April, May & June 2017

4/2/17 E Chicago, IN
Spring Coho

4/13/17 Ludington, MI
10 pound Brown Trout

5/4/17 Manistee, MI
Spring King Salmon

7/3/17 Manistee, MI
Decent Steelhead


Archived Log & Results

6/30/17  Have a safe and great 4th of July Weekend, because you deserve it!
               So, looking forward to July after this week's blitz of business and personal appointments that ate up every day.  Time during the summer is always in short supply!  Good news is we were able to ship all orders without delay that met our 7am deadline.
               This is history weekend about my Salmon Buster™ spoons that will be shared with you as this weekend progresses.  3 years ago is when this project started to came together.  This was the time frame in 2004 when the final SB design leaped forward.

6/29/17  Don't know what the fishing will be like. But the seas looks very favorable for the central Lk. MI fleet over the 4th of July Weekend. Click Windfinder
              Light winds and temperatures in the 70s will be enjoyable for 4th.  This Saturday morning there is a slight chance of thunderstorms for Manistee, MI.
                Personal commitments might delay shipping today and tomorrow.

6/28/17  After the devastating 2015 season, Lk. MI's outlook for a decent King fishery was downright pretty bleak!  2016 was a slight uptick and this year shows a rebound beyond what many of us could have never thought possible.  Click bait autopsy
              During 2016, in my home port of Manistee, MI, hardly ever marked any bait pods until October.  Yes, MI ports this year are producing Kings better after 2 mild winters.
              Question is? ...how will the big months of July and August end up.  Being an eternal optimist, I'd hope/say we will have a respectable King fishery.  Now, we have to wait for history to verify the rest of this yet to be told ...reel-story!

6/27/17  "Many fish were caught this weekend in the MCSFA tournament week. On Wednesday we had a great turnout at Kids Fish at man made, on Friday the Ladies classic had many boats coming in with nice boxes of fish. On Saturday and Sunday many fish were caught despite some sloppy conditions on Sunday.
              I fished all three days and caught 15 plus fish each day. The majority were lake trout but did catch 6 kings and 1 steelhead. My biggest King was 14.95 and did catch a lake trout 17.75 pounds. I fished from Onekama to Arcadia in 110 to 115 feet of water. I have charters the remainder of the week." Click Capt. Kevin Hughes & Sandpiper Charters

The above is first hand fishing news from well respected, Capt. Kevin Hughes who charters out of Onekama, MI.  I can add, Kings to 25 lbs. were boated in this same event.

6/26/17  Today's update is delayed until tomorrow.  Extra busy in the shop and have not had the time to boil down the fishing info from this past weekend's results.  I'd rather postpone then just throw out info that's not had careful thought to verify.
               Shipping orders is job one, and as fast and possible.  Amazon's success is based entirely on getting product out the door and into the shipper's hands ASAP.  Guess what?  ...this is a easy no brainer lesson I've stuck to since I went into the tackle business in 2004.

6/25/17  Have a great Sunday!  Latest fishing reports from our message board members say, it's Lakerville from Onekama to Arcadia, MI.  More info on the Lake Trout is these fish are hitting clean/non attractors rods.  So, it's not like these fishermen are targeting LTs. Salmon for now, are hard to come by in that area.

6/24/17  This is the weekend Manistee, MI hosts the Bud Pro/Am Tournament.  This event dates back to the 1980s and helps generate monies for the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association.  Added boat traffic means I'm staying onshore until next week.

6/23/17  Cannot recall from recent memory, when we've had a stretch of rain and thunderstorms like the last few weeks in Manistee, MI.  This has kept me dockside, when  you throw in the wind that comes with unsettled weather.
              It is essential for me to fish where "on the spot decisions" provide a true testing platform for my tackle.  Feeling the pressure last July out of Manistique, MI is when we put the GhostBuster pattern to work.  Reason? ...we were down to our last couple hours of daylight and our fish take wouldn't feed a hungry yard cat.
             In these 2 hours we turned a slow fishing trip into a highly successful event. Because we needed a glow spoon and took a chance on Mr. Ghostbuster.  The rest is history that led to this pattern being transposed to flashers/meat rigs™ that are deadly!

6/22/17  Hooked up the boat and headed to the boat ramp around 4pm yesterday to no avail.   A plus 20 mph wind was pushing 3 footers with plenty of white water.
              Learned there was a wide disparity in wind velocity (8-10 mph) from the Ludington data buoy that's about 14 miles S of Manistee that I relied on for info.  Once the S breeze cleared the Big Point Sable, wind gained strength from Lk. MI's coast that slopes to the E slightly like a funnel.  So, after seeing in person what the seas were, it was a no brainer to leave the boat on the trailer and head home.
Click Ludington Data Buoy
              Manistee does have a weather station on the beach off the S 1st. Street pier.  Problem is is sits in a semi sheltered location that does not give an good reading unless the breeze has some SW, W, or NW in it.  Click Manistee Harbor Weather

6/21/17  Safety with our boats and trailers should never be overlooked.  Boat trailers must be top-notch to eliminate grief before it happens.  That's one of the reason I upgraded to LED tail/marker lights.  I'm on the road in the dark a lot and want to been seen.
               If my work load allows? ...might be able to get a Lk. MI test session this afternoon/evening.  Been a couple of weeks and feel the urge!
                         First official day of summer 2017 is here today!

6/20/17  Good news is this website has posted more photos of King Salmon then all of last year from Michigan ports.  It's amazing what a difference a year makes.
              Trailer boat owners are keenly aware trailer lights are a weak link.  Submerging 12 volt lights on launching is bound to cause issues sooner, or later.  Even if your trailer lights were made to do this.  Mine were fine the first 5 years on my new trailer, then age caught up.  Replacing them with LED lights seemed to be the way to go, but the first 2 sets of China made lights purchased were junk.  So, I've been dealing this issue for 2 weeks.
Please keep in mind, tail-lights on boat trailers over 80" wide require side marker lights too.

