July, August & September 2020

7/4/20 Manistee, MI
BTI Flasher/Fly Combo

8/13/20 Frankfort, MI
Lk. MI Salmon

8/24/20 King
Manistee, MI am trip

Julie S  Rogers City, MI

Lk. Huron Sept. Steelhead

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

Archived Daily Log Entries 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

9/30/20 Shopping for a decent day to fish Lk. MI for fall Steelhead.  This is predominately a surface fishery when you target the top 30' of water.  Most of the hits will come in the top 5' to 10' off the planer boards, or 'birds" aka (surface side planers).
              Steelhead are the beauty queens off all Great Lakes fish with firm, hard flesh almost like shrimp at this time of the year.  Missed many days fishing this year being a one man army in my tackle shop. Looking forward to a few days chasing these silver bullets.

9/29/20  Leaving the torture test video front row and center for another day.

9/28/20  Torture test video update show the abuse our tackle can take and survive.  This was a fun shoot where I learned Salmon Buster™ spoon are darn near unbreakable when we rolled a 5800 pound Ford F250 Super Duty over them. 
             Tire pressure is hard 65 pounds to make this test even more eye opening.  For 1280 by 720 HD video off You Tube: Click Here
         Used a GoPro 7 with a Rode mic mounted on a Vivitar handle to create this movie.

9/27/20  Best report on Lk. MI right now is the Perch fishing at Michigan City, IN  Heard 25' to 40' of water.  The Perch fleet is out in force. Click Lk. MI Perch catch
              There is a decent amount of sub-legal Coho being caught too.
              I-Pilot trolling motors eliminate the need for anchoring which is a blessing in itself.  Perch are rated by many as the best eating fish in our Great lakes.  Only drawback is it's a job to fillet them properly.  Avid Perch fishermen I've known prefer skin on and use a power de-scaler.  Tomorrow? ....torture test HD video update

9/26/20  The China virus limited my days on the water.  Yesterday's observations were based on 4 times off the dock in August.  This is not a large sample size, but I used some of the info gleaned off our message board to come up with averages.
               Most pitiful was the last week in August out of Manistee, MI with fish reports from fishermen launching and retrieving their boats with the black kitty in the box.

9/24/20  Reporting on what I saw and heard during my few times off the dock this year about the state of our King Salmon fishery leaves a lot to be desired.  If you had 5 Kings out of any central Lk. MI port on the MI side? ...you were at the top of the heap.
               1 to 3 was the norm with a a fair amount of skunks thrown in during the month August.  According to my sonar, fish marks were hard to come, but marked plenty of bait.  So, there is room for improvement down the road with better survival rates on young fish.
              What was missing was planted, or stocked Kings with adipose fin clips.  2020 year class Chinooks planted back in 2016 was a total object failure by the MDNR.
              Problem with all state governmental agencies is people are promoted to the point of pure incompetence.  Seniority becomes more important than job performance when good common sense that dictates a new approach is badly needed!

9/23/20  Video torture test is in the can awaiting editing.  Knew my meat heads would survive, but not sure about our Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Pleasantly amazed when a SB 4.0 passed the test.  Used a Super Duty F250 weighing 5800 pounds with tire pressure at 65 pounds as our test vehicle to drive over the tackle.  Click spoon abuse

9/22/20  Summer 2020 is officially in the history books with today being the 1st day of fall.  This summer had plenty of heat and rain for my garden.  Surprising thing: as warm as it was, Lk. MI never had a consistent deep thermocline. Click Lk. Huron Steelhead
              Rogers City, MI on Lk. Huron is getting a late season burst of Steelhead.  Good to see this area produce quality fish.  Julie S was kind enough to send in today's featured photo.  She an asset to the fleet and always appreciate her knowledgeable fish reports.

9/21/20  Sidetracked yesterday by swapping out old fluorescent tube lights to LEDs.  Instant on, no annoying hum and 50% cheaper to operate makes this a no brainer.
              Today will try to get my torture test video on You Tube.  Working extra hard to get as much done as possible before cold weather sets it.
              Spent a lot of time reorganizing my shop to better utilize storage space that will be needed when new P21 glow colors are unveiled.

9/20/20  Good day to take off.  Have an awesome idea for a new video shoot I hope to complete today.  Check back tomorrow to see what's planned.

9/19/20  Found some ball head plastic pins that can replace toothpicks.  Size is a firm fit in the mag meat heads.  While not water tested, know these pins will work.  This is small upgrade to our product line to make it easier to use.  Click for these pins
                      More on this subject over the weekend.

9/18/20  Possible 1st frost of this fall and the seasons are changing.  Need to think long and hard about what I saw on my few days on the water about sport fleet averages.  I'll try to piece this together & share it with you Monday.  Just don't have a easy answer yet.

9/17/20  For me it's time to put away the attractors and get ready for fall Lk. MI Steelhead.  Hopefully we'll have a few days this fall to deal with these rockets.  While this fishery will never compete against the hunting season, for me it's a personal favorite.
              Crowds have went home and you'll have a clear troll path with dealing with other boats.  Reward is bigtime if you can get of these beautiful fish that dwell in to top 30' and are full of dogged determination to jump free of the hook.

