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Thread: Down riggers

  1. #1
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Default Down riggers

    I have used down riggers only a couple times. Everytime I do I end up switching to deep divers since I must have no clue what im doing with the riggers and always end up tangling my lines into a ball.
    Here is how I have set them up:
    I run a herring clip and then 16-20" up the line a flasher. I drop the line out about thirty feet behind the boat and clip the line to the ball and send the ball south to the desired depth.
    I troll about 1.5-2mph on the gps. After about 10 minutes my line will be tangled up and making impressive large spins in the water before coming to surface.
    Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

  2. #2
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Default

    Could be a few things.
    Are you trolling into or against the tide?
    How fast are you dropping your line down?
    It sounds like you are trolling with the tide and too slowly for the tide.
    I look at the rigger cable angle (I like it to be swept back atleast 25 degrees). I also look at the bubble trail running down the cable (I like it to be 12 to 18 inches long) and I listen to the sound of the cables (I use stainless cable and when I'm at the right speed the cables sing).
    Hope this helps you out.

  3. #3
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Default My problem

    (well the wife says I have LOTS of them)
    is that the fishing line ballons behind the wire like a sail. If I tighten the fishing line it pops the clip and comes loose.

    Am I going to fast. This is running into the tide if I remember right.

  4. #4
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Default

    One thing to try is get the release clips that have double springs, they are usually red, and make sure thatyour line is all the waybackinthe jaws. That should enable you to get your line really tight.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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  5. #5

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    Is the outboard in gear (going forward) when you let down the downrigger? Speed up a bit, and let the ball down slower.

  6. #6
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Default Gotcha

    Red double spring clip (I have the regular black cannon clip)
    It is in gear so throttle up and drop slower.

    Sure is different than the salmon Trolling I did commercially in California years ago.

  7. #7

    Default

    I'm not sure what a "red double spring clip" is, but then I don't know all the scientific terms, so it could be something totally out of my league.

    I stopped using the Cannon clips a while ago. They break down way too easily and are unreliable. If you order anything from Cabela's get some of the "Offshore Tackle" downrigger clips. I believe Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage has them, too. I use them for my own personal trolling and also for my charters. They rock! You just put the line in the clip all the way at the back and when you get a fish on that's worth keeping it will release, and when you get a rockfish or something like that you'll just see your rod bouncing and you just go back, snap the line from the clip and reel it in. That's a bit simplistic, but when you get some and try them a few times you'll get the hang of it. I've been out in K-Bay over 100 days in the last 6 months trolling for winter kings and I get a few premature releases occasionally, but it's usually due to putting the line in the clip to shallow. Of course it depends on the diameter of your line, and whether you're using "spectra" or mono.

    In Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet you are dealing with some very strong currents in some places. Out near Pogi the current can run very fast on a "big tide swing" day, so you just can't troll against the current at times. I always try to troll with the current and will troll to the end of my "zone" and then run back up to where I started. It can be VERY effective. Last week I caught 5 kings in two days, so I guess it must work.

    As "270ti" said, make sure your boat is in gear when you put your downrigger ball down. The line getting hopelessly twisted around itself usually happens when you put the downrigger ball down with the boat either stationary, moving too slow, or you let it down too quickly. You generally want your "offering" (herring or lure) back about 20 feet or so, so it shouldn't get tangled unless you have it too close.
    Last edited by Muttley Crew Fishing; 04-08-2010 at 20:28. Reason: Entered inches instead of feet for a critical measurement.

  8. #8
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    Default

    AKbliss - I would check your swivels - if they aren't working properly you will get a big tangle almost immediately. If your flashers don't have ball-bearing swivels I would change over to them. I don't trust anything but ball-bearing swivels and sometimes I even double them end-to-end to be sure your flasher is able to rotate properly. You may have to shorten-up your distance from the line clip to your hooks and figure out what distance still "works". I generally keep my flasher rigs closer to the wire (shorter drop-back) than 30' back. Try half that to start out.

    If I understand you correctly - it sounds like you may have your flasher too far away from your hooks (16'-20'?) - this could make your flasher spin in a large circle and collect any other gear you may have attached to that rigger line. Start out with flasher only 45 inches from the hooks and see how that works for you at the speeds you say you are trolling. If you want quicker action on your herring - shorten-up your tail leader to approx 36 inches and see if everything still works and you catch. Use stiff tail leader material because a limp tail leader can wind-up all on its own just with your herring rig spinning. It takes some experimenting to get your gear set up so it will both fish correctly and not tangle.

