Capt. John's Log
20 Seasons of Archived Daily Great Lakes News
Below images are thumbnails

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7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

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7/28/08 Manistee, MI
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8/31/08 Manistee
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9/1/08 Manistee, MI

Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log

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

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

11/17/23  Covid 19 booster shots today for my wife and I at District 10 Health Dept. here in Manistee.  Names of the variants of Covid sound like they came for an episode of Gene Rodenberry's Star Trek.  Better safe than sorry is our take on getting stuck with a needle.
               Will have more info tomorrow, cause I'm not sure if this year's boosters are free.  Know our medical insurance will cover it if not?
                Great progress this week on all fronts with temps in the 60s.  Wrapped up Rip Teezer™ production with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

11/16/23  Admittedly, yesterday's production pic of a pile of the new XG Yellowtail Rip Teezers™ is not all that exciting.  Today's featured "glow in the dark" photo is a horse of a different color when the glow comes to light.  Click XG Yellowtail glow effects
               There is no single piece of tackle on the planet that uses more extended glow colorant than our RTs.  That's what sets me apart from not being cheap when it comes to making tackle.  To be the best? have to make the best!

11/15/23  Have a safe and successful hunt today.  Be sure to know the CWD regs about disposing of your deer's carcass.  Just used to drag what's left after home butchering back in the woods and let the scavengers do the rest.  This is no longer allowed.
                Got a good handle on all of my fall projects.  Only this left is to mount the plow on the truck.  Note to self: ...check hydraulic oil level in the plow.
                I have an excellent glow in the dark photo of the new 2024 XG Yellowtails that's a reel eye opener.  Today's is production progress. Click not glowed strips

11/14/23  Wonder who's brain fart in the MDNR came up with the idea of reporting your deer kill online.  Just because we have the technology doesn't mean we have to use it.  Besides, what do you get got jumping thru this hoop?  Click DNR kill report
               What's next?  ...are we going to have to report every fish we catch?  Reporting a deer kill online shows just how deep the government reaches into our personal lives

11/13/23   Yesterday was extra busy trying to wrap up Rip Teezer production this week.
Left you hanging about the WD40 in the winch photo an  extra day.  Today's new photo shows the cable that goes nutso once the tension is released.  Click cable coils
                  It does not lay flat like a winch strap many of you have.  Cable can dig in-between coils and dig in and jam.  WD40 as lube can help free the cable.
                 My 1979 22' Sea Ray is too heavy for a strap.  Pet peeve with a winch that has a strap the mechanical advantage is lost the more the strap winds on.

11/12/23  After tires that roll the most important part of your boat trailer is the winch that pulls your boat on said trailer.  Boat trailers tend to be overlooked until they break.
               Doll babied up my old Powerwinch 912, after buying new Powerwinch with remote control.  Mistakenly thought the old winch was faulty.  Turned out it was the truck wiring with a bad ground and the old winch was perfectly OK.  Click refurb 912
               912's have the strongest single line (5/16" ss cable) pulling at 4000 pounds,  Enough power to pull bow eyelets thru fiberglass without a backing plate.
                 Tomorrow? ...why the can of WD40 is in the winch photo

11/10/23  T.G.I.F. as we look forward to next Wednesday's firearm deer opener.  Not exactly when hunters want with predicted temp at 54° and sunny.  Snow is a lot better spotting deer and makes tracking easier.  Need  to research MDNR's rules and regs.  Do know every deer kill needs to be reported.  Will have links for that soon.

11/9/23  The MI firearms deer season less then a week away and around my place deer numbers are way down.  I'm sure part of this is the coyote population that has grown over the past 5 years.  Coyotes use an effective pack strategy with one pushing the deer when the snow is deep and a pack of 4, or 5 not far behind to help with the kill.
              Black bears around me are down.  The big problematic female got hit by a car about a 1/2 mile down the road.  She was a big girl coming in around 300 pounds.  Never heard my wife shriek so loud when this bear went eye to eye with her thru the living room side window.  Wife' solution? ...pull the shade and scoot.  Mine was a .357 mag in case the she bear came thru the window.  My female lab who hates bears alerted us.

11/8/32  Consumers Power runs Tippy Dam to produce hydroelectricity.  There's a big hub-bub going on about possible dam removal.  Tippy was built in 1918 and has to be re-licensed by the State of Michigan to operate.  What's up in the air is the cost to remove, or maintain Tippy at $1.8 million a year.  It's said that this dam generates $400 million to the local economy and supports 400 jobs.  Click Tippy Dam article
              Tippy Dam's economic impact on Brethren and Wellston, MI is huge.  Losing this facility by removal will cause financial hardship to both communities. Click Tippy Dam

11/7/23  This is the Covid year the MDNR did not plant Steelhead.  Latest word from the Big Manistee River says it's been a tough go for the river anglers seeking Steelhead according to my neighbor (way down the road), who has a jet boat.
               While it's too early to tell, this might blow another hole in the DNR natural reproduction theory that cut the legs out from the King Salmon stocking levels.  Now, that the MDNR is planting more fish?...King fishing was really good this past season.

11/6/23  Strip production day that's perfect temp wise being the low 60s.  Frogs and Blue Mamba SUVs will happen before this day is done.  To me? ...anytime I get to play with a $6k machine it makes the job fun.  Learning curve making soft plastics was arduous.
              Initial glow in the dark test was able to improve blue glow on the Ghost busters by doubling the ratio.  Almost to the point it look as bright as the green glow which is the strongest.  In the dark photo test should confirm this soon. Click yellowtail test strips
              Photo of the paint test where you can see actual 1st time production being done makes a good background story. Decided to paint only one side, as not to cover-up the important glow properties.  Contrasting sides aids during rotation ...blink, blink, bite!

11/5/23  Paint test photo kind of says it all for today's topic.  This pricey paint is made just for soft plastic that's used to make our Rip Teezers.  Concentrated on the yellowtail pattern that was introduced to the fleet by charter skipper/ tackle manufacturer, Dennis Bidigeri from Oscoda, MI.  This was my number one color in the late 1990s early i2ks.
               So, it worthwhile to have in my lineup of spoons, flashers, meat heads and strips.  Drawback is the stinky smell during air brushing. Click yellowtail test strips

11/4/23  Fall back a hour tonight as we play clock yoyo that I'm not in favor with.  In the process of photographing the paint test for our 2024 Rip Teezers™.  Came out better than expected.  Hope to have this photo posted by tomorrow.

11/3/23  Back to Rip Teezer production today.  String of days in the 50s has me motivated.  Working on 2 brand new must have selections for the 2024 season.  Has special paint to expand the number of colors on the strips.
              Working on a spare electric Powerwinch 912.  This the most powerful electric winch there is. Have 2 winches and it's time to sell one.  Will show my refurb job extra wench in the not too distant future with necessary wiring kit.

11/2/23   If you've been bit by the fishing bug, consider yourself lucky.  It's easy to be fascinated by the never ending challenges facing all fishin' folks.  Weather, fish and bait movements stacks the deck against you from the git-go!
               People that fish don't use military style weapons in mass shootings.  Having an interest in life (such as fishing) diverts a lot of our everyday issues into nothing to dwell upon.  If there were more fishing rods, our world would be a far, far, better place!

11/1/23  Need to clear up the back story on yesterday's chat.  By happenstance ran across a 1 start Yelp review on an un-named Manistee tackle store.  Reviewer was complaining about forking over 16 bucks for frozen strips.
               This is not the tackle store's fault most likely.  Tackle store probably paid 10 bucks for the strips knowing with 30% markup is where the price came from.
               Frozen bait is a risk and understand bait dealers must make a profit.  I had $10k of bait freezer storage that went out of business and worried about loss of power some years ago.  Plus, servicing/trips to tackle stores just wasn't worth it.

10/31/23  Halloween update is about inflation and what frozen herring strips cost back in 2003 when I broke the news to the fleet.  In 2003 you could buy 6 premium Rhys Davis strips in a tub for about .50 cent per.  These were the all time ultimate best with no rivals since.  Adjusted for inflation .50 in 2003 has increased to .83 in 2023.
                This is a far cry from the going rate today, either for whole, or strips.  Lack of availability with price gouging manufacturers is a big reason why meat has fell out of the number 1 fleet favorite that it held for may years. Click Poll Page verification
                Gouging is the same as stealing from people with a low moral compass that will be covered in tomorrow's chat.

10/30/23  Results of our annual poll page for the 23rd year have been tabulated and noted.  Spoons won the commanding top choice approaching 50%.  Easy to understand why? ...with spoons requiring a minimal investment & ease of use. Click Poll Page
               Probably should have narrowed down the poll to July-August Salmon.  My 50 some years on the Great Lakes spoons took far less then any attractor program.
              It pains me to say meat is the biggest loser that lost more ground in 2023.  Will have a reason of why meat no longer takes the top spot.

10/28/23  Last Thursday and Friday started on 2024 Rip Teezer™ production.  If all goes well, should have some new selections ready for debut this fall.
                Spent most of yesterday getting my wood burning stove ready for the season.  Cleaning the flu pipes and chimney is time consuming job.  This week predicted lows in the mid-twenties says it's time to get off propane and onto wood.

10/27/23   Changed up this year's poll a little bit.  You can vote once a day for 2 selections in case your results are too close to come up with a clear winner.
                 Strip production is underway for 2024.  Look for 2 three color new selections made to match our flashers and meat heads.  Enjoy cooking up plastisol after trail and error fails in the beginning.  New 2024 strips are winner, winner, Salmon dinner!

10/26/23  Installed the annual poll about your best method to catch adult Kings.  Been running this same poll that goes back to 2003, making this the 20th anniversary. 
                This poll came about when I shared how deadly meat could produce from my charter results in 2003.  This is and was the biggest thing to hit Lk. MI in the last 20 years, barring none!  Trends upward and down are fun to look at.  Click Poll Page

10/25/23  Getting ready to make strips.  This is the part that takes the longest.  Been doing a time study on how to speed up meat rigs™.  It took me 27 minutes to make six 3-fly strings.  Identified most the time was threading the beads, flies and crimps.  Tested a new bright LED work light that seems to have helped.  Will time 6 rigs again soon.

10/24/23  Today's featured photo is a hen Coho caught yesterday out of Ludington, MI by Capt. Kirk.  You can tell it's a female, because the hinge of the jaw is not behind the eye sockets.  Telltale sign it's a a plump, full of eggs Coho is there's no spots on the bottom half the tail.  Great example fish that's much appreciated.  Click this hen Coho
             Coho are a great charter fish that's much easier to land big King.  Coho Salmon are much more aggressive than a King and bite all day long.  Silver Salmon/Coho stay hard-hitting on during their spawning run into rivers and streams.

10/22/23  27° this morning at my place in Manistee County, MI.  This our 1st hard freeze of the fall.  About a month later then what, over the years ...I've come to expect. 
                 This is good news for the bait in Lk. MI that will continue to keep temp more favorable to Alewives that don't adjust well to huge temperature swings.
                Yesterday, picked our last remaining tomatoes, jalapeńos and cukes from the garden that benefited from the extended growing season. Home produce this late is good.

10/21/23  Nice weekend to get head start on pre-winter home projects.

10/20/23  Prep day to begin making our soft plastic herring strip replacements.  Low on many of the popular selections like the XG Green Frog.  Click Frog Rip Teezer™
                Making strips is job I enjoy greatly, because it's the basic ingredients that turn into a finished product pretty much unassisted.  Taking the liquid plastisol to 350° to transform it into a pliable plastic that lasts seasons, just not a few fish is rewarding.
               Like doing this when it's cool out.  Helps the molds not get overly hot to cool cycle them speeds up the process.  We let the strips air dry for a week to toughen.

10/19/23  One of the best upgrades to my 1979 22' Sea Ray happened when I installed an enclosed cooling system.  No water to drain, or pumping antifreeze thru the motor.  Just turn off the key and make sure the outdrive is in the lowered position.
               It wasn't all that expensive doing the work in-house.  Think $900 covered the tank and hoses that took about a day to install.  Block-off plate on the elbow exhaust manifolds took up most of the time.  Over the years not buying costly antifreeze and time saved makes the 900 seem like a bargain.

