We had a great time fishing the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association’s Budweiser Pro Am. We left Ludington on Wednesday and fished our way up to Manistee. Our plan was to run up just short of Big Sable Point and troll north. The surface temp at the Point was 43 degrees so we ran further north and set up in the 07’s in 110 feet of water (fow) where the temp hit 45 degrees. We worked between 100 & 120 fow marking some fish and bait to the 10’s with no bites. Moving out to 320 fow, we finally hit our first fish (the Laker pictured left), on a 10″ Chrome Mountain Dew NBK Spin Doctor/Moo Moo Big Water Meat Rig . Two more fish were taken in the 14’s and that was it. Thursday we headed straight out Manistee and set up in 110 fow. A few fish were showing on the graph, but no takers. We moved out a little deeper to where we hit our fish on Wednesday, but still no bites. We decided to run way out deep and try for some Steelhead & Trout. A promising looking spot was showing on the Coastwatch site on the 35 line west and 22 line north in 800 fow. It was beautiful out there – the sun was shining , the lake was calm, and there were bugs in the air, ideal conditions for Steelhead. Setting up on a northwest troll we bumped up the speed to 2.6 to 2.8 on our Fish Hawk. We had 16 bites and ended up boating 8 of them. Our most productive baits were a Dreamweaver Super Slim Steelie Dan on a clean bird, a Super Slim Riverside on a 1 color core, a Yeck Fireball on a Slide Diver, and a regular size Lemon Lime Dreamweaver spoon with Lemon Ice tape on it out 65 ft. on a low wire diver. Our chute rigger also took a couple Lakers on a Mag NK Dolphin spoon down 45 feet. When we punched Manistee in on our GPS to head home we were in the 26’s & 36’s in 754 fow. Friday was the Ladies Classic. We started out again out in front of Manistee in 110 fow with the same results as the day before – no bites. We stuck around for an hour or so then headed back out deep to our hot spot from Thursday. The conditions had changed. It was overcast and the wind had kicked up, but we still had hopes the fish would be there. The surface temp had warmed from the day before so we ended up running out to the 38 line west and 22 line north. The surface temp was 52 degrees. We were only able to run 9 rods because that’s the rod limit in the tournament. We started with 2 clean birds, 2 one color cores, 2 Slide Divers, 2 low wire divers, and the chute rigger. All our rods had spoons on them. The action was much slower, but we stuck it out. Our first fish hit a Yeck Fireball spoon 75 out on a Slide Diver. The next on came an hour later on a Regular size Dreamweaver Lemon Lime spoon with Lemon Ice tape out 65 ft. on a low wire diver. It was a Lake Trout. Fifty minutes later we took another fish, a trout , on a one color core with a Dreamweaver SS Riverside spoon. We ended up taking 2 more Steelhead, one on the Yeck Fireball on the Slide Diver and our biggest fish of the day, an 11 + lb. Steelhead on a one color core with the SS Riverside spoon. Devon, Jenna, and Jessica did a great job. We hit five fish and they boated all five of them. It turned out that we had the winning box and the 11+ lb. Steelhead was the big Steelhead in the Ladies Pro division. While we were fishing out deep on Friday one of our team members for the weekend Pro/Am was fishing by Big Sable Point looking for some kings. He took a few and a couple trout so with the wind blowing from the south conditions looked promising for the weekend. Our Pro/Am crew members were Kevin Pomorski, Joe VanNortwick, Greg Magee & Kraig Anderson (from Blue Fairways) and me. On Saturday (day 1) we ran south and set up in 01:50 south of the Point in 110 fow. Our first fish came on a Purple Haze Kingfisher Flasher/Purple UV Big Water Meat Rig out 320 on a high wire diver. All the rest of our Kings on Saturday came on Dreamweaver Spin Doctors and Big Water Tackle Meat Rigs baited with Erie Dearie Premium Strips. Most of our fish came between 120 and 140 fow. We boated 8 Kings and then slid in to 80 fow and picked up 2 Lake Trout and a small King to finish the day with 9 Kings and 2 Lake Trout. Our biggest King weighed 17.95 lbs. and we entered it as one of our three fish for the 333 Tournament . That came on a low wire diver out 220 with a 10″ Glow Blade White Crush Spin Doctor/and Big Water’s new Pearl Glow Meat Rig. Our day 1 weight was 120.65 pounds and with our 10 fish our total score was 220.65. The only other Pro boat to weigh 10 fish was Riverside. Their day 1 total was 204.65.
Sunday morning we headed back to the same spot setting up again at 01:50 in 120 fow. We had 7 fish on Saturday by 10:00 a.m. and only 4 on Sunday. We fished mostly between 150 and 180 fow. The fish we boated were big ones so we opted to stay out deeper and fish for Kings instead of going in shallower to try for trout. It was probably a mistake, but we will never know. We ended up with 7 fish and some were pretty big. Our total weight for day 2 was 120.95 lbs., slightly more than we had Saturday with 10 fish. Riverside caught their 10 fish and edged us out of 1st place by 13 points. It was tough to drop to second, but we still fared well overall. Our biggest King was 24.20 lbs. It was the biggest fish caught in the tournament. We also weighed a 23.20 King in the 333 witch with our day 1 fish totaled 65.35 lbs. That score made us the Manistee Budweiser 333 Tournament Champion and is the best 333 score so far this year. We had another 20 pounder in our box too. Our top rigs were: 10″ White Slick Spin Doctor/UV Green Big Water Meat Rig, 8″ Glow Blade Blue Bubble Spin Doctor/Blue Moo Big Water Rig, 10″ Margarita Spin Doctor/Green Mile Big Water Rig, 10″ Dark Green Blade Slick Blue Bubble Tape/Froggie Big Water Rig, the new Pearl Glow Big Water Meat Rig behind a 10″ Glow Blade White Crush Spin Doctor, a 10″ Chrome Kevorkian White Crush Spin Doctor/UV On Ice Big Water Meat Rig and a Purple Haze Kingfisher/UV Purple Big Water Meat Rig. We used Erie Dearie Premium Strips with all our meat rigs. We ran them on coppers from 200 to 450 feet in length and our high and low wire divers. When we were king fishing we only ran one rigger, the chute.
Our winnings were – Ladies Pro Division 1st Place $700 + Trophy – Ladies Big Steelhead $500. Pro/Am 2nd Place Pro Division $500. Big King $400 + Trophy. 333 2013 Manistee Budweiser Champion $1000 – 333 Big King $500 Shopping Spree from Fishing & Hunting USA. Com. Overall Big Fish for the weekend – Big Jon Travelling Trophy and a Big Jon Captains Pack Downrigger. Thank you Manistee County Sport Fishing Association for putting on this well run event and congratulations to Team Riverside for their 1st place finish.