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Thread: Electric downrigger recommendation

  1. #1
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Default Electric downrigger recommendation

    I currently have 2 penn manual downrigger, and they serve me pretty well. I am thinking about adding an electric downrigger to the boat for the times I am fishing with my kids and other novice anglers that can make downrigger retrieval hectic at times (especially on the rare occasion I actually get to fight the fish). My penns have been bullet proof, I have never had to make any repairs at all in the 7 years I have used them, I am looking for similar reliability in an electric downrigger, though I know that there are many more things to break on an electric. So my question is, what electrics are you all using? Give me the good and the bad please.
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    both scotty & cannons are hard to beat...i just picked up a pair of cannon mag 10's for a great price but havent used them. had scottys before & there user friendly...i don't think you can go wrong with either.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Electric downrigger recommendation

    I have fished with both, in my opinion it is asking if someone prefers Ford or Chevy.
    It seems like the cannon was a little faster, other than that I would be happy to have either.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    I'm a huge fan of Big Jon's, I was a fan of the Cannon's for a while but I've seen a number of them snap off a the base and go swimming, usually from user error. There's a rock pile in Ketchikan right next to Mountain Point that has at least 3 cannon's on it that I saw go it. Scotty's take up lots of space, I run 4 riggers which I couldn't do with Scotty's, at least as easily. I like that the Big Jon's are smaller, just as fast if you want and all the high stress stuff/bases are solid aluminum, not plastic. I don't know of the others customer service, but I call Big Jon and talk to anyone I want anytime I call. The Big Jon's coating on the motor housing doesn't hold up to the saltwater real well, I got 3 season's out of them before I had to tear them down and rhino line them, but I also put over 400 hours a season on them. Getting parts up here isn't as easy as the others either, but luckily I haven't needed parts yet, if I do, I know I can call Kevin at Big Jon and have them in a day or 2. I know they are in the works with designing a saltwater rigger, but I don't know when it'll be out.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    I'm a huge fan of Big Jon's, I was a fan of the Cannon's for a while but I've seen a number of them snap off a the base and go swimming, usually from user error. There's a rock pile in Ketchikan right next to Mountain Point that has at least 3 cannon's on it that I saw go it. Scotty's take up lots of space, I run 4 riggers which I couldn't do with Scotty's, at least as easily. I like that the Big Jon's are smaller, just as fast if you want and all the high stress stuff/bases are solid aluminum, not plastic. I don't know of the others customer service, but I call Big Jon and talk to anyone I want anytime I call. The Big Jon's coating on the motor housing doesn't hold up to the saltwater real well, I got 3 season's out of them before I had to tear them down and rhino line them, but I also put over 400 hours a season on them. Getting parts up here isn't as easy as the others either, but luckily I haven't needed parts yet, if I do, I know I can call Kevin at Big Jon and have them in a day or 2. I know they are in the works with designing a saltwater rigger, but I don't know when it'll be out.
    what kind of operator error is causing them to snap off at the bases?
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Not backing off the clutches when you're in a rocky area. I've hung mine before, get to involved in the back off the boat and forget about a pile but I back the clutches off. Watched one go overboard on a boat, the rod bounced like it had a fish, the guy saw and grabbed the rod, I saw the rigger bounce as well, then snap, bye bye rigger. I've seen the plastic sleeve where the boom connects crack too from the same thing.

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    Scotty. I lost a small part overboard and called them up to order one. Next thing I knew the part was at the house, no charge. Great service!

    If you've got the brake set right, you shouldn't be loosing the downrigger, maybe the ball and cable. I've lost a ball when the cable broke but no damage to the downrigger.

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    Default Electric downrigger recommendation

    I use a Ace line hauler on a Scotty mount. I hooked bottom with a string of pots and with the tide and wind blowing me off the pot, I was amazed at the amount the Scotty mount held. I do not know the pounds of force on it but my pot line was banjo string tight before I got the line free. I really like my Scotty 1106 down riggers. I have not had any problems, knock on wood.

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    Cannon and Scotty's are both great. Like someone said it's like Ford vs Chevy...unless a Dodge shows up then its no contest, buy a dodge.....just kidding.

    Anyway, I've got 2 Cannon's that I've owned for probably close to 10 years. I've actually hung a ball on the bottom and bent the heck outta the boom and it never broke. Called the 1-800 and they said you can buy a new one or bend it back. Long story short, its bent back and still running strong. I have no complaints about my Cannons but I also know alot of die hard guys who use Scotty's. They are both great units so just get what you the unit you are learning towards and you'll be happy.

  10. #10

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    Not to confuse the issue, but I'm kind of interested that no one has mentioned Walker downriggers. If I was going to purchase electric downriggers I'd seriously be considering them. As far as I can tell from reading about them they do exactly the same things that Cannon, Scotty or any of the others do in terms of "short stop", line retrieve speed, etc.

    Another BIG plus is that if you are interested in underwater cameras like I have been known to use they have a whole downrigger/underwater camera system that they sell. Here's a link to their "StrikeVision" system: http://www.walkerdownriggers.com/strike_vision.html. It looks pretty cool to me.
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  11. #11