10/18/23  The markers are in place for 2024 to have another great season for King Salmon on Lk. MI.  Fall bait is a reliable indictor for next year.
                 Today's featured photo shows big wads of bait off Ludington, MI's harbor in 50' of water.   Just what we need to rebuild the fleet after some poor seasons for Kings.
I'm looking forward to 2024 with a lot of optimism.  Click 10/12/23 Ludington bait

10/17/23  Another major spawning stream for King Salmon is Bear Creek that enters the Big Manistee River from the N.  Probably, as many fish run Bear Creek, as in Pine Creek.
               My reel feelings is the 1 fish per 10' of stream is a lowball count and it's closer to 2 fish.  Resulting in a small trout stream getting a run of 10k fish this year.  It's not always this rosy, there are lean years.  2023 as a banner year and that's OK with me.
              Going to make an effort to visit Pine Creek in mid to late November when the Brook Trout spawn.  Normally hidden under the bank, Brookies come out on gravel bars.
With the amount of Salmon roe there has to be some monster Brook trout in Pine Creek.

10/16/23  50,000' is a ball park estimate of the length of Pine Creek to it's source at Pine Lake.  Conservatively, if there's 1 fish per 10'? ...that's 5000 King Salmon that run this tributary of the Big Manistee River.  2500 are females with 3 lbs. of eggs each? ..that's 7500 pounds of eggs, or close to 4 tons of eggs to create future generations of Salmon.
                Pine Creek has always fascinated me.  Evidenced by my 17 year photo study of the same gravel bar.  We, as fishing people, do not get to see fish roaming about naturally until King Salmon spawn in creeks, or rivers.  Click 17 year photo study

10/15/23  Measured the length of Pine Creek from it's source, Pine Lake.  Came up with 35,000' straight line.  Add in switch backs, because streams do not run linear.  Will have some fish count estimations for you tomorrow and other stats.
                Shop heater is working after replacing pilot light fixture.  Now, the focus will be getting ready for 2024 that's my 20 year anniversary in the tackle business.

10/14/23  This morning's project is to get the shop heater/furnace back up and running by replacing the pilot light.  Old pilot light was clogged and not allowing the thermocouple to heat up.  Micro voltage runs the thermocouple that turns on the regulator allowing propane gas to flow to the burner.  Hence, warming the shop.
               Temps in the low 30s this week made the shop to cold to get anything meaningful done.  In 2004 purchased this Empire direct vent 35,000 BTU unit for about 800 bucks.   19 years of inflation has pushed the price to $1995.

10/13/23  Took a trip to one of my favorite places in Manistee yesterday with a trip to Pine Creek.  This my 17th year photographing spawning Kings from the Huff Rd. bridge that only runs N from M55 in case you want to visit.  Click loads of Pine Creek Kings
                There was a love fest going on with more Kings then I've seen in many a year with loads of spawners working the gravel.  Most of the fish are not huge.  I'd say, for the most part, from 8 to 12 pounds.  It's rare to see a 36" King in Pine Creek.
            Today? ...Friday the 13th is no big deal to me seeing I was born on the 13th.

10/12/23  Covid varmints is still out there.  You can order free tests from the USPS.  Ordered and 4 kits that arrived promptly at no cost whatsoever.
                Your concern about Covid? ...I know, a lot depends on your age and medical condition.  43,000 plus have died from this deadly virus in Michigan. 
               So, we know this virus is not to be taken lightly.  There is a new booster shot out that my wife and I will probably get. Our coming winter drives people indoors making shopping, or any contact with the public risky.  Click free Covid test kits

10/11/21  Network tech difficulties shut my system down when I normally do updates.

10/10/21  Looks like tomorrow will have decent light for photos at Pine Creek's yearly King Salmon spawning run.  This is a regulated fast flowing stream that's loaded with spawners.  This place is a full tilt fish factory for natural reproduction.
                It's impressive to say this is my 17 year venture into photographic journalism.  Pine Creek is a wonderful place to visit. Click Pine Creek Page
                The bridge where I shoot pics from is on Huff Road N of M55 about 5 miles E of Wellston, MI.  It's closed to fishing with MDNR Trout stream regulations in place.

10/9/23  My annual trip to Pine Creek will happen this week.  Prefer mid week lighter traffic, because the bridge is at the bottom of the hill and the road is narrow.
               It's mixed emotions for me seeing these awesome creatures on a death march to meet their Tuna God.  Only buoyed by the fact these spawning Kings are raising future generations of MI's most majestic sport fish ...Mr. & Mrs. King Salmon!

10/8/23  37° at my place this morning says it's time to light the pilot light in the shop heater.  Wrong! ...dirty pilot light that would generate enough heat to activate the thermocouple.  Ordered a new one for 22 buck that will arrive this week.  There are micro thumb orifice drills made for this.  Unfortunate part is I don't have any.  Shop heater is 20 years old, so I can't complain about the service.  Just kinda tired of playing Mr. Fix-It. 

10/6/23  Fixed the broken parts on my RC30 Powerwinch which is a sister to the model 912.  These are the 2 most powerful electric winches on the market.  Basically the same internals with the RC30 being remote control. 912 has been around for about 50 years.
             Most boats spend more time on the trailer then they ever will in the water.  So, it's important not to overlook them. Click broken and new winch parts

10/5/23  Had to take yesterday off.  Over did it Monday stacking wood in 86° heat that  got the best of me.  Inside the closed-in wood shed was much hotter.
               Big change in weather coming soon.  This means N wind that will cool surface temps on Lk. MI turning this into an exciting top 30' fishery.
              Today need to play Mr. Fix-it on the RC30 Powerwinch on the boat trailer.  Self inflicted mishap leaving the handle on.  The RC stands for remote control.  When I pulled the boat last week the battery in the remote was dead and had to install the emergency crank handle.  Tested remote with new battery and the swing of the handle broke the electrical plug-in connector.  Self inflected repairs are always the most painful.

10/3/23  Capt. Dan S. from Big Dan's Charters in Soldotna, AK ordered more 12" flashers from me.  He said, in today's featured photo, "I've caught more then 40 Salmon in the last 2 days running  12 incher with a spoon.  Click for Mountain Dew 12" flasher
              Know it works, just don't see many in the Great Lakes doing it.  Flasher in the photo has held up OK after 5 season of saltwater use.
              Soldotna, AK is home port for the legendary Kenai River over 50 lb. Kings 

10/2/23  Leaves are coming down and the Salmon are coming up in the tributaries of Lk. MI tells us October is here.  This month presents some of the best big water fishing of the year when the wind gods take the day off.  Finding calm seas is October is rare.
              Those 2 and 3 year Kings I've been seeing in photos is super news for next year.  These juvi Kings should be available throughout this month with lots of Steelhead.  My best hours for fish in the boat came in 1994 when my customers boated 28 Salmon and Steelhead in under 2 hours based on lines-in to lines-out.  Click late season Steelead

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?'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'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 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? 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.

6/30/23  This is the weekend to avoid the main 1st boat launch in Manistee, MI.  The Forest Festival is going on with a carnival taking up most of the space to park.  Stronach boat launch on the S end of Manistee Lake can handle larger boats.  Launched my 22' several times with no issues.  Another alternative is Onekama that has a free launch in town.   Manistee has scheduled their fireworks on July 2nd.  So, the 1st Street beach and boat launch will be a mad house.

6/29/23   Planned topic about our strips and scents have been superseded with a fresh fish report from Ludington, MI's Capt. Kirk. He fished yesterday morning and caught a mixed bag of LT, Kings and a Steelhead for a 1 person limit.  Think he fished solo.
               Kirk's fish per hour based on his normal 3 to 6 rod spread, he keeps pace, or exceeds charters when you factor in the hours fished per rods.  Click Kirk's catch
               He fishes a easy spoon program at 2.5 miles an hour.  Concentrating more on fish location, than a spectrum of wild "hail Mary" colors to produce.

6/28/23  Yesterday's air outside was nasty with the smell of acrid smoke and dull gray skies.  I live in the woods with miles and miles of trees pulling CO2 out of the air.  Can only imagine how bad it was in urban areas.  Supposed to clear up some today.
              Tomorrow's update will be titled, scent make sense for only a few cents.  I'll run down the reel facts from what I've learned with scent on our Rip Teezers™.

6/27/23  Hit a major milestone with my webstore.  Started in 2005, we just shipped our 10,000th order.  This does not count phone and tackle store orders.  10k is big news to me proving without paying for advertising a small tackle manufacturer can flourish with products on the cutting edge.  No competitor has the niche specialty items like us.
                     Today we're on order number 10,005 and climbing!

6/26/23  Last weekend's Bud Pro-Am tournament in Manistee MI looked like it was decent fishing for most boats.  Biggest King was 24 pounds and there were respectable amounts caught sprinkled among the 58 boats competing.   Winning pro boat tallied up 270 pounds of his 20 allowable fish (10 per day, 2 day event). Click event final standings
              This tournament morphed for being a top 30' of water over plus 400' of water dominated by Steelhead back 20 some years ago.  Nowadays, it's a contest with Kings and LTs in closer to Manistee's shelf.  Probably inside of 300' for the most part.

6/24/23  Waiting for the final results from Manistee, MI's Bud Pro-Am tournament.  Thus far, there's 1 King over 20 and several high teeners being weighed in.  Tomorrow's update will be expanded on info gleaned from this long running event.

6/23/23  Our BTI 10" fish flashers have been rediscovered by the Lk. MI and Lk. Huron fleets.  Had to pull an all nighter to ship flashers today.
              10 inchers and 12 inchers do not share the same geometry.  Water force required more curvature in the tail section to get it to roll/kick right.  Spent 2 months in the design phase with several prototype test sessions back in 2005.
             BTIs will swim a fly with a side to side lifelike wobble.  To get this same action in our meat rigs™ I shortened the 3 fly rigs to 2 flies for perfection.  Rest is history.             

6/22/23  1 day into summer 2023 and it's warm in the high 80s in Manistee, MI.  We've already been in the 90s a few weeks back.  Heat is good to kick start the food chain.
               It's no big secret the past few seasons have not been record setters for Kings.  But if you're in it for the long haul, this year is showing promise to return to times of old.
               Should have good info on how the Kings doing are after this weekend's Bud Pro Am Tournament in Manistee.  This contest dates back to the 1980s with entries pushing 200.  Now, it's more like 50 to 60 competing boats in AM and Pro divisions. More than enough for a good sample size of the state of our fishery.

6/21/23  Another great Fathers Day photo from last weekend.  Longtime friend of this website and I, Capt. Jack sent in today's featured pic of fun times on the water.
               Several years back, made Jack a custom 12" Silver Bullet flasher with his name on it.  As luck would have it, this was his moist productive setup out of Harbor Beach, MI on Lk. Huron. Jack had a wonderful time with his children that like fishing too.
               Calm seas on both Lk Huron and Lk. MI blessed both sides of MI.  Weather-wise this was one of the nicest Fathers Day we had in several years.  Click Jack's flasher

6/20/23  Fishing is more of a journey, rather than a destination.  Fishing without wonderful people to share the pleasure of catching would be lackluster.
               Longtime friend, Mike D sent in today's featured photo of his nephew, Tommy and a nice 18 lb. King.  This young man Tommy reeled in 3 of the 4 fish they caught on Fathers Day.  What a great way to introduce the young set to our sport.
              Known Mike D since probably the late 1990s when he booked a spring charter out of my home port of Manistee, MI. Click 7 year old Tommy's goodie King

6/19/23  Lk. Trout showed up in big numbers about the middle of last week off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Charter boats are pulling limits pounding the bottom with divers and riggers.  Many charters use our Silver Bullet BTI 10 inchers with spin n glos.
             Knew laker fishing took off with the amount of orders for the bullets.  This rush sold out all of our stock.  Not to fear, more will be here in about a week.
             Another reel fact is there is plenty of bait off Manistee.  Some Kings were caught yesterday, but the main focus was on LTs.  Click 6/16/23 Manistee LT catch

6/18/23  Fathers Day 2023.  A time we set aside to honor all fathers.  Fathers Day is a given in the charter business for a booking.  Taking dad fishing is a great idea!

