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Chicong

What Weight Downrigger Balls

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What weight balls do you guys use?  Could anybody tell me what is normal amount of angle our downrigger wire is at while trolling?  Is there a simple way to calculate the actual depth of the ball based on the wire angle?  Thanks!

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My advice would be use the heaviest weight your riggers will support.

 

as far as blow back there is no set calculations to account for the angle. If you can’t see your weight on your graph you will need a probe at the weight to get an accurate reading. A fishhawk td is $125 and a cheap way to get accurate depth and temp readings. You can also send it down a dipsey line or copper to get readings on those lines as well.

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35 minutes ago, Chicong said:

What weight balls do you guys use?  Could anybody tell me what is normal amount of angle our downrigger wire is at while trolling?  Is there a simple way to calculate the actual depth of the ball based on the wire angle?  Thanks!

I use 8lb. I have a small boat. Tough to judge by the angle. Fourtunitly I can see them on my sonar. I work with that.

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I would get the heaviest your riggers can handle. 10# is ok down to 100-120' for me.

I can see my rigger balls on my graph, for speed with experience you will be able to

tell by the sing of the cables and the bubbles from the cables how your speed is doing.

Angle will depend on the depth, it will be different 40' down and 100' down.

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Agreed on heaviest your rigger can handle. Be cautious though. As example the new Cannons are so fast that you run the risk of popping a cable if you have heavier balls.
Blowback is difficult. TD is a good tool if you want to know


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A good rule of thumb is 1# per 10’ down. I rarely go lower than 90’ so 10# suffices for one rigger and the other is typically parked at 65’, 8# ball. I prefer using two different weights to offset blowback according to the depths. FWIW, I use 4# balls for browns, since it’s only down 10’ to 20’. I also have had my 10# down to 130, like was said above, I can see the ball on my graph. 

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There really isn't an accurate way to calculate the depth the weight is running at without either a depth finder with sufficient cone angle (still an estimate), Fishhawk TD or X4D, or an accurate counter (still an estimate) because blowback is related to depth, boat speed, downrigger weight and the nefarious culprit underwater current and they all interact to give your actual depth. The angle of the wire can give some clues about boat speed and whether blowback is significant or problematic, however but it also can depend on what you are running on your lines (attractors or not etc.). Rod tips can also be an indication of running too fast or slow with some lures or setups. With that said if you are a mathematics aficianado it probably could be calculated roughly but that is out of my realm:lol:

Edited by Sk8man
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My advice would be use the heaviest weight your riggers will support.

 

as far as blow back there is no set calculations to account for the angle. If you can’t see your weight on your graph you will need a probe at the weight to get an accurate reading. A fishhawk td is $125 and a cheap way to get accurate depth and temp readings. You can also send it down a dipsey line or copper to get readings on those lines as well.

Wrong. There are several charts for angle versus depth with amount of cable out. You can also figure it yourself Measure the angle of your cable and how deep you want to fish. The equation will tell you how much cable you need out to reach that depth

 

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRFi2e-KTz7wyU19YvAWW_MxXvulBJUWm9xAg&s

 

 

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Wrong. There are several charts for angle versus depth with amount of cable out. You can also figure it yourself Measure the angle of your cable and how deep you want to fish. The equation will tell you how much cable you need out to reach that depth
 
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRFi2e-KTz7wyU19YvAWW_MxXvulBJUWm9xAg&s
 
 
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Here’s another one and a side note. The depth ( distance finder ) finder is not showing you the true depth of your weight or bait. It’s showing the distance from the transducer. Your distance finder shows your weight at 130 ft. You are actually fishing much shallower due to blow back.


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/proxy/E0OZqdUtA3dDjaF4ASo1IIRJRqmHNvpKYbi3yXTkjqm0ZF-XGLMAnNLTOzhbyJFHfSvimnWkRpdZRIlRUZD0j_gBuiGej1P_6toihvSfjcpmgH9JEtj2Bdjh65g-


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Chinook is correct about the depth finder situation, the depth finder doesn't display the exact depth of the weight and neither does the downrigger counter, and insofar as there is a way and I was aware of the chart concept. The problem is that it is still an "estimate"  in the practical sense not a precise measure because you have to know the exact angle of the wire and how many folks carry around a large protractor to measure precisely. You'll notice the chart says "Line out" it does not specify wire or wire diameter etc. It also doesn't factor in underwater currents which in the case of Lake Ontario can be strong and can occur from the side which could skew the result. The result from an X4D or a Smartroll probe is still the best "estimate".

Edited by Sk8man
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Ok, now I'm really confused. I run 8 and 10lb balls on cannon hand cranks. All good input here. So if I mark fish at 100 , have my sensitivity turned up to pick up balls and the balls are at 100 with 110' of cable out for blow , and the sonar is inaccurate. Then what depth are the fish?

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Ok, now I'm really confused. I run 8 and 10lb balls on cannon hand cranks. All good input here. So if I mark fish at 100 , have my sensitivity turned up to pick up balls and the balls are at 100 with 110' of cable out for blow , and the sonar is inaccurate. Then what depth are the fish?

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Your sonar is showing the distance from the transducer to the mark. So if that fish is off to the side 100' from the transducer, it could only be 80 or 85' down. If it is directly below the transducer, it could truly be at 100'.

