October, November & December 2020

Salmon Spawning
10/9/20 Pine Creek

VMC Hooks
Restock for 2021

ZipLock Bag
Oil Filter Trick

Sun sets on 2020
Good Riddance!


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

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

12/31/20  Happy New Year's Eve Day.  In a short while, the terrible year of 2020 that inflicted great hardships in our country will be a goner.  2021 will be a lot better.  Looking for to next year and the renewed promise it brings.  Have a happy, safe, and great 2021!

12/30/20  Fast forwarding a day to point out the mussels in the stomach of a King caught back in 2008 just after the 4th of July.  This was well before the King Salmon numbers dwindled when the MDNR made stocking cuts. Click mussels in stomach 
                Didn't notice these tiny shells when I took the photo.  If I did? ...sure would have focused with more photos.  This is a rarity for sure. 
                Can only speculate on how they got there with 2 choices.  1. Alewives had mussels in their belly that were dissolving.  2.  This mid-size King was into oysters on the half shell.  Guess, it's meant to be a mystery?

12/29/20  Year end computer maintenance means all machines need attention.  Use 3 boxes and a laptop for mobile.  Started yesterday with all recent updates. 
                 Passed my yearly verification known as, PCI compliance for credit card security that was a chore.  This where www.michiganangler.com gets it's fancy security seal of approval.  So, customers know their credit card info is well protected.
                 There's always some kind of issues when dealing with computers that are tasked with complicated jobs.  Taking care of a network is a lot to bite off.  It's a job I dread and why I'm not big on smart phones.  Already spend a lot of time at my computer work station.  Why would I want to carry another one around in my pocket?
                 My view of cell phones? ...it's electronic slavery that turns into an addiction for a large segment of the population.  See Detroit Tiger fans behind home plate in the high dollar seats.  Instead of watching the game?  ...they're fiddling with their phones.

12/28/20  Video update that's about eliminating quagga mussels comes from the Port of Leland, MI.  You'll see why Leland is one of my most favorite ports.  This also goes with the mussels I found in a Salmon stomach that will be expanded upon tomorrow.  Click for this video

12/27/20  Report on the early March-April fishing from Manistee, MI continues with 2019 results.  April was all Lake Trout.  A mixed size of 5 to 12 pounder and not that many of them.  There were zones lure clogging weeds inshore in early April that made trolling impossible, unless we cleaned our 6 rod spread continuously. Click 2019 Lake Trout
                End of May going into early June did catch a few Kings pushing 20 in 2019.  Fish per hour was downright pitiful.  Struggled to find fish on a confined schedule.
                  My 2020 early season was a wash with no fishing till July.

12/26/20  Didn't clean sat dish until 2pm.  Decided to save today's effort and expand it for tomorrow.  Then, wrap it up on Monday with a useful tip from my area.

12/25/20  Merry Christmas to all.  Tomorrow's chat might be delayed about what to expect about early spring (Mar-Apr-May) fishing at central Lk. MI ports. 
                Seems Mr. Winter has woke up with a bad attitude and is predicted 15" of lake effect snow in Manistee, MI.  This will render the sat internet useless until I clear the white stuff off the sat dish in sub 20° temps.  This will be done later in the day.  So, it might be delayed until Sat. when I can wrap up this fascinating subject.

12/24/20  Merry Christmas Eve Day to you and yours.  Donated our Christmas spending to help feed those in need.  Seen 400 cars in-line waiting for food in my home town.
                It's one thing to see this from a distance on TV.  But when you see it in person, in your home area it punches home how bad things are for some folks.
               If you're in the grateful position of being able to donate?  Please support your local food bank and help the needy.  Together can fight our way thru the covid crisis.

12/23/20   What to expect in Manistee, MI's early season continues.  The 2017 early season April fishing was OK.  There were some Browns in early April, if you got lucky and hit the right spots.  By around the 1st of May, Kings were being caught off the harbor areas of Ludington and Manistee.  No big numbers for my efforts.  But 3-4 fish in the 10 to 20 pound class for a morning fish is a heck of a good time.
                2018 my April fishing was a bust.  May was another story with a fair number of Kings off Ludington's harbor to pockets south of the project.  There were a few Browns and Lake Trout mixed in for the locals.  My boat only caught Kings.  No big numbers, but don't need that many spring Kings pushing 20 pounds to call it a happy-happy trip.

12/22/20  What to expect in Manistee, MI's early season?  The total unknown for sure.  Can give you a replay from 2015 to 2020.  Looked back in my yearly photo folders for info.
                2015 Manistee had some Browns in early April.  Around the 1st of May Ludington was seeing some Kings caught.  This was the year I went to Wilson, NY in May and did decent on spring Kings to 20 some pounds on Salmon Buster spoons™.
                2016 early inshore April fishing off Manistee was choked with weeds that made trolling an exercise in futility.  This was the year I installed enclosed cooling on my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  So, I could put a heater/window defroster for chilly mornings.
                2017 Manistee's early season will be tomorrow's headline and focus.

