2012 April, May, & June Results

4/7/12 Manistee, MI

  4/14/12 St. Joe, MI

5/1/12 Manistee, MI

6/26/12 Manistee


Archived Log for April May and June 2012

6/29/12  A few days ago on 6/26/12 we shot an underwater meat head video that had both the Magnum and Super Mags heads.  Both styles head marched in lockstep: turn for turn.  Mags had a Calumet Marine thick King Strip.  Super Mags were using A-side filleted blue label herring with the backbone & tail.  Click sneak peek head vs. head pic
               What I noticed most was the vivid Rage Red UV heads even  underwater. 
Next obvious factor was the large amount reflection of light off the herring, as it rolled.
               Still more work to be done before I can call this project finished.  It's awkward pointing the camera by instinct and keep both of heads in camera view. 
               Footage I already have is just OK, but not great.  So, I'm re-shooting the head vs. head movie in the near future.  I will not settle for just OK ...when I know a better job of capturing the head vs. head action video can be done!

6/28/12  Central Lk. MI is offering up some of the best late June fishing for King Salmon in a mighty long time.  Manistee, MI has Kings straight out of port, to the S, and to the N.  I have no doubt Ludington and Frankfort have good fishing too. 
              I mentioned these three ports, because they're the ones most familiar to me & have trustworthy fishing reports to back it up. Click 6/26/12 Big Point Sable 2fer
              Only fly in the ointment will this good ...early part of season fishing subtract from later this summer, or will it keep getting better and better?
              Please keep in mind, this good fishing news is how it's been up until now and it's impossible to predict what it will be like tomorrow, next week, or next month.

6/27/12  Received a furlough from the funny farm yesterday for some self-prescribed water therapy during the hours 6am thru 2pm.  Cleared Manistee, MI's pier heads around 7am and headed 10 miles S towards famous Big Point Sable.
              Dropped lines on the fish about 8am and were fast into a double shortly thereafter with the Smurf tackle on duty.  Hit another fish at 9am, another one at 10am, and almost a double at straight up noon.  We released 2 of the 6 fish we caught.
              Area fished was the 7s to the 4s.  After sorting thru the trial and error process best action was in 120' to 135' tight to the sharp structure this area offers.  Deeper than 150' was a bust and spent a good hour figuring this out. Temp was at 75' down off the humps in the 6s and closer the point the temp break came up to approx. 50'.
              Featured photo of the day is my favorite fishin' bud, 11 year old Dillan proudly hoisting a good teener King above 15 pounds while his dad, "Todd the Rod" looked on.  Sometimes you just press the shutter at the right time and consider this photo one of the best I've taken this year. Click 11 year old Dillan hoisting a noontime King

6/26/12  Congratulations to website members, Old Paint aka Tom M and jerryriggin aka Jeremy M for their winning efforts in last weekend's Bud Pro Am Tournament in Manistee, MI.  Tom took the big fish prize with a 20 lb. King.  The tonnage award event winning  catch went to Jeremy's Team Elsie K.  Both winners did it with my flashers & meat rigs!
               Top notch tournament winning performance with the tackle we make?  This comes from my 20 years in the trenches as a fulltime year-around charter skipper and river guide.  I just didn't wake up one morning and decide to manufacture tackle. 
               My entry in the tackle business was a carefully thought out process relying on my experience fishing the Great Lakes since 1968.  Click Andy & Tom's trophy
               There is NO tackle manufacturer based in the State of Michigan that can touch my credentials.  Nor does anyone else provide the level of support, quality of an USA product, and total dedication to customer service like I do.  No brag ...just fact!

6/25/12  Today's reel story is provided by website member, CBull ...that's no bull! 
              CBull fishes Lk. MI from a kayak.  Necessity was the mother of invention when he conjured up some homemade copper reels for hand lining ...made from pie tins fastened together.  He did the math and came up with about 2' a turn for his line counter. 
              Then, he flippered his frog feet propulsion system out to the 50' to 60' depths off the Port of Frankfort, MI on 6/23/12.  Click for CBull's kayak katch!
              He boated a Steelhead first and got into a big time tussle with a bad boy King that kept diving under his kayak.  Patience won out when ingenious kayaker CBull grabbed the King by the tail & hoisted his hard earned trophy aboard caught on a BTI & meat.
                  This is a fish tale worthy for Ripley's Believe it, ...or not!

6/24/12  Sunday's are supposed to be day off for rest.  In my case making tackle today to free up some time to keep my resolution to get off the dock at least once this week.  By working today? ...I will not feel guilty by taking a day off later this week. 
              Have lots of ideas on the front burner for more underwater video footage.  Strips vs. whole bait, or Magnum vs. Super Mag meat heads shot in the same movie for a side by side fair comparison.  It's no big secret both types of the gold standard in our industry leading meat heads catch fish, but seeing both action at the same time is going to be fascinating.  This will be a fun shoot where I get to see the differences too!

  We're about one month away from primetime adult bruiser Kings over 20 pounders.  Last year was a shocker for me in mid Aug. when I went fishing with Grant F. 
               We took 5 Kings just a few pounds shy of 100 pounds.  Most tournament grade winning fish average 8 to 10 pounds.  Having a box full of King/Chinook Salmon around 20 lbs. will win every Great Lakes tournament there is. Click 8/16/11 fish box
            Will we see the big guys over 25 pushing 30 lbs this season?  Hard to tell, but you can bet my best fishing trips for 2012 are still in the future!

6/22/12  Planned Friday edition is on hold.  It's no big secret this season's Salmon fishing is better then the last 3, or 4 years.  Better fishing equates to more tackle demand and we are swamped even with the addition of hiring more help.
              Want and do are opposing ends of the same stick.  That's the reason I have not been able to shake loose even a few hours to hit the pond for a "hands on" fishing report this week.  Being self employed means work must come ...before play ...darn it!
              Choke point is not our ability to make tackle.  It's the reel-fact our all of suppliers are running way behind.  I ordered more Mylar from WTP on 6/20, projected delivery is 7/7, as they rush to keep up.  Same deal with eyelets for flashers, normally a 3 to 5 day turnaround is now 3 weeks.  This all stems from the economic downturn going back to 2008 when it was necessary to cut inventories and trim workforce to produce.

6/21/12  National Weather Service has said to expect a warmer June, July and August.  Like we didn't know that already?  Guess it never hurts to be on the safe side.
               This is a tournament weekend in Manistee with the Bud Pro Am put on by the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association.  Seas look to be favorable for the upcoming Bud Pro Am at 2 foot, or less.  This event dates back to the mid 1980s.
               Yesterday was first day of official summer 2012 and the longest day of the year.  Summer will be with us until Saturday, September 22.  It hot 90 degrees and muggy at my place.  Cooler more normal weather in the 70s is predicted well into next week.
               Tomorrow I'll touch on how we used to fish the Great Lakes in 1988.  For me 1988 is EZ to remember due to the hot summer, lack of Kings and very deep fish.

6/20/12  Heat wave is the headline for today.  Yesterday afternoon it was over 92 degrees at Saginaw Bay Light #1.  This is hot seeing this light sits miles from shore over water.  Surface temps in Lk. MI are building.  N end at the mid lake buoy is about 60 and the S mid lake buoy was around 65.  This is warm for this early in the season!
              Posted a charter catch from 1988 when I ran my boat out of Frankfort, MI.  This was the height of the BKD epidemic (Bacterial Kidney Disease) that was affecting the King population back then.  5, or 6 Kings would be considered a good catch, but we had plenty of Lk. Trout to fall back on in those days.  Click 1988 charter catch
              Now, imagine this ...record setting heat in 1988 and the fish are holding at or below a thermocline 130' down.  You have no wire divers, no meat rigs, thin super braid lines, no mag dipsy divers, or large dipsy rings that add depth.  How do you produce a respectable catch for a party of 5 to 6 customers?  To be continued tomorrow.....

