October, November, & December 2014

9/27/14 Manistee, MI
Silver Salmon, or Coho

9/26/14 Ludington, MI

32" Steelhead V5 4.0

Salmon Buster™ 4.65
Lead core Steelhead

Salmon Buster™

Prototype Spoons

Manistee, MI
Flavors of the day!

Last quarter of 2014 was spent shifting gears towards manufacturing the new 2015 Salmon Buster spoons.  This project began in May 2014 with 2000 hours of testing, on the water, below the water, and in the shop.  This was a tough nut to crack.  I'm extremely confident in end result!

12/31/14  Time for New Year's resolutions.  Mine will be easy to keep.  Unless tackle stores are close to my area, COD, or prepaid is the only way I'll ever ship tackle to stores again. 
                The famous BS "check is in the mail," I've heard for the last time.  I'm not a bill collector.  Days of my life are wasted chasing money owed after stores sold my tackle.  Essentially, operating their business on my money? ...this has came to an end ...FOREVER!
                Worst offenders are out of state.  Tackle stores IN, WI, and NY have all dragged their feet paying up.  Then, make phony-baloney BS excuses.

12/30/14  Today's featured pic shows the 5 hook options for the new Salmon Buster spoons.  My favorites are the Black and Red. Click 5 hook options
                 Single Siwash hooks? ...you'll miss a few more on the initial strike, but when the big single digs in? ...rarely a fish will ever escape.  Used a lot of single hooks for Lake Trout in the late 1960s up thru the mid 1970s on monel wire pounding the bottom.  Back then, most all Lk. Trout spoons, like the L.G. Johnson came with just a large single hook.
                The first Lk. MI Salmon spoon to gain popularity in 1968-1969 was Luhr Jensen's Manistee Wobbler in the Firedot pattern.  This spoon came with a large single hook too.
                As much as thing change, they stay the same.  Caught Salmon on the Firedot pattern in a 12" combo last August.  There will be Firedot Salmon Buster spoons 4sure!

12/29/14  Task for today is to take photos of the 5 hook options for the new 2015 Salmon Buster™ spoons. Trebles in black nickel, red, permasteel, chrome, and the just added west coast single hook.  Fishermen now have a choice, instead of zero option stock hooks.
                3 days before the introductory offer ends on my new spoons.  There's a 15% off discount, if you purchase over 125 in total tackle.   All spoons are priced at a buck off.

12/27-28/14  Time is running out on the special intro offer for Salmon Buster™ spoons where you can save a buck per spoon.  Take an additional 15% off, if you purchase $125 in all tackle. Bringing the end cost to a 4.0 Buster to a lowball 4.20 per spoon.  Considering the fit, finish, design, and durability this is one helluva bargain never to be repeated again!
                 Starting today, there's a contest on my Facebook page with 3 prizes worth about $50.  To enter, watch the spoon vs. spoon video.  Then, in 25 to 50 words say what you like best about my new 2015 spoons based on what you seen. Click for contest

12/26/14  No snow in Manistee, MI for Christmas.  This does not happen very often and a large departure from the past.  Click my brown Christmas yard
               Started taking detailed photos of the production Mambas.  Discovered the XG White Mamba does fluoresce under a black light.  The X-Glo tape on the Mambas is the best in the world and comes with a big price compared to regular WTP crushed and laser glows.
              Detail work that goes into the Mamba spoons is a meticulous labor of love.  Making what others don't have is what keeps me in business! Click XG White Mamba

12/24/14  Merry, Merry Christmas ...ho ...ho ...ho!

12/23/14  Great time to cut back a little.  Week between Christmas and New Years is limbo land when accomplishing anything in the business world, almost comes to a halt.
               My task in 2015 is to develop more new tackle to debut in 2016.  With not many tackle advancements in the last 20-30 years, coming up with improvements shouldn't be all that difficult.  The way I see it, after it leaves the end of a fishing rod, just about all tackle we use is antiquated.  This goes back to the basic premise, fishermen are a bunch better at imitating, than innovating.  It's time we move forward!

12/22/14  Never before in the history of Great Lakes fishing has there been a spoon in the XG White Mamba pattern.  That is? ...until today!  Click XG White Mamba spoon
                This is the fun stuff when you see your plan for the future coming together.  Conquering production issues, then seeing a world class product take shape is rewarding!
                Mamba spoons require a lot of time consuming detailed hand work compared to just spraying paint, but the outcome is more than worth it!

12/20/14  About this time last year I was in Florida having serious regrets trying to adapt to the RV park lifestyle of retired folk.  This just didn't work out for me.  It did renew my drive and passion to "get on the ball" to reach higher. 
               Designed performance enhanced diver rings, 2 sizes of jay-plugs in 2 different variations.  Along with a slide spoon.  All shared with the public/3D printing community.
              Most importantly, new ground breaking bullet proof spoons that will last "for next to forever."  Guess it's fair to to say, it was a very busy year ...for yours truly!

12/19/14  Great thing about fishing?  Nobody can prove you wrong with certainty.  Case in point, my matching rings in the same shade that matches the lure.  Blue was a good color for me in 2014 and having more blue makes sense. Click color matching rigs
                Today's featured photo on the left is my new 2015 Blue-Glo Smurf diver rings that will soon be installed at my webstore.  Now, I need a pic of the blue glow in the dark effects.  Why do I do stuff like this?  Simple answer is: because I can!

