Especially, when the E content reaches toward 15%.  This is a major concern for marine use when boats can have a very long service life.  Click E-10 precautions & tips
              Beware of octane boosters and "dry-gas." Which only add more alcohol to your fuel system.  In turn, making an already bad situation ...worse!
              Looking forward to better weather.  I'm plain tired about writing about fishing ...then not doing it.  In it's purest form fishing is a "hand-on" participation sport that does not translate well into words, TV shows, or on websites!    

3/28/11  Gradually warming temps this week will jump start our 2011 big water season bigtime.  My start to Manistee, MI's early shoreline Brown Trout fishing was wisely delayed.  Manistee temps at night have been the single digits (3 to 7 degrees).  Much too cold to prevent possible freezing of the GM 305 V8 in my boat even with a drop light in the bilge.  Predicted moderating weather is good news!
             Today's featured photo is a gas receipt from 4/14/10.  I paid 3.18 for premium to raise the octane of the gas left over from the previous fall.  So, gas prices from this time last year were no bargain compared to the 3.55 a gallon now. Click gas receipt
             My fuel consumption is around 3.5 gallons per Brown Trout trip that generally is 6 hours long.  Made possible with a 4 stroke 15 hp kicker motor that runs on fumes.

3/27/11  Best news with the early Lk. MI season is Coho (Silver Salmon) are being caught from New Buffalo, St. Joe and South Haven.  No easy "fall off a log" Coho limits, but the situation with our MI spring Coho is vastly improved over last season. 
             MDNR has rectified their mistake by cutting the Coho plants & are back to providing decent numbers again.  I've been on the Coho bandwagon ever since the crash BKD crash of Kings in 1988.  Kings populations tend to cycle up and down.  Coho numbers tend to remain more stable and not fluctuate wildly like Kings. Click chunky spring Coho
             Is there a connection between Kings and Coho?  Can't answer that, but it seems like when less numbers of Coho are stocked ...King Salmon are harder to come by.
             Today is the last day to purchase some of our more complex 4 & 5 color trolling flies in 3 packs.  Special introductory pricing on 12 oz Dive Bombs & in 4 packs ends too.

3/26/11  Looks like Mr. Winter has punched himself out with the last snow storm & cold temps we've endured this past week.  Temps in the 50s next Saturday is a reel-possibility!
              New 12 oz Dive Bombs are installed and ready to go at my webstore.  There's 4 sizes of these ground-breaking diving sinkers that will help any program. 
              No Copper, no lead core?  No problem, cuz the bombs can sub for both.  Plus, work on any kind of line associated with Great Lakes trolling!
              This weekend only ...new 12 ounce diving weights are on sale.  Pricing  includes the added expense to ship heavy packages.  It's a bonafided reel-deal when you buy all 4 sizes (4, 6, 8, & 12 oz) for only 22.99.  Click for webstore

3/25/11  To say I'm old school when it comes to the tackle we sell is an obvious understatement.  Reason? ....please let me explain: 
               We get about one month of prime time for King Salmon every season.  Take my 42 years going on 43 of chasing these critters and that amounts to about 3 3/4 years of actual "time on the water" experience. Click classic Salmon colors
              It takes quite a few years for a color to prove itself.  That's why I stick with classic winners with a long established history of building heavy fish boxes. 
               I'm not out to reinvent the wheel.  That's why the HRP, Firedot, green glows, silvers, purple and blacks are deadly weapons.  Fleet favorites year-in, & year-out too! 
              This coming Sunday marks the end of the 4 & 5 trolling flies offered in 3 packs.  After Sunday the several of the flies will be going up a buck. Click for 3 packs

3/24/11  Last Sunday Team Red Dog racked up a couple of Lk. MI Browns caught off Manistee, MI.  Weather was brutal, but these dyed in the wool anglers toughed it out.  My thanks to Steve E for sharing his fish with us!  Click Steve's Browns
              Please note in Steve's photo the 40 hp outboard in the background.  OBs make early season fishing a lot easier.  Outboards are instantly winterized, cuz the water drains out of it.  A big leg up compared to those of us who run I/Os, or inboards!
              Waning days of March is not being kind to the north country.  Accumulated recent snowfall is another 8 inches. That makes 133" since last November.  Still way below what I consider normal for my neck of the woods.  Click 3/23/11 snows

3/23/11  When I put this website to bed last night around midnight ...the thermometer
was dropping like a rock and we already had about 2 inches of the dreaded white stuff.
               So, if this is the worst this winter can do before it passes into the history books, no big deal!  Old man winter only wins if you let him bother you.
               Today, I'm making a final list of all the loose ends I need to tie up before my maiden 2011 fishing trip for Manistee, MI's shoreline Brown Trout. 
               Not going off half cocked and forgetting important items is just not gonna happen.  I'm entering my 43rd season in pursuit of Salmon and Trout on our Great Lakes.  Time has taught me to get it right, or don't do it at all.

3/22/11  Calendar says spring, weather says winter.  There's 6 to 7 inch snowstorm predicted for Manistee, MI & further north.  Next chance for decent weather looks like at least a week from today.  I'm ready for shoreline Browns, but under extreme conditions!
              Renamed the new UV flashers, meat rigs, and meat heads to SUV.  These 3 letters are very recognizable and a better fit than the former name of Super K.K. UV.  Besides, with SUV the marketing slogan of "take one for a spin today" is both catchy and self-explanatory with our new 2011 tackle. Click renamed SUV BTI 10" Flasher

3/21/11  Water levels in Lk. MI & Huron are predicted to be 2' lower than last summer.  Water is down right now, but by how much is hard to get a number on.  Since 1935 the Great Lakes have risen and fell a swing of 6'.  Water being lost down the St. Clair River shoulders most of the blame from dredging causing bottom erosion
              Please use extra care on your maiden launch of 2011.  Water might be shallow at your ramp and normal access routes to open water.
              First glimmer of hope for Lk. MI ports at St. Joe & New Buffalo with reports of early spring Coho being caught.  No big numbers of limit catches so far

3/20/11  The 1st official day of spring is finally here!  Stats on winter 2010-2011 for Manistee, MI seen the low temp at -6 and a high of 60 degrees ...from a few days ago.  Accumulated snowfall is running a 1/3 below the norm around 125 inches.
              To celebrate spring I've upgraded the bonus giveaway flasher/fly deal to an X-Glow Yellowtail 10" BTI Flasher and a newly created matching rigged 5 color fly.  All tackle purchases over 100.00 qualify for this fish a-lure-ing free-bee. Click for webstore
              To kickoff spring on the right foot all fly bodies are priced at 8.95 from now thru next Sunday.  This includes all X-Glow and all multi 3 to 5 color flies such as the Yellowtail, Bluetail, Monkey Puke, Super Mamba, HRP and Black Mamba Glow trolling flies.
              This is your only week to purchase the Yellowtail and Bluetail flies in a bargain 3 packs ...due to the time involved to make them.  Click for sale on fly bodies

3/19/11  We're right on the cusp of great things for big water fishermen.  Early season southern Lk. Huron anglers do well on spring Coho, Steelhead and even a few Kings. 
             Extreme S. Lk. MI from MI City, IN to Chicago limits of spring Coho is knocking on their doorsteps.  Ludington to Frankfort will offer decent chances at April shoreline Brown Trout.  Our Great Lakes fishery will be busting loose at the seams before long.
             Spring fever ...means fishing fever and reviewing my article on Rod & Reel Tips might be in order.  Those newer to Great Lakes fishing will reap the most benefits, but there's plenty of advanced info worthy for all!  Click Rod & Reel Tips

3/18/11  Problems with Ludington, MI's city launch.  Launch area needs to be dredged and the city is seeking bids now.  Launch dock is setting in only 2' of water.
               Yesterday Manistee, MI received 4500 fingerling Lake Trout planted at the city launch.  Not many sea gulls present should enhance survival rate.  Rip rap around the piers can provide spawning habitat.  During the 1980s poachers would have a field day snagging Lake Trout from the jetties and piers during Nov. Click Manistee, MI's Laker plant
               You can see in one of today's photos there's 2 docks in at Manistee City Public Launch at the end of First St.  This is a world class boat launch! Click 3/16/11 docks
               Debuting our new 4 color Bluetail Trolling Fly today.  This fly is composed of UV blue, X-Glow green, Silver, & a touch of UV chartreuse. Click 3-part Bluetail Fly image
               It's a perfect clone to our line of X-Glow Bluetail Flashers.  To leave no stone unturned, ...photographed this new fly 3 ways with camera flash, black light & in the dark.
                Base price our 3, 4, & 5 color detailed flies will increase from 4.99 to 5.49 on 4/1/11.  It's a meticulous labor of love to make these new generation trolling flies!

