July, August & September 2023

Summer Kings
Rip Teezer fish

Alewife Size
Stomach Contents

LED Spoon
Single HOOk

Rotten Bunk
Trailer Job


9/29/23  Great stretch of summer like weather thru the middle of next week makes this a perfect time to get a head start on fall projects.  Mine is stacking 12 face cords to prep for winter.  Once that's done, need to make Strip Teezers™ in frog and green glow.

9/28/23  DIY projects are usually one-off issues.  Doing it a second time is a piece of cake, because you have it figured out.  Trailer bunk job was self-explanatory. Just a lot of grunt work swing 16' 2 by 6s.  Click broken bunk board
              Fixing my Generac home generator was a 1/2 hour job.  Plus, a half day on the web researching to diagnose the problem that confirmed a faulty time delay fuse failed.  That took some doing, but it's back up and running like a champ now.
             Hiring jobs out at times can save a lot of grief depending on where you live.  Living in rural MI there's no Generac service techs for my area.

9/27/23  It's nice to see Steelhead mixed in with Kirk's catch.  Along with future Kings this fall's Lk. MI fishery should go gangbusters. While the out-door's public is shifting to hunting, late season big water fishing can offer the best opportunities for EZ limits.
              Tomorrow's focus will turn back towards DIY projects with a photo of the cracked stringers on a main support truss.  Glad I fixed this problem before it broke and pierced a hole in the hull.  Fixing stuff for me is a never-ending journey.          

9/26/23  Fishing off Ludington, MI has been respectable as today's photo from Capt. Kirk proves.  4 Salmon & a double digit Steelhead is a nice reward for an am 1/2 day fish.
              The juvenile Kings in this photo is our future fishery that's looking better and better all the time.  2023 has been all good from the git-go.  Click Kirk's photo g

9/25/23  Good news is Lk. MI off the port of Manistee, MI is still producing decent catches of Salmon from what I saw last Friday at the cleaning station.
              Bad news is replacing the trailer bunks was a miserable job that fought me every step of the way.  Right bunk was completely shot.  Only thing holding it together was the carpet.  Rotten & cracked at to 2 main supports it was a good thing to not use the boat.
             Used the manufacturer's bunk as a template to discover their engineering was 2 inches off on attachment brackets.  Click rotten trailer bunk.

9/22/23  Last day of summer.  Progress on replacing the trailer bunks is going agonizingly slow.  Could not use the cutting torch that would have created a fire hazard.  Boat trailer sits close to 10 boxes of finished meat heads and other stock.  So, I had to hacksaw and use a wood chisel to transfer hardware.  Stainless steel hardware should be used always in a marine environment that Trailmaster did not do.   Have photos that will be posted soon.

9/21/23  Empty boat trailer is in the pole barn.  Work begins today replacing 14' carpeted 6" bunk stringers.  Roller trailers for heavy boats leaves dents in a fiberglass hull over time.
              To me? ...this is a tough job due the length and rusted lag bolts that look stuck.  Soaking with Master Blaster spray.  Hopefully, this stuff will come thru again.  If not?  Cutting torch will liquid wrench the nuts off the lag bolts.

9/20/23  Later today, my boat will be in the water at former Solberg's Mania, now Pier 31.  Dock is paid for and top off the tank and I'm good to go.  Finally, will be replacing the bad trailer bunk that's kept me for launching this year.

9/19/23  Today's spot-light photo might be even better then yesterday's when it comes to single hooks.  If you look closely? ...you'll see the point of the hook point protruding out a jumbo King's lower jaw.  Said yesterday, "almost impossible to lose a fish."
              As learning tools, images can make a point (pun) better than a jumble of words that might miss the point (pun again).  Click big King welded single 4/0 hook
             Constructing west coast single hooks with a barrel swivel is not going to set any records for shop production.  This style will set records for you in hooked fish in the net!

9/18/23  There's a lot going in today's featured photo from, Chuck B.  Seeing the sunrise on Lk. MI is always a bonus.  Better yet? ...a big King Salmon coming the boat, or in Chuck's case his kayak in flat calm water. Click for this action awesome photo
              More interesting parts in this action photo show our LED Green Glow 4.65 Salmon Buster™ decorating this King's jawbone.  This fish was hooked with our optional 4/0 singe west coast hook setup.  If you miss a fish on a single hook?  It's on the strike.  Once that big hook digs in, it's welded making it almost impossible to lose a fish!