12/21/20  First day of the official winter season.  It's also our shortest day of the year too.  Gradually, our days will become longer.   Spring 2021 is only about 90 days away.
                 The weather in Manistee, MI has been mild compared to years past.  Haven't had to plow snow and that a rarity for the north country.  Know there's storms and snow in the future.  We'll get thru it and crush the China virus in the new year.
              Tomorrow? ....what to expect from Manistee's early March-April inshore fishery.

12/19-20/20  Computer is off for the weekend and so am I.

12/18/20  In less then 2 weeks we can say good riddance to the terrible year of 2020.  That can't come fastest enough for me.  2020 sucked for everybody!
                I'm looking forward to having shop help in 2021 to build and expedite orders.  This is a huge task that I did solo.  This prevented me from getting out on the Great Lakes this year until the 4th of July and only a few times in August.  This was the 1st season out of the past 50 missed the early season March/April fishery.
               Having a good conversation going when you're working helps the time fly by.  Extra help adds order speed and accuracy.  By keeping track of each other's work.
               Offline weekend for me.  Shop construction needs my full attention. 
        Monday's topic will be about Manistee, MI's early season and what to expect.

12/17/20  Timing is everything when it comes to new product roll out.  The mood our country is in right now (from the China virus), it's my firm belief you could introduce sliced bread for the first time and it would be a historic flop.
                 That's one of the reasons I'm holding back the debut of P15.  Knowing better days are ahead and a bright future for our country as our population gets vaccinated.

12/16/20  Snowometer is back again this year.  It's a rough gauge what's shoveled, or plowed.  November was very mild and not much snow in a departure from the past.
                Cold temps in the teens are here.  Official winter only days away.  Cold makes heating my house with wood easier with a hotter burn.  Resulting in less creosote buildup.
                 My 2020/2021 winter season snowometer stands at only 10" for now.

12/15/20  Checked the size of the Chinooks/King Salmon planted by the MDNR in 2005 and 2010 in Manistee County, MI.  Size is about the same as what the DNR is stocking now.  Numbers of Kings planted is not that far off, down about 30% from 2005 and 2010.
                Survival rate is where the big crash is.  Don't think anyone has the answer.  Least of all ...me.  Do know, in the past 3 seasons, I've caught very few adipose clipped fish in the central Lk. MI ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort.
                Exception is in 2019.  Fished Lk Huron's Port of Rogers City, MI.  Here, 3 out of 4 Kings were adipose clipped, or stocked Kings.  Click Rogers City King Salmon

12/14/20  Plans for the 2021 season are full underway.  Construction projects expanding storage in my tackle shop should be done by the end of this week.
                Keeping a positive outlook and looking forward to better days ahead in the new year is front and center.  This is helped along by planning trips in 2021 for the early season.  Missed out on the early S Lk. MI action this year due to stay at home orders right when our season was beginning.  There's light at the end of the tunnel with China virus vaccines that should have our country moving back to normal.

12/13/20  Day off to work on projects in my shop.  Running out of room and need to be creative to find more storage for tackle.  This looks like a 2 day job to hang peg board around the pain booth.  Need to do this while there's time available.
                See being a solo work act until more vaccinations make our world safe again.  Manistee, MI had 30-40 cases of covid around Labor day.  Now it's pushing 500.  In a county of 20,000 plus, that's a lot.  Plus, those spreading it with no symptoms.

12/12/20  Great Lakes big water trolling boats are highly complex machines.  Listing all the electric motors in today's chat about my vintage 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Odds are having them all work 100% of the time? ...is a not.

Bilge pumps
Hydraulic Mercruiser trim pump
CD player
Heater fan
Defroster fan
TR1 Garmin auto pilot
Bilge exhaust fan
Starter motors (Merc. & Suzuki)
Radar array
Trim tab pump


That's 18 twelve volt DC electric motors and counting.  Gremlins are bound to pop up.  Factor in, 2 sonar/GPS units, a marine radio and a Fish Hawk down rigger read out and there's all kinds of issues waiting to happen.

12/11/20  It's approx 100 an some days to April 1, 2021.  This is my target date for early season Manistee, MI shoreline trolling.  Possibly, earlier if I chose to head to the S end of Lk. MI for March Coho.  It's reel-nice to see a window to hit Lk MI again.
                 Buttoning up my boat for the 100 day nap, noticed water levels in my batteries were low.  Today, will be adding distilled water to the correct level.  Trickle chargers keep my batteries in tip top shape for several seasons.  Prior to low amp trickle chargers only got a couple of seasons.  Batteries are expensive.  Take care of them.