6/19/17  Father's Day weekend was good to those who had weather on their side and could get out on Lk. MI.  Heard good reports, some in double figures for both Coho & Kings.
              Big deal was the amount of baitfish reported in multiple year classes.  This is good news for all of us who chase fish on Lk. MI!  Click 6/15/17 box of IL Salmon
              Please note in this box of fish the Salmon Buster™ spoons that caught at slow dodger speed.  This shows the wide speed latitude my spoons can perform at.
              Also, the 4.0 SUV Alewife SB spoon that continues to produce.  The roots of this spoons came from the Striper anglers in southern impoundments.  I just upgraded the photo and had the stickers made, taking the chance this pattern would be a goodie.  Now you know the reel-story behind my creation like no other spoon I've ever seen!

6/18/17  Happy Father's Day!

6/17/17  Have a great Father's day Weekend!  Looking forward to sharing this weekend's fishing reports the 1st part of the new week.  Best part of this season has yet to come!

6/16/17  This stuff about "thank god it's Friday" don't work for me lately.  I need 9 days in a week to accomplish what I want to do.  Designing tackle can eat thru 100s of hours.  Like it did in the design, then test phase of my Salmon Buster™ spoons. 
               I have several more good ideas for improving the tackle we use.  Case in point: is my Super Snubbers™ and moveable tab diver rings that are a huge leap forward in functionality.  Both these products began with original thought and time to perfect.

6/15/17  Taking a pass on today's chat.  Summer means time off for those who work for me.  So, for the rest of this week, I'm a one man show taking care of all orders myself.  Good thing is how much you learn to appreciate your help when you don't have it.
            Questionable about fishing this afternoon that's totally weather dependent.

6/14/17  This morning, according to down-temp info gathered from the Ludington data there's a 2° break at 55' down (54°-52°).  Click temp Ludington data buoy
               This is the territory where spoons are still effective and an attractor-meat program starts to come into play.  Most of my meat program fish come out of 44° to 38°  Taken some in 36° water too.  But the afore mentioned temps are in my wheelhouse when it comes to catching meat fish aboard my boat.
               If I were fishing today (wish I was), I'd run as mixed program with my spoons down in the 50'-55' zone.  Then, get a firm temp reading and fish meat in the colder water on my deepest rigger.  Plus, at least 1 meat setup on a wire diver. 
               This worked for me the last time I was out on 6/2/17.  Which seems like ages ago with most of my time being spent in the shop. 
               Truth is I'm holding back with the threat of thunderstorms, because I never do well before a storm rolls thru.  Know this is defeatist attitude I can't shake.  Then, there's the safety issues of being a lighting rod 3 miles from the shore.

6/13/17  Scattered thunderstorms today means no fishing this afternoon after diligently working all weekend to free up time.  Warm water returned to Manistee, MI again and I'm stuck dockside filling far too many orders than we can handle comfortably.
              There's no happy medium in the tackle business, either there's not enough, or too much.  Sales are governed by how the fish are biting, or so it seems.  I'm trying hard to squeeze a Lk. MI trip in this week.  Just don't know when the weather will cooperate?

6/12/17  This weekend's S and SW blow stacked warm water along the coast of central LK. MI ports like I mentioned in this past Saturday's chat.  Click at depth temp chart
               Spring Kings can be tough when these fish are up high.  Warm water pushes them to deeper parts of the water column where the fishermen have improved odds.
               Deeper fish from a formed thermocline and structure comes into play, like a fence.  Warm water promotes plankton growth to attract baitfish (Alewives) too.
               Issue is for big lake anglers like me ...who want another crack at these feisty spring Kings?  This is the traditional time of the season when Kings are known to scatter. Then, return towards the end of July.  It remains be seen, if this happens again this season?
               Because there wasn't enough spring Kings around Manistee, MI in 2014 thru 2016 to form any prognostications.  In 3 years a lot can change!

6/11/17  Last day to fish for free.  Which is kind of a non issue for central Lk. MI with yesterday's gale warnings and huge seas.
              Wind took down my power grid too.  Was without electrical power for most of the day and part of the night.  This happening on the warmest day in 2017 was not good.  Spent a good portion of my time making sure my freezers kept running on generator power.

6/10/17  Day one of Michigan's DNR Free Fishing Weekend.  This is a great way to expose more people to fishing.  Real fishing is a hands on sport that dates back to the prehistory of mankind when we depended on fish for a rich source protein that provided sustenance.
              This afternoon's big blow from the SW should bring the Kings back to Manistee, MI.  Warm water is on the way.  This will be a big help to improve catch rates.

6/9/17  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Hear today and it's no use for tomorrow.  Both of these statements equally apply to the once EZ King fishing out of Manistee, MI.
             The inshore Kings have left the building and are not in the inshore depths of 100' to 250' like they once were.  Recent N blow really set this fishery back.
             Knowing why they left is as important.  The Kings were here in the 1st place, cuz there was a wide band of 50° water from like 10' to 70'-80' down.  50s are in the comfort zone of the Kings.  50s also promote plankton.  Which in-turn draws the baitfish (Alewives).
             I watched this pocket of water slide to the S that now looks like it's located off Pentwater, MI.  For info source for this water movement: Click animated chart
             Here's what my Wednesday hero had to say about yesterday's results when he tried to go back to back on 2 trips: "I fished again this morning.  All the fish were gone.  I washed baits for 3 hours and then gave up.  It was like a barren desert out there looking for fish.  Fished 90 feet to 220 feet.  One boat fishing close.  Never saw a net come out from them.  They quit when I did..."
             Just because Wayne T struggled does not make him a zero.  Oh contraire! 
          It shows he's still a hero with an honest fishing report we ALL can learn from!