    Check out the illustrations on this site for some ideas: http://www.protroll.com/books/?id=2&p_id=all. Good luck.

  9. #9

    Default Ball bearing swivels

    I totally agree with "JKD" on the ball bearing swivels. I use them between my flasher (Pro-Trolls come with them) and main line, flasher and leader and at both ends of my leader. They are WELL worth buying. You will have a much better fishing experience with them for sure.

  10. #10

    Default Leader length

    I won't argue with success, so if that's what works for "JKD" give it a try. For winter kings out in K-Bay I've been using leader lengths from about 3 ft. to just 2 ft. Kind of depends on the flasher you're using. I use Pro-Trolls and they turn really nicely at about 20 ft. back from your clip and give your herring a nice "king spin" about 2 to 3 ft. behind your flasher. I use smaller "dodgers" and slightly longer leaders when it's coho time.

  11. #11
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Default

    And I agree about the offshore releases, they're all I'll use.
    I also don't rig with braided line as I like to really crank down on the rods and find braids too slippery. I generally run 20 or 25 pound mono.

  12. #12

    Default Braids

    Yeah, I usually have to put the line in about as far back as it will go and I still get a premature release about once a day. But I use 50 lb. braid. There also seems to be a difference between the different brands of braid. Some of the 50 lb. are just a little thicker than others. It just takes a little experimenting.

  13. #13
    Member Gundog's Avatar
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    Default

    I use toothpicks when I am using braided line wrap the line around a piece of wood toothpick about 4 or 5 times then put that in the release.

    Mike

  14. #14
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Alaskanmutt

    Reading your post #3 you say your line goes back like a sail.After your gear is down to your desired depth are you reeling as much slack line to put a good bend in your rod? This will help.

  15. #15

    Default

    With the Offshore release and my 50# Cabela's Ripcord SI I can keep the line "clipped" about 99% of the time with the line all the way back in the clip and with enough bend in the rod that you wouldn't really want any more---rod in rod holder at about 45 degree angle upward and the tip pointing down at the water. No need for toothpicks or anything else.

  16. #16
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Default Roland

    Yea I try that and it releases,
    I am not putting the line all the way back, just about half way, so I will try it all the way back next time I go out

  17. #17

    Default

    Yeah, all the way back is the ticket. And I mean ALL the way back. Especially when you get into K-Bay or Cook Inlet currents. There is a small degree of "fudge factor" in terms of "all the way back", but it's pretty tiny. You wouldn't think it would make such a big difference, but it does. Just experiment a bit and you'll find the "sweet" zone.

  18. #18
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Is the outboard in gear (going forward) when you let down the downrigger? Speed up a bit, and let the ball down slower.
    You beat me too it. I had the same issues as alaskabliss when I started out and now no problems. I figured out that the "line in the jaws" varies depending on type of clip, speed, and strike sensitivity that I want (talking about Valdez silvers by the way). I found my sweet spot in the clips after a little trial and error on that one.

  19. #19
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    Default

    Big tangles happen when raising or lowering gear with your boat stationary. Big tangles happen also when you clip directly to the tail of a ball. Rules of thumb:
    1. Use green-jaw scotty releases - they're idiot-proof enough that even I can use them reliably.
    2. Make a two-foot "leader" for your cannonball out of gangion, light rope, or 300# mono. This is way easier on your hands than cable, and you'll lose fewer balls due to your own screwups (banging bottom, sudden stops on the drop, etc.). I tie gangion to a big corkscrew swivel at one end (cannonball connection) and a big barrel swivel (no corkscrew) at the other end. Crimp cable on bare barrel swivel. Use one of the Penn or Scotty rubber cushions to protect the cable when it's withdrawn tight against the end pulley on your downrigger.
    3. Rig the releases on a ~3' length of heavy monofilament (150-300#), and clip these with a longline clip to the length of rope/gangion/mono above your ball
    4. Always have boat in motion when lowering gear, otherwise it will wrap around ball on its way down.
    5. To bring gear up to the boat, you can either reel both the downrigger and the rod in at the same time (maintaining tension on fish pole), or pop fish pole free. Try to keep boat in motion.

    Once you get to where you visualize where everything's hanging down there, you'll reduce tangles drastically.

  20. #20
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for all the replys. I usually troll in PWS for silvers. I have never monitered the tide since I didn't think it mattered as long as my GPS showed 1.5-2MPH. I will start monitering it from now on. I do like the idea of using a line to the ball... That wire is hard on the hands. I will switch to the ball bearing swivels. Thanks again for all the help and I will have to try this out for kings soooooonnnnnnn!!!!!!!

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