3/17/11  One year ago on today (St. Patrick's Day) I was trolling Lk. MI the shoreline  for Brown Trout off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Click 3/17/10 Brown
             Today making our new 4 and 5 color detailed trolling flies takes precedence.  These new flies are a giant leap forward in the evolution of big water tackle.  I thank all for purchasing our new 2011 flies & making this project a big success!
             Posted yesterday's satellite photo of Lk. MI.  There's a lot going on in this image that needs further elaboration.  Disturbing thing to be is what looks like the clear water flowing thru the cloudy-murky water.  Is this be evidence of the water IL is diverting from Lk. MI to provide a pathway for the Asian Carp?  You be the judge by clicking here

3/16/11  Balmy weather for Manistee continues after a long arduous winter that's probably not thrown it's last punch yet.  Long range still says 40s & 50s!
             Ludington, MI has a dock or two in.  Story is kinda sketchy and believe this info pertains to the launch at the end of US10.  This dock is in very shallow water.  So, use extremely good judgment before launching in Ludington.
             Wanted to wet a line in Lk. MI this week, but the acceptance of our new detailed trolling flies ....means dealing with production.  Which is a good thing!
              Posted a photo from 1996 when the Brown Trout population off Manistee, MI was beyond compare.  Double digit Browns and limits were the norm, not the exception.  Hopefully, this kind of catching will return!  Click 1996 April Browns

3/15/11  As of noon yesterday there were no docks in at the Manistee City Boat Launch at the end of First St.  No docks means launching a larger boat impossible.  Look for the City of Manistee to have the docks in ASAP.  Click First Street Launch
             Steelheading on the Big Manistee River took a turn for the better in the lower part of the river.  With this warming trend, the BMR should be reel-good ...and soon!
             Reintroducing my Super Mamba UV and new SUV (super UV) flashers.  This tackle has a built in bluish to purple glow activated by natural sunlight and UV.  There's a lot of things that glow, like 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl.
              Finding a safe nontoxic colorant with no haz-mat warnings is another story.  Knew of this colorant for the past 3 to 4 years, but the safe version is fairly recent.
              Went to great lengths to photograph the Super Mamba with 3 different kinds of lighting sources.  So, you'd see the iridescent light shifting characteristics of these deadly new flashers.  Click tri-part photos of the new Super Mamba UV

3/14/11  Today is the reveal for our new 2011 Yellowtail Trolling Fly.  There's 5 colors involved to make this outstanding fly.  As you can plainly see, it matches our Yellowtail BTI 10" flasher precisely.  Like it should!  Click new 2011 Yellowtail trolling fly
            First news of limits of Lk. MI Coho coming from East Chicago, IN are filtering in. 
These young Coho are going from 13 to 20 inches, but will grow fast.  In another month, or 2 look for this crop to be solid 3 ...to maybe pushing 5 pounds.
            MDNR is holding public meetings on the ins and outs of deer baiting.  Hope to chase down the locations of some of these meetings for you soon.
            Starting this Tuesday, Manistee, MI is in for an extended run of daily high temperatures in the 40s.  Looks like we might have a spring after all!!

3/13/11  For about the past month and a 1/2 been seeing a few deer that have lost their hair.  Seen this on the necks, sides and faces.  Otherwise these deer appear to be healthy.  Did a web search and a parasite could be causing this.  Yesterday morning finally got a picture of the malady to share with you. Click 3/12/11 hairless deer
    Hope you got your clocks adjusted forward 1 hour for Daylight Savings Time.

3/12/11  Winter is supposed to loosen it's grip toward the middle of the coming week with the possibility of high temps reaching 50 in Manistee, MI.
             City of Manistee treats early season March-April Brown Trout fishermen right.  It's free to launch, park and retrieve your boat until sometime in early May.
             Daylight Savings Time begins in the wee hours of tomorrow, or Sunday morning 3/13/11 around 2am.  Be sure to move your clocks ahead one hour tonight.

3/11/11 Today's featured combined images of the brand new 2011 Stimulus Trolling Fly speaks volumes about a flasher & fly working as a team.  I guarantee this new Stimulus (OCS) Fly will do a helluva lot more for you than the gov's version.  If 1 photo says a 1000 words, this a 2000 word dissertation. Click images of new Stimulus (OCS) Fly!
             Have not heard any rave reviews about Steelhead on the Big Manistee River yet.  No doubt, they are catching some, but we need a warm spell to improve things.
             During the next couple of weeks several local Steelheader chapters are holding events.  Their efforts raise money that is reinvested back into our sport.  Fishing clubs are at the roots of our fishery & deserve your support. Click club upcoming events

3/10/11  Photos of boat prep this week focus on me being ready when the weather finally does improve.  Hopefully,  soon too, ...because we had 4 inches of the white stuff yesterday.  My 2010-2011 winter's snow gauge now stands at 119 inches.
            Been busy designing entirely new trolling fly patterns that are far from the status quo.  Some of our brand new 2011 flies feature 4, or 5 different color changes of Mylar.  Sure it's more work, but going extra mile is what keeps us in business!  Besides, if the tackle business was easy?  Everyone would be doing it!
Click new 2011 fly selections

3/9/11  Posted a 4 part instructional photo that shows a cost effective way to fix a broken rod tip.  Ferrule cement must be used. Super Glue does not hold over the long haul.
            EZ do it yourself projects makes reel-cents in savings!  Click rod tip repair
            Been raising the bar higher on trolling flies.  Time has come for having a cloned set working in total harmony for improved performance.  A meat program is very forgiving and makes up for a lot of mistakes.  Running an all artificial program requires being spot-on, because then ...it's all about color that nudges the fish into striking.
            Reasoning behind my efforts in the trolling fly market is ...meat might be hard to come by in May and June.  Grapevine/rumor-mill says Fish On Bait Company won't start taking herring for 2 months.  Add another month for processing & transportation.  That takes us into June.  If there's a supply of 2010 whole bait handy, ...buy it now!

3/8/11  In this day and age it's hard to get everyone to agree on anything.  I do think you'll agree when is cold, hot, or wet out ...none of these things matter when you're trying to land a decent fish.  Hot, or cold is never felt until after the battle is over.
             While your internal battery is getting a natural trickle charge for the soon to be here 2011 big water season, your boat batteries need extra help. 
             Checking the water levels before charge helps extend battery life.  I have a 12 amp (6+6) onboard charger 110 ac that maintains my batteries for me, but the water levels still need checking to prevent damage to the cell plates.
             Just remember, the solution inside most marine wet batteries is 35% sulfuric acid that eats holes in clothes & burns in minor skin scraps. Click battery charging system       

3/7/11  Ready, set, go?  The 3 stage stages of boat preparation before the first big water trip of the season.  Yesterday began the getting ready part.  Took the tarp off the boat, inventoried tackle, & located the rods used for early season Brown Trout fishing.
             Next week's long range weather is supposed to be better then what's in store for us this week.  Warmer temperatures have to happen sooner, or later.  Official start of spring is less then 2 weeks away. Click boat's annual spring wake-up call
             Tomorrow starts the "set" part of chores to make sure everything is shipshape for early season Lk. Michigan shoreline Brown Trout Fishery. subsequent

3/6/11  About this time of the year winter gets a bit long in the tooth.  We're starting the 5th month we've dealt with snow in Manistee County, MI.  This has been a long tedious winter with less snow than normal, but constant more of the same cold temps.
            Good news is the long range forecast says temps in the 40s the last couple weeks of this month.  In turn, the bad news is this coming week will be just like last week, cold.  Spring has definitely not sprung in Manistee ...yet! Click 3/5/11 snow

         My Manistee snowometer now stands at 115 inches for winter 2010-2011.

