September 25, 2022

Running the Double Diver Set

Running the D.D.S.= Double Diver Set

There are many boat trolling anglers that do not run a double diver set up on their port and starboard side of their boats. This article will discuss running a 4-diver spread at the same time. Many anglers are intimidated, may not know how or have tried and become frustrated with tangles when trying a multiple diver set.

Let’s start with this easy question: if the fish are on a hot diver bite and you are using two divers, once you have one hooked up or lose one or land one, how many divers do you have left fishing for you? Let’s again say, you just doubled or had a rip and trip and are still fighting one on the other. How many are left in the water working for you? You know the answer, none.

So, let’s cut to the chase and list several reasons why running multiple divers may be helpful. Below is my list of 9 items to consider:

Running The Double Diver Set

  1. You are able to fish more offerings with your remaining divers if other divers are being bit, reloaded and deployed. More divers in the water = more opportunity.
  2. When fishing divers deep in the water column, just reeling them in and setting them eats up a lot of your fishing clock. More divers in the water = more opportunity.
  3. Multiple divers allow you to experiment with more diver/flasher or diver/spoon or diver/harness or diver/meat teams in an attempt to get them to fire more or once they slow down.
  4. Allows one to target fish or different types of species at various areas in the water column. Walleyes higher/steelhead lower or kings deep in colder water/cohos or steelhead in the upper water column. Sometimes this is very helpful in multi species tournaments or when just looking to catch any fish species.
  5. Allows you to fish different types of diver line. Monofilament line divers which won’t travel as deep as wire or braided can be fished and stretched further from the boat while braid or wires can be fished closer and deeper (or not) to the inside of the boat. In that instance, you have the opportunity to pick off the shy fish further away while keeping a set of divers nearer to the boat to target fish that may be attracted to the boat noise or spooked by downriggers and then intercepted by your inside divers.
  6. One can experiment with different set ups on each side to see what the fish prefer that day. You can choose to have your all meat side and fish worms or cut bait on the port side while offering them spoons on the starboard.
  7. Running multiple divers can allow us to run the magnum sized divers (124mm) by Dreamweaver, when looking to target fish in the abyss or if fishing tough currents like the Niagara Bar area while keeping a higher set of 107mm divers higher and further away. That set up helps avoid tangles in active water, which is typically prone to tangles when running multiple divers. This helps the “separation” when running multiples.
  8. Often, when the fish are higher or we are fishing staging kings in shallow water, we fish our “mono” divers high and wide using a smaller 87 mm diver and deploy short leads on our inside wire 107mm divers. That allows us to still fish four divers while targeting kings in two different areas and kings which may be more aggressive or less aggressive that day. I do not know any anglers that use this presentation while fishing for shallow water staging kings, but it has paid high dividends for me, especially in tournaments.
  9. When fishing for deep kings and high cohos, running high mono divers, deployed short and sweet while stretching our inside wires deep into the colder waters offer a very exciting and “tasty” dual target fishing opportunity. Again, whether that’s for my customers or when looking for sheer numbers in a tournament.


Some days our divers are hot and some days they may be not so hot. However, they are a very important part of our program day in and day out once the fish start dropping a little deeper in the water column or when targeting fall staging kings. Not having or trying to develop a multiple diver program means less fish catching opportunities for you.

Also, having over 30 years of trolling experience, most of which has included divers, I can say that certain colored divers consistently catch more fish when used with a lure or bait behind them than others. Now, that is relatively common knowledge for some but not many anglers. However, think about this: can running divers with the mindset that they are in fact an attractor or a “team” produces more fish for me on any given day?

On the Vision Quest, my mindset is that if I am on a hot diver bite and you are also, my 4 divers will simply out fish your two-diver spread by sheer numbers multiplied by hours in a day. There have been many days that our divers outproduce our other devices that day and simply put, “more is better”. However, when the bite is tough, the lakes is calm, water is clear, we may remove our inside two divers to allow our riggers to work better or if we think that too much is not helping us. That does occur from time to time and one needs to know when to pull the inside divers.

Another “move” we will make when the bite or conditions are tough, is to pull our two riggers closest to our inside divers, to get the inside divers to fire more. This is especially true when we are fishing in a specific target zone in the water column and are not able to spread out all the divers and riggers effectively or are trolling in shallower water. Sometimes, less is more in those circumstances.

A few simple tips that help my D.D.S. program and prevent tangles are noted below:

  • Keep the insides deeper and run the divers on a setting that’s a minimum of a #1.5 setting apart from the higher outside divers. EX. My inside divers will be set on a #1.5 and my higher outsides will be a #3 or #3.5
  • When fishing deep, run the magnum 124 mm on the insides. However, when looking to fish all your divers deep, it is possible to run the 124 mm magnums on all 4.
  • When fishing heavy current or rough water, try the 124 mm magnum divers on the insides to avoid tangles and provide more separation.
  • When deploying your outside divers while your inside lower diver is in the water, pick up and move the inside diver rod to a rod holder closer to the middle of the boat before deploying the outside diver.
  • Another technique when deploying an outside 107mm or small diver over a magnum or deeper set inside diver is to deploy it straight out the back until that diver reaches 75% of its target length out. Then move it into place over the inside and finish it off to the desired length of deployment.
  • Deploy divers while the boat is straight even if it means turning it to offset a tough current while deploying.
  • Have a longer rod for your outside diver. I like a 10-foot rod for the outside and 9-foot rod or less for the inside.
  • Offset your rod holders slightly to prevent rod interference from one rod to the other.
  • When mixing mono divers with braid or wires, keep the mono as your outside/upper water column set up.
  • Experiment with using different sized divers but keep the smaller ones on the upper outside rod when using two different diver sizes.
  • Use a diver “save a rod” elastic tether line on your rod holder to diver reel handles to prevent losing diver rods in the water. They will also help slow down the angler when he grabs that diver rod. It will make that angler stop, remove the tether before taking the rod out. Sometimes being too quick or aggressive pulling a rod out will yank the hooks from a poorly hooked fish. The tether helps that.
  • Don’t get frustrated with the D.D.T; of the “double diver tangle”. They will occur and create a mess sometimes, however, once you develop a good technique for setting these, the tangles will cease.
  • It helps to have one or two master diver setters on board that dial in how to set these without tangles. It helps to have a team member or mate or friend to always be the diver’s setter for three reasons: less tangles, efficiency and redundancy.

Running The Double Diver Set

If you are starting to buy into my thought process here or strictly believe me and my 30 plus years of experience, that will equate to spending money and purchasing more diver rods, reels and divers. However, like I always say, your time is valuable and sometimes, time is money! Furthermore, if you are a charter captain or tournament angler, a few more fish every day can mean happier customers and perhaps that desired trip to the stage to receive a paycheck.

So, if you haven’t tried running the D.D.S, give it a try this season. Like any other techniques or presentation delivery systems, it may take time and practice to develop an effective D.D.S program but I can guarantee you that once you develop confidence and understand how to deploy and set these, that system will earn its way into your program on an almost daily basis.

Avatar photo

Pete Alex

Erie, PA Captain Pete Alex has run charters out of both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for over 30 years. Facebook:

View all posts by Pete Alex →

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: