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Which down speed & temp system do you recommend?


Todd in NY

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I'm looking for comparisons of the different systems that are out there. Do they require coated downrigger cable? Are all of them wireless? What do you LIKE about your system and what DON'T you like about your system? What are your thoughts about that company's customer service? Which unit is the most and least user friendly? Have you had any reliability issues with your unit?

 

Your input will help me decide which unit to put on my boat this spring, so thanks in advance :)

 

Honestly you cant go wrong with any of the "big three" in the game. (Moor Subtroll 900, Depth Raider, or Fishawk). You will be happy with any one of these units.

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Pap,

Just thought i would let you know the reason I don't make a dedicated "Smart Troll" display. The main reason is because I can't make a display that allows you to easily download any updates to the app and install any other app you want to use on it (such as fish finder display, GPS, navionics, etc) for $49 USD...such as the one at the link below. Smart Troll uses Bluetooth to transmit the depth/temp data so you do not need phone service at all. In fact, you could use an old android phone that has been disconnected from phone service and it will still work fine with Smart Troll.

http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Display-Wi-Fi-GB-Special/dp/B00TSUGXKE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1453094815&sr=8-2&keywords=fire+bluetooth

In summary, you get to choose the size and cost of your display. One guy might want phone size so he can keep it in his pocket...the next guy might want TV size for his boats console....Smart Troll doesn't lock you in to a one size fits all display. Plus, anytime I upgrade the app you can download the latest for free. That way you don't get stuck with an earlier version of the app just because you bought before the other guy.

Thanks for your explanation, since Santa brought my daughters the new iPad there are two old ones floating around the house, and they claim this would work, I like the idea of my dipsy lines, knowing where they are yes I have all the precision trolling books to tell me approx. where they are but knowing exactly where so I could let more line out or bring the in a notch, I'm a little gun shy of letting to much line out on my dipsies, this would allow me to know exactly where we are. Edited by pap
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A couple of things on Smart Troll.

 

Firstly you DON'T lose probes on wire and copper!  The probe gets attached on the steel line about 1 or more feet away from the terminal tackle (dipsey, leader, etc).  When there's a break it is almost always on the mono or a knot.  Unless you've put the probe on a compromised steel line (has a kink), it will remain attached to the line even with a break off!  So just make sure you put the probe on a clean wire line!

 

Second, I also have the precision trolling book.  Two issues - the data is for a certain lure speed (2.5 mph) and with a known amount of line out!  We all do different speeds, especially with currents - so this already introduces error.  Second we are dependent on our line counters, which ARE NOT ACCURATE. They are only accurate (sort of) when the reel is full. As you pull off line, one revolution is no longer carrying as much line as the previous, and the counter only works on revolutions.  It's so bad that when the reel is almost empty the counter is saying one foot of line comes off when only 0.4 - 0.5 ft of line actually comes off! That's over 50% error!

 

The only way to know the true depth of your line is to measure it directly. I was suprised how far off all my lines were when I started using Smart Troll. My riggers were 20 ft too high and similarly my wire lines.

 

Some people may say, why do you need all that info. Well, I use the info when I get a bit (what speed, what temp, what depth, what happened to my line when I made that turn) to (a) tune into what the fish want quicker and (b) help me get setup for the next fishing episode. We all know 6 AM - 9AM is the best bite (most days), so why wouldn't you want to use that time as efficiently as possible and put 15 fish in the boat rather than 2 because you spent all morning trying to figure out what the heck will work!

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A couple of things on Smart Troll.

 

Firstly you DON'T lose probes on wire and copper!  The probe gets attached on the steel line about 1 or more feet away from the terminal tackle (dipsey, leader, etc).  When there's a break it is almost always on the mono or a knot.  Unless you've put the probe on a compromised steel line (has a kink), it will remain attached to the line even with a break off!  So just make sure you put the probe on a clean wire line!

 

Second, I also have the precision trolling book.  Two issues - the data is for a certain lure speed (2.5 mph) and with a known amount of line out!  We all do different speeds, especially with currents - so this already introduces error.  Second we are dependent on our line counters, which ARE NOT ACCURATE. They are only accurate (sort of) when the reel is full. As you pull off line, one revolution is no longer carrying as much line as the previous, and the counter only works on revolutions.  It's so bad that when the reel is almost empty the counter is saying one foot of line comes off when only 0.4 - 0.5 ft of line actually comes off! That's over 50% error!

 

The only way to know the true depth of your line is to measure it directly. I was suprised how far off all my lines were when I started using Smart Troll. My riggers were 20 ft too high and similarly my wire lines.

