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Downrigger use Advice


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I’m Learning to use the downriggers that came with my boat and looking for some experienced advice for deeper (than Lake Erie) use….

1.) what type of weight works best with least blow back? I have round cannonball with a fin, pancake, and fish shaped!  
 

2.) how long a lead should I use from the release to the lure?

 

3.) should it be my deepest runner?  (Deepest-most line out closest to boat?)

 

4.) can I run more than one line from it? (Or save that for when I’m more experienced with it?)

 

Hoping to avoid a major tangle and put some fish in the cooler!

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Posted (edited)

Of the three weights the fish shape will probably track straightest

15 to 50 ft for spoons, 4 - 15 ft for flashers or attractrors with fly or spoon depending on circumstance, targeted fish, depth run,  etc.  I usually shorten the lead the deeper I go.

Deepest lines usually should be closest to boat but that may not be the riggers; wire divers may be your deepest again depends on circumstances and what you are targeting and running for lures etc..

Easiest way to run multiple lines from riggers is to use sliders. It has been covered multiple times on here so may want to search for the info.

 

I'm sure others may have other ideas or different info but this is off the top of my head for starters.

Edited by Sk8man
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To the OP - seeing you have another post with questions on copper besides this one on using a down rigger, a good way to shorten the beginner learning curve is to take a charter.  Get some buddies to split cost and the expense is not that great.  Likely will save money from losing less tackle or buying the wrong equipment in the long run plus get you catching fish sooner.

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Use 2 of the same weights if you can 

 

I used 10# fish shaped for years ..

I use cannonballs also . Hopefully yours are 10 # at least 

 

I seldom run leads of   less that 20 ft , more like 25 for both spoons and flashers . 

 

Run leads back the same and keep the weights at least 10 ft apart vertically to avoid tangles 

 

At first , run 1 lure each rigger and 1 dipsey if you have one till you get the feel of things . I never run more than 5 rods  . 

 

Better to run a few rods right than a bunch wrong 

 

Watch your depth finder for fish / bait . 

 

Do a lot of turning  so your lure will be running the right speed at least some of the time if you don't have Down speed temp . Note direction of troll on hit to repeat it 

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I run fish shaped & Torpedo style below 70 Ft.  (I won't have a pancake on my boat)   I also stack on one rigger.  Stacker about 7-10 ft above weight.  Stacked line about 10 ft back, Bottom line 10-15 ft behind that.   

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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I don't disagree MR580!  Can't beat the teaching of experienced fishermen and charters are a great way to do this.  I fish Lake Erie, trolling for Walleye and Steelhead, so I have the basics down.   Just trying to get some fine tuning tips.  On Erie 6 ft fluorocarbon leaders work quite well.  But that's for Walleye and Steelhead.  Checking to see if Salmon and Trout are different and prefer longer leads.

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My favorite setup this time of year is a flasher on 1 rigger set back 20 ft set at 50 deg temp . Other rigger one spoon set 10 ft below the flasher and one spoon stacked 10 ft above the flasher 25 ft leads . And one or 2 dipsey .  

 

A lot of times I run 4 flashers . 

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24 minutes ago, HB2 said:

My favorite setup this time of year is a flasher on 1 rigger set back 20 ft set at 50 deg temp . Other rigger one spoon set 10 ft below the flasher and one spoon stacked 10 ft above the flasher 25 ft leads . And one or 2 dipsey .  

 

A lot of times I run 4 flashers . 

 

X2   . . . but I never run 4 flashers (just what I am comfortable with)

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