6/19/12  At 6am this morning it's already 77 degrees at the Port of Frankfort, MI.  High temps predicted for all central Lk. MI ports is pushing 90 degrees.  90 might not be considered hot in some parts of our country, but for N MI it is!
              2012 has been warm and this effects the temperature of the Great Lakes.  While it's impossible to predict the rest of this summer ...it makes sense to think a month, or 2 ahead for the upcoming primetime season.
              Seen a extra hot summer back in 1988 and it was hot at all Lk. MI ports.  This drove the thermocline down to a steady diet of plus 100' down to temp.  In 1988 Great Lakes fishing was only a little over 20 years old and while the fleet tried to adapt to fishing deep everyday ...the tools back then were not in place like they are nowadays.
               Modern day savvy skippers can now fish depths of 100 to 200 feet down and do well as they use a deep thermocline to their advantage.  Deeper thermoclines means the more concentrated the fish will be off structure ...once you locate them.

6/18/12  Manistee, MI is still producing OK action for Kings.  While not red-hot ...it's decent for the 3rd week of June when the inshore fishery off this port can be a tough nut to crack.  Not hearing anything about Kings over 20 yet, but fish in the mid to high teens.
              Fishing on the WI side at Kewaunee sounds like they have more fish on their side of the pond.  Website member, SteveO got into double figures fish the non-peak bite from 7:30am till 1:30pm.  WI 7:30am is 8:30am MI time. Click 6/17/12 Kewaunee King
              This week, as a backup topic I'll travel back to 1988.  One of the hottest summers on record & how ill prepared the fleet was to deal with deep summer fish. 
Back then there was no super braid, wire Dipsys, mag diver rings, or thinner rigger cable.

6/17/12  Father's Day 2012 update is about renewing the fiberglass hull on my 33 year old Sea Ray.  Nobody likes a ratty ride, if you have pride in ownership.
              Taking a chance ...I bought a kit with the primer/wax remover, applicators and polymer sealer.  So far, this renew kit has been a miracle compared to the work involved power buffing an old faded out highly oxidized gel coat.
               I'm very happy with the results for the time invested.  Before sharing the brand name let's see how long this product holds up.  Kinda leery about endorsing this kit I seen in one of those late night infomercials. Click shiny 1979 Sea Ray hull
             More hot weather is on the way!  Tomorrow's update will focus on what the Great Lakes fleet learned since 1988 when record heat drove the Kings deep.  Lk. MI was plus 80 degrees on the surface many miles from shore back in 1988.

6/16/12  Salmon fever is a year around malady, but it doesn't become acute until the latter part of July.  Then it becomes critical when August rolls around.  The only cure is to go fishing on the Great Lakes to keep the symptoms at bay.
               It's no secret 2012 has been a warm year.  Unless we get of lot of wind from the N to roll the lake over ...depths to and plus 100' could be steady fare as summer progresses.  That's OK with me, because deep fish are not shy about biting.

6/15/12  Good luck to all fishing this Father's Day weekend.  Wave report for Manistee, MI thru next Monday is a very favorable with seas to 2 feet.
              I've been out on Lk. MI 7 times since last March.  This is far ahead of my 2011 pace.  Getting away for even a few hours my normal routine is blessing.
              Hope to have news on when Leland, MI's launch ramp is open again.  The way I heard the story is this public access launch has been upgraded from a single ramp to 2.

6/14/12  Yesterday was my great pleasure to fish with John J, Todd the Rod, and his 11 year old son ...alpha copper specialist Dillan B.  Dillan has favored status on my boat.  When he's on ...this young man eagle eyes a fish bite long before the rest of us do.
               We trolled N in 15s to the low 20 numbers and didn't see much.  16s to the 18s was a fish desert in the 100' to 150' depths.  We did get into a few fish N of the 19s up towards Onekama when it was lines up time this side of 11am. Click 6/13/12 Dillan
                Assembled some hard reel-facts for a soon to debut tech update focused on using herring strips in Super Mag Heads.  This inside info is for our website members.
I haven't used strips since 2007 and it made sense to cover this type of bait to stay current for product support. Click Smurf Herring strip caught King

6/13/12  Received my new logos back from the graphics company yesterday.  This logo project has been in the works since last fall and glad to see it's done.
              The decals/stickers are 14 by 8 inches with a white background, a red crown, large blue letters for KINGS and smaller black letters for MEAT FISHING TACKLE.
               The font used is called Niamey.  This is a true font downloaded and installed in my fonts folder for a custom look.  Click for my new logo/boat decals
               Haven't figured out a way to make these widely available to all who use my tackle yet, but I will.  Shipping costs are an issue that needs to be solved.

6/12/12  Today's update is about fishing.  Sounds kinda simplistic, but there's many fascinating pages to this perpetual sport.  To be truly enjoyed fishing not a spectator sport, but a hands on activity that knows no age, gender, or tangible barriers.
               Fishing is more mental than physical where trial and error is a common denominator of mankind.  Part of fishing is making mistakes, then learning from these mistakes so you don't repeat them again.  The days you struggle fall by the wayside when a good day wipes the slate clean.  Click for a pic that explains all

                Ready for some good news?  Long range wind & wave forecast thru this coming Sat. for the Port of Manistee, MI is at 1' or less as the doldrums of June set in.

6/11/12  Got bait for 2012?  If not? ...the special order thick-cut Herring Strips Calumet Marine is offering will fill that need.  We used these strips last week and caught our 2 largest Kings of the trip after 10:00am in full sun and flat calm water. 
              These are tough conditions and prove whether a bait works, or not. 
              The secret to using the dry packed salted Calumet King strips is brining them a day, or two before fishing.  I purchased a case of this bait that catches with both the Magnum, or Super Mag meat heads. Click for my EZ no brainer brine video
              You can order these strips online.  Best part is Calumet Marine ships bait the first part of every week to IN, IL, WI and MI. Click to buy bait online

6/10/12  Posted a "how to photo" on installing crimps on rigger cable.  Inserting the cut end back into the crimps eliminated jabbed fingers from the needlelike strands.
              Diameter of the Stealth rigger wire is about 15-20% less then the standard issue original cable that came with your riggers.  Slightly smaller means a tighter twist and less of the annoying harmonic rigger wire hum.  Click crimping rigger wire process
              I fish about 100 hours a season (or less) on Lk. MI and have never lost a cannonball with Stealth Rigger Cable going back to 2007 when I switched over. 
              Make sure to inspect the attaching loop to the coastlock swivel every so often and redo as necessary.  In my case? ...that's about once every 2 seasons.

