The Thumper Bomb Rig
By Capt. Rick Pecci
Well, if your here reading this that means you want to know about a very new concept and secret rig of my own creation called the thumper bomb rig. I have modified a rigging system originally put out by Ernie Lantagine of the Fish Dr. Charters and I just put my own spin on it. I had a long discussion one night with a great friend and fellow fisherman Brian Lacko from Total Chaos and we were trying to come up with a system that was stealthy and was also able to get very deep in the water column without having to put a monster deep rig together on your boat. And something that you can also reel in a fish without fighting a weight system that cannot come off you line. We both had our own ideas and this is what I came up with.
Hope you like and use it as it sure does work.
The Set Up
First, I start out with a 8 1/2 or 9 foot down rigger, dipsy or copper rod and I only use Okuma equipment so a Okuma Classic Pro series is what I use.
You then place a Twili-Tip on your rod as you will be running 20lb Malin wire on this rig. This will replace your current tip top eye as a regular eye will not hold up against the cutting power of 7 strand wire and the wire will saw right through your current eye if not changed. The Twili-tip uses a design that disperses the heat and friction made by the wire using a coiling effect and doesn't allow the wire to cut through due to having a larger surface area for the wire to travel over and to keep cool.
After you place the new tip-top on your rod you then choose a reel. I again only choose Okuma so I run a Okuma Convector CV30D's line counter reels. I have many of these reels and they are very smooth and work flawlessly for me.
You then have to fill your new Okuma reel with wire. Now, there is many differn't wire companies out there but I will stand by Malin Wire as They have a great product that works well for me. Their wire is high quality and is very soft, yet tough and seems to avoid getting those annoying coils at the end of your rod that stiffer wire gets.
I use Malin 20lb. 7 strand stainless steel wire in the coffee color. Ok, why this wire? Well, the 20lb. cuts through the water better and can get deeper faster than a 30lb wire and I like the coffee color for stealth reasons. You need to get a 1000yd spool and you do not back this wire up with any thing just spool it up as is. Make sure you spool it tightly on your reel so there is no loops. If you do get a kink in your wire do not panic! I used to think years ago that after you get a kink in your wire you throw it out but I have found a system that you can repair your wire and it works as good as new!
(see wire repair below)
You now have a working rod and reel filled with wire and your ready to fish but you still need some key pieces to finish off this rig.
You end this rig with a good quality ball bearing swivel and I use all SPRO swivels on my boat now.
Make sure you get the welded rings on your swivels and NOT the split rings type as the split rings type I had pull out on a Salmon. These fish are very strong so welded is the way.
Now you add a good quality snubber. I use the Opti-Snubbers by Opti-Tackle with a ball Bearing swivel system on them. These are a 12 inch snubber and I have used these for years with no issues at all and they work well for me. Why a snubber you ask? Well, this is a shock absorber that takes the brunt of a Salmons strike and can save you lots of lost lures and money due to strike break off's. If you don't think this happens try it with out one first but buy 2 of the lures you put on as you'll be minus one very quickly LOL!
After you clip the snubber to your wire you then need to add a leader.
I use a good quality fluorocarbon like Seaguar but I also use Berkley Professional Grade, P-line and Maxima fluorocarbon and all have preformed great for me. I run 30lb. test and I run a 10 to 12 foot leader and I do not count my snubber. Yes this poses a landing problem but make your leader as long as you can and still land fish. 10 foot should be the shortest you should run. Now your back to a good quality ball bearing swivel again to end this whole rig. Again I choose SPRO. And again a welded ring swivel for strength.
Ok, a few more key pieces and your fishing!
After you get your rig set up you add a lure and you can choose to use any thing you like. But, for Salmon I choose a flasher and fly combo. I use either a E-chip Pro Troll Total Chaos fly combo or a Spin Dr. Total Chaos Fly combo and both catch fish at differnt times.
You also do not want to forget the Smelly Jelly as an attractant and remember do not put it on your fly's only the flashers as it will eat the mylar of your fly's. Anchovy salt glitter UV is what I use now for Salmon and I love the UV chips in it.
Now how to fish it!
You start by paying out your wire with your lure and I let it out to 50 or 100 feet depending on fishes mood. If they are weary I go 100 and if they are aggressive then its 50 feet back.