3/5/11  Feng Yank a live-haul fish importer got caught by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources at the Amassadeur Bridge (Detroit-Windsor) trying to smuggle 4000 lbs of live Asian Carp across the US-Canada border.  Ontario fined him 50K.  This was second time Yank got nabbed for the same offence.  The 1st occurred in 2006.
             Herein lies the problem with trying to turn Asian Carp into accepted table fare.  Creating a market for this plague will only spread the problem
             There's cultural issues with the Chinese who consider these Carp a delicacy.  Chinese custom is to buy 2 Carp.  Kill and eat one, then release the 2nd one alive. 
             Feng Yang purchased live A-Carps from southern fish farms that should have been banned a long time ago.  Why are domestic populations of A-Carps tolerated?

3/4/11  Steelhead fishing on the Big Manistee River?  No info on the river, but boats fishing on the drop-off where the BMR river enters Manistee Lake? ...boats are catching 2 to 3 fish for about 6 hours of effort.  Click spawn caught Steelhead.
             Latest news says you must have fresh spawn, or you're wasting your time.  Those that fish the piers, surf and river know how valuable fresh spawn is.  Tying up fresh untreated spawn has a limited shelf life.  Freeze your left over bags before the spawn spoils and you'll have something to fall back on the next time you don't have fresh.
              Fresh frozen spawn will get mushy as it thaws and tends to work better when it's cold out.  That way ...it doesn't have a chance to completely defrost before using.

3/3/11  Manistee, MI has received about 112 inches of snow since last November.  This is only 2/3rds of what I considered the norm for this time of the year.
             Posted a satellite image of Lk. MI and it shows rows of float ice from Pentwater northwards.  What's interesting is the shaded greenish areas that are hopefully plankton blooms.  Long range says 50s are in our future. Click Lk. MI satellite photo
             Good news for the Steelheaders Birch Run, MI fishing show starting tomorrow afternoon, because there's no storms predicted to impede travel. Click show info

3/2/11  Other than for the wind, March came in like a lamb with yesterday's high temp in Manistee hitting 39 degrees.  Let's hope March doesn't go out like a lion.
              Introduced our new 2011 Monkey Puke Trolling Fly.  This pattern matches up perfectly with our popular Puke flashers.  Having a flasher/meat/fly team up as a complete system just makes reel-sense in no uncertain terms. Click Monkey Puke Fly
              Tomorrow afternoon the Flint Steelheaders Fishing Show begins in Birch Run, MI.  Free parking and reasonable price to attend makes this a cost effective way to get out of the house and kick-off the 2011 season. Click for Birch Run show info

3/1/11   Chalk up another world first for my tackle manufacturing company in the our quest to stay a leader in the fishing industry.  Click Super Clear Red UV-R
              Developed in-house a secret nontoxic clear formula that fluoresces a bright red under a black light tube.  Black light tubes makes UV at the lower end of the UV spectrum, but all wave lengths of UV light are totally invisible to our eyes.
              "Black light fluorescent tubes? The purple glow of a black light is not the UV light itself, which is invisible, but visible light which escapes being filtered out by the filter material in the glass envelope." Click Wikipedia article on black lights
My pet peeve is dimwits claiming what a fish can, or cannot see that's pure speculative BS and not any thing close to a science that can ever be proved!  So, you'll never hear a lot of hype, or a marketing campaign based solely on conjecture from me!

2/28/11  It's my great pleasure to introduce the new 2011 Black Mamba Trolling Fly.  Having your flasher and fly work as a matched set just makes reel-sense.
              Black was a mainstay of my charter program back in the 1980s and 1990s.  I've built many a good fish box based on black flies, or squids.
              This new fly is a clone to the best selling Black Mamba Glow flashers.  Look for more new flies that match our flashers in the future. Click deadly Black Mamba Fly
              The idea behind the BMG fly is the highly popular combo deals. Matched tackle eliminates trial and error and puts you on a fast track to a decent box of fish.
              Up until now I never had a fly worthy to carry the Mamba name.  Recipe on this killer fly is 70% black, 25% x-glow and 5% red.  I am proud of this inspired design!!!     
            Last day to get in on the free bonus flasher at: www.michiganangler.com

2/27/11  Time to get reel-serious if you're a "dyed in the wool" river rat Steelhead fisherman.  The zenith of spring river Steelheading is not all that far away.
              35' to 40' of line from the tip of the rod is ample to back-troll, or slide downriver on the Big Manistee.  Most any kind of floater big billed diving crank-bait will work.
              Best fishing will occur first on the lower end of the BMR, but there's a gauntlet of very savvy anglers.  Lower end pressure takes a toll on these fish before fresh-runs have time to migrate up river.  Staying below Bear Creek on the Big-Man will put odds in your favor, but this section is often the most crowed too. Click striking silver steel

2/26/11  Self inflicted financial wounds for lack of maintenance are the hardest to suffer thru.  Buying proper lubricants is a lot cheaper than buying parts, or paying a mechanic to fix your problems.  Simple things like pulling your prop at least once a season is wise.
             If fishing gets inside the prop hub it can destroy the seal that holds the gear lube in the lower end, or jam water lubricated strut bearings on inboards.
              The Great Lakes is a target rich environment for umpteen million miles of fishing line that has been lost for various reasons.  Anyplace there's a concentration of boats? There's fishing line waiting to cause problems.  Click prop removal photo
              Especially, in rivers where getting snagged and breaking off is a lot more likely to happen.  With just a few tools, prop removal is a snap and greasing it eliminates frozen/stuck-on propellers.  Making removal difficult more difficult as the seasons pile up.

2/25/11  Just a good day to enjoy the fact this winter is losing ground to onset spring this coming March 20th.  No signs of a warming trend for next week.
            Its a reel-possibility that in 3 weeks Manistee, MI's harbor will open and that means early season Brown Trout fishing.  My boat is prepped and ready to go ASAP!
            Early season fishing out of Manistee is a deal.  It's free to launch, park and retrieve your boat.  Free is a darn good word we all could use more of!
            Here's a tip I've been saving since last fall when I winterized my boat's motors.  Pull the prop at least once a season ...then check for fishing line in behind it.  More on this subject tomorrow that might just save you big time buck$!  Click prop removal
        Last weekend to get in on the free bonus flasher at: www.michiganangler.com

2/24/11  Salmon fishing on Lk. MI took off in the later 1960s.  Promises of even bigger fish to come set a burning fire inside of me that hasn't diminished over the years.
             In 1969 and 1970 the buzz was the 100 pound Kings yet to come.  With the fast growth rate of the Coho Salmon back then ...triple digit Kings looked like a possibility.
             The fleet geared up with 40-50# test line and stiff broom stick rods dreaming of future wars with King Salmon in the over 50 pound class for sure. 
             Heck, with as much fun as I had with early years 10-15# Coho, the idea monster Kings blew me away by the early 1970s.  Click decoupage of 30 pounders
             Seen a lot of 30 pounders since come over the back of my boat.  I'm glad to have went "all in" back in the early days.  It's a great ride that's not over yet!

2/23/11  Let's travel back almost 5 decades to when our Great Lakes Salmon Fishery began.  Most reels back in the late 1960s were too light to handle the rigors that Salmon fishing. The key here? ...all this was new.  Nobody had a grasp of what lay ahead.
             Early fleet choice was: the then made in USA Penn 209.  This reel was stout, priced reasonable and had an OK drag system.  This reel is now made in China, but early models have made in USA molded on their side plates. Click vintage Penn 2009
             Pacific rim manufacturing came with a big push in the early 1980s with Diawa debuting a 47H that was cheaply priced and suited to our inland sea Salmon fishery.
     Tomorrow will focus on what caused me to go "all in" for Salmon fishing in 1968!

2/22/11  Wanted to continue the storyline on the evolution of reels, but that will be subject postponed until tomorrow as I research the timeline further.
              Reposted a photo of the new X-Glow flies for 2011.  Unretouched & natural glow effect produced a fine photo I'm proud of.  Zero assist light exposure in the dark images are hard to capture, but the green & blue glow is clearly visible. Click 2011 Flies
              Time is running out on the bonus 12" Super Mambas and will expire on 2/28/11.  12" Mambas are a labor intensive costly flasher to produce and will never again will featured in a sales promotion as a give-way bonus with a 100 dollar purchase.    