6/8/17  Today's reel-fishing story is courtesy of Manistee, MI local, Wayne J:

"HI John,

Had a pretty good morning. Lines in the water at 5:30 and out at 9:30. Fishing alone with a rigger,  a 10 core and a braid diver.  I fished south of the harbor, mostly in 125' of water.  Saw evidence of a thermocline forming once I got into the 12's.  Click Wayne's fish box
             Fifty foot down was 46 degrees.  Thermocline looked like it was forming above that. Saw some bait but not much.  I ran a X-glo BTI with a fly behind it and that took my biggest King.  I had another shaker on at the same time. Glad it wasn't a big one.
            Doubles with big fish tend to overwork me.  Next two that I caught were on the 10 color on a Grey Ghost Salmon Buster™ spoon.  Love that spoon this time of year.
            End result, three kings in the box, one shaker released and a hit on the rigger that did not hook up.  And...one tired fisherman.   Wayne J skipper of Take Five"

6/7/17  If the Lk. MI cooperates?  ...might be able to get out this evening.  Have some new common sense ideas for tackle that needs testing. 
             A steady diet of N wind has pushed the warmer water S in central Lk. MI.  Seen 44° on the surface from the Ludington data buoy.  This is a major game changer for sure.  With cold water inshore running out deep might be the plan.  Harbor might work too.

6/6/17  During the course of any workday, can speak on the phone with several fishermen seeking info.  This is one of the best parts of my job.  Here's feedback from direct contact:

"Hello John,

I spoke with you and ordered a few flashers and meat rigs two weeks ago. Thank you for your insight and help picking out the right colors for Olcott NY. We had a pretty decent trip this past weekend, and the meat rigs were a huge help to the success. I wanted to just reach out and say thank you for your help and quick work to get my order out and to me within days.   -Mark C-"  Click for Mark's recent Lk. Ontario spring King

6/5/17  Only issue I see fishing out of my home port of Manistee, MI for Kings it water temp lacks a definable thermocline to concentrate fish.  This leads to the Salmon being scattered up and down the water column.  Our highest fish came around 40', deepest was a 100' to add credence to the point I just made.
             Today's featured photo is from last week's trip with longtime fishing friends, Todd B & John J holding fine examples of spring Kings.  Click for this photo

6/4/17  Part 2 of yesterday morning trip out of Manistee, MI begins with the statement, "you don't know what you have, until it's gone."  That's what most of us were thinking about the almost total collapse of King Salmon fishery in 2015.  2016 was a little better
             That is not the case in 2017 when the Kings showed up in Manistee in April, hung around in May, and are still here in June.  Click for my 1st 2017 King on meat
             In less than 4 hours of lines in the water, we boated 4 Kings to the mid-teens and missed 2 drive bys.  Todd B, John J, & I fished S of Guerney Creek towards the big point. 
             Surface temp was 54°-55° that dropped to 51° at 15' and stayed that way to 70'.  Surface current was running N at a fair clip from sustained S winds.
             Water we fished in was stained, not like the gin clear Lk. MI main body of water.  Did mark occasional bait on the bottom and a good amount of suspended fish that developed lockjaw as the sun rose and the lake calmed down.

6/3/17  The Salmon Buster™ SUV Alewife pattern is no joke.  This spoon is as absolutely as reel as it gets.  We had 4 exciting rips on the Alewife SUV in the 4.0 and 4.65 sizes from 6:30am thru about 7:45am off riggers 45' to 60' down, over 100' of water.
              Then, the bite died which could be attributed we turn from the S troll to the N.  Once we headed N it was pitiful slow until we boated a double digit King on the John J combo around 9:30am.  Plus, we had a meat thief we missed off a diver on the Super Silver Bullet BTI combo. It was my pleasure to have long time fishin' buds aboard, John J & Todd B.
             You don't have to be a smarty pants to see the merit of reel Alewife image transplanted on a spoon.  Common sense told me this would work during the design phase.  It was wonderful to confirm my idea and see 1st hand this spoon cqatch!
             Here's what I know from intel gathered on the water during yesterday morning's trip:  There are enough Kings sprinkled from Big Point Sable to the 16s, just N of Manistee, MI to keep it interesting!  Click 6/2/17 SUV SB 4.0 spoon caught King
      To be explained tomorrow: water temp, area fished, death toll & current direction.

6/2/17  Going to a head start on this weekend by taking this morning off to go ...you know where.  In mental prep for today's trip, mulled over the zillion choices fishermen face after not being on the water for several days.  It's stone flat-out amazing how complicated we've remade the once simple process of fishing.  Have a great weekend!
             Fished this morning.  Tune in tomorrow for the rest of this reel-story!

6/1/17  Been trying to bank some hours.  So, when I do get a chance to go fishing, won't feel guilty about neglecting my tackle business.  Know tomorrow, Friday and Saturday look OK.  Hope the weather forecast is right and get a chance to drown some lures.
            Meat bite is starting.  Heard this mentioned more than once.

5/31/17  Good fishing news from the central Lk. MI Port of Manistee from well known and respected, Capt. Kevin Hughes.  Here's what Capt. Kevin was kind enough to share with us:

"We caught 27 fish in the two days of the Onekama Shakedown. We fished from the 10s to the 5s south of Manistee. We caught fish from 125 to 250 feet of water.
              The big fish came on meat and  the majority of fish came on spoons.  Divers, both high and low. down riggers, copper and lead all caught fish.
              Of the 27 fish the majority were Kings, Coho and  1 lake trout. We caught one King around 18 pounds. The fish were filled with bait and we saw bait surfacing during the day. Things are looking up this season....."  Click Capt. Kevin's website

5/30/17  In a holding pattern until I get more Manistee fish info.  There's a wide disparity in the fish reports I've heard.

5/29/17  Memorial Day is when we honor our fallen service men & women going back to Bunker Hill in 1775.  In my 70 year lifetime major wars have been fought in Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and lesser military actions in Panama, Granada, Somalia, and Syria.  Please remember the ultimate sacrifice many have made.

5/28/17  Today's chat pertains to recent photos posted about the success of Gold Crushed Orange Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon that proves I'm not blowing smoke.
               "You weren't kidding about that gold and orange one being awesome.  Got a really nice Laker and a bunch of Coho today.  Coho are thick off St Joe right now.  Laker was 13#.  Went 8 for 10 in the end." ...from Capt. Ray C.   Click for Ray's photo

5/27/17  Today's topic is about the gunk cottonwood trees float onto Lk. MI.  This fibrous stuff accumulates on your lines and ends up at the swivel. 
               It is hard to pick off and rid yourself of.  Never figured it out, if it was better to pick this wad of fiber off the lines when it was wet, or dry.  I do not have a visual, but will try to post picture soon the next time off the dock.
               Southern Lk. MI has a lot of cottonwoods.  According to the Saugatuck fleet when I chartered there in the 1990s, the local skippers said, it slowed the fishing down.

