October, November & December 2019

Northern Pike
10/10/19 Arcadia Lk.

Northern Pike
10/20/19 Manistee Lk.

Lk. MI Steelhead
10/20/19 Ludington

Lk. MI Steelhead
10/30/19 Manistee

Click here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

12/31/19  Out with the old and in with the new.  Future holds good things for the Great Lake Salmon fleet.  WI has kicked their King stocking levels up a lot.  MI has raised their King/Chinook planting efforts too, but on a smaller scale.
                 There will be more and more Kings in the next 4 years, as these increases come into play.  Time is our best ally when it comes to the most desired fish in the Great Lakes, Mr. King Salmon.  I have no clue, nor to I advocate choking Lk. Michigan with an out of balance predator-prey i.e. bait fish (Alewife) relationship. 
                Do know all 2019 adult Kings we caught on my boat, all cleared 20 pounds with ease.  These 2019 fish attained a 5 pound a year growth rate, or better.  So, better days are coming and that's a good thing to look forward to in 2020 & beyond!

12/30/19  Looking forward to putting 2019 in the rear view.  Know 2020 stands to be a good chance for better fishing results.  At least I hope so.
                Businesswise there was a lot of positives.  My word of mouth ad footprint is making gains in the west coast.  Proud of the reel-fact many in Soldotna, AK are using my tackle off the mouth of the holy grail of Salmon fishing, the Kenai River.  While I might not ever get there, my tackle has and that's reward enough for me.

12/29/19  Posted a photo of John J took on his boat in August of 2006.  Pretty sure these are the 1st Kings caught on our prototype Super Mag Heads that would go into production.  JJ and I took our (then) 6 King limit in around 2 hours aboard his boat, the "Megan Ann" a 23' Four Winns.  Don't think we ever got 4 lines in the water.
                Yes, fishing was easier then.  It was a reel-joy to fish with JJ.  A few days before John left this world he was visiting my shop.  He looked great with a tan from Arizona.  Little did I know, he would soon be gone, but never-ever forgotten!

12/28/19  Have a great weekend as 2019 is almost in the history books.  2019 was not a banner year for yours truly.  It started off terrible with the loss of my longtime friend John J last March.  John Johnson had a lot on the ball in the smarts department.  He had an innate ability to quickly solve problems I came to rely on. 
                 The easiest way to explain this? John J could actually read and understand complex instructions and make sense out of them.  Click John J & 2fer of Kings
                 My 1st Lk. MI trip of 2019 was a non-fishing trip out of Manistee, MI.  Issues with the shift cable meant there was only reverse gear in the Mercruiser IO.  So, back on the the trailer and back to the barn to adjust the shift linkage.
                 Starting off 2019 with 2 strikes against me led to an off-year in the fish production by not targeting Lake Trout.  Kept searching for April Kings we did catch in 2017 and 2018.  2020 I know will be better cause my eternal optimist outlook says so.

12/27/19  New record high temp for Manistee, MI is 55° happened yesterday.  Old record was 51°.  More mild winter weather is in our future and that's a good thing!
                Changing the fuses on the 1998 Grumman 16' from the glass tube style for the newer plastic blade fuses.  This is strictly an availability and cost issue.  Older style glass tube fuses are getting harder and harder to find, as this technology fades into the past.
                Idea behind this swap?  Wiring in the 16' Grumman is very simple.  2 fused circuits are inline at the battery.  No need to carry both glass and blade style fuses.  Just need to solder and replace 2 glass fuses along with the accessory blade fuse already installed when I replaced a faulty bilge pump.

12/26/19  In the process of installing a water separating fuel filter in my 16' Grumman tin boat.  After seeing the water in this same kind of filter in my 22' Sea Ray, this is a wise move to keep the grief meter at zero for 2020.  Best part about these filters? ...assemblies cost is under 30 bucks and 2 bolts to install. Click water separating filter
                 Know most are in quest of upsizing their boats.  Been there, done that and know the costs involved when it comes to boats in the 30' range.  Not to mentioned you're anchored at one port for the run of the season.  Thusly, eliminating new ports to fish.
                Weather has been outstanding for this time of the year in Manistee, MI.  High 40s, maybe 50° today says now it the time to mark another project off the list.

12/25/19  Hope Santa was good to you and is throughout 2020, Merry Christmas.

12/24/19  Merry Christmas to all!

12/23/19  Wow, yesterday, it touched 48° at my place in Manistee County, MI.  Great time to move forward with my detailed preseason project list for 2020. 
                Murphy's Law again when my original computer CPU fan was acting up.  Purchased a Intel fan from Amazon that was noisy & inconsistent.  Checked it against the original/stock fan.  Less aluminum cooling fins in the Amazon replacement in a side by side check.  Logo was off too.  So, got a refund, bought another CPU fan that works great. 
           Moral of the story? ...over 50% of Amazon products are from 3rd party sellers. This leaves the door wide open for knockoffs, or fakes.  Click possible CPU fake
                This was a time consuming double step job that required computer disassembly twice.  No problem, this was the computer I built that I'm very familiar with.

12/22/19  While official winter is only a day old, it's been winter in Manistee since the beginning of November.  Today is the first time we'll have above freezing (32°) for a full day in a long time.  Looks like our January thaw has came early.
                Using this well spell (lower 40s) for boat prep for the 2020 season before the tackle season builds.  Just after the Super Bowl is when sales pick up.  

12/21/19  My favorite Day in December.  Being the 1st day of winter 2019-2020.  We have to get thru winter before we can open water fish again.  Tomorrow there will be one less day of the winter to deal with and that's good news!
                Best part of the 1st day of winter?  Our days will gradually get longer as time marches on.  Getting dark around 5pm will be a thing of the past in a few months.  Now, we can serious dream about promise of the 2020 season good, bad, or indifferent.

