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Thread: Electric or manual? No not those, downriggers!

  1. #1
    Member Boreal's Avatar
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    Default Electric or manual? No not those, downriggers!

    So somehow I managed to convince the wife that a boat is a perfectly reasonable purchase. Either that or I learned a thing or two and nagged her enough. The boat I'm picking up does not have downriggers, but is wired for electric. The question I put before you, is the convenience of electric downriggers worth the extra cost? When fishing for silvers and kings, how deep do y'all normally fish? Is reeling in a 12# weight by hand all that difficult?

    Once I figure this out, I'll see if I can get y'all to let me in on your secret holes!

    Thanks, again!

  2. #2
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I like my Scotty electrics. If you set them up right, you just twist the knob and the leave the weight right at the water surface with their auto stops. Depending on who responds, you will get all opinions on this matter. I remember a thread on this some time ago and some swear by their manual dowriggers. They also seem to last well, so I think you can amortize the cost over many years if you take care of them.
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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    IMO there are more benefits (advantages) to the electric over the manuals... First thing that comes to mind is when you get a strike if there is just you and someone driving the boat, you are left with the job of cranking up the manual downrigger while holding onto the fishing pole and trying to not loose the fish... where as electric, it's a simple flip of the switch and the weight comes up while you can put all your concentration on the fish... for me, 29ft was always the magic number for silvers, both in Lower Cook Inlet and Resurrection... Kings are deeper...

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    If I was using my downriggers more than once a week or so (weekends), maybe I would replace my manuals with electrics. Honestly, I don't find it to be a big deal to crank it up after a release, even if there are only two of us on the boat.

    I agree with Old John, I rarely fish deeper than 30 feet for silvers.

  5. #5
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    i have manuals and it has never been an issue... when i am fishing solo i can crank up a ball while playing a fish, never lost one because of tangling on my cable.
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  6. #6

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    Manuals, by a mile. Saltwater, aluminum boats, and electric downriggers are not fun. Not to mention when your "stop" release gets out of adustment, you are donating balls to the bottom of the ocean. I have scotty electrics under the deck that haven't been used in years. Never again.

    Get yourself a good pair of manuals. I run 12lb balls on mine.

  7. #7
    Member AKluvr95's Avatar
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    My wife runs our Scotty manuals that came with the boat and does great. I offered to get here electrics and she said don't bother these are fine...

  8. #8

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    I run cannon mag 20s and I love them. It isn't hard to rig electrics ones right. Just like anything else they require regular maintance. Electric ones with auto stop are the best.... I rigged my cannons with scotty plugs. I mounted my plug ins near downrigger mounts. I also shorten my cords off downriggers for a clean looking installation. I spray Corrosion X on my plugs. I have never had a problem...
    I read more threads about this in the past. Main problem is electric downriggers is "Salt Water". Salt water is hard on a lot of things on boats especially electronics. But if you maintan your equipment on boat. You will not spend time and money fixing things.

  9. #9
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    I like penn manuals. I also like scotty electrics. Line stops will slip if fouled heavily with seaweed, so pay attention or you'll blow fuses. Carry lots of extra fuses. Use Scotty's little black rubber snubber beads to cushion your cable terminal when it slams into the end pulley due to a slipped autostop. Make a 2'+ long snubber/grab line out of gangion, tied between a big hairy barrel swivel and a big hairy corkscrew swivel. Rig cable to the barrel, and slip weight onto corkscrew. Attach release to gangion via longline clip. Use a 3' - 4' leader of 200 plus # mono between the release and longline clip.

    Rig a manual the same way for when zealous junior cranks her right up to the tip at a great rate of speed...

    The gangion or tuna cord snubber is very forgiving of retrieval trouble, as are the rubber snubber beads.

    Electrics are great, but I'd like to meet the man or machine that can raise a 15# cannonball faster than me on the penn manual.

    Silvers anywhere from surface to 120' down, with most time spent at 30-50. Kings 80' to as deep as your gear will fish, though they'll run shallower in places. Summertime out of Seward, if trolling silvers away from the zoo spots (fox, cheval, pony) outside around the corners, you had better be pulling a 5" tomic rigged with the pin pulled, ~85' down, going 2.5 knots or more. Otherwise you are absolutely going right over kings in varying degrees of profusion - from wayward singles to lights out limit filling schools. The deep plug gets plus-size silvers too. I suppose the same is true out of Homer, though the forage may be nominally different and require different lures. Haven't played down there.

  10. #10

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    im looking to purchase a scotty 1101 for next year. after comparing with the cannon mag 5 hs, i think the scotty one will be the better choice.. at least for me anyway. it all depends on your needs and preference. i found a listing for a cannon mag 10 for cheap on ebay but the seller said the auto stop feature is missing. thats a must have feature if you are looking at an electric rigger imo.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    i have manuals and it has never been an issue... when i am fishing solo i can crank up a ball while playing a fish, never lost one because of tangling on my cable.
    Here, here! I fish alone a lot and have NEVER had a problem cranking up a manual before the fish got to close other than just through plain stupidity (or excitement) on my part. I fish between 20' and 70' typically and with today's downriggers that means cranking the downrigger up for about 7 or 8 seconds while you just keep pressure on the fish.