12/18/14  My dream for the future became a reel-reality today.  Having matching tackle sure takes the guess work out of picking colors.  Click Team Mamba in 4 items
                Hey, it's hard enough to find one pattern the fish have a preference for.  Let alone trying to mix and match ....bits and pieces of other colors.
                I'm very proud to show you Black Mamba Salmon Buster™ spoons in the 4.0 and 4.65 sizes.  Along with my Black Mamba 10" BTI and 12" RF flashers in today's featured pic.

12/17/14  Ironing out preproduction chores for the new spoons.  Fine tuned the master files for cutting lure tape for a perfect fit.  Dialing in the technique for painting mambas is on deck for today.  Want everything in place well before the new Salmon Busters™ arrive. 
                Hopefully, around the first week of 2015 my order of production spoons will be in-house.  Delays caused by the holidays are the unknown factor.

12/16/14  Is one picture is worth a 1000 words?  You can judge for yourself by clicking on the thumbnail, or this link:  Click lens quality clear Salmon Buster™ spoons
                Feel free to read the fine print coming thru the spoon!  ...'nough said!!

12/15/14  This warm spell is a "cease the moment" opportunity.  Painting low in stock Mambas will be accomplished today.  Might hit 50 degrees for the daytime high!
                There 4 parts to having injection molding tools made.  1. the design phase.  2. CNC machine work that cuts the mold. 3. Parts acceptance where the test parts are triple checked against the design model.  4. Full production.  Today is part 3.  Needless to say, I'm excited to see these newborn spoons arriving today via UPS.

12/14/14  Buttoned up the rebuild job on my 15 hp. kicker.  All new seals and gaskets have been installed in the lower end.  Shift linkage was tested and works like it should.
                Doing these kind of projects in the off season is a must.  My boat is ready for the early season Brown fishery off the Port of Manistee, MI that can begin in March.  If, & when, the harbor is clear of ice?  I'm looking forward to the early 2015 season with my new Salmon Buster™ spoons being on the menu for Mr. Brown trout! Click OMC kicker motor

12/13/14  1st test run of the new injection molding tools that make the Salmon Busters™ spoons was completed yesterday. Should have these test pieces in-hand by this Monday.
                 Installing the lower end on my kicker/trolling motor is on tap for today.  Started this job about a week ago and with today's temp in the 40s? ...it's a good day to finish it.
                 All the hardware, hooks and lure tape to make the new spoons is ready.  Fine tuning a special 3D printed fixture to lay the lure tape is another task for this weekend.

12/12/14  There's a bunch of bad journalism being coughed up by some outdoor writers who do not write in the first person.  Rather than researching, they're either too dumb, or too lazy and write from pure hearsay.  In turn, perpetuating myths that were never true in the first place.  Case in point was a recent article, by Dan Egan for jsonline.com who don't know his ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to Chinook/King Salmon:

"Chinook have demonstrated no such resilience. They are built to feast on schooling fish high up in open waters — fish like alewives — and so far they have not learned how to grub out a living on the lake bottom along with the native predators."

Going back to 1968 I've caught 1000s of Salmon off the bottom.  In fact during the 1980s in the St. Clair River bottom bouncers would out-produce riggers 4 to 1.  In the 1990s prior to the mussels dragging a lead ball on the bottom was a preferred way to fish summer Kings off the Port of Manistee, MI.

12/11/14  One thing that got overlooked during last season's video spoon tests was the way my cupped diver rings attack the water.  The angle is perfect as these rings glide thru the water with more efficiency that the flat oversized rings can't come close to. 
                 Our current diver technology goes back 40 years with no improvement.  Not to mention the stock ring's flimsy tabs often broke off and failed.  Always at the wrong time too.
                  Ring size and depth go hand in hand.  If the fish are up high, in the top 40' no ring is needed.  Because then, what matters is distance from the boat ...not depth.  This is when a diver ring that's easy to remove pays dividends. Click new 2015 diver rings

12/10/14  Reel excited about the upcoming 2015 season.  Tool work has been completed on my new injection molds for the Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Should have the test run parts in-hand by the first part of next week.  Test runs are proofs to make sure the spoons meet design specs.  The spoon road began last May.  Soon this project comes full circle towards all out production.  My patent pending spoon design/concept of being cloned into meat rig™ and flasher colors is one helluva world leading tackle industry first!
                Going into 2014 with the prototype spoons was like playing "pin the tail" on the donkey ....blindfolded.  I didn't have a clue about what spoon colors the fish would hit. 
                Now, I have an established baseline array of certain colors that produced at different times of the season, stored in mental notes for 2015!
               Time is winding down on the introductory pricing for the 2015 Salmon Busters™ that will end soon.  Save a buck a spoon, then an additional 15% off, & free shipping, if your order's checkout total goes over 125 with the promo code of: salmon buster

12/9/14  New color for 2015 is the X-Glow UFO.  This was the winning name chosen off my Facebook page entered by Capt. Garry G, from Fishful Thinking Charters in Manistee, MI.  He won a free combo deal for his entry of "UFO."  Click paint-booth sneak peek
               The XG UFO came about last October, taking my last 8-10 bites with my 2015 Salmon Buster™ spoons.  It was no brainer to transpose this color into my flasher/meat rig line up.  This highly UV reactive glow pattern was working down deep 90' to 110' in the prototype 4.0 and 4.65 spoon versions.  Click 10/11/14 XG UFO Salmon Buster™ Steelhead

12/8/14  Hunting seasons is winding down.  Soon the pendulum of outdoor interests will swing back towards fishing.  The 2015 season is on the way and the promise it holds.  Most fishermen are eternal optimists.  Those who suffer from pessimism never make it in the art of fishing.
               The sport of fishing is tolerating the slows days.  Without the slow days, the reel-good days would lose all meaning.  Besides, the word "fishing" implies risk, not success!