6/9/12  Walleyes vs. Salmon fishing in the month of June?  Most of the time Salmon action wanes and Walleyes grab all the attention.  Not so this year, with central Lk. MI ports still having decent numbers of inshore Kings.
             Tomorrow introductory pricing on the Stealth Downrigger Cable will end.  Price will go up 2 bucks to 19.95 with a 2 dollar option for attachment hardware. 
             This is still below the normal price charged for thick old style noisy rigger replacement 200-150# test wire in shorter lengths of 150' to 200'.
             250' is the perfect length to reach fish to 200' down with 12 pound cannonballs.  Most downriggers are not engineered to work with heavier loads. 
             Depths exceeding 100' down it's pretty much standard practice to use a super braid with a 20' to 40' leader of 30# test mono on the business end.  Mono can be spliced into braid with a bloodknot and makes missing deeper fish a thing of the past. 
              A mono leader at the end of braid must be used for 3 reasons: 1. it acts like a shock absorber.  2. 30# mono will not twist up when using rotators.  3. mono holds up better to downrigger release mechanism abuse issues.

6/8/12  The reel story about my 6/6/12 fishing trip says Manistee, MI does have decent fishing for King Salmon.  With enough fish in the mid teens to keep it exciting. 
             This past Wednesday we cleared the pier heads at the crack 10 minutes to 7am & were dropping lines down on the fish around 7:30am. 
             During the next 3 1/2 hours we took 5 fish on flat calm table top water.  No depth or certain area was a hot spot for us.  Action was about a fish every 45 minutes.  
             The Salmon were scattered up & down the water column from 30' to 120' down. 3 of the fish were released.  2 of the Kings were gill hooked, bleeding, and boxed.
            Our 2 biggest fish were caught and at 10am and 10:45am.  Confirming my late morning/mid day program results are acceptable. Click Herring Strip & Magnum Head
             Fished a combination of strips vs. hand cut fillets vs. whole bait with no clear cut winner.  Strips we used were special thick cut Herring sold by Calumet Marine.

6/7/12  Today's focus is on Manistee, MI's fishing with a genuine reel-fishermen, 11 year old Dilllan B.  Today's trip was a coming of age time for him in my book.  This was my second opportunity to fish with Dillan.  The first time was 4 years ago when he was 7.
             This young man proved his worth by winning the mad scramble to the chute rigger rod race ...beating both John J and his dad. Click a super reel fisherman
             Then, Dillan took care of business like a pro by getting the hook tightened into a fish 120' down.  He fought a King around 10 pounds to the boat 100% unassisted and was "all in" about releasing his solo effort King Salmon unharmed back to Lk. MI.
             Dillan is Todd the Rod's son and the apple didn't fall very far from the tree with passion and skill to become an accomplished Great Lakes fisherman ...just like his dad!
             There's a lot more to today's reel-story that will be expanded on tomorrow.

6/6/12  Fishing is still decent on Manistee, MI for King Salmon.  Those targeting the early before dawn bite are getting into double figures.  Fishing was said to best in the top 60' of water.  Gas had fell to 3.51 a gallon, 30 some cents cheaper then last year.
            Our shipping policy has been adjusted to keep our heads above water.  We're shipping on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  We are nose to the grindstone building tackle in the off days to keep up with the increased 2012 workload. 
            Cheaper gas, better King fishing on Lk. MI, and Lk. Huron are the driving reasons behind our tackle sales being way ahead of last year's pace.

6/5/12  Spring Salmon fishing this year so far has been better at most ports compared to the last 4, or 5 seasons.  Even Lk. Huron is showing a remarkable recovery since the decline, or crash of King Salmon population in 2003-2004.  This is good news!
             Today's featured photo is interesting, because it shows that Great Lakes fish will eat what's available.  On 6/3/12 a Harbor Beach, MI Lake Trout was chowing down on Pink Salmon sushi.  Pink Salmon are hard to indentify when they're small, but large eyes and splotches on deeply forked tail help tell the difference. Click partially digested Pinky     

6/4/12  Considering adjusting my webstore's shipping policy temporarily.  Spring Salmon has been very good.  Good fishing increases the demand for tackle. 
            If we ship only 2, or 3 days a week?  Say on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that would leave Tuesday and Thursday devoted to just manufacturing. 
            I've hired more help to build tackle, but we're a long ways from having anything close to a comfortable inventory cushion leading into the hectic months of July & August.
            We've been fighting to stay on schedule with same day shipping, but at the grinding cost of burdened workload with too many hours on my part.
             Next alternative is to shut the webstore down until we have more tackle built.  This will eliminate playing the "catch-up game" when you're always behind!
            Only recent fish report I have is from Fairport, MI and they're catching plenty of fish there.  Fairport is on the extreme N end of Lk. MI in MI's UP.

6/3/12  Sunday a day of rest.  This website is now on autopilot for the "rest" of today.

6/2/12  Created another video on You Tube.  The new one is something I take for granted, but always seems a mystery to those new to fishing meat on the Great Lakes.
             Brine is no big deal.  It's a cheap easy way to preserve your bait for long periods of time.  Brine is a bunch better then refreezing.  Click new EZ Brine video
             Thawing-refreezing expands the bait fish flesh rendering mushy over time.  My recipe with Kosher Salt and Borax 20 Mule Team Laundry Freshener in a 50/50 mix will save you reel dough, produce more fish, and give you a well preserved firm bait.

6/1/12  Posted the largest King to be sent in by the viewers of this website thus far.  Gregg S and team took a 24.1 lb. Kewaunee, WI King. Click Gregg S WI photo
            May fish in this size range are probably Master Angler Kings (over 27#) come August.  Last weekend's Onekama Shakedown tournament largest King caught was over 17 pounds by website member, Lip Ripper aka Bob K who was using a 12" Mamba and Rage Red 3 fly meat rig.  Ripper had the largest Laker too at over 15 pounds.

5/31/12  Today's endearing photo of young Ava M posing with her first Lk. MI fish reminds me how lucky we are.  Manistee, MI's Salmon fishing has been good.  Gas prices broke tradition and actually went down over Memorial Day Weekend.  The outlook for Kings when they mature fish return in July, August, and September is reel-awesome.
               2012 has been kind to us so far.  Let's hope it stays that way!

5/30/12  Let's look at the spring Salmon big picture in general off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Since March this port has had Kings.  Probably not as many as ports like St. Joe, but it's been decent going back to mid March with fish available.  Never in all my years of fishing Lk. MI have I seen the spring Salmon season last this long consistently.  This bodes well for the upcoming later months of July, August, & September.
              Posted photos with a time stamps from last Saturday.  My Sat. trip was a shot in the dark not having fished for 11 days.  Spent the first 2 hours in search mode.  Then found one lump of bait with active Kings from 9:30am till about noon.  Once again showing my line of tackle works in the tougher off peak bite timeframe. Click for this proof

5/29/12  Cost effective Stealth Rigger Cable is now being offered at my webstore.  This industrial grade stainless steel will outperform stock rigger cable with little to no harmonic hum.  This thinner cable has been mentioned before on this website.  Finally found a source where I can offer it you at bargain prices. Click for more info
               This is the best favor you can do for your rigger program and still fish comfortably at depths to 200' with ease with 12# cannonballs.  Been using this very same cable since 2007 with zero issues.  Comes with attachment hardware too!

5/28/12  Memorial Day is the time set aside to honor and remember our 2 million fallen war heroes.  It's hard to conceive the bravery our armed forced had when they stood toe to toe with the British at short distance to give withering musket fire at Cow Pens in 1781.
              Trench warfare in WWI, or take Omaha Beach, and land on Iwo Jima takes true grit.  Korea's fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir where our outnumbered & surrounded 30,000 troops inflicted crippling loses to a 70,000 man Chinese army in 1950.
               Our armed forced NEVER lost a battle a mostly hidden enemy in Vietnam and they're still dealing with the present day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We owe more than we can ever repay to our valiant soldiers who fought and died for the USA.
                  Out of respect I postponed today's planned topics will include a new product that will make your time on the water a bunch more productive.  Plus, the rundown on the 2012 Salmon Season from Manistee, MI thus far.