12/10/20  Goal of mine for 2021 is to have a daylight green glow much like our SUV daylight blue glow.  Getting closer to making this happen.  We all know what charged up green glow can do to lowlight Kings.  Having this weapon in the full-sun/daylight hours is a no brainer.  Sun today will allow for more tests for daylight green glow SUV.
               Glow lures for Salmon gained some favor in the 1970s & ruled from 1980s onward.  Glow baits provide a better much target when it's dark.  According to the deep water Salmon videos I've shot, most attacks at our lures are swings and misses.

12/9/20  Good news for our Canadian customers.  I can now pay the duty charged on tackle and speed up the process thru customs.  Used this service twice now that eliminates the extra grief associated with custom fees.
               That's the good news.  Bad news is there was a good 2 week delivery window.  Hold up is still customs when packages sat for a long time before final destination.
               Hopefully, this is just a seasonal hiccup with Christmas time shipping.

12/8/20  Posted the MDNR 2017 King Salmon stocking numbers for the entire state.  You can plainly see how short this list is compared to 2016.  Click 2017 plant list
              This proves entire MDNR staff has a future in comedy, because these stocking plans have became a joke.  The DNR is no longer serving the Great Lakes fleet in faith!
              It's beyond laughable, they'd even make these disgusting numbers public!
              Compounding the stocking levels is the Chinook/King Salmon that have an almost nil survival rate compared to 10-12 years ago.  Click 2016 plant list

12/7/20  Published the 2016 Chinook/King Salmon MDNR stocking records.  This one is a rosy picture compared to the 2017 King plant records I'll post tomorrow.
               Numbers in today's featured pic of the day should be last summer crop of adult Kings at 4 years old.  Hopefully, we'll have some 5 year olds for the 2021 season.
               Hardest hit is the net pen projects for most ports.  Looks like the DNR is driving this program into extinction.  2017 is most disappointing for southern Lk. MI with only token plants at a few ports as the overall population of Lk. MI Kings continues to dwindle.
               None of this is good news.  MDNR fisheries chief, Dexter needs to be terminated ASAP.  His leadership is God awful pitiful.  It's time for him to go.

12/4/20  Internet free weekend after I ship today's web orders.  We all need time to recharge our batteries.   Being offline makes time for projects.  Click MI plant page
              Will be doing research on the MDNR's fishing stocking page.  This is a treasure trove of data for all of MI and all species.  Need to total the Chinook plant for each year, over the past 6 to 8 seasons.  Know the numbers have little to do with the Kings we see.

12/3/20  Buttoning up the oil changes and lower end gear lube job today.  Having this done now takes the load off next spring when we're busy with orders.  1979 22' Sea Ray 350 GM V8 and 15 hp. Suzuki 4 stroke trolling motors are all set for 2021.
              My early Lk. MI season this year was a not, with lockdowns and stay at home orders.  Not so this year I hope.  Being a fisherman comes with a large dose of optimism.

12/2/20  Planned suggestion to the MDNR has a lot of moving parts.  Biggest hurdle is the Platte River.  Caught my 1st King Salmon in 1971 Loon Lk. with the Platte flowing thru it.  Chinook/King Salmon have had 50 some years and failed to colonize this river. 
              Like King Salmon have in the Pere Marquette, Betsie, Bear Creek, Little Manistee River and Pine Creek.  Along with several other rivers and streams.
              For reasons unbeknownst, the Platte River water is not what Kings prefer.  Now, our Lk. MI Kings are raised at the Platte River Hatchery in recycled water.  Perplexing thing is Coho are in this water for 18 months and do just fine.  Not so much for Kings.
              Need to gather more data to complete the point I'm trying to make.

12/1/20  Today's featured photo shows good clean 90 weight gear lube draining with no water intrusion.  If it was milky? ..."Houston we got a problem." Click for this image
               This is a good news pic I was glad to see.  Now, all that remains is to pump the new lube into the Mercruiser lower unit.  Know I go a late start on boat prep for the winter.  Kept hoping I'd get one more trip in the never materialized.
               Important: anyone with a large screwdriver can change their lower end, or gear case lube.  You must make sure to have new washer-gaskets on hand.  These washers are considered a single use item and must be replaced to prevent H2O leakage.
              Tomorrow? ...a suggestion to the MDNR to help our King Salmon plants

11/30/20  No muss, no fuss oil filter changes are a lot cleaner when you use a gallon Zip Lock bag.  Any spillage is contained inside the bag.  Making for a clean and neat job.
                 Zip lock bag works on just about anything when you can access the filter.  used this method when I changed the filter in my Generac home generator.  Nary a drop was spilled.  Be sure to zip up the bag ASAP when the filter is loose laying in it.
                 Changed the oil a lot when I had a charter boat with twin GM 350 V8s.  I'd rather change oil then lose big bucks rebuilding motors.  Click oil change Zip Lock

11/29/20  Oil changes and lower end gear lube job continues.  About ready to wrap up the 15 hp Suzuki kicker today.  Changing the oil filter on this motor is pain.
                Tomorrow, I'll show you a "neat" way to change oil filters on anything without making a mess from spilled/leaking oil from the filter.