12/20/19  2019 was the first year I can remember when my boat's fish production fell below 1 fish and hour (lines in the water).  This was my fault by never targeting Lake Trout in the early season.  Kept looking for non-existent Browns in April.  Never even caught one in 3 trips.  Kings in May were in extremely short supply, like next to none.
                2019 was the year when the decreased King plants took a heavy toll on our Great Lakes fleet's catch rates.  Why? ...this was the MDNR's grand experiment into King/Chinook Salmon natural reproduction crashed and burned.  Less planted fish? ...less fish to reproduce.  Then, there's a reason behind the Kings the MDNR are stocking are having poor, almost nil survival to adults, yet to be figured out?

12/19/19  The 2020 roll out of our new Smart A.I. Salmon Buster™ Spoons that we've been working on all of the 2019 season has been accomplished.  In traditional spoondom there's never been anything that's even remotely close to our A.I. spoons.  New is good.  New and proven to catch fish is even better!  Click for today's photo
               Doubt me naming them Smart Spoons?  Well, into today's featured photo this spoon with a message was smart enough to trick Mr. King Salmon into hitting.

12/18/19  Just going to coast today on autopilot before archiving the 2020 Smart Spoon video. Click for this video

12/17/19  Most difficult thing with the video about our Smart Salmon Buster™ spoon was doing it in one continuous scene.  This is what you see? ..is what you get with no video hanky-panky edits to enhance our 2020 spoons.  Keeping everything reel honest and then, proving it to you is very important to me.  Click for this video
               Out of all the tackle we've made, our 2020 Smart spoons underwent the most extensive testing April thru August of 2019.  Knew this was right path as soon as we discovered the transparent holographic 3D film unlike anything that was on the market.

12/15/19  Listing the ports my trailer boat has visited to today's chat.  E Chicago, IN, Burns Ditch, IN.  MI ports of:  New Buffalo, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee, Onekama, Arcadia, Frankfort, Leland, Manistique, Rogers City, E Grand Traverse Bay.  Lk Ontario out of Wilson NY and Munising on Lk. Superior.  That's 16 wonderful and different ports.
                Long distance boat trailering requires a boat that runs and fishes with zero issues.  Think you see the reason I'm a hard taskmaster when it comes to all aspects of boat and trailer maintenance.  Part of the fun of a trailerable boat is going new places.
                Enjoy doing light mechanicals that benefit my fishing efforts.  Not doing this stuff everyday like an experienced pro boat tech? ...requires intense concentration that blocks out a lot of everyday background noise.  Oh, what a relief this is!

12/14/19  Finished the tune-up on my 1979 22' Sea Ray trailer boat.  Had to install the spark plug wires twice.  Purchased a set of 10.5mm thinking thicker would be better ...not!
                Had to go back to 8mm wire for the loom to hold the wires away from the exhaust manifold.  Just wasn't enough room for the 10.5s.  Click wires & bad plug
                Found out my number 6 cylinder had a partially fouled plug. This plug was bad from the factory with an off-center electrode.  GM small block V8s don't perform top notch when they're carrying a cylinder.  Bad plug and water in the fuel filter contributed to the hard starting issues I was dealing with.  Feel good about fixing these problems.

12/13/19  Think in 2019 the central Lk. MI ports Manistee & Ludington hit the bottom of the barrel as far a King Salmon fishing goes.  Frankfort did fare a bit better.
                See only good things in the future with increase King Salmon plants, some by MI and  lot by WI.  Our MDNR's failed theory, their natural reproduction experiment is not enough to sustain a viable fishery has been proven beyond any shadow of doubt.
                Figure each season from here on out will get progressively better with more and more fish entering the system in the years ahead.

12/12/19  Restocking tackle for 2020 will come to an end today with our delivery of Super Snubbers™.  We were out of green snubbers and low on black.  Keeping all items in stock is an ongoing process that takes up a lot of time.
                Thinking of writing a letter top Santa Claus for a new head of the MDNR's fishery division with a different vision for MI fishermen.  All central Lk. MI ports are hurting for an early season fishery that's not all just Lake Trout.  April Browns were a mainstay for many years in Manistee that seem to have evaporated.  We can only hope that some of the 450k WI Brown Trout plant drifts over to the MI side.

12/11/19  Been thinking about my best fishing trips in 2019.  1st was Rogers City, MI on Lk. Huron.  Had a huge amount of local support and the chance to meet Julie, the MDNR creel census taker I've spoken with, almost since the inception of this website back in the early i2ks.   Kings we caught there were a tremendous bonus.  Fishing off Lk. Huron's Adams Point and the Ocqueoc River were always on my check list.
                Best thing I like about fishing new water for 1st time?  There's no preconceptions, no rules, you just go fishing.  Then, let the cards fall were they may.  Seeing the longtime Lk. MI standby, the Firedot pattern work in N Lk. Huron was fun.
               It was extra rewarding to see our new 2020 smart spoons on the X-Glow A.I. color rack up a couple of decent Rogers City Kings too. Click Lk. Huron hot lures

12/10/19  Motivating factor behind tuning-up my 1979 Sea Ray boat's motor? ...it was becoming harder and harder to start.  Water in the fuel played a part in this.
                One thing on my side with GM 350 V8s is this is the very same motor that came in my 1987 Cherokee with twin V8s.  Close to 8000 hours on the original Crusader V8 motors before repower speaks volumes for my charter boat maintenance program.
                AC Delco ignition is the same to too.  So, I'm very confident in my abilities to perform what needs to be done.  Except for a total rebuild, I'm good to go.