9/17/23  There's still a few Kings entering the Ludington, MI harbor as today's photo proves.  This big male is  in well into the 20 pound class.  Later season adults have had more time to grow.  While spotty, hit doubles on adult King just off Manistee's pier heads well into October.  This will happen until the snow flies.  Click for the King
               A big thank you goes out to my former UPS driver and all around good guy, Ludington's Capt Kirk who skippers an aptly named boat, the Enterprise.  We're getting into the wheelhouse of his specialist early/late season.  Hope he beams us more pics soon.

9/15/23  The massive Coho plant that runs the Platte River in Benzie County, MI has a major drawback.  It's accessing Lk. MI to get to the fish you have to battle over a dangerous gravel bar.  This is for small boats only that flock to this area.
              Back years ago the state, then the feds kept a channel open with a drag line bucket making it a lot safer.  Problem is the National Shoreline run by the feds that stopped doing it.  Risking lives they have no regard for.  Click Kayak Coho
              Today's featured photo is from kayak fisherman and longtime friend of the website Chuck B. from he sheltered waters in East Platte Bay.  The fish he caught came on a LED Green Glow Salmon Buster™.  E Platte Bay only get rough from a NW wind.
              The dredge controversy goes back 50 years and it's still the same problem with no action from the feds who refuse to fix it.  I fished this area religiously in the late 1960s and early 1970s and know 1st hand what a challenge this is. Click dredge controversy

9/14/23  8 face cords of wood were delivered early today.  40° this morning says winter, wood burning season is about 2 months away.  So, no subject got covered today.

9/13/23  "Cruses, foiled again" is a phrase used by Snidely Whiplash when defeated by his eternal good guy enemy, Dudley Doright.  That's the way I feel after a heads-up about today's planned trip to Frankfort, MI to get a dock.  Click for Snidely
               This weekend is Frankfort's Ironman contest is when they shut down main street and boat launch to accommodate athletes that swim the bay, bike and run up M22. 
              So, my plans are on hold until next week.  Imagine there's going to be enough people to in-town to make a Spartacus movie during this event.
              Thanks to the website viewer who called and tipped me off.  Helping me avoid this mess.  Sorry, I didn't get his name.  So, extra big thank you will have to suffice.

9/12/23  Boat trailer tires are aired up and ready for travel tomorrow.  Plan is to get a dock at Frankfort, MI thru this coming Sunday.  Thursday is set aside to replace the main 16' trailer bunks and carpet.  This is what absolutely must be done.  One of the bunks has dry-rot that could make the trailer unusable with a hole in my 1987 22' Sea Ray.
               This is a long ways for primetime and only scraps are left.  Chose Frankfort, because of their Coho run.  Which are always later then Kings.  If Lk. MI cooperates have a hunch lower Herring Lake Creek should have some Coho in-close.  Time frame allows for some 3am thru early daylight for LED spoons in the harbor.  Night patrol here I come!

9/11/23  A positive eDNA sample for Silver Carp turned up in the St. Joe River.  Good news is only 1 sample showed evidence of this invasive specie.  Conjecture is it came from a boat used where Silver Carp live.  I said, conjecture, because boats are only one vector.
             Water birds in my opinion can transport all species of fish.  12k years ago the Great Lakes were giant popsicles from the ice age. Click eDNA silver carp story 
             Now all bodies of water have populations have many different kinds of fish that can't walk from pond to pond.  So, birds had to play a part in moving fish as fry, eggs, or smaller fish that could have survived short hop air lifts.
                We all know what 9/11 is about and remember this tragedy.

9/10/23  With this being a down year for Salmon tackle sales, it's understandable after the past tough years when Kings were not plentiful.  Those were the bottom of the valley years, as Kings are headed backup the hill.  This is the 3rd up and down on Kings I've witnessed since 1988.  So, going it alone was no big deal.  In fact it helped my bottom line with no labor wages to pay.  It's a bigger sense of accomplishment for me too.

9/8/23  This was my 1st year out of the 20 I've been in business went it without any help.  Trained 2 people this spring and sent them home with supplies to build.  1 never did anything but return supplies.  Number 2 did 4 hours of production, quit and brought supplies back.  So, I was the Lone Ranger and did it all rather than waste time looking for people to help.  Got better handle on my tasks for the winter building stock.  Most labor intensive is Meat Rigs™.  Rest is a piece of cake compared to building rigs.

9/7/23  Day to take care of personal business.  Boat trailer maintenance by checking for proper air pressure and a few pumps of the grease gun in the hubs.  Boat trailers problems on the side of the road are a nightmare.  While I'm only 5 months late, my 2023 season will happen soon.  Reason for delay tomorrow....