5/26/17  Home projects are going keep me off the water until next week.  Have a safe and enjoyable weekend as we get ready for full fledged summer.

5/25/17  The MDNR's free fishing weekend happens on June 10 & 11, 2017.  That's 2 weeks out.  Anything that adds to the base of fishermen, I'm totally for.
              Going to start my Memorial Day weekend a little early and wish all of you a safe and happy holiday.  We all need a break.  So, enjoy the unofficial kickoff of summer!

5/24/17  We all need a place to start trolling.  At this time of the year NOAA surface temp charts can point you in the right direction.  Click Manistee surface temp chart  
               Central Lk. MI ports light up when there's a 8° to 10° surface temp differential that sets up close to the dropoff.  Over the years, this break/temp change used to occur within about a distance of 2 miles, or less.  Then, the fish are fenced/concentrated by cold water and structure.  Increasing your odds of success by a huge margin. 
                Issue is the NOAA surface temp charts have not been worth a darn for the last month.  Erroneous readings during cloud cover can be understood.  However, during clear conditions we should get a representative chart.  That's not the way it is now. Current satellite temp chart readings are totally worthless.  Maybe this satellite is worn out?      

5/23/17  Decided not to go fishing today.  Plan is to build tackle and try to have a better cushion.  Then, fish the Memorial Day Weekend a couple of times.
              Know Manistee, MI results from last weekend were lackluster at best.  Boats that did reach double figures did so by targeting Lake Trout.  3, or 4 Salmon was a good box.

5/22/17  After an E wind Kings showed up at Wilson, NY on Lk. Ontario.  If I wasn't so busy in the shop with tackle ...I'd be on my way there for a few days.
              It's going to be a wait and see on fishing reports from this past weekend.  Wind has shifted to the SW and predicted to blow at 30 mph today.  This push of warmer water should help stack some Kings at central Lk. MI ports (Ludington, Manistee, & Frankfort). 
             Tomorrow morning looks fishable, if there's a rare chance to get away from the shop for a few hours.  The coming Memorial Day Weekend is shaping up nicely with temps in the mid-70s.  Might have to wait until then...

5/21/17  In 2015 spring King fishing and summer Kings were almost non existent in MI's slice of Lk. MI.  2016 MI seen a small uptick with the better fishing in WI.  2017 is on track to be one heck of an improvement with a lot more Kings off MI's coast.
              King Salmon/Chinook are vital to sustain our Great Lakes sport fishery.  Millions of dollars are spent every year on boats and tackle to pursue this hard fighting fish.  Adding to the overall economy of all Great Lake states.

5/20/17  Have a great weekend.  My time is being devoted to build more inventory.  So, when I do get a decent day, going fishing will happen.

5/19/17  T.G.I.F. is the way I feel about this week's workload.  There have been some Kings caught out of Manistee in water from 100' to 250' deep.  But it's not the big deal, like it was, when the fish were closer to the harbor.  Once the bait that's in southern Lk. MI move N things will drastically improve for my home port.  Find bait and you'll find Kings.
              Bright note on the horizon is the large amount of small shaker Kings that have been caught in more southerly Lk. MI ports.  These are our future adults.

5/18/17  Wilson, NY as of last weekend, Kings were on the Canadian side of the Niagara Bar, by St. Catherine's Ontario.  Coho was good out of Wilson averaging around 5 lbs. per.
               Kewaunee, WI's spring King fishery is off to a slow start.
               Rogers City, MI on Lk. Huron was Lakerville with good sized LTs being caught in 40' to 50' of water N of the harbor.
               Southern Lk. MI was the place to be last weekend.  We had website members fishing out of South Haven, MI with respectable numbers of fish on spoons.  Most of the fish caught had several year classes of Alewives in their tummies.

5/17/17  Early am thunderstorms knocked out my satellite internet.  Then, when I finally got a net connection, shipping orders have delayed my planned chat for today.  Without the internet there's no way I make make mailing labels to ship product.
         Time constraints has delayed today's update about port reports until tomorrow.

5/16/17  Yesterday evening around 5pm, went on an exploratory mission to Manistee, MI's shelf, or drop off about 3 miles out.  Harbor water temp was 60 degrees that transitioned slowly to 50° on the surface over 125' of water. 
              This contradicts NOAA surface temp charts by a good 10 degrees.  Down water temp was 46°-44° and decent down to 70' when it broke to from 43-42 over 150' of water. Spring Kings can be caught at 38° with no problem.
              Bait that was in and around the pier heads, marked on 5/4/17 has long since flew the coop.  Marked 2 fish around 60' down over 150' in 2 hours of trolling, before calling it quits.  Just didn't see enough to warrant hanging around till dark.
              Central Lk. MI is on the cusp of our spring King season once the fish move N from the more southerly Lk. MI ports that are reel-hot right now.
   Tomorrow scattershot fish reports from Rogers City, MI, Kewaunee, WI, & Wilson, NY.


5/15/17  Today's chat is from Team Extra Credit who fished South Haven, MI on 5/13/17.

"Good morning Captain,

I am happy to report that the Salmon Buster Gold with Orange Crush tape and Ghostbusters spoons were hot for use yesterday too. We were able to catch seven of our fish with these spoons off either 5-color led core or our high wire Dipsy. Equally exciting to us was seeing many of our fish spitting out alewives as we netted them. We caught a mixed bag of kings and Coho along with one trout and are hopeful for a continued successful season.

Thank you for sharing you fish catching knowledge with everyone. We are looking forward to August and our annual two weeks of fishing in the heavens of Manistee."