12/9/19  Today's featured photo is the contents of the water separating fuel filter I recently changed.  My boat was made in later 1970s about the time corn based ethanol was being developed that grew into a government mandate.  Water in the gas was a bigger problem back than.  Ethanol mixes with water, gas does not.
              It's been abut 6 years since this fuel filter has been changed.  An estimated 700 gallons of gas went thru this filter.  Click contents of water vs. gas
              Dumped the filters contents and it was 50/50 of water and gas.  Figure this could have been less, but burn ethanol free rec gas 90% of the time.

12/8/19  Boat maintenance day.  All tune-up items, dist. cap, rotor, plugs, plug wires and water separating fuel filter are on the list.  Know the pole barn will be chilly, but I want this job out of the way.  2020 season that has begun as early as March 12th for me out of Manistee is about 100 and some days out.  Click water separating fuel filter

12/7/19  Pearl Harbor Day.  It's plainly clear the WI DNR does not share the MI DNR's fish stocking austerity program that has knee capped MI fishermen. Click WI fish plants
              Been holding this back since mid August that troubles me deeply.  Fishermen friendly Instalaunch Campground in Manistee was only at around 50% occupancy on weekdays.  This is a true measure of our shrinking Manistee fleet in quest of King Salmon.
              I've had 3 generations of the same family charter my boat out of Instalaunch in the 1990s that made this their yearly vacation. 
              It's way past time for Dexter, head of the MI DNR Fisheries Department to be replaced with new blood from outside the MDNR hierarchy to run the show.

12/6/19  If today's update about the bright outlook from Wisconsin DNR Fisheries don't open your eyes to the lackluster performance of the Dexter regime at the Michigan DNR Fisheries Division, nothing will!  Click WI DNR stocking projections to 2022
               What bites me in the butt the most is the 450,000 Browns Wisconsin is stocking annually.  While MI's Browns are on the endangered species list.  WI is also working on Coaster Brook Trout plants in Lk. MI for the inshore small boat and pier fishermen.
               It's way past time for new leadership in the MI DNR from the top down.  What are we paying the leadership of MDNR fisheries staff to do?  Certainly, they have not enhanced, or maintained status quo any part of the April thru October Lk. MI season. 

12/5/19  Posted a photo of an old vs. new distributor cap.  Old cap is still decent and the motor ran fine.  Not much wear from electrical arc buildup.  Old cap can be put right by lightly scraping the contact terminals.  I opted for new and know I'll get 2-3 years of service from a new cap and rotor.  Click old vs. new dist. cap
               My mindset about boats comes from my chartering days.  When the boat don't run, you don't get paid.  Charter business taught me this lesson a couple of times.

12/4/19  Posted a photo of the spark plug firing order on pre-LS GM V8s.  In the process of doing a tune-up on my 1979 Mercruiser 350 GM small block. Click firing order pic
               This photo makes sure all the plug wires are in the correct location when I install the new distributor cap, rotor, spark plug wires plugs.  Looks like this weekend the temps will be in the low 40s.  A perfect window to get a start on this.  Click old cap
              The plug wires are about 10 years old and while still working, replacing them could save some grief down the road.  Before season is the time to take care of simple maintenance to double make sure my boat is ready on day one of the 2020 season.

12/3/19  Been dealing with Murphy's law.  Main computer's power supply was touch and go after all the electrical issues we've dealt with since Thanksgiving.  Backup computer's power supply is acting up too.  Don't know if this is from existing on home generated Generac electrical system.  Back on the grid as of 5pm today.  Think I narrowed it down to the backup battery system both boxes run on.  Everything is fine now.
             Extending the 20% Cyber Monday sale thru this coming Friday.  Thanks to all that have purchased. Click for 20% off at www.michiganangler.com

12/2/19  Still on generator power.  Yesterday's ice, then wet snow storm has several trees down.  Internet has been sketchy at best. Cyber Monday sale is going good and thanks to all that have purchased our tackle.  Orders are running a day, or two behind due the recent storm and an unreliable internet connection.  No credit cards will billed until we see a clear window to ship. Click for 20% at www.michiganangler.com

12/1/19  Second major snowfall event of the season.  On backup Generac power again.  Was forced into buying this home generator system, because the "Green Acres" substand utilities we have in rural Manistee County.  No internet or TV. Satellite dishes are covered with wet heavy snow delaying this morning's chat.

11/30/19  Working on our webstore today to make sure the spoon pages are working as intended.  Trying to figure out the best way to display the new 2020 A.I. spoon selections.  Call them A.I. because the clear holographic lure tape turns itself on and off like an artificial intelligent blinking head light.  This ice chip Mylar is the most expensive we've ever purchased.   Looking at shooting a video to better explain this if time allows.

11/29/19  From today Black Friday thru Cyber Monday a special discount of 20% applies to all webstore items.  Enter the code: 2020 during the checkout to receive 20% off all orders over $50.  Orders might take us a day or 2 longer to ship.  So, please don't expect same day shipping, but we'll try. This is a new untested promo code.  Any ordering issues contact me ASAP.

11/28/19  Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I'm sure my Thanksgiving will be a lot better than my neighbors unless they have a generator.  Been on home powered Generac system since 4am this morning.  Consumers says the juice will come back on at 5am tomorrow morning.
                Other than Christmas this is the worst day not to have electricity!

11/27/19  Today's temps in the mid 40s is a good day for boat maintenance.  Distributor cap, rotor and new spark plug wires are on the menu. Click spark plug firing order
                 Water separating fuel filter will be replaced too.  For me? ...now is the time to do this.  Well before our upcoming new season.   This helps make sure my boat (a 1979 22' Sea Ray) is ready on day one for the 2020 early March-April fishery. 
                 Will share some tips and photos soon for any aspiring DIY marine mechanics.  These are simple jobs most any skill level can accomplish.