6/17/23  If you plan on trailering your boat on US31 N thru Manistee to ports further N the US31 drawbridge is going to be traffic nightmare with lane closures and detours.  Trying not to hit this construction zone during peak traffic hours.  $12.M in repair work on this drawbridge will last thru March 2024.  So, it's going to be a mess for a while.

6/16/23  US31 is the major N-S route thru Manistee, MI.  There's some big changes on the way if all goes according to plan.  Removal the rail road tracks on the N end of town will eliminate the RR crossing on the curve by Pier 31/Solbergs Marina that jams up traffic.
              Next remove would be the swing trestle bridge at the mouth of Manistee Lake.  When this RR bridge is in the closed position it holds up marine traffic to Sengs, Moonlight and Pier 31 marinas for boats with high profiles.  I was able to squeeze underneath it, but had to remove all the rods in the hardtop mounted rocket launcher on my Cherokee.
                            More on this traffic topic tomorrow...

6/15/23  Admin paper work for 4 hours yesterday afternoon and only 1/2 way done.  Behind the scenes forms paper work written with hard to understand legalize.  Not fun!
               Tons of pollen have been pushed into our Great Lakes.  This is fertilizer for the food web that kick starts all facets of the fishery.  This could be part of the reason the Kings scatter by mid-June when the bait moves offshore to feed.   Not to fear, the Kings will be returning as full blown heavy adults around mid-July.
               End of this month Manistee will see a small run of a few adults returning to the Little Manistee River.  So, there could be a few big guys on the way.

6/14/23  Today's featured photo is the scent pad packed inside Rip Teezer™ packaging.
Pad is a 1/8" micro fiber for diffuser aromatherapy.  Perfect for scent retention.
              Even better? ...there's enough scent on the pads to flavor up the new strips for a few applications until you can order Re-Scent, or Alaska Herring oil from our webstore.
              Thought this was a reel-genius idea/move on my part.  However, a true genius would have done this when our strips debuted years ago.  Click new scent pad

6/13/23  Confidence is an important tool when it comes to fishing.  Confidence leads to more water time for lures  Not constantly swapping out colors ...thinking you're doing something wrong in the selection department.  Trust me, you're not! 
              It would be nice if all fish bit 24/7, but they do not.  The eternal mystery of fishing is not supposed to be easy every time off the dock.
              Confidence in our Rip Teezer™ now begins when you open the package.  You smell fish from the new scent pads.  Even though refined herring oil is used during production, the pads puts our soft plastic replacement strips over the top.
              Me as a manufacturer boosts my confidence when charter skippers re-order Rip Teezers from on the water success.  Know my design efforts are on point.

6/12/23  Lost today, busy with shop and personal tasks.  Yesterday's chat about the scent pad in our strip will have to carry today.

6/11/23  Product upgrade for our soft plastic Rip Teezers™.  These herring replacement strips will now come with scent pad of our proven Re-Scent.  This is a great way to see how effective the strips are with 100% baitfish extract.  Best part know 1st hand how well this sauce works. This another big leap forward in tackle enhancement.  Having the strips packaged with scent pads leads to more success.  Click Rip Teezers

6/10/23  Fire danger alert for N MI.  Living in the woods, been thru a forest floor fire that burned 1/2 mile of federal land on my N property line.  You get your priorities straight in a hurry when the ground is burning next to your place.  1st was our pets. 2nd computers to keep records for business.  Everything else was a mishmash. 

6/9/23  MDNR's free fishing weekend that been expanded to include ORV and launch access without the required recreation passport.  If you want to introduce new folks to fishing in MI it won't cost them a dime.  MI as a state is just about as good as it gets for multi-species.  Walleyes push our ranking over the top of the rest.
           Have a great weekend.  It's been a few tough weeks for me dealing with unsavory issues and need time to decompress.

6/8/23  Fishing is supposed to be about fun.  Transitioning from a charter skipper to a Great Lakes tackle manufacturer is one of my greatest joys.
             Getting bogged down in legal battles with trademark pirates is not fun, but necessary.  Knew when I renewed my trademark I had to stop this rampant theft.
             Making our meat rigs™ is not path to riches.  Unless you can find workers that willing accept less than the going minimum wage. Click for cheater TM pirates
             With bait rigs being available for 20 years, I'm sure market saturation is making it difficult for some makers to sell product.  So, they steal my TM to boost sales.

6/7/23  Burning bridges in business and in small towns is bad.  Unless the bridge already collapsed under the weight of gross misconduct.  Deadbeat Carl Bud Fitzgerald owner of Tangled Tackle Co. and Christopher Ingalls from Dark Blue Charters knowingly abused my trademark, meat rig™ for their personal financial gain. Click for overwhelming proof 
            Me being nice is not going to fix this.  Already tried that.  Being marginalized & my trademark being diluted by 2 people with no respect for my rights is not going to happen!
                                     More on this tomorrow....

6/6/23  Covered the N end and the XG Frog color yesterday.  Moving to the far S end in today's featured photo for Tom M out of E Chicago, IN.  Tom has expert status on how and when to run the froggie meat program.  He's proven this over the years.
             Spoke of him this winter and after review it just didn't come out right with me not giving him a enough credit for wise lure color selections.  Click S Lk. MI King
             North, south and all points in-between our XG Frog is about as good, as it gets on Lk. MI.  This color is proven to produce from spring thru the fall.  How many lures do you have a aboard that can do the same?

6/5/23  Today's featured photo is from Top 40 Charters in MI's U.P.  He was fishing in the extreme N end of Lk. MI close to Fairport, MI.  Besides a good King the reel story here is the longevity of our soft plastic herring strips aka Rip Teezers™.  Think Capt. Steve's  XG-Frog 12" combo is on it's 5th season.  Cost to own per year is a bargain.
             This will be a good a start for tomorrow's chat about chasing the new stuff every year.  While new endless models are thrust on the public by many tackle companies,  New don't make it better, than proven tried and true colors. Click for strip and King Salmon

6/2/23  Latest word for Manistee, MI's harbor is deadsville since the bait left.  Boats fishing off the shelf and deeper water were still catching spring Kings.  Please keep in mind, with all fishing reports are in the past tense of what happened yesterday.  In a few short hours fish can move 10 miles, or more to favorable feeding grounds.
             Interesting factoid is the Manistee's harbor is smaller than Ludington, or Frankfort.  Even though Manistee has more commercial freighter traffic.

6/1/23  When big schools of bait/Alewives come into the harbor to spawn, the predatorily fish will come right along with them.  Good catches are coming in the harbors at central Lk. MI ports.  Even the MDNR fishing report mentioned this.  Click MDNR report
           This is perfect for the small boat fleet to get a whack at these fish before they scatter and head for deeper water. Click for 5/30/23 sonar bait
           Know the fleet numbers are down after more then a few years of scarce spring Kings.  Look for many to return as good as the fishing is.

5/31/23  Just not used to negative issues and dealing with the legal system.  Going pass on the expose for now, as not to tip my hand.  Will be covered in-depth next week.
               On the brighter side, spring Kings continue to be on a tear off central Lk. MI ports.  This is the best it's been in many years.  Evidenced by today's featured photo from Ludington's Capt. Kirk.  6 Kings & 2 Steelhead is good am catch.  Click 5/30/23 fish
               This the time of the year when small boat fishermen can get in the action fishing in and around the harbor.  Spring Kings are aggressive biters.

5/30/23  Legal meetings this morning.  Will expose a competitor of what he said when I told him his rigs were a POS tomorrow.  What he had to say shocked me and will shock you too.   Come to find out he's just a front man for a machine shop without a clue to design, or cost to manufacture.  Been holding this back, but he needs to be exposed.

5/29/23  Have a wonderful Memorial Day.  Please take time to give thanks to those that gave all and didn't get a chance to enjoy their favorite activities today.  There's no winners in war, only the grave digger trade at full employment.  During my life lived thru the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan wars & a few others that are too small to mention.

5/28/23  Posted a photo of a jumbo spawner Alewife that was alive and well until it met it's fate when a big King gobbled up not from from Ludington, MI's harbor.
              Harbor was loaded with bait the last I heard from local expert angler, Capt. Kirk. Seeing the harbors filling up with Alewives again  is almost like hitting the lottery.

5/26/23  Have safe and great Memorial Day Weekend that is the unofficial kickoff for the summer season.  No word on the looming Consent Decree yet.
               Extended season on Onekama, MI's Portage Lake for perch.  Spring Kings at all central Lk. MI ports is the best it's been in several years and that's wonderful news!

5/25/23  Federal court day for the new Consent Degree for the next 20 years, if the tribal fishers agree to it?  Should be some word in the news of how this went.
              Overall it's dumb for this to be an issue.  A billion dollar sport fishery vs. commercial netters worth far less just don't add up.  Then, again, it depends on the judge, if he has any interest in preserving the fishery, or hands over the fishery to the tribes.  Time will tell, but don't get your hopes up until we know the final agreement.

5/24/23  While seeking a buyer tackle company for sale in 2024, I'm still working on new never seen before tackle projects.  So, by no means have I thrown in the towel.
               Innovation is when I'm at my best.  Not being a carbon copy and breaking my own trail has been at the forefront when I quit chartering and guiding in 2003.
               Best move I've ever made is being able to serve you with what no other manufacturer has.  Plus, top notch quality that makes our stuff last for years.

5/23/23  Growing gracefully was obviously written by someone who has not experienced aging.  So, it's a big lie!  All crucial body systems are subject to wear and tear.  In my case vision with wet macular degeneration causes some vision loss.  Yes, you can still see, but not like when you were 20 years old.  Hearing is another 24/7 long haul sense.
              A lot of this is up to chance with what DNA
sequence genes you were born with.  It's up to nature on how you age.  Know you can't teach an old dogs new tricks is another big lie.  All of my computer skill sets were learned after 55 years old.
             Good thing about fishing is everyone is created equal in the eyes of a fish.  At any age fishing is a challenge that extends your youth!

5/22/23  The fish are still biting in Central LK. MI, as evidenced by today's featured photo.  To make this report even better there's 15 pound Brown with Kings at, or pushing 20 pounds that came from Ludington yesterday.  Click for these Ludington Fish
               Ludington's own Capt. Kirk came thru with another timely report to keep us informed of his success.  Looks like we're going to have a great season!

5/20/23  Armed Forces Day is set aside for our military.  We can honor them by not having more wars.  Human life is precious.  The nearly 60,000 US service members were killed in Vietnam.  This is a tragic loss.  The 60k could have included the person who could have cured cancer and other major diseases.  Now, we'll never know....

5/19/23  Just going to let the video ride for another day.  The second half is important and brings issues into focus.  Let's hope this bears fruit.

5/18/23  Hope yesterday's posted video help you get a better understanding of the Consent Degree mess.  13 minutes 30 seconds is the important part.
               This is my 3rd go-round with sport vs. commercial fishing here in MI going back to the late 1970s when the Soo tribe emptied Little Grand Traverse Bay.  Area they wiped out with gill nets was between Charlevoix & Petoskey MI.
              Know the fishing public is vary passionate about their sport, or we wouldn't invest the time and money.  But this whole issue is like quicksand, the more you struggle the deeper you sink.  Best bet is to look at our options, if the gill nets become reality? 

5/17/23  Public TV channel WCMU covers a recent episode on MI Out of Doors covered by Steve Shultz in-depth commentary concerning the new Consent Decree and the push for gill nets by the tribes.  Steve's informative discussion is in the second half.
              Reel fact is sports and commercial fishermen have been at odds, because of different goals.  Commercial netters idea is to take and take until there's nothing left.  So, this is not just a tribal issue, it's a preserving the fishery issue.  Click for this video

5/16/23  Think all fishermen have to be optimists. Failure, doom and gloom are not options when it comes to fishing, or you'd never leave the dock.  That's why seeing more spring Kings this spring has kick started my outlook.
              Hitting my double nickel 55th season chasing Great Lakes  Trout and Salmon this year.  I've learned is more spring Kings transfer to more tackle busting summer adults.