11/28/20  VMC hooks came thru with our hooks for 2021.  Waited a lot longer then usual for this order.  World supply chain has been slowed by you know what.
                 We stock several colors, sizes and hook styles that cover a wide range of applications.  To the best of my knowledge, we're the only spoon manufacturer offering choices on hook colors and styles.  This is a great way to personalize your spoons.
                 Did strength tests on trebles from all the other major manufacturers.  In every pull test sideways against the shank? ...VMC won every time.  Click VMC re-supply

11/27/20  There will be a 2021 season.  Boat maintenance with oil changes and lower unit drives needs the gear lube changed.  Changing the oil on my 15 hp kicker is an involved process with the motor shrouds being removed.  Replacing this oil filter is not a easy chore with a bunch of stuff in the way.  Click hiding Suzuki oil filter
                Good news is the lower end gear grease in my Mercruiser outdrive and Suzuki drained clean with no water intrusion.  Changing the gear lube is a lot cheaper than buying parts.  Not to mention the downtime in-season with days you can never get back.

11/26/20  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

11/25/20  Thanksgiving tomorrow with turkey and all the trimmings.  My household is thankful we don't have to be a food line like I saw last Friday.  Seeing 100s of cars inline in waiting for food tore me up.  It's one thing to see food lines on TV, it's another to see this happening in your hometown.  Did send a donation to:  Manistee Friendship Society, P.O. Box 119, Manistee, MI 49660 with a notation for the food drive only.
                Please support your local food pantry, or food drive at this time of need so we don't have people going hungry in our great country.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

11/24/20  Trademarks are part of any business making items.  This to protect your product from being pirated by scum.  That's why you see: ™ following the names of our most important tackle.  Trademarks, if accepted last 5 years. 
                 Renewal after 5 years gives you 10 years to have the sole right to your trademark.  Cost for a trademark is around 500 bucks for the paper work to US patent and Trademark Office government filing fee.  Salmon Buster™ spoons (our second most popular products behind heads) are 5 years old now and just needed the 10 year extension.
                Found out there were over 400 families that were served with free groceries by the Manistee Friendship Society last Friday.  More on this soon...

11/23/20  Sometimes you're better off not seeing what's going on.  Last Friday drove to Manistee, MI for groceries.  On the US31 corner, across the road from where K Mart used to be, at Gilroy's Hardware there were hundreds of cars inline waiting for free groceries.
                In your hometown, when you actually see how bad things are, it's a terrible gut wrenching feeling.  My wife and I decided to donate our Christmas budget to those in need.   These folks need help. People are in need in everyone's hometown.  Please donate to your local food pantry during the covid crisis.

11/20/20  3 good topics in mind.  First one is good a start on spring chores.  So, when spring does come you'll be ready for the 2021 season.  Worked on oil changes yesterday.  Generac home generator and Husky lawn mower are all set.  Been doing inside projects like fixing plumbing and upgrading to LED lights.  This is how I abide "stay at home" guidelines.
                2. Going to save and expand on being able to pay duty for my USPS customers in Canada.  This will speed up shipping with packages not getting bogged down in customs.
                3. Trademarks I have and keep them going.
                Have a great weekend as we go on a internet/computer free weekend again.  Online hours add up quickly and slow work that needs to be done on Project 2021.

11/19/20  Today's chat is about underwater drones ROV.  Have on my wish list a model the dives to 360' and shoots high rez video with two 1200 lumen lights.  This is a fantastic tool that can be deployed to drive thru schools of bait. Click ROV
                Looking at clumps of marks on the bottom to determine whitefish, or lakers is another task.  Just seeing what the bottom looks like is eye opening.
                Let's hope the MDNR embraces this technology so they can do a better job.

