Downriggers. How heavy of a weight?

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FX

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Joined
Sep 28, 2005
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110
I know there are probably a lot of things that determine how much weight to use when using a downrigger.  But keeping this simple, for most medium size lakes ( not talking the Great Lakes or Tahoe here) going down to the 30-60' range, trolling @ 1 1/2 mph, how heavy of a weight?  When I bought my downriggers the guy recommended 10 pounders.  That worked well for Tahoe, but is 10 pounders needed for a calm lake, or does lake conditions even matter?  I was reading an article where a guy was using 3 pounders.  Thanks
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
Posts
48,719
Good question. I've only used downriggers in the ocean - fishing for salmon - and they weren't my downriggers. We also weren't trolling that slow. Seems to me you'd need to try the lighter weight and, if it's not keeping it down there, go heavier.
 

caltex

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Feb 14, 2005
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731
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North Texas/Northern California
I can't remember what weight my downriggers have on them.  They are used for salmon, trolling 2.5 to 3.5 mph.  All you need is enough weight to keep the downrigger cable somewhat vertical.  Obviously, the faster you go the more angle you will get on the cable and the more cable you need to put out to reach a certain depth. The downside of not enough weight would be having so much cable out that when turning or slowing down you would hit bottom.  That's not been a problem in the ocean. Too much weight just means you put more stress on the downrigger (and your self cranking it up).
 
N

Newbee

Guest
Most downriggers come with a ten pound ball standard.? When trolling at a higher speed than the 1.5 to 2.5 mph that you guys were talking about I use a planer rather than a ball.? the faster you troll the deeper the planer dives (to a point). Keeps the cable run shorter.? I use multiple release clips on the main rigger line and don't crank the rigger up 'till I'm done with the run. You can use the same line release mech. as for the ball.
 
N

Newbee

Guest
Tom, the smaller planers, 1" to 2", would be on large boat rods or on a cleated hand line.  The larger ones, say 4" by 7", I put on the downrigger cable to take the stress and for retrieving with the crank.  I don't think I've seen a pink lady that big although I'm sure they make them.  Spanish Mackerel fishing requires a fairly fast troll so we use small pink lady's or metal planers on 20lb gear.  The downriggers we use mostly for SLOW trolling live bait for King Mackerel, Wahoo and whatever else is in the neighborhood.  Stripers we usually fish with stretch 20's and 30's on 30lb gear.  Tuna and Bill fish are another subject entirely.  lou 
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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48,719
Thanks Lou.

Your message just reminded me of a discussion I had with an uncle of mine 20+ years ago. I mentioned a trolling motor on my fishing boat and he produced something I'd never seen and don't think I've seen since; It was a combination ball and planer that he used for mackerel fishing off the west coast of England. He insisted I take it, but I never used it. I'll bet it's still in my garage somewhere.
 
N

Newbee

Guest
It may be fun to dig it out and give it a try, however if your garage is anything like mine, you won't be able to find anything smaller than the boat in there. lol, lou
 
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