9/16/20  Last evening's wind took out Consumer Power electrical lines someplace.  This is a reoccurring theme for those of us who live in rural America.  We are under served with no internet unless you pay thru the nose for satellite.
              Consumers is all about band-aids.  They have not trimmed the trees in the right of way path in over 10 years.  Guess they're content to short change us in N Michigan.
              It wasn't that many years ago, Consumers electrical line came down 200 yards E of my house.  Setting several acres of a ground fire that never made it to tops of trees.  Seeing smoke that close to your property will shake anybody's cookies.
              I'm on my Generac home system generator that cost big bucks just to maintain a normal lifestyle during these all too frequent outages.

9/15/20  Next 5 days will be devoted to painting 12" Mamba flashers while it's still warm enough to do so.  Not my favorite thing to do, but I'll soldier thru it.  Now is the time for this job.  Production painting when it's winter means all the warm air get's sucked out to the shop by the exhaust fan to clear paint fumes.
               Tied up all the loose ends on P21 extended glow colorants for 2021.  This began last July.  Lot's of hard work later see the benefit will be worth it.
                Accomplishing new concepts with no shop help due to the covid virus has made everything a lot harder.  Hey, if it was easy? ...everyone would be doing it.

9/14/20  Last Friday morning, Wayne J and I cleared the pier heads in Manistee, MI just as daylight was approaching.  There were 10-12 boat working the waters within a mile of the harbor.  We made a long pass to the S, then to the N and seen nary a fish caught.  We were hoping for a hero for anybody to net a fish.  This didn't happen.
             With every dark cloud there is a silver lining.  On a long W troll out to Manistee's dropoff, or shelf there were several large schools of bait fish that made the lines in the quiver.  So, we knew these were probably Alewives.  To have large mounds of bait with no fish around them is unheard of as the MDNR's current policy is just not working.
            There is a void in top level leadership with the DNR that needs to be fixed.  We need a new fisheries director to step in & fix our once proud Lk. MI Salmon fishery.

9/13/20  Tomorrow a fish report from last Friday's video shoot from Manistee, MI.

9/12/20  Success!  Video shoot was in prefect conditions with gin clear water N of Manistee, MI in front of Orchard Beach State Park.  E wind kept the inshore water calm enough to get precise SOG (speed of ground) readings from the GPS.  Video speeds were from 1.5, 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2 mph.  All prime attractor speeds for deep 100' down fishing.
              Bonus was the clear water that allowed the bottom to bounce back light for excellent, crystal clear underwater footage.  This video will debut in 2021.  A big thanks goes to Wayne J. for pro control on the throttle to split hairs on troll speeds.

9/11/20  Video day on Lk. MI.  Going to try to finish what I started last Saturday.  Focus is on speed and various turn rates of meat heads.  Hope it's flat enough to do this.

9/10/20  King Salmon eggs are less than 0.300 of an inch in diameter (0.283" to be exact).  In 4 to 5 years these eggs can produce Kings that are 38", or longer.  38" Kings are usually around 25 pounds (approx).  One small Salmon egg will increase 126 times from it's original size.  Based on yearly growth it's over 25 times. Click egg diameter
              Back in around 2015 the MDNR began clipping the adipose fin and inserting a small coded wire tag in the snout of all Chinook/King Salmon.  Coupled with a drastic cut in stocking. Michigan's Lk. MI King fishery has fell off a cliff.  Click to see tagging process

9/9/20  Cool, wet and rainy today that's more representative of mid-October weather.  This is only a preview of what's to come as fall weather systems advance.
            You can bet, whatever Kings that were still in Lk. MI a few weeks ago are now up the creeks and rivers.  2020 open water Salmon season is done and over with. It's still possible to do harbor patrol and pickup stragglers ...if luck's on your side?
            Happy 2nd birthday to my shop dog, Lab-doodle, Scruffy.  Me and him spent a lot of long nights in our shop filling orders this year.  He is excellent company.  It's a blessing to have a companion that likes going to the shop more than I do. Click shop dog Scruffy

9/8/20  Posted a pic of potential new XG-colors for 2021.  There's been quite and improvement in the spectrum of glow colors in the past few years.  Downside is the cost that's at least triple the price of normal non-glow colorants. Click P21 glow colors
            Lots on my plate for the next couple of months before winter sets in.  First job is to patch inventory holes in items we're low on.  Then, move forward with new tackle.

9/7/20  Have a great Labor Day 2020!  The unofficial end of summer is here and it came to fast for your truly.  This summer flew by for my solo tackle manufacturing operation.  I feel a sense of pride being able to keep up and maintain fast shipping.
            Lots on my plate for 2021 as my focus will be rebuilding inventory that dreadfully low.  Have about 2 month before it turns cold and plan on making everyday count.
            Will have some new P21 glow colors that will debut when the time is right.  New glow colors will be in-house around the middle of this month.  Extended glow is pricey stuff and worth every penny of it when a jumbo King hits in low light.  This cannot be bought, but I can make a down payment on it for you!

9/6/20  One of my shortest Lk. MI trips out of Manistee, MI ever.  In 3 hours, from the time I left home, till the boat was back in the barn.  This included gassing up the boat, launching, going out to 200' of water and putting the boat back in the pole barn.
             Lk. MI was way-too lumpy to shoot underwater video.  Those I spoke with at the ramp when Wayne J. and I launched had no fish.  This is sad, because not that long ago, Labor Day Weekend was prime time for Salmon when everybody caught fish.

9/5/20  Hoping it lays down enough to fish this afternoon to shoot underwater video.  It has to be fairly calm to make quality vids.  There's a large band of water 54° to 52° down 50' to 70' at Big Point Sable at 5pm.  This is an attractive comfort zone for staging Salmon.  How long this temp lasts could be fleeting.  After today, wind and rain are going to make it difficult to get on the pond for the remainder of next week.