11/18/20  Normally, at this time of year we'd be running tackle specials.  This will be delayed until we debut Project 2021 next year.  Reason? ...stock shortages. 
                VMC hooks been on order since September.  Plano Deep Storage Cases for our Leader Lockers™ were ordered around the same time that have not arrived.  Hard to sell fishing tackle with no hooks is the biggest holdup.  Hope these items are here soon.
               The world is sick.  Supply chains are under stress from the China pandemic.  Hate to harp on this, but it effects every corner of our lives.  If you're just buying groceries and gas no problem.  After the essentials is where the big problem is.
               We've had a refrigerator on order since late August and who knows when it will be delivered?  Been using small 2 dorm micro fridges to get by and that's a pain!

11/17/20  First measureable snowfall of the 2020/2021 winter season at my place in Manistee County, MI.  Sure there's a lot more on the way before next April.
                Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say.  Looking forward to the 2021 season and with the China virus behind us.  My season was cut short from the covid.
                Even though I didn't fish much this year, enjoyed every outing to the max.  Just being away from my tackle shop was enough.  The fish were the fun bonus.

11/16/20  My strong suit on updates is talking about fishing.  Not the pandemic that makes me feel like I'm a fugitive on the lamb hiding out from the cops.  Wearing a mask while necessary today, is what armed criminals do looking to empty the cash register.
                Hospitals in N MI are running out of bed space.  Health care workers are in short supply.  We all have a big mountain to climb to make it to the 2021 season.
                Unless you have a terminal case of stupid, you'll listen to what the
medical professionals. are telling us about avoiding crowds and wearing a masks.
               Today's chat was brought front and center with another lockdown for MI from the governor and health department as Covid 19 is running rampant.

11/13/20  Looking forward to another internet free weekend.  Being offline saves a lot of time to devote to "hands on" special projects. 
                Deeply involved with the hush-hush Project 2021 that's ate up days of my time.  Learning the nano scale and how it effects the duration of glow is fascinating.
                Modern day glow colorants opens a lot of possibilities.  Doubly important when King Salmon are no longer thicker than bugs on a bumper.  Hard to come by is an understatement from what I've seen over the past few seasons.
                In-house X-Glow colorants are red, blue, green, yellow, yellow-green that will debut in 2021.  If I break this stuff too early? ...just opens me up to copycats sooner!
                This happened with my spoons when Little We-We Brand reverse engineered our Salmon Buster™ spoons, because the next original idea they have, will be their first!

11/12/20  Today ...I hope I'm preaching to the choir.  We're on pace for a million covid cases a week.  Keeping in mind, that number points to those who had tests to confirm.  There's another number much larger that has this China virus not being tested.
                Chances are you can survive in most cases.  Question is: are you one of those that do not, or possibly debilitated from the long term carry over/recovery?

11/11/20  Veterans Day is special day set aside to honor all vets.  While Memorial Day honors the fallen heroes of our country.  Click for history of Veterans Day
                Both sides of my family proudly served in WWII.  I thank them and everyone who has served in our military for their service to our country.

11/10/20  Record setting November warmth ends today.  It's great to be able to work outside in a tee shirt at this time of the year.  Nice weather has allowed completion of a lot of outdoor projects.  Be begin winterizing my boats today.
                When time allows will check the MDNR fish stocking levels for several species.  This data is available to the public.  Numbers of fish planted is not how many survive to reach adulthood.  Can only speculate about DNR transparency.  Do know they downsized the holding pens at the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir a few years ago.

11/9/20  From the amount of bait my sonar marked off Manistee and Frankfort, MI proves a failed prognosis of an Alewife (baitfish) crash.  Major cuts in the MDNR King Salmon plant relying on natural reproduction to sustain a fishery is a blatant tragic fail.
              Bright side is we've hit rock bottom and better days are ahead.  Believe we've stopped the bleeding on the loss of boats no longer fishing too. 
              Seen plenty of boats fishing even with the catch rates are down.  When you do hook-up with an adult King it's well over 20 pounds.  So, the quality is there.
              Think we, as in me, are all exhausted from the presidential campaigns.  There's no upside for any company involving politics in their messaging.  Will congratulate Joe Biden for being the apparent winner just as I did when Trump won in 2016.
              Election showed the cities and urban areas voting one way, while rural America votes another.  My definition of rural is when you need a satellite for internet.  Rural America is the caboose on the train of our country.  Last inline for everything.

11/7/20  Offline weekend again.  Leaving the computers off is more time for production, as preparations continue for 2021.  Weather has been splendid with temps around 70°.
              This Monday's chat will focus on staying fish-positive in a negative world.

11/6/20  Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950. It created the Sport Fish Restoration Fund, which put a 10% tax on manufacturers and importers of fishing tackle.  This a hidden tax you don't see when you purchase fishing tackle.  Click for more info
             This money is ear marked for related fishing projects such as training, boat ramps and hatcheries.  So, this is a good tax paid by manufacturers to help our sport.
             I file an IRS 720 form 4 times a year (every quarter) to keep my FET (Federal Excise Tax) on the up and up.  To avoid paying double taxes when purchasing components from major companies (VMC, Sampo and Plano) have to file with the IRS a 637 form.   That's I'm working on today.