11/26/19  Usual set for summer Kings on my boat is a 6 rod spread.  This is a lot smaller then the charter boat I skippered from 1983 thru 2003.  Look at the Great Lakes Salmon fleet.  Most of the boats are under 25' long and do not run 12 rods, or more.
                2 riggers, 2 divers and 2 out lines like copper, lead core, or lead ball lines.  My 2 divers keep up with the other 4 rods.  Reason enough to devote a lot of attention to the uncomplicated way divers produce fish. That's what's behind our Super Snubbers and cupped diver rings with moveable tabs that will never break unlike the cheapo stock rings.
                Zeroing in on divers is a no brainer when they're your best rods. 

11/25/19  Know it's not very exciting looking at the pic of restocking black Dipsy diver rings.  Also, know what they're capable is.  2 to 1 diver ratio dialed one for depth. 
              With less that a 200' of line off the reel, was able to hit bottom at 100' with a regular size 0 Dipsy towing a 10' BTI/meat rig combo at 2 mph troll speed.  This is done with less rod strain compared to the Mag Dipsy with standard large stock ring.  Line was 30# test 7 strand stainless steel wire like we sell. Click wire line page
               Less rod strain means a lighter drag.  Helping hookup ratios when a big summer King decides to go to war with you.  Click restocking black rings
            Tomorrow? ...my motivations behind the diver rings and Super Snubbers™

11/24/19  Accomplished a lot this past week.  We'll be shipping out our first large order of 2020 X-Glow Magnum meat heads soon.  Super Snubbers™ are well on their way to being restocked for the new season.  3D printed diver rings are moving along nicely too.
                After an unproductive start last Monday, was able to make major progress on all fronts.  Feels good to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

11/23/19  Reacquainted myself with the 3D printing software to make black diver rings that are currently out of stock.  Out of stock is good, because it shows fishermen are buying them.  Never intended to make a lot of money on the 3D diver rings.  Saw this as a way to recoup the pricy 3k investment in the 3D printer.
               Most vital function of my 3D printer was making prototypes of our Salmon Buster™ spoons that caught fish straight from the printer.  This was in 2014 well before the design was finalized into an injection mold.  Click 2014 homemade 3D spoons
               Knew we were on the right track when the prototype spoons took a double header of Kings off Onekama, MI on 7/4/14.  Time sure does fly by!

11/22/19  Truth in advertizing is a bunch of BS most of the time.  Case in point?  Look at Big Mac shown on TV.  Then, unwrap one that looks like it was put together by a blind monkey and ran over by a herd of rampaging hippopotamuses.
                That's why I snapped 2 photos only 2 minutes apart of our industry leading X-Glow meat heads.  Showing this was not a carefully setup image. 
                 Briefly waved a UV black light around.  Then, slid the box of glowing charged-up heads in my paint booth where it's dark enough to snap the glow photo.  Both images are completely unedited in way.  Click dual pic of X-Glow heads

11/21/19  Longtime friend and my former UPS driver, Ludington's Capn. Kirk shot a decent Mason County, MI 8 pt buck.  Showing he's not only a good early and late Lk. MI specialist, he's pretty darn good at deer hunting.  Click Kirk's buck
                Know our early winter curtailed Kirk's fishing.  Just like mine was cut short when Mr. Winter decided to give us an extended  preview.  Good news is March is only about 4 months out and we can start fishing again.

11/20/19  The sage of day 3 of purchasing restocking inventory for 2020 continues.  Now, it's the back and forth chasing your tail emails trying to fix what's out of my hands. 
                 In the business world there's no grading scale of an A, B, C, D, or F.  It's either an A or and F and that's what I'm dealing with today.  I suspect, being not a top tier high volume customer, being well down on food chain is not in our favor.
                 Do know we treat our smallest tackle order with the same priority, as those ordering big numbers.  My life and business philosophy is simple.  Treat everyone the same way I want to be treated.  Works for me!

11/19/19  There's a lot of moving pieces and parts in my tackle manufacturing business.  By parts, mean suppliers that provide us with with components to complete tackle.  Most of these suppliers do not do retail sales to the public.  If they did? ...they'd go broke.
                My manufacturing chain is only as strong as the weakest link.  Was sent 2020 injection molded meat heads with unacceptable color match issues. 
                Sure, this can and will be fixed, but it's another unneeded delay that wastes time.  Time is money in the manufacturing business.  Click 2020 load of meat heads.

11/18/19  Quest to restock for the 2020 season continues with snubbers and diver rings.  Sold out of green Super Snubbers™ and black 3D printed diver rings. 
                 Both of this products are my original tackle inventions unlike anything else that's on the market.  Our snubbers and rings offer far superior performance too.  Creating brand new tackle is easy once you envision the solution to a problem.
                Training another worker to drill, trim and process heads.  This will be the 3rd person in 3 years.  You have to have a strong work ethic to work at home.  Some people are not self-starters and do better in a structured environment.  Machining heads is relatively easy, but it can be monotonous when there 1000s heads sitting in front of you.

11/17/19  Clean and organize the work areas in our tackle building shop is front row and center for today.  Gearing up for 2020 meat head production is the reason.
                In years past, never ordered heads until December.  Now, I want to get a leg up on the season.  Work now, play later will work in my favor in the coming season.
                   Snowometer estimation is at 26" for this snow season thus far.

11/16/19  Our 2020 season begins for reel this week.  New stock of meat heads will be in-house soon.  By count, heads are our biggest seller, because they're purchased 2 to 4 at a time.  Several meat rig manufacturers use our heads too.
                 I'm proud each one of our heads says "Made in U.S.A."  Precision machined in Manistee, MI by dedicated fishermen who place great importance on a job done right!

11/15/19  Firearms opening day for deer.  The bill to legalize deer baiting is awaiting the MI governor to sign it.  So, for now baiting is still illegal.
                The MDNR has airplane spies in the sky looking for illegal baiting activity coordinated with on the ground COs.  Click MDNR enforcement article
                100k plus airplane with crew seems like it's way over the top to trap a deer hunter.  Resources like this could be put to a better use on real criminals that shoot up our schools, shopping centers, places of worship, and prosecuting robo callers!

