2019 April, May & June

4/22/19 St. Joe, MI
Spring Salmon

5/2/19 Manistee, MI
Laker Trout City

6/3/19 Manistee, MI
Gary's teener King

Salmon Buster™ spoons
New 2019 A.I. Pattern


Archived updates and fish reports

6/30/19  Have a great Sunday, it's summer time in Michigan.  Go and enjoy it!

6/29/19  Weather thru and past the coming 4th of July looks pretty decent.  Not much wind predicted for central Lk. MI and that's good news for the fleet.
               Manistee, MI's inshore fishery along the shelf continues to be spotty.  Rumor says deep water action over 600' of water is producing some Steelhead.  Hope to confirm, or change rumor status for more reliable info for this Monday's update.

6/28/19  Southern Lk. MI Coho down by Chicago are really packing on the pounds.  Fish that were 14-15 inches last March are now better than 7 pounds.  This is phenomenal!
              With summer Kings just around the corner and you have a trailer boat, please check your trailer's lights, tires and wheel bearings.  Having a fail on a long pull at night is grief you just don't need.  Blew a 2nd tire once late at night outside of Clare, MI with no extra spare (already used on 1st blow out).  This caused a major delay and my boat sitting on the side of the road unguarded.  Luckily, there were no thieves out that night.

6/27/19  New inserts for Leader Lockers™ are in-house.  Had a new company cut the leader cards/inserts.  Cuts came out better than what we sold previously.
              The story behind the Leader Lockers™ started in 2006 when Chip Cartwright from Wolverine Tackle/Silver Streak showed them to me in 2006 at the Flint Steelheaders Show in Birch Run, MI.  Purchased a lot of these that originally came from Alaska.  This source dried up and had to go into manufacturing them myself. Click for Leader Lockers
              Trick to storing 24 meat rigs™ in the lockers is the bottom layer goes face down.  Top insert goes face up.  That way the hooks never touch anything that might cause tangles.  The lockers pay for themselves by protecting your costly meat rigs™, or flies.

6/26/19  Will be restocked with Leader Lockers™ and inserts before the end of today.  This is the best way to protect and store meat rigs™ and trolling flies.  Some of my meat rigs™ are well over 10 years old and still in fine shape by using lockers.
              Keeping tackle in-stock is one of the hardest things I do long term.  Learned to buy large, because suppliers come and go.  Click for Leader Lockers™ & inserts

6/25/19  Last weekend's Bud Pro Am Tournament put on by the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association (MCSFA) had only 14 boat pro boats participating.  Amateur division was a little better off with 27 boats.  This is down 75% from the 1990s when I fished this event in the pro division.  Downside is the money generated from this event goes back into the fishery in many ways.  Less boats means less money shared. Click tourney results
              Winning pro boat's 20 fish in 2 days averaged 9 pounds.  Winner in the am division 10 fish weighable in 2 days averaged 9.8 pounds.  Big King was 24 pounds caught aboard the Tangled Tackle entry skippered by Chris Engels. There were NO Browns caught.

6/24/19  Fish report from the inshore Manistee, MI fleet was bleak last Friday evening.  Fishing for Salmon is spotty at best, inside of 300' of water. Inconsistent fishing is normal for time of the season.   Unless you're targeting the bottom for Mr. Lake Trout.
               Plans are uncertain for now, but we're way-overloaded with demand and will be closing the webstore for a week to restock.  Tired of playing catch-up.  See shutting down is the wise path forward.  More on the shut down dates soon...
              Wanted to go an out of town trip to Rogers City, MI , but that's just not going to happen.  Current workload will only get heavier as the prime time Kings is on the way.

6/23/19  Good day to skip and get ready for next week.  Happy Sunday to all!

6/22/19  Have a great weekend.  Been strongly considering a getaway trip to Rogers City on Lake Huron just after the 4th of July.  Never fished this port and want to give it a go.  Know this is a varied fishery with 3 kinds of Pacific Salmon and Atlantic Salmon too.
              Weather has to be perfect.  If you think you'd like to fish this area with me? There's an open invitation as long as you know how to run riggers and set lines.  Your expenses while in Rogers City will be covered.  Time frame is from the 6th of July thru about the 15th.  After that, I'm way to busy to leave Manistee.
              Do know I'll never get back to back days off as long as I stay home.  2 days of fishing and a day for travel is the time allotment.

6/21/19  First official day of summer 2019, as our chilly-rainy spring passes into the history books.  Temp in the lower 40s this morning at my place does not feel like summer is here.
               Hand-lining fish to the boat with long 20' Dipsy leaders seems to be common place in the TV shows I've seen lately.  Hand-lining used to be outlawed in tournaments.
               My old school belief says landing a fish to the net should be done with rod and reel in-hand.  Not by someone else, hand-over-hand pulling your fish to the boat. 
              Been practicing with my water-drone.  More practice still needs to be done.  This is a seriously dangerous piece of equipment that I'm just not comfortable with yet.  Drones are not toys and must be treated with the utmost respect.

6/20/19  Figured out the MDNR fish reports run a good week behind.  They said fishing was good in Manistee.  But we we get back to the dock after an evening fish, the top boat had 4 fish.  I don't call 4 fish in 5 hours good. Click sign up for weekly reports
               This is the time of the season when inshore fishing gets tough, as the Kings scatter to "who knows where."  My next trip (if work ever allows) will be offshore on vertical thermobars.  It's either that, or drag bottom for old faithful LTs.

6/19/19  This is the time of the year when my sales projections get tossed out the window.  Inventory is low on meat heads.  Playing catch-up to make more.
               Fish reports have dried up.  Manistee, MI last I heard was mostly Lake Trout off the shelf.  LT's are suspending up and down the water column from Wayne J who was out recently.  Any idea of me fishing is a not.  Maybe after we get restocked if sales slow down.