5/27/12  Fished the Port of Manistee, MI with website member, Roger C.  Our mid morning bite was respectable up until noon.  Found a lump of bait with a small pocket of Kings in the 19 to 20 N numbers in 100'-110' of water up by Onekama.
               Boated 5 (1 Coho & 4 Kings) from 9am till noon.  5 fish is no big deal, but 5 fish caught during an off peak timeframe is. Click 5/26/12 hot rigs & fish box
               For us? ...the most active depths down was in the 55' to 85' range.
               All the fish came on 10" BTI flashers and 2 fly meat rigs.  Smurf and Black Mambas in the SUV daylight blue glow color were the flavor of the day.
               Smurf and Rage Red 2 fly meat rigs were again my top producers just like last season from July thru October 2011.  Click for our largest 5/26/12 King

5/26/12  Please take a moment, or two to remember what Memorial Day is really about. 
              It's to honor our fallen heroes going back to the Revolutionary War to the present and counting.  This ultimate bravery to give all will never be forgot.

5/25/12  Capt. Chucks (Ludington), Tangled Tackle and Shipwatch Marina in Manistee, MI are now restocked with a fresh supply of my flashers and meat rigs.
              Good news for this weekend is that a gallon of gas costs less then at this time last year.  Have a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

5/24/12  The unofficial start of the summer season, Memorial Day Weekend is almost upon us.  My plan is to take a few days off to complete an important mission.
              I have one of them gizmos that records depth by Fish Hawk called a TD.  This device will be used as I take notes on diver depths with regular and mag divers on different dial settings.  Then, this precise info with be shared on our message board.
                    Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, cuz you deserve it!

5/23/12  Today's featured image is a bar graph with WI data collected last February during trawls for chubs.  148 one year old Kings were caught and their planting sites indentified.  Big shocker is? ...only 14 Salmon were said to be natural fish, or 9%! 
              This 9% is a far cry from estimates to the contrary that claim 50% of the Chinooks/King Salmon are naturally reproduced fish. Click WI graph reel-data
              More hard reel-facts like this is needed to set the record straight and eliminate the word estimate.  Estimate can mean guess.  Guess & knowing are 2 different things!!
              Thanks to website member Steve S for passing on this reel WI DNR info.

5/22/12  Going to do something I have not done in 27 years in the fishing business.  That being a short mini vacation beginning 5/24/12 during a holiday weekend. 
               So, my shop is shutting down for a few days.  Any orders received on, or after 5/24/12 will be shipped after Memorial Day Weekend.  We all need a break from work.
               For about the past week we had a raccoon doing what raccoons do.  Like tipping over garbage cans looking for chow.  Captured this cute rascal & released Rocky Raccoon about 3 miles from my place at Pine Creek.  Click for Rocky Raccoon

5/21/12  A handful to 10 fish is considered good for the Port of Manistee, MI now.  Last Saturday's event Tight Lines for Troops 3 to 6 fish per boat was the norm.
              Seng's Marina in Manistee went all out and opened their facilities with welcome mat for our armed forces veterans.  Close to 60 boats participated for approximately 240 vets.  Manistee did a great job for deserving members from all branches of the military.
              Been way too busy with production issues for the past 2 weeks.  Looking forward to the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend ...bigtime!

5/20/12  With the approaching Memorial Day Weekend gas prices in Manistee, MI are just about they were at this time last year.  National news predictions said a lot higher, cuz they need horror stories to sell commercials.  Still, 3.80 a gallon is by no means a bargain.
               Fuel prices are the single biggest cost associated with Great Lakes fishing.  My first 4 trips the boat burned 5 gallons a trip.  My last 2 outings with boat runs to and back from almost Big Point Sable averaged right at 6 gallons. Click my boat's kicker
               Frugal fishing in a 22' boat can only be accomplished with a kicker motor.  My 4 stroke 15 hp. Johnson trolling motor cost close to 4k in 2007.  Justifying kicker expense can only be done by spreading it over several seasons to equal out the high initial cost.

5/19/12  Summer like weather is returning to Manistee, Mi with temps in the 80s.  Last time we seen solid 80 degree temps was that weird warm spell last March.
               Manistee's Tight Lines for Troops is happening today where vets get to go fishing for aboard charter and sport fleet vessels with no strings attached.
               Interest for Walleyes on Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie is gaining favor with our website members.  Late May into June the Walleye fleet comes out in force.

5/18/12  Genesis 1:3, Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Looks like the City of Manistee took a hint from the bible and installed new lights at the First Street Public Boat Launch.  Plus, one over the R2D2 machine that collects fees.
              Plan was to fish yesterday afternoon, but when we got to town around 4pm the wind was puffing from the SW with too much white water for me.  If the goal was just fishing?...the seas were tolerable.  Just not suitable for shooting video.  Keeping the camera still enough to capture live action would have been next to impossible.
              As luck would have it, the crews just finished putting up the new launch lights as Todd B, his son Dillon & I pulled in. Click 5/17/12 new Manistee ramp lights
              Good luck to all fishing in Manistee, MI's Tight Lines for Troops tomorrow.  Yesterday's fish report from Manistee said N was way-better then S.  Kings were still deep for the most part ...like a 150' down and deeper over 200' to 250' of water.  Keeping in mind, this info will be 48 hours old when tomorrow gets here.

5/17/12  Ramp and parking lights for Manistee, MI's are on backorder.  So, it looks like there will be light ...eventually.  Manistee's First Street Launch ramp is now collecting launch fees by a machine located as you pull in the entranceway.
              Warmer temperatures are on the way for Manistee this weekend.  80s for Saturday.  Sunday is the high 70s.  Seas predicted are in the 2 to 3 foot range. This coming weekend looks like great opportunity to wet a line for all central Lk. MI ports.
               Two most popular videos we've completed and published at You Tube are underwater web-movies.  Looks for more new subsurface action videos soon!

5/16/12  Got a tremendous lesson during the editing process in my latest underwater movie.  Fish hooked on the far right corner of their mouth have a tendency to run towards the starboard side of the boat during the fish battle.  I'm sure you've seen this.
              Never noticed this before with cross coursing fish before.  Fish turn their full body to opposite of where the hook is stuck in their chops. Click underwater Action
              Seeing this brought leader abuse into a new light.
              The range on my underwater video camera is between 30' to 40' in full sun about 1' to 2' below the surface.  The glint, reflection, or flash of a Salmon' s side is noticeable well before the fish comes into view. Like the reflection my flashers give off.
              Plan is to capture more video on this subject with a chase boat.
              During editing I was able to slow-motion the action frame by frame.  Seeing a Salmon tail undulate with power ripples going down thru it ...was truly amazing to me!

5/15/12  Got a tremendous lesson during the editing process in my latest underwater movie.  Fish hooked on the far right in the corner of their mouth have a tendency to run towards the starboard side of the boat during the fish battle.  I'm sure you've seen this.
              The range on my underwater video camera is some where  between 30' to 40' in full sun about 1' foot down.  The glint, reflection, or flash of a Salmon's side is noticeable well before the fish comes into view.  Much like the reflection my flashers give off.
              Plan is to capture more video on this subject with a chase boat.
              During editing I was able to slow-motion the action frame by frame.  Seeing a Salmon tail undulate with power ripples going down thru it ...was truly amazing to me!