9/4/20  Have a safe and great Labor Day Weekend.  We all need time off from the daily grind, including myself.  Several tasks need to be completed as work continues on P15.
Hope to get some underwater video of the new "glow in the dark" colors.  Exactly as the fish see glow during periods of low light, or total darkness.

9/3/20  As this season winds down need to set the wheels in motion for next year.  Have a window to paint thru mid-October.  Entire Mamba collection must be painted.  This a time consuming job.  Painted spoons will be restocked too.
            This coming Labor Day Weekend will have too much wind for the small boat fleet.  Think this coming Saturday is the best out of the 3 day holiday weekend.
            Have some underwater video to shoot for hush-hush P21 that will be a reel-eye opener when the new P21 colors are revealed in the future.

9/2/20  My skills on catching cold water Salmon in the top 30' are still non-existent is the not-so-good news from yesterday morning.  Part of this is my fault.  Just don't have it in me to do harbor patrol and combat fish among other boats.
             Good news is was able to gather valuable data for new glow colors for next year I call, P21 for project 2021.  That was the main goal in the 1st place.
            The Great Lakes tackle industry has only scratched the surface on long duration glow colors I call, X-Glow in injection molded plastics.  X-Glow colors have improved a lot recently.  When time allows will post a "glow in the dark" pics of what's to come for P21.

9/1/20   1st day of September.  Taking the day off for "on the water" color tests for P21 for 2021.  Testing is a experiment with control factors in fair head to head match-ups.  This not production fishing.  The outcome is far more important than the fish count.

8/31/20  Central Lk. MI rolled over with cold water to the top 30'.  Yesterday's Manistee tournament was a struggle for many of the contestants with the temp break being 10' down.  These are tough conditions to target high spooky King Salmon.
               Thought about going yesterday, but my skill set for surface Kings has always sucked.  Adult Kings in the top 30' are probably the most wariest fish in the Great Lakes.
               Summer sure fly by for me.  Extra busy in the shop as an one man army gives me a sense of accomplishment, as the Lone Ranger ...minus Tonto.  Hope and pray this China virus crap is in the rear view by this time next year!

8/30/20  Too windy to fish out of Manistee, MI yesterday.  Lumpy early this morning, then the wind is supposed to lay down by this evening.
               Manistee boats that fished the afternoon/evening shift on Friday did OK on Kings, but the fish caught were dark and ready to run the river. test

8/29/20  Taking this weekend off for personal projects that will be explained in due time.  Been burning the candle at both ends for new concepts in colors for 2021.  Wind looks favorable tomorrow afternoon for a new Manistee fish report Monday.

8/28/20  T.G.I.F.  Looks like I survived our busiest month's of season solo.  Solo is not of my choosing born out of measures to avoid the China virus entering my household.
              Plan was to go fishing today.  Thunderstorms in the forecast nixed that.  There is some windows in the next few days that look more favorable.  Safety afloat first!

8/27/20  We're entering the season of wind when days afloat on the Great Lakes are going to be scarce.  Now, instead of looking for a string days with comfortable seas, we're looking for 1/2 day windows when fishing is enjoyable.  Still have several things on my check list with the 2020 Salmon season left to do.  If, and when Lk. MI cooperates?

8/26/20  Have an interesting photo of the King's innards we caught 2 days ago that I'll share with you soon.  This hen was full of eggs and her stomach shrunk to the non-feeding mode to swallow baitfish.  This stomach processed 100s of pounds of bait.
              Boat traffic was extremely light on last Monday's short am trip.  Was amazed this was August and there was only, maybe, to the high side 20 boats fishing out of my home Port of Manistee, MI.  Lower numbers of Kings has taken a toll on the fleet.

8/25/20  Adversity and how well we handle it, defines us.  Yesterday was full of a lot of grief when Wayne J and I had the auto pilot blow a hose and the boat did a fast spinning 360.  Running over our planer board's tag lines and stitching 2 wire divers into the rigger cables.  OK, that's enough of the not so good news. Click 8/24/20 King
              Good news is we marked a decent number of fish in the 7s and 8s (about 7 miles S of Manistee) in 100' out to 370' of water.  Most I've seen at this port in a while.
              Fish take was semi-tolerable with a good King in the 20s and another big guy that become unpegged 30' from the boat.  This was short trip that ended by 8:30am with equipment malfunction sending us back to port with more questions than answers.

8/24/20  Taking today off for personal business.  Will be working on orders this afternoon and shipping tomorrow.

8/23/20   Posted a photo of Wayne J's 13.5 Master Angler sized Coho Salmon.  This fish hit a 10" BTI XG Froggie Combo (flasher/2 fly meat rig™) down about 80' over 150' of water.  This fatso Coho looked like it swallowed a football. Click 13.5 lb. Coho
            Coho are the smaller cousin of King/Chinook Salmon that average around 8 pounds.  This hen's large girth was from the eggs she was carrying.