5/15/23  Lk. MI is 46° on the surface according to the Ludington data buoy.  Then, transitions to 40° to anything after 25'-30'.  Prime temp for spring Kings.
              What I noticed about  the spring Kings at central LK. MI since the 1st part of April is the girth of the fish.  There's no doubt last year's crop of Alewives and the die off kept Kings fat and sassy for the fleet this year and beyond.
              Know with the amount of Kings around there has to be some bait around to keep the big guy bruisers available for Lk. MI anglers.

5/14/23  Mothers Day a special time set aside for the person who made us possible.  Be sure to show your mom some love today.  Like the song by Joni Mitchell, "you don't know what you have until it's gone" fits with the passing of my mother 20 years ago.

5/12/23 From the reports I've seen, most all MI ports have spring Kings.  This is a departure from the past when the Salmon stayed in the SE part of Lk. MI until later May.  Warmer winters and no ice is reshuffling the timetable of our King Salmon fishery.
                            Have a great Mothers Day Weekend!

5/11/23  Chat from 4/11/23 mentioned the Lk. MI water level being down 2' or more.  Warmer then normal winter allowed more evaporation days on Lk. MI. 
              Evaporation is how most of the water is lost.  Dropping Lk. MI water levels effects ports that do not have a major river system.  Ports like Leland, Onekama and Arcadia just to name a few subject to getting sanded in from wave action.
              For now, Arcadia harbor is closed to larger boats with 2' to 4' of water in their channel.  Hope this issue is resolved soon.  Click mouth of Arcadia channel

5/10/23  New 73 lb. world record for catch and release for Lake Trout caught in Colorado.   This giant weird looking LT was 47" long with a 37" rotund gut girth.
             Interesting part is the article where I found this said it took only 13 minutes to land this behemoth.  Lakers over 12-14 pounds have vertical layers fat in the fillets.  Betcha there enough fat in this fish to deep fry a turkey.   Click for the reel article

5/9/23  More good news concerning the status of the spring Kings at central Lk. MI ports.  Manistee County Sport Fishing Association held the annual small boat big fish contest that was dominated by Kings from 15 to 20 pounds this past weekend.
            Compared to this 2022 tournament when only one 8 pound King was registered.  That's a super huge increase and shows the Kings are definitely on the rebound.  Factor in this is only early May that will improve as the month wears on. Click event standings

5/8/23  Best news we Great Lakes Salmon fishing folks we can hear.  Kings were caught in respectable numbers yesterday out of Ludington, MI by my local favorite Capt. Kirk.
            He had what looks like 4 double digit fat healthy Kings boxed.  This is a big deal with Kings in decent numbers showing up this early in May.  This should only improve during the coming weeks as more bait moves toward shore. Click Kirk's Kings
            Kirk's weapons of choice was the high action Gold Orange Crush and the Pearl Icy Blue 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons.  He used both of the colors/spoons with great success for at least the last 5 years.  These are proven no brainer bargains.

5/7/23  Let's all enjoy reel-fact spring is here full force.  Outside projects will be my focus today and working on tackle.  Good times ahead for all of us.

5/5/23  Improving weather means improving spring fishing.  Water temps govern the whole food web.  From plankton, to bait to predator fish rising water temp is good news.
             We've finally turned the corner and spring is here in full force.  Now is the time to jump start summer projects after a lousy chilly weather. 
             Cost of a big water fishing rig is the same if you use it, or not.  The "or not" part is loss of recreation that makes to joy of life worth living.

5/4/23  DNR reports are encouraging for spring Kings from St. Joe to Muskegon, MI.  They even mentioned Manistee with a few Kings being taken in the stained harbor plume to 30'.  In about 6 weeks we'll have a better handle on what to expect this July and August.
             Need to thank everyone who've purchased my tackle since 2004.  Without those believing in me to spend their tackle dollars would have never made it to 2023.  Know for a reel-fact nothing was left on the table and make tackle to last many seasons.

5/3/23  I have a good long attention span that's good for 20 years, but it's time for me to call it quits in the tackle business after this season.  Haven't had shop help for orders since the Covid crap hit the fan.  Being in my mid 70s it's a stretch to keep up.
            Hung the for sale sign on listing tackle for sale in 2024. 
Next year the Salmon tackle business will see a major rebound.  Click 4 Sale

5/2/23  The beginning of May looks and feels more like the 1st of March.  Temps in the 30s with rain, wind  and snow is pitiful for this time of the year.  Average temps 15 to 20 degrees below normal is nobody's idea of fun after being cooped up all winter.  Like if it wasn't enough joy already, wind took out electric at 4:35am. Generac backup power is on.
             Looks like we're out of the woods later this week with 70s on the way.
         Big announcement tomorrow that has to do with my 20 year attention span.

5/1/23  Month of the spring Kings is here.  Southern ports like St. Joe, South Haven and Saugatuck will see what this year's crop is like.  Towards the end of May and into the 1st part of June central Lk. Mi ports will take over.  Used to get a 3 week window that's not near as long now.  Trick is to be on the water when the Kings are within reach.
             Manistee's channel to Lk. MI will busy with many boats jigging for Walleye from Last Saturday's opener.  Never caught a Lk. MI Walleye, some in big river. 

4/29/23  Big water fishing is a shared experience between fishing friends is more rewarding.  Better yet? ...if you've known them for a long time.  I've went from a long list of excellent folks to fish with down to almost zero.  Most have went to the big pond in the sky.  Others can longer go due to health issues.  Cherish those you fish with.  Heaven forbid, there will come a time when your options no longer exists.

4/28/23  Tomorrow, the last Saturday in April is the Trout stream opener.  Brook Trout are excellent table fare bar none.  Brookies can be found in any cold water stream.  Often underneath banks and in log jams.  They can be aggressive biters and fight like hell.
               Antrim County's Jordon River is where I've caught my largest Brook Trout on small 3 egg spawn bags.  Creeks you can step across will have fish, but they'll be small.  Worms covering the hook work excellent too.  Click Brook Trout info

4/27/23  Temperatures have been running 10°-15° below normal for about the past 10 days.  Lows in the mid 20s is not spring like weather.  I'm sure this has held fleet pressure back from the looks of things from the MDNR port reports. Click DNR reports
               Next week Wednesday is hump day when more normal 50s and 60s settle in for the long haul.  Been biding my time for some decent weather.  Reason?  my time on the water is very limited and want to enjoy the outing.

4/26/23  I'm sure you've heard about forward facing sonar used by the bass fishermen.
Now Garmin has a deep water application named, LiveScope™ XR System.  Advert says it's good to 500' deep in freshwater and 350' in saltwater. Click XR System
              Featured photo shows deeper than 150' and out to 160' in front of your boat.  Drawback is the plus 3k price and that don't buy the display.
              This new tech will expand in the future and the cost will come way down.  Biggest plus to to mark bait.  Salmon are always moving, bait balls will be more static.

4/25/23  Lk. MI's water level is down maybe 2' from the past few years.  This is no big deal for most who use major launches.  When you launch at a ramp like Manistee, MI's 9th Street ramp it's sand and gravel bottom that's hard on water pumps. Click 9th St.
              Another issue depends on where you dock.  Pier 31 marina, formerly Solbergs has a shallow sandy mucky bottom that eats raw water pumps in straight inboard drives.  Good advice is to have have a spare impeller kits onboard for a quick fix.  These can be hard to locate in-season.  Raw water pump rebuild takes less then an 1/2 hour.

4/24/23  Been avoiding the slippery slope of the new gill net Consent Decree like the plague.  There's no way to win as the tribes are flexing their muscle.
              Do know the Soo tribes want free access to all treaty waters.  Do know in the 1980s these were the people that wiped out the Lake Trout fishery in a lot of areas.
             Do know there's a tribe, or tribes are pushing for subcontractors to do the fishing.  This is only speculation on my part, but past history leads to the Little River Band of failed netters that sunk boats and never pulled their nets.  This fake Manistee tribe had no seamanship skills and created hazards to navigation.

4/22/23  Long over due personal projects day.

4/21/23  Sometimes it's good to remind myself just how good the glow properties exhibited by our spoons, flashers and meat heads. 
              This didn't come easy, or cheap locating the right master-batch colorants for injection molding.  Figure in, being a more, or less a rookie having tackle turn out like today's featured spoon is a gift from the fish gods and a lot of hard work.
             New test XG Super Frog for 2023 is in the works.  Please note the bright glow ladder back not equaled by any other manufacturers.  Click new test Froggie

4/20/23  Working on some new spoon colors that feature XG ladder backs.  This lure tape is the absolute best glow on the market that costs around 600 bucks a roll.  Should have photos of the glow properties in tomorrow's chat.  Procrastination is something I excel at, or I'd have the new pics posted already.

4/19/23  Spring Kings are not light sensitive like the adult summer bruisers.  Usually, spring Salmon of all parts of the family tree will bite all day long.  Remember you're dealing with an aggressive eating machine.  Kings go from a 1/4" egg to possibly a 30 pounder in 5 short years.  Not many freshwater fish can even come close.
              Signs for this spring is promising with a few springers already being caught.  Mid May into early June has produced my best results in all central Lk. MI ports.

4/18/23  Beam me up goes good the theme of Capt. Kirk's boat, Enterprise.  Even better he's beamed a few Kings onboard this early in the season.  These are scouts for the main herd due to arrive in a matter of weeks at central Lk. MI ports. Click Kirk's King
              Featured King photo shows Kirk had a weather window before the wind from the SW got to puffing over 20 knots.  Big Point Sable weather station has been out.  I reply on the wind data from the big point that's checked every time before leaving the house.
             NOAA says this station will be available again soon, I hope.

4/17/23  Ludington longtime local, Capn. Kirk has a unique program the day I fished the same waters as him about 5-6 years, being straight out of Ludington's harbor in 40' to 60'.
              My boat took 4, all respectable Kings.  Kirk got into double figures by using 6 planer boards and half lead cores, 150'.  Trick is Kirk uses 17 pound test lead core that's a lot thinner than the fleet standard 27 pound test.  The thinner core is more stealthy.
             When Kirk fishes shallow know he used our in-line 3/8 ounce keel sinkers when on the beach with a 5'-6' lead, close to shore.  Kirk's passion for fishing speaks for itself over the past 40-50 years.  Big thanks for keeping us posted.  Click Kirk's 4/15/23 catch

4/16/23  Good news, Capn. Kirk took another decent  King yesterday morning out of Ludington, MI.  Kirk said he fished N and his King came on the Gold Orange Crush 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon.  Enhanced story tomorrow....

4/15/23  Early heat waves always comes with high winds, mostly from the S.  This elevates fire danger.  High winds knock branches into power lines results in starting fires.  Went thru this a few years back when the woods caught fire about 500' N of where I live.  Fire stayed on the ground and burnt undergrowth for a good half mile.
              When you smell smoke as we did, all kinds of issues come up fast.  Like what to save and scoot.  Had the dogs and computers disconnected ready to load.  Luckily the fire never came that close to the house.  Some forces you just can't control.

4/14/23  MDNR has started the port reports for the 2023 season.  Mostly pier and river fishing for now.  Some reports from LK. MI, but they were scant.
              Temps in the 80s for Manistee, MI are rare.  Make sure to enjoy this prelude of summer weather this weekend.  Next week is a lot cooler.

4/13/23  Been is a rush to complete outdoor projects while the warm weather continues.  Hold up on my boat trailer with a bad bunk stringer is semi solved.  Going to put a splint under the bad spot to get by until the boat is docked for a few days to replace bunk.
              20 years after leaving the charter business still get old customers wanting to rebook.  Nice to know loyalty last this long.  Don't miss lake chartering a-at-all.  It's a tough job with long hours when you're trying to support yourself 12 months with a short 3 month window, unless you port hop like I once did.  Hours involved is immense.

4/12/23  Mum is the word from Manistee, MI for fishing reports.  Point man, Wayne J lives in the city maybe 15 blocks away from the ramp.  Wayne relayed to me there'sust not many boat fishing.  Know he almost checks everyday.
              Do know somebody will find some fish.  Then, the word spreads like wild fire as anglers pile-on looking to cash in.  Always remember, there's is a first and when the first finds the fish, their reward is the most bountiful.