5/15/12  Website member SteveO aka Steve S reported in with a glowing review about the King catchin' out of Kewaunee, WI.  Deep fish, like 120' to 160' down over 200 fow.
              SteveO's King stud rig was the 2012 4G SUV combo deal accounting for the majority of their 26 fish caught during last weekend.  Click Kewanee, WI Kings
              Another good report came from Sheboygan, WI with website member Bad Medicine in double figures on a short trip/maiden shake down cruise for 2012.
              Manistee, MI the trailer boat fleet is averaging around 3 to 8 fish per trip.  Complaints are building concerning the lack of lighting in the boat ramp area.

5/14/12  Can you spare 5 minutes?  Do you have a high speed net connection too? 
If so, ...then my new multi-scene underwater Salmon movie is ready now at You Tube.
               Main theme the King Salmon we caught and videoed underwater on 5/10/12. 
               Ever wonder what a fish does before it goes in the net from their point of view?
               Ever wonder if a fish caught 170' down can be released, then what it does?
               Ever wonder how much underwater distance visibility there is at high noon?
               Ever seen exactly how a Salmon's tail propels in thru the water?
               The answer to the above questions and more will be discussed this week. 
Ready for my new underwater movie yet? 
Click for subsurface Salmon action        

5/13/12  Two topics on the front burner today of great importance.  First off, John J & Todd B aka "Todd the Rod" made the new video of underwater Salmon action possible.  It takes all 3 of us in the back of my 22' Sea Ray to capture live action underwater shots. 
              This is no small feat when you consider there's not much room with a motor box on a boat with a 8' beam.  Major thanks JJ & Todd! Click 2 great video assistants
              Look for this new video we did last Thursday to debut tomorrow.  Gained new insights from dissecting/editing the underwater footage that will be discussed in detail.
              Second is ...I finally got a chance to observe the SUV flashers work down deep (150'-170') in full sun during the middle of the day with 5 bites from 10am to 1pm. 
              Light known to penetrate that deep is UV.  In turn, lighting up the highly UV reactive daylight blue glow SUV blades like a Christmas tree.
Click daylight blue glow

5/12/12  All 7 size sizes of Michigan Stinger's Dive Bombs are now in stock at my webstore.  These diving sinkers are a cost effective way to go deeper.  The 1 ounce size is, or soon will be a big hit with the Walleye anglers. Click for 7 sizes of Dive Bombs
              Been out of the charter business going on 9 years now.  Here's a hindsight observation to be shared with all charter skippers.  I pushed myself way too hard to produce numbers when in the end it was not the number of fish killed that kept customers coming back.  If folks like fishing with you?  They'll like 4, or 8 fish as much as 20.  Meat hounds that demand more?  Well, ...you don't want them on your boat anyways!

5/11/12  It was my pleasure to fish out of the Port of Manistee, MI with John J and "Todd the Rod" yesterday.  Our early morning program was a total exercise in futility. 
               Mid day action from 10am thru 1pm was tolerable.  We hit 5 fish willing to eat and boated 4 during high sun & very enjoyable fairly calm seas.
               150' to 170' down on the riggers with the 12" Black Mamba SUV/Rage Red 3 fly meat rig did most of the damage S of Guerney in about 190' to 210' of water.
               Side note to these deeper fish is how fast they come up to the top from depths to, and plus 150' down.  Click 5/10/12 King & described tackle
               Best news? ...we captured all 4 fish in a fascinating underwater video.  Seeing fish underwater fighting, coming closer to the boat, & being netted is remarkable event.
               All 4 of our starring video victims were treated for kindly for hook-in-jaw disease and released back into Lk. MI unharmed.  Click underwater King Salmon view

5/10/12  King action this spring is going strong to all I've been in contact with in WI and MI.  Manistee, MI's Kings are there for the early bite, then vanish after 9am.
              Posted a photo yesterday of a rod rack I built.  It's cost effective and EZ to build.  Some screws, PVC 1.5" pipe, PVC 1.5" end caps, and a 2 by 6 is al, that's required.
Already had the pipe.  Figure I have 20 bucks for 13 rod holders. Click rod rack
               Underwater video of the meat head is being received well.  Over 600 views in the first three days says more underwater videos will be forthcoming.

5/9/12  Here's the winning Harbor Beach, MI port report from Team Getaway:
We started the day in front of the wall at the harbor in 30fow and took a decent 10lb king and smaller 7lb trout right away both on spoons at the south gap on high 3 and 5 color cores. It was too crowded and the bite shut off after the first hour.
              So we worked our way straight out and slightly south to in front of the cemetery (approx 2 miles S of harbor). E-W troll from 60 to 50 fow took fish until about 10:30 on Chrome-Gold John King flashers, gold fly on the bottom (king & nice trout).
             Then we worked from 60fow out to 124 with silver bullet BTI/meat for the rest of the day took kings & big trout. The biggest king took a 300 copper rig with Gold Bullet 12" flasher and gold meat rig. Always E/W troll, N/S produced nothing. Riggers close to bottom, wire dipseys back 250' to 300' and 300' copper all loaded with meat took some great fish. It was nice to get good kings & trout on flashers/meat in Lake Huron again.
           Took 91.41lbs of fish. Lost 2 fish & had 2 or 3 other thumps with nobody home"

5/8/12  Team Getaway has 2 major tournament wins in a row.  Last August the Lk. MI Frankfort, MI event.  Then, this past weekend's Harbor Beach, MI Can-Can competition.
             Better yet? ...this Harbor Beach team is all pretty much website members.  They won over 7k for their efforts on Lk. Huron this past Sunday.  Click HB 7k check
             Team skipper, Bob K's input was instrumental in the final design for my meat heads.  Bob has done all CAD work for the die cuts and many other favors too.
             Rest of Team Getaway is comprised of Bob K Senior, 2-Shot & Capt. Mad Jack. 
     Good to see a bunch of nice guys finish first!   More on this reel-story tomorrow...  

5/7/12  Finished the underwater video of my Super Mag meat heads we took last Tuesday.  This was an eye opening event for me.  Seeing exactly what a fish see from their point of view is totally reel-awesome.  Click Underwater Smurf Meat Rig Demo
              Posted 20 videos on You Tube in the last 2 months and crossed the 10,000 views threshold.  Still learning the ins and outs.  Audio quality is a lot harder than video.
              You Tube uses their own proprietary program to compress video that speed up the load time.  This causes a 30 to 40% loss of video quality.  Even though the meat rig demo was shot in full HD the end result that you see? ...is far from the original footage. 
              Streaming web videos do compromise movie detail, but You Tube is still a wonderful media tool from me to share passion for Great Lakes fishing with you!

5/6/12  Took a photo of the Super Moon event last night around 11pm.  The moon was still kinda low and had to shoot this pic thru the trees.  The next time the moon will be this close to our planet will be in 2029. Click 5/5/12 Super Moon event
             Had fun snapping a photo of website member, Todd B aka "Todd the Rod."  Todd mans the rear deck like a hawk.  He's 6 for 7 bites and that's especially good considering all of these hits came deep. Like 155' to 120' feet down. Click Todd's mighty minnow
             You know you like fishing with someone when you can hang a nickname on them. In Todd's case for not missing hits "Todd the Rod" a was match made in heaven!

5/5/12  Super moon is the deal for tonight.  This is when the moon is closest to our earth.  Super moon will be 30% brighter then normal.
             If there's one thing the early King Salmon fishery in Manistee, MI proves? ...it's that water temperature means more then calendar dates.  April's King action off Manistee far surpasses anything in recent memory. 

