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Thread: Downriggers

  1. #1
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    Default Downriggers

    I am in the market for a pair of downriggers and am looking for opinions, pros and cons of what is being used out there, what the favored model tends to be.

    Thanks for the replies

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    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    I've had manual cannons, manual big jons, manual scotties, and now have electric scotties along with a manual scotty in the middle. I see the other charters walking up the dock every year with broken booms on their cannons, I never broke a scotty, I use them year round. Connan manuals were the easiest to use, while the scotty manuals are the most techical. once you learn how to use the scotty, you will have it for ever.
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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    On my personal boat I have Canon manuals but I have worked on boats that have had Walker electrics, Canon electrics, Scotty electrics and Big Jon electrics.
    My personal favorites are the Big Jon Captains Pak electrics. They have dual rod holders, the boom is stainless swivels and pivots up to swing the ball into you (this is a huge plus in my book) and they auto stop at the waters surface. My least favorite were the Canon electrics as their ball retrieval system is not very good.

  4. #4

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    I`ve owned both electric and manual Cannons and haven`t had a problem yet....ease of use and good function for the $$.

    http://store.cannondownriggers.com/p...065/Digi-Troll

    http://store.cannondownriggers.com/p...5070/Uni-Troll

    If you use a rubber snubber leash you`ll reduce cable/boom damage on any rigger...takes the falling shock out of the weight.

    It`s kinda like a Ford vs. Chevy thing.


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  5. #5
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I have Scotty electrics, and I have not had any problems with them. The electrics are nice since when you get a fish on, you can just twist the knob and have it autostop, assuming you don't have stacked lines. I think Cannon is probabily fine, but I think there are more Scottys in the area for some reason. I would pony up and go to electrics, even if you just get one for now and another later on. It is pretty easy to move them from boat to boat as you change boats over the years, and I don't see the features changing where you would want to upgrade them any time soon.
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  6. #6

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    I use Penn manuals and I like them a lot, but they are what came on my boat when I bought it. They are great downriggers, but I've always used Cannons because they are excellent downriggers.

    I don't think it is so much what brand you use and is more a matter of which model. You get what you pay for and if you buy the cheaper models of any of the brands you will get cheaper performance from them. Spend as much as you possibly can afford for them and don't buy "frills" that you don't need. I don't use electrics because I typically only fish 35 ft. down or so and it only takes a few seconds to reel the line up, so why bother having the inherent problems of having another electrical gadget on your boat that can just develop electrical problems and stop working? If you want to go electric make sure there is some provision for being able to quickly raise them manually if you lose power to them.

    I really like the "Uni-troll" Cannons. If you can break the boom on one of those you will break the boom on any downrigger. They are also very easy to maintain and can be taken apart very easily to replace broken parts inside. If I had to replace my present downriggers I'd go with them. They have great swivel bases, too.
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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    I have Scotty electrics, and I have not had any problems with them. The electrics are nice since when you get a fish on, you can just twist the knob and have it autostop, assuming you don't have stacked lines. I think Cannon is probabily fine, but I think there are more Scottys in the area for some reason. I would pony up and go to electrics, even if you just get one for now and another later on. It is pretty easy to move them from boat to boat as you change boats over the years, and I don't see the features changing where you would want to upgrade them any time soon.
    Same thumbs up on Scotty electrics. I have a set and will never go back to manual
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  8. #8

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    I went from manuals, to scotty electrics, and then back to canon manuals. (Stainless Boom and spool, white body)

    Scottys are very nice. But, I am allowed to use manual downriggers during the winter troll fishery, so I went back to manuals.

  9. #9

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    Yeah, I thought about going to electric downriggers. And then I thought how nice it would be to get electric reels because then I could just push a button and have the fish reeled in for me. And then I thought, "Hmmm, I could just hire someone to reel my downriggers and lines up for me." And then I realized I could just go to the store and buy the fish I could have caught.

    If you have to reel those downriggers up 150 ft., yeah, maybe it would be a convenience. But if you only reel them up 20 to 50 ft. you're saving yourself about 5-10 seconds of reeling and giving yourself another potential electrical problem to deal with when you feel the least like dealing with it. Think about it. I'd hate to be the one that says, "I've never had any problems with my electrics," and then have my electric stop working when I have that 50 lb. king wrap itself around my downrigger cable, snap the line and disappear when I couldn't pull it up.

