October, November, & December 2011

10/10/11 Manistee, MI

10/12/11 Manistee, MI

10/29/11 Kewaunee, WI

8 pt Antler sheds

    Archived Captain's Log Entries from

October, November, and December 2011

12/31/11  Out with the old and in with the new?  The 2011 chapter of Great Lakes fishing is about to pass into the history of Great Lakes fishing. 
                What will 2012 bring? ...who knows, but it will be bug fun to see how our new season unfolds.  It would be perfectly OK with me ...if 2012 was a rerun of 2011!
                 Today's featured photo is 8 point antler sheds that match.  This is a rare find seeing each side was found a few weeks apart.  Click 8 pt antler sheds
                 May the 2012 New Year bring you health, wealth, and wisdom!

12/30/11  T.G.I.F. for the last time this year.  2011 presented the Great Lakes fleet with overall calmer waters and less blow days.  September and October were not the constant barrage of wind ...as we've come to expect.  The return of larger Kings is another strong point for 2011, but May, June & early July Salmon fishing was no bed of roses.
                 It's been a pleasure to spend this year with you.  2012 will be my 12th year updating this website everyday.  That's close to 4000 daily entries in my Captain's Log since the birth of this site in late 1999.  This same devotion applies to the tackle I make.
  Thank you for tuning in to share my passion for Great Lakes fishing and the outdoors!

12/29/11  The days are winding down for 2011.  This season was very kind to us Lk. MI fishermen.  My memories start with developing a killer program for the top 50' fish during the middle of the day in ultra flat calm conditions. Click 10/12/11 mirror glass water
               This accomplishment is not to be taken lightly.  By far, bright sun and mirror glass waters are the toughest circumstance to deal with on the Great Lakes when the fish are up high.  Turning these negatives into a positive was in the works for the last 3 years.
                So far, 2011 is high water mark for my webstore with a close to 20% sales increase.  Although, I failed miserably with my efforts to sell my tackle/website business. 
                Internet sales are the least understood asset of my tackle business.  This is due the reel-fact public web based sales are still in their infancy, but growing every year!
                The begin 2012 on a solid footing my tackle manufacturing operation is no longer for sale.  I'm looking forward to the future of our Great Lakes Fishery.

12/28/11  Big news from my neck of the woods is still the weather.  Posted a top-bottom photo comparing Decembers 2010 vs. 2011.  Click 2010 vs. 2011 snows
                 Courtesy of website member, Rick B ...we now have all the details on the Ludington, MI Sea Grant Regional Workshop being held on 1/7/12.  This is a full day event that runs from 8:30am thru 3:30pm and now costs 30 dollars for those that are registering after 12/10/11.  Lunch is being provided along with a raffle sponsored by the Ludington Charter Boat Association.  Click for more details & PDF registration form

12/27/11  Yesterday the perch fishing was good on the Saginaw River out of Bay City, MI.  Late season anglers willing to brave the elements are being rewarded with some mighty fine eating.  Plus, bonus days on the water. Click 12/26/11 Bay City, MI perch
                Lower 40s yesterday in Manistee, MI as winter continues to be a no show so far.  I suspect Mr. Winter is laying low for an all-out sneak attack soon.
                Manistee normally has a 5 month snow season (Nov.-Mar.) that can overlap a few weeks on both ends.  Lack of Nov.-Dec. snowfall means this year our snow season has been cut from a lengthy 5 months to only 3.
                Last year at this time snowfall at my place in Manistee County, MI was already pushing around 40 inches.  This year it's a skimpy 4 inches.

12/26/11  Yesterday was one of the few times during a year when this website goes over the top with jazzy jingle bells music, flashing Christmas lights and falling snow.
                 My favorite Christmas gift was an upgraded trouble light ready to face the onslaught of 2012's future unknown mechanical gremlins.
                     Limbo week between the holidays is here again.  Hard to accomplish anything meaningful if you're running a business.  2012 will be here in 5 days and it's a must to be ready.  Winter lays the foundation for the summer rush tackle season.

/25/11  Merry Christmas to All!

12/24/11  Best wishes to all for 2012 and Merry Christmas!
                    Shuffled the lineup of featured photos back to the 1985 Frankfort, MI photo.  There's a lot more to this picture then just a gal in daisy duke shorts. 
                 You can see how committed I was to attractors pushing 30 years ago with a selection of dodgers stored under the gunnels.  Plus, the fish in the pic was caught on a custom taped attractor.  The Great Lakes attractor market was evolving at this point. 
                 If you wanted fancy-dancy lure tape to dress up your attractor? ...it was a DIY arts and crafts project in most cases.  Click 1985 attractor evolving       

12/23/11  Took a look at the effort put into this year's updates.  As of yesterday 48,267 words, comprising 360 paragraphs, amounting to 85 pages (Microsoft Word data), & over 700 full-size images has been published on this website since January 1, 2011. 
               Winter paid a light visit yesterday morning to Manistee Co, MI by dropping a season opening inch of snow for act 1.  Click 1st full inch of Manistee snowfall
               Usually, it's hard winter for Manistee at, or around Thanksgiving, but this year has been quite balmy when you consider the lack of snow and warmer temps.
               Full range of temperatures for 2011 at my place is 101 to 6 below.  2010-2011 snow season came in at 133 inches.  Well be below the norm of 150 to 200 inches.
    My 2011-2012 Manistee snowometer now stands at 2 inches of total accumulation.

12/22/11  First day of winter 2011-2012.  Days will gradually start getting longer now as we are about to pass the winter solstice and shortest day of the year.
                Thanks to all who have bought my tackle this year.  Christmas sales season was up 10-15% over last year.  This is due in part to the big turnaround of Lk. MI towards larger King/Chinook Salmon.  Plus, a very oh-slight uptick in the economy.
                Whitetail bucks are beginning to drop their antlers as today's featured picture shows.  If the weather continues to be mild? ...bucks can carry horns well into February.
                Winter continues to be a no-show in Manistee County, MI.  No measureable snow at my place other then a few light dustings.  Click young buck losing horns

12/21/11  In keeping with this week's theme about taking pictures ...posted my favorite happy snappy taken in 2011.  This photo shows my ace double number on fishin' bud, John J fast into a King on a diver rod.  Click for my favorite photo taken in 2011
                 There's a lot going on in this photo to the trained eye.  The warm orange glow of the morning sun lights this picture radiantly.  Early morn fog clouds lifting off Lk. MI makes the grey and blue puffy sky a sight to behold.
                  On the fishing end you can see we're just setting up by noticing the Penn 330 GTI 1/2 copper rod unset in the bird tree rod holder.  Down rigger angle slows we've slowed the boat to deal with this King, or there'd be more blowback on the rigger cable.

12/20/11  My storyline about preserving past memories with photos needs to be postponed until I get a better handle on this vast subject.  Photos are a great way to record history of events that are important to you.  One picture is worth a 1000 words!
                The technical aspect of photos for web use dictate fairly low resolution compressed images for a short download time to display.  Another reason for low-res is computer monitor settings are below a 4000 x 3000 pixel count 2.6 meg image.
                Digital cameras?  The sky is the limit on what can be spent.  I use a point and shoot camera which eliminates the hassle and cost of carrying around extra lens like in my 35mm film SLR days.  High end digital SLR cameras are better left for the pros.  Not for somebody like me with slimy fish paws taking pictures aboard a boat.
                Webstore will be closing tomorrow at midnight.  Unsure of when the 2012 relaunch will happen.  Right now, first part of February 2012 is tentative.  Upon reopening my tackle manufacturing company and Mich-Angler website will no longer be for sale.