5/4/12  Good luck to all hitting the Great Lakes this weekend.  Lk. MI is gonna play nice this weekend with 1 foot seas for central area ports.  Lk. Huron is at 4 to 5 footers for Harbor Beach, MI's Can-Can Tournament on Saturday.  Sunday at HB looks a lot better.
              Don't have any current info for Manistee.  Last Tuesday the big deal was tighter to structure in the 100' to 150' depth ranges.  S by Guerney to Big Point Sable was where the better catches came from back 3 days ago. Click 5/1/12 Manistee meat catch
              Twili Tips are now in stock and for sale at my webstore.  I've been using this product since 1989 and can vouch for it.  Twilis take the hassle out of fishing with wire divers and make winding in long sections of copper easier. Click for webstore
              You might ask, "how does it make reeling in copper line easier?"  Twili Tips do so by providing a smooth easy flowing arc.  Not a sharp hard-bend like regular rod tips do.

5/3/12  Early this morning southern part of Manistee County, MI is getting hit with a gulley washer.  Heard 4 to 5 inches on the local TV station.  This new water will eventually filter itself into the Big and Little Manistee Rivers.  Increase water flow should draw bait to Manistee's harbor area within the next 3, or 4 days.
             Posted a photo of the fish food used at the Platte River Hatchery N of Honor, MI to rear young fish.  This fish food brownish & fine grained. Click baby Salmon food
           Task at hand is to finish my underwater videos that are a game changer after seeing accurately how meat rig looks to a fish.  There's a bunch more going on then can be viewed from the surface.  Standby for this eye opening amazing video event!    

5/2/12  Escaped form the tackle business yesterday morning to go fishing out of the Port of Manistee, MI for a few hours and learned a ton of stuff.
             Lessons learned? ...how robust double digit Kings are after being dredged up from a 155' down.  Myth says deep fish can't be released, ...wrong!  After a short photo session this fish swam away from the boat fast.  Suffering from only a sore jaw.
             Recent E wind has slowed the Salmon action down off Manistee.  Look for this slowdown improve after some SW, or S wind.  Click 155' down Manistee Salmon
             Team Frayed Knot won last weekend's Lk. Huron Salmon Stakes Tournament.  This team has had a lock on these events for the last 2 years.
             Took some truly amazing underwater videos of my meat heads and how the attractor flies work.  Heretofore I had no clue what a fish saw, now I know exactly.

5/1/12  Today's featured photo is a female King Salmon we caught about a week ago out of Manistee, MI.  This was a dark fish.  The gill plate tinged brown just like an August adult.  The scales were tight ...unlike normal spring Kings that have loose scales.  Eggs still in skein were beginning to mature. Click for a dark April King Salmon
              Anomalies do occur ...I've caught full blown adult Kings in the Manistee River in March and April.  While these early arriving river fish are rare the commonality is they were always all females coming to spawn about 6 months early.

4/30/12  Preliminary catch reports from our message read are good.  S Lk. MI on the State of Michigan side is leading the way.  EZ limits have been reported.
               Talk about an eye opening experience? ...last Monday I held baby 3 to 4 inch Kings in my hand at the Platte River Hatchery N of Honor Michigan.  This was the beginning cycle of Salmon's life.  Then, 2 days later on Lk. MI was handling King/Chinook Salmon on the other side of 15 pounds.  Click baby Kings being tagged
               Really don't know how to explain this experience and do it justice.  But my want to kill fish is becoming more difficult over time.  I released about 20 fish in 2011 and plan on letting more go free this year for others to enjoy as much as I have!

4/29/12  Word on the weather? ...this is the first time we've had a warmer March then April.  This month has been chilly struggling to reach the 50s in Manistee, MI.
              On 4/23/12 part of the update was the Kmart rubber mats installed in my boat.  This mats make excellent meat rig holders too. Click homemade meat rig case
              To make your own meat rig cases the dimensions of the rubber inserts is 7.75 by 13.5 inches with a slot cut about every inch for separation.  The number on the Plano box is 2-3731.  Meat Rig cases were in-demand hot selling items at my webstore.  This was before the company that made the inserts went belly up. 
               Worst part of this deal for me?  Leader Pro (the company) that went defunct never had the common decency to return any of my calls.  I see why they went broke!

4/28/12  Wow ...what a week!  Went to the hatchery on Monday, came up with a new flasher on Tuesday, then proved it worked the next day being Wednesday. 
              It was nice to steal a few hours on Lk. MI with an outstanding crew this past Wednesday morning and still be home in time to get rush orders out the door.
              Posted two new videos on Thursday and another better quality short movie on yesterday.  Guess you can say, ....I had a pretty full plate last week.

4/27/12  Website member Todd B took home the 5 Kings we caught two days ago.  I asked him, "please, ...check the stomachs for bait."  Click stomach inspection
               Todd did an over the top job by removing all 5 stomachs for inspection and sent me a photo.  3 Kings were empty and 2 fish had 1 alewife in their gullets.
                Plus, Todd indentified the sex and said all 5 were hens.  This is probably just  coincidence member, SteveO's 4/22/12 Kewaunee, WI catch ...had all females too.
                Getting the itch to go fishing?  New video I posted on You Tube should help
set the mood for what's in store for you this weekend.  Click new 2G video
                 This video has a far better sound track.  Most due to a bunch better HD video camera.  Still learning the ins and outs of editing, but it's a preview of progress.

4/26/12  Fished out of my home port of Manistee, MI yesterday morning with website members Todd B and John J.  We had lines in the water from about 8am until 11am.
              Action was mediocre with 5 bites and 5 boxed.  Best depth on the riggers was 150' down.  3 of our Mamba meat munching Kings came there.  Took one fish on a 120' downrigger.  One fish on a mag wire diver with 250' line off the reel dialed on 1.5.
              Water was reel cold.  Autopsy results showing 3 of the Salmon had empty bellies.  2 fish had bait in it, ...one Alewife apiece.  Click for our 4/25/12 fish box
              Slow was the troll speed, like 1.5 mph in water that would be ice if it was 8 degrees colder.  Kings are lethargic coming up from that deep and fight more like a Laker, but do peel the drag.  Just don't expect summer reel-screamers in 40 degree water.
              Painted up a few test version G2 flashers.  Just like the 4G Mamba without the glow tape.  Every bite, every fish came on the new G2 Mambas.
              Did capture 2 fish on video with the netcam.  Sound quality needs major help. The mic picks up every noise the net makes banging into stuff.  The second King in the video was a cluster when it got into the port rigger.
Click 4/25/12 Netcam Action

4/25/12  Spoke with owner Craig from Captain Chucks in Ludington, MI recently.  Their Brown fishery is doing a lot better then Manistee.  Spring browns are great table fare with a mild fish flavor.  He did inform me Ludville Kings were on the slow side and spotty.
               Videoed 20 scenes in full HD while I was at the Platte River Hatchery on Monday.  Task at hand is to piece/edit all these together now.  Posted a photo of the inner workings of the tag and clip operation.  Click for interior of fish trailer
              The blue box machines insert the micro tags in the 2" to 3" young Salmon.

