How To Use A Downrigger: Tips and Techniques to Master Deep Water Trolling
We’d love to hear if there is a better deep-water trolling technique than a downrigger!
Downriggers are simple systems that allow precise trolling.
We’d love to help you if you are new to downriggers or have trouble getting one to work.
Below you will find an in-depth explanation of downriggers and common problems as well as tried and true tips to improve your trolling skills.
We have discussed downriggers before. If you are new to them, this article will show you how to choose the best downrigger.
Precision trolling is possible with downriggers. It’s a vital tool that can be used to your advantage.
It is simple to grasp the basic concept of a downrigger. A downrigger basically lowers or raises a heavy water column weight, allowing you to run lures at exact depths, much deeper than the deepest diving lead core.
Your downrigger will run deeper the more you use weight and the slower your troll.
They are also not very complicated. There is a spool, a cable, and a cranking mechanism. A clutch to control descent and an arm complete the set. Attaching a weight at the end of a long cord creates a line that you can use to clip your lure and fishing line, as well as accessories such as flashers.
They allow you to reach the entire water column and increase productivity in areas where fish may be deep. You can also attach multiple lines to the cable. This is a great way to increase your chances of success.
You’ll find our top pick in our downrigger buying guide, the Big Jon Sports’s The Runabout.
This downrigger is loved by anglers, and we are no exception.
There are better options for deep trolling but this tank-like downrigger can be used if you run 75 feet or less. The downrigger is powered by a powerful manual crank, paired with a clutch-brake system that won’t stop.
Its 24-inch arm prevents your boat’s side from getting a scratch!
No matter what model you choose to use, these tips will help you get the most out of your downrigger.
Downrigger Tips for Increasing Your Success
It is a fact that if you have more speed, your downrigger will be pulled behind your boat. This raises the water column.
Mike Schoonveld warns that “if you imagine your downrigger ball trailing straight below the boom of the downrigger,” you are wrong. You are wrong if you can see fish marks at 70ft so lower your downrigger baits until 70ft on the depth counter. Blame blowback.
Drag the weight of the cable and the body on your downrigger ball, decreasing its depth. This means that even if you are running 7 knots, you won’t be running 50 feet deep if you let out 50 feet of cable. This is known as blowback, which refers to the loss of depth caused by speed.
The high school trig will tell you how deep you are running.
Consider blowback as the distance your drag pushes your line as you troll. This creates an angle that reduces the depth of your downrigger.
Your downrigger cable can be run with your boat still. Line C. However, any forward movement will cause your body to shift to some extent. Line BCreate, Angle b.
To accurately determine the depth of the trolling, you can either use trigonometry or eyeball the angle of the downrigger cable to adjust the chart by Montagu Lee.
Lower speed and blowback can be reduced by having more weight on the downrigger. Both of these variables are interrelated, so the following is true.
Speed = more blowback
More blowback = less weight
Other factors are important, such as cable material, weight shape, and tide. These can all impact the depth at which your downrigger runs. To combat blowback, either slow down or use a more hydrodynamic (or heavier) cable and ball.
The Strike is a Strike!
Downrigging is more than just blowback.
Attach your fishing line to the cable. Even the thinnest hydrodynamic lines, will billow behind the cable. It is simply impossible to avoid it.
This image will give you an idea of the problem.
Your downrigger cable, even though it is running at an angle will still be straight. The fishing line will not, and there will be some slack. It’s hard to know how much.
Slacklines are not a good thing.
A good clip and sharp hooks are essential in this situation. A good clip, paired with sharp hooks, can help you create solid, automatic hooksets by applying the right pressure to your terminal tackle.
However, you’ll still need to have a slackline for a few seconds with the fish on your hook. Things can easily go wrong at this point.
Refrain from letting the hook go! This is a common situation. You’ll be risking ripping your rod.
We recommend that you use a lighter, longer rod than usual, one that bends naturally while trolling. This will provide some tension and the rod should straighten when the line is removed from the clip.
Do not forget the flashers
You don’t know what you’re missing if you are fishing for salmon without flashers!
Flashers mimic adult salmon eating baitfish and can be added to your downrigger to encourage real salmon to try your lure or bait.
It’s an understatement to say they will increase your catch.
Some flashers can be attached to your cable. Ryan Dodds gives the following advice. Hot Spot suggests that you start with 18 feet of line behind the downrigger clip. This will allow for the flasher to be visible. You can increase or decrease this amount. The downside to increasing the amount is that you have a greater chance of getting your gear caught up on the opposite side of the boat. This is especially true if there are strong tides. To reduce problems, I shorten the distance I set up my rigs when fishing in windy conditions or strong tides.
You can find the always-effective Hotspot Flasher in an incredible variety of colors and patterns.
Hotspot’s Agitator doesn’t take it lightly either!
However, so-called “dummy flashers” are attached to the ball and simulate a school fish.
Attached to the eye of the ball are dummy flashers.