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Cannon Optimum downrigger Bottom tracking - Myth and Reality


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Hello folks, I would like to share with you information I discovered (this is some sort of hidden by Cannon) regarding the Bottom Tracking feature. A few Cannon-sponsored videos on YouTube is just like video manuals provide no real value.

The guys shows how it works on anchored boats, :rofl::rofl:  the most important cavity is the fact that it is not automatic. This info hidden by Cannon and cannon's advertisers in purpose to mislead people on functionality. Ironically no one in cannon support know much about bottom tracking except how to turn this future on and set it up. a. Let me disclose Cannon Bottom tracking feature Myth and Reality. let's start from cannon nicely wrapped Myth about convenience of Bottom Tracking. I am sure that everyone watched nice animation on Cannon site about how the bottom fishing works. Looks very promising and simple - you install Cannon transducer (or use Humminbird Helix instead off), turn ON bottom tracking on downrigger, set distance from the bottom, set Offset Distance value and vuala - you done. Isn't sounds simple ? Yes.

 

 Not sure if you know this already but Offset Distance means your weight blowback factor (push back while your boat in motion caused by hydrodynamic resistance of water column to the weight you're dragging through the water). Therefore you need manually to calculate this value using provided blowback chart table. Because of blowback value heavily depends on your trolling speed, underwater flows, and wind you will endup with 30-35 percent error in your calculation. This error is sufficient to either keep your weight too high, above desired distance for the bottom (best case scenario), or too low - cause your weight drop on the bottom. When its on the bottom, it will stuck instantly in junks or rocks. If you are lucky, you will take back your line and hook up one more weight before you will lose it again; if you are not lucky you will damage your downrigger boom and some other parts. Be aware that Cannon sonar will not track you weight position, including blowback and automatically adjust it to selected distance from the bottom.  It wood be too nice to have it. Probably Cannon left this to the next release to force us to spend another couple of thousands on a new toy.

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I have used bottom tracking and did not have your experience - I fish Cayuga Lake with dramatic rises and dropoffs.

With practice and experience - like many, many things fishing, you can get bottom tracking to work as advertised. 

Most importantly, use your sonar screen to watch your downrigger ball to track your relative closeness to bottom. Unless you are really deep, this is usually possible. Also watch your boom and cable for signs of touching bottom. Believe it or not, there is a technique called bottom bouncing that calls for you to intentionally touch bottom with your downrigger ball. You may need to readjust your transducer angle and use a setting on the finder to use a wider transducer cone to be able to see your ball. Adjusting gain helps too. Play around and you can figure it out. You need to stop expecting a video game fishing experience. Cannon is not going to do ALL the work for you - (just picking on you). Sounds like you are well along the learning curve that comes with these riggers and their new technology

 

My pet peeve with bottom tracking is where you troll into a bait ball and the system thinks that it is actually a hump in the bottom structure and it raises the ball up, over, then back down the top of the bait ball. I learned to tap an up or down key to instantly stop that unwanted action. You then have to restart bottom tracking again once you clear the bait ball.

 

I am unfortunately so hooked on the other features of Cannon's downriggers I know I will spend the extra coin on the Digitroll or Optima riggers when my current setup needs replacement. The digital readouts. The simple up and down keys. The preset depth settings. Easy to use Auto Up. Jigging function. Plus much more. Overly expensive, but addicting.  

 

ps. - You should not be losing rigger weights very often at all. If it snags, your clutch should slip and you will have about two hundred feet of time to figure out and execute a game plan. All part of the fun chaos that gives you great stories for back at the dock.

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, 58Johnson said:

I have used bottom tracking and did not have your experience - I fish Cayuga Lake with dramatic rises and dropoffs.

With practice and experience - like many, many things fishing, you can get bottom tracking to work as advertised. 

Most importantly, use your sonar screen to watch your downrigger ball to track your relative closeness to bottom. Unless you are really deep, this is usually possible. Also watch your boom and cable for signs of touching bottom. Believe it or not, there is a technique called bottom bouncing that calls for you to intentionally touch bottom with your downrigger ball. You may need to readjust your transducer angle and use a setting on the finder to use a wider transducer cone to be able to see your ball. Adjusting gain helps too. Play around and you can figure it out. You need to stop expecting a video game fishing experience. Cannon is not going to do ALL the work for you - (just picking on you). Sounds like you are well along the learning curve that comes with these riggers and their new technology

 

My pet peeve with bottom tracking is where you troll into a bait ball and the system thinks that it is actually a hump in the bottom structure and it raises the ball up, over, then back down the top of the bait ball. I learned to tap an up or down key to instantly stop that unwanted action. You then have to restart bottom tracking again once you clear the bait ball.

 

I am unfortunately so hooked on the other features of Cannon's downriggers I know I will spend the extra coin on the Digitroll or Optima riggers when my current setup needs replacement. The digital readouts. The simple up and down keys. The preset depth settings. Easy to use Auto Up. Jigging function. Plus much more. Overly expensive, but addicting.  

 

ps. - You should not be losing rigger weights very often at all. If it snags, your clutch should slip and you will have about two hundred feet of time to figure out and execute a game plan. All part of the fun chaos that gives you great stories for back at the dock.