2/21/11  What do Shakespeare, Pflueger, Winchester, J. C. Higgins, Oreno, South Bend, Great Lakes, Heddon, Ocean City, Johnson, etc. all have in common?  These are all "Made in the USA" reels that went belly-up, once Japan captured the reel market.
             Japan starting dumping reels here in the later 1960s below cost to make and ship.  It's called buying market share to the uninformed. Click Vintage USA reels
             The result is almost all USA reel makers went the way of the dinosaur.  Penn held on the longest and not sure if their reels are still being make in our country, or not.
              Vintage USA reels were made beautifully, like a fine watch with engraved scroll work and jeweled end caps.  Even the firearms company Winchester made fishing reels for a time.  Unfortunately, the heyday of US reels was over by the early 1970s even though history says bait casting reels and level wind mechanisms were invented in the USA.
               The first modern reel I seen was in 1963 and that was a Swedish Amassadeur 5000.  This ahead of its time reel featured a free spool, anti-reverse, and a star drag.
         Manistee, MI snowometer has risen to 110" thus far for winter 2010-2011!

2/20/11  A good day to remind all the Flint Steelheaders Birch Run Show is less than 2 weeks away.  As an exhibitor the show help is beyond anything offered at any other do.  Extra free helpers unloading your vehicle and moving items to your booth is unheard of.
            Winter temporarily loosened is grip last week, but the near future weather-wise says more snow is on the way.  Click February thaw before & after photo

2/19/11  Yesterday, Dave Camp's (MI-R) bill to close the Chicago Locks and prevent further migration of the Asian Carp into the Great Lakes was soundly defeated in a vote 292-137 in the US House of Representatives. 
             This is bad news to contain and stop the spread of A-Carps. 
             I know stupid well.  In fact, you could consider me an expert on the subject.  Trial and error can fix the stupid part, but there's a huge difference between stupid and total blind ignorance.  Here's proof from those in our employ:
             Rep. Judy Biggert (IL-R): "Its passage would have been devastating to Chicago's economy and cost thousands of jobs in our region. Worse, it would have been an empty gesture against the carp, doing more to kill jobs than slow down fish."
             Rep. Mike Pence (IN-R): "This is a serious but manageable threat to the Great Lakes region," Pence said. 
Pence failed to recognize evidence that says otherwise.
IN & IL have the least vested interest Lk. MI with shoreline owned, but continue to set policy for the entire Great Lakes region.  This is wrong!
             Those with science, common sense, and what's right on their side are climbing stairs uphill on a the dumb escalator that's endlessly going down.  Net gain? ...nothing!

2/18/11  Made in the USA are powerful words.  When you do not see a tackle manufacturer pushing this great marketing feature?  You can make a firm bet this company is importing tackle to our United States of America from who knows where?
              The chain of people that goes into helping me make tackle in our country would fill a fair sized auditorium.  Granted, my small manufacturing operation is only a fraction of what they do, but basic arithmetic says enough fractions make a whole.
               Today's featured image is the company logo from the Sampo Inc. who makes the ball bearing swivels we use in Barneveld, NY. Click Made in USA Sampo logo
              Too many useless laws invade our society.  One law that we do need on all "over the counter sales" is truth where these products are being made!
               Making tackle out of country for less, then passing down absolutely no cost savings to the consumer is pure BS in it's highest form!

2/17/11  Welcomed respite from winter sent website member, Jlars ice fishing for Brown Trout in Kewaunee, MI.  They caught one on a ice rod and one on a tip-up.  Note the recycled arrow to lift fish from the hole.  Click 2/16/11 Kewaunee, WI Brown
              Big news from Manistee County, MI is temps in the lower 50s.  Snow is melting, but there's still plenty of the white stuff on the ground.  Click 2/16/11 Manistee, MI
              Ubuntu Linux is a free stand alone live CD operating system, but it's major time & grief to download large files from the internet. Click eBay 2.99 Ubuntu Linux OS
              I purchased my copy on eBay with shipping included for 2.99.  Having a total backup system to retrieve otherwise lost data is wise & cheap insurance. Run Ubuntu in demo mode off the CD.  You'll still be able to access your documents in demo mode.
                 Do not install it on your hard drive
unless you're a highly skilled computer user that understands partitions and the risks of adding another OS to your "C" drive.

2/16/11  On the legislative front it looks like progress is being made on issues with ballast water controls.  In 1987 we fished up a stick from the bottom of Lk. Erie on a Walleye charter.  This stick was covered with zebra mussels.  So, 24 years after this fact that has changed the ecology of the Great Lakes steps are in the finally in works to stop further foreign water born invasions.  Opening the Great Lakes to the world was a huge mistake!
             This part is only for highly experienced computer users who have all files backed up.  Ubuntu is a free Linux open source operating system that runs off an USB memory stick drive, or CD.  Your box will boot from a selfcontained OS without Windows running.  Reasoning behind this is all about file retrieval if your system crashes.  XP Windows and newer are very robust, not subject to failure unless you have major problems with corrupted files, or a nasty virus.  Click download free OS to a thumb drive
           Look for
Universal-USB-Installer- February 7, 2011 download link.  Once this installer is on your USB stick, you'll see drop down menu to download Ubuntu.

2/15/11  USCG in a new bill has the power to require all pleasure boats more than 3 miles from shore be made to carry a EPIRB, or PLB (personal locator beacon).  Devices like this do aid in search and rescue, but at the cost of 200 to 800 dollars.
            During the Great Lakes boating season I've been on scene of 4 boats that capsized.  In 3 of these events we pulled people aboard my boat.  Victims of these accidents were in the water 15 minutes, or less before being rescued.  Long before the CG ever could have arrived to render assistance.  Click for article on this subject
             Keeping in mind, I've spent a lot of water time on Lakes Erie, Huron & Michigan from late 1960s thru 2010 (like 5 decades).  Question is? ...if, or when the CG decides to take this step that's gonna cost all who ply the waters of the Great Lakes long green.
           Subject matter for today's topic was courtesy of website member, Rick B.

2/14/11  Valentine's Day update:  With the onset of a warming trend it's time to get reel-serious about spring river Steelheading.  "When the water is on the way up, so are the Steelhead" to quote a very old saying.  Click assortment of Steelie lures
             Never seen a crank-bait for river fishing can't be improved by changing the hooks, or hook system.  Bronze VMC 9649s trebles are the gold standard for river guides. 
             Took a photo of the snow piles before the thaw has had much an effect.  Plan is a time lapse image toward the end of this week for comparison. Click 2/13/11 snow
             Sweetened the deal for our pre-season special offers.  For the rest of February a bonus 12" Super Mamba UV is included with ever 100 dollar  purchase.  Add in the free shipping and the bonus flasher for solid 20% discount for non-procrastinators.

2/13/11  Good news on the Asian Carp blight for Michigan.  From mid September thru early October 2011 the University of Notre Dame collected over a 100 samples from the St. Joe, Galion and Paw Paw rivers in SW Michigan for E-DNA testing.
               All samples came back negative for Big Head and Silver Carp DNA.  Is this a clean bill of health for our water ways?  I'm not versant enough to comment on E-DNA testing.  That's for the experts to answer.
 Click A-Carp Watch Poster
              This I can say, our fight against the A-Carp plague is a long ways from over with too much foot dragging and political delays to make sure we're rid of this menace.
              Please note in today's Asian Carp watch poster how very similar juvenile Silver A-Carp is to a gizzard shad.  In fact, small A-Carps look a lot like alewives too.

2/12/11  Take today's update very seriously, please!  E15, flex fuel, or what ever they want to call it ...presents issues in marine motors not specifically designed to use it. 
              Ethanol blended fuels can act as a solvent capable of dissolving gas lines & gaskets used in the fuel system.  This stuff is double danger with a capital "D."
              Inboard and I/Os used traditional motors like the GM small blocks have a long service life in sports fishing boats. Making modern day fuels out of the question. My 1979 GM 305 V8 is a good example of this & is not set up to run with any gas containing ethanol.  Beware of the peril E10, or E15 gas presents! Click 1979 GM V8 warning

2/11/11  Looks like above freezing temperatures for the next 7 days for Manistee, MI.  Good news and just in the nick of time for our deer herd.
              Modern day tackle is a bargain and is below inflationary costs.  If we compare a 1980s dollar in today's money, net worth to a 2011 buck has fell to 39 cents.
              In the 1980s there were many major players in the attractor/dodger market.  Companies like Luhr Jensen, Les Davis and Gold Star charged 7-8 bucks for a sized "O" dodger.  These products we made from metal with no costly ball bearing swivels. 
             Even more important is old style painted attractors i.e. dodgers & rotators lasted 10 years to the outside before the paint cracked and peeled off.  Nullifying your hard earned invested tackle dollars in a few short years.
              Most attractors today are made from plastic and will last many, many seasons. Possibly generations when put side by side tackle of yesteryear.
              My math says a 1980s attractor would cost about 18 dollars in today's money when adjusted for inflation.  Keeping in mind, the 1980s tackle was far cheaper to produce with a better profit margin for manufacturers, cuz metal is cheaper than petroleum based plastic!  Not to mention to ball bearing swivels, custom colors, and lure tape in tackle we could dream of only 30 years ago.  Click old style vs. new 2011 tackle
              Our 2011 tackle industry is to be congratulated for the ongoing evolution of products vastly superior to anything made back in the 80s & I'm proud to be part of it!