12/7/14  Are kicker trolling motors worth the initial purchase price?  I'd say yes, but it takes several seasons to recoup the cost.  My average fuel usage is about 5-6 gallons a trip.  Longer boat runs to Big Point Sable (12-14 miles), or to Onekama (6 miles) from Manistee included.
               20 to 30 bucks in gas per trip at 4 bucks a gallon is tolerable.  Wear and tear on the main power plant is another cost savings.  Click my OMC kicker's rebuilt lower end
               My kicker has a TR1 Gold autopilot that's worth it's weight in gold to me.  Controlling direction and speed in the palm of your hand is a reel advantage!
               Total cost of my trolling system is around 6k for a 4 stroke kicker, TR1 autopilot, control box and cables purchased in 2008.  So, at a grand a year I save on the gas bill and have a topnotch way to troll.  Overall cost for my 1978 22' Sea Ray with a new 350 V8, new trailer, refit, updated electronics and trolling setup is still under 20k for a helluva fishing rig!

12/6/14  My 2008 Johnson 4-stroke kicker motor had traces of water in the lower end gear lube.  Water turns the gear lube grey, in case you didn't know.  Owned this motor for 6 years and it was time to replace the lower end seals.  Discovered water pump's impeller was badly worn with tears in the vanes, but already planned on rebuilding the water pump.  Ordered the pump kit when I ordered the seals. Click worn and new impeller comparison.
              Boats and procrastination do not go together well when you own a boat.  Fixing stuff and maintenance in the offseason means more days afloat with less grief.  Worn impellers can cost you 1000s, if not caught in time.  On my Merc outdrive, every 2 years the water pump in the outdrive gets a water pump rebuild job.  Nowadays impellers do not last like they used to.
             Cost to fix is one thing, but lost time on the water are days you'll never get back.
                Tomorrow cost to own kicker break down and fuel per trip average. 

12/5/14  My Thingiverse account now has the first of 4 jaye-plug styles, diver ring in 2 versions and the nifty slide spoon I designed last June.  Click my Thingiverse account
              The slide spoon is tested and has caught fish!  The action is so unlike any spoon, because it chugs and darts.  It does not have the traditional side to side wobble.
              Free fishing downloads have grown in the 6 months I've belonged to this community 6 fold.  Price of 3D printers have came down with entry level models below 500 bucks.  If you're interested in this kind of technology printers will get better the longer you wait to purchase.

12/4/14  By tomorrow, my Thingiverse account where I share free 3D models, i.e. fishing tackle will be updated.  Jay-Plugs will be shared along with another invention of mine tested during the 2014.  While the files can be downloaded for free, it does take time and the cost of filament to print tackle.  Been putting this job off long enough and it's time to clear this slate.

12/3/14  Forgot to mention a very important feature in yesterday's chat about the split rings on the 2015 Salmon Buster™ spoons.  My split rings, besides being stainless steel are made in the Rome, NY, USA.  Just couldn't fathom the idea of Chinese plated steel rings even though split ring cost could have been cut by 2/3rds.  Only cheapskates with no conscience trying to squeeze every penny of profit would use the plated steel China specials!

12/2/14  Tech data for the the new Salmon Buster™ spoons is the reel story for today.  My SB 4.0 spoons use a 100 lb. test stainless steel split ring wire that's .047" thick.  The 4.65s have a 120 lb. test ring in a .055" diameter wire in stainless.  Click split ring visual test
               You can plainly see in today's featured pic my split rings are heavy duty compared 5 brands of competition.  Worthy to note, is the rust beginning to form on a couple of the split rings giving us a clue the "other" manufacturers are using nickel plated plain steel, not stainless!
               My spoons have a larger, more hefty hook in a fair, ...side by side visual test!

11/30/14  Installed the new for 2015 Icy Blue and Manistee Mojo patterns/colors on the meat rig™, flasher, and combo deal pages at my webstore: www.michiganangler.com
                Both of the above colors came from testing spoons last season.  These were my "go to" favorites in thru-out July into August.  Weird deal is, the Manistee Mojo didn't look all the special to me.  However, it did look yummy and appetizing to Mr. Fish ...and that's what counts!

11/29/14  Hope to add the Icy Blue and Manistee Mojo patterns to the meat rigs™ and flasher pages at my webstore soon.  These were spoon test colors transferred into flashers and meat rigs™ last August and caught fish!  Proving cloned designs work both ways!!
               Projected window to ship the new 2015 Salmon Buster™ spoons is by mid-January, if not sooner.  Work on the new injection molding tools began back in early October with a 8 to 10 week completion agreement.  Final credit card billing will not happen until we're close to completing your order.  My thanks to all of you who have already ordered spoons.

11/28/14  Finished the shopping cart page for my new spoons.  Introductory price is a dollar off planned retail.  You can order Salmon Buster™ spoons in 4 extra strong VMC hook preferences.  Black, Chrome, PermaSteel (salt water hooks), & Red. Click preview spoon options
                4.0 Salmon Busters™ comes equipped with a #1 & the 4.65 gets an upsize to a #1/0.  These industry leading hooks are XX-strong VMC 9650s.
                 Does your favorite spoon manufacturer offer you a choice in hooks like I do?