8/22/20  Think we all need to remind ourselves, when we're not over fish it's going to be a slow grind.  Don't blame yourself, or look for flaws in your program when there's a total lack of fish in the area you fished.  In my 12 hours with lines in the water last week, only seen a few fish landed by other boats in spite of being in eye-shot of several.
              Posted a photo from 2005 when I fished with Steve Burns out of the Port of Frankfort, MI on 8/23/2005.  We took a 3 person limit in the middle of the afternoon with full and half lead cores doing all the damage.  Please keep in mind, we had a lot more Kings back then ...before the MDNR jacked around the Chinook plants, wire tagged, and cut off the adipose fin on all hatchery raised Kings/Chinooks.  Click 2005 King pics

8/21/20  Featured pic of the day shows regular and side scan images of large schools of bait.  Side scan helps pin point which side of the boat where the bait is the thickest.  Today's sonar is capable beyond my wildest dreams when I began in 1968.  Ran the side scan 455kz to see if we were missing marks. Click dual sonars marking bait
              Touched on the high fish yesterday and what a struggle it was to get a bite.  High Salmon, Kings and Coho can be caught.  Most effective is half lead cores (5 colors) and full cores (10 colors) off the boards.  Didn't have any aboard due to the reel-fact there's not much extra room on my boat to carry spare rods for copper, or core.
              Will post a photo soon of the exact same conditions when we pulled a then 9 fish King limit with a flasher/meat program in the top 30' back in 2006.

8/20/20  Either I suck at fishing, or the fishing sucked.  Probably a little of both.  NE wind the pervious night rolled over colder waters near shore.  During the course of the morning surface temp went from 66° to 61°.  Thermocline was high, like 20'-25' down.  So, these conditions were far from ideal.  Never the less, enjoyed being on the water immensely.
              Look for things to improve a lot soon.  Predicted S, SW, and W wind will push the warm water back in and move the down-temp deeper. Click sonar marking bait
              Good news is? ...marked several large schools of bait with nary a fish mark around them.  This is a clear sign the MDNR needs to stock more fish in Lk. MI!

8/19/20  Too windy to fish effectively yesterday.  Lumpy seas are not fun in any sized boat.  No fishing, no problem? ...just take the morning off today.

8/18/20  Going to take today off for you know what.  Will not be shipping orders until Wednesday afternoon.  Fishing is like what I said yesterday, at all central LK. MI ports.  Put your time in & you should end up decent when you drive over the right pocket of fish.
               Worthy to note: fish are not moving to a hit a bait.  Riggers have to be dead on, or the Salmon will ignore your offerings.  Marked only one major school of bait in 10 hours of trolling.  Fish are not overly aggressive like you'd expect.

8/17/20  Hope to have some new fishing reports soon.  Spent my weekend catching up on orders and tests for next year.  Reel-fact: will have some exciting new glow colors.
              Can add, Salmon fishing for Kings and Coho is not fast and furious.  Relying on just the early bite is not going to fill your box.  Attractor meat program and toughing out the slow, full light bite ...will.  Most of the fish in the box pic have not been in prime time.

8/16/20  Test, tests, and more tests for new colors next season.  This takes hours to time the glow duration and hue.  That's what I did most of last night (1am thru 4am).
                                  Have a great and safe Sunday!

8/15/20  Haven't had to deal with the water flea issues until last my last fishing trip.  They were thick.  Making the use of my braid rigger rods setup for deep fishing a problem.  Clogging the guides that made reeling in a fish difficult.
              You can circumvent the water fleas by running thicker mono.  This part of Lk. MI's food chain does not stick to 30# test mono.  Anything less? ...you've got a problem!
              Vitals on the box of fish featured pic begin with  77' to 125' down on the rigger counters.  Speed was mostly 2.2, did have a few bites at 1.8 mph.  Down-temp, or thermocline started at 105' down and came up to 75' during the course of the day. 
              Action was mediocre, Wayne J and I had to put our time in for what we caught.  All our fish came on just 2 color combinations, being the 10" BTI X-G Frog and Firedot 10 incher with a 2 fly Sparkler Meat Rig™.  Click for an OK box of Kings & Coho

8/14/20  Agony and ecstasy is what Great Lakes Salmon fishing is about.  Agony is hauling on Kings over 20 pounds that are auditioning for a starring role on Wicked Tuna.
              Agony is dealing with nasty critters that stitch/weave wire diver line and copper lines together like "cats in a cradle."  More agony is when a King over 25 pounds gets wrapped up in the trolling motor after a 30 minute tug of war.  Then, staring defeat right square in the face, knowing all was for naught.  Click for this Nasty Boy
             Ecstasy is freeing said King from a now stopped trolling motor, seeing it go in the net and get hoisted over the transom by a great fishing bud, Wayne J!

8/13/20  Things are going fine on my fishing trip with Wayne J aka Take Five.  Catching Kings and Coho 100' to 120' down in an undisclosed (for now) location.  10" BTI Frog and Firedot meat combos are doing all the damage.  Things are looking up!  All will be explained in due time.  Man, it sure feels reel good to be on the big pond again!

8/11/20  Going to take a few days off this week to do you know what.  We will not be processing, or shipping orders until this Thursday.   P21 is underway and needs more time in research and development.  Stay tuned to see what I'm up to.  Fishing report soon.

