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Thread: Question on rigging downriggers for salmon trolling - modification thoughts

  1. #1
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    Default Question on rigging downriggers for salmon trolling - modification thoughts

    Well, the family & I just got back from a week in Ketchikan. My mom hired a guide boat for salmon fishing one day & I soaked up as much knowledge as I could from the couple who operated the boat. One of the more interesting tidbits for me was how close y'all run the line from the downrigger - just 15 feet or less. When I'm using downriggers in Texas, we typically drop the line back 50 to 100 feet when trolling for king mackerel etc.

    Anyways, what I was wondering is if anyone has ever tried a variation of a downrigger release where the flasher is incorporated into the release line, with the clip at the tail end of the flasher. The reason I'm wondering about this is that the flasher places alot of drag on the line when fighting the fish & appears to give them something to lever against & pull the hook.

    If it's a stupid idea, just let me know why ... thanks all!

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    Silver Horde makes a rudder flasher that is a triangle shape and it goes between the cable and the downrigger weight and the release goes off the trailing edge of the rudder flasher. Any other release clip on the end of a flasher will not let the flasher rotate as it should

  3. #3

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    I don't think that putting the release after a spinning flasher would be the best of ideas, unless you are a big fan of tangled gear. Lots of guys will run a false flasher.. Run a flasher off the ball, and put your release on the downrigger cable up from the ball. You get the benefit of a flasher creating the motion in the water that draws salmon in, without having a flasher on your line.

    I clip my release directly to the ball, and use my flasher to move my lure/bait. (thus needing a flasher hooked onto my sport gear line) I don't have any issues with "drag" on kings. No lost fish over what I experience on mooching rigs. An 11" flasher does kill a 5lb coho fight, but I despise 5lb cohos anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek the Greek View Post
    Well, the family & I just got back from a week in Ketchikan. My mom hired a guide boat for salmon fishing one day & I soaked up as much knowledge as I could from the couple who operated the boat. One of the more interesting tidbits for me was how close y'all run the line from the downrigger - just 15 feet or less. When I'm using downriggers in Texas, we typically drop the line back 50 to 100 feet when trolling for king mackerel etc.

    Anyways, what I was wondering is if anyone has ever tried a variation of a downrigger release where the flasher is incorporated into the release line, with the clip at the tail end of the flasher. The reason I'm wondering about this is that the flasher places alot of drag on the line when fighting the fish & appears to give them something to lever against & pull the hook.

    If it's a stupid idea, just let me know why ... thanks all!
    I tried it once (for about three minutes), it didn't work. The throb of the flasher was transfered directly to the rod, so the rod was continually bouncing while in the rod holder. Perhap an in-line spinning type flasher, like a bolo or cowbell would work better.

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    I recall using a "Break away" flasher some years ago. After a strike the flasher would trip in some fashion and would'nt effect the fight of the fish. I think I lost it on a reef somewhere ~ when wife was driving boat.
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    I started rigging my downriggers with the flasher hooked up to the ball/clip with ball bearing swivels. It doesn't rotate quite like it would when rigged up on the line but seems to get OK hook ups (my freezer is full so good enough!). Two things it's cured for me besides getting to fight the fish without the added resistance: 1) I don't get any more tangles like I would when I sent it down too fast, and 2) I haven't lost a $10 flasher since. Yeah, the rod wiggles a lot, just like when it's fouled but you get used to it.

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    Best I've found is to hang a flasher from the ball on a 24" leader, then set my line 3' up from the ball. Then I keep the fall-back from the wire fairly short, on the order of 4-6'. It accomplishes everything I want unless the fish want a lot of "kick" in the herring/spoon/hoochie. Not an issue for silvers most of the time, but critical for kings. There's no substitute for having the flasher on the line when you need the kick. I'm lots more concerned about getting the kick right than I am about having the flasher on the line. I find a lot of difference from day to day in the length of line back from the wire and the amount of bend I put in the flashers/dodgers, all of which affect kick. Look at my flashers/dodgers and you'll see extra holes I drilled in the trailing edge so I can move the swivel away from the center as needed for more or less kick. The longer I make my line back from the wire, the more bend I'll put in them too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    I don't have any issues with "drag" on kings. No lost fish over what I experience on mooching rigs. An 11" flasher does kill a 5lb coho fight, but I despise 5lb cohos anyway.
    Maybe the problem was simply that we were catching mostly pink salmon & they're small enough for the flasher to affect the fight? I just got so tired of hearing my mom or one of her friends say 'oh, the fish got away' and I could SEE the flasher moving sideways in the water and kept telling them to reel their fish in ... perhaps next trip will be early in the year for big kings or late fall for silvers. For that matter, I may try to convince my girlfriend that she & I need to head up there in a few weeks! Thank you guys, will try the spinning-type flashers described next time & see if that helps.

