Downrigger Fishing 

I thought I would take the time and tell you some details on the use of downriggers.

The fist thing to know is how to pick out the downriggers that are best for you and your boat. First thing you have to consider is price. This will determine the type of rigger you will be looking for. There are many downrigger company’s out there like Cannon, Scotty, Big-Jon, Walker, Vector, Penn, Fishlander, Riveria's and a few more I'm sure I might of missed. With this, your options are many!

I have had the privilege to be able to use, or be on a boat with almost all of the downrigger company's downriggers out there and with that, I have came to a professional opinion on who has the best downrigger in the market today, and for me, by far, the best downrigger on the market is Cannon Downriggers. And I have six Mag 20 DT's five rigged with one spare.

Why, you ask? Well, for starters they are the easiest and most durable riggers to use. They are very fast and RELIABLE! I have had Cannons on my boat or the boat I have fished off of all my life. We, at one time had riggers that were over 15 years old and are still in use today now that reliable! As a professional fisherman, I rely on my equipment and need it to work for me day in and day out and it must be easy to use and that is by far a Cannon.

Here is a bit of factory info:   

250-feet-per-minute retrieval rate is the fastest in the industry WOW!

20-lb weight capacity

Positive Ion Control with adjustable voltage lets you regulate the fish-attracting electrical field around your boat

IP68 waterproof power cable connector

Short-Stop safely stops weight retrieval at waterline

Low-profile swivel base, dual rear rod holder and two line releases

Heavy-duty telescopic boom extends from 24" to 53"

Three-digit depth counter

Ball storage hook prevents boat damage from swinging weights

Pre-spooled with 400 feet of camouflaged 150-lb test 316-grade stainless steel cable

Now, once you have chosen the right rigger manufacture, you now need to know if you want 2, 4 or more riggers depending on the size of your boat and how intense you want to fish. After you choose the number of riggers on your boat, and if you want electric or manual you are finally ready to fish.

From here we will say you choose 5 riggers as this will determine on what patterns or spread you use on your boat.

The cable on the riggers I like is the coffee color cable in a 150lb. wire as this will give you a bit of camouflage of your cable.

The rigger ball is a big choice as there are many different rigger weights on the market. The weights I use are 13 lb. torpedo weights.

I like these as they track well and have little blow back and I have mine painted to look like a fish even with WTP molded 3-D eyes. I will be adding a new weight thow for my middle rigger and that is a 15 or 16lb. Chrome dimpled Shark weight.


This weight is actually a fish attractor and could help draw fish into your spread on your boat.

Last but not least is your releases. I use and love my Off Shore red color super heavy releases OR-8's. I also believe that the red color is and added attractant.


If you use these releases you will not have a single false release and you will increase you hook up rate as these releases are double heavy spring loaded and very tight. Especially when your using flashers.

Remember, any of the items I have spoken about here are what I use and are only suggestions. You can do your homework and find other products that you may like better.



OK now how to use them:

- Apply scent to your rigger balls as the fish will track directly to your baits. (The use of a small red piece of material attached to your ball that has been soaked in scent) Trick number 1

Let’s talk about lure spread or your pattern. First I find out what's going on with the fish before I go out and then, I devise a game plan on how to attract the fish. Yes, I said game plan. If you are not doing your home work or pre planning, you’re really putting yourself at a loss even before you make it on the water, as you will not have a direction or plan on how or what to use and how to run it.

Let’s say you have a 5 rigger spread and the Kings are down at about 100 feet. First, I put down my middle rigger or rigger #1 with my Fish Hawk temp probe on it with a glow lure and drop it directly in the middle of all the fish to get a temp reading. I will then move it up or down according to the temp so I can find the thermal cline. 

With that detected at 100 feet I now start setting my spread. #2 rigger for me is the right or Port side; I usually set this rigger at the second highest and usually with something green. So let’s say with the fish at 100 feet down I would set this rigger at 95 feet down.

Rigger #3 down is Port back quarter or rear right corner. This rigger I will set above the first rigger so let’s say this would be set at 85 feet down and this would get a color of chartreuse.

OK, rigger #4 this is left side or the Starboard side, this rigger is always my deepest and always gets white so let’s say this is set at 115 down.

 Rigger #5 is back Starboard quarter and is usually my highest so this would be set at 75 feet and gets the flashy lure. 

OK that’s a typical set for me, BUT this is not always my exact set, it all depends on so many different conditions and situations. You can always use a typical V pattern or inverted V pattern or my side V pattern. I also add in 2 dipseys and 1 thumper rod to finish off my total spread. Also don't forget copper, lead core or dropper sets. (Plainer and walleye boards and outriggers too) 

Remember you can go crazy learning all of this and with 24 years on the lake I use my intuition the most (gut feeling).

With this said, go out and experiment for yourself and find some sets or a spread that will work for you! Tight Lines....

- Some time less is more and you can run 2 riggers or even no riggers as this is called a stealth pattern. Tip #2