Picked up the holy grail of downriggers.. Going to have a local welder weld up some davits, so I can both use them for both sport fishing and for hand trolling.
They are 2 Speed Kohlstrand hand crank gurdies. I'll be able to use 30lb balls, which will enable me to be able to fish as deep as 200ft (or beyond if I really wanted to) in a good current, with an 11" flasher. I might even try some stacking too, as I'll have to lead to get me deep, without much blowback.
I'm excited.. (they weren't cheap though!)
They look sturdy. Can they be retrofit with hydraulics?
No. You can buy hydraulic gurdies (they are for sale all over the place in SE) that are used in the power troll fishery. I think I just saw some single spool hydraulic gurdies up for sale. You'd be able to run heavy weights, stack to your hearts content, and not have all the BS of trying to maintain electric downriggers in a saltwater environment.
I stick to hand crank 'riggers, as I can run those with my hand troll permit and sell the fish when it's season. I don't use a rod/reel when I'm handtrolling though. I clip leaders onto the wire and hand line the fish in, and club them. I personally think it's more fun to handline in a big king, than fight them on a rod/reel!
That ought to keep you busy - they look like they are in great shape. Are you going to use 1/16" or 5/64" wire? I liked the lighter wire, but found it couldn't take the wear and tear of power trolling with the big leads. Good luck on the drag. :-)