Thanks, Pete D.  from the Extra Credit Click for Capt. Pete's big catch

5/14/17  Have a great Sunday!  Looks like a pretty decent week with temps in the 70s for Manistee, MI.  Predicted S winds later this week should setup next weekend with surface temp break along Manistee's shelf, or drop off for good fishing.
             Common thread I'm hearing is most fish caught had Alewives in them.  This is good news for central Lk. MI fishermen.  Do know, I've posted a lot more photos of Kings caught off Manistee and Ludington this season when compared to 2015 & 2016.
             By no means is fishing off Manistee the glory years of easy pickings, but it's a lot better than I expected.  Let's ALL hope this keeps up!!!

5/13/17  Having lures that are proven to work all season long is beyond priceless.  Today's featured photo shows last summer's big hit, the GhostBuster Salmon Buster™ spoon was back on point early this May. Click 5/10/17 GhostBuster SB 4.0 King
              This spoon took our 1st 2 hits on a Slide Diver (no ring) 50/50 count on my recent Ludington trip.  Meaning 50' behind the diver and 50' of line out, dialed on 2 1/2.
              Reason for the 50' lead length is explained when you look at the photo carefully & see it's next to flat calm going to glass.  While this is not the biggest King my boat has taken this year, it certainly did photograph well.  Factoring in the semi low-light conditions,
I used fill flash to capture Todd hoisting a stunning 8-10 lb. bright silver spring King!
             The real expense in tackle is worthless stuff that don't catch, or just occasionally.
 Reel spoons like my original GhostBuster pattern are now proven produce all season long!

5/12/17  The idea behind my fishing trip to Ludington 2 days ago was motivated with the firm knowledge (from Capn. Kirk), this port had fish from his results a day prior.
               This afforded me the great opportunity to test spoons against the red hot SB 4.0 Gold Crushed Orange.  So, I did not load the spread with the color.  Knowing full well, there has to be other patterns that will produce.  Click test spoon free slider
                With that in mind, tested a new, not in production, copper crushed orange SB 4.0.  This newbie spoon accounted for 2 of my 5 bites.  This new test spoon was riding as a slider, not in a prime position for wary spring Kings in flat calm glassy water.
                My first 2 hits were on the Ghostbuster 4.0 that we hit with a black light, because it was just cracking daylight and still semi dark.  I'll post this fish pic tomorrow.
                We did take 1 fish on the Super Gold Bullet 4.0 on a rigger 38' down over close to 60' feet of water with the surface temp reading 44 degrees around 8am.

5/11/17  "They're baaaaack!" was confirmed again today by Ludington local legend, Capn. Kirk!  Kirk and his crew fished from 6:30am till about 11am and took an outstanding catch of 10 spring Kings.  Plus, he smoked me in the process, because I was there too!
               Meaning I had to deliver some tackle to Ludington, or at least that's the excuse I used to sneak out of the shop for the morning.  My results were a 1/3 of Capn. Kirk's good ship, "Enterprise" who was on warp drive and my boat was on impulse power!
              BTW, the majority of Capn. Kirk's Kings came on half cores on the temp break in 46 to 43 degree water on the Gold Crushed Orange 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon.  And that's what I had to deliver.  He bought 10 more of these spoons. Click for this reel meat pole!

5/10/17  "They're baaaaack!" This reel story comes to us courtesy of Ludington, MI, local legend, Capn Kirk.  He had very respectable box of Kings and a few Brown Trout.  Flavor of the day, was the Gold Crushed Orange Salmon Buster™ 4.0.  Kirk had 5 of these in his 6 rod spread and ordered 10 more of this pattern today. Click for Kirk's spring Kings!
               Oh, ye of little faith, that gave up on Lk. MI after a tough season in 2015.  Been around this fishery since 1968 and this I can guarantee; you never know what's gonna happen.  This is like Christmas for me, seeing happy fishermen, with big King Salmon!

5/9/17  Lk. MI off my home port of Manistee, MI is predicted to be fairly calm for the next few days.  This affords me the opportunity to going fishing.
             Last weekend's strong N blow is not working in my favor.  So, my expectations is not going to outpace reality.  N and NW at this time of the season just brings in more cold water and can scatter fish.  The way I look at it? ...even slow fishing, beats no fishing!  
           Biggest plus will be finding out if the bait marked on 5/4/17 is still around.

5/8/17  With good sized Kings being caught off Manistee, MI, it's going to be interesting as water temp builds in the main body of Lk. MI towards the end of this month.
             Testing my memory, I have go back to about April of 1995 to say, I caught Kings within a mile, or 2 of the pier heads off this port.  Back when I was charter boat skipper. 
             Reasons could be many why fair to good numbers of King Salmon have been caught off Manistee.  I can only offer an educated thoughts.  Such as, a warm winter kept the bigger Kings from migrating S.  Bait could be another possibility.  Where's there's bait? ...there's going to be predator fish sitting at the dinner table ready to chow down!

5/7/17  Took a photo of biomass 100 yards from Manistee, MI's pier heads around 10am on 5/4/17.  Marked this cloud at 8am about a mile S and by 10am it moved to the piers. 
            This is the same way my graph marked the small Alewives when I was at Manistique, MI last July.  Do know this is the time of the year when Alewives spawn.  Time will tell of our harbor loads up with bait. Click for 5/4/127 sonar image
            I was one of the last to know Kings were hitting off Manistee.  Know now, after the fact, this began in mid-later April and mum was the word.  As desperately as we need good news about the state of Lk. MI's King fishery keeping info on the QT is not helping anyone!
            Some of this is my fault, because I never seek fishing info from known contacts.  Usually, when good catches are coming in the word spreads fast.  Not so, ...this year!