11/5/20  Seem like I was born to be fishing tackle manufacturer.  This is a dream job I was put on this planet for.  It's always exciting and full of challenges.
                Ordering parts and pieces is what the offseason is for.  Have a pallet on order, shipped by truck for the Plano deep stowaway boxes used to make Leader Lockers™.
                Have hooks on order from VMC.  Tin Red treble hooks are always in short supply and have to wait until the end of this month for delivery.
                There's always something to do.  Great thing is I can work at my own pace and sort out what's the most pressing.  637 form tomorrow?

11/4/20  On double duty trying to move forward with production for 2020.  That means taking care of the household duties, as my wife fights thru a painful case of Shingles.
               Looking at tying up a few loose production testing ends today and taking a break.  Weather is great and looking at squeezing in some fishing time on Manistee Lake later this week if my home situation improves.  Hopefully, this will happen.

11/3/20  Updated my web store to free masks to all that purchase tackle.  1 mask for under 50 bucks, and 2 for over 50.  3 if your order breaks a 100.
              Drove into Manistee, MI this morning.  Counted presidential election yard signs.  Looked about 50/50 to me.  There were lines at a Manistee polling place.
              Reason for the trip was to get the 1st of 2 shingles vaccine at Walgreens.  Cost is about $366 less my health plan was $168 out of pocket that I will get reimbursed for.  Shot in my left arm, so far is not painful and feel good enough to work in the shop today.
              If you haven't been vaccinated for shingles you don't want to go thru what my wife's living with for the past week.  Shingles is a misnomer.  Eruptions on the skin looks like you were burned with a hot fireplace poker.  Go and vote if you haven't already.

11/2/20  There's 4 parts to a new tackle project I narrowed down to: conception, design, production and marketing.  First one begins with an idea riddled with unproven possibilities closely tied to design.  These are the 2 easiest parts of my tackle projects.
              Production is where the reel-work begins.  There's going to be issues that takes a lot of time to solve.  This is where you must get it right with big money on the line.
              Marketing is where you prove beyond any shadow of doubt your tackle performs to the highest standards with absolutely NO/ZERO learning curve.
              Marketing proof is aided by You Tube videos and un-retouched photos for making your case to the public.  Internet has made this a lot easier then it used to be.  Then, it's up to fleet acceptance and reel-history that writes the story.

10/31/20  Internet weekend free for me.  I get a lot more done when I'm not on the computer.  At 1am early tomorrow morning Daylight Saving Time falls back 1 hour to EST (Eastern Standard Time) for MI.  Soon it will be dark around 5pm with the clock yoyo.
                 Time is flying by for yours truly.  All my efforts have been devoted to Project 21 that will debut once we conquer formulas for mixing extended glow paint pigments.
                 Poll didn't work out so good, for the the way the MDNR is handling the King Salmon stocking program.  53% giving the a failing grade.  23% was for a "D".  Only 24% gave them a passing grade.  Thanks for voting and voicing your opinion.

10/30/20  Last Tuesday afternoon Wayne J took a nice 8 point deer with his cross bow.  Interesting thing about his hunt, his trail cam captured the deer before he turned broadside for a good shot.  When the bolt drilled the deer, the buck took off and slammed into a tree on the way down.  Breaking off half his rack.  Click WJ's 8 point
                For Manistee, MI this is a good sized deer weighing about 130 pounds.

10/29/20  My tackle company is on better footing for the 2021 season compared to this year.  Know I have to put my big boy pants on and be the total production workforce until a widely distributed Covid 19 vaccine is available on 1st, or 2nd quarter of next year. 
                This year we were gob smacked when the China virus changed the way we live and do business.  Sales took a nose dive during the early season months of March, April and May when the pandemic first hit and lockdowns were in-place.
               Good news is 1 in 5 small businesses have failed and we're still solvent with zero debt load.  We're on pace to gross at least 2/3rds of what we grossed in 2019 that I'm very grateful for. Looking forward to better days ahead in a huge way.
               Sure my days on the water fishing were curtailed that I'm not going to whine about.  There's over 2.25 million dead that will never have the opportunity to fish again!
               Tomorrow? ...a good deer hunting story with before and after pics.