8/10/20  Spoke with Leland MI's Capt. Jim Munoz yesterday afternoon.  He shared there are some Salmon on the S end of South Manitou Island and on the N end of North Manitou Island.  8-10 Kings from the top boats fishing these areas.
              Catastrophic fail with my shipping program, Stamps.com.  This program will not recognize passwords, or allow changes to go thru.  Up ___ Creek without a paddle to ship until the USPS gets their act together.  Might have to hand ship from local Post Office.
              This reeks of some kind of political crap from which side, I know not.  Do know Stamps.com has 750k users.  Used this shipping program since 2004 without a glitch.  Now, it has me locked down and means lost time to run the post office for shipping!
              Kicker is Stamps.com tech support don't open up until noon MI time, because they're on Pacific time.  This is a mess from hell for those of us who rely on USPS!
              Alternative is to ship UPS and pay at least twice the shipping cost in the lower 48.  This doesn't solve international/Canada shipping.  3 pounds UPS to Canada is $111. 
3 pounds USPS to Canada is about 40.00.  Which is still highway robbery.

8/9/20  Looking forward to fishing LK. MI this week.  Lot's left to do as I pack up my dog and pony show to ports unknown.  Not totally sure where I'm going, but close enough to Manistee to scoot home to take care of orders every 2 days.  Arcadia N is a hint.
             Heard decent reports on Kings coming from South Haven and Saugatuck, MI.  More tomorrow as more reports filter in.  Have a great Sunday. 

8/8/20  Planning a successful fishing trip eats up a lot of time.  Making sure you have all the gear and tackle needed for out of town ports means a list.  My "to-do" is partially completed, as I look forward to being on Lk. MI multiple days this coming week.
                                Have a super great Saturday!!

8/7/20  Just about ready to fish Lk. MI this coming week.  Truck, camper and boat are geared up for some extended days in row King chasing.  Looking at the right time frame when the weather looks to be favorable.  Several out of town ports are being considered.
                    Have a great and safe weekend.  Good luck to all fishing!

8/5/20  Being an optimist, and Kings being scarce? ...this is could be due to the cold spring and the fish just aren't here in huge numbers yet.  Do know, as of last weekend, charter boats were targeting Lake Trout.  Lakers are a excellent charter fish, because LTs are a bunch easier for customers to land.   Compared to reeling-in Kings.
            There's is a common thread in the fish reports I seen.  When you're marking bait, there will be Salmon around it.  Only problem is, the bait is moving a lot from day to day.
             The China virus has severely limited my water time this year.  Compounded by no help in my shop which is attached to my house.  Hoping to change this soon.

8/4/20  Best news that came in from last weekend was Steve T's 31 pound King Lk. MI out of the Port of Arcadia, MI.  Steve's been getting a King, or 2 before going down on the deck in 100' of water picking on the Lake Trout. Click 31 lb. King
            While the King over 30 came on a competitor's spoon, Steve did share his best spoon is the XG-Ghostbuster Salmon Buster™ spoon 4.65 riding as a free slider.
            Steve has been part of this website going back to the early i2ks.  31 pounds is not his biggest.  If my memory serves me correctly, think he had a 34 pounder around 15 years ago.  Reel fact is? ...any King over 30 is a hard fought trophy!

8/3/20  Yet to hear an encouraging fish report as of last Friday from Ludington, or Manistee.  Seems the better King Salmon reports are coming from Arcadia, MI N.
             Picture in a picture shows how thick the hand laid fiberglass is on my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Good boats are hand laid.  Cheaper boats use a chopper gun spray process.
             Story on the 2nd bilge pump install?  Had all the wiring, pump and switch for close to 2 years.  Finally, decided to stop procrastinating. Click picture in a picture

8/2/20  Posted a photo of work in progress installing a 2nd auto bilge pump.  2 years ago an auto switch malfunction.  Flooding the motor well and ruined the starter.  This happened when I got a dock at Solbergs Marina.  Now known as Pier 1 Marina.  We had an all night gulley washer measured in inches of rain. Click work in progress
             This won't happen again.  Installed 2 new bilge pumps with auto/float switches.  This required disassemble of the transom fascia to run wires neat and tidy.
             Back when I got a seasonal dock to charter, you got to know your dock buddies and everyone looked after each other's boat like it was their own.  If any boat had a list, you'd check their bilge when the owners were gone for a day, or 2.
             End result of losing the starter cost me the late season fishing (October) for Lk. MI Steelhead out of Manistee, MI.  This won't happen again!

8/1/20  Used to be 20 some years ago, the best weeks for Salmon fishing (both Coho and Kings) was the last week of August/1st week of September.  This has changed.
             Nowadays, the 3rd week of August is probably the peak for Kings.  Then, it tapers off drastically.  That's why I'm saving my efforts to fish everyday (when possible) later this month.  This is going to require a dock.
            That's why I'm installing a 2nd bilge pump with auto switch in my 1979 Sea Ray 22' trailer boat.  These hulls, the basic platform are built like a tank with a 1/2" of hand laid fiberglass in most part of the boat.  The power system is ancillary and can be changed quite cost effectively compared to buying new boat with less construction value.
            I've bought new boats.  Had a late 70s Rinker (17') & an early 80s Bayliner (22').  Both of these boats had major glass problems with substandard hulls. 
            I learned hard lessons and mistakes not to be repeated.  How many new boats are going to be around 41 years from now like my vintage 1979 Sea Ray 22' trailer boat?

7/31/20  A new Consent Decree is being negotiated with the tribal fishermen over treaty rights.  What little I've heard is not good.  We'll have to wait and see how this plays out.
              The Consent Decree that happened 20 years ago led to a money grab from the Little River Band that setup phony fishing operations that cost us $2,000,000.00.
                                Have a great weekend and stay safe!

