July 6, 2022

Shark Downrigger Weights: Myth or Legend?

A common set of questions I have received at dockside, at sport shows and at seminars concern these fishy looking and attractive Shark Cannonballs. They are as follows:

Do they perform better?

Shark weights definitely track better and have less blow-back than traditional downrigger ball weights. Just by looking at their design, one can determine they have less water resistance and will perform better with more cable out. So, yes, they help reduce blowback and seem to track better. Also, they do in fact provide a louder “fish attracting” sound signal. If you have a good fish finder and can track your weights as you troll, drop down a regular ball weight and note how thick the track line is. Then do it again with a Shark. You will see the difference in front of your eyes.

Do they produce more fish?

Yes. These weights produce fish by pulling fish into your lure set which otherwise may have not been drawn in due to their sound signature alone. Now, if you are a believer that chrome/metallics will draw in fish because of their flash, then so will your weights – versus a traditional black or lead-colored weight on sunny days. If you would agree, then you have just found method number two in which they can produce more fish on the right day.

Which color do you prefer; black or chrome?

I usually grin before responding to this one because I feel like I am giving up something I do on my boat that most don’t. I also wonder if the questioner thinks I am in need of counseling. My answer is always, “both colors are preferred.” Just like my colored diver philosophy, I use chrome-colored Shark weights to attract fish into my set at all depths – especially in the sun. However, this does not always work when the water is clear or fish are finicky and won’t be drawn to it. Fish have mood swings and are more aggressive at times versus not. I know a chrome shark is producing more light reflection, along with their sound signal, so I use that as an attractor. It works and I have had hundreds of fish following my chrome sharks and not bite, but seldom the black ones. Yes, this means spending more money and having the mindset to swap weights just like you would consider exchanging a flasher for a different one. However, just like using a black diver, a black colored Shark would be my choice if I had to use one color all the time.

Are they needed?

My answer is always, “no,” but neither are downriggers when trolling for salmon, trout and walleye. My point is this: Can I go out and find other means and methods to produce fish if I were without my downriggers? Yes. I would find a way and figure it out. However, if I have downriggers at my disposal and know they are one of the top three methods to catch salmon and trout, why wouldn’t I use them? So, this also pertains to Shark weights. They are a device to improve my game, so I would put them in.

Are you a believer?

For me, proof must be in the pudding as they say. And over years of trolling, one certainly develops a belief system in products, lures, colors and methods. I choose to pull these weights for the reasons mentioned above and just like the wind; one can see its results at times but never see the wind itself.

Also, when you begin to look at your weights and use them as more than just a method to get your offering down to the fish, you will begin to produce more fish, day in and day out.

So, whether you are rigger fishing for salmon, trout or walleye, one should consider Shark Cannonballs as a potential fish attracting device and not just a plain old weight.

I will end on this note: Those that think outside the box are often the anglers that have more fish “inside the box.”

Pete Alex

Erie, PA Captain Pete Alex has run charters out of both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for over 30 years. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VisionQuestSportFishing/

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