11/26-27/14  Today, it's great pleasure to introduce my trademarked, patented, ground breaking, and totally new concept: 2015 Salmon Buster™ Lexan™ spoons.  Had to move up the reveal for Salmon Buster™ spoons by a day.  We had some ice buildup, then 6 inches of wet snow that have tree branches laying on our electric lines.  Not sure how much longer I'll have power & had brief outages already. Click for the reel story on Salmon Busters™

11/25/14  2 days and counting to a the big announcement that will lift a ton of weight off my shoulders.  There will be no disruption of my products availability, or this website. 
                 This I can say without tipping my hand,  I'm looking forward to the 2015 season in a big way.  Reason?  ...I'll have a lot more hours every week to do as I chose  and of course ...go fishing.  The 2015 season is going to be immense fun!!
     My Manistee front yard snowometer reads 15" for the 2014-2015 winter season

11/24/14  Yesterday, received input from 3 different Manistee charter boat skippers to discuss catch rates pointed at how many Kings they averaged during 2014.  All shared May & June was decent & July was OK.  But the bottom fell out and it was a reel struggle during the last 3 weeks of August.  All said, 1 to 3 fish charters did happen. 
              I commend these skippers for their honesty, because nobody in the charter business relishes talking about skimpy catches.  All 3 were hard pressed to answer, if they averaged 5 Kings for a 6 hour 1/2 day charter outing ...during the full run of the 2014 season.  Where's this headed?  Don't know, but it will be interesting to find out how the MDNR reacts to the poor King Salmon runs in the late summer and fall of 2014.
              MDNR is doing a high wire act without a net and place to go, but down!
Their dependence on natural reproduction to sustain a fishery looks highly in doubt.  Especially, after reducing stocking levels for King Salmon by 2/3rds, or 66%!

11/23/14  Rough math says a 5 person charter would need to boat .825 Kings an hour multiplied for let's say, a 6 hour trip and would need approximately 5 Kings/Chinooks based on a season long charter boat average to stay above the .165 threshold.  This would keep the 5 King limit in place for 2015, if I read FAQ 16 correctly.  Today, I plan on calling a few skippers local to my area for their catch data and report more on this later.

11/22/14  Unless I miss my guess, and there's ports doing a lot better than Manistee, MI the charter catch rate of .165 Chinooks per hour, per person is not going to be met. 
                FAQ 16 discusses this, if you can understand the mumbo jumbo text that's about as clear as mud.  Basing data on just charter boats is not fair to the sports fleet! 
I predict FAQ 16 will be over-ruled by the low number of Kings that were harvested at the Little Manistee River weir & a 3 Salmon limit per license will happen. Click MDNR 16 FAQs
                5 King limits per license were a long ways from happening on my boat in 2014.  2 to 4 fish was all we could muster in a 6 rod spread until late Sept.  Then, 6-10 fish boxes were possible for a few days.  Keep in mind, I said fish, because what we caught was an even-Steven mix of Chinook/Kings to Steelhead with a few Lakers and Coho.

11/21/14  "3. Chinook salmon stocking was cut by 50% lakewide (67% in Michigan waters) in 2013. Will further Chinook salmon stocking cuts take place in 2014?
Lake Michigan Chinook salmon stocking levels will remain the same as in 2013, meaning no further cuts will take place in 2014."

               The above is an excerpt FAQ from the MDNR signed by Todd Kalish dated March 2014.  Alarming to us MI anglers is the 2/3rds drop.  40% of the Kings my boat caught in 2014 were confirmed planted fish equating to a future major decrease in my stocked King fish take.  So, if I caught 40 planted fish in 2014, in all likelihood this number indicates a drop to 13 for 2015 and beyond.
               We can cut the MDNR some slack for the poor return numbers of Kings in 2014.  A lot of that is up to mother nature, but a 2/3rds cut while the rest of the states bordering Lk. MI only cut by 50% sure don't sound one bit fair to me.
               Be sure to read FAQ 15 that's a far-fetched natural reproduction pipe dream after this fall's diminished King/Chinook Salmon spawning runs. Click MDNR 16 FAQs
           For tomorrow: have we seen the end of the 5 Salmon daily limits?

11/20/14  About 80% are voting to replace the current leadership in the MDNR.  That means 4 out of 5 you ...say it's time for a change.  When you agree to become the front man in the fisheries division, it's a given, you're gonna take some heat. 
               I have no sympathy for any of the hierarchy in the DNR.  Reasons? ...raising the cost of fishing licenses a 1000% for seniors and a dreadful 100% for non residents.  "Hello," other states have dropped non resident license fees to attractor the fishermen.
While I see the cost of a fishing license a bargain at any price, economics tell otherwise.
               Even worse? ...finally, there's a poll where somebody polls worse than Pres. Obama and that does not bode well for us fishermen ...that reside in the State of MI.

11/19/14  Installed a new poll with the question, "does the leadership in MI's DNR Fisheries Division need to be replaced?"  Please vote and share your opinion!
                It's perfectly clear the MDNR has painted themselves into a corner when they slashed the stocking levels of King/Chinook Salmon.  Citing, they didn't want the alewife population crash like Lake Huron experienced in the early i2ks.  So, a good 10 years after the fact, all of a sudden ...it's time to formulate a new policy for Lk. MI?
               Popular opinion should never over rule science.  In the same breath, common sense should never be over ruled by ignorance!

11/18/14  It's hard winter in my neck of the woods.  High yesterday was 21 degrees.  It's in the teens now with possible record lows for tonight.  More snow is on the way.
                Had to rush drain both my trolling motor and outdrive as a precaution.  If there's any water in the grease, depending on how much? ...ice can crack housing.  Forgot about this until the last minute and took care of this chore last night.
      My Manistee front yard snowometer reads 9" for the 2014-2015 winter season.