9/6/23  Have the 16' 2" x 6" planks to replace the bunks in-house.  Used 16' tin boat to transport.  Need to get a dock while repairs happen.  Frankfort, MI is the best choice.  Harbor is large inside the pier heads.  Betsie River gets a good run of adult Kings that I can target at night with my LED spoons.  Know they'll work, if I can get the right program and timing to prove it.  There should be some Salmon out in the deeper water too.

9/5/23  Late summer heat wave ends tomorrow.  Probably the last time we'll see 90s until 2024.  Did notice a lot of wind in the afternoon that's not good for the fleet.
            Jigging for Salmon has experienced a re-birth from the late 1960s.  Now harbors have many using this method.  Noticed last time I was in  Frankfort last year, tin boats clogged passage to Lk. MI.  This was in Betsie Lk.  My issue is some were poorly lit in the dark.  Came close to one, with no stern light.  Avoided collision when I saw the boat's graph.  Was traveling extra slow as a precaution once I seen the congestion.
            Have not seen any anchored jiggers in Manistee's harbor.  Which is the smallest inside the pier heads when compared to Ludington and Frankfort.

9/2/23  40 years ago this weekend my startup 1st year charter business was in Frankfort, MI.  Picked up 3 walk on charters.  Making 6 1/2 day trips in 3 days.  I was in tall cotton, counting my money before the chickens hatched.  $160 is what I charged for a 1/2 day trip back then.  That's $486 in today's money, that's behind the going rate in 2023.
            This time frame predates the internet, weather-wave forecasts is what came in over the marine VHS radio.  Wind blew hard all weekend, until Monday afternoon and was able to get only one of the trips in.  This taught me an important lesson about the fishing business I still live by today.  The more you need money, the less likely you'll see it.

9/1/23  Have a safe enjoyable Labor Day Weekend.  Predicted highs in the 90s means S wind and usually a lot of it at this time of year.  Did see gusts forecast to past 35 mph.
            N wind has moved Lk. MI temps to the clod side.  Surface temp is 0nly 46°.  Temp falls off to 41° at 26' down.  These temps are a super highway for adults to enter the rivers.  Harbor patrol is on tap for those with high tolerance levels!
            There is an alternative if you keep going west until you see the warmer surface waters.  Question is: ...will there be any willing fish in it?
            Please keep in mind, non adult Salmon can be caught in 38° water in good numbers.  Trick is finding juveniles, or Kings behind in the maturation process.     

8/31/23  Closing out August 2023 by tying up some loose ends about yesterday's chat.  Narrowed the date down to the later 1990s.  Story on the rough water begins: we got an early start, like zero dark 30.  Cleared the pier heads and were taking spray on the back deck.  Settled in on a slow NW course and rode in the trough until we hit the drop-off about 3 miles out.  By then, the sun was just coming up and had my first gander on how massive the waves were.  Good 4-6 foot whitecaps with an occasional 8' thrown in.
              Holy ...!  This is not water to have customers in.  Made a plan to do a downwind troll 2-3 miles S where we could get an angle on the seas to head for the dock.  That's when we seen the capsized boats with 3 heads bobbing in the water.  Deckhand with our  customers pitched in pulled the survivors aboard.  I had my hands full holding the boat a safe distance to retrieve the trio.  By then, the USCG was on the way to the scene.
            Wrapped the 10 year old boy in a blanket after we dried him off and offered assistance to the 2 adult men.  Headed in while the USCG got a line on the sunken boat and towed it back to the public launch.  This emergency was scary affair.        

8/30/23  Lk. MI and all of our Great Lakes are cruel mistresses that claim lives.  Losing life on the water hits me pretty hard, cause I know 1st hand what it's like to pull people from the water.  Around i2k had a 18' Star Craft capsize a few hundred yards ahead of us.
              We had 2 adults and 10 year old boy in the drink in huge seas off Manistee, MI.  Rescuing people is no easy task in 6' to 8' seas with whitecap curls.  That's when my seamanship kicked in and knew we had to approach to victims from the downwind side. 
             Extremely difficult to position the boat.  That's why all charter boats must have a throwable life-ring with line attached.  Those in the water were clinging to the bow.  10 year old did not have a child's life jacket.  He was priority one.  The 2 adults had jackets and they could wait.  Got the kid aboard and fetched the 2 adult men.  Getting adults in the boat requires 2 pullers to flop one over the rail.
             Rescued 2 sail boaters off Port Austin a few years earlier, but it was not rough.  So, in total, pulled 5 from the Great Lakes during my 20 year career as a skipper.