10/28/20  Multi tasking with all house and shop duties.  Wife came down with a bad case of the shingles virus that has her laid low with a spreading-burning nasty rash.  This is viral infection caused by varicella-zoster that effects 1 in 3 of us ...generally over 60.
                Seeing how painful this disease is firsthand, made an appointment at Walgreens in Manistee to get the Shingrix vaccine next week.
                Recovery is 2 to 6 weeks and cannot afford the downtime.  Don't want to come down with same thing.  While this shingles virus is not contagious, you can get chicken pox from an infected person.  In case you've never had chicken pox as a kid? 

10/27/20  Going internet free on the weekends is a big boost in production.  Been able to build a good inventory of 12" Mamba Flashers.  Restocked several Mamba spoon selections too.  Mambas are labor intensive and a mainstay in our lineup.
                 Installed a poll where you can grade the MDNR stocking policy for King Salmon.  Know they've stocked a lot of Chinooks/Kings in the Little Manistee River that's had little effect to improve the fishing at Central Lk. MI ports. 

10/26/20  Mysteries are many with our Great Lakes Salmon fishery.  Mystery 1: where did the down temp 38° to 44° vanish to?  Used to be able to build a nice box of Kings by fishing well below the thermocline.  Haven't seen any of these in 3-4 years.
                Mystery 2:  The MDNR decided to put all their eggs in one basket and focus on the Kings.  Instead of having a balanced fishery where other species were just as important.  Now there's no Brown Trout.  Steelhead are hard to come by.  There is some Coho around, but even that's crap shoot hit and miss.
               Will be installing a new poll soon where you can grade the MDNR Fisheries Division on their job performance pertaining to the stocking/survival of our MI King Salmon.

10/24 & 25/20  Offline weekend for yours truly.  Down time is the pause that refreshes.  Breaks from the daily routine is fertile ground for new ideas to grow.
                 Monday's topic is a mystery that dates back about 5 years ago?

10/23/20  "My best method for adult Salmon?" poll has came to an end for this year.  Meat after holding the top spot thru 2017 fell to 3rd place behind Dodger/Fly choice that I'm highly skeptical of.  Central Lk. MI ports you just don't see old school dodgers hanging on many rods.  Guess there's someplace where this method is still popular.
                Spoons have
taken the top spot since 2017.  Spoons and J-Plugs are easy to fish, because they're not speed sensitive. Click Poll Page results since 2003

10/19/20  Spoons are leading in the "My best method for adult Salmon?" poll by a 2 to 1 margin over meat.  This is the largest fall for meat to date.
                 Know bait was hard to come by last season.  Then, there's been a lack of quality compared to what was available 10 years ago.
                 MDNR has to be aware of the lack of planted adipose fin clipped Kings being reported.  There has to be a reason of the poor survival rates on MI stocked Kings.

10/18/20  Poll about your best/most productive method to catch Adult Salmon continues.  After voting there is a place to add comments.  Mine pertains to no clipped Salmon that were MIA where I fished (Manistee & Frankfort).
                Feel free  to join the conversation and add your opinion/experiences from the 2019 season.  After a fair sample size, this poll with be added to the: Click Poll Page
                Currently spoons are leading with meat a close second.  It will be interesting to see the outcome, or final tally of this year's data on your "go to" best method.

10/17/20  Installed the poll for the long running, "your best method for adult Salmon."  This year I combined whole and strips/cut bait into one selection called "meat."  This is the 17th year for this poll.  Please vote using the drop down menu.

10/16/20  Window for my last Lk. MI trip of the season gets smaller and smaller.  Wind to be expected has been fierce.  Air temp is no big deal with my heated and fully enclosed cabin in my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Waves definitely are when your fishing the surface.
                 Last trip of the year gives a good indication on the amount of baitfish.  Bait off central Lk. MI ports was scarce in the beginning of the season.  July on, there were plenty of bait mounds that should have held fish, but didn't.  Have a great weekend!

10/15/20  My efforts have turned back to making tackle for the 2021 season.  Painting spoons and flashers is front row and center before it gets to cold to paint from heat loss in the shop.  Know this doesn't sound glamorous, but it's part of the job.
                12" Black and Blue Mambas will be featuring a new highly active holographic sparkle tape that will be plus.  Ice chip tape was good, expect this to be better.
                Being mostly shop bound for this season proved a fertile ground for new ideas for 2021 glow (P21) tackle that's light years ahead of where I started in 2003!
       Annual poll page on your best way to catch Salmon will happen next Monday. 

10/14/20  Mentioned yesterday about the numbers of spawning Kings in Pine Creek is on the upswing.  During the 15 years of my photo study, never seen this many.  In a 100' of stream there were a a good 20 fish (conservative estimate). 
                In a 1000' of stream that's a good 100 Salmon equating to 500 plus a mile and this stream is several miles long.  It's entirely possible more Kings run on Pine Creek than the return on the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir.  Which has been dismal lately.
                If you've never watched Salmon spawn? ...it's a pretty violent process with the females moving a lot a gravel making large depressions in the stream bed.