4/24/12  My most gracious thanks to Phil S, Maintenance Supervisor at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery.  He was kind enough to give me a personally guided tour of the Chinook/Salmon tagging and fin clipping operation being done in $1.2 mil automated US Fish and Wildlife trailers.  More on this tomorrow. Click for this trailer
              Mambas and meat was the reel-deal for website member, SteveO with a respectable catch from Kewaunee, WI. Steve took 7 Kings and  bow/Steelhead down deep.  150' to 115' on the riggers to be exact. Click 4/22/14 Kewaunee Kings
              There's a common thread running thru the Manistee and Kewaunee port reports on our message board.  None of the Kings had baitfish in the stomachs.

4/23/12  Yesterday's fishing out of Manistee. MI was good to fair depending on who you spoke to.  Kings are still deep off the "shelf" ...about 3 miles W of port.
               Manistee's new 2012 combined entrance-exit traffic flow at the boat ramp is not gaining any rave reviews.  Only complaints thus far from the weekend fleet.
               Installed rubber mats on my boat's floor.  Cost for the 1/2" snap together mats was around 50 bucks and took about 3 hours to complete.  This is a stop gap measure until time allows spraying in pickup bed liner.  Not sure how long these mats will hold up, but they're nice and comfortable to walk on. Click before & after boat floor project
                        Note to self: define "nice fish" for a future update.    

4/22/12  Good luck to all fishing today.  Waiting for word on Manistee's April King fishery that is pretty much undiscovered territory until now.  Reasons could be many, but I'd point my finger at March's record warmth that woke the fish up early.
              Have an interesting week planned.  Big deal is a trip to the Platte River hatchery for photos and video of the fin clipping/wire tagging operation slated to last thru this coming Friday.  Feds have two 1.6 million dollar automated trailers that fin clip and wire tag the young Chinook/King Salmon.  Stay tuned for more info on this worthy subject.
              Gas prices have fallen to about what we were paying last year at this time.

4/21/12  Took a short field trip to check out Pine Creek's run of April Steelhead.  Pine Creek is always a source of fascination to me when it loads up with Salmon in the fall.
               Recent rains made it difficult to do any Steelhead snooping, but it's still a great experience when you can hear the gentle muted gurgle of a reel-Trout stream.
               This is designated DNR Trout waters with no fishing until the last Sat. in April.
               Did manage a split combined photo with one image from last October's stream conditions compared to yesterday's rain runoff. Click for this split image

4/20/12  Shoreline Brown fishing in Manistee, MI continues to be a nonissue.  April Manistee Browns are a good candidate for the endangered specie list. 
              Those that can get dialed in on deep cold water Kings are doing good.  This week I heard a lot of 100' to 150' down out to 250' of water.  Mambas and meat had been the program from those who are comfortable fishing down to and over 100'.
               Sonar tip from what I experienced in deep cold water requires turning the gain up to see what's down there if your machine is anything like mine.
               Seas for tomorrow looks lumpy off Manistee, but Sunday looks decent.

4/19/12  I want to thank Dan O'Keefe from Michigan Sea Grant for making the Salmon Stocking Workshop available online.  Adobe Flash Player broadcast the speakers (left pane) live in a 3 way split screen.  Center screen was online comments and the right 3rd pane was for Power Point Presentations.  It was a good as being there in person. 
              My kudos to Dan O'Keefe for making this possible.  I hope all future Sea Grant meetings will follow suit.  One thing last Saturday's workshop showed is the dedication from the fishery experts to keep the Lk. MI Salmon Fishery alive & vibrant for a longtime!

4/18/12  Now thru 5/1/12 I'm offering the new 2012 4G meat heads along with the top selling deadly Rage Reds in 4 packs.  Click to check it out
               Scoured the world to find a less expensive source for the red and green invisible colorant until a long wave black light causes the pigment to fluoresce.
               Truly I do not know if the fish can detect UV.  Experts have said yes, but to me it's a blurry mystery?  For a reef-fact ...I do know the Smurf & Rage Red SUV heads took most of my fish in 2011 including a 5 King Salmon box that pushed a 100 pounds!
                2012 4G SUV pattern means an entire RGB (red, blue & green) spectrum covering all the bases in useful fish-weapons to be deployed this season.

4/17/12  Congratulations to Team Fray'd Knot skippered by Capt. Chris Sieman for winning Lake Huron's Spring Fling tournament.  This event was put on by the Blue Water Sport Fishing Association.  Here's a copy & paste email Capt. Chris sent to me:

"We finally put it all together. Here is a few pics of the crew and our day 2 catch.  105lb total for 2 days, we weight 10 fish each day. We have been doing well on a few 10 to 12 lb kings and lots of steelhead and browns. 
            Also lots of healthy 3-4 lb coho's. Fishing has been great lots of silver fish.  My crew is  Tim C, Jeff T, Nick K, & Scott T. This is a big one $5,000 for 1st plus $1,000 in side bets. Thanks for all your help." Click 4/15/12 Lk. Huron fish & Team Fray'd Knot

4/16/12  Looks like St. Joe/Benton Harbor, MI was the big deal port last weekend from today's featured catch photo by website member, Klev6. Click for this photo
              Report I have from Manistee. MI is from this past Saturday.  Deep cold water Kings were being caught 100' to 180' down over 200' plus of water.  Mambas and meat were the flavor of the day according to my sources.
              Please review the 4/15/12 update about proposed future stocking cuts to the Lk. MI King fishery.  I will revisit this significant topic soon with more info.

4/15/12  Did the online meeting for the Salmon Stocking Workshop yesterday from about 2:30 until I ran out of bandwidth around 4pm.  Lots of drama we do not need.
              Anything negative about our fishery effects the public's perception of Great Lakes Salmon fishing in general.  In turn, our multi billion dollar sport suffers from less people being drawn into it.  Charter interest wanes, less boats are sold, the fishing tackle industry suffers, and more private marinas are turned into condovilles.
             In spite of the largest Kings we seen in many years in 2011? ...the claim is the alewife (baitfish) population is in jeopardy.  There's a lot of flawed science being drawn into the picture by higher-ups in charge of the decision making process.
             In today's society cuts backs are deemed a fashionable trend.  A 50% cutback in the Lk. MI King/Chinook Salmon stocking program has been proposed by those with no invested accountability for their actions.  You see, ...they make their decisions with total impunity, because they still get a paycheck whether they're right ...or wrong?

4/14/12  Plan is to postpone today's topic until I have a chance to boil down what's being cooked up at the Salmon Stocking Workshop.  I will be attending this meeting online this afternoon.  Click here to register for this online meeting
             Excerpt from today's meeting around 3pm: Roger Aho posted, "I would ask that Michigan to make up a bigger portion of the stocking cuts, as they have the bulk of the natural reproduction on the many great trout and salmon spawning streams like the Betsie, Manistee, Pere Marquette and Grand Rivers. The slow moving, silt filled rivers on the Wisconsin side just do not have the good spawning beds, so we depend much more on hatchery fish. Michigan has many more "native" fish than we do in Wisconsin. I would support option 4, with Michigan doing a larger portion of the stocking cut than Wisconsin. It is so important that our grandchildren be able to take their kids out fishing on Lake Michigan, so we must protect the resource for the long term, and make sure that the fishery does not collapse."
Here's what I posted at 3:49pm: John King: "If cuts are in the works? ...penalizing/favoring certain ports more than other ports is not right.!
Cuts to be fair has to be equal and across the board."

