IFish Fishing Forum banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK...I've got my downrigger set up.

I've lost two fish with it. So it's working but not working.

The fish hit, it pulls the ball and then pulls the rod down, it snaps out of the clip and...fish off. The bait is torn in half.

It's happened twice, once with a typical cut plug herring rig and once with a BC Angling prawn rig.

I've got an 8 lb ball.

The tension on the clip seems good. I've got the line all the way back in the clip which is supposed to be the most tension.

So what am I doing wrong? Should I be using an even heavier tension clip? Heavier ball?
Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Brion,
Make sure the rod is 'loaded' with as much tension as you can put on it without pulling the line out of the clip. Mid pad on the Offshore Mediums should be fine. Also, don't hit the fish right away. Wait for the rod to bury, then break their neck.
Jean
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
Welcome to the world of down riggers. When I pull herring I generally set the clip up fairly light and don't load the rod much. This enables the fish to pull it loose and munch away, when you go for the rod, take up the slack slow and easy, don't set the hook till you feel the weight of the fish.
This is a method I have used, but I have also lost fish on the bite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jcarufo and Bobberologist,

You guys are killing me <grin>. Exact opposite advice. Thanks for the suggestions though. Gotta be something I can do to make it work.

I haven't had a chance to grab the rod. I've got the tension on the rod set pretty good. I'm only down 18 feet and back 25 feet from the ball and this is with braid so not much stretch.

I don't think I'd have lost either fish with a lead so I'm a feeling snake bit with the down rigger. It's putting me in the zone but losing the fish.

Seems to be losing it at the slack point, when it pops out of the clip. So the choice would be more tension via rod and the clip or looser as Bobberologist suggests.

I did think the idea with the downrigger was that it sets the hook when the fish tries to pull it out of the clip.

0-2 is not a good percentage on the downrigger.

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
I was told to give the boat a little gas when the fish strikes. I have only fished with downriggers a few times but it seemed to work. I think the idea was to take the slack out of the line?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,208 Posts
Brion,

Both Jcarufo and Bobberologist are right. Both theories work it just takes experience with your downriggers to figure out what is happening. You're going to have to lose some fish to get it figured out though.

Which type do you have? Which clips are you using? How long is the pole you are using?

Here are a few tricks you can try:

1. On your mooching rig, if you tie your own, add a very small colored bead between the first and second hook. This gives the fish something to continue striking at if he initially strips your bait.

2. If you see the bite take the line off the clip and you don't see the rod bury immediately, flip the spool on your reel and start letting out line as fast as you can. Every so often just put your thumb on the spool for just a second and see if he takes it. I can't count how many times I've hit fish this way.

3. If you're not already, use the longest possible rod you can. Specifically designed downrigger poles are 10'6" long and are stout at the base and very flexible towards the tip, allowing the rod to bend itself in half. It's that bend that will spring back and take out the slack in your line when the fish takes the bait.

4. Check the position your pole is mounted. With slow trolling, and/or trolling in slow water, I like to run my rod tips low and pointing directly back at the bait. This takes out some of the slack that's in the line much faster than if the pole is angled way up and to the side. The faster water or speed you are trolling the less effect this will have.

Unfortunately the slower you troll the harder it gets with downriggers. It just takes some time to play with them and get them figured out and then you'll never want to fish without them.

Good Luck.

[ 05-05-2003, 12:00 AM: Message edited by: corrirod ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
I've had better luck with the downrigger releases that clip a little plastic grommett into a slot in a plastic rudder that attaches to to the cable clip and then the ball hooks to the snap on the rudder. You can adjust the release pressure by putting the plastic grommet in different holes on the edge of the rudder. Before I found these rudders, I had the best luck with red rubber bands. They were very positive and would stand up to the fish hitting the bait without breaking. When the fish finally broke the rubber band, he was hooked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Corrirod,

I've got the Cannon DigiTroll with the boom set at about 30 inches.

I've got the 8lb ball and the clip is an "Bluewater Research" "Offshore Release" with a "2". Clip is about 1.5" with a red pad. Instructions said, further back in the pad the greater the tension.

I've been using my 8' Loomis 904C which is listed as "Heavy Mod-Fast Action 12-25 lb/1-6 oz". I've got it loaded with green Spiderwire 80lb Stealth which is similar diameter as 17lb mono and really tough and no stretch.

I crank it down pretty good. A good bend to, it really snaps up when I get the hits.

