2014 April, May, & June

5/15/14 Brown Trout
Manistee, MI
Small Brown, big Alewife

Backyard Fawn
Nature's camo

6/21/14  Walleyeville!
Cedar Creek, Ontario, Canada

First Project 2015 Fish
6/16/14 Manistee, MI
Long ways from done!


Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

6/30/14  Looks like about a 8 degree temperature break off the Port of Manistee, MI and other central Lk. MI ports.  Good thing is? ...this temp differential is close to structure, or the drop-off/shelf where Lk. MI rapidly gains depth.  Click 6/29/14 temp chart
              Essentially, this is a double fence that helps concentrate fish.  Another fact is?
The way the lake has setup now, is a month behind normal.  If, there is such a thing!
              Tomorrow? ...why you should avoid Manistee MI's 1st Street Launch?

6/29/14  Happy-happy Sunday!  It was hot and sticky at my place in Manistee County yesterday with temps approaching 90 degrees. 
              South winds have formed the first thermocline according to what I seen last Thursday evening on the big pond.  Lk. MI stratifying will drive the Kings deeper.  Deeper is good, cuz fussy Kings are the most light sensitive Salmon we have in the Great Lakes.  If you're an attractor/meat fishermen? ...the deeper the fish are, the dumber they get!

6/28/14  Came to the wise conclusion I'm a whole lot better at making/shipping tackle than I am at fishing nowadays.  Anyone can do Great Lakes fishing and become fairly accomplished at it.  All it requires is time on the water to gather intel.  My 3 to 4 hours a week I get to fish Lk. MI is just enough to mount a serious threat to the fish any longer.  Nowadays, if I do hit the fish? ...it's more a matter of luck, then skill.
               In the beginning? ...we just want to catch one.  Then, catch our 1st limit and increase our fish producing skill sets to get others into fish on a regular basis.
               In my case, developing a line of tackle that's so deadly all the above goals are met by those who use my tackle.  By "those" I mean: charter skippers, tournament fishermen, & the UTMOST important to me? ...the sport fishing public at large!

6/27/14  Congratulations are in order to message board member, Verdict aka Tim P for winning last weekend's long running Manistee Bud Pro-Am in the Pro Division. 
              Verdict III had the heaviest catch the first day by an ass-kicking 30 pounds and the second best on weight on day 2, just few pounds from the top spot.  Tim & team had the heaviest King in his division at 19 pounds too!  Click for tournament tally
              I know several of the pro side boats/teams Tim competed against from my charter days and they were ALL top notch teams.  Comprised mostly of past winners!
              Yesterday, fished a short afternoon out of Manistee, MI to aim video cams and test prototype P15-V.5s.  Numbers are for my reference when this all comes together.
              Hours on the pond of actual trolling? ...5pm thru 7:30pm.  Didn't see much around under my boat in 100' out to 300' of water straight out of port.  Didn't feel like beating on a dead horse was the reason for pulling the plug early.

6/26/14  Made new hardtop action cam mount with my 3D printer.  Extension mount is from GoPro modified to fit Sony cams.  You cannot buy this custom part.  It has to be printed out.  Raising the cam higher will facilitate better downward/overhead angle to see the riggers go off.  Maybe the divers too. Click 2014 hardtop cam mount
              Another good thing about this new mount? ...it's easy on and off with a tripod head scavenged off an old light duty camera tripod no longer used.
              Last season was my first reel-effort capturing onboard video, in real-time, exactly as it happens.  Yes, it's a major challenge.  The whole video making process is. 
              Modifying mounts and aiming rigger cams time consuming to get it right.  Learned from my mistakes in 2013 that will not be repeated this year.  This is ultra important when water time is hard to come by ...when the fish are on the hard bite!

6/25/14  Just not much to report today.  Work, work, and work has me shop bound trying to keep up with demand.  Which is a good thing and sure beats the alternative.
               Fishing as a profession requires dedication, passion, and being able to recognize how lucky you are.  Lot's of people have jobs they never fully embrace.
  Let's see if I can come up with something more interesting for tomorrow, like fishing!

6/24/14  Target date for my next fishing event is this coming Thursday afternoon.  Water testing prototypes that will be documented on video with my hat cam, hardtop cam and 2 rigger cams.  It's one thing to tell a story.  It's another to prove it on video.
               Checked out the weights from Manistee's recent Bud Pro-Am tournament.  Looks like the largest Kings caught were in the 19 and 20 pound bracket.
               Don't know what's up with waning interest in the tournament scene.  Manistee's Bud-Am used to have 200 boats participating.  Now, that number is about 50.

6/23/14  Major progress on all fronts by working this past weekend.  Modified the arms on the rigger cam weights.  Next move is to water test and dial in the object/lure being towed in the center of the frame.  Having 2 rigger cams will make good video that will be shared later this season, or when time allows this fall. Click purr-dee rigger weights
              Please do not ask me where to get these weights that were made by a friend of a friend, who does not make these available to the public at large.
              We're lucky in Michigan having 2 world class Walleye fisheries on our doorstep.  Saginaw Bay gets a lot of press now, but Lk. Erie can be every bit as good.  I know, having run charters on Lk. Erie from 1983-1989.  Click 6/21/14 Lk. Erie Walleyes
             In those days, we had a 10 fish per person limit that was a given, when you left the dock.  40 to 60 Lk. Erie Walleyes on 1/2 day trips were the norm!

6/22/14  Welcome to the second full day of official summer of 2014.  This is the weekend Manistee's long running Budweiser Pro Am Tournament.   Decided to postpone today's water test trip to less crowded weekday conditions. 
                This year 2 rigger cams will be used with special underwater lens covers for color correction.  Need to shorten/move the arms on the rigger weights used used to capture underwater action.  This will help balance the weight.  Plus, closer the cam is to the weight, the better the slip stream effect.  Had a bunch of issues last year trying to center the frame behind the action cams.  Click for this setup
               Oil in my 4 stroke kicker motor and lower end gear lube is another task for today.  Now's the time to take care of stuff like with the best part of the season still to come.  Luck is when preparation meets opportunity and I plan on being prepared!