4/11/23  Next Monday I'll be offering a 23% discount on most tackle at my web store.  Timing is everything and we're too close to tax day April 15th to garner attention.  I'm overstocked on heads and meat rigs mostly with the King catch being off last few years.
              Plan is to reduce as much inventory as possible.  Then sell my tackle business in 2025 when the fishing will probably be banner year.  Seen slow tackle sales before and enjoy and use the time for projects that wouldn't normally have time for.
              Get outside and enjoy a the warm weather we've all yearned for!

4/10/23  70° yesterday says welcome to the 2023 season.  Finally warm temps are here with high 70s predicted this week.  Shifted gears getting my boat ship shape is the task at at hand.  Dealt with a stuck slider door on my pole barn that was sand locked.
              Great Lakes season will start moving pretty fast now.  There's a lot to look forward to after being cooped up all winter.  It's no secret the few summer King seasons were lack luster.  Look  for an upswing in bigger fish and more available as last season's banner spring crop of juvenile Chinooks grow up.  Indicators are highly promising!

4/9/23  Have a great Easter.

4/7/23  The new container port facility on Lk. Erie at Monroe MI is flying under the radar.  I'm familiar with this area and foresee a huge complex on the Raisin River.  The Raisin flows into the S side Brest Bay that's a perennial magnet for Walleye fishermen.
             Question is what kind of new invasive species is more world-wide shipping going to bring to our Great Lakes?  1st seen Zebra mussels on a stick fished up off the bottom in this area in 1985 when I ran charters during late May, June, early July Walleyes on Lk. Erie.

4/6/23  Early season April Kings are a challenge at central Lk. MI ports.  It's a big reward when you land any April King, because the main herd is still over a 100 miles S at ports like St. Joe, Saugatuck and South Haven.  Click Icy Blue SB 4.0 catch
             Icy Blue 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon is a pearl base with in-house custom powder blue laminated ice chip lure tape.  This spoon is a proven winner going back to 2018.  How many spoons do you own that have that kind of longevity? Icy_Blue 4.0 SB spoon
             Know we're going to be in good shape for above average sized Kings this year.  Not sure on the numbers, but bait was thick during the die-off last year.

4/5/23  Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk drew 1st blood when it comes to the 1st big King for this season.  Kirk was my former UPS driver for plus 10 years and is darn good at early and late season fishing.  His track record speaks for itself.  Click 1st big King for 2023
           Kirk said his big guy came on a blue and white spoon, but can't confirm is it came on the Icy Blue 4.0 Salmon Buster spoon he's used with great success in the past.  This Icy Blue spoon has done me right out of Ludington too. Icy_Blue 4.0 SB spoon

4/4/23  April tax season that's a quadruple whammy for us.  2022 business taxes and personal taxes are a must do.  Throw in the 1st quarter excise and State of MI sales taxes for more must do tasks,  Office admin stuff is not my strong suit and never was.
             Touched 60° at my place in Manistee, MI yesterday.  Nice to be outside with just a sweat shirt on.  Unfortunately, never had a chance to prep my boat.  Today looks like this afternoon to get a start.  Have to replace a bunk on the Sea Ray's trailer.  Have the carpet.  2" by 6" that 16' long transport from lumberyard is still in the thought stage.

4/3/23  Looks like we're finally going to see some springtime temps.  This coming Wednesday it supposed to be in the mid-to low 60° range for Manistee, MI.  Been a long long time since we've had this kind of weather.
            Plan on spending a good amount of time getting my 1979 22' Sea Ray ready for this maiden voyage of 2023.  Figure in about 2-3 hours should be ready to go.
            Removing the snow plow is something I'm looking forward to.  Have to that before putting the camper on for out of town new port adventures.

3/31/23  Time marches on to April.  Improving weather next week looks promising.  Slider was missed in yesterday's chat about baseball/fishing.  Have a great weekend!

3/30/23  Major League Baseball's opening day.  There's ironic similarities between fishing and the game of baseball.  Tangents begin with steals, fish steals a bait, not a base.  Fish can make runs, but not score.  Both sports can happens in all kinds of weather at anytime of day, or night.  Crowds can make a wave, we all know about waves on the Great Lakes. Worst one is striking out, meaning the dreaded skunk.
            Detroit Tigers are the oldest of all teams in one city, going back to 1894.  Close to the same time
William Shakespeare, of Kalamazoo, Michigan invented the first level wind reel in 1986.  Both sports pump billions of dollars into our economy.

3/29/23  Fishing tournament cheaters get caught and plead guilty.  A pair of OH Walleye tournament anglers who got caught red-handed stuffing their catch with lead weights. Now have to forfeit their 100 grand boat and other penalties.  What motivates people to cheat?  Winning at all costs is not winning when you're a thief.
             Their winnings would have only been 28k.  Cost and shame to their reputation exceeds that 10 fold and will follow them for life. Click cheaters pay the price

3/28/23  In today's split subject photo there's my MC MI boat registration stickers.  It costs me 40 bucks a year for what?  Boat launches I've used at Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort are supported by launch fees.  Onekama has free launch with EZ parking and access that's probably my favorite. Click MI boat stickers
               So, the big question is what am I getting for 40 bucks a year?  Most all MI boat launches have been built since the late 1970s are are supported public launching fees.  MI is currently operating on huge budget surplus that we see no benefit of.

3/27/23  Admittedly, I'm behind when it comes to smart phones.  But that don't mean I can't learn useful functions of this tool when it comes to fishing.  A quick photo will store your fishing license pronto.  Same goers for your boat registration.  Apps cover everything from wind to MDNR's app for regulations and purchasing. Click DNR app
              Smart phone GPS will guide you home if your boat electronics fail.  Most useful is weather radar that can show you cells moving across the Great Lakes. Click cell license
             Older apps are 2.4G, new cell network is 5G.  Have a dual band network at home and need to see if my apps still work when I'm away from home on a 5G connection

3/26/23  Yesterday's 6"-8" of a wet heavy snow does not put us in a spring mindset.  Like you, I'm waiting for the weather to break for the better.  We've been dealing with cold and snow since last November and it's time for warmer temperatures.
                 Tomorrow will be about organization with a useful tool.

3/25/23  2023 fishing licenses are available now at the MDNR's website.  Looks like the new licenses have been available since March 1st, 2023.  Easy to purchase online..  Best part is you can print out several copies and have a file to print out more.
              The best 11 bucks I'll spent this year was for my senior license.  While I don't look for this year to be gangbusters, promise is 2024 from all the small juvenile Kings that made their presence known last year up and down central Lk. MI ports.

3/24/23  Need to check and see when the new 2023 fishing licenses are available for purchasing online.  At any price, the cost is a bargain for the amount of recreational hours spent fishing.  Buying online is fast and simple once you have an account setup with the MDNR.  Last year's license expires on 3/31/23.

3/23/23  There's no joy in announcing the new page covering what happened to Manistee 15 years ago during the Little River Tribe's debacle into commercial trap net fishing. 
               This was a mess from the get-go in 2007 until it mostly ended in 2008 with floating ghost nets creating hazards to navigation.  Page consists of random excerpts from archived daily updates, photos and a whistle blower document. Click LRB Rip-Off
              This sets the stage for the next push of the LRB into the realm of gill netters.  They were not successful 15 years ago and are destined to fail again.  There's no way to make instant mariners, this comes from years on the water with abilities to maintain a sea worthy boat.  Look for more scams when the new Consent Decree is settled this May.

3/22/23  Heard a eulogy at my wife's grandmother funeral that had a good preacher.  He said people spend 90% of their time worrying about things that will never happen.
              Case in point about the Little River Tribe pushing for gill nets.  They've proved in 2007-2008 they have no skills as commercial netters.  Next is the question of boats capable to set long strings of deep water gills nets they don't have.  Lack of experience sunk their boats in the last go-round when every Little River band tribal netter eventually failed.  So, even if they set gill nets don't look for this to be long term.

3/21/23  Taking today off.  Need time to digest pieces and parts of the new page I'm working on that proves what crooks a few members of the Little River Tribe were.  Select individuals stole millions of dollars and ripped off their tribe and us.  Anyone who takes this tribe at face value is in for a rude awakening when it comes to their end of the bargain.
              Good thing is I have all the archived photos, documents and daily updates that layout without any shadow of doubt what scam they pulled.
              This whole Jim Dexter MDNR Fisheries division rubber stamping gill nets shows what dummies we pay money to.  It's sad and laughable what idiots are running the show.

3/20/23  Great news!  Mr. Winter 2023 has met his expiration date and been evicted from the calendar.  Improving weather means more outdoor recreation activities.  Recreation is formed from the word, "create."  It's up to you to make fun stuff happen that makes living life worthwhile.  Personal time/recreation beats the daily ho-hum drudgery.
             In a huge way, looking for the 1st day in the 50s-60s to get my boat ready for the maiden voyage of our shiny brand new season.  It's going be a big joy!

3/19/23  Mr. Winter 2023 swan song has let us know he's not done, just ...quite yet.  Past few days have been windy and chilly.  Highs in the mid 20s and lows in the mid-teens seems more like January weather, rather then days before official spring.
             Looks like after tomorrow, we have clear sailing with predicted spring-like highs in the 40s from tomorrow on.  Good to see relief on the horizon.
             Started a new page to document the scams of the Little River Tribe with their go-round fake attempt to be tribal trap net fishers.  Most of which is from 2008.  This page will feature photos,  documents and excerpts from archived daily updates.

3/18/23  In my 23 years of daily updates none are as important as sport fishing vs. commercial fishing in our Great Lakes.  For the most part, sportfishermen support their fishery thru license fees.  Commercial fishers pay squat!
             There's a wide disparity in the worth of hook & line sport fishing vs. commercial netters.  Commercial fishers do not care there's an advisory for pregnant women on Lk. Trout.  Their goal is to take as much, as they can the shortest amount of time.
             Drive behind my chat for today came from WI's Steve B. who keeping us informed with WI commercial netters pushing to target Lk. Trout.  Fishing is supposed to be about recreation and fun that needs our protection.  Click WI article about LT netters.

3/17/23  Happy St. Patrick's Day.  California Salmon anglers are not going to have the luck of the Irish with their Salmon season being closed.  Closure extends to Oregon down to Mexico.  This is the worst possible news for our brother W coast fishermen.
              We all know there's issues with the spotty King fishery for past 4-5 years, but at least we get a fair shot at catching some.  Click CA Salmon closure article

3/16/23  As of March 9, 2023 is officially listed as my trademark for Rip Teezer™ from the US patent office.  Now I get to use™ to protect the name of my soft plastic strips that's been a game changer for the way I fish.  Haven't used bait, strips or whole since 2012 and never feel I'm at a loss for doing so. 
              Seen the X-Glow strips out produce bait more than once is side by side tests.  This was a project learning exercise in in-house manufacturing that took months.

3/15/23  1st fishing report out of the Port of Manistee, MI says a few Browns have been caught S of the harbor.  A better yet unconfirmed report mentioned the harbor was better.
               Inshore, on the beach fishing is all about water temp.  Below 38° never produced well for the charters I ran.  40° to 44° was prime with easy limits in April.  This outstanding fishery dried up by 2005 to very inconsistent results.
               If was fishing today? time would be spent working the color break where the river water meets Lk. MI that's always attractive to bait fish.

3/14/23  Burbot are an oddball species that don't hit a trolled lure very often.  In my 50 some years of fishing the Great Lakes, may be boxed around 10.  They curl up in the box like a snake and are said to be good eating.  Know from filleting a few of them, there's not much meat, only good piece is the tail section behind the rib cage. Click for Burbot
             Bob L was kind enough to email us a photo from his buddy that was ice fishing in the U.P.  Interesting part is a LED light was added above what he was jigging.  A brown trout took the LED setup too.  His only 2 fish of the day came on the LED rigged lures.

