Using Sliders And Cheaters

This is a method that can really swing the fish-catching odds in your favor, and it is not hard to learn. There are times when this presentation takes most of my fish. There are two types of sliders/cheaters. There is the free slider and the fixed slider. They both have special purposes.

 First, Let's talk about the free slider since it is the easier of the two. With the free slider, you start with about an 8' piece of line(I prefer fluorocarbon). Usually the same lb. test as your main line. You can use a lesser lb. test if you want so that if the fish were to break off, you only lose one lure instead of two. Next, you tie a snap swivel (a good ball bearing type) on one end and just a snap on the other. Hook your lure to the snap. Then hook the snap swivel to the main line that is already set out at the desired depth.

Carefully toss the lure out, making sure it doesn't get caught in any other lines. This lure will travel down to the bow in the line. It usually will end up close to the midway point between the rod tip and the downrigger ball.

You can also buy a Legendary Products free slider as I do like the ease of use better than just 2 swivels.

 I have run free sliders successfully on main lines set as shallow as 10 ft. They really work well in the spring when fish are scattered through the water column. Summer is another good time as fish are scattered as the thermocline sets up. I have run all plugs and spoons as sliders. Heavier tackle such as attractors cause too much stress on the main line so I do not recommend using them.

When a fish strikes the free slider, the rod will really jump. The theory is that the fish will pull the slider down to the release and then pop up the main line. This does not always happen, so be ready. When the rod starts jumping, release it yourself and reel up the slack as fast as you can, then set the hook. I find I lose quite a lot of these fish, but it is worth the effort because I usually double my hits for the day. That is about all there is to free sliders.


Legendary Products, Inc.
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 223-7790 (Phone and Fax)




Now, the fixed slider. There are a lot of ways to do this one. As before, use about an 8' piece of line (preferably fluorocarbon), with a snap swivel on one end and a snap on line release like the Alberta Clip'er made by Legendary Products. (which comes with a little spring and is grey or black in color)  on the other. Now, where you want the lure to run should be where you hook it on the main line. Let's say you want to run your cheater 10 ft above the bottom lure. Hook your main line in the rigger release and lower the rigger down 10 ft.

Now, snap your release to the main line and attach your spoon to the snap on the other end and toss it off the back making sure it does not get tangled in any other lines. You can also use the same rig as the regular slide cheater with the use of a rubber band wrapped around the line to keep it from moving. When using the rubber bands I feel its more time consuming, extra money for the bands and messy as they tend to get all over the boat. I am sure there are other fixed sliders available, also.

Once the line is attached, lower the line to the desired depth. I have run as many as four cheaters on one line. As before, when the rod jumps, grab it and release it, then reel it up until you feel the fish, then set the hook. With a fixed slider, the hook up rate is somewhat better than with the free slider. Again, plugs and spoons work best for this. In conclusion, sliders/cheaters get more lures in front of the fish. It may be because the fish are ball and cable shy and the slider/cheater seems to be swimming all by itself that these techniques work so well.

I am not sure of this, but they have worked very well for me at times. If there is one drawback to sliders/cheaters, it is that sometimes a big fish hits it so hard that when the snap slides down the main line it cuts it off. But, hey, you had some excitement for awhile. Try the sliders/cheaters and see if it increase your fish totals. Experiment with these two methods and you may be surprised at the results.