8/29/23  Warm temps for the Labor Day weekend says wind will be from the S.  This is good news for the Lk. MI fleet that will hold the adult Kings in the big water longer.  Once the lake flips, cold water temps provide a highway up the rivers and streams.
              Outlook is not good for a boater lost last weekend out of Arcadia, MI.  4 senior citizen women were pulled from Lk. MI.  A 63 year old man is missing.  Click more info

8/28/23   Last weekend's Frankfort, MI's tournament had an excellent turnout.  This event ranks close to Ludington's Offshore Classic in participating teams.  Drilled down on the data of the winning boat, on the pro side that showed 360 lbs. of fish in 2 days.  Only 10 can be weighed per day. This equates to an approx. 16 lb. average per fish.  This tells me Kings were available to the fleet and most boats caught decent amounts of fish.
               This is a big up-tick from previous years when King numbers were down.  Great to see a rebound in Lk. MI's King fishery.  Click tournament results

8/26/23  1st day of the Frankfort, MI tournament.  I noticed when you look at the years a winner one year can come in dead last a few years down the road.  My take is fish under the boat govern who wins, or loses.  Skill set among the top 30% of the field is pretty even.  It's fish location that decides the podium.
              Generac fix day that will tell me if a new control panel is needed.  I'd say 90% is does, because Murphy's Law always bites in my butt.

8/25/23  Project fix the boat trailer underneath my 1978 22' Sea Ray begins today.  Transporting 16' bunks home from the lumberyard will be done in my 16' tin boat, that's my only option.  Have the carpet already.  The broken bunk has spooked me from using the boat.  Hopefully, this DIY project will go smoothly when it's finished next week.
                    Have a great weekend and catch a bunch of fish!

8/24/23  Update on the oil spill off Manistee, MI about a week ago says 1500 gallons leaked from the freighter, Manitowak was confirmed by the USCG.  Good news is no environmental nightmare in the world's greatest supply of fresh water, our Great Lakes.
              Today's 98% humidity has the muggy meter pegged on high.  That's tolerable when compared to the triple digit heat a lot of the nation suffers thru.
               My home standby Generac power system is on the blink after about 8 years.  Complicated to fix with no Generac service outfits near me.  This can be fixed DIY with plenty of research.  Battery went dead causing a blown fuse in the electrical transfer system, or the pricey control panel.  Today, new special fuses will tell the story.

8/23/23  Frankfort, MI's Benzie Fishing Frenzie contests is on deck for this weekend.  Frankfort is a structure rich port with holes and drop-offs both N and S.  This port is nestled in the Betsie River valley with big dunes showcasing nature's beauty.
              In 2022 the boat, Cousin Eddie skippered by Capt. Jim M. took a 34.45 King to win the big fish money reward.  This fish came on our Ruby Red 3 Fly Meat Rig™.
              Considering the small footprint of my tackle business ...we're ahead of the curve with tournament accolades.  Just don't publicize this, because I'm already way too busy.

8/22/23  Worked most of the night making tackle. Finished at 7am this morning.  We've reached the point with no pre-built tackle and I'm making most everything from scratch.
               Tomorrow? ...tournament logic with Frankfort, MI's event this weekend.

8/21/23  Predicted E wind tomorrow is going to pull the adults into the harbors of central LK. MI ports, being Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington.  Not much for combat fishing in highly trafficked areas, but the charter business taught me to fish where the fish are.
             The wind forecast is not written in stone and unreliable.  Wind forecast is only a clue that can help plan your trips with caution.  Click wind info Great Lakes Page
           Recent updates sharp hooks require a hook file.  Bought dozens of Luhr Jensen's 4" files that work great until they get wet and rust.  Which, on a boat happens all the time.
           We sell a diamond 8" hook file that comes with a plastic storage sheath.  Spray a little WD40 on our files for years of service.  Click for hook files

8/19/23  1st point of contact to your fish is the hook point.  One of the few things under your control in big water fishing and all fishing in general.  Last 10 years in the charter business made sure to train and have my deckhand keep a hook file near.  On the way out, he's be touching up the hooks in need.  Reason? ...big Kings have a major bone structure in their head.  These large bones can dull a hook, or roll the point over.
              Sharp hooks helped my charter customers keep a good landing percentage.  As to not experience a fish become un-pegged at the net.  Customers are not seasoned pros and need all the help they can get.  It's simple, more fish boated, more repeat business.