6/21/14  P15-V5.BC is ready to get wet sometime this weekend.  Time will tell, but I feel like I'm getting close to something that will revolutionize the way we fish the Great Lakes.  No one in the world wants to share this with you more than me.  Potential patent rights prevent "letting this cat out of the bag" before the patent process has begun.
               Both today and tomorrow are good days to go.  Sunday being overcast might be the better choice for prototype water tests.

6/20/14  Happy Friday!  Going to try to spent a digital free weekend.  Computers have invaded every section of our lives.  That's fine for the silent ones, but for computers we have to operate? ....every now and then, a break is a good idea.
              Lk. MI seas for tomorrow off the Port of Manistee, MI: ESE wind 5 to 10 kt becoming WNW in the afternoon. Partly sunny. Waves 1 ft or less.

6/19/14  Results of our recent DNR poll was close to a dead heat.  52% were negative with 48% being positive.  The bigger picture says 74% rated the government agency from terrible to fair.  Guess 48% is a good number for nowaday's government.
             Motor mount on my 3D printer broke.  MacGyver-ed back together with mechanic's wire to print out the replacement housing/mount from Thingiverse. 3D printers have long-long ways to go before this tech is anything close to being perfected.
                   Tomorrow?  ...technology free weekend and why!

6/18/14  Back-story to this past Monday's fishing trip is we worked the weekend to get orders out the door ASAP on Monday with no delays.  Then, be home early enough after the fishing trip to clear up any orders that came in on Monday.
               Like to mention the first caught P15 fish is alive and well.  This fish was released in a show of gratitude for his fond liking of P15.  Also, this was a naturally spawned King with no adipose fin clip.  Not a large fish by any standards, but very frisky!
              Fishing is all about fun.  Not numbers killed.  Did enough of that in my charter days and now enjoy putting fish back just ...as much as catching them!
              Weirdest thing? ...after watching the action of test P15-V4? ...it was so different from anything I watched in the water before, almost never sent it down. Then, I figured? ...what the heck, I'm here to check lure designs and sent it down to 55'.

6/17/14  Sunday's SSE blow cooled off the water at the Port of Manistee, MI.  Anything over 200' of water? ...you're in 40 degree water.  There were deep meat program fish lurking at 100' to 150' depths off the shelf, but we were targeting higher fish where the light is better for capturing fish hits on video.  Click John J with 1st P15 King
               Granted, only took one fish during yesterday's short trip with John J (had lines in the water from 7:45am-10:30am).  Don't use this to form an opinion about this port.  Spent most of our time testing/trying/rigging several forms of prototypes.
               Have no doubt anyone with a good deep meat program would have put more fish in the boat then what JJ and I did yesterday morning. Click secret Project P15-V4
               Please let me explain, P15 stands for a new tackle concept being, Project 2015.  I'm trying to combine the wobble of a Rapala, the wiggle of a spoon, the darting action of a J-Plug, the wide arcing spin of one of my meat heads all wrapped up in one neat package.  Plus, carry the scent trail of a fresh bait fish that drives fish nuts.
               Sounds ambitious right? ...been thinking about this for 3 years, but it wasn't until 3D printing technology was I able to take this conundrum.  I'm on Version 4 that shows limited promise, but still needs a lot of construct refinements. 

6/16/14  Mr. Nice Guy, Ken W from KRW trolling tackle stopped by yesterday to pick up some SUV heads for his production needs.  He shared, fishing is pretty good, lots of drop back spawned out Steelhead with the best fishing over 200'-250' of water.
                   Hope to have a reel report in the 1st person very soon!

6/15/14  Have a great Father's Day!!

6/14/14  Friday the 13th being unlucky? ...for me, that depends how you look at it.  Set a web sales top day for 2014 yesterday.  But that means I cannot go water test P15 version 4 today, as originally scheduled.  Guess that's the unlucky part.  I'm way too dedicated to customer service and will be processing and shipping orders today.
              With improved catch rates this year, there's been a run on my Mamba series.  So, painting Mambas is another task for today.  13th, or not, spent 31 years of my life building a career that's reely-enjoyable no matter what day it is! Click Mamba series

6/13/14  Friday the 13th, full moon and Father's Day Weekend is what's on tap for today.  Superstitious people are spooked by Friday 13s being unlucky.  I'm not of this mindset, because luck is when opportunity meets preparation and we do that ourselves.
              Friday the 13th with a full moon? ...some think catch rates fall off, cuz on s clear night fish can feed better when it dark, leaving them less apt to bite in the daylight.
              Father's Day is set aside to honor our dads in a show of appreciation.  My dad a WWII vet was killed in an accident stateside (after the war was over) before I was born and never had a chance to do this.  So, for me this is a very touching holiday where I see the true meaning, and what I've missed.  Blood is always thicker than water!
              Not to self: P15 continues to be problematic, one answer just leads to another question.  Can do quality prints in PET, ABS and PLA.  PET by far is the strongest plastic my printer can handle.  PET is the plastic they make soft-drink and water bottles out of.  PET is a polyester related to the gel fiberglass boats are made with.  So, it's pretty tough stuff and must for reel-world test prototyping!

6/12/14  Facebook is an excellent subject for today.  Totally don't understand why people ask me to "like" their Facebook page.  Kinda defeats the purpose if you have to ask somebody to "like" you, ...doesn't it?  I could never in a 1000 years ask somebody to "like" me, or my Facebook page.  It's just territory, I'm not comfortable with.
              Dummies should never use social media.  They convict themselves by making ignorant statements.  Then, serve it on plate so the whole world can read it.
              Fishing has held up OK this week in Manistee, MI.  Last Saturday's EZ fishing has slowed due to Sunday's N wind. There's still Kings at this port to catch.

6/11/14  Busy building tackle and revising P15 version 3 is how yesterday went.
Here's a customer testimonial/port report from website member Old Paint, aka Tom M:
               "Saturday Manistee (6/7/14): 30 hits 19 landed anywhere from 120 to 350’ straight out down 80 to 120’ Krystal Killer chute rigger with meat caught 9 at 100’ Hit a slick and had 4 hits on steelhead. Great morning!"