7/30/20  As you drive N on US31 from Manistee, MI a little ways, you'll see signs from tackle stores saying they have bait.  So, much for the false shortage rumors.
              Herring is the default choice when it comes to meat fishing.  Unfortunately and mistakenly, the MDNR has flagged west coast herring as a potential source of VHS.  I had tests by the University of Indiana and it was clean.  Getting it here is another issue.
              Herring is not the best bait I ever used.  Anchovies are.  Fresh frozen anchovies are firmer, with much better scale retention, and a strong natural scent.  Getting bait quality anchovies from the west coast is, like I said, is another issue, I don't have time for.
             Biggest thing holding me back from the bait business?  There's no commercial warehouses with frozen storage storage close.  Bear Lake, MI used to have one.  Now the closest storage to me is in Hart, MI and that's way S of Ludington.
             This source of bait has been an issue since I, as me, showed the fleet what meat was capable of in 2003.  Since then, there's been a few suppliers, but none have stuck around.  Keeping frozen bait, frozen is the risky part.

7/29/20  This is the time of the season when I get panicked fishermen desperately looking for reel-bait.  This shows a major lack of planning and that can't be fixed.
              I don't know who has what, when it comes to herring, or strips.  This the China virus is making me a one man army.  Just don't have the time to help their search.
             Do know, when bait is available? ...buy it, buy lots of it.  Keep it in the freezer.  I have bait that's been frozen for over 10 years old and still plenty useable.
             Procrastinators, good luck because I yet to hear anyone carrying whole bait.

7/28/20 Trying to come up with a plan for an out of town event.  Been to the U.P. ports of Manistique (Lk. MI 2016), Munising (Lk. Superior 2017) & Ludington a few times in 2018.
              Highlight of my summer in 2019 was fishing out Rogers City on Lk. Huron. Found sunrise side fishermen tend to be a little more friendly than the Lk. MI crowd.
This year I to plan around the China virus and probably have to stay closer to home.     
              Looking at Frankfort, MI this August, because of the low numbers of virus that's about the same as Manistee. Think we all need to look forward to something. Getting away for a few days with a change of scenery does the head good. Frankfort is one of the most scenic ports on Lk. MI only surpassed by Leland. Time for some reel-fun!

7/27/20  End of our 90° weather for a while ...I hope.  July at my place has had at least 10 days over 90.  Some summers we rarely see these hot muggy temps.  With heat, comes wind from the S and that can make Lk. MI very uncomfortable to fish.
              A long day of rough water brings on fatigue as every muscle in your body fights to compensate from being in a salt shaker all day.  You will sleep well at night!
              Manistee, MI's Salmon Splash Tournament concluded last weekend.  From what I seen on the tally sheets the fish take, and size was down from last year.
             Embarking on developing a new product is full of challenges.  You can't imagine the amount of time this takes, because there's zero room for error.
              Fun part is the "on the water" testing when you see the plan come together.  This provides reel-proof, in reel time you know it's works before purchasing.
             This is the motivation needed after designing the Salmon Buster™ spoons in 2014.  It's time to move forward.  Besides, it gives me a reel-reason to go fishing!

7/26/20  Sometimes the outcome of a fishing trip is how big the grins are.  Chris G chose to fish Lake Trout a few days ago when he took his son and nephew.  They got into a few late afternoon LTs out of the port of Manistee, MI.  Click youngsters with big grins
               Don't have any recent reports on morning fishing.  Know the afternoon-evening fleet is struggling to catch Kings out of Manistee.  Look for this to improve soon.
               Land line phone is back up.  Some dummy repairman left the junction box open down the road from my place and the wires got messed up.

7/25/20  Phone land line is down.  This effectively shuts me down, because our credit card terminal runs on a land line for billing.  Guess, I'll just enjoy this weekend off.

7/24/20  It's amazing how resilient the USA is.  Even with the China plague we're still moving along.  This the time of the season most have waited for to search for Mr. King Salmon with a capital "K".  We're in what I consider prime time thru the last week of Aug.
              Tackle sales were off the first 4 months.  Now, sales are about the same as in 2019.  This is as victory considering the slow King fishing in 2019 at most MI ports.
              Have a great weekend and enjoy of Great Lakes.  If you have a good catch, or a reel-e-big King?  I will be jealous in the nicest way.  Good fishing to all!

7/22/20  You wait for time to go fish the big water.  You wait for decent weather with tolerable seas.  You wait for a bite.  Waiting is part of our sport.
               Patience plays a huge part in the outcome of landing fish.  Trying to bulldoze an over 20 lb. King to the net don't work.  Seen 1000s of fish lost.  That's part of the charter/guide business.  Some just come off.  Most were lost due to "fish fever," closely related to buck fever.  That's when the eye on the prize builds too much excitement.
              The last 50' of the battle with Kings nowadays is when you need patience.  These are not the roll over and die Kings of the 1980s that ran out of gas.  These fish have evolved/adapted to their freshwater homes and are full of fight.  Requiring patience and smooth rodsmanship right up to the time you slide a net underneath them.

7/21/20  It's pushing 5am.  Just finished an all-nighter to get process and ship orders.  Night shift would be lonely, if it wasn't for my poodle-lab who thinks he's an employee. 
              Dare not to go to the shop without him, because Scruffy will bark at the shop door and wake my wife who's a light sleeper.  Happy wife, happy life.
              Planned update ...while postponed will focus on patience and how valuable it is.  Check back tomorrow to see how to put patience to work for you.