8/18/23  Good stretch of weather for the fleet over about the next week with no storms on the horizon.  This primetime that you've waited for all year. Go get 'em!
              The most comprehensive study on the web that I've seen about hook sharpening was posted back in 2008 with ultra magnification. Click 2008 hook study
              I wrote a piece back in 2005 for even more depth on this subject.  Sharp hooks don't cost you anything but a few seconds and a hook file.  Don't be too broke to pay attention.  To be continued with a wrap up soon.  Click 2005 hook article

8/17/23   There's a lot you cannot control when it comes to big water fishing.  But you can cut down on missed hits/bites.  You get one chance to make a 1st impression that's all too true when it comes to sticking a hook into a big adult King Salmon.  As Salmon mature, their skin hardens.  This when extra sharp hooks can save you a lot of grief.
              I get a kick out of those who say we went 15 for 25.  This just shows they don't know about the benefits of a hook file, or their rigger releases are way too soft.
              To be continues tomorrow with more on this timely subject.

8/16/23  Going back to last week's action photo of the Coho you'll see the 4/0 hook coming completely thru the corner of the jaw.  Single hooks are fantastic for penetration, because you're just driving one point into the fish.  Not like multiples  in trebles.  Once upon a time 50 years ago all Salmon spoons came with only a single hook.
             Thing about single hooks is once their stuck, no lost fish on the way to the net.  Missed bites on singles happen on the bite and that's not very often.

8/15/23  Ludington, MI homeboy, Capt. Kirk finished yesterday's am trip in the rain with a warmly composed photo of his biggest of the morning.  Capturing moments in time to be relived down the road that's preserved digitally.  Meaning the vibrant colors do not fade over time like the old 35mm film.  It's wonderful to see big fish and big grins!
              Colors in this happy snappy is why it works so well with a contrasting background.  In my opinion, one of the top pics I've posted this year.
              Salmon Buster spoon in the photo I believe is a prototype for 2024 that's mixed veggie over the XG green base.  Need to confirm this with Kirk. Click for this photo

8/14/23  Fishing was pretty decent for the sports fleet last week out of Manistee, MI.  Average Joes were boxing double figures when they setup on the right pocket of fish.
              Expect this week's Salmon action to be the same.  This is what fleet needed after some lean years causing angler hours on Lk. MI to diminish.
              Took the weekend off to recharge my batteries from a extra busy July leading into August.  Work load getting orders out the door ASAP took it's toll.

8/11/23  There's a lot going on in today's featured photo sent in by Chuck B. 1st is the LED spoon Salmon seem to love even during bright sun.  That's a no brainer.
              Important part is the West Coast single hook setup Chuck put in a request for.  He targets E Platte Bay for Coho.  A fish noted for twists and turns and can roll up in your line when they freak.  Did you know the original Salmon spoon in 1969 was the Manistee Wobbler that came equipped with a large single hook? Click W coast hookup
             Having a swivel added in the W coast single prevents the fish from using the spoon as a pry bar to extricate itself, as you watch your fish swim away!

8/10/23  Need to mention strips that were glowed up were not over sold.  In person, not having a camera process light, most strips glow more.  Better to understate a product, then have the user find out, they got more, then displayed in the video.
              There are China flashlights with more LEDs.  See this as a waste, because only a certain amount of light bulbs will charge the tackle.  Rest is wasted

8/9/23  Video for today that shows the effectiveness of our 101 LED UV flashlights.  While the 101 is impressive, to the outside maybe 30 hit the bait which is good.  I put the light close, or on it to speedup the glow process.  Click here to view

8/8/23  If it glows, it goes has been said about August Salmon fishing for a longtime.  Green glow ranks at the top of lure selections for adults.  Glow is especially effective during 1srt and last light when fish as long as your leg are most venerable.
             Our 101 LED black lights have been flying off the shelf since the beginning of this month.  Sold a pile of them.  For China products the 101 LEDs are quality.  Haven't had to warranty one of them yet knock on wood.  Will post a video demonstration tomorrow.

8/7/23  Busy with orders today.  Promise a better chat tomorrow....

8/6/23  Work to contain oil spill from the freighter Manitowoc off the Port of Manistee, MI continues.  The oil slick is 8 miles long and about a mile in width.  Latest reports said it was 8 miles N of Manistee and not onshore.  So, this is good news for now.  Both the 5th Avenue and 1st Street beaches have been reopened in Manistee. Click for this vessel
            This boat was built in 1973 with part of the outer hull being the fuel tank wall.  Sure today's double bottom federal law for tankers caused by the Exxon Valdez spill in AK back in 1989 probably does not apply.  Look for this regulation to be tightened by MI.
                   This could have been a lot worse with an onshore wind!

8/4/23  Major oil spill of the Port of Manistee, MI.  Close to 50k gallons of diesel fuel have created a slick that travels N to Onekama.  The 612' freighter Manitowak is an aging vessel built in 1973 is at anchor N of the Manistee pier heads as of 6am this morning.  Leak has been stopped according to the USCG.  They are working to recover the fuel.
            This is exactly what we don't need from an old boat, perhaps beyond it's service life with a cracked hull.  So, we're not immune from oil spills just like the rest of the world.