6/18/19  Keeping yourself safe and legal is today's focus.  First, check the dates on your flares.  This is a U.S.C.G. requirement.  Next is a 5" by 8" plaque about oil discharge.  Pretty sure all boats over 22' must have this plaque.
              Getting pulled over by the Coast Guard is most likely inside your port's harbor with burnt-out running lights.  This can happen anytime with old style bulbs when you're plowing thru rough water.  I went to LEDs to lessen this occurrence.
              The Coast Guard is not on the muscle.  They're just doing their job.  My run-ins with the CG have all been amicable.  Coasties are there for your protection and deserve to be treated respect.  Make sure your air cleaner/spark arrestor is cleaned ever so often.

6/17/19  In the year 2002 rebuilt my Wolverine Charter Choice rods with Aftco roller guides for 30# test 7 strand wire.  Made a simple wood vee-jig to twist/roll the thread over the guides.  This served me well until this year.  Click for i2k wire diver article
               Noticed I had 2 broke guides.  OK, no big deal.  Let's do a cheap easy fix with what's on-hand.  Used 30# Cortland White Spot Braid dyed with a blue Magic Marker.
               After several coats of clear lacquer the rod is back in service.  Background on the rods used dates to the 1980s when I bought the Wolverine 10' rods that were the best on the market.  70 bucks in 1985 equates $166.25 in 2019.  So, these were no cheap rods!
               Getting 34 years of service out of these old beat-up rods makes this a wise purchase.  Incidentally, there's a 100 bucks in the Aftco roller guides on each rod and they've caught several tons of fish and Kings to past 32 pounds.  Click repair job photo

6/16/19  Happy Father's Day.

6/15/19  Father's Day is tomorrow.  Go and enjoy it with dad.  Many of us no longer have that opportunity.  So, take advantage of this special day.

6/14/19  Guest update today from Josh A. Onekama, MI about last weekend's fishing trips:

"Wanted to share with you some good fishing adventures this past weekend made mostly by one of your meat rigs.  Believe the name is green frog. 
             Found some good scum lines loaded with beach grass and wood.  But also, bait and hungry kings.  Few miles north of Onekama 24s to 27s, best depth 200'-250'. 
            This meat rig accounted for 3 20lb kings in about 2 hours Saturday morning on same wire diver & accounted for 6 fish on the day.  Worked the same water rest of Sat. evening & 3 hours Sunday morning.  11 fish Saturday and 4 Sunday, all kings, most had small 2"-3" alewives in them.  Thanks again for the top notch tackle." ...Capt. Josh A.

6/13/19  Posted a photo of the new double single hook setup that undergoing testing.  Hooks are VMC Permasteel open eyelet used as an option for our spoons.  Can only report these new hooks are 1 for 1 and further evaluation is needed.  Click 2 single hooks
              Testing new ideas/ways to accomplish a goal, or to solve a problem should be an ongoing process.  The best has not been invented yet, but we're trying.

6/12/19  Ludington's Capn Kirk continues to break new ground with our Salmon Buster™ spoons when he caught a Whitefish 110' down close the bottom.  Catching whitefish with a trolled lure of any kind is a rare experience.  Click Kirk's Whitefish
              Was out of Manistee, MI for a few hours last evening.  Setup S of port of few miles in 400' of water.  Wayne J and I fished into 125' on a 5 mile straight line troll path.  Hooked and released a small 5-6 lb. King during our test session. 
              New double single hooks worked and wire Slide Divers performed as intended. 
So, this should be viewed as win even with only 1 fish.

6/11/19  Today's report is from Lk. Ontario out of the Port of Olcott, NY.  Longtime website member Darren H, aka snagglepuss caught over 30 Kings on their weekend jaunt.  Split picture shows only the some of the Kings they kept.  Click Lk. Ontario Kings
               Olcott is the next port E of Wilson, NY where I fished in 2015.  Deep water is close to shore and there's plenty of good Kings to catch.  Shoreline is very similar to Lk. Huron from Port Austin to Lexington, MI.

6/10/19  Today's featured pic of 3 Alewives is the total sum found in 3 fish.  So, there is bait in Manistee, but it's spotty.  This contributes to the wide disparity in catch rates.  Land in the right spot with fish food (bait), odds are you'll do pretty good. Click 6/7/19 bait
              Came up with a new idea that eliminates fighting with long leaders behind your wire divers.  Aboard my boat, the 10" BTI flashers work best 10' back, or more.  This means a struggle when it comes time to net a fish, because my 1979 Sea Ray has a short back deck.  Blood knotted 50# mono to 30# 7 stand wire.  Yes, this can be done after a few tries.  Now, I have 20'-25' mono 50# leaders Slide Divers can clamp down on.
              Incidentally, checked the stretch factor on the 50# mono.  There's good foot of stretch/cushion to buffer to the harsh no stretch 7 strand.  So this should work.

6/9/19  A big thank you goes out to Chris G who filled in on short notice as my guest fisherman.  Chris is extremely capable and as a firm knowledge base on Great lakes trolling techniques.  1st for Chris? ...he never caught a Lake Trout on meat before.
            To tie up some loose ends on last Friday's fishing trip out of Manistee with Chris, boats that stayed closer to port and a little N fared better on big Kings.
            Our action was scattered both over depth and area.  Had hits for 60' to 100' down on the S troll to the big point.  Like I said, action was tolerable, but ran into the same issues on wire divers missing bites.  I'm working on a solution.  Click Chris' LT     
            Along with a new hook setup.  Double trebles are deadly, but they can become tangled together when the fish turns the bait to swallow it head first.  When this happens, one hook, pulls the other one out.  This has happened 3 times on 11-12 strikes.  That's un-acceptable in today's fishery when you next bite is a 1/2 mile away (30 minutes @ 2 mph).

6/8/19 Yesterday morning, fished out of Manistee, MI.  Setup S of Manistee down towards Guerney Creek in 50' of water.  Blank screen moved out deeper looking for fish.  Began marking a few fish in the 150' depths.  Chris G and I continued trolling towards Big Big Sable.
           Action was tolerable with at least a bite and hour.  "Hit to in the net" ratio left a lot to be desired.  Dropped 2 fish on the starboard wire diver.  Missed fish on the 300' and 450' coppers.  But, hey, ...that's why they call it fishing, ...not catching!
           Fished 6 rods, all meat.  Best was the John J combos in both the 12" and 10" sizes.  The JJ combo is positive Karma on my boat from my departed friend, John J that ran this flasher-meat rig combination religiously. Click John J BTI 10"Combo

6/7/19  This is Michigan's free fishing weekend.  Go and enjoy it!