3/13/23  About a week away from the official start of spring 2023.  Looks like 30s and some 40s, as we approach the changing of the seasons.
              Going down the rabbit hole of the soon to be here gill nets at all central Lk. MI ports is hard to get way from.  I have history with the trap net fiasco in the mid i2ks here in Manistee, MI.  Made it a point to list all locations with GPS coordinates.  Safe zone was always the deeper side in 200' of water.  Expect to do the same this May when the new consent decree takes hold.  Safety for you will never be overlooked on my end.

3/12/23  Still trying to hash out that Pandora's Box Lk. MI gill nets open.  For 40 years everything was against gill nets.  The MDNR gave the fake Little River Tribe 6 million dollars for trap net fishing.  This money was stolen in a quick money grab.  Tribe chief had to go on the lamb, because there was fraud going on.  Little River Tribe was not a tribe according to the Department of the Interior.  They got tribal status from an add-on in a port-barrel congressional bill.  Townsfolk in Manistee voted a referendum against a casino.
              Granted the MDNR has little negotiating leverage when the federal court confirm tribal fishing rights.  Bad part is what ever the tribes agree to, look for their end of the bargain not to be upheld.  Witnessed this in Manistee with nets not being marked, being lost, because they were to lazy to pull them when winter approached.

3/11/23  Dave Caroffino from the MDNR wins the dummy of the month award for saying gill nets were in some way going to protect Lk. MI fish.  Obviously, this idiot just crawled out of a dung heap to be spokesman on Channel 9 TV News out of Cadillac, MI.
              Caroffino is part the Jim Dexter criminal cabal that allows contaminated fish to be sold to the public.  MI Department of Health has a poor track record going back to Flint, MI's lead contaminated water.  Dioxin laden Lk. Trout will be a big national story someday.

3/10/23  Posted 2 new photos today courtesy of Wayne J.  1. it's game on for Lk. MI out of Manistee, MI with 2 docks installed at the 1st Street boat launch.  Click docks in
              2.  new entrance to launch your boat is across the road where the entrance to the Lakeshore Motel that's now the Hampton Inn.  First impression it looks like a cluster where you have to drive around and thru boat parking.  Time will tell how this works out.
              The Hampton Inn is getting a free ride building a 5-6 story motel/hotel.  Tax payers of Manistee bought and paid for sewers, power grid and roads.  So, Hampton gets all this stuff for free, even has the right to change roads. Click new launch entrance

3/9/23  Video update about prey/baitfish trawl data.  To decipher approx 2.5 acres is a hectare.  25mm make a little over an inch.  You can get a taste of what's going to take an hour to watch.  I recommend viewing it on YouTube by clicking here.

3/8/23  Plan was to dig into the history of downriggers, that's postponed until tomorrow.  Changes to Manistee's boat launch are in the works that concerns a new entrance.
             These changes are to accommodate the multi-story Hampton Inn being built on the old Lakeshore Motel property across from the 1st Street Beach. Click more info
              This a white elephant that's not going to show a profit.  Hampton needs 25,500 rooms booked a night out of 36,500 nights (100 room building).  25.5k is 70% that read once motels/hotels need to be profitable.  This must be a tax write off the Hampton Inns.
             No problem to book in the 4-5 warm months.  Wind coming across the lake during winter will teach you what the meaning of cold is.

3/7/23  This weekend is clock yoyo time.  We'll "spring" forward 1 hour to DST (Daylight Saving Time).  The US senate unanimously passed a bill to make DST permanent.  My web research didn't mention this bill being signed by the president.
            Know there's more people for it, than against it.  Biggest gripe is about school kids going in the dark.  Fix this by starting schools as hour later.  Debate goes on about DST saving energy that's not a black and white issue, because of today's LED lighting.

3/6/23  Don't know about you, but I'm ready for some tee shirt weather.  Winter is getting long in the tooth and ready for it to be over.  We've been dealing with winter in Manistee since last November and it's time for spring like temps.  Granted, we've had a very mild winter.  Fact is tee shirt weather is good to look forward to.
           Posted a photo of a King we released when my best bud, John J was still with us that's a good example of warmer days ahead & hopefully soon!  Click JJ & released King

3/4/23  Have a great weekend, you more than deserve it!

3/3/23  Before picture of crud inside my computer shows the dust and dirt that can accumulate over a couple of years.  Blown out with compressed air it's squeaky clean on the inside.  Unfortunately, the after photo was too blurry to use. Click computer crud
          Partitioned the new 2TB SSD where I have drive G 750GB of space.  Will be installing Linux's Ubuntu OS distribution as I try to move away from Microsoft.  You can run Microsoft programs inside Linux with a program called WINe.

44° at 11am yesterday says March 2023 came in like a lamb.  Average daytime highs will continue to climb this month into the lower 50s by month's end.  We're less  than 3 weeks away from official spring, as our mild winter passes into history.
            Spring cleaning my computers with compressed air to blow the crud out.  Computers fans process massive amounts of air and that means dust.  Have some before and after photos I'll post tomorrow.
            Newly cloned 2TB SSD is working fine after a few few password hiccups on high end software.  Will be partitioning cloned C drive later today.  Prices on new SSDs have fell like rocks to very affordable prices.  SSD stand for solid state drive, no spinning disks.

3/1/23  Hello March 2023!  We're just weeks away from official spring and you know what that means ...Great Lakes fishing!!  In like a sheep/lamb, might best describe today's weather.  Out like a lion?  We'll just have to wait and see, as time marches on.
             Upgraded the sata hard drive (SSD) in this computer to 2TBs from 1TB by cloning it with Crucial's Acronis.  The cloning process takes hours, but it's actually quite easy.
             1TB will be a backup drive with a functioning WIN 10 OS in case Microsoft's forced updates corrupt my system like early last week.  Only thing left is to install the new 2TB SSD when I open the computer case later today for a remount.  When the case is open will blow the dust out with compressed air (used to air brush) in the shop.
                        My guestimation snowometer stands at 74" (72 + 2).

2/28/23  Featured photo of graph shows when BKD (Bacterial Kidney Disease) cratered the Lk. MI King catch rates in the late 1980s.  This devastated my charter business when I was in Frankfort, MI.  While still able to fill boxes of LTs for Lk. MI customers, repeat business melted away like a snowflake on a hot stove. Click Salmon graph
              Same time frame Lk. Huron's King/Chinook Salmon catch went up.  In 1989 moved my summer charters to Port Austin, MI and did see a rebound in repeat customers.  Fishing off the tip of Michigan's thumb was top notch.  EZ limits of LTs when needed, but enough Kings to keep charter customers happy with mixed bag and big numbers.
              Left Port Austin, dockage was too iffy at Bruce Deshano's marina who owns OffShore Tackle's inline boards   Bruce mentioned more than once about selling it.  So, long term moved back to Lk. MI out of the Port of Manistee, MI at Riverside Marina in 1991.

2/27/23  Posted an interesting graph with MI stocking and catch rates on King (Chinook) Salmon from 1968 thru 2015.  It shows the peaks and valleys with a fishery that's in a constant the state flux (always moving).   Highest Lk. MI catch rate was 1986 and then again in 2012.  Granted it doesn't take into account 2016 until now.
              Know everyone has concerns about the gills nets ready to descend on central Lk. MI ports.  1986 peak was just after tribal gill netters took massive amounts of Lk. Trout from Little Traverse Bay (Petoskey) to S of Manistee. Click Salmon graph
              Lk. Trout preferred bait is Alewives according to what I've read.  LTs eat 24/7 365 days a year.  Know cold winter water does not take Lakers off the bite.  In 1990 caught limits of LTs down 100' in 34° water in early May in Lk. Huron's Alaska Bay E of Port Austin, MI.  To be continued tomorrow.....

2/26/23  Tomorrow's focus will be every cloud has a silver lining.  New hire training session went well.  Plus, I knew his uncle back 20 some years ago.

2/25/23  New hire employee training day this afternoon.  Need more help to free up my schedule to get more water time.  Trained a new prospect a week ago yesterday.  This turned into a ___ storm.  In week he had my tools and supplies, nothing was ever done. 
               Concern on my part was to retrieve materials and tools, because no emails, or phone calls were answered.  Got lucky when he secretly dropped off all the stuff.  Glad it happened this way to save an awkward face to face meeting.

2/24/23  Ending the week on a positive note that says progress.  Printing 3D diver rings is moving along nicely.  Made about 40-50 rings in green, black and red.  It's a marvel to have in-house production.  Still amazed on the tolerances I designed in so these rings fit size "0" dipsey divers.  Injection molding tool wear over time and actually grow larger.  That had to be taken into account during the design process.
            Big predicted snow storm was a fizzle with only 4"-5" of wet heavy snow.  Next week every day is predicted to be above freezing for Manistee, MI.
             My snowometer stands at 72" (67 + 5) for the 22/23 season.

2/23/23  Fixing issues is a battle we fight all to win.  Never will Microsoft's Win 10 updates grind me to a halt.  Seen price drop on sata SSDs (solid state hard-drives).  Ordered a 2TB at $120 to clone the 1TB in use.  Plan is to clone existing SSD and replace with the new 2TB.  1TB will be on standby for a swap to keep my business up and running.
              Windows 10 is good thru 2025 with Microsoft support.  Then, Win 10 is a dead duck and Windows 11 takes over.  Big snow storm is dumping inches now.
             Tip: software purchased online comes with a product code for activation.  I have a folder in my documents named, keys.  All codes purchased are archived in case of moving to a new computer, or catastrophic operating system fail.

2/22/23  Recuperating from a marathon to get my business back up and running after a computer meltdown.  Not self inflicted, but Microsoft's Win 10 buggy update .net framework.  Think this a bigger deal and just has not made the news it ...yet.
              Big storm is on the way.  In like a lion, out like a lamb is long standing March myth.  You can make your own mind up, 30s and snow showers is what a week from today is about (3/1/23).  Just that much closer to spring fishing and demise of winter's grip.

2/21/23  Catastrophic computer failure from Microsoft Win 10 update.  Took out the network/internet side completely.  Had to do a fresh install.  Lost all of my programs.  This is deep deep do.  Called Microsoft paid support,  Never called me back.  Lost downloaded programs, do have product keys to re-installation. 
              Not to mention passwords that were lost.  I'm taking a day off from computer where I've been living for the past 15 hours, trying every workaround to no avail.  Be back Thursday once my severe computeritis wanes.  Not being able to print shipping labels had us shut down. No big deal, jumped thru hoops before and no doubt I'll have to do it again.

2/20/23  Downhill side of winter for sure.  Especially, with the warm temps in the low 50s this past weekend.  Know there's some winter left, but my thought have turned to readying my boat.  Next warm day, when schedule allows, plan on working the boat.
              Need to stow last summer's tackle and gear up with lighter line and spoons for inshore shoreline trolling.  If and when the smelt show up is the big question.  If they do, places N of Manistee's harbor like the Barr Lk. outlet will be holding fish (mostly Lk. Trout).
             If and it's a big word, 25'-30' of water possibly could have some Kings like in years past in April.  Off the harbor is a prime area when the water temp is in the 40s.

2/19/23  We're about 1 month away from official spring 2023.  It's entirely possible could be on Lk. MI out of Manistee, MI in 3 weeks. When our mild winter changes into spring?
              My anticipation builds.  Feeling the water surge underfoot refreshes my soul.  This year will be my 55th season chasing Salmon and Trout on the Great Lakes.  Count myself as lucky to have chosen such a fascinating & challenging lifelong path.

2/18/23  Some want dive charts.  Don't waste your time.  Error on line counter reels can be almost 15% to skew chart data that I view as mostly fiction.  Divers attain more depth the slower you go, if you're looking for the 110' down fish.  2mph seem to give most depth.
              Know with our cupped diver rings on 35# test Spectra Black Spot, dialed on 1 can hit bottom in 100' of water with 185' of 30# test 7 strand wire.  120' deep is possible when you add our 10 oz Diver Diggers.  There's no easy answer on dive, or any lure depth.
             That's why when the fish ain't biting, find out for yourself by banging bottom.

