When selecting a downrigger, there are many variables that come into play. How deep you are fishing and what you are fishing for are important factors to take into consideration before making a purchase. For some applications, the most basic downriggers will work, but others will require more advanced models. Here are some variables to consider when looking to purchase your next downrigger.
Depth. The first thing you need to consider when looking at downriggers is how deep you plan on fishing. Fishing small, shallow lakes less than 50-feet deep and trolling at slow speeds will not require more than a basic model, like Cannon’s Mini-Troll Portable Manual Downrigger or Easi-Troll ST Manual Downrigger. The Easi-Troll is even good for some deeper lakes, using up to a 10-12lb downrigger ball. The Mini-Troll should only be used with smaller downrigger weights, around five pounds or less. For fishing deeper Great Lakes with heavier weights, more advanced manual downriggers or electric downriggers like Big Jon Sports Pack Manual Siderigger Downrigger or Big Jon Captain’s Pack Electric Downrigger work best.
Length and ability to mount. When looking at downriggers, make sure the boom is long enough to clear the back of your boat and the gunnels, wherever you plan to mount it. Also, make sure that the downrigger comes with a base or that one is available to meet your needs as far as fixed base, tab lock or swivel base. The Bert’s Custom Tackle Drilled Gimbal Mount is a universal gimbal mount that will work with any downrigger, regardless of the manufacturer. Bert’s also has a Single Track System and a Fixed Mount Downrigger Base that are excellent choices for mounting downriggers.
Convenience. Let’s face it, everyone wants to save a buck or two. While you may want to cut corners in certain areas, spending hundreds of dollars of downriggers and accessories that will be mounted to your boat is going to be an investment. Make sure the model you are looking at is going to work for you long term. While electric downriggers are expensive, they making retrieving and deploying lines easy. Today, some models, like Big Jon’s Sportsman Electric Downrigger, are close in price to manual downriggers.
Go with a shark. Shark weights are becoming the most lethal downrigger weight on the Great Lakes. While the flashy chrome models are a sure-fire attractor for salmon and steelhead, the black models work great for walleye fishing. These weights cut through the water with ease, giving them less swing behind the boat.
Accessories. Just like buying a boat, buying a downrigger requires accessories like release clips – anything from basic clip releases to stacker releases like Chamberlin or Roemer. Making sure you have a terminator kit, like Cannon’s Terminator Kit, will give you what you need in case you have to make quick repairs to your cable while on the water. Downrigger covers are a great add-on for electric downriggers to keep them out of elements when you are not fishing, ensuring they will last longer.