6/6/19  Restocked our bullet heads at my webstore.  X-Glows are available again.  Working with a new company to restock Leader Locker™ inserts that should be in-house in 2 weeks.
            Fly in the ointment is the company that made the die-cut Alewife images for our SUV Skinny Minnie lineup went out of business.  While not out of the stickers, inventory is very low.  Working with a new company for more stickers.
            This is the never ending job of keeping items in-stock.  Good news is these tackle components are in demand and that sure beats the alternative!

6/5/19  Last Monday's top producer was the John J combo. It's a 12" King Kryptonite flasher & an Undertaker3 fly meat rig™.  This mix-match was my departed friend, John J's creation.  At first, I was against it, because I'm into matching tackle to simplify selections. 
            But ...John J earned the right many times over with his devotion when I started my the tackle business back in 2004.  Click for the John J combo
            John J was on the ground floor.  From the time we dry-walled the shop.  To the long 12-14 hour days, as we struggled to keep up with demand on our newly introduced 12" flashers (Mambas take a long time to paint).  JJ was always there!
            Now, he's gone and still haven't dealt with the grief of losing a friend that can never be replaced.  So, now you know the reel-story behind the iconic JJ combo that will catch fish from May until the season ends on your deepest rigger.

6/4/19   Yesterday morning, fished out of Manistee, MI with Gary W. from Onekama.  Lk. MI was pleasant with 2-3' swells from the NW.  Set up a few miles S of port in 60' depths, trolled out deeper in a small gaggle of boats that we all riding (never seen a net go down).
              Pulled lines and headed for Big Point Sable at 7:30am to fish a dedicated 4 rod meat program (2 riggers, 2 divers).  Finally, at 10am got into a decent high teener King that Gary patiently coaxed to the net for his 1st King 2019.  Around 11am boated a spawned out 8 lb. hen Steelhead.  Pulled lines around noon.  Click Gary's 1st King of 2019
              Reel story: the big herd of Kings that the fleet got into last week was scattered and widely dispersed.  Troll path of 12 miles, we marked maybe 25-30 fish (3 fish per mile to the outside).  1 fish was above 50' and all the rest were 75' to 125' down.  Never seen a clump of bait.  Our troll speed was 2.0-1.8 mph.  Best rigger was 100' down towing a John J combo that produced 2 fish and 1 tap.  Missed a half-hearted tug on the starboard diver.

6/3/19  Manistee, MI is producing good catches of spring King Salmon to 20 pounds for those that are dialed in.  Meaning boats with a lot of "on the water" time.
             Playing hooky this morning in the hopes that this turns into reel-hook-ee stuck in the jaw of a giant June King.  Lk. MI is supposed to play nice.
            Thanks to everyone that has responded to my request for new fishing partners.  Should have done this a long time ago and look forward to the new blood aboard.

6/2/19  Need to expand my circle of new friends to fish with.  If you're interested in fishing Lk. MI with me, send an email to; kingscharter@yahoo.com
             I accept no payment what so ever.  Inviting somebody to go fishing, then asking them to foot the bill is not acceptable, or courteous.
            Rarely do I keep fish.  What we catch is released, or goes home with you.  Lake conditions has to be fairly calm.  Trying to shoot video in rough water does not work.  If you live close to the Manistee area and are free weekdays?  Please call (855) 950-3474. 

6/1/19  What goes into making a good/productive fishing trip is perfectly explained in today's sonar pic of the day.  Big mounds of bait with fish marks surrounding the bait is front and center.  This is why ...in a little over 2 hours, Tom M was able to build a nice box of Coho in the southern end of Lk. MI (down by Chicago).  Click for sonar & catch pic
          Please note how these Coho have went from 12"-14" inch fish in March to 4, maybe 5 pounders in 2 months.  Amazing growth rate to say the least: Click 3/16/19 Coho
          I've yet to see any bait off my home port of Manistee, MI in my limited efforts thus far.  Take this with a grain  of salt, because ...me fishing 3 to 4 hours a week in not a way to form a true consensus of the reel-story in Manistee.

5/31/19  Have a great weekend.  Mine will be spent making/restocking spoons, meat heads and flashers  Demand in the last 2 weeks of this month ...was way-up.
               This is cotton wood season on Lk. MI.  This fibrous cotton-like material sticks to fishing lines and is hard to remove when wet.  It's a little easier to pick it off when it's dry.
               Cotton wood trees produce millions of wind driven free floating seeds.  Good news is in about 2 weeks this seed drop comes to an end. 

5/30/19  King fishing in the S end of Lk. MI has been decent.  Kings have picked up in Manistee, MI too.  Good fishing means more tackle orders.  Keeping me shop-bound and not out on the drink.  Missed a great opportunity this morning to chase our most worthy adversary: Mr. King Salmon.  Lk. MI was on good behavior at my home port (Manistee).  Hoping to find a window soon, before Manistee Kings scatter and leave.

5/29/19  My home port of Manistee, MI has been hit and miss.  For every good report, there's another that says differently.  Do know this is my worst spring fishing ever and that goes back to 1968.  Remember, you can't have the best without the the pits.
              Our thanks goes out to Tim M for sharing net info.  Here's what he said:
"One was a little ways south west and the other was west/northwest of our fishing location of 44’ 16’.777 N 86’ 21’.663 W. Poorly marked, low visible staff flags, with buoy markers.
...2 for 2 Sunday night. Thought I’d pass it along"
  Tribal Enforcement has been doing quick net sets with no notice to mariners.  This could be a prelude to their Consent Decree that's up for renewal in 2020.  Little River Band stole millions of dollars from our MDNR with a fake, criminal scheme to become commercial trap netters back in 2008.  These crooks could be looking for more ways to steal in 2020!

5/28/19  Been receiving excellent big King reports on our Salmon Buster™ 4.65 Gold Orange Crush pattern from the S end of Lk. MI.  Click big King on the GOC
               Always did well with the slightly 4.0 smaller version in the same configuration.  Now, the demand for larger size is way-up in recent webstore orders.
              Spring Kings showed up in decent numbers this past Sunday evening out of my home port of Manistee, MI.  That day, the morning bite was reel-slow, but took off in the afternoon.  Let's hope the good fishing holds for a week, or 2.

