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Downrigger questions

Q:I'm looking to get replacement downrigger cables. Like you folks I won't use the power pro but are all the stainless cables the same and is there a better grade of one over the other? Each manufacturer has their own(even give the number/grade of the stainless steel) and we use the Penn manual downriggers. Other manufacturers sometimes have cheaper one than Penn. I sometimes get those frays in the cable and don't know if its because of quality or wear. Mostly I thinks its from wear but... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Kenneth
A: Kenneth I have always used Scotty 150lb cable without ever an issue. Hope that helps. Capt. John
Q: John, I have Cannon Magnum 10A downriggers and the wire cable is very noisy as we are trolling. When we switched to the braided downrigger cable the noise completely went away, but the automatic ball stop on the downrigger quit working. Please explain why this happen and how to solve both problems. You are the man!
A: Your Cannon downrigger automatic ball stop needs the stainless cable to operate as it works as part of the sending system as memory serves me. As far as noise it is a good thing, that cable is telling you that your trolling fast enough and that hum attracts fish. That's why we use flashers they make noise in the water when they rotate and attract salmon. I never use braided line on downriggers and never will. Good luck. Capt. John
Q: Hello John! Great web sight! After clicking on the Scotty Downrigger icon, I noticed a suggested setup that had two lures on one fishing rod line spaced several feet apart on the downrigger cable. Is this a legal setup here in Puget Sound? Marv
A: Marv, in answer to your question, you can't use that setup here. What tends to be more common is to run 2 rods off one downrigger (stacking). What you do is fish a flasher squid combination on the bottom rod, and a floating lure on the top rod like a salmon plug spaced about 10-15 ft. apart. This will avoid tangling and if you should have to stop fast... the flasher squid will sink and the plug will float up saving lots of entangling. John

Q: Hi John, I am looking for a good set of used downriggers, but haven't found them as of yet. In the meantime, I'm using the largest Deep 6. Do you know anything about line length vs. depth ratio on these? Do you have any useful tips on improving fish catching performance with the Deep 6? Is there a more effective planing/diving device out there? Thanks, Tom G
P.S. I did see a pair of Penn 800's for sale in Kirkland for $500. I know you use Scotty's. What's your opinion on the Penn 800's?
A: Tom, the problem with most diving planers is they don't get down below 30-ft even under the best conditions. If you try to pull any hardware behind them you will be lucky to get them down 15-ft. What I see a lot of anglers do is troll a flasher squid behind a large Deep Six type diver and let out mile of line thinking it will dive deeper. This doesn't happen, usually what does happen is a guy like me trolling 4 downriggers will come by, snag it, and add it to my collection of tackle.
If you're going to use a diver, I would run a herring solo behind the diver or a small dodger and a herring or Silver Horde spoon and don't let out any more then 40 ft. of line behind the boat. This will work for Coho fishing. Keep shopping for those downriggers you will catch a lot more winter blackmouth and summer king salmon.
PS Penn makes a great manual downrigger.
Capt. John Keizer

Q: Dear John, first let me start by telling you I'm a big fan. I've been reading your articles in Fishing and Hunting magazine for a few years. Thanks for all the great tips. You've helped me catch a lot of fish. I finally bought a real fishing boat this year (20ft Boulton skiff) but I don't know where to mount the downriggers. Some people tell me to mount them in the back of the boat and some have told me the front. Any help? Thanks, Dean
A: Dean, When it comes to mounting downriggers there's a couple of things to keep in mine. First mount them where the wires will clear the motor(s) on a sharp turn. The best way to do this is hold one downrigger on the boats gunnel then have your trusty assistant pull out 10ft of wire at a 45 degree angle towards the rear of the boat. Now simulate a turn by having him walk towards the centerline of your boat and see if the wire will clear the motor(s). You can change the angle of the wire by moving the downrigger forward or backwards along the gunnel until you find the best spot to mount it.
The second thing is always back up the downrigger mounting base with a backing plate for strength. I like the poly board that white cutting boards are made out of, it's strong, easy to cut to fit, and won't rust like metal or rot like plywood. Good luck hope this helps. Capt. John Keizer
R: John, do you put the backing plate between the mount and the boat our between the nuts and washers and the boat? How thick of poly board? Thanks, Dean
A: Dean, I like 1/2 inch poly board. You want to place it under the gunnel with the nuts and washers tightening it up against the boat. Don't mount anything under the downrigger mounting plate. You can use some silicone sealer on the holes to make them watertight. Capt. John