8/3/23  Here's something for your memory bank that might help.  Seen this time and time again from members of the Manistee sports fleet.  Seldom, if ever do they ever set up shallow in 50' of water before the shelf falls off to investigate.
            In my charter days sometimes found the best concentrations of bait and fish were inside of 70' of water.  In fact, had countless trips where my boat stayed inside of the 60' depths.  So, the next time you blast off the dock and head for the 100'-150' depths, it might be a good idea to at least sonar the shallower depths at slow speed to see what's there.   If the inside is empty? ...just put the boat on plane head out deeper.

8/2/23  Yesterday went by like a flash with no time for the August 1st update.  Busy is good if you're in the tackle business.  July and August is primetime adult Kings.
             Today's featured photo is from Ludington local, Capt. Kirk with a nice mixed bag catch.  I see Coho, Steelhead and some big guy Kings.  For the most part Kirk fishes a productive spoon program at 2 to 3mph.  His results this year have been stellar.
             Do know he gets an early start before the launch is overrun with ton of boats.  Kirk's lead core program helps fill his box.  Click for Kirk's 8/1/23 fish box

7/31/23  Goodbye July 2023 and hello August.  It's our prime time season for tackle busting adult Kings.  Demand has me anchored to the shop trying to keep up with orders.  This is a good thing business-wise.  Not so much for getting on the big pond.  Weather looks tolerable this week for the fleet.  Should have some fresh fish reports soon.

7/29/23  End of the work week that waves green flag the weekend sports fleet.  King fishing is on the up-tick when it comes to numbers.  Trick is to put yourself between where the fish are going to intersect. Sounds easy, but it's not.
               For the most part fishing is trial and error based on your boat's location.  Preplanning is a waste of time that limits success.  You fish the moment with constant adjustments to course and depth.  Being flexible is the key, not over thinking an imprecise science akin to pin the tail on the donkey blindfolded.
             Have a great, safe weekend with dreams of big guy Kings being fulfilled.

7/28/23  Super busy in the shop.  Disappointed in myself for not making time for today's chat. To anyone who thinks they're making money being a bait rig manufacturer, lots of luck.  There's not short cut to making an acceptable product with a replaceable leaders.  2 knot rigs you see in tackle stores are single use items that are over priced pure junk!

7/27/23  Ever notice bait is easy to find when you don't need it?  Right now we're in the heart of primetime with every one using, or looking for bait.  That why is makes good cents to had a supply of our Rip Teezers™ aboard.  Used correctly, these soft plastic scented strips can go head to head with reel-bait without production falloff.
              RTs don't not require the hassle of brine, or a freezer to fend off spoilage.  They're good to go with no prep and last many seasons.  Try 'em, you'll like 'em!

7/26/23  Hope the last 3 days of tips adds to your success.  Know they work, but convincing others is where the challenge comes in.  Try them ...you'll like them!
               Know the King fishing this year is better then the past 5-6 years.  How do I know?  Existing past customers who haven't ordered is 5-6 years are purchasing big lake tackle again.  Welcome back to some of our lost fleet members.
               Know fleet pressure is down, but that will rebuild itself again over time.  King fishing is full of peaks and valleys.  Past history has proven that.

7/25/23  Today's post ties in with the last 2 about gaining precious minutes "in the dark" primetime when the Kings are on their peak activity level.  Forget about temp.  Now being time, for adults that don't care if the water is in the 40s, or 70s.  They're swimming around looking for something to whack, even if their belly prevents them from swallowing.
               Mornings are harder to define, but know in the evening Kings come up higher in the water column.  So, spray your spread with a wide variance,  You can always adjust to what the fish are telling you.  Charge up lures with a black light, or use our LED spoons.
              Remember, if you're not getting bit, your in the wrong place, because low light Kings are the easiest when it's low light.   Tomorrow? "don't run past the fish!

7/23/23  Part 2 on gaining valuable time begins with the 0 dark 30 early am bite when it's still dark without a hint of light.  That's when our blinky-winky LED spoons should be the 1st lures to hit the water.  Spoons are a easy/fast set.  Drop a couple of these on the riggers while you're working on setting up your divers, core, and copper outfits. 
             This is an instantaneous set that's fishing while your setting up, which always uses valuable time.  Fish have to see a lure to hit it, I rest my case.
             Here's testimonial from Don who fishes out of Whitehall MI:
"John, just wanted to thank you for your LED spoons!  I’ve been using them in my low-light or pre-dawn programs this summer fishing out of Whitehall. They work!! 
                   Enjoy your website-check it everyday. Thanks again."