4/13/12  Fished my home port of Manistee, MI yesterday.  Tried some experimental meat heads tuned to slow troll at 1 mph behind cowbells in the harbor for about an hour.
              Moved to deeper water and set up in 150' of water and fished from about 10am thru 2pm out to 230' of water.  Hit one fish on the new 4G BTI and same meat rig off a diver.  Unfortunately this fish pulled a Houdini act and escaped.
              Do not form an opinion about Manistee's "off the shelf fish" from my lack of results.  Surface temp was 40 degrees and I've never done well in cold water for Kings.
              Yesterday pump price for regular gas in Manistee was 3.88 a gal.  About 25 cents higher then this time last year.  Manistee always has high gas prices.

4/12/12  Big news from yesterday is when I found out the DNR is proposing drastic stocking cutbacks in their cold water species, i.e. Salmon, Lk. Trout, Browns, & Steelhead.
              17 pounds was mentioned as a target weight for 3 year Kings of 17 to 15 pound for 3 year old Chinooks/King Salmon.  This is a lofty goal seeing a 3 year Coho is a MDNR Master Angler fish at 12 pounds.  My point of contention is using a computer simulation to predict average weight for fish.  There's too many variables to compute when genetics  are overlooked in a 40 some year old strain of hatchery fish to be accurate.
             This and more will be discussed at the Lake Michigan Salmon Stocking Workshop, Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, MI on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 1:00 4:30 PM.

4/11/12  The silver lining to yesterday's chilly Manistee, MI weather is that only the hardcore/diehard fishermen would brave the elements. The temperature stayed in the 30s with a light dusting of early morning snow.  It was more like winter, then spring weather.
              With not many fishing ...this is Manistee's breathing space to reload with fish.  Inshore off the beach trolling for Brown Trout needs all the help it can get.
              Never paid much attention to barometer readings for big lake fish.  In the river a low bottomed out stationary barometer shuts the fish down. Click 4/10/12 light snow
     Part II: There's rumblings in the not too distant future the MDNR is considering cutting the Chinook/King Salmon Lk. MI stocking efforts by 50%.  This is predicated on if the average weight of Kings is not over 17 pounds.  30% further reduction in the other species like Browns, Coho, & Steelhead is a reel-possibility too. Click for more info

4/10/12  What makes a great Great Lakes spring Salmon port?  It's water, or maybe better put the new water from rivers being added to the watershed.  This is new water full of nutrients to kick start the biomass to grow plankton for the bait fish.
             Attract the bait fish and everything else falls in place.  St. Joe/Benton Harbor, MI has the St. Joe River dumping in mega gallons of rich fertile water that acts as a magnet to the baitfish.  Any port with a major river system is excellent for spring Kings!

4/9/12  This past Saturday was kind to Manistee, MI's fleet.  King Salmon were caught off the shelf (about 3 miles from shore) down about 100' over 200' of water. 
             Heard about this fishery for about a week now, but it's contrary to the norm for spring Kings.  May Kings? ...it can happen anytime during the month.
              April Manistee Kings is new territory from me to report on ...probably due to the record setting warm March weather.  Click 4/7/12 Manistee Kings
              Manistee Browns improved a tad around the Manistee's harbor to N of Orchard Beach State Park.  Searching for a reason for the uptick in fishing checked the barometer for this past Saturday and it was high.  Above 30.3 for most of the morning and it never dropped below 30.1.

4/8/12  Sundays are supposed to be a day off.  With that thought in mind regular updates will resume tomorrow.  Focus will be on what separates an average Lk. MI spring port from an outstanding one.  This answer will be revealed and more on the way...

4/7/12  Good luck to everyone fortunate enough to be fishing today.  Lk. MI seas are predicted to play nice for the weekend warrior fleet.
             One problem leads to another when the first problem is misdiagnosed.  Throttle cable was broke on my kicker motor.  Carburetor return spring pushed the throttle cable back, but not enough to cause full idle.  Fast idle meant hard shifting & even worse?
 ...not being able to slow down to a crawl to deal with feisty fish.  Subtracting a good mph from trolling speed works wonders & is a tremendous help working fish to the net!
             I demand total control the speed of my boat and not the other way around.  Important part is everything is fixed now and ready to hit the pond when time allows.

4/6/12  Manistee, MI's inshore fishermen struggled yesterday to buy a bite.  One of Manistee's local small boat experts, Take Five (Wayne J) only had one hit before throwing in the towel.  Same deal on the other 3 boats Mr. Take Five spoke with.
            Times like this make me happy I'm no longer in the charter biz.  It's one thing for me now ...to fish the shoreline and catch one, or two Browns on a fun outing.
            It's another thing altogether to have paying customers aboard while action is lacking.  It's hard to salvage a charter trip when there's not many fish at your port!
            Best inside reports I had from yesterday came from St. Joe/Benton Harbor, MI.

4/5/12  There are a few Kings being caught in and around Manistee, MI's harbor.  Deep water off the shelf is showing a few signs of life too.  Just keep in mind these are only the scouts for the main herd. This is about a good month ahead of schedule.
             Second quarter business stuff has me tied up today with building a new page for the past results (Captain's Log) that dates back to i2k.  Having an 12 year daily running commentary helps me keep the reel-facts straight for a reference source.
             Introductory sale pricing in the new 4G tackle has ended.  Thanks to all who purchased my cutting edge 21st century tackle. 

4/4/12  Something that I'm is awe of is how the weekend warrior fleet can pound out double digit catches with no prior water time.  Adjusting to what the lake presents and on short notice surpasses even my expectations. Click 3/31/12 Lk. Huron catch
            Last weekend website members FBD, Reelthing and msmcquire had some pretty impressive boxes after being onshore all week. Plus, they did it on Lakes Huron & MI.
            Thanks to all who purchased the tackle we offer during our early season sale.  Even at regular prices my tackle is a bargain, cuz it works all season long.  With my own eyes I seen my same 2011 SUV tackle produce in July, August, September & October!

4/3/12  Posted a lot better picture of the 25 pound hog Brown Trout caught off Benton Harbor, MI not too long ago.  This fish is a fine reel-trophy! Click 25# hog Brown
            Last day of the 9.5% discount on all tackle at my webstore on purchases over 50 bucks.  Free shipping on all orders over 100 makes this a bonafided reel-deal!
            The promo code: 950-Fish used by many is working with zero issues.  This shows how tech savvy today's online shopper is. Click last day of early season sale

4/2/12  Reports from the southern end of Lk. MI continue to be respectable.  Mixed bags of Coho, Lk. Trout, Kings and Browns are being caught.
             Haven't heard much about my homeport of Manistee, MI lately which is usually a sign of slow fishing.  I was lucky enough to fish Manistee twice in March.  Neither time did I mark any bait in, or around the harbor.  Nor were there any gulls present on the breakwalls.  No harbor gulls is a sure sign bait fish are scarce.
             Ludington is about the same too according to my sources.
             Reset the expiration code: 950-Fish for a 9.5% discount at my webstore to last thru tomorrow at midnight. Click last 2 days for early season sale

4/1/12  April Fools Day, but this is not a Fools Day joke.  2011 fishing licenses expired and you now need a 2012 to be legal.  MI fishing license fees are very reasonable considering the tonnage of fish the Great Lakes offer.
            MI all species license is $28.00.  Purchased my first senior (0ver 65) all species license for 11.20 online which is one helluva bargain! Click for online MI licenses
            The few reports I've read from S Lk. MI are encouraging with some double digit Kings being caught already.  This is ahead of the norm which is more like late April.
            Extending the promo code sale thru Monday until noon.  It's a semi chore to change pricing inside the java script & the html codes that run the webstore.