10/13/20  Updated Manistee, MI's Pine Creek time stamped photo study page.  It's impressive to have 15 years of pics all of the same place of spawning Chinook/King Salmon.
                Pine Creek Kings are a mystery strain of Salmon.  Estimated length is below 36".  Guesstimate on weight is 16 to 12 pounds.  Click for Pine Creek photo record
               Not like the over 20 pound jumbos we see on Lk. MI.  Another thing is this year the numbers are up in this stream which is even more perplexing.  It's like these fish magically appear without being beat-up by the fleet. Click 10/9/20 Pine Creek King

10/12/20  Running behind today.  Did manage to make my annual trip to Pine Creek to get a visual on how many Kings were spawning on the same gravel bar I've been photographing since 2007 last Friday.  Click 2020 Pine Creek spawning Kings
                This is a difficult place photo and must be timed when the sun is in the perfect position.  There's over growth on both banks.  Shading this area more & more every year.

10/10/20  Offline internet free weekend for yours truly.  Will be processing orders this morning and when that's done, Mr. Computer will get a nap until Monday morning.  Monday's chat will focus on the spawning Kings in Pine Creek a few miles from my house.

10/9/20  Been working with photochromatic colorants similar to our SUV (super uv tackle) day light blue glow with some success.  Goal is to have SUV daylight glow green that uses only natural light from the sun.  Not there quite yet, but getting close.
               Next few days are going to be decent with temps in the 60s to 70 degree range.  Go out and enjoy it while you can.  Winter will be here soon enough.

10/8/20  When hunting season winds down we will be offering tackle specials around Thanksgiving.  This year's bonus will be free face masks.  Number of masks will depend on money spent.  Even minimum $30 purchases will get a free mask.
              Our masks come with ten 2.3 parts per million safety filters.  The same requirement as medical grade N95 masks.  This is the gold standard in face coverings.

10/7/20  Received my absentee ballot for the upcoming election last Friday.  Filled it out and sent the ballot back in last Monday.  To get this ballot had to send request to the Stronach Twsp. clerk.  This was not an auto mailer.  With Covid 19 cases on the build in Manistee, MI it's far safer to vote absentee, then going to the polling place in person. 
             I'm absolutely 100% sure our local election officials will run a fair and clean above board election with my vote being counted.

10/6/20  Mid day trip to Pine Creek if the sun is out.  Gravel bar in the photo study can be shady if it's cloudy and I won't be able to photograph spawner Kings.
              Puzzling thing is almost all the Kings are sub 36 inches and smaller.  Where Pine Creek enters the Big Manistee River have caught jumbo October Kings past 44 inches.

10/5/20  Being offline for 2 days was a welcomed break from the internet.  Now that the big lake season is pretty much over, limiting my screen time is a priority.
               Last 3 days at my place daytime high temps stayed in the 40° range and the 30s at night.  In 2019 it was hard winter in Manistee, MI around the 3rd week of November.  A sense of urgency preparing for winter is at the top of the list.
               Sometime in the not to distant future need to make my annual fall pilgrimage to Pine Creek to continue a photo study of spawning King Salmon that dates back to 2007.  Fish in the regulated trout stream are all natural spawners.  Click Pine Creek study

10/3/20  Temps in the 30s and chance of showers pulled the plug on today's planned Lk. MI adventure.  Time is going to spend winterizing my camper, stacking wood and digging up potatoes in the garden.  Virus caused a potato shortage so we grew our own.
               In Michigan I'm either getting ready for summer, or winter.  Both are big jobs. Requiring days to accomplish.  Fall means leaves and a a DR lawn vac to handle.
                       Taking tomorrow off for a digital free weekend.

10/2/20  President Trump and the 1st Lady testing positive for Covid-19 shows no one is safe from this deadly virus.  Manistee, MI's positive tests have almost tripled in the past 2 months with fatalities.  Manistee is mostly rural where many people live on acres not in high population density areas.  This is what makes this concerning.
              My best wishes that our president and his wife does not come down with a full blown cases and gets well soon.  Wear a mask and stay away from people not wearing a mask is the only protection we have.  Listen to the experts, this is not a hoax!

10/1/20  Going to try to fish Lk. MI this coming Saturday ...if the rain holds off?  No need for a zero dark 30 dock leave.  Steelhead are generally pretty much active all day.
              Late season fishing acts like a gauge for me to see how much bait is around.  It will be interesting to see how much I can find in the 50' to 200' depths.
              Goat rope 30 pound test Salmon reels have been toned down to 15 pound test.  Lighter string does help with the surface bite.  Triple Fish mono I use is very durable.

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