6/10/14  Manistee's sport fleet never got a second chance on Sunday to see if the Saturday's good fishing would carry over.  Strong N wind that kept the wise dockside.
              Which brings me to my second point, we do not need more N wind to run cold water in on us.  It stands to figure with last winter's brutally cold temps, cold water was going to be an issue for the early part of the season.  Unless, I miss my guess, recent N winds broke apart the pod of Kings that "were" at Manistee, MI.
             P15 notes to self: design mods, moved onto version 3.  These notes will be used in an article when Project 2015 becomes a reality. Worked on prototypes until 1am.

6/9/14  Please take a good look at today's featured Manistee, MI catch photo by website member, Kimbo.  You'll see only one for-sure adult, a King pushing 20 pounds.  This was part of the problem with low catch number in 2013, we had only one year class, 4 years olds to work with.  Juvenile King Salmon were a no show during 2013 in Manistee, MI.
             Reason fishing was hot in Manistee this past Saturday?  ...finally had some warm 50 degree water setup on the shelf (3 miles W of part).  Deal was the fish were coming from the 44 degree water over 150' to 200' straight out of Manistee from the 16s to the 12s.  Water inside of this was all gunked up with debris.  Click Kimbo's catch
             I had a little time to water test P15 and established a solid baseline to work from.  My wife and I hit 3 fish from 5pm till 7pm, then we headed for the dock so I could make design mods.  Which I did until 3am Sunday morning.

6/8/14  Yesterday was the right day to fish Manistee, MI.  Several limits with some Kings pushing 20 lbs. were caught by a lot of boats.   Click 6/7/14 Manistee limit
              150' to 200' of water was the reel deal off Manistee's shelf.  More on this later today, it's 2am right now and I need some ZZZZZZs.
               Pretty wiped out for today after doing design mods on P15A version2 and P15B version2 till 3am this morning.  I'll get after the important data from Manistee

6/7/14  Finally restocked with Cortland's Black Spot Spectron 35# test Super Braid.  Been using this line since 1992 and haven't found anything that comes close.  If you're after maximum diver depth, strength and long term performance, please consider. 
             I have it both 1200 and 600 yard spools.  600 yards spools, retail for 69.95, your price? ...10 bucks off at 59.95.  Click for more info on braid & mono 

6/6/14  Happy Friday!  Please vote and rate your DNR's performance.  Negatives hold a slight lead.  Did see 6 voted excellent and came to the conclusion DNR employees have a right to vote too.  I will leave this poll in-place for about a week.
             Tomorrow's wind and wave Lk. MI forecast looks pretty enticing!  Throw in the free fishing weekend offered in MI with no license needed to go wet a line is a reel-deal!

6/5/14  Drill down data can expose things we do not want to see!  Checked out Manistee's once famed Brown Trout charter catch numbers during March and April for the years of: 2011 (37), 2012 (99), and 2013 (38).  So, for 3 year's of effort the grand total, ...drum roll please, ...a pitiful 172 Browns.  Click to verify these numbers
              Charter skippers for the most part know how to put fish in the boat, so lack of skill is not the reason behind these woeful "joke's on us" numbers. 
              The lack of skill clearly rests on shoulders of the MDNR and their failed policies trying to sustain a fishery with a genetically weak strain of hatchery fish that's just not working.  Cost per Brown caught has to be astronomical.

6/4/14  Think it's a joy to be a charter skipper and produce huge boxes everyday?  Guess again, cuz it's not!  Click 2013 reference material from the MDNR
               Season long averages from the MI charter catch data revealed the King/Chinook Salmon declined from 7 fish to 3 fish in 2013. 
             Overall charter catch numbers looked like 7 fish per outing, once again from data complied during 2013.  Click 2013 charter catch data port specific
             This is a long ways from what I used to average, even in lean year, still did an 11 fish (all Salmon and Trout).  Had years that pushed the 20 number based on a season long average.   So, for nowadays charter operators? ...it's no bed of roses!
             Most shocking desparity was in 2012, Manistee charters took 12,600 Kings.  2013 numbers fell to 4,600 Kings.  That's close to a 66% decline/fall off!       

6/3/14  Word travels fast when fishing is good.  Last weekend the spring King fishing in Ludington, MI was firecracker red hot.  Heard the sports fleet had 2 and 3 person limits (5 Kings) in 2 hours, ...or less?  Now, that's commendable! Click 5/31/14 Ludington limit
             Haven't heard much from Manistee yet.  Been too busy with design mods for Projects 2015 that's eating up massive quantities of time.

6/2/14  Stiff warm breezes to almost 30 knots from the S yesterday and today is improving the Lk. MI water temp off Manistee, MI.  12 degree temp break of 62 to 50 degrees on the 25 W line 3 miles out on the shelf had to push some fish in.
             Said last week we fished Manistee for 3 hours & only marked 3 fish.  This is kinda a misnomer, cuz high (top 30' fish) usually do not put a lot of marks on the sonar.
             Best fishing reports I've seen are from Saginaw Bay that's limit city for Walleyes right now.  Heard both spoons and crawler harnesses are producing equally as well.
             My most sincere condolences to the friends and family of popular Ludington charter boat skipper Jerry Lee who went to the big pond in the sky last week. 
             Lots of things kind things were in his obituary, but reel-fact that he treated everyone with respect and was a nice guy needs to be said.  Jerry was partly responsible for me buying a 28' Cherokee in 1987 with his honest, trusted review.

6/1/14  Welcome to June 2014.  Cold water and not-so-hot-fishing is what I have from Manistee and Arcadia, MI.  Temp breaks (vertical thermobars) are setting up and fishing will be on the mend soon, if it hasn't already?