    I'll stick with my manuals thank you. I use mine a couple of hundred times a year day in and day out. If you maintain them properly you'll never have any problems and they don't suddenly not work when something in your electrical system goes awry.
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  10. #10
    Member FISHFACE's Avatar
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    I've had electric downriggers in Penn, Scotty, and Cannon. I would rate the Penns my least favorite, but they were also made in the late 90's and didn't have many features and had a few issues with them. The cannon Mag 10's were very nice, but I didn't like the the that there was no manual way to drop ( power up [power down). I love the Scotty's we got last year. Very easy to get inside the "guts" of the unit and see what's going on. I also like the auto stop feature of having my weight stay barley in the water so it doesn't hit the side of my boat.
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  11. #11

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    They do offer crank handles for the electrics (Cannon)...give or take $12.


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  12. #12
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK2AZ View Post
    They do offer crank handles for the electrics (Cannon)...give or take $12.
    Same with the Big Jons.
    Not sure on price.

  13. #13
    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    I've got some old Cannon electrics that I've been very happy with. They've been on three different boats as I keep them when I change boats. I like electric because I can just hit the switch when I get a fish on and it brings the ball and cable up out of the way while I fight the fish. That way I don't have to manually reel it up while also fighting the fish. Like someone said already, as far as brands its like ford vs. chevy. But you definitely get what you pay for regardless of brand.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHFACE View Post
    I've had electric downriggers in Penn, Scotty, and Cannon. I would rate the Penns my least favorite, but they were also made in the late 90's and didn't have many features and had a few issues with them. The cannon Mag 10's were very nice, but I didn't like the the that there was no manual way to drop ( power up [power down). I love the Scotty's we got last year. Very easy to get inside the "guts" of the unit and see what's going on. I also like the auto stop feature of having my weight stay barley in the water so it doesn't hit the side of my boat.
    Won't the cannon's free spool if you loosen the drag nut on the side? I'm pretty sure they will.

  15. #15
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    I have had Cannon Electrics and Manuals. With the Salt water, I had some problems with corrosion with my electrics that kept reaccurring. The newer disconnects get coroded easily. So I decided to switch to Manuals. I have 3 Cannon Manuals, and soon to be getting a 4th.

    I really like them, they are easy to use, and dependable. Not a big deal to crank the Manuals up.

    Heidi
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    How fast do electrics reel up from 45-70 feet? Thats the max depth I usually troll silvers and I've never had experience with electrics. The boat I fish has 1 scotty and 1 cannon and each reels up in under a half minute (conservatively) from that depth. I can easily keep tension with the rod in one hand while reeling the ball up and seldom lose fish during this stage of the hookup.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfish6025 View Post
    How fast do electrics reel up from 45-70 feet? Thats the max depth I usually troll silvers and I've never had experience with electrics. The boat I fish has 1 scotty and 1 cannon and each reels up in under a half minute (conservatively) from that depth. I can easily keep tension with the rod in one hand while reeling the ball up and seldom lose fish during this stage of the hookup.
    The Cannon Digitrols can be set for different speeds...IIRC they can do 110'/150'/250' a minute. They also can bottom track off of your electronics, jig and also have an auto up/stop. The best riggers I`ve used by far. They are fast but you have to keep clear of them when they are cranking at top speed.


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  18. #18
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    For the cost though, are they worth it? I mean they're nice to have - but are they $400 to $600 worth of nice? It only takes a short bit to reel up my manual cannons from 60-100 feet, below that I'm jigging.

    I'd like to have them, but they dont meet my bang/buck requirements.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maast View Post
    For the cost though, are they worth it? I mean they're nice to have - but are they $400 to $600 worth of nice? It only takes a short bit to reel up my manual cannons from 60-100 feet, below that I'm jigging.

    I'd like to have them, but they dont meet my bang/buck requirements.
    The Digitrols with get you for about $1,400 each. I can say I never used them to their full capacity but they are the best by far from what I have used...makes life easy. I`m using manuals now only because I`m in a large inflatable. Thought about using the the Digi`s but the weight and fear of them being stolen sent me to manuals...everytime I crank the manual I wish I had them. I mounted the electrics to a friends boat so I still use them.

    Remember you can stack lines on them so you can have controlled depth for 2/4/6+ rods on 2 riggers. They can be rigged alot of ways but will get rid of the divers for sure.

    I can understand the value factor...just depends on how much gear and how much you want to work...auto-up is an awesome feature when silvers are close to the boat doing circles...no more line crossing if just punch the button a soon as you have takedown.

    Have you tried stacker clips or even a slider set-up to run 4 rods?


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  20. #20
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    The auto-up feature isn't stacker friendly. With multiple lines stacked on one rigger, if you use the auto up when a line releases, the remaining lines on the rigger will leave a belly of loose line behind the boat for the fish to tangle in. When stacking lines, you are better off leaving the rigger at depth and take extra care to try and avoid having the fish wrap around the cable. The other option is to clear the stacked (remaining) line and bring up the rigger each time you get a release. This is a lot of additional activity when trying to fight/net a fish, especially if the cockpit has limited space. Just food for thought.

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