11/14/19  Just a thought, about the onset winter beginning a good month ahead of normal.  It sure would be nice, if spring 2020 came a month ahead of time. Breaking for the good in early March.  Instead of later April like it has over the past 5 years.
                Seen where the MI politicians in Lansing are trying to overturn the MDNR ban on deer baiting over CWD.  Not sure if popular opinion is the way the DNR should be run.  Even though I disagree with the ban from living in deer country for the last 20 years.
                Every oak tree on my property makes a bait pile with a lot of acorns in a small area.  Same with the pine trees the deer feed on.  Witnessed 2, or 3 deer eating on the same branch.  Do understand the DNR would be viewed in a bad light if they did nothing.  Think this has more to do with CYA than it does with sound science.

11/13/19  Lake effect piled up a good foot of snow at my place in Manistee County, MI yesterday.  Some parts of Leelanau County W of Traverse City, MI got of 30 inches.  So, a foot of the white stuff is tolerable with the right equipment.  Click Boss vee plow
                Purchased a new Boss vee plow a few weeks back.  This is quite an upgrade for yours truly.  My old plow was 20 years old and the plow truck was a 1996 Ford F150.   Boss plows are made in Michigan's U.P.  Buying a made in MI product was a no brainer.
                Still learning the ins and outs of a vee, or wing plow.  Did learn, compared to a straight blade plow, like Moses parting the Red Sea, this vee plow pushed the snow clear of the mold board.  No big lumps, or drifts pile up in front of the truck.

11/12/19  2019 season is in the history books for me.  Now, it's time to make plans for the 2020 season.  Looking at DeTour, MI either in early May, or the 3rd week of June for Atlantic Salmon.  The DeTour Passage is in fairly sheltered waters unless there's a big blow from the S.  My research shows there is a marina and a campground S of town.
               Time frame is a good fit.  That's makes this trip a worthwhile pursuit.  From what I've seen on You Tube surface rods on planer boards is the most productive.
               Fun part will be fishing new Lk. Huron waters in an area I've never been to.

11/11/19  Veterans Day.  A perfect time to thank Wayne J for fishing with me in 2019.  Life has taken a toll on my former boat mates and it was nice to have Wayne aboard.  Plus, Wayne is a Vietnam era Air Force vet that flew on a B52.
                 Wayne is fun to fish with.  Him going from a 3 rod spread to 6 or 9 rods was a big adjustment.  One of my best times last season was to fish aboard his boat, the "Take Five."  I was fascinated by the constant updates to his electronic wiring scheme since 1979 (back when he purchased his boat new).  Click for Wayne J
                He always does something I get a kick out of with his great outlook.  Best part? ...he's knows what to do and is fully capable of handling any situation.

11/10/19  Weather for the first part of next week is exactly what I don't want.  2020 heads are in production and will need to be picked up.  This means a trip to S of St. Joe down US31 where lake effect snow can and will make driving treacherous.  So, it's batten down the hatches and get ready for winter with more snow and low temps in the low 10s.

11/9/19  A big thanks to Wayne J, we have close up photos of Sally the one eyed Salmon.  I never noticed her jaw had been ripped off.  It was getting dark and we had another fish on.  The torn off jaw caused a flap to cover and blind her left eye. 
             Caught 1000s of Kings during my 50 years and counting on the Great Lakes and cannot ever remember seeing a one eyed Salmon before. Click Sally One Eye
              Ever better, there will be a companion video to augment the written article I'm working on now.  The written part is in layout stage and need further .edits to the video.

11/8/19  Abruptly, it's turned into full winter in Manistee, MI.  There's been no slow transition into snow and icy roads.  Not much on the horizon that says improving weather is on the way next week.  Only colder and more snow is in our near future.
               Going to save my chat about Wayne J for next week.  There's a lot that goes into a fishing trip and having a person to share it with, adding to the experience.  Wayne helps make fishing fun and have a couple of cute reel-stories to share with you.

11/7/19  Technical difficulties with snow and ice on my satellite internet connection prevented my normal early morning chat.  Be back tomorrow with a big thank you to Wayne J for being my fishing partner last season.

11/6/19  Shut our poll down about your best method to catch adult Salmon around 5pm yesterday.  Spoons came in 1st, meat was 2nd (combined whole & strips) and flasher/fly was a close 3rd.  Biggest trend I've seen since 2003 is how J-Plugs have fell out of favor even though, plugs are deadly in August. Click for 2003-2019 poll page
              My August charter program included two #4 J-Plugs for the 1st light bite.  Would run 2 glow J's on the out-down riggers set 50'-70' up in warm water. 
             I'd put the guests in each corner of the back of the boat, on point to grab the rods when a big dad King would whack and attack.
             This was a perfect start to a charter.  Knowing there's no way even inexperienced anglers could lose a fish, once the double treble #1 Permasteel 9650 VMCs gang hooks got stuck in the chops of a King on a J (rigged as intended to slide up the line). 
              Didn't want a newbie customer to invest 15 minutes fighting a fish only to have it come unpegged.  Js would come off asap when the sun cracked the horizon.
              This is why we have same #1 sized VMC hooks on our 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoons in a variety of colors, in chrome, black nickel, red, bronze and Permasteel.

11/5/19  Officially pulled the plug on the 2019 season by removing the boat plug.  Predicted temps for the next 7 to 10 days is going to be 10° to 15° below normal.  Took down and stored the electronics in my house to eliminate electrical vampires. 
              Installed two battery maintainers to trickle charge the boat's batteries over the winter.  Since I went these low voltage chargers, battery life has been extended times 2.
              Good news in my board rods are all in tip top condition with fresh 15# mono ready for spring shoreline trolling.  While Manistee's April Brown Trout population is on hard times, there were good amounts of Lake Trout just off the beach. 
               Depending on how the weather breaks? ...it's entirely possible, I could be on Lk. MI again in about 4 months for my 52nd season!