5/27/19  Please remember why we call to today, Memorial Day.  It's to honor those that gave their lives in service to our nation.  This is the highest sacrifice one can give.

5/26/19  Took a few days off.

5/24/19  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Good news for central Lk. MI ports is we're finally getting to the mid-40s for down temp.  There is no stratification according to the Ludington down-temp buoy.  So, what Kings there are? ...could be lurking from the surface to down deep.  Warming waters trigger spawning runs by Alewives.  This is another reel-fact to be aware of as the 2019 season marches forward.

5/23/19  Weather for our upcoming  Memorial Day Weekend looks just OK.  This Saturday is predicted to be the warmest day of 2019 thus far.  Thunderstorms are forecast, but not all day events.  There are windows to go fishing.
               Installed a new link on the Great Lakes info page to the South Haven down temp date buoy just like the one in Ludington, MI.  South Haven has 7 more degrees of water temp 49° down at ~50' compared to Ludington's 42°.  7° is a world of difference early in the season when it comes to fish and bait activity.  Click Great Lakes Info Page

5/22/19  Busy this morning with orders and shipping ASAP.  Did notice the amount of original products we offer.  Ball Chain Coast Locks, Cushioned Crimps, Diver Rings, Super Snubbers™, Fly Flippers, S. Bombs and our Salmon Buster ™ Spoons are not knockoffs. 
               Designing tackle to solve problems is one step at a time process.  So, I guess I'm kinda unique, by not duplicating other manufacturer's tackle lineups.  Then, flooding the market with cheapie copies from stolen ideas/products by others who did it first!

5/21/19  Plan was to fish Lk. MI this morning out of Manistee, or Ludington, MI.  Honestly, I'm just wore out by our unseasonably cold spring.  Not wanting to deal with 32° this am.
               Monofilament line breakage is from underperformance.  That's only be made worse by overpaying for it.  Breaking lines cost tackle and more importantly fish.
              Broke a big Laker off a while back.  What broke? ...the 15# Vicious Fluorocarbon leader.  Not the mainline of my standby, Triple Fish mono that has it roots dating back to originator/inventor, Ochert in Germany during the late 1940s.

5/20/19  Manistee, MI's "Tight Lines for Troops" pulled off another highly successful free tournament.  Close to 50 boats took part in taking our former service members for a great day of fishing on Lk. MI in homage to our vets. Click for tournament results
              Winning fish was a 19.5 lb. King caught aboard the "Indian Giver."  Lake Trout were the predominate species, but there was some Kings taken.
              With our late spring? ...Manistee could be setting up for an outstanding King fishery this Memorial Day Weekend.  If we get SW wind and warmer temps?             

5/19/19 Have a great Sunday.  Weather for Manistee is a lot better than predicted.
             Need to stress, as a safety issue, DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY into the 51 LED Black Lights we're selling at the webstore.  A few brief seconds is tolerable.  Please keep this in mind when you're using the best, fastest way to charge/light-up "glow in the dark" tackle.

5/17/19  Main ingredient (alewives) to a successful spring King Salmon season has been a no show thus far at central Lk. MI ports.  Not fishing Lk. MI last fall due to boat issues leaves me in the dark about what the bait situation looks like.  Later fall months of October and November is an excellent indicator on the Alewife population. 
              The next couple of weeks in Manistee, MI we should see some bait and Kings.  Kings are the big deal and most sought after fish we have.  Hope they show soon!

5/16/19  This weekend is Manistee, MI's "Tight Lines for Troops" happening.  2019 marks the 10 year anniversary of honoring our service men and women special event. 
               Manistee goes all out for our veterans with free tournament charter fishing, awards, raffles, and a dinner at no cost to all former service members.
               To improve this do? ...moving it to later in the summer when more stable weather patterns will be a huge bonus to all participants.  Middle of May weather and fishing is iffy in Manistee.  Thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday.  Let's hope this holds off.

5/15/19  Fished a short am trip with Wayne J and Dave F yesterday morning from 7am till about 9am.  Lk. MI was an enjoyable mill pond smooth.  We marked no bait and almost zero suspended fish marks.  Surface temp in the river water was 49°-50°.  We stuck around the harbor area (a mile N and S) with good temp in the mid to upper 40s.
              Boats that headed out to the shelf came back in to troll the harbor.  So, it must have been a tough go out there too.  Seen the same thing with a boat that was way N.
              Wayne J did some dumpster diving in the cleaned fish buckets.  There was some mid to smaller walleyes the night fleet has been catching in Manistee's harbor.  Along with a few Lakers and a good sized King around 20 pounds.

5/14/19 Good news for central Lk. MI fishermen is: Ludington, MI's Capn Kirk who took a King over 20 pounds in 8' of water just off the beach.  This happened around 2pm.
             Kirk's had finished up on Lake Trout in 55-60' of water using Laker gear.  He moved in shallow, traveling N.  His "Hail Mary" move mindset? ...they had to go the direction anyways.  Then, was rewarded with his boat's 1st King of the 2019 season..

5/13/19  Ludington, MI's Lake Trout have been feasting on gobies, as shown in today's featured pic.  All 10 these gobies came out of one Laker. 
             Gobies were at the end of the line when the fish gods were handing out good looks, cuz these bait fish are gross.  Click partially digested gobies
              Flew my water drone for the 1st time yesterday afternoon.  Didn't crash it into and building.  Did have one hard landing getting accustomed to the controls.  To fully test this drone it needs to be over water where there's nothing to hit.
              Should have some fish reports as results from the weekend filter in.  Do know Kings again this season are jumbos and many are already over 20 pounds.

5/10/19  Have a great Mother's Day Weekend.  Going to take a couple of days off and be back this coming Monday.  Need to catch up on yard work.  Might go fishing too.
              After not being checked by COs (MDNR conservation officers) for several years, was checked my last 2 times off the dock ...once in Manistee, MI, then in Ludington. 
              Be sure to have your 2019 MI fishing license and enough life jackets for everyone onboard within reach (at COs request).  This will make their slight interruption over in a hurry and get you back to fishing with zero grief.