5/31/14  Good day to pull boat maintenance with Lk. MI's cold water conditions off Manistee.  Outdrive lube need to be changed and so does the oil/filter in the GM 350V8.
              Good news? ...had 3 trips in May, 2 of which were dedicated to testing prototypes for 2015 production.  Granted these test results were not that hot, mostly due to lack of fish under, or around my boat.  Still was able to make videos to study and that's progress when you're starting from ground zero.
              Posted a photo of scum lines beginning to form on Lk. MI.  This will become more pronounced with a few days of steady W wind. Click Lk. MI scum line

5/30/14  Yesterday was a good day.  Saw firsthand how cold the main body of Lk. MI is at the Port of Manistee, MI.  There's 37 degree water on the drop-off (shelf is 3 miles out).  Fished the off hours of 9:30am to 12:30 noon.  In 3 hours we marked only 3 fish 40-70' down over 100' of water.  MDNR census taker clued us in.  Boats did 0 to 4 fish.  Morning bite was the deal.  There was no later morning bite John J, & I can attest to.
               Census taker relayed the easy fishing S of Ludington has came and gone.
               This is not a commercial for BP.  The BP station on the S end of Manistee on US31 has what they call recreational gas, or gas with no ethanol content. 
               Rec gas is 90 octane premium priced at 4.49 a gallon.  Worth it for older boats built prior to nowadays questionable E10 fuels.  Click rec gas pump

5/29/14  Up late last night making prototypes to water test.  It's been a 7 week learning curve to make decent 3D models.  It's joy to see a plan come together.
              Don't have much for you, but a tidbit of fishing info from Manistee.  Sport fleet is doing 1 to 6 fish according to the latest report I heard.  Manistee does not have the warmer water pocketed up like Ludington.

5/28/14  Fishing in Ludington, MI was hot-hot-hot this past weekend.  Impressive numbers of Kings were caught S of this port in the 55s to the 53s by the "project."  Fish were taken in the warm water side the the break. Keep in mind, this info is dated.
               3D Printed out a custom action cam hat mount.  This is a lot more comfortable than wearing an elastic headband to do the same thing.  Click new hat cam
    Gifted designers from Thingiverse shared this unique free mount with the world.

5/27/14  This past Sunday completed my water project to the pole barn.  Was outside from 7:30am till about noon.  Kept hearing what sounded like a bird chirping. 
               Then, I spotted a tiny fawn bleating for it's momma doe.  Once the newly born fawn saw me, it disappeared onto the forest floor with nature's mystifying camouflage.
               Knew I had to grab a picture of this event.  Stayed a good 15-20' away.  Never disturbing the secretive guest on my property.  By late afternoon momma doe had reunited with her baby and melted back into the forest!  Click baby fawn
               If something like this happens to you?  Leave the fawn alone.  In time the mother will return and everything will be fine.  I do not agree with folks that want to turn wild animals into pets.  Sea World's Killer Whales (Orcas) are a worst case example.

5/26/14  Memorial 2014.  Please remember what this holiday is really about.

5/25/14  Long overdue hooking up water to the pole barn is my job for today.  Pipe is already buried underground ...just waiting fittings.  Tying up projects will free up some time in the near future for fishing/tackle testing sessions.
              Did hear the were some meat fish caught with my tackle 120' down off Manistee, MI's shelf not all that long ago.  Hope to find out for myself very soon!

5/24/14  Unofficial start to summer is Memorial Day Weekend and the signals the boating season is here.  Play safe and enjoy yourself, because you deserve it!
               Colorants in 2014 continue to amaze me.  Made some test flashers out of white shifting to purple when the sun's UV light activates it.  This will be a great tool to see how much UV there is at depth in low light timeframes. Click white to UV purple

5/23/14  Manistee, MI fishing for spring Kings has been OK.  According to Bud, owner of Tangled Tackle the best report yesterday was 48 degree water inside of 50' towards Guerney Creek (6 miles S of Manistee).  This puts the fish on top of the shelf about 2-3 miles from shore.  Spring Kings should be around Manistee well into June the way Lk. MI is setting up with lots of cold water in the main lake body left over from last winter.
              Heard better double digit catches were coming out of St. Joe recently.  What's happening with this spring's King fishery is head and shoulder above the off year of 2013!

5/22/14  Honesty is always the best policy.  Truth is? ...been too busy to contact sources about what's going on with the spring Kings off the Port of Manistee, MI.
               Hope to have a reel report for you tomorrow.
               Memorial Day Weekends in my area can go 2 ways.  Chilly, from stout N winds, or pleasant like what's predicted for this weekend with nice weather.  The fleet should be out in force this Saturday with the predicted light and variable winds.

5/21/14  Plan was to go fishing today, but a surge of orders has my OCD in high gear.  Just can't take a day off when there's fishermen waiting for tackle.
               Memorial Day Weekend in Manistee, MI is decent with temps in the high 60s, or low 70s.  With the main body of Lk. MI still in the high 30s, 60s and 70s look good.
               Wind and wave forecast is on our side for this coming weekend too.  Wind is predicted at 10 knots from the S with seas around 1' on for Sat. & Sun.
               If you are heading to central, or northern Lk MI ports watch out for the black legged tick that can transmit Lyme Disease.  Seen lot more ticks around my place than normal.  Last winter's deep snow is the reason behind this population increase.

5/20/14  Received my Salmon Ambassadors notebook and ruler from MI Sea Grant's, Dan O'Keefe.  Went over the instructions last night and everything looks pretty easy to do.
               This open to the public project is to collect data from Lk. MI's King/Chinook Salmon.  Fish must be exactly measured to 1/4" and recorded.  Click SA gear
               The grid system of where the fish was caught appears to be the same as the charter boat catch reports for the MDNR I used to have to fill out.
               If I was still in the charter business? ...probably would not take part.  It takes time to accurately measure a fish and jot down pertinent info.
              The way we fish now? ...this is not an issue.  Because there's no rush & take photos of most of the fish we catch.  I'm proud to be SA #99 (Salmon Ambassador #99).

5/19/14  Good news, spring Kings were caught during Manistee, MI's Tight Lines for Troops event this past Saturday. Click to view on Facebook
             This do is where the charter and sports fleet donate their time and boats to take veterans fishing.  Seen some 6-8 fish boxes.
             While May 6-8 Kings might not have been a big deal a few years ago, compared to this time last year? ...it's one helluva great improvement! 