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    I was just doing a little more digging and ONE thing that I find that MIGHT sway me toward Scotty is that their electric downriggers have a stated line retrieve rate of "304 ft. per minute" with a 12 lb. weight. Cannon only claims a "250 ft. per minute" (weight not specified) retrieval rate and Walker only "200 ft. per minute" with a 10 lb. weight. That might be something to consider. I know if I'm wanting to get that weight out of the water as quick as possible because I have a nice fish on the line that I don't want getting caught in the downrigger cable I'd be wanting to get my weight up as quickly as possible. Just a thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    I was just doing a little more digging and ONE thing that I find that MIGHT sway me toward Scotty is that their electric downriggers have a stated line retrieve rate of "304 ft. per minute" with a 12 lb. weight. Cannon only claims a "250 ft. per minute" (weight not specified) retrieval rate and Walker only "200 ft. per minute" with a 10 lb. weight. That might be something to consider. I know if I'm wanting to get that weight out of the water as quick as possible because I have a nice fish on the line that I don't want getting caught in the downrigger cable I'd be wanting to get my weight up as quickly as possible. Just a thought.
    Good info, thanks. Fast retrieval is important IMO, the whole reason I would want an electric is to make it easier to get the ball out of the water.
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    It ain't hard to crank a ball in faster with a manual than an electric can do. However, it is nice to hit a switch and move on to another task, like circling toward the rod that got bit in an effort to hook a double...retrieval by the electric frees you up to keep your eye on other boats, coach kids/guests/clients, and generally make better use of time.

    Maintaining headway for a brief time after a bite/release does a couple things - keeps other gear in water for a double, and gets the fish out away from the boat where it won't hang on your gear. If running a boat solo with no deckhand, this is tough to do without having boat controls of some form in the cockpit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    It ain't hard to crank a ball in faster with a manual than an electric can do. However, it is nice to hit a switch and move on to another task, like circling toward the rod that got bit in an effort to hook a double...retrieval by the electric frees you up to keep your eye on other boats, coach kids/guests/clients, and generally make better use of time.

    Maintaining headway for a brief time after a bite/release does a couple things - keeps other gear in water for a double, and gets the fish out away from the boat where it won't hang on your gear. If running a boat solo with no deckhand, this is tough to do without having boat controls of some form in the cockpit.
    The hands free retrieve is what I am after, especially in the case of a double hookup. I will eventually get an electric downrigger, but after weighing the pro's vs costs, I think I will invest in other equipment for the time being. At this point in time I think a diesel heater, like an espar, is more important. Thanks all.
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  15. #15

    Default Electric downrigger recommendation

    If you're fishing through the winter I think you're on the right track! I'd rather drag a deep six with the cabin at 70 than run an electric when the cabin is 10!!! Good luck which ever direction you go.

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    I bought a Cannon 5 ST Magnum to replace an older Cannon that went back to a local Cannon authorized repairman (it disappeared with him!) and love it. It's quiet, powerful, fast and when a client now messes up the cable spool (that's why the other unit went into the shop), this unit has a spool cover that can be easily removed and the cable respooled.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    I bought a Cannon 5 ST Magnum to replace an older Cannon that went back to a local Cannon authorized repairman (it disappeared with him!) and love it. It's quiet, powerful, fast and when a client now messes up the cable spool (that's why the other unit went into the shop), this unit has a spool cover that can be easily removed and the cable respooled.
    I think as a charter captain one of the biggest criteria I'd want to take into account when purchasing an electric downrigger (which I'm considering) other than retrieval rate is how fast I could make my electric become a manual. The reasoning for this would be twofold:

    1) Let's say my client hooks into a fish they might just want to keep (in my world that's just about any salmon a client hooks into). If when we get a fish on, my electrical connection suddenly goes dead on me and I have to crank the weight up by hand, all I know is I'm going to want to be able to clear that downrigger weight/cable out of the water as quickly as possible.

    2) Then, obviously, even if we don't have a fish on and my electric doesn't want to cooperate with me I'd certainly prefer to have a downrigger I can just manually spool up as quickly as possible rather than spend 5 minutes or more having to pull a cover off or go through various perambulations to retrieve the weight.

    Yeah, I agree that the "hands free retrieve" certainly can be a wonderful asset, but the "Boy Scout" in me (and 50 very odd years of my electrical engineer father's drilling into me Murphy's Law and "if an electrical connection can go bad on you, it will at the most inopportune moment") has taught me the vary valuable advice of "Be Prepared." I DO NOT enjoy losing a fish for a client because of something I could have avoided.

    With those thoughts in mind, does anyone know which electric gives you the best option of being able to retrieve the weight with the minimum of fuss?
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    Would one of these be any use to you guys ?? they look bombproof and one even has a reduction built in to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    I think as a charter captain one of the biggest criteria I'd want to take into account when purchasing an electric downrigger (which I'm considering) other than retrieval rate is how fast I could make my electric become a manual. The reasoning for this would be twofold:

    1) Let's say my client hooks into a fish they might just want to keep (in my world that's just about any salmon a client hooks into). If when we get a fish on, my electrical connection suddenly goes dead on me and I have to crank the weight up by hand, all I know is I'm going to want to be able to clear that downrigger weight/cable out of the water as quickly as possible.

    2) Then, obviously, even if we don't have a fish on and my electric doesn't want to cooperate with me I'd certainly prefer to have a downrigger I can just manually spool up as quickly as possible rather than spend 5 minutes or more having to pull a cover off or go through various perambulations to retrieve the weight.

    Yeah, I agree that the "hands free retrieve" certainly can be a wonderful asset, but the "Boy Scout" in me (and 50 very odd years of my electrical engineer father's drilling into me Murphy's Law and "if an electrical connection can go bad on you, it will at the most inopportune moment") has taught me the vary valuable advice of "Be Prepared." I DO NOT enjoy losing a fish for a client because of something I could have avoided.

    With those thoughts in mind, does anyone know which electric gives you the best option of being able to retrieve the weight with the minimum of fuss?
    I know the scotty has a small plastic wrench inside the top, but I an not sure of this is for repair or retrieval or both, since I have never had to use it. The Scotty has been bulletproof operation for me for about 8 or 9 years, across two boats.
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Hey Mutt, the Big Jon's fit that bill, handle screws onto the spool as fast as you can dig it out of where it's stored. No need to take anything apart.

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