5/6/17  Today's chat will be expanded tomorrow about bait off Manistee, MI.  We did mark bait and a Brown we caught was loaded with large Alewives. Click stomach contents

5/5/17  Fished for 3 hours yesterday morning out of Manistee, MI in almost flat calm seas from about 7am till 10am  Tried the inshore 10' to 15' depths for the 1st half hour S of pier heads to the clay-bank without any bites.  Moved to the deeper 30' to 40' depths in a mile wide sweeping loop out from the harbor.  Staying in the dark river water.
             Todd B and I just missed a hit off 1/2 oz bead chain keel weight board rod around 8am when the port Slide Diver rod took a hard slam.  This feisty King took close to 200' line off the reel headed towards Orchard Beach State Park.  Fought this fish up to 80' from the back of the boat 3 times, only to have it peel drag in a hard fight.  The 3rd time this King's power waned and we finally got a underneath it.  Click for yesterday's King
              Had to scurry back to the shop to build and ship orders before 2pm keeping with my same day shipping policy.  Water temps were about the same as the day previous.  While this trip did not echo the same success rate as the day before, I'd get out of bed at 4:45am any day of the week to catch a King pushing 3' long.
               To be continued tomorrow with more interesting reel-facts about bait!

5/4/17  Fished my home Port of Manistee, MI yesterday morning from 7am till noon with decent results for nowadays.  Boated 3 Kings at 7, 10, & 12 lbs.  Plus, a 4 lb. Brown.
             Fished a 1 to 2 mile wide arc around the harbor a good ways out from the pier heads.  Surface temp ranged for 50° to 44° out to the color line.  Click hot spoons
             Troll speed was 2.5 mph in a churned up sea with waves coming from all directions in 2 rollers.  Best was our riggers from 7' to 20' down over 25' to 40' of water with 80' to 100' leads.  Took 3 of 4 on the riggers.  Our board program sucked, only the small Brown.
             Hits came on the Gold Orange Crush & Gold Bullet 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons.     The Kings are mean as ever.  Ready to cut crossways thru the board lines.  Making a mess, as today's featured pic of our biggest King shows. Click 5/3/17 tangled King Salmon

    This morning's fishing report is on tap for tomorrow! Click for today's biggest King

5/3/17  Calm seas are predicted for today and tomorrow.  Depending on work load, hope to get afloat soon.  Have a new mic for my action cams that needs testing,  Capturing a decent sound track is the hardest this I deal with on shoots.
             Hearing what's said and when adds to video.  When Todd and I first saw our 1st King of the year pushing 20 pounds the yak was priceless.  Think you know what I talking about after not seeing a King of this size since last August!
   Update tomorrow about today's reel-action out of Manistee. Click 5/3/17 King Salmon

5/2/15  34" King weighing 17.8 pounds is packing a lot of fish in short frame.  Negating MDNR's the claim there's not enough baitfish, at least partially.  I'm referring to the King that we caught on 4/25/17.  This was a thick fish too.  Click 4/25/17 17.8 lb. King
             In my 2 trips, 1 out of Ludington and 1 out of Manistee, MI figure I'm averaging 1 fish every 2 hours.  While I've not caught many, when I do ...it's a good one!
             Yes, there is the ongoing question about the Lk. MI Alewife population where there is no clearly defined answer about what the future holds.

5/1/17  May is the month for spring Kings.  Last year, at this time, hardly any were caught in S Lk. MI.  This year a few Kings are making their presence known.  While it's way-early to predict even a few kings is a reason for hope.
            Middle is this week, looks like there's a window on Wednesday and Thursday where the conditions our on the side of the fleet.  Do know, there's been many more early season Kings caught out of Manistee, MI.  Another good reason for hope!

4/30/17  Spring Kings are beginning at Lk. MI's more southerly ports.  Today's feature pic is from last Friday out of the Port of South Haven, MI.  There's 3 well fed juvenile Kings that had Alewives in their stomachs.  Capt. Dan reported seeing lumps of bait too.
               This is good news for all, with our spring fishery being off to a great start compared to the past few seasons.  Click 4/28/17 spring catch

4/29/17  Have a great weekend and enjoy your time off.  Rules for this season's "Beat the King" contest need to be adjusted to keep it a level playing field.  To prevent new members just signing up because they caught a worthy fish after the fact.  There's must be a time delay before new members can enter their fish.  Thinking of 2 to 4 weeks before eligibility kicks in.  Haven't made my mind up yet, but without rules this would be a mess.

4/28/17  Fishing contest for message board members and it's FREE to enter for members.  Just beat my 34" and change (4/25/17) King and you'll win 25 bucks in tackle.  If you caught it on my tackle? ...prize doubles to 50 bucks.  Click to join board
              Brown Trout will also be eligible.  Beat my 33" Ludington Brown and same winnings as posted above.  Each time length is exceeded, that's the new benchmark that must be beat.  Winning fish must have a clear photo with a ruler/tape measure to PROVE, or qualify to be a winner.  I'm relying on your honor about what you caught it on. 
              So, please let's be on the up and up and not fib to double your prize.  Tackle will be my choice, guaranteed to satisfy.  Season winning big King will get a bonus $100 prize that will be decided on 10/1/17.  In case of a tie, first to enter is the winning fish.
              This is a fun contest for FREE tackle that don't cost you a dime!  Rules will be adjusted as needed.  Winning fish must be an inch better.  So, hard to read fractions of an inch don't come into play.  Beat the King to be the King of this derby.

4/27/17  Part II:  Inshore water on 4/25/17 was 48° in 5' to 10' of water.  Once you moved out a little deeper, surface temp was 46°.  Long 80'-90' lead lengths off the riggers produced both fish at 2.5 mph.  Water color was stained with NO weeds in it!
              This has to be experienced, cuz no amount of words can ever describe what a surging double digit King peeling line transmitting their power up a rod and reel feels like!
              For me, it's a magical event of Lk. MI baddest fish living up to it's reputation. 
The sheer strength and majesty King Salmon have ...is what fish tales are made of.
              Icing on the cake is what something totally unexpected happens, like it did a few days ago when we boated a King Salmon pushing 18 pounds.  This is my best/biggest April King since I left the charter business in 2003.  So, we're off to a great start!!