2/10/11 You know, it's pretty hard to get excited about open water fishing when the daytime high is 15 degrees.  That's all about to change with a warming trend starting tomorrow and thru the middle of next with temps to the higher 30s, maybe more.
             Today's photo of the day is the largest Steelhead boated when I guided on the Big Manistee River (1985-2003).  The exact weight has been lost to time, but know it was over 20 lbs. & change.  Trophies like this are an anomaly over the usual 5 to 9 lb. Steelhead that are more representative of the norm. Click 1996 over 20# Steelhead
              Big fish are more luck than skill, but if you fish enough?  ...odds are put in your favor.  Caught a fair amount in the 16 lb. range.  Over 17s are reel-hard to come by!

2/9/11  We've reached the stage of winter where piling up snow depth is making it difficult for deer to find food.  There's been a good 50" of snow since the late Dec. thaw.  50" of snow equates to the 16"-18" in actual snow depth.  Each new layer compresses the snow thinner, but at the expense of turning it into hard-pack. Click deer eating pines
            Up until last week, the deer were digging in the snow eating ground cover.  This has since ceased and they eating pine trees now.  Today's featured photo show a yearling ripping needles off low slung pine limbs pulled closer to the ground by snow. 
            What this image does not show is the other 2 deer munching on the same branches that moved out of camera range.  Proving there is a natural exchange of saliva between all social species including deer occurs.  The ban baiting is not going to stop this!

2/8/11  Line damage from crimps is a reel-fact.  Especially, if the crimper is on steroids.  Even with line damage from deformity, the heavy gauge/thickness/# test of the leader material still usually exceeds normal fishing line strength in the 25-30# test category.
             We eliminated all leader line breaking issues in 2008 when I designed a simple fix. That being cushioned crimps with a plastic/rubberized liner inserted inside the crimps.
             Meat rigs cost a lot and no manufacturer is going to make a ton of money selling them.  There's just too much labor cost involved.  First generation meat rigs had 2 knots.
             Our 2011 high tech state of the art meat rigs require 3 regular knots and 2 sets of custom snelled knots no other manufacturer has yet to conquer.
              Are you looking to save some dough?  Then recycle your old beat up meat rigs.  There's newly installed 2011 updated rebuild kits and cushioned crimps are available now at my webstore: Click cushioned crimps & rebuild kits for meat rigs

2/7/11  In 2005 we came out with our own brand of 3 fly meat rigs.  The concept was improved over what the competition offered with an interchangeable hook system. 
             Prior to our product, the entire string, or leader section where the flies went had to be replaced when the section of line by the hook took wear and tear.
             2005 was the same year we introduced the state of art double snelled turned-up eye treble hooks.  This was a tremendous improvement over single trebles.
             2008 we began making the 3rd generation meat rigs with custom cushioned crimps to eliminate deformity to the leader string from stock crimps mashed on the line.
              More that needs to explained with my ground breaking original designs put into our 2 & 3 fly meat rigs over anything my competition had previously done before.  The early meat rigs bear little resemblance to what we have now. Click crimp/line damage

2/6/11  Today's featured photo is a crimp commonly used as line stays while keeping the flies separated by 11".  The machine that builds these crimps shears them off at blazing speed, making a sharp small indent, or burr on the inside of each and everyone of them.  No matter what the material, there is an inbuilt problem using them with mono/fluoro line.
            Used in the stock form crimps have a 1% failure rate depending on how firmly the crimps is being mashed down on the leader material used to build meat rigs.  Over time this 1% failure rate increases exponentially. Click stock crimp close-up
            Crimps were designed to be used on wire leaders, not mono, or fluorocarbon line. During this week I'll explain the 3 generations of meat rigs from original Metzler 3 fly cut-bait rig in 1999 (approx) creation to my present modern day 2011 meat rigs.

2/5/11  As the Great Lakes season progresses toward the end of May to July world class Walleye fishing in Michigan's Saginaw Bay and Lk. Erie grabs center stage.  Walleyes rank in the top echelon of table fish and are sought after for this reason.  Proper presentation and being over fish is the key.  Walleyes are not known for being fussy biters and will take a wide variety of live bait and lures. Click box full of Saginaw Bay Walleyes
Today's featured photo is a spring Big Manistee River Steelhead recycled from the days when I guided (1985-2003).  This fish was over 16 lbs. & caught downstream about a 100 yards from the High Bridge Launch on a T4 Flatfish. Click 16 lb. Steelie

2/4/11  I counted about 6 more weeks until the first day of spring, March 20, 2011.  A mid-winter scheduling pep talk is in order before this season begins in full swing.
             By the end of February we should start seeing some fresh run river Steelhead.  This river fishery builds all thru March into early April.  Click 16# plus spring Steelie
             Depending how the weather breaks, early season Brown Trout for the central Lk. MI ports takes off and can last the better part of April at Manistee, MI.
             Towards the middle ...to the end of April there's a helluva spring Coho fishery in S Lk. MI that's easy to love.  Even Lk. Huron is showing a decent early season Coho run.
             We'll never tire of the plethora fishing opportunities the Great Lakes watershed has to offer.  Each part of the season shifts to another specie grabbing limelight.
                                To be continued tomorrow.....

2/3/11  Great news, Punxsutawney PA's world famous paranormal psychic Groundhog Phil didn't see his shadow upon emerging from his den yesterday morning.
             According to folklore this means we're supposed to have an early spring.  Since 1897 Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 98 times & hasn't seen it just 16 times.
             Granted most will dismiss this as strictly hogwash :) or as a wives' tale.
I viewed it as a mini-mental vacation dreaming of spring while plowing snow.
My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 now stands at 98 inches with the 10 inches we got early yesterday morning.  Seasonal snow average for my area since I began keeping records is around 160".  Click for free Manistee snow!

2/2/11  Today at the Days Inn of Manistee, 1462 US 31 South, Manistee, MI from 4-7pm the Forest Service is holding public meeting on closing off sections of federal lands to hunting.  Exclusivity is the goal behind this, but at what user groups expense?
             I do know the Forest Service wants to set aside lands for campers, hikers and the like.  Fine, then they need to set aside equal areas for just the hunters and fishermen.
             Hunting & fishing are huge revenue sources for northern Michigan counties.  Anything that hinders these activities is a detriment to already struggling local economies.

2/1/11  Considering listing tournaments if they have a separate under 24' and under division like the Hoosier Classic this April 30 and May 1.  Tournaments are loosing ground every year with less and less boats competing and it's time promoters took a long hard look at what's holding back participation.  Click 2011 Events page
             A sponsoring tackle manufacturer spends major bucks to assist in promotional fees, but the question is how much of this revenue is going out in prize money?
             I had a charter boat approaching 30' with an 11' beam.  This boat fully loaded with fuel and passengers had a gross weight of around 12,000 pounds.  Now I fish from a 22" boat that has less than half of that tonnage.
             The point I'm trying to make is waves have a harder time moving 12k, then 6k.  It's mass against mass.  Larger boats troll better in rougher seas and all tournaments should consider the pro vs. amateur divisions being based on vessel size. 
             If you look at the fleet in the big picture, 75% (at least) is under 24' and that's where the future of our sport lies.  Not with the well heeled who can afford larger boats.  For every 25' boat there's another 20 vessels under that size that fish the Great Lakes.