11/17/14  Recently, I've had several inquire about 3D printers and what kind to buy.  So, let's start at the beginning.  3D printing was started by hobbyists in the open source community.  When, after you have a printer, your printer can make another. 
                Is this like the movie, Terminator?  Kinda, but not quite, because this exciting technology is in it's infancy.  All
Cartesian & Delta 3D printers can do a passable job.  These are fancy sounding names for the way the machine moves to layer the filament. 
                So, the next issue is price.  My advice is to make a hard study all the reviews on Amazon, then go from there in choosing a printer that fits your budget.
                I've found the trick to this whole deal is the software that runs the printer, if you're like me? ...with some skill sets.  But not overly blessed in the smarts department. 
                Simplify 3D Creator is the program I use and has made possible the parts you've seen on this website.  Check their website for the brands of printers this program supports before pulling the trigger.  Click S3D website printer support

11/16/14  Awoke to the first measureable snow at my place in Manistee, County, MI.  Looks 4" fell overnight with more on the way for this week.  My deer report is not too good.  Seeing about 1/2 the deer as normal and only one decent buck this fall.  And he was on a dead git going someplace fast.  To me, deer numbers are down, but the whitetail population can recover quickly, if this winter plays nice. Click 11/16/14 morning snow

11/15/14  To those hitting the woods today: have a safe, enjoyable & successful hunt.

11/14/14  Yesterday's light dusting of snow in Manistee, MI will certainly be helpful for tomorrow's firearm deer opener.  Last winter's record snowfall in Manistee did take it's toll on the herd.  All property owners local to my area reported winter killed whitetails. 
                Alarming thing is the extra snow depth raised the browse line a good 12 inches, or more.  This will make it harder for the young deer to feed.  Browse line is how high the deer have trimmed the tree branches from the forest floor up.

11/13/14  Winter has started a month early in Manistee County, MI.  Below freezing temps and building snow depth is the forecast thru Thanksgiving Day.  Snow will be a plus for the firearm deer opener this coming Saturday (Nov. 15th).
                My place is heated with wood. Actually, it's easier to regulate the wood burning stoves when it's a little colder.  A split 10" log will keep my house nice and toasty for a good 8 hours when outside temps are in the 20s.  So, it's very efficient and cheap.
                Headed S last winter about this time and that's a mistake that will never happen again.  Just not cutout to live in high population density trailer parks no matter how warm the climate is.  More on this fiasco in future chats.

11/12/14  No such thing as an offseason on the tackle business.  Put in a good 12 hours yesterday readying meat heads for 2014.  Finished a YouTube video that will debut soon.
I know you'll find this movie very interesting.  Why? ...it's loaded with 8 world firsts. 
              Just, because it hasn't been done before, that doesn't mean it can't be done!  Have a new article in the works that should be ready by the end of this month highlighting the 2014 season.  15 days and counting to a major announcement on Thanksgiving Day.

11/11/14  Veterans Day that holds a special meaning for everyone.  My father served in WWII and so did all my uncles in the navy.  When I was a little tike, I asked my dad, "why did you have to go into the navy?  He said, "I went so you don't have to."  Enough said!

11/10/14  Think I have a plausible reason the return was so low at Manistee's harvest weir this year and will investigate my hunch further before running my lip.
               Return rate of spawning Kings in Pine Creek, a tributary of the Big Manistee River was pretty good.  So, this is a bright spot.  While it didn't help the summer fleet, later September fish was the best of the season on my boat with 80% being juvenile King Salmon that were fat and sassy.  More on September 2014 fishing will be revealed soon.

11/9/14  Public perception is a hard thing to change with 1 in 7 visitors to this website grading the Lk. MI Salmon fishery at rock bottom.  Trust me, I seen worse in the summer of 1988 at the Port of Frankfort when 2 Kings made you the fleet's hot hand for a 1/2 day charter.  Back then we were not good at catching fish below 120'.  And this pre-dates meat fishing that helps reluctant fish pull the trigger and strike.
              My planned chat about an under performing CEO is not necessary, because actions speak louder than words.  Being the head of the MI DNR fisheries division I'm sure is a thankless job where you get all the heat and not much praise even when the fishing is good.  I do have several bones to pick with the MDNR, and that will be this week's topics.

11/8/14  After the depressing number of only 2871 King/Chinook Salmon returning to Manistee's weir on the little river, there is a bright spot.  Being WI's Strawberry Creek's egg taking facility with 5992 Kings that were harvested. 
              WI's DNR policy is much more transparent than MI's DNR.  They show dates, which hatchery eggs are going to, how the fish were distributed.  WI even requests online feedback to stay in touch their public. Click for WI customer feedback form
              I like the WDNR fact that 11,000 pounds of Strawberry Creek Salmon were donated to food pantries for public good.
               Tomorrow ...what normally happens to an under performing CEO?

11/7/14 Received this email received yesterday.  Everyone has the right to be heard:

"John, My name is Wayne R. and I live down in Windsor. I just, along with some buddies returned from a trip to Wellston where we stayed at Northwoods cabins and fish the big river. We got skunked and never saw a fall run steelhead caught. We pulled the plug and came home early. It was the worse fishing I have ever seen up there and I go back to the early nineties. We are good fisherman we know what we are doing.  Where have all the fish gone?  I called the DNR yesterday and talked to a lady and she said that someone in fishery would call me. I called Dexter's number but he was in a meeting.
              A fella  named Todd Kolisch or something like that called me this morning. Not many answers from him, it seems no money and lack of hatchery space was a problem. I think as fishermen in the State of Michigan we are screwed. They doubled my out of state fee plus I am a senior, disgusting!  I may not go back there again, what a shame, we love that area. The DNR of MI should be embarrassed and I would hide my head if I were part of that crew. Thanks for the time... Wayne R. Windsor, Ontario
              P.S. I can say that I am speaking for plenty of Ontario fishermen who go, or use to go to your great state."

