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Thread: Downrigger Balls, what are you using?

  1. #1
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Default Downrigger Balls, what are you using?

    My boat came with a couple down riggers but no balls. I am in the market for a couple of them and wonder what everyone uses weight wise and shape wise? I will be fishing primarily Homer area with some trips to Seward and Whittier in there as well.

    Thanks,

    John
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Member tzieli22's Avatar
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    I have used two types, the standard ball weights, but then last year I picked up 2 pancake weights I got at Sportsman Warehouse to try out and like them 10X better. Very little drag and they track really well. They are a bit more expensive but real bad.
    Tony

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    On penn down riggers with short arms I like 15# round balls if you have longer arms you should use 10# balls. But check with who made the down rigger because some will only take lighter weights. In Homer bigger is better when the tide is ripping.

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Do the pancake weights plane and go wide when you turn? I have only used the standard ball weights, but think that the pancakes look pretty nice.
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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    I use pancake weights for most of my trolling. I like the low blowback; I can often see them on my sounder. You can have tracking problems (crossed lines) with them if you are fishing in lots of kelp or jellies. They can also be a problem in turns when fishing deeper than 100' or so.

    Big_E

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    15lb round balls. Round balls hang and track straight. Finned or pancake weights can rudder off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    15lb round balls. Round balls hang and track straight. Finned or pancake weights can rudder off.
    agreed, but I mostly use 12lb

  8. #8
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    I use the pancake weights, 12#. I put the back fin in a vice and bent the tails out just a bit, so they swing out a little more (had to play with it). Then paint the right/ starboard weight neon green, and the left/ port side flourescent red. The color is nice, yo ucan see the weight comming up sooner. I don;t think they scare fish in the lest, and probably help a bit. The paint "idiot proofs" the whole concept... not that anybody wexcept me needs that

  9. #9

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    I only reluctantly take my pancakes off- mostly for really deep work or a whole lot of tight turns. They really do cut down on the drag, and I can get away with a 10# when I'd normally use a 15# round. We use them in blue water trolling way down south for tuna and other such stuff at speeds up to 8 knots or a little above. No sweat with planing, so long as you trail about 5' of parachute cord off them if your clip isn't right on them. At the 2-3 knots I do most of my trolling, planing has been a non-issue.

  10. #10

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    I used 13 # pancakes with my scotty downriggers and they worked great. Not a problem. Unfortunately I sold that boat and the scotties with it. My new boat came with Cannon Mag 10s and they have a difficult time pulling the 13 # pancakes. I am talking a foot a second --slow. At 100 ft+ I had to help the electric downrigger get started!! I am thinking I may have to go to a 10 or even an 8# ball. Lesson learned - once you get scotties never get rid of them. Anybody else have this problem with Cannons where you have to use lighter weights? This is something to consider when buying balls flat or round - will your rigger pull them efficiently.

  11. #11
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    I've worked a lot of boats over the years, never seen the Mag 10's have that issue. Most of the boat's I fished ran 12lbers or better. It could be the electrical system on the boat. I had a set of Big Jon's and they were slow with anything over 10lb on my 17' CC, but this new boat, they fly. You just might not be putting out the juice for them. Some riggers suck alot of amps on startup.

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Does anybody have their riggers connected through their depth finders so that they will track X# of feet off of the bottom? That seems like a good idea, I am wondering if it works.
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Moose,
    Try the questoin on Michigan-Sportsman.com. Lots of guys on the Great Lakes running that setup wiht Hummingbird's I believe.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    How about the "black boxes" that send a positive charge down the wires vs the normal neg charge?? Any one run them?
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Penn Fathom Masters with short arms, 15lbs plastic coated pancake weights with long tails. I have very little problems with all kinds of trolling; deep, fast or tight turns. I also have a little bend in the fins to let them plane AWAY from the boat.

    I do use a Black Box. My voltage was pretty good before I installed it, but I did it anyway. Can't say with any scientific certainty if it fishes better, but I use it. It just controls the every present voltage. Use a multi-meter or volt meter to measure the voltage already present on your downrigger cable. Tons of Information on fishing with electricity on the web. I like http://www.salmonuniversity.com/

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    How about the "black boxes" that send a positive charge down the wires vs the normal neg charge?? Any one run them?
    Got one for sale if you decide to go that way

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    Fishon,
    How much and what condition? I would love to hear more about folks experiences with the black box. Somthing I have been interested in but still remain too sceptical to bite the bullet and buy one.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason in SE View Post
    ...I would love to hear more about folks experiences with the black box. Somthing I have been interested in but still remain too sceptical to bite the bullet and buy one.
    I have seen it work on Sockeye-cranked up the voltage going through a school and BANG BANG BANG!!!

    We had it turned down for Springs earlier in the trip and it did make a difference IMO.

    Here in BC many people have gone to spectra line for downriggers so voltage is now a non-issue.

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