I was putting the line all the way back in the pad figuring that a lot of tension the fish hooks itself pulling it out of the clip.

When the fish hit, they were pulling enough that it was pulling the rod down even further before it came out of the clip.

This is typically all slow troll, 1mph differential with the water to give the bait and spinner some action.

Couldn't believe that didn't hook the fish.

Seems like the "slack time" from when the fish pulls it out to the when the slack in the line is tacken up is when the fish is getting off.

Thanks for the tips on eliminating the slack. I'd think that nature of downriggers, there's always that slack and if that's where they're getting off the hook, the downrigger is going to have a higher loss ratio than lead.

I wonder if putting on a even tighter clip is the answer, since there is always going to be some slack with a downrigger. Idea being to hook the fish as it's getting it off the ball

What would you guess your percentage is on the downrigger vs. lead?

I love the downrigger idea so I really want to make it work.

Thanks for the tips.

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Slugranch,

Do you know the brand name and model of the downrigger clips with the plastic grommet?

Sounds like that is something to try, make the fish hook itself on the initial hit, getting the bait out of the downrigger.

Combine that with the stuff everybody else has suggested.

I'm determined to make the downrigger work. Ability to set the depth vs. guessing with weight, troll speed, etc.

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,436 Posts
I do a lot of downrigger fishing and ther is lots of good info here. The only thing I would add is to use a heavier downrigger ball. I use 12-15lb balls even when fishing shallower water. This keeps the downrigger line straight down and I can really put a big bend into my downrigger rod(9' fiberglass, expensive graphite rods should not be constantly loaded like this). The toughest part is finding the release clip setting to match your setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
I would agree with a little bit bigger ball. The offshore releases are great and are less hassel.Burying the release 80% down is good.It keeps tension to the fish until he really takes it. It sounds like you are doing everything right. Maybe just a few short strikes? I know it's never happened to me :wink: Like said before load the rod up tight, when the strike comes (nice with braied line) the rod will pop up and remove some of the lack. The key is to reel down on it until the lack is gone and set the hook. I have seen more fish lost to people slowly grabbing to rod and just reeling in. You have to remove al the slack and then drill it. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,582 Posts
Here's some more info for ya. I fish summer kings in the upper Columbia, and the depths are similar to what you are describing. I use 12 pound balls, but I've always used mono. This year I'm going to change to super line (actually did at Astoria for the falls last year). Anyhow, the last 2 seasons I've put 102 kings in my boat in this fishery all on riggers and I've only "missed" 10-12 fish. I use the "stock" Scotty clip and I put the line no more than 3/4 of the way into the clip. I set the rod low to the water and really "load-it-up", and then I just troll but I always watch the tip. These kings will pop the clip, but I don't want them to. I like to see the bite, pick up the rod, reel down, feel the pull, then "go like heck"!!! I pop the clip myself, reel up the slack and hit 'em good. It really works for me, and I've started some friends doing this and they're success rate has increased dramatically. I'll even troll with the rod in my hand (al' mooching) to feel the bite. Now, these fish may not be feeding like the springers you're after, so maybe they're strikes are more viscious, but when a kings pops the 'rigger my success rates drops dramatically. It might be all of the slack in the line or maybe there's a weird/funny movement of the bait when the 'rigger pops??? And, as you know luck runs in streaks, good or bad...so just hang in there and it will change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone.

Went over to Fisherman's for an adjustable tension clip for the downrigger.

Capt. John saw me fooling around and came over. His advice matches some here in that he said a light clip release, just enough to keep the line in the clip and then let the fish pull it out easy, take off with the lure and take the slack out of the line and hook itself similar to regular troll.

He also suggested sharpening the hooks...always good advice so I'm filing away like a mad man.

From what folks are saying, I wonder if I had reeled in real quick to get the slack out on the two hits if I would have gotten the fish. When it popped out but never bent over after popping out, I figure I'd lost the fish.

At least I know the rigger and bait are getting the bites.

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
702 Posts
This is some good info, I have been having the same problems Brion. I wasn't sure if maybe I wasn't getting enough pressure to keep the line in the clip or if a fish was taking it out. If I have been missing fish I kinda feel a little better . I have had a drought for a week or so. I am going to try some of these suggestions and see if things improve. One other thing is maybe if you use a longer clip line there won't be as much slack? Think I will try thet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,208 Posts
Brion, I think by all the replies you can see that it's just a little trial and error process. I do think you could've still hooked those fish, especially if you still had bait left on the hooks. Just keep trolling but let line out and every so often put your thumb on the spool and wait for a jerk. Probably 9 times out of 10, if I still have bait left, he'll either come right back and nail it or he actually still had it in his mouth and was just following the boat and finally turned.