2/17/23  Today's featured pic is 44 tabs for our cupped diver rings.  The cup in the ring allows for a screw to go thru the tabs to make it moveable.  Unlike the stock rings that never fail to break the holding tabs.  Click 44 3D printed tabs
               In house 3D manufacturing is a fun project.  Takes about an hour each to print the tabs and rings.  Cupped rings just like the cup on your prop makes it more efficient.  Making tackle from idea to final finished project is rewarding.
                  My snowometer stands at 67" (63 + 4) for the 22/23 season.

2/16/23  Busy with my 3D printer making the cupped diver rings that dive deeper with less rod strain/drag than the magnum large rings.  This is an original design to enhance performance and solve the problem of broken tabs on the Luhr Jensen stock ring.  Having moveable tabs that never break off makes my rings a bargain.
             With the up and down water temp swings of Lk. MI there's times when a ring will take the diver below the fish.  When temp is high forego the rings and get distance away from the boat for spooky mid-day adult Kings.

2/15/23  Ludington in person workshop has been closed.  Reason? ...not enough people signing up.  It's sad in way to see lack of public interest of a long running seminar.
               The rot with the MDNR Fisheries Division begins at the top with Jim Dexter.  He's the most failed CEO since the crook, Bernie Madoff.  Dexter has been promoted to the point of utter incompetence.  Examples like cutting the King plant even though the returning Kings at the Little Manistee River Weir were at all time historic lows. 
               Then, the MDNR gives WI the lion's share of the Lk. MI King stocking total.  WI's share of Lk. MI is far less than what MI has.  Closer is saving Lk. MI from what happened to Lk. Huron's Kings 20 some years after the fact ...duh?  Nail in the coffin was there's no bait.  Then, in a few short years there's dead bait all over the surface of Lk. MI.

2/14/23  Happy Valentine's Day.  Give your loved ones a hug.  For me? ...that's a wife of 50 some years and 3 wonderful doggies.  Human affection is good.
               Seems the Ludington Workshop is having a hard time getting attendees and might cancel this 40 bucks a person to listen to speakers that have lost our trust.  They could give me 40 bucks to attend and I wouldn't walk across the road to claim the $40.  Much less to hear self appointed experts that cut the King fishery off at the knees.
               MDNR and those associated have lost all public credibility and have a 80% disapproval rating from polls I've ran in the past.  It's sad to see the inmates running the asylum and actually get paid with no regard for those who make their living from the Salmon fishery.  This includes charter operators, deckhands, & tackle manufacturers.  Plus, Lk. MI business such as marinas, campgrounds & towns grown dependent on Salmon.

2/13/23  It's game on for the 2023 season.  Those fishing the S end of Lk. MI on IN waters having been doing awesome on Perch and Coho.  Perch are on minnows and soft plastics.  Sizes are over 10 inchers to jumbos.  This is as good as it gets for table fare.
               Coho are a tale of 2 cities depending on location fished.  Some are having to sort for 14" (legal size), while others are catching 20" plus fish. Click Perch & Coho
               This is the earliest I know of the start of the new 2023 season unless you fished from an icebreaker. 48° and full sun at my place yesterday echoes the warm winter.
               Must thank S Lk. MI reporter, Tom "the frog" M. for filling in with today's topic.  This year marks 20 years of knowing him and it's time to give him a nickname, aka Frog.

2/12/23  Tyler M from Juneau, AK made today's update possible by emailing  his 1st winter King Salmon.  Juneau is located in the S part of AK on what's called the inner passage of sheltered waters.  The weather this week for Juneau ranges form 32-38.  So, it's not terrible cold, but still, plenty chilly. Click winter AK King and map
             Trolling open water in February is a not what the Great Lakes fleet does, due to ice issues.  Water temp we have at this time of the year is another piece of the puzzle that holds us back.  Although, about 10 years ago, caught Kings off Manistee, MI in 34°-35° down deep, 125' to 150' in mid-March over 200' of water.

2/11/23  Checked weather high temp for Manistee, MI since January 1st.  In the past 40 some days, only 6 were below freezing.  Interesting to note, from the 17th of February, average high is above 32° and it gets progressively warmer thru March pushing 50°.
               The Lk. MI season kickoff usually is E Chicago, IN as soon as the ice clears from the harbors.  Will call and check with sources on what going on today.  Know the IN fleet hits the pond early for the Coho bite.

2/10/23  Cleaning the shop, it was a mess.  Plastic shaving from machining spoons neded to be vacuumed up.  Want the shop presentable to 2 new potential hires.  Hope they work out, have 2 more people interested from my Craig's List post.  This will bring my workforce to 4 people doing small jobs that melt into 1 big one during final assembly.
               My snowometer stands at 63" (61 + 2) for the 22/23 season.

2/9/23  Yesterday it was 43° at 4pm according to my thermometer.  That's balmy for Manistee, MI at this time of the year.  Willing to bet we've had more days above freezing since January 1st then we had in a long time ...maybe ever?
             Weather like this is manna from heaven for river guides.  Not fighting everything freezing like steering, shift linkage and line frozen to the rod guides making guiding easy.  20 years ago when I quit guiding, never had weather like we had this year.

2/8/23  In the process of hiring more help for the 2023 season.  Great time train is now well before July-August crunch time.  Manufacturing Meat Rigs™ is labor intensive and a tough way to make a buck.  Making them last for many seasons comes from replaceable hook leaders and cushioned crimps that do not weaken the main string of flies.
            Double snelling hooks is not easy.  This job takes about a 100 snells to master.  Singles are OK, but for maximum hooks on divers, copper and lead core 2 hooks are better.

2/7/23  2023 boat registration alert.  The 2023 season is not all that far off.  It's wise to check the sticker at the end of the MC numbers to see if you need to renew.  Registration expires ends on March 31st.  Still plenty of time to get this done.
              In 50 some years as a boat owner in MI I have forgot this more then once.  MI Secretary of State does send out forms to fill out.  Then, send you your stickers.
              For the hours of recreation, boat registration is a bargain.

2/6/23  Don't know much, but what I do know? ...I know very well.  Anything negative effects MI's Great Lakes Fisheries.  The 2 words "gill net" are a punch in the gut to all who ply the waters for Salmon and Trout.  Gill nets kill everything ...period!
            2 miles of gill nets off Manistee, MI will decimate the Lake Trout stocks in 2 years.  LTs are more, or less a homebody fish.  If there's bait and the right temperature? ...Lakers do not wander like Salmon do.  That why the new consent decree is so bad.
            Negativity breeds less interest.  Understandable with the high cost of owning a boat suitable for big water.  It's a major chunk of yearly income to operate.

2/5/23  There's 46 days of official winter left.  This means there's a reel possibility we could be fishing off Manistee, MI in about 6 weeks.  Earliest I can remember fishing out of my home port was around the 15th-20th of March. Click 4/19/01 Brown Trout
             Up until 2002-2003 early season shoreline Brown Trout was a big deal out of all central Lk. MI ports.  3 Browns per person limits were fairly easy to come by for the fleet.  Nowadays, you're lucky to catch few before this fishery evaporated.  MDNR was stocking big numbers of Brownies to no avail.  Hopefully, this fishery will come back.

2/4/23  2023 Ground Day was cloudy, hence no shadow.  This means a early spring if you believe in folklore.  Worst case is 6 more weeks of winter that's highly tolerable.
             Coldest weather of 2023 has been here for the past couple days.  Not to fear, February thaw 1.0 begins this coming week with temps in the 40s.

2/2/23  My ground hog hunt didn't go too well.  Woodchucks in Manistee are scarce during early February for sure.  Did find Meijer's has the market cornered on ground chuck.  So, that will have to suffice for today's wacky folklore prediction on winter's duration.
            History shows over the last 150 years, groundhogs only have a 39% of being right about predicting spring.  Just talking about the end of winter brings us that closer to outdoor activities and open water big lake fishing.  Click groundhog info

2/1/23  Delayed until tomorrow.  Out hunting for a groundhog.

1/31/23  Recent update from the MDNR on the new Consent Decree.  Skimmed thru the mumbo jumbo legalize that almost put me to sleep.  Bottom line is the Lk. MI tribal netters get about 3/4 of Michigan's coast with a lot of focus on Lake Trout.
              There's no amount of signing petitions and donating money that's going to stop the gill netters.  "That's just ain't gonna happen!".  Click decree update
               Sizing up your foe you need to know you're dealing with militants that don't give a damn about the sports/charter fishing fleet.  So, there's no reasoning with them.
They can be stopped from selling their catch of fish that shouldn't be allowed for sale, because of contaminates to an uninformed public.  It's gonna get messy, but can be done.
             Proof of militants, silver lining is the next up for my topics.  

1/30/23  If you checked out the map of MI state record fish, you'll see no cold water species of Salmon and Trout came from Lk. Huron.  Lk. Huron the water is rinsed thru from the St. Mary's River to the massive opening in the S end where the enormous St. Clair River drains it.  Factor in the cold water coming from Lk Superior.
              My charter days on Lk. Huron at Port Austin, Grindstone City and Harbor Beach my fish per hour was probably better then Lk. MI thru the 1980s.  Had more 5 specie catch charters on Lk. Huron with it's varied fishery.  Lk. Huron has always treated me good going back the 1970s, just not quite as many large fish, as Lk. MI. Click for records map

1/29/23  Good day to rest after backlog of orders are ready for shipping tomorrow.  Not extra busy, but enough to keep today's chat at a bare minimum.

1/28/23  DNR came out with a new interactive map that shows the weight/size of all MI state records.  State record Lake Trout came from Lk. Superior at 61 lbs.  Largemouth Bass pushed 12 and state record Coho is 30 pounds and change.  Central Lk. MI is well represented with records for Atlantic Salmon, Kings & Steelhead too. Click for map.
               My snowometer stands at 61" (57 + 4) for the 22/23 season.

1/27/23   Good day to change the date and get a start on orders.  End of the month order always go up and that's what's happening now.
                40 bucks at the door to attend the Ludington Workshop is outright ludicrous.  Personally, I see the whole DNR fisheries division as a ship with no rudder.  Their goals change faster than the weather.  Every dollar the State of Michigan invests in the Salmon program/stocking, MI gets 10 bucks back.  It's sad to see MDNR slip like they have.

1/26/23  Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop will take place February 18, 2023 from 9:00am-2:15pm at West Shore Community College Administration and Conference Building 3000 North Stiles Road, Scottville, MI 49454.  Lunch is provided.  35 bucks to attend for pre-registered, 40 bucks at the door.  Pricey to say the least. Click for more info

1/25/23  2023 marks my 40th anniversary in the full time fishing business.  Since 1983 I have not earned a dime doing other jobs.  That's why I said "fulltime."
              20 years as a charter operator and river guide (mostly for Steelhead).  Ran big lake charters on Erie (walleyes), Huron and Lk. MI from 1983 thru 2003. 
              Ran my last river trip 20 years ago this November on an awesome note.  Caught and released 9 Steelhead all in the same run.  The fish kept coming, but the sole guest I had that day had enough and called the trip short.  9 river rockets will drain anyone.
              November in 2003 switched over to tackle manufacturing that been a reel-joy.  I've enjoyed every aspect of my career and look forward to more.

1/24/23  Decisions, decisions, and more decisions on how many more years I can carry the workload I have now.  Covid screwed the pooch for more people hired to take the burden of me.  I have the greatest job in the world, worked for this the last 40 years.
              Thinking out loud, breaking my tackle lineup to parts is the simplest and fastest way to sell.  Know I will not waste my time with rip-off artists that don't have a down payment on a free lunch.  Figure a 100 bucks into my PayPal account will buy a hour of my time to discuss and make sure it's a good fit for a ....maybe new owner.

1/23/23  Good news, we've completed the 1st month of winter.  That means there's 58 days before Mr. Winter slips into retirement.  Weather has been peachy since the Christmas blizzard for more good news.  Temps are going to be moderate this week.
               Tomorrow is a update I'm not looking forward to, as I plan my future.
             My snowometer stands at 57" (56 + 1) for the 22/23 season.