5/9/19  The weather is not doing any favors for our central Lk. MI fleet, as we approach Mother's Day Weekend.  Last night's wind to 40 knots out of the E pushed any warm water we had towards WI.  Only good thing? ...this E blow might have pushed the weeds we had in Manistee, MI onto the main body of Lk. MI away from shore.
            My hindsight comment once again proved it's 20/20 by Ludington's Capn Kirk who went N on 5/6/19 and got into a few decent Browns.  He fished the next day and only caught Lakers off the beach. Click Kirk's Ludington's Browns

5/8/19  Been keeping track of "hookup to the boat" tally on single hooks and Salmon Bombs.  Both are a perfect 3 for 3 with zero missed opportunities.
             Once we get 50° surface temps depth charts for the Salmon Bombs will be shared with those who purchased.  This inside info will not be available to the public at large.
             Depth per foot attained will be more once the warmer water is here.  Do know the 8 ouncers go down like a rock pulling a spoon.  6 oz might be most useful off the big boards from the few hours we've spent developing the Salmon Bomb program.

5/7/19  Single hook vs. treble hook has fans on both sides.  Single hook point allows for greater pressure focused on point for deep penetration. Singles have a much larger gap from the barb to the main hook shaft.  Again, allowing for deeper penetration.
             Trebles increase the odds by offering 3 points to stick fish.  Trebles are the Great Lakes fleet's mainstay by all manufacturers.  Except for what we offer, as an option.
              Factor in our single hook option is on a barrel swivel.  So, the fish can't use the spoon, as a pry bar to pull/twist the hook out.  Click single hook stuck fish
              I know from past experience dating back to the late 1960s singles will be a few miss hits, but almost never-ever come out of a fish on the way to the boat.
             Keep this in mind, for later in the season when the Kings hits are precious and  absolutely must make it to the net.  Know I'll be running a lot of singles this summer.

5/6/19  Ludington, MI fish report, from 2 days ago is poor to mediocre at best.  Setup on the shoreline S of the project.  Took the inshore sight seeing tour in 7' to 15' down to the Bass Lake outlet.   Making a futile effort to catch at least one Brown during our early season fishery and came up empty.  Bass Lake is about ~3 miles N of Pentwater, MI
             Headed out to the deeper water.   Did a circle tour back N to the project in 35' to 60' looking for suspended fish (1 suspended mark in 2 hours?).  Surface temp ranged from 38°-41° as WJ & I tried to locate bait and spring Kings like I did in May of 2018.
            Took a 8-10# LT off the big boards with an 8 oz Salmon Bomb.  Then, hit a 10-12# Laker off our inside 10 oz Bomb rod.  Both fish were a gift, because there were zero marks.
            If I had a do-over? ....would have went N out of Ludington to the Lincoln River up to Big Point Sable.  But hindsight is always 20/20!  Click for our 5/4/19 LTs

5/5/19  Fished out of the Port of Ludington, MI yesterday morning.  Wayne J & I were searching for suspended bait and a few Kings to no avail.  Did manage a couple of decent Lakers while we were fine tuning our Salmon Bomb program. 
             Did learn a few things that will be of tremendous value once we have some bait and Kings show up in Manistee, MI.  Particulars will be elaborated tomorrow with a reel-story etched in history by Wayne J.  Click 5/4/19 Ludington LTs

5/4/19  Seas and weather is predicted to be nice today.  Kings have been caught in St. Joe, MI.  So, have a great Saturday and enjoy your sport.
             Worthy to note: Wayne and I took fish in the green pea soup S of Manistee, MI's harbor.  With 2' of visibility, it was the pulse of my spoons that move a lot of water that allowed this to happen.  Probably should have worked the cloudy water more, but my confidence level told me to turn around.

5/3/19  It was my great pleasure to fish Manistee, MI local, dedicated Wayne J (Take Five).  We stuck 5 Lakers, 4 made it to the net and we missed a few nibbles.
             The reel story begins with our chilly spring that has kept central Lk. MI cold for this time of the season (37°).  There's about a mile of good 43° water S of Manistee's pier heads.  Then, it gets cold and turns a milky green color with about 2' of vis.
            Gold Salmon Buster™ spoons took all but one of the bites.  New unreleased 2019 X-Glow A.I. 4.0 SB proved itself again in the stained harbor river water.
            There's a close to mile of 43° water N of the harbor.  Do not fish in tight to the 5th Avenue beach.  This area is loaded with fruit salad, or weeds washed in from the high water we have to begin the 2019 season with.  Click 5/2/19 reel-picture
            We only had 1 down bite on an 11 oz Salmon Bomb that was around 12' deep.  Rest of all of our hits came on 1/2 oz bead chain keel sinkers fish off the big boards.  1/2 oz at 2.7 mph fishes about 5' down.  We had just as many bites over 30' of water as we had in close, or in the 10'-15' depths.  Good amount of LTs around the harbor.  But NO Browns!
            Fished from around 8am till it was pushing 1pm.  Lost our 1st hour looking for Salmon and bait out to the 50' depths.  A lot of time was wasted clearing weeds that choked the trolling kicker motor's prop and made a big mess in our 6 rod spread.
            Inshore ghost net N of Barr Lake was reported to be gone today!

5/2/19  N of the Barr Lake outlet there are floating red buoys in what looks like 12 to 20 feet of water.  This needs to be investigated further before jumping to any conclusions.
              As a lure manufacturer/designer my strong suit is making patterns/color that tent to work all season long.  Not quirky off the wall colors that only produced in a limited time window of the season.  Proved that again with our 2019 White Lightning 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon that was 1st tested last August.