11/4/19  Last halfway decent day this week before we switch into winter.  New time is difficult for me to adjust to.  Being an early riser, what used to be 4am is now 3am.
              Did see the 2019 numbers of the King return at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir that was around a dismal 1000 fish.  A far cry, that's 5 to 10 fold less then it used to be. 
              Know the MDNR is using the pretext they're keep the gates open longer, as not to limit upstream migration.  It's a tough call to estimate overall return, but low numbers is low numbers, no matter how much lipstick the DNR puts on this pig!

11/3/19  Changed up the poll slightly to differentiate cut bait, or strips compared to whole bait.  Will post the results tomorrow once a 100 plus votes are cast.
               Daylight Saving Time ended last night as our clocks fell back one hour.

11/2/19  Installed our annual poll that began back in 2003 about your best method to catch adult Salmon.  For me it was whole bait with spoons a close second.  Once an adequate sample has been gained results will be published on the Poll Page  
              Poll is set that only allows 1 vote per day to prevent over voting.

11/1/19  A preview of winter has descended on Manistee, MI.  Snow and cool weather is predicted to last thru all of next week.  Next Thursday will be the 1st time we don't reach above the 32° freezing mark.  Did get out the snow shovel yesterday to clear about an inch of the white stuff off my entry ways.  Kicker is official winter is about 2 months away.  95% of my winterizing projects were done before this cold snap set in.
             Over the weekend will be posting our long running poll that confirms the best way you caught Salmon and Trout during the 2019 season.  This poll goes back to 2003.

10/31/19  Yesterday afternoon, fished out of my home port of Manistee, MI from about 1pm thru 6pm with Wayne J, aka soon to be Santa Claus.  This trip was about looking for bait as much as it was about trying to catch fish.  Did see some bait, but not a lot in the 90' to 110' depths.   We trolled from Guerney Creek towards Big Point Sable.
                Took a Steelhead and a Lake Trout (both small) off the surface that was 51°. Flavor of the day was the Gold Crushed Orange (GOC) Salmon Buster™ in the 4.0 size. 
                Did see a few suspended fish over 100' of water 30' to 50' down that were not buying what we were selling in what could been, the last trip of my 2019 season.
                Spent our last hour, in close, just off the beach.  Water was chocolate milk to a greenish silty color that never produces fish for me.  Water turned lumpy towards dark in cold and blustery conditions.  Air temp was in the low 40s.  Without a completely enclosed heated cabin this trip would have never happened. Click yesterday's GOC Steelhead

10/30/19  Web transition to a secure server, there are issues with this I'm still working thru.  Went to secure even though there are no passwords involved to view this site.
                Wrote an article back in 2000 when I was still chartering and used Offshore inline planer boards.  While some of the info is dated there's still enough content that might raise your surface program a notch, or two.  Click for this article about inlines
                    Hopefully, Lk. MI play nice today and allows us to fish.

10/29/19  Modifying Walleye inline planer boards to suit Lk. MI surface trolling had to relocated the rear tow hole by moving to the back of the board.  This helps eliminate some of the water drag when the board trips as you wind in the board.
               Being able to trip an inline is a must.  Outside board is towing a weeds, winding in 2 inside boards (6 rod spread) to clean the outside board is a not.  A free floating board actually helps keep the hook in the fish when it comes to Steelhead that like to jump.

10/28/19  Posted a comparison photos of Walleye vs. Salmon & Trout setups.  The first and last month of my Lk. MI season is mostly taking fish off the surface.  Spent about an hour changing our Yellow Boards into boards the fish can trip.  Rather than the awkward process fighting the board back to the boat for removal.  Click inline comparison
               Walleye boards the line stays static.  Lk. MI surface trolling requires the line to move and trip.  The board is still there, but can slide freely and hold the lure into the fish.
               There's a lot of idiosyncrasies too complex for a daily update.  Will try to do a video that explains the easiest and most fun way to surface troll Lk. MI with inlines.

10/27/19  Working on tomorrow's update about inline planer boards.  Inlines setup for Walleye slow trolling do not work for Salmon and Trout.  Fighting the board all the way back to the boat is an obnoxious way to fish.  Then, removing the board to continue the fish fight is an unneeded process.  This way might be OK for copper and lead core lines, but not surface rods, on mono, towing spoons that take violent hits.  Standby for photo "how to."

10/26/19  Have a great weekend!  Came to the conclusion is takes a lot longer to get ready for winter then it does spring.  Boats, camper and underground water lines need to be winterized.  Heating with wood, the chimney needs to be cleaned, and 12 face cords are to be stacked.  Snow plow must be in tip top shape to deal with the white stuff.  Good news is most of this has done long before the weather turns into hard winter.
                While not to rush winter, a good hard freeze will take care of the millions of invasive Asian Beetles (they look like Ladybugs) that make a never ending mess.

10/25/19  Adjusted inventory demand on meat heads ranks X-Glow green number 1.  SUV (Super UV/daylight blue glow) as 2 and Pearl as number 3.
               In the same order, the masterbatch colorant for the top 3 is the most pricey.  Seems like the fish want their most "alluring" colors off the top shelf.
                Did discover overstocked with Sparkler meat heads and will be offering a sale on these by Thanksgiving.  Don't have a favorite color, but the Sparkler meat head/meat rig ranks up there.  The is a nonspecific across board color that works with everything like salt and pepper.  This is a proven setup aboard my boat both on Lk. MI and Lk. Huron.