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    I have used this system and maintained a very high hook-fish-in net-boat ratio..lol.. I use the flashers, and ususally a bait plug or crocodile spoon trolling about 30in behind the flasher. The release is hooked up to the Ball (12lb) and the line obviously snapped to that. The Flasher is between 6-10ft behind the release and then dropped to the desired depth. I have never had an issue with losing fish due to the flasher providing drag. Silvers and kings both have provided enough fight etc.. I have even tried it without the flasher and usually put the bait about 10ft behind the release. The key i found trolling for silvers and kings is once that rod releases or starts dancing... I will make sure myself or the ones fishing understand that you have to keep tension on the line..if you give the fish a chance to get slack they will sometimes come off.. I also keep the boat trolling for a few reasons...one, to hopefully get another hookup..two, to ensure the hookset is good to go for a few seconds..and three..if the silver is under 10lbs..we can usually keep trolling and fight him to the boat..or pull him in. Right when he gets to the back of the boat..we will drop it into neutral and snatch it up with the net, kick it into gear and keep moving. Makes for a pretty good time and if the fish are really hitting good...keep the action going. Water depth is my only concern with dropping it into neutral..very seldom a problem though. Works for me.

    Good luch and enjoy.
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    I've settled on the following:

    1. make a short rope "leader" for your downrigger ball, 2-4' long depending on your gunwale height and preference. I use something like gangion but stiffer, and big halibut-type barrel swivels at each end. Top end has no corkscrew and is where I rig the cannonball wire (crimped with two brass oval sleeves). On the bottom end is your standard issue big corkscrew swivel and I put the ball on this.

    2. For the release, I use scotty alligator clip type with the neon green jaws. These I rig to 3-4 feet of 250# monofilament and a longline clip. I clip this to the gangion/rope above the cannonball.

    Don't run the clip on the back end of a flasher - flasher no workie right.

    If you don't want flasher drag, as stated above, rig a dummy with 10' of heavy 100#+ mono to clip to your cannonball or to the gangion just above it.

    Or, buy Jim's breakaway flashers. Look the proprietor up on bloodydecks - username is flasher.

  11. #11

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    When using plugs I often run them up to 50 feet behind the wire-plugs gotta walk back & forth


    There was once a Dodger (not a flasher) produced here in BC that had the clip incorporated into the end-great unit but overpriced and now long gone.

    The Q-Cove Flasher made in WA state is making fans all over for it's no drag feature.

    http://www.qcove.com/

  12. #12

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    I don't know what type of rods you use but if you do not have a downrigger rod you will not have the action needed when the line is released from the clip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    I don't know what type of rods you use but if you do not have a downrigger rod you will not have the action needed when the line is released from the clip.
    Yes, we have 8' long downrigger rods with suitable levelwind reels.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    I don't know what type of rods you use but if you do not have a downrigger rod you will not have the action needed when the line is released from the clip.
    Oh geez! A can of worms being opened. How do you define "downrigger rod"? I've been using 7' UglyStix rods for many, many years with wonderful success and use them all the time for my clients. I don't have any problem having "the action needed" when the line comes out of the clip. That king you see me holding in my picture to the left was caught on a 7' UglyStix rod using my downrigger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    Oh geez! A can of worms being opened. How do you define "downrigger rod"? I've been using 7' UglyStix rods for many, many years with wonderful success and use them all the time for my clients. I don't have any problem having "the action needed" when the line comes out of the clip. That king you see me holding in my picture to the left was caught on a 7' UglyStix rod using my downrigger.
    I see you're back in the saddle, feeling better I hope and all is going good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyRaven View Post
    I see you're back in the saddle, feeling better I hope and all is going good.
    Yeah, thanks! Hip is doing better, but I have torn cartilage in my knee that still bothers me, but I hope to start fishing again this week. FISH ON!!!
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    Yeah, thanks! Hip is doing better, but I have torn cartilage in my knee that still bothers me, but I hope to start fishing again this week. FISH ON!!!
    He's Back! Welcome back Mutley! Glad to hear you will be fishing soon!!!!!!!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardinal_84 View Post
    He's Back! Welcome back Mutley! Glad to hear you will be fishing soon!!!!!!!
    Thanks again. Just in time for the end of silvers and the start of another wonderful winter king season!
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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