5/1/19  Picking up where I left off yesterday: Take Five aka Santa Claus, aka Wayne J, left Manistee, MI's harbor around noon.  Wayne was solo.  The Lone Ranger in quest of a few bites.  He trolled N close to shore 10' to 15' of water.  Click stomach contents
            Wayne had a double go N of Orchard Beach State Park all by his lonesome tucked in close to the shore.  Luck was with him and landed the 2fer.  Soon after he hit his 3rd Laker.  Closing out his 3 fish LT limit in short order. 
            Flavor of the day was our Salmon Buster™ spoons all captured on full HD video to be shared with you soon.  Good to see the new 2019 White Lightning pattern got bit too.  Showing this pearl color shifting technology is not a one trick pony.
            WJ was impressed how the west coast single hook stuck.  Going completely thru the snout that was never going to come unpinned. Click Wayne's weapons
            Also, today is a partial world rollout of my 2019 A.I. spoons with clear ice chip holographic lure tape that turns itself on and off, depending on the angle of the light source.  Hope to have all models of this 21st century hi-tech spoon available soon.
         Late breaking word is: St. Joe is doing well on Kings to 20 lbs. the past few days.

4/30/19  Manistee, MI is having a smelt run in 2019.  This is the 1st news (I'm aware of) since the later 1990s.  With smelt running the creeks, the predators like Lake Trout follow their food source in close to shore. Click Wayne's Laker limit
              Smelt spawn in 41° to 45° water.  So, how long this run will last is the question? Water on the Lk. MI beach/shoreline was 41° according to Wayne's graph.
              Today's featured pic is Wayne J's solo effort mid-day limit of 3 Lakers caught on our Salmon Buster™ spoons N of Manistee close to the Barr Lake outlet yesterday. 
      There's a lot to unpack in Wayne's reel-story that needs to be continued tomorrow....

4/29/19  Manistee, MI's public cleaning fish tables have been open for about a week now.  Kiosk where seasonal, or daily passes for the launch ramps is up and running too.
              This is earlier then normal when the Kiosk takes money for the 1st Street launch.  10 bucks a day, or buy a seasonal ramp permit for $40. Click cleaning station & Kiosk
               Ludington, MI's season ramp permit is $60, but only 30 bucks for those who live inside their city limits.  Think launch and use of Ludington cleaning tables is $20 for a daily.
               Big news is there is a smelt run this year in the creeks that empty into Lk. MI around Manistee.  To be elaborated on tomorrow's update!

4/28/19  Have a great Sunday.  Wind is supposed to be down today for central Lk. Mi ports.  Unconfirmed, but from very good sources: Manistee is producing Lake Trout on the shelf and up on top of the shelf too.  Will do some digging to confirm 2nd hand report.

4/27/19  It's been a week and a day since John J passed away and it still hurts.  He is non replaceable.  Being with me ever step of the way for the last 20 years. 
               John J seen the 1st 12" flashers, 1st mag meat heads, 1st 10" BTI flashers, 1st super mag heads, & 1st 3D printed spoons.  Click John J wiring pole barn
              John's help built my tackle shop, wired lights in my pole barn, hung doors, installed windows, made tackle, was my 1st mate, & helped with total re-fit of my 1979 Sea Ray.
              I know he didn't need the money, but found some fascination with my projects. He was in all in, as we traveled down the road of life together.  I miss him dearly!

4/26/19  Today's featured Photo is from Dan A who fished out Lk. MI of the Port of St. Joe, MI a few days ago.  On his morning trip 4 Coho and a 22 pound King fell victim to Capt. Dan aboard his Grady White, "Reel Women."  Big news is the double digit 22# King!
               Just by looking at the girth of the fish in today's photo you can see clearly round plump fish not suffering from malnutrition due to lack of bait as we're led to believe!
               Nice to see there are some Kings being caught this early in the season.  Hope there's many more Kings caught by all the viewers of this website. Click Dan's catch

4/25/19  I keep looking for any shred of information to plan my next trip.  Inshore water warmed up some and reports of a few smelt runs is in our favor.
              Only thing I have for Manistee, MI is there was several boats in the harbor perch fishing and catching some.  That's good news for table fish.
              Been reading "Something Spectacular" by the father of our Great Lakes Salmon, Howard A. Tanner.  Found out State of Michigan came up with a million dollars for pellet food to feed and raise the young Coho back in 1966. 
              That's over $7.5 mil in today's dollars to test the viability of a Salmon fishery that may, or may not work?  In other words that's plus $7 mil for a shot in the dark.

4/24/19  Lack of normal inshore water temp is today's topic.  About this time in April 44-50 degree water is laying just off the beach.  According to a reliable source, 41° is all we can muster out of the Port of Ludington, MI.  Predominate N wind has running cold water down the shore.  That's about to change with a W & E winds predicted for the rest of this week.
             As of today at noon surface temp in Manistee is 44°.

4/23/19  Daytime high temps in the mid 70°s is not hard to take.  Hope we turned the corner for better weather.  About time after 6 months of cold weather...right?
               Wind and wave forecasts have been way off the mark.  Error has been running about double of projected wave heights.  Wind direction has been spot on.
               Only thing I'm hearing is Lake Trout out of Manistee and Ludington.  Nary a peep about spring Kings yet.  Brown Trout must be on the endangered species list, because they're scarcer than hen's teeth.  Early season Browns have been close nonexistent.
               Looking for a window to sneak away for a 1/2 day, but must contend with a lot of rain this week.  Rain is OK.  Rain lessens fire danger the dry woods where I live. 
                Had a forest fire, (mostly ground cover) burning adjacent to my property 5-6 years from a downed power line.  That was scary!

4/22/19   Was going to fish yesterday morning out Manistee, MI, but it was too lumpy to shoot quality video.  Wind built to over 20 knots by 10am from the S.  There were some Lake Trout caught according to John Kr. in 20'-30' of water up by the state park.
               Dealing with grief is something we all have to do.  I'm having a hard time with the loss of my wingman, John J who died from a heart attack last Friday.  There are no plans for a service until later this year when his ashes are spread at his deer blind.
               I'd seen John a few days earlier and he looked like the perfect picture of health.  He just returned from wintering over in Arizona and had a nice suntan.  We visited for a good 30-40 minutes before he took his venison (we were keeping frozen) home.
               Unbeknownst to me?  Johnny J left us a venison salami and hot cheese sticks.  Even from the great beyond John J kept on giving and I miss him greatly.

4/21/19  Have a great Easter Sunday!