 

Some people may say, why do you need all that info. Well, I use the info when I get a bit (what speed, what temp, what depth, what happened to my line when I made that turn) to (a) tune into what the fish want quicker and (b) help me get setup for the next fishing episode. We all know 6 AM - 9AM is the best bite (most days), so why wouldn't you want to use that time as efficiently as possible and put 15 fish in the boat rather than 2 because you spent all morning trying to figure out what the heck will work!

That's a good explanation of how line counters work, both on fishing reels AND riggers. I spent quite a bit of money on my boat last year and couldn't afford to look at a down speed/temp/depth system. I always wondered how deep my riggers and dipsy's really were. So the Smart Troll will be my "big" purchase this year so I can take the guess work out of trolling. I also like to know where the thermocline is because I fish so many different lakes for many different fish species. I know this year will be much more productive than 2015 was.

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Todd the line counter on the rigger is less of an issue than blowback. With a 12 lb weight going 2.5 mph you will be suprised to learn the ball is tracking 30 to 40 ft behind the boat at certain depths. You will also find out how you get diminishing returns as you put the rigger deeper. You will be suprised how much cable you need put to get down 100 ft.

Blowback is a big issue unless you are using 16 lb to 20 lb rigger weights. Most guys use 10 to 12 lbs and I can tell you first hand I'd never go back to a 10 lb weight dup to the insane blowback.

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For you Smart Troll people......is there a limited range that the receiver can pick up the probe? (my dipsys are often over 300' back).

 

I've had them out on flat wire lines (not weighted down by something), probably 300 ft and still got signal. I think the inventor has tested out 400 ft.  I know bloodrun did some work using smart troll to figure out the depth of their copper, and I'm pretty sure it went past 300 ft.

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Tyee Tanic is spot on with blow back, 2 years ago I wasn't catching fish and it was loaded on the screen, so at the Same speed and depth I did a check and found that with a 12lbs weight at 120ft down we drove toward shore and the rigger didn't bang bottom till I hit 90ft so that's 30ft off, went back let 160 out on the riggers oh ya fish on, this is one of the reasons I would like a Hawk. I since went with 12# torpeds from Harvey, instead of the pancake style. I can't go heavier on the account I have the older mag 10's.

Edited by pap
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My concern with running heavier than 10lb weights is that I'm afraid it might ruin my old Canon Mag 10's (vintage late 1980's). They work fine, a little slow, but that might be their "normal" speed. Blow back is one of the reasons I still keep and use my Lowrance LMS339 fish finder, it uses the 50/200 transducer, which allows me to see my rigger weights on the FF. That FF came with my boat and it works great, so I haven't bothered to replace it. Instead, I added a new Humminbird 859ci DI GPS, and use both units.

 

I've been in touch with Darrell from Smart Troll and I will buy a system from him before the end of February. I will be buying an extra transducer so that I can mount a transducer on each of my 2 boats, and use the 1 receiver and probes on either boat. I'm looking forward to knowing the exact depth of my riggers AND dipsy divers.

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For those who don't have true depth (like me), the  running depth of the ball can be  estimated by multiplying the cable out number by the cosine of the estimated cable angle. I use this to set my dipsies after hits on the riggers at the estimated depth. Seems to work for me. Cosine charts can be found using google  images.

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Just so you guys know MOOR closed it's doors. You can read their message below.

 

http://moorelectronics.com/index.html

 

Moving forward I will continue to use the MOOR on our boat, but I will be installing a Smart Troll on the Yankee this season. I used it on a friends boat last season, and I was really impressed. When we were using it we were fishing Spring Salmon East of Rochester. We were able to keep the divers a few feet off bottom, and our divers were firing well this way. Having the data about where that diver was really helped us. It's interesting to see how the divers were affected on turns as well. This same boat also noticed dive curve variations during summer when there was current involved. Direction of Troll in current affects dive curve as we all know, but with the data he was able to adjust his divers to get them back into the strike zone. I'll let you guys know more once I start using the system, but having that data can put a fish or two more in the boat IMHO.

Edited by Yankee Troller
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Thanks Yankee for your post, knowing that a hard core guy like you is putting the smart troll on gives me confidence in the product. I have a very good freind of mine that has a house on association isl. and he has the smart troll. We caught a 3 man ticket of kings that day, while others were struggling including me that's why Lonnie called me to go out with him. Shy of the charter guys I went out with, this was my best day on LakeO, being able to put that bait right in their face was the ticket, up to high or just below them they wouldn't go for it. With the smart troll he was able to put those lures in their face. One thing that amazed me was the differance in hight there was going in the opposite direction, the lures were 12-18ft higher, maybe on a better day that wouldn't matter but that day it did, and at 2.5mph with the GPS on this mile long troll somtimes he had to go over 3.5mph to keep the lure showing 2.3-2.5 and the other way just the opposite going down less than 1mph to 2.5 the same as the lure. If I wouldn't of seen this with my own eyes and a full box I would of never believed it or thought is was that drastic in differance from the lure to the sog. It is a hell of a exspensive gadget, but how many times guys on here said they would give up their sonar before their down speed no matter what brand they had. Come on income tax check!!! LOL!!! My wife would shoot me.