5/18/14  Mentioned yesterday about strong sales to our west coast's Pacific Ocean Salmon fishery.  This is all thru word of mouth.  Not by advertizing there.
             Instantly replaceable hardware on my flashers meaning nose and tail swivels is a part of doing well in this market place.  Saltwater environment is a tough customer that wears out hardware a lot faster, then our freshwater Great Lakes fishery.
             This is why I chose not to use the more traditional welded split rings when entering the tackle in 2004 and happily left the charter trade.

5/17/14  This is the time of the season when tackle stores stock up, cause a May rush for us.  Too busy making product for anything meaningful today.
               This I can say, MI sales are off.  Just like last season's Lk. MI elusive King fishery.  Sales to Canada, west coast states and mostly Alaska are off the charts.  By working the weekend full tilt, hopefully this will free up a day later this coming week.
               Deep into tackle design has been adding lots of hours to my workweek.  No problem, this is the part of my job I like most ...making stuff that catches fish!
               Thanks to all who placed orders during our Clean Meat Rigs™ spring sale. 
I know you won't be disappointed, ...as this season rolls forward!!

5/16/14  Posted a photo of Ludington, MI's Big Point Sable Lighthouse for the scores of you who have fished this port and perhaps are a little homesick for the big point.
             Have a great weekend.  Mine is already planned to make more tackle to keep up with demand.  Tonight the prices go up on the Clean Meat Rigs a buck for those who missed the spring sale at my webstore. Click last day of sale on clean meat rigs

5/15/14  Fished the shoreline of Lk. MI out of the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday for Brown Trout. Trolled from the harbor N to Orchard Beach State Park.  That was a no go.  Pulled lines and drove S to Big Point Sable (approx 15 miles) to leave no stone unturned.
               Around noon John J and I caught 1 small Brown on our N troll back to Manistee from the big point that saved us from the dreaded black kitty.  This Brown coughed up a huge 7" Alewife that got speared by a treble hook on a smaller sized Thinfin lure.
               Experience from my charter days (1983-2003) foretells shoreline Browns are pretty much done when the Alewives start showing up on the beach in force.
               Some might whine about a 1 fish trip.  To me? ...it was a magnificent therapy session with a first-class fishing buddy aboard.  Ran Project 2015 tests that have to be deemed inconclusive.  Because P2015 version 1.01 was no better, or worse than the size 11 floater Rapalas we pulled that never got bit either. Click Brown big Alewife pic

5/14/14  Webstore is restocked with all the tackle that sold out during 2013.  Twilley Tips, rubber bands (in 2 sizes) and hook setups are ready to go.  Click tackle store
               Rest of today's chat is closed, because I'm going fishin' today!

5/13/14  2 days to left to get in on our spring special and purchase Clean Meat Rigs™.  This product serves those in Canada and New York who prefer to use just an attractor, or flasher with a plain head that is the foundation of their meat program. Click Clean Rigs
               Fishing was no big deal this past weekend in St. Joe, MI with many boats struggling to find fish.  Yes, there were some fish caught, but it was not easy pickin's.
               Worked most of last weekend (building flashers) to free up some time to test Project 2015 when we get the right weather with fairly calm seas. 
               In the process of recruiting a few trusted message board members for field/water testers.  This staff will be made from regular sport fishermen who are not on the water everyday.  That way, results will not be skewed and be a true reel-test of tackle performance.

5/12/14  Nicest weekend of the year (thus far) took place this past Mothers Day Weekend.  I have no doubt the fleet was out in in force at the popular S Lk. MI ports catching fish.  Should have a few reports to share with you tomorrow.
              Downsized the 10" BTI flasher to an 8" experimental model.  Made it in the Kevorkian pattern for spring testing.  Honestly, I do not know how this flasher/meat rig color performs in the spring.  Only know, it's deadly during August.
              Technology tools that I have at my hand exceed expectations.  In-house design, rapid prototyping and the ability make test tackle is rewarding to say the very least.  Stay tuned, 2014 is going to be an exciting year!!  Click 8" test flasher
              There's no way to explain the new wide horizon of making new tackle in my shop in several designs that might, or might not work.  3D printing has put a lot more control in my hands to make updated fishing products for the better.  Better is good!

5/10/14  Have  great Mothers Day Weekend!

5/9/14  Everything I've heard about this spring's Lk. MI fishing is good.  Kings are being caught in the southern part of the lake at a much higher rate then 2013.  This year's crop early season Kings are more like 2012, with 12 to 15 pounds being the norm.
             Posted a photo of a hen Brown we caught a couple of days ago.  This fish was carrying last fall's spawn.  Mature eggs that were never dropped.  Hatchery bred fish over several generations lose their natural instincts.  Click hen to dumb to spawn
             First seen this in the mid 1990s when I was heavily involved running charters.  This is a red flag about what's wrong using hatchery brood stock.
             Wish the MDNR would begin taking the Browns that return every fall to the Little Manistee Harvest Weir and develop a new strain of
anadromous MI Brown Trout.
             With the cut back in the Chinook/King Salmon stocking, there's plenty of space available for at least a pilot program to get this going.  We have excellent MDNR staff  in Cadillac and at the Honor hatchery that could handle this without breaking a sweat.

5/8/14  Gobie-licious ...Yum! is the title of today's chat and featured photo showing 3 gobies discovered during a stomach autopsy on the 6 pound Brown caught 2 days ago.  This Brown was stuffed full, yet had the urge to whack one of our floater stickbaits.
             It's easy to see how Lk. MI can produce Browns to 40 pounds with scads of gobies for predators to eat.  I have no doubt, the few Kings I've heard taken off the beach in this early part of the season, have been stuffing gobies down their pie hole!
             People that like to sound like they know what they're talking about often refer to Salmon, as a pelagic species that only live/feed in the mid-part of the water column.  You know the type. The smarty pants who think they're always right and never wrong? 
             I've caught too many Kings in Lakes Huron & MI pounding the bottom, or dragging stuff for Lake trout and know fish eat what's there (on the bottom where gobies & other baitfish dwell).  While gobies might not be their preferred food, Salmon will eat them, cuz that's what predator fish do: eat other fish!  Click Gobie-licious pic

