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Thread: Downrigger Line Angle question

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Default Downrigger Line Angle question

    As im sure you are all aware from my previous posts I am now interrogating the method and uses of downriggers. My question this time relates to the amount of weight used and the angle of line when entering the water. Depending on circumstances it is quite clear that at different times different weights would be used to counteract the tidal range at that particular moment. Given this variety , different weights would ( depending on the tide ) have to be used. How then is it possible to accurately predict the depth of the rig fishing ( even with a counter rigged to it ) given the fact that a larger weight would be used. At this point then is there a method used to calculate the line angle to ascertain depth and the right fishing speed?

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Yes, its called Trigonometry if all the variables were not there.

    More realistic though, its pretty much an educated guess as there are a ton of variables that effect the line, weight, drag, etc....
    Don't overthink it.

    When are you going to pull the trigger and put some $ down on a boat?
    BK

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    Member cormit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    As im sure you are all aware from my previous posts I am now interrogating the method and uses of downriggers. My question this time relates to the amount of weight used and the angle of line when entering the water. Depending on circumstances it is quite clear that at different times different weights would be used to counteract the tidal range at that particular moment. Given this variety , different weights would ( depending on the tide ) have to be used. How then is it possible to accurately predict the depth of the rig fishing ( even with a counter rigged to it ) given the fact that a larger weight would be used. At this point then is there a method used to calculate the line angle to ascertain depth and the right fishing speed?
    The current only matters when you are anchored. We use ten pound down rigger weights for all trolling ...... doesn't matter what the tide is doing. Our down riggers are mounted just aft of the cabin ...... this keeps the weight visible to the transom mounted transducer. We can usually see the weight on the fish finder to confirm the depth. We rarely troll over 100 feet ....... maybe folks that troll deeper than that switch to a different size weight.

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    Member bobmikk's Avatar
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    Here is a chart I use....get's you close based on fish finder depth. I like to get into the neighborhood, then let the fish pick up your flasher to find your lure (bait).


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    Mickey, I think you're at the point where you are overthinking everything.

    Line angle depends on lots of things. Are you pulling a bare cut plug herring at 1 - 1.5 knots water speed? Are you pulling a 7" tomic at 4 knots? Are you pulling 11" flashers at 3 knots, deep? Are you using 10 or 15lb weights? are you using cable or spectra for rigger line? It is what it is. Less may be better than more, but as long as you make depth, who cares? The fish don't.

    Fish can swim rather fast, and they can see and feel. They can see things silhouetted above them particularly well. They can be lazy or active.

    Line angle at the surface does not equal line angle at the ball; simple trig doesn't work. Rigger cable shape will be some sort of catenary or arc: vertical at the ball, angled at the surface.

    Run the heaviest balls that your riggers will handle. If you have the coin, use scotty electric riggers. Use a 6' to 8' piece of gangion or tuna cord or similar as a "leader" for your cannonball, linked to your cable or spectra rigger line thru a big barrel swivel. The swivel will trip the auto stop on the rigger without being fouled by heavy weeds and dragged downward like the standard plastic cable stoppers can. The gangion gives good grip for hauling the ball aboard at the boat, and for attaching your release well above the ball if you want to run a dummy flasher down by the ball.

    Rather than plastering this message board with questions, consider hiring 270ti to take you on a charter trip where you mooch and troll and give him a big tip afterward. At some point you gotta get out and do it.

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    Member akfisherman's Avatar
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    Are you kidding me? I go out I put my riggers out pick a depth and go for it. I rig them at different depths and different bait. I figure out what works and I put the fish in the box. Done. Everyone has a different method and everyone claims to have the perfect rig. Do what works and have fun finding out what works. My freezer is full so I guess I ain't to far off base.


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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    My angle dangles.

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    It's not the size of your balls..... its all about the angle of your dangle. VEK is right, just go fishing man.

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. Sorry about the voluminous number of questions ! Im a professional fly fisherman. That's why I want to get enough information before I invest $200,000-$250,000 on a saltwater boat. If you look back at all my questions they relate to this fact. Everything is relative to this purpose. I will be using the vessel for my own sport use only so the only way to get the information that I need is from sympathetic , impartial spectators with no commercial link to the purchase. All and all there is no way of computing the value of the forum to me................thanks

  10. #10

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    I think you're smart to do it this way, especially from afar. Speaking first hand toward your fly fishing background, make sure the boat has a bow rail of suitable height and positioning to serve as a "leaning post" for fly casting. In fact, you might be even happier with the installation of a removable leaning post, as a bow rail originating from the gunnel usually leaves your feet against the side of the boat long before your waist contacts the rail. Lotta fly casting opportunities around the cover near shore, but best served by "nosing" the boat up to the cover than by approaching broadside or stern-first.

    As for downrigger wire angle, it's more a case of experience and judgement than any particular formula. When on the East Coast we often troll for tuna, and especially in the winter along the southern shores that is a downrigger affair rather than skipping lures and baits on the surface. Even at our usual 8 knots, you can't learn much from wire angle. It's better to develop your own depth "formulas" around wire length versus speed rather than watching the angle. At that speed tiny changes in gear greatly affect depth and performance. At the slower speeds (and smaller wire angles) of salmon trolling, I don't know that you'll be able to see meaningful changes in wire angle, at least in the detail you'd probably need to interpret what's going on underwater.

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Thanks brownbear. Its a significant investment for something I don't know that much about. I actually fish most of the year all over the world with a fly rod however my heart is in Alaska ever since the first day I set foot in it. You see I want it right first time , as best I can. The boat will be used for my own sport fishing and probably a bit of exploring so it will be very nearly moored up for the best part of the year. There is just so many variables involved with the purchase and not just the economic ones. Thanks for your help and in particular the suggestion regarding the leaning post. I would never have thought that that was even possible.............tight lines from Ireland

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    Thanks for your help and in particular the suggestion regarding the leaning post. I would never have thought that that was even possible.............tight lines from Ireland
    My pleasure, and I suspect we share some interests and insights. Saltwater fly fishing is a virtually unexplored frontier up here, very high on the "weird-o-meter" for almost anyone who sees you doing it. On the one hand there's a lot of experimenting and problem solving before success, but it's a terrific way to avoid the growing crowds in other fisheries onshore and off.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Depending on depth you can see the rigger balls on your depthfinder usually.
    Might have to switch between different cone angles on the transducer at times though.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    Depending on depth you can see the rigger balls on your depthfinder usually.
    Might have to switch between different cone angles on the transducer at times though.
    I can usually see one of them regardless.. shows up as a sold horiz line on the finder, at least if you have the scrolling feature on your finder turned on.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    That's some really interesting reply's. I was asking about electronics earlier in my posts. Id never really thought about the downrigger ball being visible at all. Great answer !. Cant wait to see the electronics in full swing if that's then case. I have researched them all over the internet but there is no counting for real life action, cant wait.

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