12/19/11  The setup on today's featured photo of a table full of spring Kings caught in 1979 out of Frankfort, MI begins with the top photo showing outriggers.
                The 1979 meat table catch of Paul, myself & my wife Merlene came mostly on outriggers towing small Deep Six divers close to the pier heads in Frankfort MI. 
                After finishing a successful April-May on lower Lk. Huron's spring King fishery, we decided to hit Frankfort.  Bait was packed in the harbor and so were the Kings.  Some to and past 20 pounds.  Not too shabby for early season reel-screamer King Salmon!
                Click 1979 meat table catch    Click 1985 outrigger photo
                Tomorrow? ...the top 3 photos will be stitched together in a common thread. 
                Answer to yesterday's question about what my camera collection photo has in common?  Every camera was less costly then it's predecessor.  The evolution of digital cameras? ...every one of them has more bells & whistles with a smaller tag price!

12/18/11  Photographs of your fishing trips will be cherished long after the season is over.  My fish photo collection is easy to get lost in ...when I post one for this website. 
Memories can fade overtime, but recalled immediately when a picture is viewed.  Pictures are magical and capture only a fleeting instant in time that can never be relived!
                I've owned Nikon Cameras since the mid-later 1970s, but in no way see today's collection of my Nikons an endorsement to rush out and buy one.
                Nikons take great images ...no doubt, but from my experience they are very fragile and do not withstand anything close to abuse.  Click my Nikon collection
                My Nikon late 1980s 8008 film SLR 35mm has internal off-on issues. 
                Nikon's first attempt into digital was their Coolpix 950 debuting on i2k and still takes good pictures for a 1 megapixel camera.  Nikon's next attempt in about 2002 is the Coolpix 995 at 3.3 mega.  That camera no longer focuses clearly, is obsolete, and has been retired.  Next digital Coolpix Nikon I bought is an upgrade from the 995 is the Cool-Pix 8700 at 8 megapixels.  The 8700 camera has been a workhorse for this website and still functions like brand new.  Excluding name ...what do all this cameras have in common?

12/17/11  With the evolution of the internet connections speeds for most have increased.  High speed connections makes video as a learning medium very feasible. 
                Signed up for a You Tube account and plan on posting "how to" short movies directed at the tackle we sell.  This will raise the bar even higher for product support.
                Shooting videos is a risk.  Done right? ...a tremendous tool.  Done wrong? ...it's reel chance to make yourself dumber than a box of rocks. 
                Striving for the done right part is the goal.  This is a huge undertaking and the next logical step to provide the best customer support on this planet.  Presently, my customer support ranks second to none and plan on keeping it that way!

12/16/11  One of my favorite things is turning the lights off in the our tackle shop when a day's work is done.  That's when I get to see all the glowy tackle saying goodnight.  Decided to reveal this "glow in the dark" experience with you and snapped a pic.
                 It's my great pleasure to share today's featured photo shot entirely in natural no light conditions.  Except from the all-night mercury yard light coming thru a window.
                 Making tackle keeps me in the switched on mode, during season, ...or not.  It's easy to show what separates my lineup from the rest: Click X-Glows in blue & green
                 This marks the first time both the blue & green X-Glow flashers and lure tape were photographed side by side for a true reel-impressive comparison. 
 Lot's of people will tell you how good their tackle is.  Me? ...I prefer to prove it!

12/15/11  Calendar of preseason events for 2012 begins on 1/7/12 with the Michigan Sea Grant Meeting being held at the Ramada Inn in Ludington, MI.
                The Ludington Charter Boat Association will be holding a raffle during intermission.  My apologies to this fine organization for missing my chance to donate tackle to their event in 2010.  I know how tough the charter business is firsthand with lessons learned over a span of 20 years. Click my 2012 Ludington tackle donation
                Not privy to all the Sea Grant meeting details like starting time, who's scheduled to speak, and what the topics are.  Tried a web search for specifics and that came up empty. Hope to have all the Sea Grant info listed soon.  Events Page will return with a schedule for activities directed at all Great Lakes anglers. Click 2011 Events Page
                My kudos to the Ludington Charter Boat Association for their dedication to our Great Lakes.  This fine organization is leading the area fight against nesting cormorants. 

12/14/11  Being in any business requires the wearing of several hats.  One of which is advertizing guru.  To be effective at advertizing you need to think of appealing names & slogans that become catch phrases to showcase your products.  Click Smurf & Turf
                An inspired idea came to me yesterday ...one, so easy I couldn't pass it up.   A virtuoso already ingrained modern terminology with a slight twist to the words. 
               "Smurf and Turf" has been embraced describe our lineup of Smurf glow blue and daylight blue glow UV tackle.  Smurf to designate the color pattern and turf to relay the message of meat.  Having reel-monikers speeds up the process of identification too!

12/13/11  In my travels around Manistee County, MI last week on 12/5/11 the High Bridge Public Access between Wellston and Brethren, MI.  It was shocking to see only 3 boat trailers in the parking lot setup to handle 40 some boat trailers and tow vehicles.
                This stretch of the Big Manistee River down to the Bear Creek access has striking scenery thru valleys punctuated with steep high banks.  This section of the BMR offers a vast mix of fast and slow water, all attractive to one of the greatest, if not the greatest game fish, our Michigan Steelhead. Click High Bridge Launch on 12/5/11

12/12/11  1. How do fish see things?  2. What colors can fish see?  Much has been said and written about these 2 mysterious questions.  None it to my satisfaction, because simply put ...nobody knows and at the best offer conjecture. Click fish eye view
                 One thing everyone agrees is fish have an oval eye lens.  Known in the camera world terms, as a fisheye lens.  To bring a better understanding of what a fish sees ...I used a fisheye lens to photograph the same meat head with the rubber fish in the toothpick photo.  If that's how a fish sees it's prey?  Their vision system is way beyond my comprehension and proves what an eternal mystery fishing really is!

12/11/11  Yesterday's photo showing the rubber fish rear toothpick is strictly a demo for when I hold meat school in my shop.  Meat school is for those new to fishing meat and is done by appointment only.  In less then 5 minutes all can be explained.  This aids my customer's confidence level and gives them a leg up.  Showing them first hand there is absolutely no learning curve. Click for toothpick & rubber fish demo
                In spite of claims about how fantastic phony bait is? ...I've pulled it and never had a bite on it.  If it works for you great.  The more alternatives the better.  
                If you're wanting to raise you meat program to an art form please take the time to click on these 2 articles: Rigging with Red  Fine Tuning Whole Reel-Bait

12/10/11  Christmas 10% off sale will be extended for a few days.  Ludington Ford dealer is having issues fixing my RV's cruise control.  Was hoping to be on the road headed south by the first of next week.  But, when hoping meets the reality of doing? ...it's a whole different unreel-world.  Snow has held off so far at my place.  Knock on wood:)!
                 The low tech toothpick is all important to fishing meat.  The rear toothpick is actually a tensioning device that holds and controls the bend for the proper spin rate when using whole herring.  Tip: Insert the toothpick firmly. Click pegging rear line hole
                  Equally important for herring strip users too, because it pegs the hook towards the tail of the meat strip eliminating short striking, or missed fish.