11/6/14  Manistee, MI has been my home port since 1992.  I've seen the bitter and sweet, but this year takes the cake.  2014 is the worst ever when you go by the return of ONLY 2,781 Kings being harvested at the Little Manistee Weir this fall.  This is pitiful!
               Compounded by the MDNR's inept decision to reduce King/Chinook Salmon stocking rates by 60% beginning in 2014.  Sad, but all too true! Click weir numbers
               Need let this brew mentally for a day, or 2 before I go on a RANT!

11/5/14  Tech glitch delayed my planned topic of: "What's Up with Lk. MI for 2015?" 
Will elaborate on this tomorrow, if I'm not hit with a bunch of issues ...like I was today!

11/4/14  Election day 2014 means tomorrow we will not be bothered with telephone solicitation phone calls.  What gives these people the right to interrupt our lives to further their own agenda at our expense?
               Long range weather forecast does not look favorable with cold and snow.  So, my 2014 LK. MI season season comes to a close when I finish winterizing my boat today.
               I have to rate my season as an incomplete.  Because wanted to finish side by side mag diver ring tests against my 2015 cupped diver rings.  I know the performance is close, but verification needs to be confirmed.  Do know my new 2015 rings are the absolute best ever engineered and built to last a lifetime.  Unlike the junky tabs on stock rings that break and can be difficult to install.  Mine are amazingly easy to put on and remove.  Designing new tackle that solves issues is what we need more of!

11/3/14  On this coming Thanksgiving Day there will be a special announcement concerning the future of my tackle company.  As many of you know, I've had my tackle business for sale and will fill you in on the details on 11/27/14.
               My most gracious thanks goes out to all visited this website, purchased tackle, and been a part of my 10 year journey into the world of tackle manufacturing!

11/2/14  The MDNR has yet to post the numbers of this year's return of King Salmon at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.  These numbers are hard facts that can not be disputed.
               I went into the charter business in 1983.  That year, this weir saw a return of 39,359 of Kings, or Chinook Salmon. Click harvest weir numbers
               In 2013 the little river weir had measly 6,427 Kings that were harvested.  What's this year's numbers? ...inquiring minds want to know!

11/1/14  First signs of winter is the story from Manistee, MI yesterday with snow flurries.  High temp was only in the 30s too.  Tonight, or tomorrow morning at 2am is when we fall back an hour from Daylight Saving Time (DST), adjusting our clocks to Eastern Standard Time (EST)  Next DST time jump is on March 8, 2015.

10/31/14  WSW wind pushing 20 mph kept me shore bound yesterday.  WSW would be seas coming from Milwaukee, WI I did not want to deal with.  Long range wind and wave forecast does not look good for the next 5 to 6 days.  We're at the time of the year when freezing temperatures must be considered.  Really, don't want to winterize my boat and will hold off as long as possible with a light in the bilge.

10/30/14  Today: Variable winds less than 5 kt becoming WSW 5 to 10 kt in the afternoon. A chance of showers. Waves around 1 ft.  This should work for a good  Lk. MI diver ring test session.  If we catch a fish? ...that would be a big-big bonus!

10/29/14  P15 cupped diver rings come in the colors of red, black, green and whitish opaque.  Considering this is the offseason? ...sales are going reel-good!  Purchased 100 truss screws with each ring taking 4 screws.  I'm out of screws and had to ordered more.
                Each ring is made out of ABS and takes a good hour to print out & assemble.  That's is why these rings are only being offered in the offseason, now thru 12/1/14.
                Tomorrow is diver test day, if the seas cooperate.  Click ring colors

10/28/14  Marked yesterday on my calendar, cuz it's probably the last 70 degree day Manistee, MI will see for the next 5 to 6 months.
                 This Thursday Lk. MI is supposed to calm enough to run diver tests.  This will happen on the flats, a gradually sloping bottom N of Manistee's harbor in the 16s.
                 Goal is to test a regular dipsy with a large mag ring vs. the same kind of dipsy equipped with my cupped 2015 ring.  Side by side pull test, or pressure against the diver rod can be accomplished by running both divers on the same side.  Then, take a photo of identical rods on how they bend under the diver strain from both kinds of rings.

10/27/14  Diving planers are an extremely important part of your Great Lakes trolling program.  Adjusting divers to depth in the top 40', running them with a ring on, is not the best way to go.  You're looking for distance away from the boat, not depth. 
                Probably, no ring would be a better top 40' choice.  Having a ring you can remove quickly, or add easily is what the 2015 Cupped Diver Rings are designed do!
                I fished with these rings since last July and know they work.  40-50% of my yearly catch is from a highly refined diver program that's been in the works going back to the early days in the late 1960s.  Divers worked then, and work nowadays too!
                That's the driving force behind my 2015 Cupped Rings, Super Snubbers™, and 10 oz. add on Diver Digger weights.  If your diver program sucks? ...it can be fixed!!

10/26/14  Gorgeous late October weekend says it all, enjoy!