7/22/23  Today's subject concentrates on adding more low-light fishing times.  Both mornings and evenings.  If you're not too broke to pay attention? ...this should read is a revelation. I'm giving you something that will add the best part of prime time.  Maybe an hour to your fishing day (30 minutes am-30 minutes pm).
              Seen this happen 3 times with our Rip Teezers™.  Sun has went down, it's getting dark.  We pulled up a rigger for a quick reset after charging the strip with a black light.  No more then 30 seconds after the glowed up strip went down went down FISH ON!
              Light conditions were well past any non glow bait working.  Hey, the fish have to see it, to eat it.  That glowing morsel is a highly visible target.
              Staying out longer in the evening sure beats being in a holding pattern waiting to put your boat on the trailer at the ramp.  Tomorrow a tip for am zero dark 30 bite.

7/21/23  Our Rip Teezers are earning their keep in the N end of Lk. MI aboard Capt. Steve's Top 40 charter boat.  XG Frog and XG Green Glow have been his favorites. 
              His most recent King slayer is the Blue Glo Smurf Teezer loaded into a 12" XG Blue Bubble combo.  Too bad his photo shows only partial.  Click Fairport Kings
               Here's Steve's exact words, "blue bubble rig was literally in the water for six minutes after I took it out of the package before it caught it's first fish." 
               Steve charters out of Escanaba, MI and travels to Fairport for most of his King fishing.  This means a long hike crossing Big Bay de Noc.  A trip of 20-30 miles.

7/20/23  The multi story Hampton Inn in Manistee, MI is now open.  The place is where the Lakeshore Motel used to be.  Manistee gave up some parking  in the 1st Street public launch to accommodate this white elephant.  Along with changing the traffic flow to and from the ramp.  A room for 2 people for one night is a very pricey 242 bucks. 
              Bookings can be made thru www.hilton.com if you can afford it?  It will be interesting to see how many stay there and tolerate Lk. MI wind this winter.

7/19/23  It's Black Mamba time according to our recent sales at our web store. So, I know big Kings are starting to fill the boxes of big water fishing folks.  Mamba dots over a clear flasher blanks allows light to transition both sides.  I'd be lying, if I said I knew why the fish attack this pattern.  Just let it suffice they just do.
              It's a lot of work to paint at tape Mambas, but the outcome is beautiful when they're done.  That's why no other manufacturer makes this selection.

7/18/23  Busy with a capital B in the shop has all my time spoken for.  Will find a good topic for tomorrow when time allows.  Did over 50 orders in the last week.

7/17/23  Quick report on last weekend's Ludington tournament there were 62 amateur boats and 40 in the pro division. Most boats did not weigh-in their 12 fish in the pros and 10 in the ams.  All boats caught fish, but it was in the 6 to 8 fish  per boat range.  Know this event has rules on specie numbers that means a combined mix bag catch.
              Biggest King was 27 pounds and change.  In the 3 fish part of this contest, the winner had over 70 pounds in what looked like 3 big Kings.  To see individual boat ranking go to this link and hit results in the far right menu bar.  Click tourney info

7/16/23  This year's crop of Alewives is pushing 8" long with smaller sizes represented too.  This is the best news any big water Salmon fishermen could hope for. 
              Today's photo is courtesy of Ludington's Capt. Kirk who always comes thru with great subject matter.  Also, Kirk's pic shows sea fleas. Probably, the fish hook variety that are are showing up too to povide a forage base for the bait. Click Kirk's bait photo
              If my math is correct, based on a 12 fish box the top boat is averaging over 13 lbs. per fish in this weekend's big deal Ludington Offshore Classic.  Seen some 25 pounders were weighed in on day 1, but nothing over that mark. 

7/15/23  Looked for the day 1 weights in Ludington's Offshore Classic being help this weekend with no luck.  Average weight per fish in the top 5 boats will say a lot.

7/14/23  Tournament fishing vs charter/sport fishing require different tactics after you hookup.  Charter and sport fishermen tend to let the big guy Kings run a lot of line.  Hey, the most fun you're going to have is fighting fish.  So, why not make it last longer?
              Summer top tournament teams don't let Kings take much line.  They lean on the fish like it's harbor patrol where too much line will cause cut-off fish due to other boats.
              Know for a reel-fact Diawa 47s and Ambassador 7000s don't have enough drag whoa to dead stop a 30 King.  Adding 2 thumbs on the spool will stop adults on 30 lb. mono goat rope.  Done this before in the harbor.  Yes, it's brutal, but it does work.
             Tournament time constraints means fish have to come to the net quickly.