7/20/20  Ludington's big tournament week came to a close yesterday.  Day 2 of the Bud Pro/Am was cancelled due to bad weather.  Pro winner took home 10 grand.  Am was 4k.
               I fished this tournament in 1986 and 1987 and the participation was 3 times as many boats, as nowadays.  Back then, it was called the Lowrance Tournament and paid 10 grand on the pro side.  In today's money 10k in 1987 is worth 23k now.
               Finished top 1/3rd in 1986 (70 pro boats) and top 10 in 1987 (think it was 8th, or 9th).  Seas were miserable in 1987 on day 1 (6' to 8') and not much better on day 2.
Do remember we had the 2nd, or 3rd heaviest box on day 2, but day 1 catch was pitiful.

7/19/20  Lk. MI was not in the fleet's favor yesterday.  Wind from the S ranged from 17 to 25 knots at Big Point Sable between Ludington and Manistee, MI.  Today looks a little better, but not by much.  Tomorrow the weather is predicted to bring us some relief from the 90° temps and 90% humidity.  Low last night at my place was 80°.
              Going to try to fish Lk. MI later this week out of Manistee in more tolerable seas.  Waves over honest 4 footers are miserable to fish in any sized boat.

7/18/20  Mentioned 30# 7 strand wire line yesterday.  Mistake most make is they use reels too small for wire divers.  By smaller reels mean the size of Diawa 47Hs or 47 LCs.  You need the next size up.  I have the older metal frame Okuma 45D Catalinas that are being sold now under the Cabelas name.  Best drag I've found is on the Diawa SG57 LCs.
              Larger framed reel provide a lot more power to handle adult Kings on wire. Plus, it like power assist when you crank in a diver flasher/meat rig™/fly.  These larger framed reels can easily handle a 1000' of wire and plenty of backing.

7/17/20  T.G.I.F.  This week went by in a hurry with visions of big Kings coming to the net.  For this to happen you need good tackle.  The Triple Fish mono we sell out performs other mono at 3 times the price.  Our 45# test copper is the fleet standard.
              Word on stainless steel 30# test 7 strand for wire divers.  Purchase in 1000' spools.  600' spools are most popular, because they're a few bucks less expensive. 
              Wrong, because sooner, or later you're going to get a bad spot in the wire.  If you have a 1000' on the reel, you can afford to lose (cut) 200'-300' of line off and still be in fine shape to keep fishing.  It pays to keep an extra spool aboard.  During season it's  hard to find 30# ss wire in tackle stores. Click to check out wire & line

7/16/20  We're only a few days away from "prime time" for adult Kings.  Manistee, MI seems to have more Kings then 2019.  How many more? ...time will tell us that.
               Super good news!  Major League Baseball returns tonight on TV at 9pm with an intra squad Tigers game from Comerica Park.  On cable channel: Fox Sports Detroit.

7/15/20  How you feel about wearing a mask depends on your household and when you were born.  Let's step back to the 1950s when Polio reared it's head every summer.  Killing 1000s and debilitating more.  Parent's worst nightmare was their children getting infected.
              My wife came down with Polio and her brother died from it in 1953.  Polio short circuits the nerves and attacked my wife's legs.  Good news is made she a full recovery.
              In 1954, or 1955 there were mass inoculations given at school.  I remember standing in line and getting this shot.  We all got a ice cream cone after the shot.  Ice cream at school?  This was a big deal for us, because schools never had it.
              Nowadays, with the science deniers and anti-vaccine skeptics doubt this prevention measure would have been available to all the children in the USA in mass.
              Polio is much like the China virus and can be spread in the air.  Dummies that insist in not wearing a mask will just prolong this sickness and keep hurting our economy.

7/14/20  Everyone likes a reel-success story.  Here's Mike K's exact words:

"My son Zach and I made our first journey to Lake Ontario over the Holiday weekend. This was on our bucket list to catch fish in every great lake. Lake Ontario was our last to fill, & boy did we. This lake is still baitfish factory & going strong!!!! Every fish was stuffed with alewives and smelt. We limited every day, within a few hours. Click Lk. O big King
             Black Mamba and Green frog meat rigs on divers and 300 copper were on fire. XG-Ghostbuster spoon was hot on the riggers. Here is a few pics, thanks for making a great product that works in all of our Great Lakes!!!!!" ...Tight Lines, Capt. Mike

7/13/20  Need to postpone today's update.  Do have a good one from Lk. Ontario courtesy of Mike K. waiting in the wings with some great photos.
              Presently, we're running a day behind on orders at the webstore.  Hopefully, this virus stuff will be over with a vaccine soon.  So, we can be properly staffed.

7/12/20  MI Gov. Whitmer, by executive order, now mandates masks must be worn, or face a fine when in public places.  Such as a grocery stores.  This should have been done a long time ago, as far as I'm concerned.  Other people have no right to infect me, or my wife with their breath.  Kudos to President Trump for finally wearing a mask in public!

7/11/20  Lost 3 hours yesterday when UPS A-holes deactivated my account for no good reason.  My last UPS bill was paid on 6/20/20.  Feeble reason that gave me was my account was not being used.  Which is a big giant lie! 
               Tech support with a heavy, hard to understand foreign accent said to me, "we did this to get your attention."  UPS could have contacted me by email.
               Lost time was installing patches, updates and account entry info in Quickbooks shipping manager.  Showing, I tend blame myself first, not the source.