 

 

 

 

I just purchased 2 Optima riggers but haven't put the boat in the water to try them yet. I was wondering if the bottom tracking would do that on bait balls and thanks for the info. Is there any particular settings you use on the bottom tracking? Thanks 

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I generally use 3ft to 12 ft as my distance from bottom. 3ft for Lakers and 12 ft or so for Browns.
Blowback setting will depend on speed, downrigger ball weight, and current. If you are a math wiz you can do a
A squared plus B squared equals C squared calc.


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I'm old school were we just added and subtracted so I'll just leave the drag loose

I generally use 3ft to 12 ft as my distance from bottom. 3ft for Lakers and 12 ft or so for Browns.
Blowback setting will depend on speed, downrigger ball weight, and current. If you are a math wiz you can do a
A squared plus B squared equals C squared calc.


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United


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Hi  58Johnson, thank you very much for super-detailed response. I feel much better now. Have another question - can I adjust sonar transducer signal emission cone electronically? I know from my past experience you can adjust signal cone by making metal cone and experimenting with shape :). My dilemma - should I buy Cannon dedicated transducer and tilt a bit to view my rigger weight position or should I seel my Helix 7 and buy Helix 8 compatible with Cannon. My concerns about having 2 transducers next to each other about 1 yard. Most likely "main" signal will be an issue but signal harmonics could be strong enough to interfere the second transducer signal spectrum. What is your opinion? 

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I’ll try to reply with more detail later but I would touch base sometime with LOU member Yankee Troller. He is the wizard on Cannon products.


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57 minutes ago, arni said:

Hi  58Johnson, thank you very much for super-detailed response. I feel much better now. Have another question - can I adjust sonar transducer signal emission cone electronically? I know from my past experience you can adjust signal cone by making metal cone and experimenting with shape :). My dilemma - should I buy Cannon dedicated transducer and tilt a bit to view my rigger weight position or should I seel my Helix 7 and buy Helix 8 compatible with Cannon. My concerns about having 2 transducers next to each other about 1 yard. Most likely "main" signal will be an issue but signal harmonics could be strong enough to interfere the second transducer signal spectrum. What is your opinion? 

I have 4 transducers on my boat 2 depth finders(1 chirp) fishhawk and my cannon .You need to find the frequency's of each one and don't run the same frequency on any one at the same time 

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You have settings in your finder for low KHz beam and high kHz beam. Chirp is another setting that kind of combines both high and low kHz beams. The higher beam (200kHz) will throw a narrow beam and your downrigger balls may be outside its narrow focus under the boat. The lower beam (83kHz, 60kHz, 50kHz) is much wider and along with slightly tilting the tail of your transducer up, will allow you to see your rigger balls. If you go too fast and have light weight rigger balls, they may blowback so far you can’t see them. Also, you will need to turn the gain/sensitivity setting up to see stuff down deep.

 

 

 

IMG_2618.JPG
Here is a photo from the Humminbird instruction manual that will help you


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Edited by 58Johnson
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Just wondering, if you had the fish hawk 4xd to set your depth offset so you would be as accurate as could be with actual ball depth?


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Think about how you compensate for offset with a non bottom tracking rigger. Watch your graph and pull it in a little if your hitting bottom


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Think about how you compensate for offset with a non bottom tracking rigger. Watch your graph and pull it in a little if your hitting bottom


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It’s a little bit different than watching your graph and pulling it in at depths of 150-200ft when you hit bottom..... I stepped into this conversation trying to possibly learn if this new downrigger would be a game changer and good investment for me. I’ll wait I guess for that post.


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Hello Frogger, i think you would like to use FH to validate blowback by chart value vs. FH reading. I think its a good idea to find how accurate your chart calculations. But as Jonson mentioned dont run it near the bottom if you dont want to lose it. Also use Jonson recommended method - tilt one of transducers up so it will detect your weight (for better reflection you can wrap your weight in aluminium paper), and attached aslo FH. In this scenario you will be able to determine delta reading from your sonar vs FH. Try this method on different depths so you can created your own chart. 

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I run one of my depth finders tilted back and the other one straight down and don't see alot of distance change between the two

Hello Frogger, i think you would like to use FH to validate blowback by chart value vs. FH reading. I think its a good idea to find how accurate your chart calculations. But as Jonson mentioned dont run it near the bottom if you dont want to lose it. Also use Jonson recommended method - tilt one of transducers up so it will detect your weight (for better reflection you can wrap your weight in aluminium paper), and attached aslo FH. In this scenario you will be able to determine delta reading from your sonar vs FH. Try this method on different depths so you can created your own chart. 


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Frogger, I agree and see your question. I have been working on helping the OP get some basic understanding of his equipment. It does have a learning curve.

For someone who already understands sonar, chart plotting and downrigger operation there definitely is a whole other set of questions to answer.

I actually have moved away from bottom tracking. I have not even slightly increased my catch rate when tracking. It is a convenience but not a necessity. As stated before, I am a huge fan of the other features these riggers have.


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Bottom tracking for Lakers is priceless. Let you weight hit bottom and bring it up a foot. Then go to the bottom tracking function and if the angle of the cable is minimal, set it to minus 2 and see if it moves either way. If it moves down then set it to minis 1 and if it moves up go the other way till it stays 1’ from bottom. It’s easy


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Guess my Seneca derby entry tickets are headed for the trash can if Frogger gets those things.....he's too dangerous already:lol:

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