5/7/14  Maiden voyage of 2014 was a success with all boat systems performing up to snuff.  Nowadays Great Lakes fishing boats are incredibly complex vessels with marine electronics such as sonar and auto pilots.  Let alone your main power plant and maybe a kicker motor that must come to life after a long winter's snooze.
             Fished the off-hours of 11:30am till about 2:30pm.  During this time span we had 3 nibbles with 2 tasty, firm fleshed Brown Trout getting a ride home in our cooler.
             Longtime favorite fishing bud, that goes back to my charter days, John J did to honors on both fish like the expert he is.  Click 5/6/14 JJ's 6lb. Brown

5/6/14  I'm tired of working, how about you?  To fix this too much work stuff, going fishin' sounds a helluva lot better.  So, that's exactly what I'm gonna do today!
            3D printing has let the Genie out of the bottle and there's no going back, as evidenced by today's featured pic.  Small production runs, most for individual use can be done at home with this technology.  3D printing is here to stay, like it, ...or not!
             Have no doubt anglers will be making their own tackle soon.  I'd be a fool not to think they'd be making their own meat heads and flashers. Click 3D lure finished
     There was a Brown Trout caught out of Ludington, MI yesterday over 31 lbs!

5/5/14  Reports of few early season Kings being caught on the beach has me wanting to go fishing.  Even a few Kings is 1,000% better than at anything from 2013 when Kings, while large ...didn't make much of a presence known until later August.
            Computer failure has me slowed down, but not stopped.  Backed up all the files and installed what's important on a backup box.  Tomorrow topic? ..."it's all on the line!"

5/4/14  The absolute best news I can give you is a few Kings are being caught in the skinny water on the beach off Manistee and Ludington, MI while trolling for Browns.  It goes without saying, this is a good sign for 2014.
           Yesterday started off with a catastrophic
computer failure when the tabs that hold the CPU fan on the processor broke off.  With some MacGyver ingenuity, pieced it back together with a screw to transfer files.  So, I'm limited what I can do today.

5/3/14  It's all on the line!  This thought provoking statement will be discussed soon.

5/2/14  Double T.G.I.F. as we completed out first month back in business after this  winter's snowball express had me stranded in Florida a lot longer than planned for.
             2014 is our 10 year anniversary in the tackle business.  In 2004 this started with an idea to make tackle here in Michigan after seeing imports flooding our markets.
Mission accomplished & more to come, as secret Project 2015 is off to a heck of a start. 
             Project 2015 is looking at 3 kinds of obsolete tackle all under scrutiny.  It's my firm conviction the best has not been invented yet.  Then, when it is?  ...evolution says even the best can be improved on, or we'd all ...still be driving Model A Fords!

5/1/14  Shoreline trolling for Browns has improved off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Water clarity has recovered in the last few days.  Some Lakers are being caught too.  Water temp on the beach is cold for this time of the year, heard 42-44 degrees.
             Sharpened my 3D printer skills.  Can print in both ABS and PLA plastics.  Plus, can make multiple models at the same time.  Each color in today's feature photo took 100 minutes to print/make 3 lures.  Don't have a clue if the stickbaits printed out will work.  Did order screw eyes to water test.  Click 4 colors of stickbaits

4/30/14  Clean Meat Rigs™ are the reel-deal!  This was proved last August when a clean (no flies) Meat Rig™ out-fished the rest of the spread by a 2 to 1 margin.  2 and 3 fly rigs are killer unless you're at a port where meat fishing is used by the fleet, like Manistee, MI.  Pulling a less encumbered presentation can work to your advantage.
               I'm extending the sale on clean rigs thru 5/15/14.  Price point is great too.  For 4.95-5.95 you get a bead chain swivel, 1/0 VMC sticky sharp black nickel treble hook, & 4' section of saltwater grade 50 pound mono test leader.  A reel-bargain when you consider the price of what a plain trolling fly costs nowadays!  Click for Clean Meat Rigs™

4/29/14  Deer at my place are in tough shape after a record 220 some inches of snow during last winter.  Gaunt skinny deer is what I'm seeing.  Click skinny 2014 deer
               Rest of this week will devoted news about 2014 lineup of tackle.  I did not order base items such as flashers and Meat Heads™ i.e. raw parts in the offseason like normal.  Several items are in short supply.  Selloff is to generate the monies necessary to complete and bring to market secret Project 2015.  Experience has taught me it takes at least 50k to create new tackle when all the little things are figured in.
               Exciting news on Project 2015, design team has shifted into high gear.   
               Semi conquered the 3D printer technology and can make great prints in ABS and PLA plastics.  3D printers are not plug and play!  I've got close to 100 hours of trial and error learning on how to do it.  "It" means the ability to control scale, generate support structures, and heat settings all models need.  I have completed some pretty complex test parts with more on the way.  This know-how is fascinating and rewarding!

4/28/14  Rain for most of the week is what the weatherman is predicting for Manistee, MI.  Rain with temps in the 40s and 50s will likely keep my boat shore side.  This will be the first April since 1980 I missed not on one of our Great Lakes.
              Last reliable word about Lk. MI off Manistee was lots of muddy water to the S and gin clear to the N.  Brown Trout don't like clear, or lots of sediment in the water.  Browns from personal experience, tend to be easier to come by in stained water like tea.
             Heard better catches of Browns were coming from the Port of Ludington, MI with the odd occasional King in the skinny water right on the beach.