7/10/20  Long string of days in the 90° range ends today for Manistee, MI.  More heat is on the way next week too.  Just not quite as hot.  Been working the nightshift in the tackle shop to avoid the 90% humidity and high temperatures.
              Now is the time to think about sharpening your attractor/fly/meat program, as Lk. MI soaks up the warmth and drives the thermocline ever deeper.
              Best on my boat last weekend with our 10" BTI flashers with meat, or flies.  Same goes for Wayne J's AlumaCraft's "Take Five."  White Lightening/Moon Jelly with a fly has been his best putting a King, or 2 in the box every morning he's been out of Manistee

7/9/20  Hindsight is always 20/20.  Looking back and seeing how to do things more efficiently haunts me from my 4th of July dealing with Mr. Nasty.  Should have pulled the only 2 lines (riggers 1 and 2) and went to dead stop.  Rather than keeping the boat going at 2 mph to keep the big King from getting into the rigger wires.
            It was sheer luck we landed on a big school of bait on the 4th before daylight.  Balled up bait means there's predator fish about. Click 2nd king on the 4th
            Our White Lightening color selections will be change to the fleet consensus "Moon Jelly" handle this lure tape goes by during the off season.  Why? ..the big boy on the 4th whacked our White Lightening 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoon with only the moon as a light source.  It was pitch black pre-dawn when this fish bit.

7/8/20  China virus is effecting every corner of the business world, including mine.  During our busy times of the season, usually have a couple-three people helping with orders in house.  Can't take a chance on the virus coming into my home with my shop being attached to my house.  So, I'm the lone stranger trying to do the work of 3.
             This is impossible.  Resolved myself to do what can be done and not try to be Superman.  Extra help is most missed with my time making, processing, and shipping orders.  Not filling holes in the inventory we're low on.  There will be stock storages,
             Tomorrow some useful snippets about the Kings off Manistee, MI.

7/7/20  Part 2 of my 4th of July trip with Wayne J continues with catching another much more manageable King pushing 15 lbs. around 7am on a diver towing White Lightening 10" BTI flasher with our Pearl Glo Trolling Fly.  Click for Pearl Glo Fly Proof
            This was a first on the pearl iridescent fly aboard my boat.  Knew it would work. Only had to stick it in the water for final proof.  Some things you just know ...will catch!
            Had a 10-12 pound Laker become unpegged 20' behind the boat when he started that surface thrashing stuff.  It seems LTs get scrappy when they see the boat.  This MIA fish was on on the wire diver with 10" BTI Super Silver Bullet Meat Rig™ Combo.
            I spent my last 10 years in the charter business out of Manistee, MI.  Time taught me whites and silver/chrome are good attractor colors until about 2nd-3rd week of July when the glow stuff gets hot.  Whites & silver/chromes tend to work all season long.

7/6/20  Bad Boy King begins the 4th of July morning fishing report.  Setup in 0 dark thirty in 55' two miles S of Manistee, MI.  Port 3 rigger was sent down 50' with the 4.65 White Lightening Salmon Buster™ spoon just above the thermocline at 2.5 mph.
            As Wayne J and I trolled SW, about 5 minutes in, the bad boy decided to step it off with us.  This lunatic King went side saddle 70' and jumped on the starboard side of the boat.  Then, it sounded, went straight down and hung out deep in the cold water.
            This ornery King was a tag team joint effort between Wayne and I.  Wayne took it from the git to 20 minutes.  I took the last 20 in a close in brawl to the net.
            This fish was both a curse and a blessing at the same time.   Taking over 40 minutes to land on 20# test mono.  Dealing with Mr. Bad Boy prevented us from having more than 2 lines in during ultra prime time.  Our deadly diver program sat idle.
            Plus, us with the aft deck LED lights on, this alerted boats coming out from the harbor we were into fish and some dropped in around us. Click 4th Bad Boy big King
                 There's a lot more to be shared.  To be continued tomorrow..

7/5/20  Full report tomorrow that's encouraging for the central Lk. MI ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort.  From what I seen on the 4th, things are looking up.

7/4/20  Went fishing on Lk. MI out of Manistee and enjoyed the time off and company of Wayne J. aka Take Five.  Did tolerable, full fishing report soon.

7/3/20  Have an enjoyable 4th of July Weekend and stay safe.  Updates are taking a mini vacation till Monday.  We all need time off for the reel important things in life, like fishing!

7/2/20  Fresh hot off the press: Manistee, MI fishing report from Wayne J. aka "Take Five."  He started early yesterday morning.  Had lines in by 5:30am and took 3 fish before whitecaps chased him back to port around 8am. Click Take 5's catch
             The Salmon Buster™ 4.0 XG Bluetail did the heavy lifting.  Boxing 2 Kings with largest pushing 18 lbs.  He took a decent Lk. Trout on our White Lightening (moon jelly) 10" BTI flasher and a XG Green BTI fly to top off his morning.
             Predicted weather is hot with no rain till next week.  Seas are on the fleet's side for the 4th of July Weekend.  Salmon fishing, while spotty appears to be on the upswing.

7/1/20  Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  It's entirely possible there will be no reliable vaccine for the China virus.  Some viruses like HIV still don't have a cure.
            Found out, Covid-19 health care workers have a lower infection rate, than the general public.  They wear masks, the public at large? ...it's a percentage.
            Our economy will never be a 100% until this health care crisis is over.  Take Vice President, Mike Pence's sound advice and wear a mask.  It's your responsibility to society when in public places such as grocery stores, please!

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2020 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

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

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