Chas. That link I can't open??

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Thanks Yankee for your post, knowing that a hard core guy like you is putting the smart troll on gives me confidence in the product. I have a very good freind of mine that has a house on association isl. and he has the smart troll. We caught a 3 man ticket of kings that day, while others were struggling including me that's why Lonnie called me to go out with him. Shy of the charter guys I went out with, this was my best day on LakeO, being able to put that bait right in their face was the ticket, up to high or just below them they wouldn't go for it. With the smart troll he was able to put those lures in their face. One thing that amazed me was the differance in hight there was going in the opposite direction, the lures were 12-18ft higher, maybe on a better day that wouldn't matter but that day it did, and at 2.5mph with the GPS on this mile long troll somtimes he had to go over 3.5mph to keep the lure showing 2.3-2.5 and the other way just the opposite going down less than 1mph to 2.5 the same as the lure. If I wouldn't of seen this with my own eyes and a full box I would of never believed it or thought is was that drastic in differance from the lure to the sog. It is a hell of a exspensive gadget, but how many times guys on here said they would give up their sonar before their down speed no matter what brand they had. Come on income tax check!!! LOL!!! My wife would shoot me.

Chas. That link I can't open??

 

 

Pap, just type in esgdirect.com. It's right there on their home page.

 

I had a feeling that the lure speed would change from going against the current to going with the current, but that much difference is a game changer in how the lure moves through the water.

 

Yankee Troller brought up a good point about how much the dipsy's change depth when making a turn. It'll be interesting to see that as it happens, as well as how much the dipsy speed changes when you change direction.

 

The cost of the Smart Troll will pay for itself just in terms of putting more fish in the boat vs not having the system and catching fewer fish per trip. 2016 is already shaping up to be a great fishing year for me and I can't wait to get on the water.

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Todd I too have the older Cannons and I'm not telling you it will be ok but I run the 12lb torpedoes and knock on wood I haven't had a problem. I wouldn't go heavier though.

Edited by Firechief48
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Todd I too have the older Cannons and I'm not telling you it will be ok but I run the 12lb torpedoes and knock on wood I haven't had a problem. I wouldn't go heavier though.

X2 I ran Harvey's 12# torpeds last year. I really couldn't hear or tell the differance, I kept an eye out for cracks around the boom area, so far so good. They definatly made a differance with blow back verses the 12# pancake type.

Edited by pap
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X2 I ran Harvey's 12# torpeds last year. I really couldn't hear or tell the differance, I kept an eye out for cracks around the boom area, so far so good. They definatly made a differance with blow back verses the 12# pancake typeWhere

Where's a good place to buy some streamlined 12lb torpedos? I have some older ones in my garage but I don't know how much they weigh. I'm guessing they are 12 or 13lbs.

Edited by Todd in NY
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Yea I have trout mans torpedos 12#ers with 4ft fixed booms Harvey is "Trout man" he has his phone# on posts earlier in the season "2015"

Edited by pap
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My concern with running heavier than 10lb weights is that I'm afraid it might ruin my old Canon Mag 10's (vintage late 1980's). They work fine, a little slow, but that might be their "normal" speed. Blow back is one of the reasons I still keep and use my Lowrance LMS339 fish finder, it uses the 50/200 transducer, which allows me to see my rigger weights on the FF. That FF came with my boat and it works great, so I haven't bothered to replace it. Instead, I added a new Humminbird 859ci DI GPS, and use both units.

 

I've been in touch with Darrell from Smart Troll and I will buy a system from him before the end of February. I will be buying an extra transducer so that I can mount a transducer on each of my 2 boats, and use the 1 receiver and probes on either boat. I'm looking forward to knowing the exact depth of my riggers AND dipsy divers.

 

Your fish finder will not tell you how deep your riggers are. It only tells you how far away the ball is from the transducer. Think of it like this. Take a 12" string and hold the top. Where you pinch it is the transducer. The string should be going straight down due to gravity. Now with your other hand arch the bottom of the string back.  Your FF will say it's 12" deep, as the string is still 12" long and that far from the transducer. But as you pull it back you will see it starts to come off the bottom.  Your FF has no way of telling how far back or off the bottom the ball is, only how far the ball is away from the transducer. 

 

You need a probe to tell you the true depth.

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Todd put your weights on a scale. If you need accuracy, weigh yourself, get off, and then hold the weight and reweigh. Difference in weight will tell you.

 

I have the 12 lb torpedoes. They are the best out there in my opinion. Good tracking and much less blowback for the same weight in other styles. 

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