Q: Thanks John, I guess your telling me don't waste my time trolling for kings without the downriggers. I fish mostly in S. Sound, so I need to get down to 100+ feet. Should I bite the bullet and go with electrics? After thinking about cranking up 150' of 10 lb. lead to check my bait every 30 min., manuals sound like a pain, unless the retrieve is pretty fast. Plus manuals still require an extra hand to crank up while your also trying to reel in your fishing line. If I do go with electrics, do you suggest Scotty 1105's? I have a 34' Tolly sedan, so I think the long boom may work better for me. I found the 1105's on the internet at Berry's Bait in Richmond, B.C. for $317. ea. U.S., while the Scotty 1091 manuals are $175. ea. Would you say these are good prices? Which way should I go? Lastly, do you feel trolling is far more effective than mooching? Thanks, Tom
A: Tom, As you guessed I'm a hardcore downrigger fishermen. Downriggers will on a day to day basis out fish all other types of salmon angling techniques. As far as brand yes I use Scotty's, over the years I have found them the toughest on the water for reliability and easy of use. That's why they carry a life time guarantee on there product line. As far as electric's or manuals I run 15 pound downrigger balls, so you can bet I don't keep my girlish figure cranking up 15 pound balls from a 150 ft every day!
Price? I suggest you check with your local tackle store, the US Scotty's are labeled 1106's and come with a free swivel base. The 1105's don't. You may get a better deal in the good old USA! Thanks, Capt. John Keizer

Q: Hello John - I need to drop a small steel clamshell down 50 feet (or less) to pick up river sediment and retrieve it with an electric downrigger as part of an environmental sampling project. The clamshell weighs about 30 lbs and we will pull it 50 times over two days.
1. Can a Scotty 1106 do it?
2. Would the 1099 be better with the shorter boom?
    (I would prefer the longer boom for fishing when the project is over!)
3. Do the Scotty downriggers "free spool" or "free fall" so that there is little or no drag on the clamshell going down? I want it to hit bottom hard and fast.
4. How long are the battery cables on the downrigger? I want to mount this in the bow of the boat for safety (the river is very rough).
5. Is the Scotty swivel base tough enough to handle this or is there a tougher aftermarket base I should consider?
A fisherman told me he snagged a cannonball on a steel cable and block of concrete and his Scotty pulled it up no problem.  He estimated it weighed 60 lbs! Thank you in advance for your help, Lee.
A: Lee, I suggest you contact Scotty direct for the information you require. Their number is 800-214-0104 or 250-656-8102 or e-mail at scotty@scotty.com – Capt. John Keizer

Q: Hello John, I have spent some time looking at your site. It is a wealth of information. Good job. I was wondering if you could answer my question... where does one purchase a meatline? I have seen a few of these rigs around over the years but I see more and more of them lately and I just wonder where do they come from? curious, Jon
A: Jon, not sure why you would want one over using a downrigger however Narrows Tackle 253-564-4222 or the Pt. Defiance Boathouse 253-591-5325 should be able to help you out with acquiring one.