4/27/14  Good day to clean the shop that looks like a tornado hit it!  Feature pic is a stickbait type lure displayed on the build table before the raft and support material is pulled away from the lure.  Surprising enough this size 9 Rapala type bait floats.  Going to look for some small screw eyes to hang hooks on it.  Click 3D printed lure

4/26/14  I'm like a day behind on stories that match the daily featured photo, but first let's cover the California's Bodega Bay on our W coast.  Andy F is a MI transplant that moved to CA a few years ago.  Here's what he had to say, "

"Hi John 
Here are a few fish I got here in Ca last your. 
The pic with both my 2 boys in it was my 38lb 44" long caught on your XG blue bubble last July.  It also caught 1 of those twin 30pounder in the other pic. This rig was my most consistent and was always in my starting lineup.  Ill get some pics showing your bait this year for your web page.  Click Bodega Bay, CA 30 pounders
I really like your rigs and it's really nice you have a hook options, because here in CA we cannot fish with treble hooks or any kind of barb. They are definitely top notch!" 
Andy F. from Stockbridge MI

4/25/14  Fresh report from a Port Huron, MI tackle customer said Lk. Huron had decent numbers of Kings and a few Coho being caught S of Lexington, MI in the 15'-30' depths.
              Spring Coho action at St. Joe, MI are hit and miss depending on the day.
              Some Browns are being caught off Manistee, MI, but heard the better numbers were down towards Pentwater with metal and stickbaits doing the damage.
              Finally have an eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.  New shop help seems to be catching on quick.  Replenishing Meat Rigs™ inventory is priority one.

4/24/14  Lots accomplished yesterday.  My boat is water ready for the maiden voyage in 2014.  Lures are loaded, rods have new line, and the batteries are at full charge.  Next week looks like a reel possibility to chase Manistee, MI's once famed shoreline Brown Trout.  Browns are not as numerous compared to 10-12 years ago.  Click ready boat
              Made my first useful item with my 3D printer and after making trinkets.  New spool extended axel holder will allow for non-proprietary filament with a great choice of colors offered at Amazon.  Learned the hard way not to touch the 220 centigrade tip that spits out plastic ...ouch!  Click newly 3D printed trinkets & spool holder

4/23/14  Major progress yesterday!!  Made my 1st models with my 3D printer in PLA.  It was a very difficult task to configure the software, machine, and level the bed.  These are just baby steps for designing new tackle for 2015, but at least it's a start!!
               Today's pic of the 3D parts shows the raft the ring was built on and a dime for size relationship.  This attempt was not in the fine setting for the sake of time.
               Challenging myself to learn and adapt new technology towards modeling tackle prototypes is a huge stretch and one I'm ready to reach for.  Click my 3D 1st parts

4/22/14  Today's featured photo is about as thrilling as watching paint dry, unless you're me.  Seeing my new workforce come together will surely take the heat off me.  For the last couple-three weeks it's been just me doing and building all the tackle orders.
               While I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, at least I can see the tunnel's entrance.  3 new people hired are locals to the Manistee, MI area and appreciate having a job in a tough area to make a buck.  Click new workforce

4/21/14  Unexciting, but necessary for today is training new staff to make attractor flies.  Plan is to instruct all 3 new employees at the same time to expedite this duty.
              Should be able to start my first simple 3D build later today.  Software is installed talking to the machine/printer.  A task that ate up 3 hours yesterday making sure the baud rate, correct USB com port, and temp settings were up to snuff.
              Batteries are in my boat.  15 pound test mono is installed on 8 rods for shoreline Brown Trout fishing.  Question is: ...will I be able to find the time in the right weather window to allow me to sneak out of the shop for an afternoon?

4/20/14  Easter Holiday means a day off for yours truly.

4/19/14  Hired 3 new workers this week to help build tackle.  Been behind the 8-ball ever since the 4/1/14 reopening of the webstore and playing catch up. 
              It's hard to tell what the future holds, but for the next month, or two shipping tackle to retail tackle outlets could be impossible.  OK, being busy sure beat the alternative, but this year is ALL about coming up with new tackle for 2015.
             I've yet to find the time to work with my new 3D printer.  So, tomorrow will be dedicated to getting comfortable with the software that runs the printer

4/18/14  MDNR Platte River Hatchery Fisheries Biologist, Aaron Switzer spoke on Traverse City's TV Channel 7 yesterday.  He brought up the fact that this winter's cold and extended ice cover "could" mean less of a growing season for Great Lakes fish.  In turn, resulting in possibly smaller fish this season.  This is makes sense.
              Only time will tell what's in store for us is a safe bet.  Was Lk. MI's return to plus 20 pound Kings an anomaly in 2013?  Like I said, ..."only time will tell."

4/17/14  Boat docks went in yesterday at Manistee, MI's 1st Street public launch.  The City of Manistee is kind to early season Lk. MI fishermen.  History says there's no charge to launch until sometime, ...usually in later May. Click docks going in on 4/16/14
              Guess we all have reel-dreams about what this season offers.  Good, bad, or indifferent the unknown is what makes Great Lakes fishing so much fun!!!

4/15/14  Project 2015 begins with my new 3D printer to build, design, & water test prototypes.  Sent the 1st printer I ordered back.  It was cheaply built at under $700.
              My new printer is closer to $2500 when software, spare extruders, control interface and build PLA & ABS filaments are figured in.  Click my 2nd 3D machine
              Parts in the foreground displayed on white are pieces and parts this printer already made.  Which are pretty intricate according to my eyes.
              This is a brand new vista for me and challenges will be many conquering the learning curve that comes with the territory in the world of 3D home manufacturing. Stay tuned ...it's gonna be fun struggling with new 21st century technology!

4/14/14  Yogi Berra quipped, "it's like déjà vu all over again" is a worthy theme for today's chat.  Exactly one year apart, today's photo shows the Kevorkian and Super Silver Bullet BTI 10 inch flashers being the hot setup.  Kinda proving fact can be stranger than fiction factoring in the 8/30/13-8/30/14 timeline. Click déjà vu pic verification
               Reel truth is my time on the water is very limited & like most fishermen being a creature of habit, ran the same stuff that put fish in the box during the year previous.
               While this doesn't work all the time, at the least? ...it's a starting point!

4/13/14  Good day to stay unplugged from the internet.

4/12/14  Good news today from Manistee, MI!  Brown Trout are being caught!!  Pier fishermen with fresh spawn were catching good numbers.  Trolling inside the harbor (basin) is producing some fish for those willing to dodge the ice.  Brown report came courtesy of Capt. Tom R who caught 3 Browns yesterday trolling in the channel.
               There's lots of responsibility for webmasters running E-commerce sites like my internet tackle store.  Confidential/personal information is stored there to process orders.
               The HeartBleed / OpenSSL virus breached major sites like Yahoo on 4/7/14.  It did NOT effect my webstore that stayed completely secure.  Besides, I delete all credit card numbers when your order is processed, as an added defense measure.