4/26/17  Part I: Escaped from the shop yesterday morning to wet some lines and it felt good!  Just being on the boat, wandering around in hopes of a fish, or 2 was energizing.
              With zero confidence, trolled N up the shoreline searching for Browns with 6 rods off the big boards.  OK, after the best part of a hour with not hits, ...on the beach Browns were a no show. Seen this movie before and changed tactics.  Set a rigger down 7' over 12'-15' of water & looped towards the the S.  Still had 4 lines off the boards.
              Soon after the 1st rigger was set, a 5 lb. Laker fell victim to the lethal SB 4.0 in the Gold Crushed Orange pattern.  Click for this LT & Salmon Buster™ spoon
              This was a positive clue a another rigger needed to be added into our 6 rod spread.  Then, swapped out 2 of the surface board lines for 2 Slide Divers.
              Headed S to the 1st clay bank with no action.  Changed direction to the N and that's when our 2017 King season officially began with a bruiser pushing 18 lbs. ripping into the deadly SB 4.0 Gold Crushed Orange.
Click for our season opening King Salmon
                     Part II tomorrow with more reel-info & particulars!

4/25/17  Breaking News:  Big deal for Todd B and myself about 9:30am this morning.  Boated our 1st King of 2017.  This bruiser pulled the scale down to 17.8 pounds.  Flavor of the day was the killer Gold Orange Crush 4.0 Salmon Buster spoon. Click for this bad boy!
                        For the rest of this reel-story, tune in tomorrow!

4/25/17  11 days have went by since my last fishing trip and that's way-way too long.  Between the weather and being busy in the shop ...has kept me dockside.
               It's my own fault for not making time to steal a few hours on Lk. MI for a needed mental adjustment.  Fishing puts everything in perspective for me that been a steadying influence on my life since I got my 1st fishing rod & reel in the mid 1950s.
               Back then, the USA made fishing reels here.  My 1st reel was a
Pflueger Akron that came out in about 1925.  The Akron was manufactured in Akron, Ohio ...not China!

4/23/17  Reports on spring Coho have been good from grand have to New Buffalo and points south.  This could be good news for Kings on the Michigan side down the road.
               These Coho would not be on east shore of Lk. MI (Michigan side) unless there was bait.  Last year in 2016 the Coho were not here in the numbers we have now.
               If bait is anchored on our side this well bode well for spring Kings when mother nature gives them a wakeup call.  May is the month associated with spring Kings.

4/22/17  Have a great weekend!

4/21/17  T.G.I.F.  Heavy workload for me this week as the 2017 season moves forward.  Biggest accomplishment was maintenance was completed on my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Only thing remaining is to pull and grease the top U-joint in the Mercruiser outdrive.
               Cold, wet and rainy has held my enthusiasm for fishing in check for the past few days.  More rain beginning next Tuesday with showers predicted thru next weekend.

4/20/17  There seems to be more Coho being caught this year by our website members that fish southern Lk. MI.  That's the good news, but fish over 10 pounds have been hard to come by thus far for members.  So, I guess we're all waiting for the Kings to show up.
               I'm in limbo about where and when to fish next.  There's is a weather window this weekend.  Seeing there's no huge amount of inshore central Lk. MI Brown Trout ...means I'm not to keen on fishing Saturdays, or Sundays.

4/19/17  Lubricants are the cheapest thing you can buy for your boat.  Having a rigorous maintenance schedule will coax years of extra life out of your vessel.
              Even inexperienced mechanics can change oil, lower end lube and pick up a grease gun.  Owner manuals tell you how to do this and how often.
              In the charter business having a broke boat means no revenue and lost days you can never recover.  That's why staying on top of lubricants is so important to me.  With this mindset I was able to get 8000 hours out of my 2nd charter boat's motors from 1987-2003.

4/18/17  Day off sounds good.  So, that's exactly what I'm gonna do!  Plan was to go fishing out of Manistee, MI.  17 knot wind out of the SE at 5am morning blew that off.  Angle of SE can funnel right up the coast, making it too lumpy for me.
              Honestly, I'm spooked at Manistee's early season fishing.  After 2 years of less than mediocre results due to weeds, I'm just not excited at fishing here.
              When trolled lure is fouled with debris on a constant basis, you have to know when to throw in the towel and hope for better times ahead.
              Do not let me deter you from fishing Manistee with my less than spectacular  outlook.  Reports this year say the weeds don't seem to be that much of a problem. 
                          Issue is? ...haven't seen it for myself yet!

4/17/17  Installed a polarizing lens filter on my GoPro action cam.  Video I shot on 4/13/17 came out excellent with clear views of Browns battling underwater.  New filter allowed better underwater view.  Hope to piece this Ludington movie together when time allows.
             Maintenance day for my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Already changed the oil in the 4 stroke kicker and drained/replaced the outdrive lube.  By the end of today oil and filter for my 350 GM V8.  Lower end lube in the kicker will be changed by the end of today too.

4/16/17  Here's some reel-facts that didn't get mentioned from my 4/13/17 Ludington trip:
1. troll speed was plus, or minus 2.5 mph.
2. once you left the beach to make a turn, main body of Lk. MI in 20' of water was 40°.
3. wasted a good hour towing weeds on all 3 of our starboard rods.
4. fished experimental 3 rods on port side that didn't take a bite.
5. actually marked a few fish on the bottom in 10' of water (seen this happen before).
6. area inside the Ludington pier heads is 3 times as large, when compared to Manistee.
7. it was free to launch, no kiosk was not installed yet.
8. all of the launch docks were new pressure treated lumber.
9. zero boat traffic, 1 boat trailer in the launch's parking lot (sign of tough fishing).
10. 1st time I fished out of Ludington, MI was late July 1969.

