My Day with.... 
Capt. John King
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3 fish river limit

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Hefty 12 pounder

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Lure tangled in the net

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  12/11/01 Hot Lures

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As It Happened On 12/11/01

I met with Capt. John King quite early this morning.  I wanted to see if he was really as good as I heard he was, and if he was worth the dough he charged.  Being a avid reader of his website since it's inception and I wanted to check out Capt. John's T-4 Flatfish program on the Big Manistee River to establish the fact, is it really that good?

Upon meeting him I was immediately taken with his strikingly handsome good looks and his warm confident, reassuring smile.  In fact, he bore an uncanny resemblance to Mel Gibson!  Plus, he had the
appearance of a extremely knowledgeable guide, as he expertly and single handily launched his RiverMaster Jet-Boat in the river around 8:00am.  

Being a very frosty morning, Capt. John lit the heater in the boat and began sharing his vast intelligence on the how's and where-to-fore's of river Steelheading.  It was decided right off the bat, to only run 2 rods to give the fish a fair chance, then as the Captain was pouring me a hot cup of java, the number 1 rod took a violent jerk downwards into the water............................Fish on!

Now, it was all or nothing, me one on one with a rampaging bad boy culprit, full of his rich fall skin tones.  Capt. John, with the wisdom of Solomon educated me in a hurry of how to correctly apply the right amount pressure and gently steer the fish away from the snags, that covered the entire river.  After about a 10 minute skirmish, he causally slid the net under the gorgeous 9 pound male with crimson-red gill plates.  It was decided to box my first Steelhead of the outing at 8:15am. 

After a brief respite and untangling the lure from the net, we were back in business setting rods again.  I was amazed at John's clear explanations and how easy it was for me to follow his magnificent instructions.  As I was pondering the sheer splendor of the meandering river, the same rod sprang to life with even a larger Steelie than the first one.  This was a heavy fish, full of vim, vigor and exceptional vitality.  My angry adversary's first skyward leap was at least 3 feet.   I was in for a vicious brawl with an exceptionally large, wicked "Ironhead," then disaster swam into a snag!  

No problem, Capt. John said, just relieve some of the pressure and the fish will probably swim clear of the troubled snag infested area.  Now, this was a absolute genius at work!  Sure enough, heeding his terrific tip, the Steelhead was back on direct drive (clearing the tanglement), as I patiently gained back the 100 feet of line that I lost.  At 8:40am I felt the thrill of victory, as he netted our second whopper of the day.   The fish was a delightfully colored hook-jawed male that pushed the 12 pound mark.

This was to good to be true! 2 fish in such a hurry my head was swimming, then the astounding Capt. John re-tuned the T-4 Flatfish and re-positioned the river boat further upstream.  Running only 2 rods it was decided to switch from the watermelon to a darker shade of copper, because of light penetration, at least that's what John's idea was.  

Thinking of the peace and tranquility, due to the outstanding scenery, the rod that was just changed over, took a thunderous jar with line peeling downstream against a stout drag.  Before I could even remove the rod from the holder, a 8 pound hen exploded all the surface of the Big Manistee River.  Excitement filled my veins, the ensuing battle was on!  Me and my third Steelhead of the morning before 9am.........incredible!  This fish fought with a dogged determination and by no means, planned on giving up on it's aerial antics.  It splashed water all over, disturbing the quiet flow of the river.  After a lengthy free-for-all, I could see the Capt. John's ultra-professional coaching was taking it's toll on the fish.  

By 9:10am we netted our third Steelhead of the morning, and I was informed that 3 fish was a river limit.  Not being greedy, we released the courageous hen back to the depths of the river, and decided to quit while we were ahead.  3 for 3, was our total efforts for the hour and 15 minutes I spent with Capt. John King on the Big Manistee River.

I've spent a lot of time with other guides and captains over my many years as a Michigan fisherman and seldom do you run across someone as conversant in all areas, as Capt. King.  Oh yeah, he was worth the money he charged and I conveyed the fact, he should even consider raising his "all too" reasonable rates.

   I'm willing to bet, by now you figured out, I was the only one on the boat this morning.  The parts about the fishing are absolutely true, the stuff about me might be a slight embellishment!
   On a more serious note, words today can't describe the enjoyment I experienced today.  Being connected with the great outdoors was a re-affirmation to the sport I've spent my life at trying to  It's easy in the charter business to loose sight of the total
gratification of just being there.
   I'd like to offer my gratitude to Mr. Steelhead for cooperating today and demonstrating
what a truly majestic gamefish is!