10/24/19  Manistee, MI's 1st Street Public Launch is down to only one dock as the 2019 season is coming to an end.  Recent gale force winds and high water has pushed a lot of debris into Lk. MI (mostly trees).  Seen this stuff piled up on the S 1st Street and N 5th Avenue beaches with the web cams Manistee kindly provides.  Click for beach cams
                Still hoping for a calm day to fish Lk. MI before I call it quits for 2019.  It has to be fairly flat to shoot video.  Cam's image stabilization, even turned off, makes the boat look like it's moving a lot more than it is when the GoPros are solid mounted to the boat.

10/23/19  Ordering heads for the 2020 season today.  Did meat head inventory twice as a double check. This is an arduous spreadsheet process that I dread. 
                 Have to make sure there's enough masterbatch colorants on hand.  Colorants have risen the most pricewise.  Cost has increased 3 fold on certain colors since 2004.
                 All this will be put to bed today and can get back to thinking about fishing.

10/22/19  Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk caught a coupe of Steelhead this past Sunday.  One of the hens was extra plump that showed no signs of a food shortage.  Capn. Kirk is as good as it gets, for early and late season fishing when the majority of the fleet is not afloat.
                He helped clue me in on how deadly the Salmon Buster™ in the Gold Orange Crush (GOC) pattern is.  Which caught the Steelies in his recent 10/20/19 photo.
                This my go to spoon for the top 30' of water.  The GOC works equally well in full sun as it does in cloudy conditions at all time of the year.  Click Kirk's GOC Steelhead

10/21/19  Yesterday's Lk. MI fishing trip did not go as planned.  Wayne J and I were greeted by sloppy W seas in the 2'-3' range off the Manistee's First Street Beach.  Making a N-S troll direction out of the question for shooting quality video.
                Ok, to salvage this trip, decided to troll the S end of Manistee Lk. where the Little Manistee River enters Manistee Lk. in quest of Steelhead, or Coho. 
                As we trolled past the PCA box board factory, had a fierce pull back on an inline board towing the Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon in the Gold Orange Crush pattern (GOC). 
                 This was a tug of war as hard, as any last April when Manistee, MI had good numbers of Lake Trout close to shore. Click SB 4.0 GOC spoon and Pike
                 After about 10 minutes, with Wayne's skillful rod handling, slid the net under a decent 36" Pike.  Keeping Mr. Skunk at home for another day.  Click for Wayne's Pike
                Granted this was not the target specie, but any fish is better than no fish.  Several small fishing boats were on Manistee Lake enjoying the 60° October weather.

10/20/19  Fishing today.  Either Manistee Lk, or Lk. MI.

10/19/19  Worked on charging action cam batteries.  Li-ion batteries discharge over time & must be care for.  Hoping for a good video shoot on late season Lk. MI fishing tomorrow.
                Late and early season fishing is when trailer boats come into their own.  Boats kept in the water, at marinas require diligence when the wind comes up, if you're vessel is exposed to seas.  Had issues when I was docked in Frankfort during the later 1980s with a 3'-4' surge at Jacobson's Marina.  Same when I was at Fishermen's Center on Manistee Lake that was subject to big seas.  Extra dock lines are needed and vigilance to make sure your boat does get beat all to hell when dock lines break.

10/18/19  Weekend edition.  Plan 1 is tom fish Lk. MI on Sunday.  If the lake cooperates?  Plan 2 is to do a few laps around the S end of Manistee Lk where the Little Manistee Rivers enters this body of water.  Included in Plan 2 is to get drone video of the mouth of the river to add to the footage shot at the LMR Harvest Weir.

10/17/19  Yesterday afternoon spend a couple-three hours transitioning my boat back to fish the top 30' of water.  Wire divers, copper rods, meat tackle, and braid rigger rods have been stowed.  Remembered to back off the drags to preserve reel serviceability. 
                There's a silver lining to this effort.  Meaning, having my rods and boat in top notch shape for next March-April when the big lake season starts again with zero prep.
                This Sunday is predicted to be fishable with fairly calm seas.  It will be a great time to see if there's any fall Steelhead willing to do battle.

10/16/19  Ordering meat heads for the 2020 season is front row and center.  This means rough note counts transferred into Excel spreadsheets.  There's is a lot to keep track of.
                Masterbatch colorants must be available, or more ordered.  Several colors that have to be taken into account.  This job encompasses both mag and super mags.
                I only get one chance to make this right before the order is turned in.  If anything is overlooked?  There's a charge for short runs to fix mistakes.  Have to order at least 7000 heads to cover injection tool mounting.  This year will be twice that amount and then some.  This is a job that must be done in preparation for the 2020 season.

10/15/19  Coldest night of fall 2019 at my place in Manistee County, MI.  This morning it was 32°.  Been waiting for a NW blow to bring cold water to central LK. MI.  Today's gale warning let's me shift focus back to Lk. MI.  Previously, it was all warm water.  60° & above on the surface.  Here's today's weather warning the spells out was constitutes a gale:


A gale watch is issued when the risk of gale force winds of 34 to 47 knots has significantly increased...but the specific timing and/or location is still uncertain. It is intended to provide
additional lead time for mariners who may wish to consider altering their plans.
                          (34 knots is 39 mph.  47 knots is 54 mph)

10/14/19  CYA we all know what that means.  This is what's happening at the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir when the MDNR says they keep the weir open for early and late arriving Kings.  These fish are not counted in the total captured.
                 This weir is a data collection point.  Not using it to gauge the whole fall fish return is a terrible waste.  The DNR passes fall Browns and Steelhead above the little river weir.  So, why not Chinooks/Kings too?  Case in point: the lower weir on the Platte River passes up close to 20k Coho every year that are counted.  What's hard about this?