7/13/23  This is the week of Ludington, MI's Offshore Classic along with tournaments for kids and a special Ladies Day outing.  This event under the Lowrance name dates back to the early 1980s at least.  These contests are noted for a high turn out with prize money going to $100k.  So, there's lot's of dough on the line.  Click event schedule
            Kings this year are more plentiful and that's good news for everyone!

7/12/23  Never made it very far yesterday with this computer.  SD card got pushed in to the point of no return.  Had to disassemble the computer.  Then, the card reader component to retrieve the SD card.  The SD card had my important 3D printer files.
              This is the time of the season when Ludington, MI takes center stage with their tournament week.  Seen a short clip on TV and there were good catches of Kings,

7/11/23 Photo of the Fairport King shows this bad boy was chewing on a King Kryptonite Rip Teezer™ before his dinner bit back.  More to come soon.

7/10/23  A few days ago mentioned fishing for adult Kings is going to get serious and soon.  Today's featured photo is courtesy of Top 40 charters who fished off Fairport, MI.
Fairport is in MI's UP the next port W from Manistique. Click 7/9/23 King
              Interesting part is the Ghostbuster combo that Capt Steve S. has been using for a good 10 seasons. How many flasher/meat rigs™ do you have that's still working from 10 years ago?  Point is we build tackle to last & last. There's no easy shortcuts to longevity.
             Fished out Manistique some years back and the Ghostbuster in 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoon did major damage to big Kings.  MI's UP is a crown jewel to enjoy.

7/9/23  If you closely examine Mike's photo posted on 7/6/23 you see a competitor's head.  The manufacturer clearly didn't have a clue to have the correct orientation of the WTP fish scale tape.  Scales should be horizontal instead stuck-on in the vertical!
            I'd never let bonehead mistakes like that leave my shop.  That would bug me forever.  This shows/proves quality control didn't have a clue about what they were doing.  Many in the tackle business do it as a side line, not a full time job.
           If my hunch is correct this came from a cop who runs charters on Lk. Huron.  You cannot juggle 2 fulltime jobs and still make top notch tackle.  Click for bad tape job

7/8/23  Day off.  Time saved will be used catching up on a backlog of yet t ship orders.

7/7/23  You know when I started this whole thing about meat on Lk. 2003, I never had a clue bait availability was going to be an issue.  This is still an uncertain commodity.
            Knowing what I know now? ...my 3rd product would have been Rip Teezers.  1st product was 12" flashers in 2004, 2nd was meat heads in 2005.  Looking back if our Rip Teezers could have debuted in 2006, this whole meat BS would be moot.
           Some of the latest strips I tried were junk, flimsy and wrapped around the hook leader.  Essentially dragging a gob of goo thru the water.  Why didn't the manufacturer test his stuff before selling it to the public?  That's why I used whole when I could get it.

7/6/23  Today's featured photo came in unexpected.  While back had a customer pay double shipping, because we shipped same day and he ordered more tackle.  Sent Mike M a couple of free-bee strips to defray the cost.  Then, low and behold he emailed me today's pic with a decent King chewing on a XG Green Frog strip.  So, he did try it out.
            I don't missing chasing all over to locate bait a-at-all.  Know our soft plastic strips work and work even better with the scents we sell. Click Mike's King

7/5/23  This is the month when fishing for adult, bruiser over 20 some pound King Salmon is going to happen.  It's gonna get reel serious and reel soon!  Click 4th's blue sky
             Today's featured photo of blue sky on the 4th after a long time of washed out smoky skies.  90° in the shade under my red maple tree was a sight to behold.  Heat wasn't a problem, because there was a nice breeze blowing.  Garden is doing good.

7/4/23  Happy 4th of July, play safe!

7/3/23  Fishing is not a religion.  So, forget the I believe part that's not based in reel facts.  I speak with highly opinionated fishermen everyday with mistaken goofy ideas. 
              Can't fix where most of their info came from.  Being a 1968 1st generation Great Lakes fishermen, there were no rules back then and there's no rules now.  There's no wrong way to fish.  Only ways that do not work under present conditions.
              So, ditch beliefs that can never be proven.  Be open to any and all methods to ply the waters with.  This will lead to more fish and less frustration.

7/2/23  Spent the last few days building tackle.  36 meat rigs™ for us requires 144 knots.  This is a time consuming process.  Unless you make a POS rig without replaceable leaders.  Tackle stores sell a lot of the easy cheapie rigs, because is means repeat business, as the rigs fail after a few fish from chewed up leaders.  Have a great 4th.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2023 Results
January, February & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November and December

2022 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2021 Results
January, February & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November, & December

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