10/25/14  Offseason limited time offer: 2 cupped 2015 diver rings with rotating tabs and 2 black Super Snubbers™ for 19.95.  Photo on the way.  Click to purchase

10/24/14  Modified diver ring with moveable hold-down tabs turned out better then expected on the first try.  Haven't tested the cupped diver ring vs. a mag ring, but did hit bottom on 105' of water with 175' of line off the reel.  This needs further testing to verify you get the same performance with less rod strain resulting in a lighter drag.  This transposes into more fish hooked-up and in the net!
                 Updated my Thingiverse account with this new rock solid design for your personal use.  If you have a 3D printer? Click my Thingiverse diver ring
                 This new P15 diver ring is the 513,584th model/product to be uploaded to this free 3D printer's website.  Sharing my free exclusive design with you is a good thing!  And goes a heck of a lot further then what ANY other tackle manufacturers have done!!

10/23/14  Lk. MI fishing at the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday was nippy with highs in the 40s.  In-shore surface water was 46 degrees on the shelf (3 miles W of port) and 52 over 600'.  Best band of next year's Kings was in 200' to 320' with the bites coming deeper than expected at: 70' to 100' down.  If anything can be consider normal when it comes to fishing at this time of the season? ...it's usually in the top 50'.  Not so this year, as this season continues to be out of the ordinary.
               Fish count did not reflect the action.  Including a heart breaking miss on a double around 6pm.  Like I said, the weather was nippy and so were the dastardly Houdini fish that were a lot better at just nipping, and then pulling an escape act!

10/22/14  Redesigned diver ring is moving along nicely.  Will soon have a few prototypes printed out.  3D printing means tackle models can be made to test in the reel-world.  This is a super, almost instantaneous leg up when you can fish with tackle, then makes edits as necessary in-house, without a budget that breaks the bank. Click diver ring in flux
                Lots of new ideas floating around in head, because all of our basic tackle is so behind the times.  Tackle we use nowadays hasn't really changed in the last 30 years.  The design process of making new tackle is fascinating, challenging and rewarding.

10/21/14  Here's results of last week's poll about rating your 2014 Lk. MI season:
Only 18% rated the 2014 Lake MI season at 6, or better.  82% gave it a failing grade of 5, or worse.  Most shocking news was 1 in 7 fishermen voting, gave the fishing the lowest score of a 1.  This is not good news, cuz interest in this fishery is now questionable.
                Finally, have the lure tape, or metalized Mylar/vinyl page up and running at my webstore.  You can order lure tape for flashers, meat heads, spoons, ladder backs, and inserts for your divers.  Please remember, lure tape on this page is only available during the offseason, now thru December 1, 2014  Click custom lure tape page

10/20/14  Predicted Lk. MI conditions look good the last half of this week.  Waves at 1' or less is hard too pass up.  Not going to winterize my boat until November.
                Last report I had from Manistee was Kings being caught on meat 125' to 150' down over 250' feet of water, but that was a good week ago.
                Today is earmarked for web store work and redesign of the cupped diver ring with moveable tabs that was not accomplished yesterday.

10/19/14  Great things for this coming week.  P15 diver ring will be redesigned with moveable tabs and 4 #6 stainless steel truss screws.  I know this is a small part, but it plays a huge part in how your divers perform.  Rings will test marketed soon.
                Seas for this week looks very good on Wednesday the 22nd.  If the forecast stays favorable? ...fishing Lk. MI is on the agenda.  Click P15 cupped diver ring

10/18/14  Stable weather by middle of the coming week should mean calmer seas and a window to fish Lk. MI again, as this season winds down.
                No such thing in the fishing tackle business as an offseason.  Typically, sales slow down at the time of the year, but there's still plenty to do.  Fall is when new 2015 tackle is built.  Demand for our meat heads this year was at an all time high and must be replenished.  Plans for 2015 are ahead of schedule & will be shared when the time comes.

10/17/14  Hope by this coming Monday to have the lure tape page back up and running.  New for this fall will be ladder backs in the regular size and magnum for refurbishing spoons.  Along the die cuts for most all popular spoons.  Materials to rebuild meat rigs is another area that's worth you considering.  Now is the time to work on tackle to have everything ready for the 2015 season.

10/16/14  The rate your 2014 Lk. MI season poll is mostly reel-low scores.  86% of those voting were in the 5s, or less.  52% rated the fishing at a 3, or less.
                 According the WI DNR almost all 2014 Kings recently harvested at their Strawberry Creek facility were planted fish in a email signed by Nicholas D. Legler to one of our website members.  This proves how dependent the Lk. Michigan's Wisconsin King, or Chinook Salmon fishery is on stocked, or planted fish.
                 Going to save the marginal Salmon fishermen topic for anther time when I can better explain the different skillset levels that are directly tied to time on the water.

10/15/14  Please rate your 2014 Lk. MI season on a scale from 1 to 10.  I rated 2013 at a 3 and this year a generously at 4.  This 4 rating was only came about, because of a good late season going into September and October. 

10/13/14  When you think of Steelhead fishing on the Great Lakes the top 30-40 feet come to mind.  Not so this past Saturday.  Fish and the action was deep.  Like 55' to 90' down over 150' to 250' of water.  Fish were hitting glow baits too.
                 Learning to shoot good, crystal clear underwater video has been a 2 year deal for me.  Seeing how stuff works underwater is not how it appears above water.  Gained tons of knowledge and and can't wait to share the results with you later this year!