1/31/11  Self-diagnosis says I have the fishing reel-fever bad.  Going into my 43rd year of Great Lakes fishing you'd think the anticipation would diminish over the years.  Not so! 
It seems like every new season is loaded with more and more enthusiasm.
             We have a great new year in front of us.  Increased Coho plants, Walleyes being raised in the millions, & the trap net fiasco off Manistee ending are definite pluses.
             Sport/Fishing Shows, seminars and club dinners are here now, or soon will be. 
             We're blessed to live in a Great Lakes area that offers waterborne recreation right on our doorstep.  The momentous joys and agonies of season 2011 await us all!  Just go easy on the agony part and you're good to go!  Click 2011 reel-events
 Last day for the bonus rubber bands in my Black's Rigger Releases deal. This amounts to a 20% discount with the "right" rubber bands! Click for my webstore

1/30/11  Glad to say good bye to January early next week.  Jan. is our a longest winter month with short days, cold temps and plenty snow.  Better days loom in the future.
            New events page is off to a grand start.  Plenty of things on the calendar to look forward to.  My policy is to list big fish derbies, but not tournaments.  Tournament are a slippery slope due to the large numbers of tourneys that run every weekend in several states.  You can call, or Email me to get your event listed ASAP! Click 2011 events
            Please proof read your listing to guarantee everything is correct.
       My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 now stands at 86 inches!

1/29/11  Off to a good start on a new page listing the upcoming events that are here, or right around the corner.  Listing fishing clubs is my pleasure.  In most every case, every dime they make on any undertaking ...is reinvested back into the future of our Great Lakes Fishery.  I found 11 happenings, most of which I am familiar with.
            Now it's up to the viewers of this website to clue me in on what's in store in the near future.  Please help me grow the 11 number either by phone, or Email.  I'm more than happy to provide this free service.  Click upcoming 2011 events

1/28/11  As January draws to a close this coming Monday, the deal on Black's Releases with no charge rubber bands will end too.  This is a total system during the course of a season that will mean more boated fish without changing anything else.  Full instructions are included if you want rid of missing strikes: Click for articles on Black's & Bands 
             Over the weekend plan on getting a firm start on the 2011 calendar of upcoming events.  Fishing shows, seminars and club dinners will be listed if the public at large is invited.  Contact me on the link on the bottom of this page to list your event.

1/27/11  Today from 2 to 3pm MI Att. Gen. Bill Schuette will address the Federal Asian Carp meeting being held at the Hagerty Center, 715 Front St, Traverse City. MI.
             Bill Schuette has picked up torch right where former MI AG Mike Cox left off.  Let's hope our legal pit bulls draw enough blood to get noticed. 
             This has been a long drawn-out legal battle where common sense has yet to prevail.  Stopping the Asian Carp threat to our Great Lakes and connecting waterways could be approaching the point of no return.  Let's all hope otherwise!
             Clout behind the Chicago political machine is a tough nut to crack.  Relief from the "powers that be" in our nation's capital is needed to win the fight against the A-Carp.

1/26/11  Spent a fair amount of the time trying to photograph natural iridescence of some of our tackle yesterday.  This light shifting phenomenon occurs in Mother Nature's grand plan in bubbles, opals, clam shells, oil sheens, fish scales etc.
             In a mostly web based business it's extremely important portray actual images you can expect to see for yourself.  That's why I share my photos of exactly what happens when the planets line up and I get to spend some time on the pond.
               Personally, I think a lot of tackle is being advertised and UV when it's iridescent.  Iridescence is a lot easier to grasp, cuz it's what we see.  Not a forced artificial image taken with a UV Black Light.  Click iridescent visual

1/25/11  United States Army Corps of Engineers is holding meetings in our Great Lakes area about a variety of issues, including the separating the Mississippi Basin from the Great Lakes.  Today in Green Bay, WI from2-8pm at the NW WI Technical College, Center for Business & Industry, 2740 W. Mason St. Public is invited.
              This coming Thursday, Jan. 27 from 2-8pm at the Hagerty Center, 715 Front St, Traverse City, MI is another meeting close to our area.  Public is invited.
              The above dates and times take precedence over my planned update about glow effects and capturing a reel-natural image you can expect to see for yourself.

1/24/11  A week from today on 1/31/11 the USDA Forest Service will be holding meetings about the planned closure of sections of federal lands to hunting. 
             One is at Hilton Inn Express of Birch Run, 12150 Dixie Highway, Birch Run, 4 to 8pm.  There's another meeting on the same day at the Huron Shores Ranger Station, 5761 North Skeel Road, Oscoda, 4 to 7pm 1/31/11.  Is this just the invisible tip of sharp spear to eliminate all hunting on all federal lands in the future? 
             Today's featured photo captures the glow effect of our new 2011 X-Glow trolling flies.  X-Glow Blue Bubble has an interesting light blue glow. Click lineup of new flies
             More on the new flies & effort involved in the photography tomorrow....

1/23/11  Winter 2010-2011 is medium.  Seen worse and this one is semi tolerable.  High this winter was 54 degrees around the 1st of the year when we lost all our snow cover. 
              The low from a couple of weeks ago at -3.  Broke the -3 number last night, when the thermometer dropped to 6 below. Click 1/22/11 temp verification
              Guesstimate 80" of snow so far.  About 1/2 our averaged annual snowfall.
              There's a silver lining to the deep freeze the Great Lakes States are locked in.  Colder the winter ...the better early season Brown Trout fishing usually ends up.  Last season my 1st shoreline Brown Trout quest was on 3/17/10.  That's less than 2 months from now.  My plan is to be ready once the ice is clear from the launch ramp & harbor!
          My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 now stands at 80 inches!

1/22/11  Interesting effects of black lighting is carried over to today's featured photo of the 2011 Stimulus flasher that caught fire late last August.  I made just a few of these flashers more on a lark than being serious, as to their effectiveness.  4 flashers led to 8, then 8 blossomed to 16 and the race was on to keep up with demand.
             I seldom speculate about what tackle looks like to fish, cuz we just don't know.  If I was to venture a guess, the multicolored Stimulus must look like a ball of confusion if the UV light at depth actually lights this flasher up. Click Black Light Stimulus flasher

1/21/11  Today we have 2 featured photos.  Top one is natural full sun where the iridescence reacts in a reel-light manner. Click natural light Ultra Violet fly photo
            The other is forced artificial black light that shows a weird UV glow on the flasher blades with interesting effects towards the edge of the base material.
             Photos with forced UV black light can be deceptive, cuz no one trolls with a black light on their cannonballs 100'-120' down. Click forced black light image
             My preference is what I see in normal light.  The top photo is a more honest depiction with our new Ultra Violet Fly in the water & in a fish box around mid-day.  I've seen the new UV tackle and it looks multi-colored & blue in the water.  Guess a natural light photo is less complicated and makes it easier to grasp the color shifting concept.

1/20/11  The hours I get to fish is after the morning primetime bite is done and over.  It is not from getting up early enough, but from processing morning orders and having shipping labels made.  This usually takes place from 5-7am during the height of season.  I know fishermen who order tackle want it yesterday.  So, we try to rush ship everything.
             Having to deal with the off-peak bite makes tools like the Dive Bombs even more helpful.  After 10am the fleet has scattered and there's room for long distance programs like copper and core.  My normal mid-day scenario with the fish my boat can catch is 80' down and deeper.  Probably, nearer to 90' to 140' depths for negative biters that are not aggressive.  Having 2 copper rigs trailing the best part of 400' behind the boat fishing at 90' down is a helluva lot better than riding them at 60' to 70' down unweighted.
              This is extra important when you're fishing from 10am thru 7pm for fish that will not rise up to take your long distance offerings.  Click 4, 6 & 8 oz Dive Bombs
              According to Terry from Michigan Stinger water force almost doubles the weight of his Dive Bombs.  Come May, ...when the Salmon just aren't doing divers, an 8 oz Dive Bomb on braid will attain, or exceed what a fixed 1 pound lead ball can do.  Never been a fan of lead ball dropping & fished them as fixed out of respect of the Great Lakes.