12/9/11  My tackle webstore will be closing soon for winter vacation.  Not sure when we'll reopen, but around Super Bowl Sunday is tentative for now.
               Our Christmas sale 10% off 100 dollar purchases has been a huge success.  This is the last discount offered until the 2012 Christmas season rolls around next year.  Thanks to all everyone for purchasing my tackle during the course of 2011. 
               The reason behind new re-engineered tapered rim shape in the rear line holder hole in our meat heads? ...that came from my bifocal equipped aging eyes that need all the help they can get.  This epiphany came to me while fumbling around last August in low light conditions in a hurry to get lines in the water.
                Tomorrow? ...the great importance behind the multiuse toothpick.

12/8/11  Perfected a new machining process for the rear line-holder hole in the back of our meat heads.  This re-engineered hole now has a tapering countersunk rim to make it easier to peg the toothpick at right distance for desired hook drop.  Granted, this is a small, but necessary tweak that will make hook spacing a lot easier.
               Ongoing improvements keeps the Magnum and Super Magnum Meat Heads leading the competition.  I'm proud of the added structural material incasing the rear line holder hole in the recently updated 2005 Magnum Heads.  New 2012 Magnum Heads in HRP, Sparkler, Firedot, X-Glow, Clear have this upgrade.  The other colors when existing old stock is depleted will have this feature too.  Click taper fit new rear line hole
                If you're not using my heads yet?  I have a question for you: what do the outdated flimsy foreign heads have slated for upgrading in 2012?  Short answer: nothing!
                Tomorrow? ...the reel-reason behind the new tapering fit hole!

12/7/11  Pearl Harbor Day chat begins when I caught my 1st Salmon north of Frankfort, MI in West Platte Bay on 10/1/1968.  That set the tone for the rest of my life!
              43 years ago technology of a daylight blue glow UV color was a distant dream. 
              During the past 27 years the only money I've made is from fishing.  20 years as fulltime Great Lakes charter operator/guide and the last 7 from making tackle far ahead of the pack.  Not to mention the longest running daily Captain's Log in this universe. 
               My unmatched dedication and "quest for the best" sets me far apart from all other tackle manufacturers.  Never once ...have I let cost be a factor vs. quality
              Today's featured photo is new stock for 2012.  I'm proud to bring you the SUV (Super UV) Mag and Super Mag heads.  This picture shows the heads glowing the same intensity of iridescent blue as on the Salmon pic below it. Click SUV Heads for 2012
              The setup on this image of 2 boxes of the SUV heads?  No flash and it was cloudy.  If taken in full sun?  The daylight blue glow would have been more pronounced!
              I opened these boxes with the same eagerness and excitement as a youngster on Christmas morning and had to click off this photograph to share with you!

12/6/11  Made it thru another hectic Monday yesterday.  Mondays is where the undone work from the previous week gets piled.  The good news is UPS should be delivering the new 2012 Magnum and Super Mag Meat Heads today.  Tooling upgrades have been completed and will be proudly shared tomorrow.
               Totally missed the mark on yesterday's topic about batteries.  A bunch of words that said little.  Look for me to clear this up with a better presentation in the not too distant future.  Marine batteries and deep cycle are different from what's in your car.

12/5/11  Today's subject is about storing your batteries during the winter layover.  This info can be applies to anything with a 12 volt battery. My intent is to save you some buck$.  Plus, keep the grief factor away. Click boat battery being filled
              Cold weather and low electrolyte levels in lead acid batteries cause the plates to sulfate.  Resulting in a dead battery that will not accept a charge.
              On boats and cars batteries are still being taxed even when the key is turned off.  In my case the TR1 autopilot that is a constant on.
              Lead acid batteries are most common due to lower pricing when compared to gel batteries.  Removing batteries from boats and charging them over the winter will help extend their life.  Even better is to keep in a warmer place.  Battery maintainers that put out slow 1.5 volt DC charge will pay for themselves over time.

12/4/11  Built a pretty extensive library of stock photos over the past 10 to 12 years. Images bring website visitors closer to the subjects presented here.  Reference yesterday's topic concerning the proposed new fish cleaning station for Manistee, MI.
               Snapped the Manistee cleaning station photo back in 2008 with the relevant thought being the City of Manistee pays their workers to keep the station presentable.  Lk. MI Salmon fishing is intense revenue for the Manistee area and has been since 1967.

12/3/11  Don't have all the details for the planned new fishing cleaning facility at Manistee, MI's First Street public launch.  Restrooms are supposed to be attached and there will be 6 bays open to clean fish. Click Manistee, MI fishing cleaning tables
              City of Manistee has workers at the existing cleaning station (in season) every morning to clean and tidy the place up.  Hopefully, there will be a freezer to dispose of the entrails instead of the dumpster that was used in the past.

12/2/11  Posted a photo a couple of days ago that has a lot of interesting content. 
It shows a broken rubber band used for a rigger release.  Along with the needle nose pliers for hook removal, scissors used to trim fresh from the package herring and the flasher meat rig used to catch the fish. Click for this a-luring photo
              Like I said, there's a bunch of stuff going on in this picture.
              I try not to stage photos and catch moments in time as they happen.  Further proving ...I practice what preach and write about in my Encyclopedia Tips & Tricks

12/1/11  'Tis the season to be jolly is here!  Especially, after seeing the King/Chinook Salmon 2011 tally for the Little Manistee Harvest Weir. 
                In 2010 the Little Manistee Weir count was a dismal 5,776 Kings captured.  2011 this figure ballooned to 14,124, or 8,348 more fish compared to the previous season.  But, there's still more good news to this reel-story! Click 10/10/11 Jumbo Coho
               2011 showed us Kings over 20 pounds we hadn't seen since early i2ks.  More fish and bigger fish last year proves there is a Santa Claus, cuz that's exactly what I wished for!  8,348 more Kings confirms Santa knows who's naughty, or nice!
                Ho-Ho-Co-Ho with 2011 adult Coho crop showing bigger fish too!  From what I seen and caught this past October? ...we're in fine shape for 2012!

11/30/11  The 2011 Lk. MI season was a series of radical adjustments aboard my boat.  After honing a killer deep program targeting fish in the 90' to 150' down range, 2011 most of my fish were caught in the top 60' ...with 35' to 50' down being the sweet spot.
                 Summer Salmon in the top 50' was my program's weakest link, because fish were scarce up high for several years off my home port of Manistee, MI.  This was not how things played out last season the when I got off the dock.
                  It takes time to decompress and digest the reel facts after a season has run it's course.  In future chats info will be shared on how I dealt with turning my weak link (top 50') program into later morning, ...middle of the day 6 rod catch fest.  
       Tomorrow's focus?  Factually, how good was the 2011 Manistee, MI reel-season?

11/29/11  Today's featured photo is back from my chartering days taken in 2003.  Lot's a various tackle to cover an entire season.  1000s of spoons, 100s of dodgers, around 100 flashers with enough gear to fill every nook and cranny in my 28' Cherokee.
                  Now, I can carry everything needed in a few boxes and catch Salmon from May thru October.  Departing from traditional accepted methods wasn't easy when I changed over to a meat program.  Nobody was holding my hand.  Meat program support was nonexistent in the early i2ks, but I soldiered on. Click 2003 charter tackle
                  I've since raised the meat program standards to an art form and developed tackle far superior to what was available before becoming a tackle manufacturer in 2004.