4/20/19  God's gift to me, my friend, John Johnson is no longer of this world.  JJ was smart and had a lot more on the ball than me.  Seen him figure out complex compound angles on my boat a rocket scientist would have issues with.  Back when he helped with the design on my boat's trolling board that had to be reinforced.
              John has been featured on the website holding fish, or the deer he took off his property too may times to count.  He will be sorely missed by me and my wife, Merlene.
              I count myself as lucky to have a friend, deckhand, carpenter, drywall finisher, tackle builder, electrician, boat tech, mentor, and master jack of all trades like Johnny J.
              He is survived by his wonderful wife, Shirley, 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren.

4/19/19  Great news!  It's not supposed to snow in Manistee, MI in the coming week.  Plus, all low temperatures are a above freezing too.  Wait about 6 months for this to happen. 
              Stable weather means stable fishing and that's what's in store for us next week.  Our central LK. MI season has delayed with winter that's been dying a slow death.  Hope to wet some lines this weekend if the forecast hold true.  Have a great weekend!!!

4/18/19  Started editing Part 2 video on the Kings we caught out of Ludington last May.  Our 2 trips there were cut short by high winds and building seas.  Rough weather makes it difficult to shoot decent video.  Besides, it's just not comfortable wobbling around in a pitching boat.
              Thing I like the best from doing videos?  It's as reel as it gets and cannot be faked.  Unless, you have Disney's Pixar CGI (computer-generated images) Studio capabilities.
              Looking for a window to fish again.  Easter morning long range forecast looks promising.  Boat is ready and so am I to send some time on the pond.

4/17/19  City of Manistee installed more docks recently.  Looks like we're up to 3 of the 7, or 8 that's normally at city's 1st Street public launch.  The 2019 season is moving forward.
              Deal on doing video is a lot to sort thru.  Sony's FDR-X3000 has a GPS overlay. 
At first, didn't see much merit with the overlay.  Then, discover useful data like speed, time elapse, and plotter track.  So, I'm all in on this feature now.  Click 2018 spring King Video
              Spring Coho and Laker fishing is OK, but Kings are the big leagues, most desired on the Great Lakes and the west coast too.  Kings will test you and your tackle.  Make a mistake and the agony of defeat will play games in your head.  To fix these games? ...just land the next one!

4/16/19  Was going to schedule a trip out of the Port of Manistee, MI this afternoon.  Going in, I felt like a firing squad test dummy with more grief than reward. 
               Then, decided to fine tune my boat's audio system by mounting a mic on the transom facing forward away from motor noise.  This will be tested soon.
               Those who fish the Grand Traverse Bay took it on the chin with their daily limit cut from 2 fish to 1.  This is a squabble with the tribal treaty rights.
               Much focus has been on re-establishing native Lk. Trout in the Great Lakes to a self sustaining level like it was prior to overfishing in 1930-1940s and sea lampreys.
               Lake Trout have been planted in Lk. MI since the 1960s with fair success.  What the DNR is not telling us concerns mortality rates and why Lake Trout are not growing into monster 40-50 pounders.  This should have happened.  I know, because we caught 20 pounders in the mid 1970s.  So, there's something way-wrong we're not being told!

4/15/19  Spring 2019 took the day off yesterday and left the door open for Mr. Winter.  He made a return guest appearance.  Dumping 3"-4" of snow on Manistee, MI.
              Silver lining is poor weather slows sales at my online tackle store.  This allowed time to devote to installing the UFO flashers & combos. Click new UFO combos
              UFO pattern is a top seller in spoons and will be in flashers & meat rigs™ too.
              Was able to accomplish most of the video editing on "Central Lk. MI Spring Kings Part 1" that will debut soon after my voice-over introduction. 
               Every fishing trip tells a story and my 5/7/18 Ludington, MI trip is a goodie.  Started with a lot more footage then I could use.  Managed to trim this new movie down to about 8 minutes.  Not bad when you consider is takes a long time to land 2 spring Kings pushing 20 pounds and leave in the important parts of the video intact.

4/14/19  Michigan Governor G. Whitmer is pushing for a 45 cent a gallon gas tax hike that's a bad idea for all Michigan fisher folks.  Fuel is often the biggest cost to any fishing trip.  gas burned in boat has nothing to do with highway usage. 
              Gas tax is not recoverable unless you're a commercial vessel such as charter boats that can file a form and recoup MI gas tax based on gallons purchased.
              At all costs, I try to avoid anything to do with politics in today's hyper tribal politics that been imposed upon us ...by the powers that be.
             Making MI that highest gas tax state in the USA is not a way to promote tourism and hurts the Great Lakes fleet we're all a part of.

4/13/19  Being behind is not a good place to be.  This spring, or lack thereof has postponed drone practice with low temps, or winds to high to fly.  I'm sitting on a pile of technology I've yet to come close to conquering.  Just keeping action cams with the latest operating system (updates) eats up a lot of time.
               I'm into my second week of the 2019 season with just a couple of hours on the pond before the wind came up and chased Wayne J and I back to port.
              Did find some solace in dates we got into Kings in 2018.  May 7th thru the 13th was the window for inshore shallow water jumbo springer Kings in 2018.
              Started the massive task of editing the videos for these events in 2018 to share with you soon.  There's 4-5 hours of footage that needs to be cut to under 10 minutes.

4/12/19  Yesterday, we took a big step back into winter.  2-3" of snow and high temp in the lower 30° mark is not going to improve what's going on in my home port of Manistee, MI.
               Factor in big swings with high winds that keeps our cold dense water stirred up & makes inshore waters very cloudy is the dilemma.  Need weather to break for the good!!!
               Did get a fine report from Dan A who fished out of St. Joe on Lk. MI and took a 3 person limit of spring Coho.   Some in the 3-4 lb. range.  Click Dan's crew & catch

4/11/19  Southern Lk. MI fishermen out of E Chicago, IN are about a month into their season.  During this short time, the spring Coho have gained some in size.  Heard from more than one who fishes this area it's not been a slam dunk easy season.  Hit and miss with limits a lot harder to come is being reported. Click E Chicago, IN Coho
              Do know this year, spring Coho have been more widespread thru-out the MI ports of Manistee, to Saugatuck, and St. Joe, but not in huge numbers.
              Tom M was kind enough to send in today's featured pic of his crew on 4/7/19. 
S Lk. MI Coho are a little bigger and growing.  That's the important part for all of us.