Imagine your boat at the top of a piece of paper. Now draw a smiley face below it. Anywhere on that smiley face will be the same distance from the boat. The further off to the side of the smile, the shallower the fish is.

Make sense?

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Good thing I run 2 sonars. Now if I could just insert smiley faces for fish marks I'd really know what was going on.
To get back on topic, it's tough on a small rig to go heavy. Lots of time spent figuring out what's happening below. Once you put some on board it starts to click.

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Many folks think that in order to catch  fish you have to get the weight right at the depth you think they are at. Fish if interested will follow for distances, they will come up or down to look at presentations whether put right in their path or not. Wicked Tuna is one of my favorite shows and I watch intensely how they do things but i also laugh sometimes at the way the marks appear on the display screen and then each fish automatically hits shortly after. As in lake Ontario not every mark is even a targeted fish as there are many species out there. The actual depth of the marks while trolling may be less or more than the symbols on the screen as the fish may be directly under the boats path or off to the side or back at the outer edge of the cone of the transducer. Usually the more pronounced the inverted V shape of the symbol on the screen the more directly under the boat the fish is but not always because the symbol also depends on your boat speed and the relative speed of the fish if moving toward or away and their position in the cone and on and on. The point is most of this stuff is pretty relative just like boat speed comparisons between different boats, and not absolute and there are educated "guestimates" going on - the accuracy of which can be enhanced by experience. Anyone that thinks that they are dealing with absolutes in most cases is fooling their self.

Edited by Sk8man

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There are plenty of precision trolling situations and in those the depth of your rigger baits is one of the easiest to figure out.  find somewhere with a fairly even bottom that's approximately the depth you want to fish and lower the ball slowly at speed till it hits bottom and bingo now you know.. same thing is easily done with leadcore copper etc.  If this idea scares you then you shouldn't bother learning to troll structure and if you aren't trolling structure it probably doesn't matter exactly how deep you are....just saying!  Personally I keep my transducer parallel to the water line and don't tilt it back to see the rigger balls....I know where they are!

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The biggest difference I have found was going from the round cannonball weights to the torpedo style. Less resistance in the water and true depth and line tracking.

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Tons of info here chicong. Definitely want a pair of those fish weights breaking bass. I tell myself all the time that if the fish aren't willing to run a boat length to strike they're just not interested. It's the challenge that keeps you in the game. Lol

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Just to point out something.  The "depth" of the ball on your sonar is showing the distance from the transducer to the ball, not the depth of the ball below the surface.

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The blowback on anything less than 12 lbs is A LOT!  I had a smart troll and measured it for 8 lb, 10 lb and 12 lb weights.

Even with 12 lb you normally had to have about 20% more cable out to get to the desired depth. 10 lb was ridiculous ... 8 lb was

impossible to get deep.

 

As others point out, you should use the heaviest your downrigger and gunwale can support ... and hopefully that is at least 12 lbs.

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Just an additional qualification regarding the Lake Ontario environment vs. other smaller bodies of water such as the Finger Lakes relating to downrigger weights and estimates of their placement in the water column:

Justin makes a good case for the experience factor and it is a good example to follow.

Fishing Lake O is however a somewhat different "animal" regarding underwater currents. and their impact on the weight/blowback issue. In most of the Finger Lakes the current can be quite strong in lakes like Seneca and Cayuga and the smaller lakes usually less so for example, but for the most part the current usually runs either clockwise or counterclockwise around the lake. In Lake Ontario the underwater currents can branch out in many different directions at once such that fishing one area may be very different than another with the changes in current and cross currents coming from multiple directions at once. The effects on actual position of the downrigger weight will vary greatly depending on the actual amount of weight, the shape of the weight, the speed of the boat and the speed or strength of the current and its direction relative to the boat;all of which affect the angle of the downrigger wire which varies while trolling. Once again, no matter how you slice it you are still making "estimates" of the exact location of the weight and lure. To compound it the lure may be in a much different position than the weight depending on boat speed length of lead, and type of lure and with or without attractor etc. The longer the lead the more pronounced this difference may be.The Fishhawk TD use resulted in some interesting revelations. I have seen the difference in the downrigger counter vs.relative depth of weight of 10 lb weight (shark shape) vary as much as 20 ft higher at 100 ft.) and other setups running generally higher than I thought.from chart estimates.

Edited by Sk8man
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I believe my FF is accurate af when it shows fish (depth) on the screen and what depth my rigger balls are running, 

 

FH speed & temp is probably correct, i dont think its depth measurement is accurate.

 

10# pancakes

Edited by SmilinEd1

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:smile:

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I believe my FF is accurate af when it shows fish (depth) on the screen and what depth my rigger balls are running, 
 
FH speed & temp is probably correct, i dont think its depth measurement is accurate.
 
10# pancakes

It shows the distance from your ducer to any object in its cone . Bottom , fish and your weights Fish are not attached to your boat ( at least not yet, lol ). That’s why the show as inverted U’s or V’s. The sonar sees them as deeper ( further away ) as you move over them the apex of the U ( and true depth ) and again the sonar sees them as further away as you move past. The sonar is seeing your weights at a constant distance , hence the line. They are NOT at that depth. They are at that DISTANCE from the ducer. Brand of sonar or quality of ducer is immaterial. They all work the same way. Takes a little bit of thought to get your head around it. But it’s the way it is



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