11/28/11  The reel cost on tackle is based on how it performs throughout the season. Tackle that does not live up to it's hype is the expensive stuff costing you lost hours on the Great Lakes and leads to total frustration.  Tackle that works is a super reel-bargain!
                Case in point in my Undertaker Meat Head that has proven itself from May thru October.  You've seen the Undertaker posted on this website several times before.  I put together a series photos proving it's effectiveness. Click for this 7 in 1 proof pic
                 Decided on showcasing the Undertaker head, because of it's long track record of fish output.  In a few years, I'm sure the new 2012 Smurf SUV tackle will qualify too!
                     Cyber Monday is upon us and must to handle some webstore business. 
New daylight blue glow Smurf SUV meat heads were ordered a month ago.  We expect delivery sometime this week by truck freight from Bridgeman, MI.
                 If your order has Smurf meat heads, or Smurf meat rigs in it?  There will be a slight delay while we catch up on pending orders.  Your credit card will not be billed until we're ready to ship. Click for 10% off sale at my webstore tackle

11/27/11  If you look closely at today's photo ...the middle deer has very little fat reserves.  These 3 bucks were shot on different sections state land.  Seen a lot of skinned deer during home processing, but never saw one this lean.  Reasons could be many and better left to the experts to answer. Click low fat deer

11/26/11  Today's featured live deer photo is a change of pace.  It shows a buck eating a small pine branch made possible by the modern day point and shoot digital cameras.  Nikon P90 was used with a 32x zoom.  Click 11/23/11 deer having munchies
                Equating to a costly long range 400mm lens ...if this was a very expensive SLR digital camera.  Point and shoot cameras offer tremendous versatility in the price range of 100 to 300 bucks.   The deer pic was shot about 180' away and if not for the big zoom, seeing this deer having lunch would have been lost to the naked eye.
                Granted point and shoot cameras are not professional grade quality, but for capturing imposing memories that will last forever ...it's a lot of bang for any buck!

11/25/11  Weather this fall has been downright tolerable.  It stayed tee shirt weather thru almost mid October with temps in the 70s to pushing 80.  Lk. MI stayed calm and fishable most days thru 10/12/11.  This is a radical departure from the norm when mid September ushers in a lot of wind.  Click 12/6/08 blizzard conditions
               Haven't seen much snow yet, but take my word for it ...we're gonna get hit hard soon in Manistee County, MI.  Today's featured photo is from 12/6/08 when we got a foot and a half that built to best part 3' of snow on the ground a few days later.

11/24/11  Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving Day 2011!  If you look back on the summer/fall Lk. MI season we have a lot to be thankful for.
                 Included all in my Christmas 10% money off promo on purchases over 100 dollars with the coupon code of: 2012   This way all user groups enjoy the same benefits.
                 Factor in free shipping on this holiday reel-deal?  That's at least 15% off for the best performing tackle you can put in the water!
                 Green Bay at the Detroit Lions game?  Will the underdog Detroit D beat up GB quarterback Rodgers with another concussion like they gave him last year? 
         You can tune into FOX NFL today at 12:30pm MI time and find out for yourself!

11/23/11  I've been setting on this reel-info since last summer.  My tackle took 7 major tournament overall wins in 2011.  Even more incredible is winning both the pro and amateur sides in the same 2 events around my neck of the woods.  Amateur and pros winning in the same contests proves what I offer is absolutely no fluke!
                Spent a lot of time readying the webstore for Christmas.  There's new Combo Deals, Smurf Meat Heads and an expanded lineup of Dive Bomb trolling sinkers. 
                I expect glitches due to the 1000s of lines of new code where there's no room for error.  If you need help? ...can't decide?  Please call me at: (800) 552-2009.

11/22/11  Mark Tonello from the MDNR office in Cadillac, MI was kind enough to forward us his report focusing on Manistee County, MI's Pine Creek. 
                 I've shared many photos with you from this same stream of spawning Salmon over the past 5 years. Click Mark Tonello MDNR Pine Creek report
                 I am a avid fan of Mark and can see his passion and dedication to our fish in Michigan.  The MDNR did themselves a big favor when they hired this man.
                 This report on Pine Creek is loaded with specific data we laypeople seldom get a chance read.  I found it fascinating read.  Especially, the parts that pertained to natural reproduction in a blue ribbon Trout stream only a few miles from where I live.

11/21/11  Luck plays a big roll in hunting, but there's still plenty of skill needed when you drop the hammer.  Website member, Getaway aka Bob K's dad, Bob Sr. took a spike on the evening of opening day.  Then, doubled down with a 7 pointer the following morning.
                Having both deer loaded on a quad with Bob Sr. grinning from ear to ear is a priceless photo of a father-son hunting team that put venison on the table. 
                My congratulations to both on their success!  Click 2 deer & 9 points

11/20/11  Sunday a day of rest and that's exactly what my plan is.  Spent a lot time yesterday on aesthetics adding new tackle to my webstore.  2012 SUV (super UV) bullets and meat heads will be available this coming Wednesday.  The new Smurf SUV heads along with a brand new combo deal: the X-Glow Blue Mamba SUV has been added too.
                 I do know for a proven reel-fact the new X-Glow 2012 Smurf tackle is the most thoroughly tested tackle introduced thus far.  Click for proven winners  

11/19/11  The Meat Head ordering pages at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com
are in the process of being condensed from 4 to 2 pages.  Both lines of Meat Heads (Mag & Super Mags) are balanced with the same colors.  This will make ordering easier.
                 The rear line holder on both heads are identical and both say, "Made in U.S.A." now too.  My heads are made to last a lifetime, or until you decide to retire them from earning their keep.  I've used the same Super Mag Undertaker head since 2007 and other then for a bunch of chew marks ...this head is still good to go!
                 The way I count seasons? That's 5 years.  There's is no planned self-destruct feature with my heads like the foreign competition's flimsy cheap heads.

11/18/11  Coldest day of fall thus far with temperatures never breaking freezing at my place yesterday.  Official winter is still about 6 weeks out.
                 My tackle webstore will be reopening on 11/23/11 thru 12/10/11 for those in search of Christmas presents.  My tackle is built to last a lifetime and makes a great gift.  There are some new items to unveil next week like 4 packs of the 2012 Smurf SUV meat heads.  Along with 1 oz Dive Bombs that will be a step forward for Walleye fishing.
                 Congrats to my fishing buddy, John J for the deer sausage and salami sticks we'll enjoy aboard next fishing season with crackers and cheese.  John J has the patience of Jobe needed to score on deer every season. Click John 11/16/11 eight pointer

11/17/11  The flip-side of success ...failure and nobody likes to admit failure,  So far, my efforts to sell my tackle company have went over some where's between a fart in church and a government bailout.  My tackle manufacturing and sales operation is very unique. Volumes have been learned from my past wasted efforts.
                The 1st question from a potential buyer is how much? 
                Answer: 3 times my sales gross from 2011 and that's more then fair seeing I do not push to hang tackle in every outlet there is. 
                It's the important follow up questions like average sale, number of customers, reorder rate from customers, monthly gross, ...etc. that never get asked. 
                If bank financing is part of the purchaser's plan?  I know now ...to run a full credit check before taking one step further and what their bank is willing to approve.
                There is a perfect fit out there and with 2012 being just around the corner
a buyer stepping into a ready made revenue stream might be more favorable.

11/16/11  Fishing and hunting are blood sports like it, or not.  Catch and release is pretty easy to understand for our next generation of fisher people.  With hunting once an animal has been shot either by bow, or gun there's no turning back.
                Today's media has overly humanized every animal there is from skunks to fish, but swept under the rug how animals actually live.  The Lion King eats his subjects is a matter of fact.  This is neglected in all the G rated carton classics.
                Younger hunters and fisher folks must make the decision themselves to drop the hammer, or let a fish go. 20 years in the charter biz I took 100s of kids fishing.  Very quickly I learned ...dispatching a fish with a priest, or club could bring tears when a youngster finally realized Mr. Limpid, or Charlie Tuna is deader than a doornail forever.
               The decision to keep, or kill should be left 100% totally up to the child with zero-zilch-no parental pressure.  If younger crowd wants their fish to swim free, or let a deer walk by? ...so be it!  Our stewardship of Mother Earth, younger hunters and young fisher people means all options should be left open! 