    I have a friend I fish with that has one electric on his boat and to get it to work you have to push up on the electrical connection with your toe to get it to work---and that's while you're fighting the fish!

    Introducing and electronically controlled device that gets used constantly in a marine environment, in my eyes, is just asking for one more electrical connection to go bad that you'll have to diagnose. My father taught me a very serious lesson years ago, and he was an electrical engineer, "The more electrical connections you introduce into a system the more problems you can have that will take you days to figure out.' And that was on dry land. We all know what it's like out on the salt.

    I just don't like introducing another electrical system into my boat in a marine environment that could die on you at the worst possible time.

    Also----and I don't know this for a fact---but I've heard with Cannon electrics there's no way to reel the line up once something does go wrong. I could be corrected on that, but that's what I've heard. Sounds like a bit of a mess to me. Especially if you have clients on board that are paying you for your time.

    Any problems I have with my manuals are very straight forward and very easily fixable.

    Manuals are cheaper, too. I always like that.
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  12. #12

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    I agree electrics are more work. BTW, Cannon offers a emergency crank for the powers. I have had Cannon Digi-trols (most expensive and programmable) and some manuals...I fish the manuals the most (electrics ride on my friends boat). I have had no problem with the electrics but as noted there is more maintenance.


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  13. #13

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    is the convenience of electric downriggers worth the extra cost?
    Yes-unless you have a strong wife or are under 30yo.

  14. #14
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    I went for Scott electrics, and I'm very happy I did. Normally troll 60-100ft, and if a good fish is on, I bring up both rigs with a simple twist of the collar around the push button. The same person can pop the second line off the downrigger, start both rigs coming up while he's reeling in the popped line, and meanwhile the person with the fish on can fight the fish without interruption. Then once the fish is beside the boat, if it's a king and runs under the boat, we know it's not gonna get wrapped up in more gear.

    All my friends who I take out think the electrics are the cats meow. So easy. I do wash them off after each trip, and keep and eye out for any start of corrosion. No problems since I bought them 3 years ago. Scott parts and accessories seemed more available at the local stores in Kodiak too.

  15. #15

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    Once again, I have no problem reeling up a manual downrigger----and usually faster than an electric will come up----and often times do it by myself while fishing by myself. The "cat's meow" becomes a growl once that electrical connection decides not to work for you and you lose a big king because of that. That's not an option I'm willing to take when I have a boat load of people paying me to catch fish for them.

    And then there's the maintenance aspect of electric over manual. I think everyone knows my feelings on that.
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  16. #16
    Member redleader's Avatar
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    Default gimme a break

    if you like your manual downriggers more power to you, but the advantages of electric far outweighs the manuals, a simple flip of a switch and its automatic and I can also use the electric plug for my electric reel and electric pot puller just keep on cranking those manuals. lol.

  17. #17
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    I know fisherman used manuals for a long time before electrics, and I'm sure with a lot of practice, like Mutley Crew Fishing gets, cranking a manual while fighting a fish becomes easier. But I'm not that good to do both if I've got a King or Silver on that is darting or running at the boat. I'm too busy cranking the reel or working the rod angles.

    So far I haven't been exposed (myself or others) to the electric failures that has some worried. So let the cat continue to meow!

  18. #18
    Member Deak's Avatar
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    It looks like I'm in the minority but I really like my Canon Mag 5 HS downriggers. The Canon electric has a fast retrieve and the autostop feature works without beads or much other setup. I take friends out all summer and try to keep the process as simple as possible so they don't screw it up. The Canon's have been pretty much one button easy

    As far as the main question being asked in this thread (electric or manual?) my answer is electric. The hassle of cranking up a manual downrigger while helping my friends trying to land a fish does not make sense. Especially in the case of a double hookup, if both people on your boat hookup your going to issues trying to land the fish while getting the downrigger lines out of the way.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by redleader View Post
    if you like your manual downriggers more power to you, but the advantages of electric far outweighs the manuals, a simple flip of a switch and its automatic and I can also use the electric plug for my electric reel and electric pot puller just keep on cranking those manuals. lol.
    Give ME a break! I'll bet you that one time you lose a nice king because your electric suddenly decided to stop working, or wasn't quick enough in getting your downrigger ball to the surface quick enough you'll think back to this thread.

    I'd love to try this experiment because I never have, but I'll bet I can get a downrigger ball to the surface about twice as fast as an electric. We'll have to try that out sometime Jim.
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  20. #20
    Member redleader's Avatar
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    My mag 10s are rated at 250' per minute retrieval speed, too each his own, some prefer a hand auger to a power auger, bicycle to a car, oar to a motor. etc. etc.

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