Q: Hi,  I have a scotty 1105 electric and the auto stop has quit working. The stop knobs are in place and have worked before, but no longer. Do these go bad? If not, what could be the problem? Thanks Kevin
A: Kevin, take it into Auburn Sports & Marine. Tom Pollack is the NW repair expert for Scotty Downriggers, they have a lifetime warranty. John

Q: John, I have a pair of scotty downriggers model #1105. One of the downriggers releases the weight after I bring the weight to the surface. I turn the retrieve knob to bring the weight to the boat and when the auto stop gets to the predetermined point, the clutch releases the cable and the weight decends again. This did this 90% of the time today. Is this a common occurance, or am I doing someting wrong? The other downrigger hasn't done this yet. I thought that I was accidentally hitting the clutch lever with my body, but after checking into this I know that it isn't me. My brother was fishing with me today and it was happening to him also. Is there an adjustment to be done here? Thank You Kevin
A: Kevin, There is a recall on the brakes on your 1105 downriggers. Take them to Auburn Sports (253-833-1440) or Narrows Marina Tackle Shop (253-654-4222) and they will install up graded brakes with a spring that will solve the problem. Capt. John

Q: This is a simple question, but after asking at Lighthouse Marine and Wind and Sail in Gig Harbor both places didn't have a device to do this, so I have to ask. How do I attach the downrigger clip with the clamp that you bite the fishing line with to various places on the downrigger cable?  It's obvious that I can put the clip through the holes on the weight.  But any place higher on the cable and it slides down to the bottom of the line.  What is the name of the piece I'm looking for? Les
A: Les, I'm guessing your talking about what's commonly referred to as the salmon or halibut snap that the release clip is attached to. We normally just clip the snap on the downrigger wire, sometimes you need to put a Scotty bead on the wire to keep it from slipping. I suggest you stop by Narrows Marina Tackle Shop (253-564-4222) in Tacoma, they will have the correct setup to get you fishing. Capt. John

Q: John, Do you know of anyplace locally that repairs downriggers, I broke the toggle switch off my canon electric and have had no success finding a repair facility.
A: Sorry on this one, there is no longer any Cannon repair facilities left in Washington at least that I know about. You might try Narrows Marina Tackle 253-564-4222, talk to Russ he may have some parts left around. Other than that you will have to return it to the factory for repair. Good luck

Q: John, I was just looking at the Powerpro Line website and they suggested using their line for downrigger cable.  Have you ever tried this? What results did you have? They stated it would eliminate downrigger hum. Other then not being able to hook up the black box do you see any harm? Thanks. Chad
A: Chad,
1. It will void the warranty on your downrigger
2. It can cause the wire spool to split open
3. On a Scotty you can not attach the stopper bead
4. It does not wear well
I don't recommend it. Downrigger hum is a good thing, it means you're trolling at a good speed.
Capt. John Keizer

Q: Tom, Hi My name is Denny Whalen. I'm going to purchase a downrigger for my Arima boat soon, but I'm not sure what to buy, and would like some advise from you.

A friend of mine uses a Cannon mini mag that has power up and power down option. He said he tried to use a Scotty that has a break/clutch system for lowering down the ball and felt like the ball was going to go down to fast to be able to control it effectively.

Do you agree with him that the break system is hard to control while freespooling your line on your reel at the same time? Would you recomend that I purchase a power up/power down system?If so, do you have any suggestions. I plan on using 15 lb. balls.
Thanks for your help Tom.
Sincerely, Denny
A: Denny, Perhaps your friend is a little mechanically disadvantaged. It's easy to control the rate of the drop with a Scotty Downrigger. Capt. John and I could have any model of downrigger available on our boats and we have chosen Scotty as the best on the market.
The advantages to Scotty Downriggers are
1) local repair shops if something does go wrong
2) lifetime warranty on everything except the snap and the cable
3) one of the fastest retrieves on the market
4) the ability to pull a 15 lb ball with no strain on the motor.

Some downriggers that power down not only are creating a draw on your battery but on both retrieval and drop are creating a negative charge on your boat. Negative charges repel salmon.

If you do purchase another downrigger, be sure to read your downrigger operating manual before using, because most downriggers will not pull a 15 lb ball without damaging the motor.


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