11/15/11  Firearms deer season opener is here.  I hope your hunt starts off with a bang this morning.  This mild weather will be turning colder with a chance of snow tomorrow.  Good luck if you're hitting the woods and have a safe hunt!
                Dug up some interesting facts on deer hunting.  80% of the deer kill is on private land in spite of the large amount of public tracts available to MI hunters.
                Overall deer licenses sold in MI is around 700,000 and our firearms license cost 15 dollars has not been raised since 1996.  Number of licenses sold has declined since the 1990s with the average age of hunters pegged at 42.

11/14/11  I have a important webstore and tackle news announcement later this week.
                Looking forward to a winter vacation beginning next month.  I haven't been on vacation since 1996 and it's about time ...to make time for myself.  Honestly, just need some time off to recreate & rejuvenate in a warmer climate.
                While on escape this website can be kept fresh daily with your help.  I will need guest writers for updates.  Everyone has a reel-story to tell.
                Word count for updates is around 125 to 200 words.  Longer fish tales can be split up and help carry this website for a couple-three days.
                Please keep in mind, I'm not asking for Tolstoy's classic War & Peace.  Short, direct, and to the point is what to strive for.  Can't write? Can't spell? 
                Then, we both have a lot in common!
                If needed?  ...your piece can be edited to make your account more than presentable.  Full name credit will be given, but I'd prefer to use the initial in your last name to preserve your right privacy.  You will be given that option.
                Once anything is posted on the internet, it can be there for next to forever.

11/13/11  Michigan's unsanctioned statewide holiday begins in 2 days with the opening of firearms deer season.  Forecast for Manistee County, MI on 11/15/11 is 50% chance of participation (rain) with the temps ranging from 30 to 50 degrees.  The day after the opener there is a possibility of snow with temps staying in the 30s all day.
                The misused word "harvest" has crept into hunting lingo to make killing an animal more palatable to the antis and general public.  Farmers harvest crops.  Hunting requires the harsh facts in the circle of life and death. 
                 Man is the ultimate omnivore dating back to ancient hominids.  Eating protein rich easy to digest meat is what helped evolution develop our larger brains.  Before we began walking upright we were hunters and still are to this day.  All animals that prey on other animals have eyes looking straight ahead ...'nough said!

11/12/11  Young Man Winter was testing his small caliber snow guns yesterday.  Ground was warm & the snow didn't stick around for long during the debut of 2011 snow season.  Never the less, it's only the opening act with lots more to come. Click first snow

11/11/11  Veterans Day: is the time to honor and remember those who served in all branches in our military service during peacetime and war.  Let's hope all of our troops are safely home soon.   Anyone who served is a hero in my eyes & deserves respect.
                Can you imagine the guts it took to take Mt. Suribachi back in February of 1945?  Joe Rosenthal's iconic flag raising WWII photo shows our brave service men putting their lives on the line, because they ...were called to duty. Click for this photo
                Going to end this week's poll tomorrow, but it looks like about 80% rated the summer and fall season of 2011 good to excellent.  Getting 8 out of 10 people to agree on anything in today's polarized society is an amazing feat onto itself.
                Since late 1999 I've wrote at, around, or over 4000 daily updates that focus on a broad range of topics.  This winter I will be recruiting guest writers help keep this website fresh everyday.  Everyone has a reel-story to share.        

11/10/11 To quote the actor Al Pacino playing Don Michael Corleone in Godfather III,
Just when I thought I was out ...they pull me back in!"
                Please let me explain the way of thinking behind the above words.  11 years and counting of daily updates is a hard habit to break tradition with.  Many of the viewers and members of this website have been here since late in 1999 at the start.
                The winter is probably the worse time discontinue keeping this website refreshed daily.  Winter is when Great Lakes fishing withdrawal symptoms
tend to peak.
                 Tomorrow, I will discuss a feasible workaround.  There is an easy solution that will probably improve the overall content on this website.

11/9/11  This month I turn 65 and daily updates will change to bi-weekly updates during the winter.  Once the 2012 season approaches everyday updates will return.
               If you're part of the group that visits my website daily? ...I'm truly flattered you've allowed me to share my lifelong obsession for Great Lakes fishing with you.  I'm honored that you've allowed my remarks and photos on your computer.
               The passion for Trout and Salmon fishing has an insatiable appetite.  No matter how much you fish there's an ongoing craving for the next time that never to goes away.
               Are you hooked and have passion for Trout and Salmon fishing?  ...count yourself as lucky.  Many go thru life without ever developing a true passion for outdoor participation sports.  There's several gate sports you watch.  Hunting and fishing you do!

11/8/11  7 Days a large army of firearm deer hunters will take to the woods.  Manistee County, MI weather has been on the warm side.  Recent  temps of 60 degrees for Manistee in November is good, but snow is better for deer hunters.  Snow lights up the woods and makes following a blood trail a lot more easier. Click Ohio 9 pointer
               Having fished Lk. MI a few weeks ago ...it just doesn't seem like we're that close to winter yet.  In Manistee ...December snowfall is enhanced by the relative warm waters of Lk. MI that builds lake effect snow to epic proportions.  This lake snow effect is not too bad until you get 10 to 15 miles inland from the big pond.  Then you get dumped on with feet of snow while the shoreline area gets inches.

11/7/11  Please vote your choice in the poll just left of this text.  Last I checked, 80 to 90% rated the summer and fall Salmon good and excellent.
              Even though I know this lessen well, with Great Lakes fishing learn to expect the unexpected.  I seem to forget this all important reel-fact and repeat the mistaken idea of each season being a carbon copy of the previous one.  Yearly amounts and size of fish fluctuates to the tune Mother Nature wants to play.
              The jumbo adult Kings with dealt during the summer-fall season 2011 really reenergized all of us who appreciate the pure power plus 20 pound King Salmon.
              By no means are these big guys easy to land, but isn't fishing more fun when it comes conquering challenges?  I know it is for me!

11/6/11  Let's go with some visitor interaction by voting to rate your summer and fall 2011 Salmon season.  This is an edited poll directed at the last 1/2 of the season.  My first poll was deleted, cuz it's focus towards the entire season.
              When Salmon fishing broke loose it was like a dam burst in August.  Unless you live under a rock, size was the reel-story in 2011 with the return of plus 20 Kings.
              Website member/former charter guest, Grant F and I took 5 Kings in mid August that made a 90 pound box for not all that many hours of effort.