10/12/14  Left Manistee, MI's public launch dock at 8:35am yesterday morning.  Upon we arriving on the shelf we were greeted by 3s, possibly 4 footers in short, crisscrossing choppy seas.  My 22' deep vee Sea Ray is wretched to fish out when it's bumpy. 
                Trolled for about 45 minutes and caught an OK enough Steelhead before we headed to calmer waters to shoot much needed underwater test footage. 
                Finally, shot the best footage ever by fixing the lens fogging issues!  Videos will debut later this year when I have the time to do edits and post them on You Tube.

10/11/14  This morning was the first time this fall the temp dipped below freezing.  Fishing bud and all around nice guy, John J took a nice thick bodied 8 pointer. 
  Gone fishing concludes what I have to say for today.  "Gone fishing" are good words!!

10/10/14  Been having issues with my underwater action cams fogging up.  Rain-X has a product that looks promising.  Warm camera, cold water leads to condensation inside the cam's waterproof case blurring the video.  Have some anti-fog felt strips that go inside the housing that should help cure this problem.  Click action cam's anti fog products
               Tomorrow Lk. MI is predicted lay down and I will be afloat!

10/9/14  Asian Carp eDNA has been found in MI's Kalamazoo River by the MDNR and  USFWS.   How it got there is a horse of another color.  eDNA can transmitted in a vareity of ways.  Including bird droppings, or hitch hiking on water birds like, gulls and ducks.  So, your guess is as good as mine.  Click 10/7/14 MDNR Asian Carp Bulletin
              Worst case scenario is a continued migration from live Asian Carp as they continue to spread to every body of water they can.  Click Kazoo river sampling sites
              The Asian Carp genie was let of of the bottle by the idiots at the EPA allowing the importation of these fish in the first place.  Carp is a preferred table fish in many Asian Nations, but ...so is man's best friend, dogs!

10/8/14  Big story that broke yesterday? ...Asian Carp DNA was found in the Kalamazoo, River.  The Kazoo is the river that empties into Lk. MI at the Port of Saugatuck, MI.  This late breaking news will be expanded on tomorrow....
               King Salmon are in Pine Creek now.  Pine Creek is a major tributary of the Big Manistee River located in Manistee County, MI.  Recent cold rains pulled a lot of fish up on the gravel beds to spawn.  Click 10/7/14 Pine Creek Salmon
               Hard to give estimates, but what I saw ...rated the run at medium.  These stream spawning Salmon were on the small side at 7, to maybe the outside of 12 pounds.

10/7/14  Archived the recent 2014 poll data about your best method for adult Kings on my Poll Page that goes back to 2003.  Spoons were the biggest mover up from 30% in 2013 to 42% for this year.  Lumped together, all styles of attractor fishing came in first at 43% for first place.  Click 2003-2014 archived Poll Page results
             Spoons being popular this year was due to a very high thermocline from last winter's record cold.  Lk. MI's surface temps did not warm up until mid August.  But this was the first time in 11 years of collecting this data, spoons were more preferred then meat.  It will be interesting to see what's most popular in 2015, a full year away.

10/6/14  For the first time, spoons are leading by a small margin in my long running poll.  This doesn't surprise me.  Seeing the Lk. MI was cold and the fish were high in the 50' & above zone.  Deeper spoons go, the more they lose their effectiveness.  After 70' down, that's mostly attractor territory.  Click 2003-2013 archived Poll Page results
             If you add up all the attractor selections, attractors are leading.
                    Please vote for your best method for adult King salmon.

10/5/14  It's the time of the year for my annual Poll Page that began in 2003.  You can vote for your best method for adult Kings.  I say adult Kings, because that's when the fleet is out in full force that leads to a broader sampling.
             There's been no startling revelations in lure shifts since this poll began.  Flasher- fly has lost the most ground.  Spoons are rock solid at 20 to 30% each season.
             What will be the best method this year?  Please vote, & we'll find out together after a suitable number casts their ballot. Click 2003-2013 Poll Page results

10/4/14  Business stuff has me all tied up today.  Looking forward to later this coming week when the rain goes away and it warms up.  Lk. MI should calm down after a long siege of 4 to 8 footers.  Next calm day I will be afloat!

10/3/14  In collecting data the Sea Grant's Salmon Ambassador Program learned a good 75% of the fish boated so far in 2014, aboard my boat were non fin clipped, naturally reproduced fish.  In a roundabout way, this means the Lk. MI DNRs would have to increase the plant numbers 4 to 5 times to reach half stocked vs. half naturals parity.
              This explains the boom-bust nature of the Lk. MI Chinook/King Salmon fishery.  Years when the planted and naturals have a higher survival rate, the catching goes up.
              Seen the MDNR increase the Lk. MI plants in the early 1990s and this did not improve fishing.  Lk. MI King fishing was in a funk then, & only started to improve in 1996 & build thru 2003-2005.  But since 2008 it's been on a yoyo up and mostly down cycle.
              Best news for 2015 is the good catch rates for juvenile Kings this fall.  From experience, the fall foretells the following spring fishery and that's a good thing!

10/2/14  End of the 3rd quarter has me behind.  That's when booking keeping has to be done.  Along with constructing a new page for July, August, and September 2014 for my Captain's Log where daily updates are archived going back to the year 2000.  Plus, full computer systems  backups.  Next year this website will celebrate it's 15th anniversary.
              Tomorrow the shocking reel truth about what I learned concerning Lk. MI DNR King Salmon planting policies ...believe it, or not!

10/1/14  Sunday is a good day to take off.

2014 Results
October, November, & December
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

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

For complete results of all fishing trips, fishing reports & general info
and a peek into my archived log for the past seasons,