4/15/17  The winner of my most productive spoon in the top 20' of water is the Gold Orange Crush Salmon Buster™ 4.0.  This was proven in April thru October in 2016 and this spoon is off to a great start again in 2017. Click Gold Orange Crush 4.0
               If you like working the top of the water column for Steelhead & Browns this awesome spoon is a no brainer buy.  Coupled with a bead chain keel weight, 5' of 15# test leader with a Roscoe Duolok snap for an ultra-slick trick presentation.
               I, as a tackle manufacturer ...want to sell you the best of the best, so you catch.  This mindset is what's kept me in business since 2004.
Click to Purchase

4/14/17  Fished Ludington, MI yesterday afternoon from 3:30pm to a little after 7pm.  Trolled N of the harbor to the bath house in water I never fished Browns before.  Water was greenish clear in 5' to 15' of water.  Surface temp ranged from 45° to 47°.
             Best dark water we found was off the Lincoln River.  This is where we took 2 Browns, being a 5 & a 10 pounder.  The 10 was a feisty long lean Brown that put up an exciting bare knuckles brawl that did not want to come to the net.  Click 4/13/17 Brown
             Both our bites came on the Gold Orange Crush Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon.  I now see why Ludington local, Capn. Kirk runs 6 of these off this boat.
             My springtime nemesis, Mr. Nasty Weeds dwells past the bath house.  So, for now, avoid this area if you're targeting inshore? ...off the beach fish.  Click for Mr. Weeds
             While Todd B and I did not load the boat with fish, I rate this trip as a 10.  Just because it provided a perfect transition from making tackle to using it!  Plus, anytime you gain experience on new water, it's winner in my book.  That will not be soon forgotten!

4/13/17  Yesterday, Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk fished a short evening.  His tally was 2 double digit Lakers and a 14.2 pound Brown Trout.  These fish came on my Salmon Buster™ spoon in the Gold Crushed pattern.  Kirk was using inline planers with 3/8 oz bead chain keel sinkers at 2.5 mph  It's excellent to see there some fish for central Lk. MI angler to work on.  Hope to get out soon when work and conditions allow.  Click Capn Kirk's catch

4/12/17  And so ...it begins!  This is a fitting title of today's chat with Kings from E Chicago, IN making their presence known. Click 4/11/17 E Chicago, IN Kings
              Today's feature pic is via Capt. John W from King Seeker Charters, forwarded to me by dedicated Lk. MI fisherman, Tom M.  7 Coho and 4 Kings with a couple Salmon pushing 20 pounds is a wonderful start to the 2017 season. Click King Seeker Charters

4/11/17  Starting tomorrow the wind is favorable for shoreline fishing off my home port of Manistee, MI.  Grapevine says there has been a few fish caught.
              Early season Brown Trout fishing takes place in water from 15' to 5' deep.  That means, at times ...you're only a 100 yards from the beach.  Requiring fairly calm seas.  Surf  crashing on the beach makes this a no-go for yours truly.
             What and when I'll be able to go fishing this week, depends on workload.

4/10/17  Spoon stickers, or die cuts can be purchased in quantities in 10 counts for 9.95. My ground breaking Alewife, Bite me and Kissy Face Salmon Buster™ spoons are in huge demand.  So, it was a no brainer to offer these die cuts as a stand alone purchase.  This is a cost effective way to breathe new life into old lures. Click for Spoon Stickers
              Did some investigation on the S end of Lk. MI Coho where I fished the Sunday before last.  Seems when these big schools of Coho leave, they never come back in force. 
              The Friday before I left is when this fishing started to go downhill and get progressively slower.  Do know I've fished the extreme N (Manistique) and S (Portage, IN) ends of Lk. MI, gaining knowledge along the way.  Click our 4/2/17 Indiana Coho

4/9/17  Have a great Sunday with temps pushing 70°  ...finally!  Lk. MI is predicted to be pretty lumpy until mid-week.  Looking at checking Manistee, MI's shoreline fishery when conditions become tolerable.  Heard of some fish being caught.

4/8/17  Weak satellite internet connection is now a 3 day ongoing problem.  The Chicago fish die-off would be a major story if this happened in central Lk. MI.  Down in the S end of Lk. MI not so much, because info is very limited.

4/7/17  Issues with my satellite internet is once again problematic.  Story I wanted to concentrate on was a huge fish die off in the S end of Lk. MI down by Chicago.
             This is close to the same place we were fishing last Sunday. 

4/6/17  Opened up the entire Encyclopedia of Tips and Tricks section.  Parts of this was formerly reserved for website members only.  There's about 100 different item specific articles that cover a lot of ground dating back 17 years. Click Tips & Tricks
             Upon review, this a very impressive repository/knowledge base across a wide spectrum.  Going deeply into topics overlooked by the mainstream fishing media.
             As I've said before, there's a pile of people in the fishing business that will gladly take your money.  But how many of them put the work into actually earning it?  I know of no other website, or tackle manufacturer that puts forth the personal effort I do. 
                                 No brag, just one helluva reel-fact!!

4/5/17  Website maintenance is adding another page of archived daily updates in the Past Results.  This page is for timeline reference when needed. Click Jan, Feb & Mar 2017
             This section of this website has at least 6000 daily log entries going back to January, 1, 2000.  It's hard to fathom this site is 17 years old.  Lots has transpired since then, as our Great lakes fishery continues to evolve. Click Past Results page 
  Wind and weather for Manistee, MI is not looking good this week.  So, my time will be devoted to making tackle.  So, when the right conditions present themselves, I can go fishing.  Hopefully, the weeds I've dealt with 2015 & 2016 will not be there.
            Seems St. Joe and points to the  N had at least some fish this last weekend.  Good news is the fleet was out in force taking advantage of Sunday's calm seas.

4/3 /17  Word from MDNR Manistee, MI says this spring's shoreline fishery is better then 2016.  Really, that don't say a lot.  Because 2015 and 2016 were downright pitiful!
            Spent yesterday chasing week old fishing reports that said E Chicago and Portage, IN were producing EZ limit catches of Coho.  Plus, bonus species like Steelhead and Browns in certain areas.  Seems about the middle of last week these fish started to move.
            Gained knowledge and insights in the extreme S end of Lk. MI.  Fished off Portage, then the "rock wall" and the Gary light.  Pastrick Marina to the "hole in the wall" and points north out to 50'.  Net gain was a Coho in 6 hours and tons of local nomenclature.
            A super huge thank you goes out to the "Greek" for getting up early to drive 3 hours and meeting Todd, Dylan, and I at 6am.  Then, sharing his expertise with us!!

4/1 & 2 /2017  Taking this weekend off.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June

2016 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2015 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

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