11/5/11  (DST) Daylight Saving Time ends overnight and we revert to Standard Time in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.  2:00am on 11/6/11 to be exact.
               So, we yoyo our clocks back one hour tonight.
               Yesterday's history of meat heads would not have been possible without my Captain's Log that has everything documented.  It's an amazing reference source to compare past results to the current season.  Even though I wrote it, archived daily stories capture my attention, causing me to read on and on.  Click for Past Results

11/4/11  History of my Magnum heads begins in 2005.  Ultra consistent spin in every head was mission accomplished.  Unlike heads made by others that lack this reliability!
               Magnum meat heads were designed primarily for premade strips, or hand-cut fillets.  Back in 2005 strips and several brands of whole bait was readily available.
               Then the MDNR came out with FO245 rules that took Pacific Herring off the shelf.  In turn, drying up the source for commercially prepared strips.  The result of FO245 showed me the weakness and business venerability of just relying on strips. 
               Super Mag heads were proudly designed as a work-around that would accept strips, hand-cuts, whole bait fish, and do so flawlessly!!!! 
                Prototype Supers were made in my shop with a heat gun and carved wooden bait fish to expand this head for multipurpose use.  Necessity was purely the mother of this fish catchin' invention. Click 1st test session on 8/23/06 prototype Super Mags
                Super Mag heads sell at a 65 to 35 percent advantage over the Magnums.  Both styles of heads are overbuilt that will last many, many seasons.  Super Mag heads from the original production run in 2007 are still in use onboard my boat to this day!

11/3/11  Upgraded my Magnum and Super Magnum Meat Heads.  Made in U.S.A. has been laser etched into the Super Mags.  Magnums now have the same exact beefy tail section as the Super Mag Heads.  Click for Gen I & Gen II meat heads
               Granted these are very small tweaks, but necessary to my product line.  I am proud of our meat heads and that reel-fact they are made here in the U.S.A!
Even better? ...these heads are made in Michigan by skilled workers in a Great Lake State.
               Tomorrow topic will be on the history behind both types of heads.

11/2/11  My efforts at selling my tackle company has pretty much been a bust thus far. 
              In the mean time preparations for the 2012 season are being made with product improvements and rebuilding my standing inventory.
               Make no bones about it, I like what I do.  Making tackle and dealing with fishermen is as close to heaven ...as I can get on this earth.
               There's plenty of areas in the Great Lakes tackle business that are overripe for better products.  Inline planer boards and divers are the exact same technology over the last almost 50 years with little to zero improvement.
                I do have a design team in place with a proven track record of bringing superior fish catching products to market. 

11/1/11  Today's is a very difficult story for me to write.  For that reason I'm delaying info about the sale status of my tackle company.  Look for the reel-story when I can piece together the right words to better explain this situation after some careful thought.
               Raging Red UV meat rigs were introduced in the summer of 2011.  The custom in-house colorant is a world excusive in my tackle lineup.  This industry leading red UV pigment is dreadfully expensive.  Plus, it's painstaking process where each bullet head requires a secret technique to be UV reactive. Click Raging Red UV Bullets
                Is this UV stuff fact, or fiction in getting fish to hit?  Honestly, I don't know.  Only blowhards make outlandish claims that cannot not be proved, or disproved.   

10/31/11  There's a few big lake anglers still fishing the open waters of Lk. MI.  Steve S and crew had a respectable day out of Kewaunee, WI this past Saturday.  The part of their reel-story that struck my interest was the WI Kings were coming deep.  Like 95' to 150' down over 275 to 300 fow. Click 10/29/11 Kewaunee King
                The late season big water fishing competes with hunting, or it would be more popular.  Catch the right day with calm seas and you'll catch plenty of fish!
                 Boats powered by outboards have a reel-advantage in the late season, cuz when you pull an OB from the water the motor drains itself.  Hence, no freezing issues.
                Important news pertaining to the sale of my tackle company tomorrow!

10/30/11  My Lk. MI season began about a month late back on 5/4/11.  My last outing was 5 months later 10/12/11.  It was a very memorable season.  Especially, the August, September and October fishery.  10/12/11 is my boat's all-time high water mark with over 20 bites during the banker's hours of late morning into the mid-afternoon time frame.
                20 bites, or 1 bite makes no difference to me when rating a trip's success.  It's getting away from the life's daily pressure cooker is my main reason for spending time on the H2o.  Besides, on the Oct. 12th all fish were released anyways.  Catch & release is not often associated with Great Lakes fishing, but it should be. Click 10/12/11 2-fer
                My boat is now taking it's long winter nap with new gear lube in the outdrive and a fresh oil change.  Storing your boat in tip-top shape is prudent, because it lessens the prep time for the maiden voyage of the new season. Click sun going down on Lk. MI

10/29/11  Last summer I re-powered my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Motor was new, water pump was new and the fuel pump was new.  Now, less then 5 months later the Taiwanese Sierra fuel pump is dangerously defective.  Click proof of fuel pump origin
                On older GM carbureted small block applications had mechanical fuel pumps. There's a clear plastic sight tube running from the fuel pump to the carb as a safety device.  If gas is leaking from the fuel pump it will flow up into the carb instead of spilling in the bilge and making an explosion a real possibility.
                To cut to the chase ...I had to replace this still under warranty fuel pump, because of shoddy ill proven typical crap we get from Pacific rim countries.
                Granted I will recoup the 100 bucks for the pump.  But what about my time involved to fix something that should have never broke?

10/28/11  Dick Boyajian featured in the World Record Coho photo was one of the original Manistee, MI charter boat captains.  Dick is part of the greatest generation of WWII vets and in his 80s now.  From 1942 on ....he joined the Army Air Corp's 131st Bomb Group.  Serving in the Pacific theater as a radioman-gunner flying on B24s.
                If you went to any Great Lakes area spring fishing shows from the 1970s thru the early i2ks Dick was the factory representative at the Luhr Jensen booth.
                Dick's many skill sets include being one of the best canvas men in Manistee and makes the top-notch speed control sea bags sold at my webstore.
                I count myself lucky to know and have Mr. Dick Boyajian as my friend.

10/27/11  The setup on today's MI's World Record Coho photo needs to be more clearly defined.  This is not a hook and line record, but for size.  This fish was captured at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir on 10/27/73. Click for this World Record Coho
                 Dick Boyajian skipper of the Manistee charter boat "Troller" spotted this giant 39 lb. Coho mixed in with Chinooks/Kings.  Capt. Dick knew right away what this fish was while others probably mistook as just another King.
                 Then host, Mort Neff of Michigan's number one outdoor show, Michigan Outdoors heard about this record fish and immediately flew into Manistee's Blacker Airport.  Capt. Dick met him there.  Mort took this photo of Capt. Dick with fish in-hand before this Coho was handed back to the MDNR to ensure correct species identification.
                  Our fresh water Salmon fishery was fairly new in 1973.  This was major news and showed the world what size and kind of fish Lk. MI was capable of producing!
           Thanks to Dick Boyajian for his reel-story used as my reference source!

10/26/11  Big time gully washer at my place yesterday.  This will surely increase the flow of the Big Manistee River for those seeking Steelhead.  Click Manistee Lk. Coho
                High water pulls fish upstream all the way to Tippy Dam, but often the best Steelheading is in mid section between Pine and Bear Creeks on the Big Manistee.
                Coho are being caught in Manistee Lk. off the mouth of the Little Manistee River.  October Coho in Manistee Lk can be taken by casting and trolling alike.
                The Little Manistee River is where the world record Coho came from ...back on October 27, 1973.  This record shattering enormous Coho Salmon was 39 pounds 2 ounces.  It was 42.5 inches long with a huge girth of 26.25 inches.

10/25/11  Trail cams are deadly tools that instill the virtue of patience by letting you know what's there ...when you're not.  The technology in modern day hunting tools rivals the advancement in marine electronics. Click 11 pt. trail cam image
                 The time for river fishing for Steelhead is here.  Spawn is always a preferred bait until the Salmon stop dropping tons of eggs.  Just to pick a number, let's say there's 6k of Kings that return the Big Manistee River this fall.
                  Half, or 3000 is females carrying a very lowball number of 3 pounds of eggs each.  3000 times 3 pounds is 9k.  That's 4 1/2 tons of eggs to float down the big river if fertile eggs are not buried under gravel.

