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Thread: stainless or spectra downrigger cable?

  1. #1

    Default stainless or spectra downrigger cable?

    About time I replace my downrigger cable. I am debating between staying with the tried and tru stainless cable or making the switch to the spectra or similar line.
    Any thoughts or opinions?
    Spectra seems to be gaining popularity. The main reason for the switch would be the reduced blow back. The hum has never bothered me, in fact I feel more confident when the wires are hummin'. Is the blow back really greatly reduced?
    I feel confident in my catching currently. Until I am catch as many or more with the spectra, I will be second guessing the switch....
    for those that are using spectra, which brand do you recommend? for those using stainless, have a cheap source (seems I end up replacing at least once a yr)
    FYI...I am handcranking (I like it) scottys on a glass boat.
    Thanks for any and all input!

  2. #2
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Replacing once a year? Why is that?

    I spooled up with 150 pound test PowerPro. I have noticed that it doesn't cause as much drag when trolling, so the angle of the downrigger line is decreased compared to 150 lb SS.

  3. #3

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    i just end up getting a broken strand or two in a couple places along the wire. Usally cheaper to replace the wire than buy new wire AND lead AND snubber, etc.

    Ya by "blow back" I mean "drag".

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Roger that. I hadn't ever noticed any broken strands or fraying on my SS, I just didn't like the hummimg or the amount of drag when fishing deep. Is your cable possibly hanging up on a pully or rubbing something it shouldn't? If you were bouncing on the rocks occasionally, I could understand some fraying near your cannonballs, but you shouldn't be having problems in various spots along the length. How heavy of cannonballs are you using?

  5. #5

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    I appreciate your concern frosty. However, my question is not whether or not my cable should last more than a yr (im sure sometimes the cable would last longer but I would rather switch out while at home on the trailer than during the middle of king salmon bite). nothing wrong with the Dwn riggers I just fish the cable hard, deep and alot. Again I appreciate your concern but would like to stick to topic. ...ss cable or braided line?

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    I like 300lb power pro, no hum, low drag. Only bad thing about Spectra it low to no voltage.

  7. #7

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    I have two or three concerns about using spectra, but maybe they're unfounded. If the fishing line (let's say spectra) gets tangled with the spectra downrigger line, then is it harder to untagle them? Is spectra more likely to fray from using the metal downrigger clips? Will spectra dig into the pulley at the end of the downrigger? I like the idea of using spectra because I'd like to have the downrigger weight more below the boat instead of behind it.

  8. #8

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    My biggest concern is NOT CATCHING due to some crazy ion magic. I don not use a black box or anything. However, what ever my voltage (or lack thereof) is currently (with SS cable) its WORKING. I just hate to fixit if it anit broke. But i sure would LOVE LESS drag when fishing 150 feet trolling at 3 knts!

  9. #9
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    The low to no voltage was referring to electric downriggers, (I believe) As they ground to the water so they stop reeling once the terminal end is above the water line. Has nothing to do with your manual downrigger magical powers of catching fish.
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  10. #10

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    I use cable. I'm with you, my boat catches right now, and changing something up would cause some lost sleep.

  11. #11

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    Afraid they just don't make the stainless like they used to. I've been able to extend my ss cable life by adding a rubber snubber between cable and ball but still not seeing the cable life of old. Lots of BC and PNW guides have switched to 150# pp saying they will never go back to stainless. I switched one rigger to braid last year and enjoyed the ease of knots verses crimp and lack of blowback. As my cable goes bad I will be switching to all braid. One important thing to remember is to keep your pulley lubed as you will get line dig with the smaller diameter pp.

  12. #12

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    fishon, since you are planning on switching over to braid, I guess it is a safe to assume that you have not noticed a differece in catch rates.

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    I use have been using 200lb spectra for a long time.
    I use either a 10, 12 or 15lb weight.
    I use 300lb halibut cord tied to my downrigger weights.
    I take a 4ft section of cord. Tie both ends together, create a 2ft loop.
    Attach the loop to the weight.
    Tie a knot in the middle of the loop.
    Now I can easily carry the weight.

    On the end of my 200lb spectra I tie a heavy brass snap with built in swivel.
    I attach the snap to the top section of the halibut cord.

    I take another 2-3ft section of the halibut cord.
    Tie one end to the downrigger weight.
    At the other end I create a non slip loop.
    This is where I attach my downrigger release.

    Ken (Tiderunner)

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    This is one of those "interesting" topics that can take a life of its own and go on for awhile. I have made up my mind on the switch-over to PowerPro from ss wire. I have had ss on one side and PowerPro on the other for the past 3 seasons (and have switched the downriggers back and forth between the sides). I do better on both Kings and Coho on the wire when the fishing is "scratchy" - no matter which side of the boat I have the wired rigger on. Last year I switched the braid line from the original rigger to one of my stand-by riggers and found no change in results. Near the end of this season I pulled out a storage spool of some elderly, nasty, spliced, and "kinky but lucky" ss wire that I put on over the top of the braid on that rigger and right away it fished the same as my original wire until the end of my season.

    The PowerPro does "OK" but my trolling logbook shows that the wire seems to get the first fish and on most days it easily out-catches the braid with the same exact gear on both. I appreciate the ease of working with the braid and being able to cut-out a frayed spot near the weight and quickly tie the connections all back together, but I have decided on replacing the braid with SS this spring. I have friends who swear by braid and others who did their own tests and stuck with ss wire. At least one guy who started on a new boat with braid awhile back has recently gone over to all ss wire. The pros and the cons (based on my rig and my experiences) are pointing me toward buying new ss wire for all of my riggers and putting the braid on my storage spool. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your ultimate choice. ;-)

  15. #15

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    Well,
    I haven't used power pro for downriggers. I have used it for salmon trolling. There are alot better spectra out there than power pro. When I used it for trolling there was a micro frays in line. So I would cut some off every once in a while. I would have to retie knots everyday after halibut fishing with power pro. I'm not a big fan of Power Pro.

  16. #16

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    Cable,
    I have had good luck with cable. If I don't run into shallow objects... I rinse ss cable with fresh water after every trip. End of year if cable is good I spray lube for storage. I change cable about every 3 years

  17. #17

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    i have fished 200 #power pro for 6 years now. and would never consider going back to wire! i run 40-50 trips per season and fish from 30 -175 feet down and find the durability and stealth to be a big advantage. Did i mention i fish the great lakes? PP may be more of an advantage in this fishery than Alaska, but there are several advantages that will tranlate to your situation! Durabilty and ease of use, reduced blow back and noise, and accident forgivenes.......aka the wife winding fish into the cables! i fish in an enviroment that is primarily limestone escarpment and have not experianced any unfavorable results with wear or failure due to fraying or weakening of the Braid due to the occasional bounce off the reef! PP also allows you a safety factor of being able to cut away easily should you snag bottom! As far as cable wear goes relating to the pulleys, i would consider this a nonfactor! i simply cut off a few feet every month or so, and have gotten over 4 years use out of my oringinal investment! the biggest knock on braids i have heard is the positive ion argument. i fish in an enviroment that often favors a steathy approach compared to an ionic signal, and have seen no drop off in my fish per trip numbers since making the change! 3 of my last 5 seasons have resulted in double digit catch rates on kings, which exceeds my long term catch rate of 7 to 8 fish. I am satisfied that power pro is not costing me any bites, and believe it is a superior advantage! Work a couple of your riggers into the spread with Braid and see how they measure up! hope they perform for you cause your not going to have to change them out every year!

  18. #18
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  19. #19

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    Ok thanks for all the comments! I think Im gonna stick with the stainless cable for now.

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