You then attach your bomb ball.
You will need a RED Off-Shore pinch release and these are so awesome and I use them allot. You need the large one so you have the larger surface area pad unlike the small OR-8 version with a nipple. Use the downrigger release type that has the wire leader on it as shown. (the wire leader on the release will also help in case you may hit bottom with your ball on a turn and your line will not get all marked up and you also won't get and Zebra Muscles on your hooks as this will give you about a foot of clearance from the bottom to your line). You then clip a various ounce ball on to the release and clip the release onto your wire at 50 or 100 feet.
I use anywhere from a 8 to 16oz. round lead ball for my weight. I will also give you a round about chart that will give you a close range of depths that you will get using this rig.
Lets use the 100 foot out placement for this deminstration.
So now you let your line out 100 feet and then you clip your ball release on at 100 feet out. Now, you let it out to 400 feet. Yes, 400 feet. This is the ratio I use every time I use this rig and only the distance between your lure and clip ball will vary from 50 or 100 due to fishes mood.
So here is the chart. This is not an exact science as there are many variables to this set up.
At a trolling speed of 2.5 miles per hour down speed:
8oz. ball clipped at 100 out 400 will get you 80 to 100 feet
10oz. ball clipped at 100 feet out 400 will get you 100 feet to 120 feet
12oz. ball clipped at 100 feet out 400 feet will get you 120 to 130 feet
16oz. ball clipped at 100 feet out 400 feet will get you 130 to 150
Using the 20lb. wire is the key and you will get deeper on turns so keep an eye on hitting bottom.
I have used this chart for about 4 years now and it seems to be pretty close. I will say that there are a bunch of diffent weight devices out there now like the dive bombs by Stinger and even the torpedo weights that I have not tried yet due to the fact that this rig as is works for me and I catch fish now so I don't mess with it.
Ok now after you have payed out your wire 100 feet and clipped your weight and then let it out to 400 feet on your reel counter you place it into a rear middle or side rod holder. I have used 2 of these at a time and have set differn't ball depth to cover differn't water depths. If you use dipsy's or copper in your pattern set up only use one of these down the center of your boat or the stove pipe. Then you set your drag as you would if your setting a dipsy diver so a bit loose and just wait. You will see a fish smash this rig and rip out a ton of line like a dipsy diver rig! Then HOLD ON!!
A small trick you cat use that will take care of light drag line creep especially during big waves is the use of a Med. weight black Off-Shore release. Just wrap it around your rod handle and clip it just above your reel and when you set your drag light just clip the release onto your wire and your line will not creep out in heavy seas. I also use this on my dipseys and it works the same way with them. The fish will pop the line off the release like it was on a rigger ball. A real Sweet trick
There is one note: that clipped at 50 feet verses at 100 may get you a tad deeper so keep that in mind. This rig works well for Kings that are not in a super aggressive mood and being so far and deep from the boat really makes this rig work as a stealth presentation.
This also works very well as you only fight the fish with the weight on it untill you reach the clip as you then unclip it and reel the fish the rest of the way all by it's self and especially when its going to the net as with Ernies old thumper rod method where you clip the weight at the 10 foot leader mark on to you line an it never unclipped made it very hard to fight a fish to the net with the big weight flopping around. By being able to unclip on my updated rig really makes a huge difference. And no lost fish or broken rod tips due the the flopping weight.
I hope you give this rig a try and a chance and you can and will put some extra Kings in the boat. Good luck and Tight Lines!!
Wire Kink Repair: If you find yourself with a wire king don't panic and use this simple repair to save you about $50.00 or so in new wire. First take the kink and cut it out and take a wire crimp that is made for the size wire your repairing like if it's 20lb. then use 20lb wire crimps or equivalent. Then take the one crimp and run both lines through the crimp from both ends one from one side and one from the other. Then take the tab end of both wire lines and loop them over the crimp and push them through again, pull them both tight with a pliers and then crip the crimp in 3 places end middle end, clip off the tag ends of wire sticking out the opposite sides and your done. By looping then over they cannot pull out. I have had one crimped for two seasons so far with no fail and lots of fish on the rod. Good luck!