10/24/11  Today's reel story photo is from our WI friends across the pond.  Steve S and crew got a late season trip in this past Saturday.  They caught Kings and 'bows (WI speak for Steelhead).  Late season Great Lakes anglers are rewarded with no crowds and plenty of rodular activity.  Fall fishing 2011 has been phenomenal.
                Good fall fishing is a solid indicator of what to expect when the next big water season comes calling next March & April. Click 10/22/11 Kewaunee, WI fish
                Congrats to WI's Terry W on his trophy 11 pt. taken with a crossbow from a ground blind.  His deer took 80 hours of scouting with trail cams to find the right location.  Terry's pre-hunt scouting paid off with an 11 yard kill shot. Click Terry's 210 lb. buck

10/23/11  Winter can come early to Manistee, MI.  Mid December brings snow ...and lots of it.  Being prepared for the onslaught of the dreaded white stuff is necessary.  Winter is a harsh fact of living in the north country.  Outside chores have me tied up with the nice weekend we're having and will be winterizing my boat very soon.
                 I hate to say goodbye to the big lake season, but time marches forward.  2011 is leaving is leaving us with a plate full of promise for 2012.   September and October fishing for next year's Salmon was bountiful in the waters off central Lk. MI ports.
                 If you throw out the early part of this season, 2011 earned an "A" from late July thru now.  That's a grade we haven't seen until this year in quite awhile. 

10/22/11  A week of blustery fall weather is coming to an end.  Yesterday is struggled to make 45 degree at my place.  Even cooler the day before with rain and heavy winds.
                Today is supposed to be decent with highs in the low 50s.  I will begin the process of winterizing my boat.  Was hoping for one more time off the dock, but the long term forecast just doesn't hold enough promise to keep me enthused.
                When I lay my boat up for the offseason.  Everything is shipshape for an early splash to chase Manistee's March and April shoreline Brown Trout.

10/21/11  Located in WI's Door County Strawberry Creek is the counterpart of MI's Little Manistee River Harvest Weir.  WI is having a bumper crop of fall returning Salmon too.
                WDNR is a little more transparent than our MDNR with multiple public updates about returning fish counts.  Click for WI's DNR's Strawberry Creek Facility
                The MDNR does a better job on all archived data at the LMR Harvest Weir.  You can see all species return counts dating back to 1968. Click for this data

10/20/11  Using the Grand Rapids Press as a reference source, this year's quota of 6.5 million Chinook eggs were harvested at the Little Manistee River Weir in 2011.
               In 2010 the LMR Harvest Weir did not produce enough eggs with the 2nd lowest numbers of Chinook Salmon since record keeping began in the 1968.
              The MDNR had to take some Lk. Huron Rogers City, MI fish to gather enough eggs for the Chinook/King Salmon last year, or 2010. Click for LMR weir data
               Having the LMR Weir back as the main and only source of eggs shows how healthy this fall's run of Lk. MI Salmon turned out to be.  Plus, it's more cost effective to have all of our eggs in one basket ...so to speak.
Click for more LMR weir info

10/19/11  What a difference a year makes!  This time last year it was scary with low returning numbers of King/Chinook Salmon.  Did 2010 signal Lk. MI was on the same road that led to the demise of Lk. Huron's Kings in the early i2ks? 
               These thoughts passed thru my mind last fall.  Especially, after seeing few fish in Manistee County, MI's Pine Creek.  Then, the adult Salmon that came back in 2010 to Pine Creek was a small run of undersized sub-10 pound fish.
               Well, 2012 laid my fears to rest with the return of reel Kings to Lk. MI with over 20 pounders being the rule, not the exception.  Downside to this season is conditions did not favor the inshore fishery until later July.  Click 8/16/11 King pushing 25 lbs.

10/18/11  Seems my impromptu 2007 thru 2011 photo study of the Salmon in Pine Creek here in Manistee County, Mi isn't too far off.  Click 10/16/11 dead Pine Creek Salmon
                 Yesterday, I wrote about seeing twice as many Salmon in Pine Creek as last year.  Then, found out today the numbers of returning King/Chinook Salmon at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir is way up over the pitiful 5k and change that returned in 2010.  Final official MDNR numbers for the LMR weir haven't been posted yet, but according to the Grand Rapids Press a bumper crop of 6,500,00 eggs have been collected thus far.

10/17/11  For 5 years and counting I've photographed the same gravel bar in Manistee, MI's Pine Creek.  Pine Creek is a MDNR designated Trout Stream that flows into the Big Manistee River about 16 miles east of Lk. MI.  This pristine fast free flowing stream is a natural haven for Salmon and Steelhead reproduction.  Click Pine 10/16/11
                While my photo study census is very unscientific, ...it can show trends. 
The good news for 2011 there were twice an many Salmon in Pine Creek as last year at approx. this time.  The early spawners had already done their job, spawned and died. 
But there were still plenty of fresher run fish on the redds/gravel still spawning.
                To access all comparison photos since 2007 Click for Pine Creek Page

10/16/11  Today's featured photo is a beat-up Super Mag Undertaker meat head in use since 2007.  The dents are chew marks from a lot of fish that ate this head. 
                 Do you have nicknames for lures aboard your boat?  I do and that's how the meat head in the photo became known as "Old One Eye."  Mr. One Eye meat head lost it's eye on the opposite side when a goodie King chewed if off. Click for Old One Eye
                 Having a piece of tackle that lasts 5 seasons and is still good to go in 2012 is a story onto itself.  I know for a reel-fact the competition's soft plastic heads don't hold up near as well.  The rear line guide holder in the soft cheapie plastic Taiwan/Canadian heads will enlarge, then split open during the course of one season, or less!

10/15/11  A major pet peeve of mine is the question that doesn't get asked.  Improving my customer's success with support is what I do.
                A top notch meat program is like recipe for baking a cake.  Leave out, or modify the ingredients and it will not turn out right. Click Raging Red meat rig
                Meat fishing needs to be kept simple.  This is done by not overloading your spread with too many lines.  Mixing and matching other types/forms of lures will just gunk up the outcome.  Meat is totally devastating ...if you keep it uncomplicated.
                The first 3 ports in Great Lakes Salmon fishing history handbook are Ludington, Manistee, and Frankfort when this fishery began back in 1967 all relay on meat now.  It stands to reason, ...the rest of all Salmon ports are following this trend too!

10/14/11  Last Wednesday was a blessing from the fish gods with weather too nice for this time of the year.  I've marked 10/12/11 on my calendar as probably the last day you could fish Lk. MI and do so in a tee shirt this year.
                Conditions setup each port for good fishing, or not?  The stars lined up this October to make me glad I live in Manistee County, MI.  Lk. MI was unbelievably calm most of September & October up until now.  Weather has taken a turn with a fall chill in the air.
                 Side bar to today's chat is the late season adult Coho.  This is similar to the 1970s and early 1980s when the best Coho fishing was well into Sept. & Oct.  Another thing I noticed about Coho on 10/12/11 was the relatively large size of next year's crop.  We released juvi Coho pushing 3 pounds.  This is unheard of in recent history.  Will next season's early April Coho be 5 pound fish?  Only time will answer that question!
                Tomorrow will focus on a pet peeve of mine I deal with continuously.