4/10/19  Today's feature photo is from Ludington, MI's savvy fisherman, Capn. Kirk with a couple of Brown Trout he caught a few days ago.   Click Capn Kirk's Browns
               While 2 Browns is no big deal ...it's more that I've seen this year.  Only thing I heard, or seen caught out of Manistee is a few small Coho & Lake Trout.
               Going by water temp, the surface/inshore waters are a lot colder then the past couple of years.  Last year (3/27/18) the surface water was 40° on the beach.  This year on 4/4/19 we're dealing with 36-37° close to the shoreline a week later then 2018.
               We got a lot of season ahead of us, but need warmer water and less wind.

4/9/19  Photo posted yesterday tells the story that Muskies have teeth that can do some damage.  If you're not careful, as Manistee, MI fisherman, John Kr. found out.  Needle nose pliers are a must when unhooking these toothy critters.  John Kr. caught and released his surprise fish a little N of Orchard Beach State Park working the shoreline. 
             Here's what John had to say: "
Trolling about 1/2 mile n of state park, had to quit after a half hour of repeated dunking of my hand in the ice water to stop the bleeding to no avail.  Next time I bring the first aid kit." Click for John's Manistee Musky
            Tomorrow? ....fish pics from Ludington, MI (Browns) & E Chicago, IN (Coho).

4/8/19  Have 3 fishing reports to share with you.  Including what not to do with a surprise catch by Manistee, MI fisherman, John Kr.  Click for what not to do!
             Houdini, aka Capn Kirk pulled a couple of Ludington, MI Browns out of his hat. 
E Chicago, IN's Tom M sent in some dandy photos of S Lk. MI Coho action.  When time allows, all this will be shared when we're caught up on orders later this morning.

4/7/19  Used our new inline planers for the 1st time last Thursday.  The boards ran as good, as any I've used.  This includes Offshore, Willie, Yellowbirds and Church Tackle's pickle forked Walleye Board.  Our boards come with 2 styles of mainline release
             Plus, a pinned pinch pad red release, Fishy Flag, and 2 tension springs.  This is a heck of a deal when you consider the price point is below 30 bucks. Click for our boards
Our inlines are a hybrid between Offshore and the Church Tackle red boards.
             Generally, when you run 6 boards, there's always one the lags and don't flock up in a perfect vee.  This is not the case with our inlines.  Happy to see them perform so well.

4/6/19  Last Thursday's pm fishing trip out of Manistee, MI told m to relax and wait for better conditions.  Suspended in the off colored water was some weeds that foul lures.
            If you're fishing central Lk. MI ports (Ludington, Frankfort & Manistee) in similar circumstances go thru your spread every hour to make sure you're not pulling salad.
            This coming week looks pretty nasty to fish the big-water.  So, I'm biding my time until conditions are more favorable with light wind that don't stir up the water.
            Still a little fine tuning on my boat.  Need to remove some of the tension on the electric choke.  Setting proper idle speed in gear must be done to make docking easier. 

4/5/19  Just making it off the dock yesterday afternoon was a victory after last week's failed attempt to fish Lk. MI.  Click our 1st fish of the 2019 season
             Even better Wayne J put a Laker in the boat for the 1st trip of the season.  Conditions were challenging with cold water 36-37° range.
             The water S of the harbor inshore is a silty green pea soup with 18" of visibility.  N is a little better.  The closer you get to Orchard Beach State Park surface water temp drops to chilly 36°.  Water clarity N is a slightly better, but far from ideal.  River water in the harbor was only 40°.  Water needs to warm a little to let it clear.  Cold water is dense and suspends nanometer sediments longer, creating a milky appearance. 

4/4/19  I regret to inform you that Ken Warren of KRW Flies has passed away.  Ken had an uplifting personality and was a good time to be around.  Over the past few years, lost track of Ken, but will always count him as a friend. Click Ken's funeral service details
            In 2003 I was visiting Ken at his trailer in Solberg's Marina.  On his picnic table I turned up/bent the eye of a treble hook and invented the double snell trebles that became popular option on our meat rigs™.  Developed a knot without the bent hook eye in 2014.
            Ludington MI contact, Capn Kirk said there will be a dock going at the Loomis Street, or city boat launch very soon.  Jammed up ice at the ramp caused the delay.

4/3/19  Have video of inshore double digit Kings caught about this time last year.  Time to sharpen my video editing skills and share a new YouTube video with you soon.
             Been thinking about these central Lk. MI springers all winter and what can be done to improve our catch rates.  Dealing with wary April Kings just off the beach in water in no more than 40' deep is the best early season game we have going in Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington MI.  It's time get after these silver bad boys and turn my hunches into results.

4/2/19  Backslid into winter over the weekend.  16° yesterday morning with a dusting of snow has me looking forward the warmer temps we're going to have by this weekend.
             Take this with a grain of salt, but the few contacts I know have fished Lk. MI recently did not provide rave reviews.  If you're looking for a place to blame, cold weather has to be part of this equation.  Seldom have we hit average daytime highs.  Seems like we've been 10-15 degrees under norm.  In time ...this to ...will pass.
            My boat is in the outdrive hospital receiving major surgery.  Prognosis for long term survival is on the bright side after several weeks of fishmore-therapy have been completed.

4/1/19  Adversity is what all Great Lakes fishermen face every time they leave the dock.  Locating fish is one of the hardest tasks we face.  Then, getting them to bite is next.
            Add in the complexities of a boat rigged to fish big water adversity is your constant companion.  It's how you face and deal with issues that define your success.
            One way to defeat adversity is to have 2 forms of propulsion.  2 motors, even a kicker means your likelihood of looking for a tow is nil.  Without a kicker I'd have been up ^#*~ creek without a paddle last Friday.  Getting a tow is not that hard, because we all know it could be our turn at the end of a tow rope.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2019 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June

2018 Results
January, February & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
October, November & December

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June
July, August, & September
October, November & December

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