4/11/14  Triple T.G.I.F!  "Whoa" is all I can say after a very hectic week.  Been on a hard git since 3/30/14, the day I left Florida for the state I cherish, MI!
              Fishing news from Lk. MI out of Manistee, MI is lacking due to ice jams that come and go depending on the wind.  Reel deal is? ...it's risky going out of the harbor right now and one issue I'd rather wait/avoid until all the ice floes are gone. 
              This is the longest delay I know of when it comes to the early central Lk. MI shoreline Brown Trout fishery in the last 30 years.

4/10/14  Fishing check list for 2014 begins with a new fishing license ...if you're a MI resident?  2013 licenses expire on 3/31/13.  Next is to have a current boat registration that always seems to get lost in the shuffle during rushed boat prep.
               DMARC is a new email web protocol that Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail began on 4/1/14.  Essentially, DMARC destroyed every web based email list like what my webstore sends for order confirmation that has your package tracking numbers.
               This is going to be a nightmare for me to fix with special web programming codes that has to be inserted, or auto emailers never get delivered.

4/9/14  Made a couple of hundred Meat Rigs™ in the past few days.  Hands all tore up from pull testing knots.  This is a vital step in quality control that must be done.
            Have not hired a new workforce yet and have been doing all orders solo.  Should have some new employees by next week to share manufacturing duties.  Me? ...doing the work of 3 people brings to mind the Johnny Paycheck tune, "take this job and shove it."

4/8/14  Made a small bent in the backlog of orders we're trying to get out the door.  Hopefully, by the end of this week we should be all caught up.  Click 4/7/14 orders
             Hackers love that Microsoft is ending XP support today.  30% of the world's computers run this operating system including some of mine.  Do not use IE (Internet Explorer) in any version to access the web on XP machines.  Firefox is what I use.
             Business owners are going to take the biggest hit when they retire XP computer systems.  Drivers that run older printers, scanners, etc. can be hard to find, or difficult to re-configure.  Then, there's the question of software licenses that are purchased to an individual computer that cannot be transferred in many cases.

4/7/14  Sunny with temps in the 50s is how yesterday played out.  Snow is melting.  Bare ground is finally showing up.  Possible 60s by Saturday for Manistee, MI.
             Started on filling orders.  Shipping packages tomorrow, if all goes according to plan.  Waiting on 6 ball 100 pound test bead chain swivels.  These were ordered last week, but the wrong size arrived this past Saturday.
             Need to find a couple of hours to install the batteries in my boat.  Then, I can look at the possibility of my 1st Lk. MI trip of the season.  Possibly early next week.

4/6/14  Today's featured photo shows a completely destroyed 7' blue spruce by hungry deer.  Pines in the background were hit hard too, with the bottom 6' of branches gnawed off.  Deer never hit these close to the house trees before.  Click destroyed pine
             Some R & R is in order for yours truly.  Been on a forced march for the last week, having left Florida exactly one week ago today.  Snow has been cleared from all doorways and drive.  Ready to start on orders fulltime tomorrow.  Please be patient while we shift into high gear for the much anticipated 2014 season.

4/5/14  Manistee, MI's deer population had to be under stress during this winter's record snowfall of 220 inches at my place.  Deer chewed everything to nubs.  All of my pine trees were stripped bare 6' above ground level.  Lilac bushes that were never hit before are now just a clump sprigs.  Click deer bedded down 4/3/14
            Progress on all fronts getting my tackle store and web sales/processing is moving forward.  Working on final assembly to fill orders will be in the works by tomorrow.

4/4/14  Cleared the large snowdrift blocking the side door entrance to my workshop yesterday.  What started off as a heart attack mountain of snow? ...got whittled down to a mole hill.  Today, have another big drift to clear to gain access to the storage trailer where our Meat Heads are stored.  Click snow removal project
            Should be able to start working on the backlog of orders soon.  Please be patient while we get our tackle shop up to speed.
             Due to workload, no phone orders can be accepted until later next week.

4/3/14  Just about ready to get on with the reel-business of 2014.  My home-office network of 5 computers will be connected today.  This is a must to process orders.
             Hope to have my shop entrance cleared of 4' snow-ice drift by later this afternoon.  This is another must to accept incoming supplies and ship outgoing packages.
             Today's featured pic shows the remnants of Manistee, MI's record snowfall of almost 18 feet left by Mr. Hard Winter in my doorway.  Click exciting 4' snow drift!

4/2/14  Slept like a log last night in the Manistee National Forest, MI where I live and it felt good!  Being gone for all winter was not the plan.  Arrived home yesterday in snow, ice & 18 degrees!  There's 3 doors used to enter my house.  All 3 are blocked with 4' of next to impossible to shovel glacial frozen snow.
              Thanks to all who ordered tackle.  Please be patient while I deal with Manistee's version of
snowmageddon, close 18 feet for the season!  It's nasty here.

4/1/14  Tackle store is now open for the 2014 season.  Looking forward to what this year's fishing offers us!  Click for Capt. John's Tackle

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2014 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

2013 Results
January, February, & March

April, May, & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2012 Results
January, February, & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2011 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
 October, November, & December

2010 Results
January, February, & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2009 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August, & September
October, November, & December

2008 Results
October, November & December

July, August, & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2007 Results
October November & December
July, August & September

April, May & June
January, February & March

2006 Results
October, November & December
July, August & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2005 Results
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March

2004 Results
October, November & December
August & September 
June & July  April & May
January, February & March

2003 Results
Jan Feb  Mar  April & May
June & July  Aug & Sept

Nov & Dec

2002 Results
Nov & Dec  Oct  Sept  
Aug   July   June  May  
April  March  Feb  Jan

2001 Results
April Brown Trout  
May & June
July Salmon
Aug. Tuna Time

2000 Results
Dec. Nov.
   Oct.  Sept.
July   June
May  March & April
January  February