Some of us Salty Dogs watched an underwater video of a salmon take on a downrigger. It was a great learning experience. It is amazing just how long they will follow a bait and how lightly they will try to take it. Normally they just swim up behind it, slowly get it in their mouth, and then sort of kink their body to turn but the force of the boat/bait moving keeps them from making a real sharp turn. Thus the reason you'll see your rod tip bouncing but the darn fish hasn't pulled it off the rigger yet. This is why some people speed up to help take the slack out and make the hookset. The reverse psychology of this method is to use lots of slack and let the fish take it off the rigger and turn with it before the slack comes out. I've done both, it just takes some refinement.

There is no better way to target fish than with downriggers but it does take some practice and tears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
815 Posts
Brion, I've used DR's for the last 24 years.I've used them in the Willi for 20.
This year for some reason the fish are biting weird. I've had fish come off that I know would have been in the box in other years. Wish I had the answer.
I've tried the loose release--lost fish.I've tried the tight release--lost fish.
But stick with them they are thr best way to control depth and usually they set the hook for you. Can you imagine grabing the hooks , turning away and coming up tight on that 10lb ball? :shocked:
If I did that ---you could lead me anywhere you wanted.
Terry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,556 Posts
use a long limber rod that the key i have found i have the same rod you have and would never use it on a downriger 10'6 med hevey loaded up will put fish in the boat go med or med lite for steelhead
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,023 Posts
Brian-
Here's what we do in the sound up here for what it's worth. :shrug: A little deeper water though, around 100 to 120 feet. I run 11 foot poles with 15 pound test line to decrease the drag and you can really load them up. Definately 12# balls. 8# is a little light, especially if you have a lot of current like the CR or Willy. For bait (herring), I use a rudder flasher that attatches to the downrigger line and above that a 2' piece of STRONG surgical tubing at which the Scotty clip is attatched. Let out one boat lengths line and clip the line in about 2/3 of the clip. Load up your rod and troll to the speed that gives you the best roll. When a fish hits, the tubing will give, letting the fish bite and take it. Grab the rod, but wait for him before setting the hook. Once he has inhaled the bait and turns, the tension on the tubing is strong enough to trigger the release. You will hear or feel the "snap" and reel down quick until you feel the fish and bury the hooks with your hookset. Fish on!! Gives the fish more time to munch. Just one theory that works for me and I'm sure others disagree. They do this alot in Canada, where it is hands off until the snap! Funny though, with spoons it is the opposite. I use no tubing and deep in the clip and as soon as the release pops, go get him. LOL.

Green Machine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Hey Brion,
In my favorite fishery, here in the Sound, I exclusively fish downriggers for Kings and Silvers all summer/fall at many types of depths. I agree with all of this good info regarding rod lenghts(9-10.5),clip tension (3/4), ball weight(10-12lb),load rod to the tilt, etc.. I've experience good hookup ratios by allowing Kings and Coho to "pop" the release but then I immediately pick up rod and reel until I feel fish fight back. This is a must because of the barbless hook rule and many times it's because the fish is running right towards the boat. If you let the fish set his own hooks after it pops, they will find Houdini-like ways to spit the hooks. Oh and one last thing that hasn't been brought up...I never use slip tie leaders (I've never lost so many fish in one weekend derby), always solid tie my own!

That's my .02! Stick with it, once you dial it in you will love downriggers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Hey Brion,
In my favorite fishery, here in the Sound, I exclusively fish downriggers for Kings and Silvers all summer/fall at many types of depths. I agree with all of this good info regarding rod lenghts(9-10.5),clip tension (3/4), ball weight(10-12lb),load rod to the tilt, etc.. I've experience good hookup ratios by allowing Kings and Coho to "pop" the release but then I immediately pick up rod and reel until I feel fish fight back. This is a must because of the barbless hook rule and many times it's because the fish is running right towards the boat. If you let the fish set his own hooks after it pops, they will find Houdini-like ways to spit the hooks. Oh and one last thing that hasn't been brought up...I never use slip tie leaders (I've never lost so many fish in one weekend derby), always solid tie my own!

That's my .02! Stick with it, once you dial it in you will love downriggers!
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top