1/19/11  Today let's look at a product so good I wish I designed it.  Michigan Stinger's Dive Bombs is that product.  Dive Bombs are weighted diving planers that use water force and weight to take your lead core and copper outfits deeper.  Today's featured instructional photo explains how simple they are to use. Click for this photo
             I ran the 4 oz version with a 30' leader to my flasher & fly on the end on of 300' 45# test copper rod vs. a non Dive Bomb copper rod on my last few trips in 2010.  In every case the Dive Bomb copper caught fish, while the clean copper pulled zilch. 
             This was a fair head to head comparison.  Figure the 4 oz Bomb added 15'-20' to the copper, taking a 60'-70' rated depth for 300' of 45# copper to 80' to 90' and closer to the zone the riggers were working.  The Bombs were not all that hard to wind in either.
             A first class 45# 300' copper outfit with rod and a Penn 345 GTI is around 300 bucks.  To have a $300 rig not pulling at least some fish is a crime.  Especially, when 4 to 6 dollars can and will turn a useless dead rod into one that producing.
                         More info on the reel-Dive Bomb story tomorrow!

1/18/11  Re-shot the photos on how to install rubber bands for a rigger release.  The old outdated images were clear as mud and needed to be redone. 
             This simple task of 3, maybe 4 loops, then half hitch a band thru the loops is a lot more easier to understand. Click for this new "how" to image
             Doing an article with several full size color photos to relay your talking points cannot be done in a book for cost reasons, or a magazine for space reasons. 
             For those seeking knowledge my new "how to" piece is the very highest version of the internet super highway.  I both proud and humbled by the opportunity to share this kind of reel-information with you.
Click Black's & Bands article
       My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 has risen to 72 inches!

1/17/11  Good day to put this site on autopilot and concentrate on building tackle for the upcoming 2011 season.  Need to get a start on use of the new Dive Bombs with a photo "how-to" article.  I've heard several ways to place them on your line.  So, I guess there's no wrong way to use them ...if the diamond with the lip if pointed forward.
             January special on Black's Downrigger Release feature bonus/NC rubber bands at 9.95 good thru 2/1/11.  After that date you can still get the right bands from our website for an additional 1.95.  Releases are the simplest thing to fix.  Often overlooked when you hear, "we had 12 hits, but only boxed 5 fish."  Bands would have stuck 10 of those.
             I had to switch to bands in the early i2ks to satisfy the needs of a meat program.  Salmon will nibble on a meat rig like a perch maybe 3 or 4 times before they eat it.  Band keep the riggers in the fish zone and not false releases.
      Click for the Science of Black's & Bands     Click  new tackle at the webstore

       My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 has risen to 70 inches!         

The theme of today's update is there's a ton of people that will gladly sell you tackle, but how many will furnish detailed proven instructions in a photo journal?
             With that thought in mind, there's a new article on the rigger release system used on my boat.  We're averaging 90% on rigger hits during the course of a season.
              Nowadays, I must rely on superior technology to fill the void left by lack of time on the water.  Only spending 70 hours on Lake Michigan spread over 5 months during the 2010 season.  Which figures out to a very meager 47 minutes a week.
             If you want to increase your ratio on rigger hits? ...check out the new "how-to" article that will surely raise your game.  Click for the Science of Black's & Bands

1/15/11  New Michigan Attorney General has picked up the fight where former MI AG Mike Cox left off against further migration of the Asian Carp.  Even if we're only a thorn in their sides on this issue, the possibility of wearing down the opposition exists.
             The State of Michigan is pushing another federal court battle by the end of this month to separate the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds.
             Our poll on preserving Claybank Creek ...a natural Trout stream was 97% in favor.  I'm of the opinion the 3% negative vote was due to clicking the wrong choice.  Unless I miss my guess, nobody who likes to fish would be that ignorant!

1/14/11  Performed a pull test on what it took to stick a hook thru a piece of round steak gristle. Hook used was a standard out of the box VMC black nickel hooks used on our flies and meat rigs.  At 13 ounces the number 1 hook punctured completely past the barb thru this tough piece of meat with no problem.  13 ounces concentrated on a hook point probably figures out to a lot of pounds, but that kind of stuff is for people way smarter than me in the mathematics department. Click to check out pull test confirmation
             The plan is to redo this test when I have an actual reel-specimen.  This reel pull check will be done with 2 hook points and the pressure recorded with bone deflection.
             This experiment was done as research for a new article, "The Science of Rigger Releases."  This the 3rd time this topic as been revisited in my Encyclopedia of Tip and Tricks.  They say, the 3rd time is a charm.  So, this article will be the definitive answer on rigger releases that perform for everybody in the 80 to 90% bracket.  Hope to have this new piece completed and debut it next Monday, 1/17/11.

1/13/11  There's talk of shutting down, or curtailing areas to hunt in the Manistee National Forest, Huron National forest and other places with federal lands involved.  I'm not up on this issue enough to comment. Click this MUCC link can tell your more
            The plot thickens in the erasing of Claybank Creek.  Seems back 30 some years ago an oil-gas rig filled in 2 acres of ground and rerouted this creek even more easterly.  This is a mess with what looks like a bad outcome unless common sense prevails.  This drain thing? ...which is not a drain, but a rerouted Trout Stream thru a natural flood plain.  Let's hope this creek is left as is, and does not become a sin against the environment!

1/12/11  Let's look at the some options when it's a blow day and you're shore bound.  Rather than sitting around "wishin' you were fishin" pack a small rod with 4 pound test and explore the creeks, rivers and streams is search of Brook Trout.  Even small step across creeks will more than likely have Brookies,  ...if the water is clean and moving.
              Count the first few times as scouting missions rather than fishing to load your creel with stream Trout.  Finding least accessible places is the key to success!
              Let your offering drift by undercut banks that provide shelter for wary small stream Trout.  Small pieces of leaf worms will out-fish a large chunk of night crawler.
              Tiny 3 egg spawn bags, a small number 8, or 10 hook produced many Brook Trout in the 10" to 14" range for me on sections of the Jordon River.  Use as little split shot as possible to keep your bait on the bottom.  Make sure to puncture one of the eggs before casting to mask the human scent.  Look to the water below fast riffles.
              As with any fishing, timing is everything.  On a larger rivers during the summer months stream trout become very active around dusk and you'll often see them.  Some of my honey holes on the Jordon River are probably more closely guarded  than my social security number.  Many of my fishing trips have been saved by stream fishing.  Best part of Brook Trout is the way they eat with a mild fish flavor and have very firm flesh.  There's no wrong way to cook a Brookie & they eat as good, if not better than Perch, or Walleye.
          My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 has risen to 62 inches!

1/11/11  Let's cover a special Trout this website has never mentioned before in depth.  Our MI state fish, painted by Mother Nature's own special brush, the Brook Trout.
               Deforestation and the spring running of logs down rivers and streams had impacted Michigan's once plentiful Grayling population the early 1880s. Grayling spawn in the spring during the peak of moving logs downstream.
               By then, Brook Trout were moving into the rivers systems filling the void left by the rapidly disappearing Grayling.  1879 is the date Brook Trout were planted by the forerunner of the DNR, the Michigan Fishing Commission. Click for Brook Trout
               By the later 1880s Brook Trout had adapted well and spreading to the Pere Marquette, Manistee, Betsie, Ausable, Muskegon Rivers, etc. ...and so-on and so-forth.
               Modern day Brook Trout have mostly retreated from the larger rivers living up to their name, inhabiting small streams and creeks aka "brooks."
               Brook Trout are a direct indicator on the health of a watershed and our legacy to future generations ...if we can preserve water quality? 
               Brookies are not a large fish.  A 8 incher is a legal fish in some waters.
               Current recognized Michigan State Record Brook Trout weighed 9 lbs 4 ozs. 
               I do have mention of a larger Brook Trout caught taken from Ausable in 1909 that weighed 9 lbs and 12 ozs with a length of 31 1/2".  Harold Hinsdale Smedley is my reference source for today's update.  He published his "Trout of Michigan" book in 1938.  Smedley's now historical book is one of my most valued personal possessions.         

1/10/11  There's good news on the home front for MI fishermen.  Our DNR is boosting the stocking program for Walleyes.  Stocking Walleyes was curtailed due to VHS a few years ago.  50,000,000 Walleye eggs are slated for hatchery rearing in 2011.
              On the not-so-good news front, I'm stuck in a whirlwind of dog-doo over Claybank Creek being turning into a drain by Snidely Whiplash aka Drain Commissioner Dibenedetto (D).  He has grandiose plans to drain private and public wetlands. 
              He has been misrepresenting many facts and calling Claybank Creek a drain.  I have state documents and a old survey that prove otherwise.  
              DiBenedetto's yearly salary is meager 3k a year and his department has an operating budget of 9k.  I have proof he's spending money like a drunken sailor.  Leaving Manistee County tax payers liable to the tune of 12k he's already poured out.
              Under no circumstances figure I'm a member of a political party with an ax to grind.  I'm a fiercely independent voter not aligned with anybody.  So, this is not a vendetta for the R's against the D party. Click the dastardly Snidely Whiplash
              My involvement is to strictly publish the facts with the proof I have in hand and spread the word to save the headwaters of Claybank Creek from Snidely Dibenedetto!

