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Downrigger ball not tracking


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Hey everyone, new guy from Maine here. I’ve gone to Lake Ontario on some charters and what a fishery you guys have compared to what I’m used to! I’m hoping I can gain some knowledge here that’ll help me better my fishing on the lakes in Maine. Now I’ve searched all over the web and cannot find anything on the problem I am currently having with my downrigger setup. I run two cannon mag 5s with cannon terminators, then chamberlain releases, to an Amish outfitters 6” snubber then  my downrigger ball.  The problem I’m having is when I’m trolling hardware 2-3mph my downrigger cannon ball style will zig zag threw the water causing a ridiculous bounce in my rod tip this is only when running inline chamberlain style releases. If I run an offshore style release connected directly to the cannonball the ball will track nice and straight and give me no problems. Also if I run a fish style weight the weight will track straight as well no matter what style release I use or my speed. I really don’t prefer one style weight over the other, other then the cannonball weight is easier to come by in Maine. I’ve tried the cannon ball style weights with and without snubbers, with different terminators, and with my riggers at different angles and depths and they still zig zag. When parked in my garage and the weight hanging freely they hang perfect straight. It’s more of an annoyance thing then anything and it’s driving me crazy I can’t seem to get it straightened out. Thanks for your help!

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Way back I had problems with one type of cannon ball swimming like that. I loved them because they were a slim ball type.. I used walker releases and they did it them I used pinch pads attached to the ball and they did not ... So my fix was a small piece of parachute cord tired to the tail fin where the pinch pad release would go. It stopped it and I went back to my walker releases with no problem. If you love the weights maybe try that and see if it fixes yours too.

Sent from my moto z4 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I had the same problems when I used Roemer releases or blacks . 

 

I had the weights tangle . 

 

Went back to pinch pads and solved the problem . 

 

The weight dragging the line/  lure behind keeps it straight and stabilizes it . 

 

I have used cannon, offshore for years and now Scotty . I like Scotty best . 

 

You see shakers better with them  Also .

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Both the Chamberlain's and the Amish snubbers have a lot of resistance. Try a different release and fish thief snubbers, seemed to help my set up. Also contact bikini bottom or troutman for rigger weights. Good luck!

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1 hour ago, dry net said:

 Also contact bikini bottom or troutman for rigger weights. Good luck!

Probably your best solution :smile:

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If you change from balls to torpedoes ( contact troutman) you will see a world of difference. Great tracking and very little blowback compared to balls.

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Do not attach the release to the rigger weight. By doing so when you load up the rod the tension on the line will pull the tail in that direction causing the weight to steer in that direction until it can't go out any farther and then reverse  in the other direction until it can go any farther and so on.  Any of the releases that attach to the cable will stop that action. To prove this back and forth movement to yourself lower the weight down 10' or so and load up the weight and see how it pulls the tail off to the side steering the weight so it won't track straight. Pancakes are the worst for not tracking straight when attaching releases on the tail. Also be sure the tail on the weigh is straight so it doesn't act like a rudder or keel. 
Blacks, Dubro, Chamberlins, etc all work just fine on the cable.

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Don't  attach the release to the weight? 

 

I guess I have been doing it wrong for the last 40 years,. 

 

That is what keeps the weight straight and stabilizes it IMO . 

 

But I don't load my rods up as much as,some of you guys because I think it pulls the weight back and you get more blow back . 

 

 

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I agree with the “not connecting” your release to the tail of the weight for reasons mentioned. May get away with it but I think you add to the swaying or veering off of the tracking. Do a test in your driveway. Connect a rod to the tail of the weight using a release. Tighten the line up. Then using a blacks or an inline release above the weight. Tighten the line up. See which one affects the direction. Which one would you prefer?


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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Suggest you try attaching the release above the ball and ditch the snubber.  Vert & horiz line drag will steer the ball and snubber may stretch & spring back.

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Posted (edited)

I'm with Frogger and Longline. Not sure how much weight you are running but maybe also going a bit heavier and go with a torpedo or shark shape as they will resist fanning out more horizontally. The round cannonball type in the lower weight range especially had a tendency to do that and even spin around in strong current sometimes depending on what you were running for a setup. I ran them for over thirty or more years and since switching to the shark type and torpedos have never looked back and have zero problems with them. My Black releases have always been on the cable itself. In the old days when I tried hooking up to back of the weight itself and ran an attractor of any type the blowback was awful; not so when run from the cable. I'm talking about weights in the 8-12 lb range (common in previous years) and I believe the heavier weights used today (15-20 pounds) may be a different story.

Edited by Sk8man
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Posted (edited)

The ball tracks exactly the way it should if I attach a Scotty or offshore release to the tail of the cannonball. If I attach a blacks or chamberlain release to my cable then a snubber under that then to

my weight it won’t track at all. If I ditch my snubber it does the exact same thing. The only way the ball tracks right is if I attach a Scotty or offshore style release to the tail of weight. I can’t imagine going heavier for the type of fishing I do. I’m currently at 10lbs. The lakes in Maine don’t have the current the Great Lakes have. Fish style weights and torpedos track fine no matter what. It’s only the cannonball style that track like garbage. I’ve tried 2 different cannonball style weights and get the same results.

Edited by Mainefisher
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I guess my question would be: "if the other shaped weights track fine why bother running the cannonball weights at all"? I use 10 lb shark type or torpedoes = no problems

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Yeah sounds like you should go out and buy a few 15 # torpedoes at 150$ plus . And hope your riggers are rated for that much weight or you will replace them also . 

 

Or hook the release on the weights you have , call it a day , and go catch some fish . 

 

Sounds,from your original post you already know that hooking the release on the weight solves your problem . 

 

So if it ain't broke don't fix it .  

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