10/13/11  Being semi retired has it's rewards.  Had the joy of fishing bankers hours with my wife yesterday out of Manistee, MI from 10am thru 4pm.  Doldrums best describes the flat glassy seas & sunny tee shirt October weather.  Click 10/12/11 glassy pond
                We burned thru 2 dozen herring.  Only missing a few bites, cuz I cured the
mis-itus issues with our diver program.  Did this by adjusting the release screw to a very light trip setting & running a super loose drag to absorb the savage power of the strike.
                We were on strictly a catch and release mission & seen over 15 fish boated (10 Kings-5 Coho).  If there is such a thing as a downside to a 15 fish trip?  It was the size was down somewhat compared to what John J and I experienced this past Monday.
          Obviously there's a lot more to this reel-story.  To be continued tomorrow!

10/12/11  Nowadays my skill set does not include pounding out big boxes of fish.  My job is to make pro-caliber specialty tackle ...so you can!
                This past Monday's fish off Manistee, MI showed they were not the least bit shy about hitting.  Around noon we had a triple go. There was just 2 of us onboard, John J & I.  We lost one of these fish, but still put a 2-fer in the boat. Click 10/10/11 2-fer
                Our spread was 2 riggers 35' & 50' down, 2 divers & two 150' sections of 45# copper rods.  All three weapons performed on a equal level for fish bites.
                High point of Monday's event was knowing I didn't have to rush home for work related issues, cuz the webstore is closed.  Click 10/10/11 hot rigs & fish box

10/11/11  Fished Manistee, MI yesterday from about 9am until 2:45pm.  The first 2 hours of E wind was exercise in futility, as John J and I struggled to buy a bite.
                Finally went back to my summer program i.e. Black & Smurf Mamba SUV BTIs with meat and things took a major turn for the better from noon until 2pm.
                We ended up with 3 decent juvi Kings to 10 pounds, 3 fatso Coho to past 10 pounds and an OK Steelhead.  Action was in the top 50' of water over the depths of 100' to 200'.  Directly due W of Manistee is where we had most of our bites.
                Conditions were dead flat calm.  I'd rate our 7 fish box acceptable, cuz the top 50' of water is the weakest link in my meat program.  Plus, our diver program was snake bit with more losses than I care to admit too!  Click for our chunky Coho
                Having fresh-run adult Coho in late September and October reminds me of the later 1970s and early 1980s off the mouth of the Platte River N of Frankfort, MI.  

10/10/11  Those that are still fishing the open waters of Lk. MI are being rewarded with fine catches of Kings, Coho and Steelhead.  Click 10/8/11 Glen Arbor, MI catch
              Extending your big lake season makes boat ownership far more cost effective.
              Today's featured photo is courtesy of website member, Chaos aka Steve E. 
His pic shows bellied-out girthy juvenile Salmon that's a prelude to a promising future.
              So far, Lk. MI has been on the quiet side and fishable the majority of September and October.  This is not the norm for this time of the year.
              This is hurricane season for the Gulf of Mexico.  It seems like these major weather disturbances pour wind onto the Great Lakes.  No hurricanes in the gulf this fall is the reason behind Lk. MI being kind to the big-water "dyed on the wool" fishermen.

10/9/11  Mark this summer like weather on the calendar, cuz more than likely this will be the last 80 degree temps Manistee, Mi sees until next year.  Big cool down towards the end of next week.  Fishing is reel-good out of Manistee now!

10/8/11  Website member, Mark T brought the current Lk. MI cloudy water issues to my attention on our message board.  Southern ports like St. Joe and Saugatuck are plagued with a lots of churned up water.  This off-colored water will grab more heat from the sun and promote plankton growth keeping the biomass healthy. Click Lk. MI from space

10/7/11  Made trip 1 on my annual pilgrimage to watch the Salmon spawn in Pine Creek.  This stream is about 4 miles as the crow flies from where I live in Manistee County, MI.
               It's all engrossing to watch the life and death circle of our beloved Salmon.  The clock seems to stand still, as I gaze upon this fascinating event.  One generation falls ...ushering forth another in the endless cycle of time. Click 10/6/11 Pine creek
              One perplexing noticeable thing? ...was many sub 10 pound Kings along with a only few mid teeners.  We never saw these small Salmon last July, August, or September.
               I will be back in better light to gather the 2011 photo of the same gravel bar dating back to 2007 for a year by year comparison.  Click for the Pine Creek Page

10/6/11  Finally buttoned up all the loose ends with my tackle manufacturing operation for this winter's shut down.  Planning a lengthy vacation to a warmer climate soon.
              Pine Creek has some adult spawning Salmon and will be there within a few days to take and share photos.  Pine Creek is a tributary of the Big Manistee River.
               Lk. MI fishing off Manistee is decent with the fish coming in the top 50' according to Capt. Larry Scharich ...who's the main man at Shipwatch Marina.  Capt. Larry's info is always spot and an excellent source of info for the website.
               Congrats to Brad P on his recent Moose that netted 500 pounds of hanging meat.  Brad's catch photos have been featured before. Click for his Moose

10/5/11  October weather is super in Manistee, MI with daytime highs in the 70s.  Lk. MI is on good behavior with light winds.  Lk. MI fishing out of Manistee is reel-good for a mixed bag of next year's Kings, large Coho (some over 12 lbs.) and Steelhead.
               Hunting season is in full swing.  Congrats to website members Chris for his fine looking good sized Bear and Pat's 9 pointer he got on the first day of bow season.

10/4/11  Took the numbers off yesterday's poll around noon.  Compiling data over the years shows slight gain in meat to 40% (cut & whole).  Spoons devotees have remained approximately the same since 2003 at 25 to 30 percent.  Click for Poll Page
               Please keep in mind, prior to 2003 trolling with reel-meat was almost nonexistent.  Early meat trolling products were a substandard hodgepodge of tackle from several manufacturers.  No tackle dedicated to reel-bait was made in the USA until I entered the picture in 2004 with the intro of my 12" flashers and mag heads in 2005.
               Biggest problem that held back using bait was the inconsistent spin of the soft plastic thin foreign heads that didn't hold their shape and got knocked out of tune.
               Heads, herring strips and flashers before 2004 was controlled by a tight fisted NY monopoly operating under the guise as "exclusive" USA distributers.
Please vote in today's poll.  This is the very same poll I've every year since 2003.  It's focus is on your best method for catching adult Salmon.  After a fair sampling number of votes entire poll page will be updated and shared in tomorrow's update.

10/2/11  Yesterday the high temperature struggled to reach 50 degrees in Manistee County, MI.  It was cool, but in 3 months ...we'll think 50 is a tropical heat wave!
               Shut the webstore sales down last night, but I'm not closing the doors, or ceasing 2012 production in case a buyer cannot be found.
               I am looking to lighten my work load and closing down until next year will free up my schedule this winter for other activities.  The idea of not being tied to a snow shovel has it's merit.  Dealing with 150 to 200 inches of Manistee Co. snow is not fun.
                Tops sales summary for 2011 kinda surprised me.  For the first time a 2 fly meat rig walked away with the top spot.  That rig was the 2 Fly Smurf SUV.  Reel story behind the Smurfie 2 fly rig was it's late season intro (mid Aug) and being in short supply this rig never made it into the tackle stores. Click Smurf & Raging Red UV Meat Rigs

10/1/11  Tonight at midnight menus & order boxes will be removed from all products at my webstore.  The site will stay up, but tackle orders are discontinued until further notice.
               My sincere gratitude to all for using my tackle and visiting this website.  Many have wished my well on retirement.  News for you, nobody retires from fishing.  In fact, you're supposed to do more when you become a sexagenarian (over 60).