1/22/23  Ice coverage on the Great Lakes is at an all time low for this time of the year.  Lk. Mi only coverage is Green Bay.  Rest of the lake is pretty much open.
               No ice means sun penetration keeps the food chain growing.  Warmer water aids in Trout and Salmon growth too.  So, I see this as a good thing.
               Here's a link to an article about ice coverage: Click Great Lakes ice

1/21/23  Spending hours of time researching my next computer.  Choices are endless and so are the price points.  Moving forward on 4k fishing videos will be worth it in the end.  Looks like 1500 bucks for this new build.  Over the counter computers are loaded with unnecessary bloat ware.  Dislike Windows 10 and 11.  I have a shell program that turns 10 back with Windows 7 for the operating menu.  Microsoft keeps changing operating systems with no regard for the end cost to consumers.

1/20/23  Skipped today, busy with shop projects.

1/18/23  The technology that's available to us today is beyond incredible.  All you have to do is take advantage of it.  Can't wait to see future fishing 4k videos direct from YouTube on home big screen TV.  Run of the mill Great Lake fishing shows grinning and someone turning a reel handle and not much else.  Seldom to you get any whys and wherefores that went into producing said fish.  More, or less tackle commercials with no substance that leave us wanting info to learn from.  We're never too old to learn!

1/17/23  January thaw 3.0 continues.  Since the end of December daytime high temperature have been above average.  No snow at my place.  What was here melted.  This highly unusual for the middle of this month.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.
              Shopping for parts to build new computer is a pay as you go deal.  Purchasing case, Windows 11 Pro, power supply and optical drive this month.  Next month GPU/graphics card, motherboard, CPU, and RAM are on the list.
             Assembling a computer from components is no big deal.

1/16/23  From now on, all boat/fishing videos will be shot and edited in 4k.  Previous 1080 was good, but 4k will have 4 times the pixel count for ultra clear pro grade movies.  Trying not to get too far behind with the current technology is my reasoning.
             Built this computer used for updates and 1080 video about 6 years ago.  Upgrading to 4k will take more processing power.  Shopping now for cpu, motherboard, ram, case, graphics processor/card and case.  Hoping to build this omputer under $1200.

1/20/23  Spending hours of time researching my next computer.  Choices are endless and so are the price points.  Moving forward on 4k fishing videos will be worth it in the end.  Looks like 1500 bucks for this new build.  Over the counter computers are loaded with unnecessary bloat ware.  Dislike Windows 10 and 11.  I have a shell program that turns 10 back with Windows 7 for the operating menu.  Microsoft keeps changing operating systems with no regard for the end cost to consumers.

1/20/23  Skipped today, busy with shop projects.

1/18/23  The technology that's available to us today is beyond incredible.  All you have to do is take advantage of it.  Can't wait to see future fishing 4k videos direct from YouTube on home big screen TV.  Run of the mill Great Lake fishing shows grinning and someone turning a reel handle and not much else.  Seldom to you get any whys and wherefores that went into producing said fish.  More, or less tackle commercials with no substance that leave us wanting info to learn from.  We're never too old to learn!

1/17/23  January thaw 3.0 continues.  Since the end of December daytime high temperature have been above average.  No snow at my place.  What was here melted.  This highly unusual for the middle of this month.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.
              Shopping for parts to build new computer is a pay as you go deal.  Purchasing case, Windows 11 Pro, power supply and optical drive this month.  Next month GPU/graphics card, motherboard, CPU, and RAM are on the list.
             Assembling a computer from components is no big deal.

1/16/23  From now on, all boat/fishing videos will be shot and edited in 4k.  Previous 1080 was good, but 4k will have 4 times the pixel count for ultra clear pro grade movies.  Trying not to get too far behind with the current technology is my reasoning.
             Built this computer used for updates and 1080 video about 6 years ago.  Upgrading to 4k will take more processing power.  Shopping now for cpu, motherboard, ram, case, graphics processor/card and case.  Hoping to build this computer under $1200.

1/16/23  Russian is being spoken in the below video.  Not hard to decipher.  The crux was the tandem treble hook pig stickers that prevent lost fish.  No matter what country you're from, the brotherhood of fishermen transcends politics, race and creed.
              Nice to see some live fish action.  Reminds us of what's to come in 2023.  Yep, the clock is clicking with the mid point of January crossed.  Click for this video

1/15/23  Posted a short video Atlantic Salmon video in horizontal. Click for this video

1/14/23  Test Link for Baltic Sea Atlantics on our XG-Frog Super Mag meat heads.  It's a cell phone vertical short movie, but it tells a good story on how effective snelled double trebles are.  Hope to flip it horizontal and show it here.  click for this video

1/13/23  There's a back story on yesterday's photo thought to be from Lithuania.  Actually, it's from Kaliningrad, Russia.  Customer had to do some creative shipping to get tackle into the Russian Federation.  Maybe restrictions due to the Ukraine war?
              Do know the Black Mamba SUV Salmon Buster spoon has seen some serious use with all the tin red coating on the VMC hook being gone. Click Black Mamba SUV

1/12/23  Photos from the Baltic Sea's winter Atlantic Salmon season today.  One of the perks of my job is to see fish caught on my tackle across the globe. Click huge Atlantic
               Our Salmon Buster Lexan spoons are probably the best saltwater spoon ever made.  Nothing to fade, tarnish, or paint that chips and peels off. Click Blk Mamba SUV
               No metal spoon has the dart and dive erratic action our Salmon Busters do.  Buster do not ride tail heavy at slow speeds.  Proven to catch from 1.2 to 4.0 mph.
              Know my spoons will never reach the popularity of those that play tackle store bingo with tons more selections than necessary.  But that's what keeps them in business.

1/11/23  It amazes me the leaps and bound across all technology fields.  Went from a Herters flasher in 1969 to a 6" paper sonar machine in 1977.  LCD mono screens in 1996 to a full color 12" sonar/GPS in 2006.  So, no matter what was cutting edge, wait a few years and it will be old news.  Newer electronics can come with future software upgrades.
              I try to purchase the mid-price point.  Router recently purchased is working like it should after 2 firmware updates.  802.11b was the 1st WiFi available back about 20 years ago..  Several upgrades later we're now on 802.11ax.  My Linksys router, over WiFi can handle 190Mbps on the new 802.11ax protocol.  Internet speeds I could only dream of before Spectrum fiber was installed last November.

1/10/23  Adjusted for inflation the price of multifunction displays i.e. sonar/GPS has not been priced out reach. 3K will get you a decent one.  That's about what I paid 10 plus years ago for the 12" Raymarine, formerly Raytheon.  About 6 years ago this machine had a firmware update that made it even better. Click 12" Raymarine
              In today's photo the split screen, 50kz on top with wide angle with some detail lost.  The 200kz bottom screen shows more detail with a fish suspended off the bottom and scattered bait to the right of the trap net lead.  Good to have show and tell demos.

1/9/23  Just a bunch of things going on.  Trademark for Rip Teezers™ has been accepted.  This has taken more then a year with the USTPO; United States Trademark and Patent Office.  Costly too, about a grand when all things are said and done.
            Sonar photo of the trap net lead don't give you much to work with.  Leads were marked with hard to see gallon jugs.  Flag staffs on the ends were more visible. Trip for the net photo was to mark it on my GPS, then share with the Manistee fishing public.  If someone was to get hung? ...kiss all your tackle goodbye.  Click sonar net pic

1/8/23  UPS is off the chain when it comes to shipping packages to AK.  For a 1 pound, 12" by 4" by 4" package, UPS wanted $104.54 to ship to Juneau, AK.  USPS did for 8.95.  Ever since UPS went public rates have climbed thru the roof.
             Updated my shipping policy/options at that now says, "no UPS shipping" to AK.  USPS does it for 90% less.
             Called the customer about the switch that turned into a good conversation.  Tyler's area is concentrating on winter Kings that prefer fish shaped flashers.  Asked him to send us some photos of my tackle on the job.  Hope he does.

1/7/23  Mild January temperatures will continue to the 15th according to long term forecast from Underground Weather.  This not good news for those wanting to ice fish.  Fairly warm 30-40s temps will not build solid ice for foot traffic.
     Warmer than normal temps will keep Lk. MI ice free with a continuous food chain.

1/6/23  Looking for positive news.  Found out today is 11 minutes longer then the first day of winter back in December.  By the end of this month our days will be close to an hour longer then 12/22/222.  Daylight will grow exponentially, as we move toward spring.
             Trying not to get bogged with the net issues soon to be upon us.  Part that hurts is ports that I know best are being targeting.  Best bet for now it to wait and see what happens and set a foundation to dry up all retail fish outlets.  Tribes know there's advisories.  I see their fish being shipped out of state to an uninformed public.

1/5/23  85 days until April 1st.  Probably 60 days away from the S. Lk. MI early Coho-fest.  Fishing out of Manistee, MI can begin earlier in March that used to be known for April Browns, but that fishery has dried up.  Now, it's mostly Lk. Trout with some Kings, if you're lucky enough to be in the right spot the right time.
            Started work on a new forum on my neglected message board that had 100s of active members reporting for various ports around the Great Lakes.  Haven't had the time with the Covid cutting my shop help to zero.  Plus, Scruffy for company in the wee hours.

1/4/23  Semi sick day. did some work on orders.

1/3/23  First order of business for me is to backup all my files up to 12/31/22 in case of a computer meltdown.  Next is to close out the last quarter of 2022 business-wise.  Doing tax related stuff early frees up time around filing deadlines.
            Next is to plan for what might happen this season in central Lk. MI ports.  Gill nets is a fact of life we're going to have to face.  Little River band tribal netters have terrible track record.  Their boats sunk at the docks and lost trap nets up and down the coast of Manistee, MI waters.  Plus, the their net marking system was almost nonexistent.
            Have an idea about creating FACT: Fish Action Committee Team so we can track where and what markets Lake Trout might be sold to the public.
            When gill nets wiped out the Lk. Trout in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was no internet to keep us all on the same page on where the fish went.

1/2/23  First reel-day of 2023 and the future it holds.  The new year is all questions now waiting for history to be wrote.  Good question for me, "is how many more great fish pics" like in today's featured photo of Manistee local, Wayne J. hoisting a goody King.
            Some pictures are just meant to be.  Wayne's red shirt, silver King during sunrise over Manistee, MI is a hard one to top.  Fill flash used to front light the subject gives breathtaking results when used at the right time. Click for this photo
       Know we have a lot on our plates for the 2023 season will discussed this week.

1/1/23  Happy and best wishes for you and yours in 2023. 
12/31/22 noon, Linksys date to see if the router crashes after 2 required firmware updates.  The sky is the limit on prices and choices.  I just want a simple router that works/networks across my 3 desktops, laptop, TVs, phones, tablets at both 2.4G and 5G.

12/29/22  Ending 2022 with a few days off. Time off will be used installing a new dual band router.  This will be the 3rd router since Spectrum fiber optic high speed internet was installed.  Most of this stuff is way-way over my head.  Didn't need to know any of this tech with my former slow sat system  Now, I need a dual network 2.4g and 5g.  Plus, Mac network for wife's iPad.  That's 3 networks to make blending the old with the new WiFi 6.

12/28/22   Van's Towing in Manistee did a stellar job getting my plow truck out of the ditch.  Concern was not damaging the plow pulling the truck from the front.  Traffic was another problem issue.  Mission was accomplished safely.
                  While I didn't ask, or expect it, neighbor ponied up a 100 bucks to make my mistake a little more bearable.  Semi busy with orders and that's a good thing.

12/27/22  Stuck for an update today.  I mean really stuck when my plow truck went off a 3'-4' embankment on my  neighbor's skinny driveway.  Was trying to do him a favor who has not marked this driveway.  Wrecker is coming today around 1pm.

12/26/22  Clean up day from all the snow we've had in Manistee, MI.  Did partial plow job 2 days ago.  Vee plow impressively pushed 3'-4' drifts with ease.  Just like Moses parting the Red Sea.  Now, need to get the snow in "out of the way" stacked up piles.
                Supposed to rain later this week that will turn snow banks into unmovable glaciers.   Brutal weather the past 3 days.  Good to see this storm into the rear view.
             My snowometer stands at 56" (48 + 8) for the 22/23 season.

12/25/22  Merry Christmas to all.


Continued below back to the year 2000:

2023 Results
January, February & March

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


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

Past Results

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