10/13/19  The Little Manistee River is scheduled to receive 78k more Chinooks/King Salmon for 2020.  So, the previous 150k level jumps to 228k.  Click 2020 King stocking info
                 Know that sounds good, if we were getting a return of 1 to 2%?  However, recent history at the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir is below 1%.  More like, maybe less than .05% when naturally spawned Chinooks/Kings are factored in.
                 Noticed a trend the MDNR is planting 4" baby Kings instead of the sub mini 3" fish (2.99") that we stocked in 2014.  Let's hope larger is better.
              Click MI Fish stocking data base    Click Little Manistee Weir info
                 I don't expect the MDNR to be miracle workers, but as a matter of pride the MI DNR is getting blown out of the water by WI DNR's Strawberry Creek Facility on the King plant vs. return rate by a wide margin.  Come on MI DNR, let's step it up!

10/12/19  Doing research for voice-overs for the recent drone video of the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir.  There's 5-6 minutes that need narration
                There's a wealth of information on King returns versus the number of fish planted.  The 2014 crop that was planted (149,978 Kings) yielded 1300 fish for .86% on the fish return rate.  The .86% is bound to be skewed by the number of natural fish that could be 60%, or more the of the 1300 Kings captured. Click 2020 King Plant Info

10/11/19  Scratched another specie off the list our Salmon Buster™ spoons we've caught.  Took a decent Northern Pike of the Gold Bullet SB 4.0 50' back with a 6 oz. Bomb weight down about 10' over 20' of water.  This fish hit like a ton of bricks & put up a dandy scrap.
                Hat's off to Wayne J for masterfully netting a Pike pushing 30 inches in a small Perch net.  After a few pics we released Mr. Pike.  Click Salmon Buster™ Pike
                This was a fun outing to target Perch on Arcadia Lake.  We caught a lot of Perch, but only one was over 10 inches.  So, we drained the livewell set this fish free.
                 Told Wayne on the way up to Arcadia this trip would be a success, if we caught some Perch and took Pike on one of my spoons.  Mission accomplished!

10/10/19  Too nice a day is predicted not to go fishing.  Hope to find some Perch willing to bite.  Just need a day off with some rods in the water.
                 Surface temp of Lk. MI off Manistee, MI is in the lower 60s.  When this surface temps fall into the mid 50°, October Steelhead will be the target specie.
                 Postponing the complacency topic for a future update.

10/9/19  October weather in Manistee has been a blessing thus far.  Current temps around 70° are going to be in short supply soon.  Postponed editing the drone footage to take advantage of completing several "get ready for winter" projects.
              Complacency will be the topic tomorrow's chat that costs lost fish opportunities.
To be explained and how it effected my mindset last August in the worst way.

10/8/19  Today's top photo show the tech that goes into capturing drone video.  A drone as a mobile flying platform with a bird's eye view.  This adds depth to video that not seen in on a flat plane, or a the ground point of vision.  Click video tech stuff
               I'm at my upper limit when it comes to flying my Spry Water Drone.  There's so many things going on to have a successful flight.  Beginning with letting the drone acquire at least 8 satellites to fly in GPS mode.  Then, keeping track of a small object hundreds of feet away on a flight path/altitude that gets the right video subject matter.

10/7/19  Today I hope I'm wrong.  Oh, do I hope I'm wrong.  My Friday afternoon trip to the Little Manistee River Weir was a huge disappointment ...to say the least! 
               Didn't see enough fish there to make Salmon patties for a small parish at the South Pole, back when the Catholics couldn't meat on Fridays.  It was a reel-shocker to see so few Kings in one holding tank.  Click drone pic of the weir
               Noticed this facility has been downsized to only 4 long tanks/holding pens.  Back some years ago, MDNR used to have twice that many.  All loaded with fish.
               Used my drone to capture some outstanding weir footage that will be shared with all soon.  Had to bide my time to fly the drone.  Meaning, at a time when there was no people on the observation deck and no one was at the fence checking out the pens.

10/6/19  A wet September has filled the rivers and streams in Manistee with a lot of run off.  This year was the highest water level on Pine Creek since I began taking photos of the same gravel bar going back to 2007.  High stained water made it a lot harder to get a reel-count on the Kings that were spawning.  My unscientific observation is there were slightly fewer fish then witnessed last year. Click Pine Creek photos & article 
                   Tomorrow the focus will be on the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.

10/4/19  Today's chat is postponed for Salmon watching road trips today.

10/3/19  Posted a pic of the 1998 16' Grumman Aluminum with a 40 hp Johnson Outboard purchased off Craig's List for $4500.  This boat will allow more days on the water.  Especially, during the fall with Lk. MI's winds are blowing.  Click 16' Grumman
              Used boats offer tremendous value as long ass you know what you're getting into.  Owners of used boats lose interest and let small things turn into a lot of chores that can seem overwhelming.  That why when something breaks, it's wise fix it asap!
              This boat is was in good shape, but the trailer was a wreck with mismatched tires, poor wiring and trailer bunks that were shot.  Bilge pump and the amp gauge didn't work.  All easy cheap fixes to bring this boat back into top notch shape.  With me, it's called pride of ownership from lessons learned when I was a charter boat skipper.

10/2/19  Lost day due to rain.  Working on replacing underground cable from the house to sat dish.  Rain, rain, go away and come again another day.

10/1/19  Opening day for bow season in MI.  This is the year the MDNR banned baiting deer in most circumstances in an effort to curtail CWD.  See this as a smoke screen that will do not much to stop this disease, but will stop hunting.  Click DNR bait info video
             I live with the deer and watched them interact.  They eat off the same branches on the pines in my backyard.  Deer dig holes 2' deep in the snow to get at acorns nose to nose.  Know some that are not hunting this year because of the ban. 
          In my area, to see deer you need some form of bait, with shelled corn most preferred.  Know food plots are legal.  This is a form of discrimination against those that do not own property in deer country and hunt off state and federal lands.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2019 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

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


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

Past Results