1/9/11  Today's featured photo is part of the headwaters on Manistee, MI's Claybank Creek.  In 1932 the MDOT rerouted  this section Claybank Creek to suit their purposes.  This would never be allowed in this day and age of environmental awareness,
              For last 80 years this part of the headwaters has seen natural stream bank stabilization and is home to the flora and fauna that thrive in wetlands.  Sand Hill Cranes, waterfowl and various other wildlife all use this watershed.  Plus, it's cherished  tributary to the lower section of Big Manistee River. Click Claybank Creek headwaters
              Claybank Creek is noted for Brook Trout fishing and naturally reproducing Steelhead populations according to Mark Tonello at the Cadillac DNR.
              There's a plan in the works to replace this stream bed with about a 1/4 mile of a 10' open trench that would surely send silt, and contamination downstream. 
              This plan is being put forth by the worst example of a "tax and spend" (D), Manistee Drain Commissioner Mark Dibenedetto.  He has absolutely no respect, nor the concept of the complex hydrology that contributes to overall health of a ecosystem.
              Wanted to keep the name of this creek private for those who fish Brookies in it, but that would just make bringing attention to this priceless treasure that much harder.
               Please vote and make add your voice in our Claybank Creek poll!

1/8/11  Placed a call to the Cadillac, MI DNR office about environmental issues in an effort to protect an unnamed Brook Trout stream in Manistee County, MI.  Used the word unnamed to keep pressure off this stream and preserve it for generations to come.
             DNR Fisheries Biologist Mark Tonello was kind enough to let me explain was going on.  Much to my surprise, he had been on this creek before and told me this stream not only held Brookies, but had Steelhead smolts in it too.  Even more surprising, he was already aware of this issue and was looking into it long before I called him.
             I am a fan of Mark Tonello having read some of his reports and papers directed at our fisheries.  Whatever the DNR is paying him ....he's worth every cent of it!
             Brook Trout are members of the Char family and related to the Lake Trout that inhabit our Great Lakes.  Brook Trout populations in small creeks and streams that feed the Great Lakes watershed are a key indicator of our water quality.
 My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 has risen to 60 inches!

1/7/11  The eternal merry-go-round continues in the Asian Carp fight.  E-DNA testing has became an accepted science proving the A-Carps have breached the electric barrier on the Chicago Drainage Canal.  Several areas adjacent to Lk. MI have confirmed samples containing E-DNA from the A-Carp species of Silver and Bighead.
              Those against A-Carp have common sense and science on their side.  Shipping companies and parties determined to keep this waterway open have high powered attorneys trumping common sense and science at every turn.
               I won't say money can buy justice depending on which side of the issue you stand on, but it can sure ...make a firm down payment on it!

1/6/11  Self proclaimed nerd and Michigan's new Governor Rick Snyder has dismantled the DNRE fiasco, splitting it back into the DNR and DEQ ...like it was in the first place.
              If you look back over the time since DNRE was created, I never used this abbreviation on this website, cuz I thought it was bunch malarkey.
             Our MDNR needs to stand on sound science for the Michigan hunters and fishermen.  DNR managers need to focus on things related to fish and game. 
             Some laws are good and some laws are bad.  Law that said 3 rods per person is a good law.  Banning hunting over "spilt grain" (Ted Nugent quote) is a bad law that had it basis in diseased penned deer being raised for profit.
              Not free ranging natural deer that gnawed my pine trees into ugly stems, cuz I could not feed the winter deer a bale of hay, or 2.  I witnessed deer after deer eat from the same pine branches, on the same trees only moments apart. 
               The deer were after the young wood part, not the pine needles.  Once a deer had stripped needles off a branch, another deer would eat on the same twig.
              In the wild there is a natural exchange of saliva among all social animals.  Outlawing deer baiting is not gonna stop this not matter what any armchair desk expert who lives in a city pretends to know! Click my damaged pines deer ate to a nub!

1/5/11  Yesterday's tip about extending the life of your boat's battery/batteries did spark interest on our message board with helpful replies.  One of today's featured photo is a battery charging system that was installed in 2007 when I first purchased SR 1979.  For less than 100 bucks this Guest charger has performed flawlessly in keeping my batteries topped off with no muss/no fuss 24/7.  Click Guest Battery Charger
             With the constant draw of the TR1 Gold autopilot, sonar and GPS.  Then, there's occasional use of running lights, wipers, aft-deck lights, riggers, and radar that draw juice too.  It's necessary to pay attention to having batteries fully charged while afloat.  This is even more challenging if you troll on a kicker with only a 15 amp alternator like I do.
             We're entering the boat buying season.  If you're not into dumping 50/100k in new boat, high payments, and the interest that goes with a brand new ride?  You might want to consider buying a sound surveyed older quality boat. 
             After I sold some equipment that came with SR 1979 my purchase end-cost in the beginning was only frugal 4k. Click SR 1979 on new trailer
             All be it may, I've spent another 10k in serious upgrades, but when I break down yearly cost it's only $3000 per year for a first class 22' fishing rig.  Best part of 3k yearly cost?  This too ...will come down over time. Click for SR 1979's refit diary

My Manistee snowometer total for winter 2010-2011 has risen to 46 inches!

1/4/11  One of the reel-bright spots on the 2011 season is the plant has doubled on Coho.  Up from 800k to 1.6 million according to what I read.  Add this 1.6m in with the IL & IN Coho plants, ...producing a highly favorable outlook for southern Lk. MI this April.
              St. Joe and New Buffalo are probably the best known MI ports for spring Coho.  Granted these early spring fish are not large (3-4lbs.), but sheer numbers and an very aggressive bite means fast action & big fun.  Click archived 5/5/09 spring triple

             Here's a cost saving winter tip to put on your "to-do" list.  Boat batteries need a charge during the offseason.  You can extend the life of your marine battery.  Saving big bucks when it comes time to hit the pond for the first trip of the season.

1/3/11  First reel-work day of the new year and what a great thing we have to look forward to.  A whole new season has descended upon us with the possible agony of defeat, or the future thrill of victory looming in 2011.  Click sunrise on Lk. MI
             The new season is a grand and glorious event to be played out of the next many months.  In 70 days, or less ...early season ice-out Lk. MI Brown Trout is already on my schedule.  Granted we have a bunch more snow and cold days, but the warm thoughts of our new season will tide us over until better weather arrives.
              I'm very proud to say 2011 marks the 11th consecutive year running of daily updates.  By default making this website the long standing leader of current fishing reports and worthy news pertaining to the Great Lakes Fishery.  Looking forward to the promises and challenges of this ...the brand new season we'll soon all be sharing together!

1/2/11  In my wide ranging travels on the internet ...ran across a rare MI fish heretofore that was unknown to me.  This was a hybrid fish caught in Lk. Huron back in 1994 called a Pinook Salmon.  Common sense says this is a cross between a Chinook/King Salmon and a Pink Salmon.  Master Anger Pinooks were sized at 10 to a little over 12 pounds.
              Our MDNR recognized these as a separate species & gave out 3 Master Angler awards.  Qualifying winning Pinooks were caught in waters off Alpena County, MI.  Two awards went out in 1994 and one award was given in 1996. Click fake Pinook Salmon
              So, you know I'm not trying to pull your leg, or lay an early Aprils Fools joke on you, ...scroll down the species menu, then click: Pinook Salmon
              This MDNR search link will provide verification.  Kinda weird this fish was with us so briefly and presents more questions than answers?  If you have more info, or photos of this very rare hybrid fish, please contact me.

1/1/11  Happy New Years to all.  My best wishes for a safe and successful new season!
               My New Years Resolution is to use my boat at least 20 times in 2011.  Instead

of the measly 13 trips like during all of  2010.  Last season my late Aug into mid-Sept fishing plans were destroyed by high winds that built heavy seas ...way too rough for me.
               Living in Manistee County, MI and taking advantage of close access to several great Salmon/Trout ports more often is my number 1 goal for 2011.